Tag Archives: Lemons

From Lemons to Lemonade: Fighting for an Adventure

Ordinary riches can be stolen, real riches cannot. In your heart and soul are precious things that can never be taken from you. Remember that…

—Oscar Wilde

When a journey starts out bad and we have to fight through it… it earns the title of an adventure. Adventures are precious irreplaceable thoughts locked in our heart allowing us to travel from here to then, right now. It is something so bitter it will make you tear with a sour face, but then, with the tiniest bit of sugar, is twisted into a thirst quenching refresher that you can not get enough of.

From mid December to mid January of 2010 I had the opportunity to travel to Italy for a month, Turin to be exact. From beginning to end, the trip was filled with unforgettable sub adventures. But today I will tell you about this one.

Turin is the home to the winter olympic games of 2006*. Two days after my arrival, my friend and friend’s room mate took me skiing on the renown mountain. We woke up earlier than the crack of dawn that morning, bundled up with layers of clothes worn under water proof clothes, covered our extremities with socks hats and gloves and we were on our way. The train ride took some time. I don’t remember.. maybe an hour – or two – or three, I forgot, but thats not the point. As the train trailed through I sat with my head leaning against the window and slept, occasionally opening my eyes to see the snow and trees passing by in the dark early morning.

Last stop. We’re here! As the doors split apart I stepped forward pressing my feet onto the ground and into the snow. I was greeted with a powerful blast of cold fresh air. The sky was still a midnight blue, lightened with gray, waiting for the sun to break through. To the right of me was the mountain inviting us over, looking above, the sky was sparkling with delicate crystals of ice finding their way to either the tip of my nose or the ground.

Stop! Photo op! We took lots of pictures here.

Here I am outside of the docked train parked at the station of Bardonecchia. Do you see how much snow there was? The snow is up to the seat of the bench behind me. I love it.

Here I am outside of the docked train parked at the station of Bardonecchia. Do you see how much snow there was? The snow is up to the seat of the bench behind me. I love it.

Moving right along we socialized with the workers, rented our skis, smashed our feet into the boots and were carried to the top of the mountain by a chair lift.

The day was filled with fun and excitement, slaloming down the mountain and such, stopping at the cabin on the top of the mountain for the most amazing hot chocolate and fantastic pizza.

One lemon. After hours of winter fun, we grew heavy and sluggish. Mutually, the three of us decided to give the mountain one more go. The chair lift picked us up at the bottom and slowly arrived to the top. Time to get off. We all did. except WACK! what was that? why is everything blank? Five blue birds and six sparkling gold stars were fluttering around my head. Slowly I trickled down into the snow. why are people running over and smashing snow into my head? don’t do that.. it will make my hair frizzy

My ski’s had gotten stuck under the ski’s of the people I was sitting in between as we were sliding off the the chair lift, preventing me from moving forward and the swing hit me in the head! Urgh.. How am I gonna get down now?

….Plus water…. From the moment I slid down and plopped to the floor the chair lift stopped dead in rotation. Friends, passerbyer’s and mountain workers came running over. My head hurt so much and I was in shock. Patrol guys were flashing lights into my eyes to make sure I did not have a concussion. They reacted quickly and concocted a plan. While waiting for help, I was invited to wait in the control room with the chair lift workers. I love this moment! I was able to hang out with them and talk to the Italian’s about their culture. They spoke some english and I spoke some Italian. Together, the three of us we were chatting up a storm. They were making  jokes and telling me everything will be fine. and Christmas was coming up! How nice it was hearing about the holiday lifestyles of these people. Thirty minutes later help had arrived. I was to ride halfway down with the patrol guy and be driven to the bottom on a snow mobile. Amazing! More time to share cultural stories. And down we went.

Can you see how wonderful this is? Instead of going down the mountain in your expected average way, being carried up by the chair lift and sliding down on two feet, I was given the gift of encountering a minor head injury allowing me to socialize plus a ride down on a snow mobile. The head injury was a small price to pay for the exciting adventure in return. What a gift!

With a dash of sugar…  At the end of the trip—on the train ride home, naturally it was very late. My two friends and I were resting in our seats. I noticed a young foreign guy sitting up ahead laughing with a group of his friends. He got up from his seat and headed towards us with a smile. He began to speak with us in Italian, with a non english nor Italian accent, but then it was an unsaid understanding that English was a common ground for all of us, so he changed his dialect. He wanted to know if we could help him choose the correct stop to get off from, and we did know. I knew our help meant a lot to him because when the conversation was over, he declared a great warm “God Bless Us!!” I’m pretty sure he meant God bless you, except his language translation jumbled up the content. Or, perhaps maybe he did mean “us” and wanted to include himself in the circle of blessings. Any how, I am grateful that he said his words that way, because had he not—I wouldn’t be sitting here with a great big grin on my face flashing back to that moment.

Creates lemonade! Adventures can not qualify as an adventure until after it has a happened and the moments have settled. Then we can look back and are able to know — that was an adventure — and it is preserved safe in our souls forever. I can save my ski trip in my pocket with out worries of losing it and keep it handy for whenever I am in need of smile.

What’s in your pocket?

Horan_Bardonecchia

Here I am at the top of Bardonecchia mountain preparing to make my way down (before the incident).


Thanks to this adventure, I was able to use the photos for a practice identity package for the KASTLE Ski Company for a class project. Check it out!
Kastle Ski Identity Redesign

Included is a composite of my ski pass from the day.

Included is a composite of my ski pass from the day. Overall, the design of the pass looks good. The colors are refreshing, energetic and pleasing to represent the mood of a beautiful cold day for skiing. The visual hierachy of the logo stands out with an emphasis on the first capitol B and ending in a capitol A. The logo is a little close to the top and could be moved down for more breathing room.  In order to make the appearance of the pass a little more visually pleasing, the white glow around the text should be eliminated. On the image to the right, a consistent right alignment of the text would look nice as well. In addition, the the circular seal and text could be adjusted to be a little more balanced with the words on the card.


