A Teaching Adventure

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14330691670_5f562afe1b_zVanish for a month or so from the online publishing world and some people might take notice. A few emails trickle in: “where’d you go?”, “what’s going on?”.  10 years of publishing something at least every week if not several times a week, brings some degree of expectation.

On the other hand, like so many things in life, it is great to break a tradition, strike up in a new direction, or simply defy expectations. Go left when they expect you to go right. – In my case, live more offline than I have in a decade; become a better cook, a dedicated partner, study the ukelele, get more into yoga, push the ultimate frisbee skills to a new level.  And while all that was going on, on the heels of my successful crowd funding project, the reality set in of needing to raise funds in order to live and have some kind of a future.

That is when a whole other kind of adventure appeared, a regular teaching gig, a 15 minute bike ride from home. A far different scene than the scorching hot classrooms of Jalalabad, Afghanistan or the brief-but-exciting classrooms of Brooklyn College, I found myself with the task of teaching 100 or so, mostly Dutch, second year college students who are not pursing journalism, politics, or any of the humanities my work has so often been connected to.  “A challenge” is what teachers typically call a really tough audience that may not always want to hear what you’re trying to show them and on the same hand demand you show up class after class after class with an interesting presentation to keep them thinking (or from falling asleep).  A challenge is definitely what I was confronted with these past months. An interesting challenge that also leads me to see both myself and the world from another new angle.  Although I’m still a traveller at heart, it was a reminder that new ideas and insight can sometimes be found  very close to home.

Like journalism, school is a special kind of institution with a kind of public responsibility. Yet somehow, like journalism, school has become a big business, suffering from all the drawbacks that business entails (sure a few benefits too). Attracting and keeping an audience,  dealing with limit budgets, following rules yet trying to be flexible; unfortunately journalism and education face many common realities. Perhaps that is the reason an education job, to me, doesn’t feel like a far stretch from the media world. It is all connected. As Zenobia Dawson once said to her teachers in “The Wire”, “We’ve got our thing, but it’s just part of the big thing.” – Indeed.


10 Years Ago Today: My Nephew Arrived

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An oldy from our younger days.

Long long ago in a time where journalists could be bloggers and bloggers might be journalists and people actually read long form personal content, this here website was a hotbed of socio-political activity. Hard to believe, but in those days my friends and family were a regular part of what took place here. I could be talking about a war somewhere in the world or the latest activity my young family members were busy with.

Humbling to think that 10 years ago, this week, I wrote the following:

Special announcement: I’m an uncle. On May 13th, around 8pm, Alexander Marsh Rendeiro was born in New Brunswick, NJ, USA. Out of respect for the privacy of my nephew, photos are only available upon request for now. From what I gather, the family is good, just very, very exhausted.

From there every year or so I would write letters and record videos (currently offline) about or for my nephew.

As far as uncles go, I’m not the best. I live too far away to qualify as a great one. Still, from this side of the ocean, I watch, listen, and ask all about the life and times of this extraordinary human being.  And when I am over in New Jersey, I do my best to make up for lost time, and share some laughs before I’m off again.

10 years is impressive. It also goes by in the blink of an eye. As I type that, I find myself thinking of how interesting the next 10 years will be. Wow. Here’s to the decade to come, happy birthday young mister A-Ren!


Closing Out the Dubai Taxi Project

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avatar Mark Fonseca Rendeiro
in Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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ctrp470_140504In order to properly say goodbye to the Dubai Taxi Project, you have to have a podcast. On today’s program there are final notes, unpublished reflections, hypocracies, musings, future plans and even an easter egg. No guests, no taxi’s, just me and a microphone and you listening wherever you are in the world. Podcasting the way it was in the beginning, where it is good to return to after a long journey or time away.


Storytelling in Dubai

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avatar Mark Fonseca Rendeiro Amazon Wishlist Icon
avatar Meedo

12090690025_fea4f8dbf9_zAre we living in an era where the art of storytelling has risen to some newfound prominence? What kinds of stories are inspired and produced by the cultures of the Arabian peninsula these days? How difficult is it to achieve a balance between life and work in this environment?  These and other subjects are a part of this lunchtime podcast we recorded at the American University in Dubai this past winter.

Meedo Taha is, among other things, a storyteller based in Dubai. But before making a life in this city, his story went from Lebanon, to London, to Tokyo, to LA and beyond.