Thanks for reading. As I stated in my last post… to take the pressure off of dear Frida Kahlo for sharing her lemons with the universe in my article “When life hands you lemons… ROCK ON!” I would like to share with you one of my lemons that can now be preserved as lemonade.


*2006 Winter Olympics

*Title inspired by Nick Montano who instructed me on the proper usage of the connection between from and to, inspiring the topic of the title From Lemons to Lemonade

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When life hands you lemons… ROCK ON!

And I will show that whatever happens to anybody it may be turned into beautiful results.

Walt Whitman

The Two Fridas, painted in 1939
This painting is a self-portrait of Frida Kahlo. Represented is split between her two selves. From her period of turmoil and self-doubt. Frida on the right is her Mexican self in traditional tehuana dress. The Frida on the left is her European self dressed in a colonial white dress.

Whatever lemons life hands you, you have to keep going, you have to rock on and pursue the beauty that can come from it. No one’s life is easy. We all have difficult situations, even celebrities like Surrealist artist Frida Kahlo. Somewhere down the line, someone made the analogy, that obstacles are equivalent to lemons, this person said… When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. No matter what the situation is, beautiful results will occur if you keep going. Sometimes things happen that may seem like the end of the world, but just keep trying. Frida is a great example of someone who managed to turn bitter lemons into beauty.

Everyone has problems. I do, Frida Kahlo did, so do plenty of other people in the world, I bet. Sometimes it feels like whatever problem we are going through, it is the worst problem in the world. Just a few weeks ago I was in an unpleasant situation. It wasn’t life or death. I’m still here. I didn’t lose my home, I wasn’t physically hurt, neither was anyone else. I’m still pretty much me, just with another experience. In my mind, it was rough patch to go through. I wanted to drop everything and create a new life. I wanted to move to Hawaii. I wanted to abandon everything I had going on here and start fresh in a tropical world. I felt like I was the only one who had such a situation. If I moved to beautiful Hawaii everything would be fixed. Let me remind you I have never been there. I’ve only experienced it second – hand through stories and photos. This is a place where no one has problems ever…  I could start fresh and adapt to their completely problem free environment where I am guaranteed to never encounter a problem again, right? Right.

Leaving everything to move to Hawaii was the most logical way to solve the issue. Now I am laughing at how silly this idea was. Moving to Hawaii would be wonderful, but it wouldn’t have been the solution. Problems probably occur there too. Shortly after my situation was done and solved, a friend  of mine, who knew nothing about my issue and wanting to move, told me something very similar! She said she was upset and just wanted to move to Tennessee and start over. So, I know im not alone with this thought process. My point is that sometimes we — maybe not all of you, but some of us… have situations where we feel like life would be better if we just ran away from everything, and moved far, far away to start over. Lets not forget about Frida, I wonder if she ever felt like running away.

What happens when we don’t run away? We rock on and conquer our problem! How wonderful is that? When we win!? We get to keep our life and continue with the process that we’ve been working on so hard to put together.  It’s so easy to forget about the big picture during these inconvenient situations. Frida Kahlo was a Surrealist painter. To me — it appears that she lived a rough life but managed to pull out the goodness that she could. She made lemonade.  Ms. Kahlo was born on July 6th 1907. I will tell you, her life was one hardship after another. First — when she was 6, she acquired Polio. This left her with a leg significantly thinner than the other. But she didn’t feel sorry for herself and run away, she made the most of it. It didn’t kill her. She said… hey, i’m still mobile, I can fix this, let me just wear long skirts to disguise my leg and I’ll be on my way…

Continuing on, Frida excelled in her education and attempted to pursue a medical degree. She studied hard and was accepted into one of Mexico’s top notch schools, the Escuela Nacional Preparatoria. But what happened?? Shes not famous for her medical discoveries, shes world renowned for her paintings.

Frida Kahlo was a Mexican painter. She lived a life with many hardships. When she was 15 she was in a bus accident and A sharp pole went through her vagina. These are the words of my Spanish professor. She introduced Frida’s story to our class in 2006. I can hear the biography through her voice so clearly.

On September 17, 1925, Kahlo was riding in a bus that collided with a trolley car. She suffered serious injuries because of the accident, including a broken spinal column, a broken collarbone, broken ribs, a broken pelvis, eleven fractures in her right leg, a crushed and dislocated right foot, and a dislocated shoulder. Also, an iron handrail pierced her abdomen and her uterus, compromising her reproductive capacity.

From that day on, she spent the rest of her life painting while she was trying to recover. She kept going. Frida was even a social butterfly. She was married to a painter she admired, Diego Rivera, and she didn’t stop there, Frida pushed the envelope and had several affairs. Her work is so unique. Her paintings were real — but not real, they were surreal. They had elements that seemed real but exaggerated. Illogical images were incorporated into the scene. Frida turned this tragedy into a beautiful result. She represented her thoughts through her paintings. Frida Kahlo said I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality. If you look at her work you will see how truthful it all is. There is no censorship to her thoughts. She’s blunt. Some stuff may offend the faint at heart, but it was her life.

When life hands you lemons, its important to make the most with them. Frida turned a series of unpleasant events into beauty. She painted over and over again and brought us into her world. Life is hard sometimes and its easy to feel like you’re the only one who has it rough. But sometimes when I am brought back to reality and reminded that no ones life is easy, it makes me feel better. Not because I am reminded that other people are having a rough time, but to know that I’m not the only one that is, to know that the world isn’t ganging up on me. When times get tough, its important to remember that things will get better if you rock on.