Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Aksa Digital Studio, how I love thee

So, there’s this internet café down the road. Okay, it’s not really an internet café—it’s actual name is 'Aksa Digital Studio.' Only a 2-minute walk away, I LOVE this place and am pretty sure I’m their biggest customer. Well, probably not, but close to it. They do everything from photography to photocopies to wedding album designing and more. And they have one little ancient computer that has internet, that I tend to visit once or twice a week. Hence the designation, ‘internet café.’

I tell ya, 'Aksa Digital Studio' is a little piece of heaven. After a long day filled with chattering children, sweating constantly in the heat…there is, every now and then, nothing better than sitting in the quiet of that little room with, yes—even air conditioning (cue singing angels). Not to mention the inherent joy obtained from a few minutes of internet time. Reading my facebook newsfeed actually makes me feel like I know what’s going on in the outside world sometimes, and is a nice reminder that a place called America and all the people I love there still exist.

Jim has wireless in his room. Lucky duck. But Maggie and I both have limited internet at our sites, so it’s funny how we’ve both come to revere ‘internet time’, as we call it, as sacred. If I call Maggie, ask what she’s doing, and she replies “I’m at the internet café,” the immediate response is “oh okay, I’ll call you back later.” And vice versa. No explanation needed.

‘Internet time,’ when we can get it, is one way we practice ‘good self care’—a term coined at YAV orientation that refers to any activity that contributes to your emotional/mental well-being, and enables you to be recharged. Because it is only when you care for yourself that you can care for others.

One of the best parts of my little vacations to ‘Aksa Digital Studio’ has been getting to know the family that owns it—a married couple and their two small children. The husband and I have more of a non-verbal friendship—he gives me a small smile whenever I walk in, and has been very helpful whenever I’ve needed to make copies for a class or print photos. 

His wife is SO nice. It was a couple of months, at least, before she ever timidly ventured to speak to me, but I then learned that her name is Jessy. She invited me to come to church with them some time, and during a later visit asked how much I would charge to tutor her eldest daughter, who is in 3rd grade. My first thought was “you don’t have to pay me—I’ll do it for free” but then I had to give myself a little reality check and remember that with everything I have going on at Buchanan, there was no way that adding yet another commitment to my weekly schedule would be a good idea. I felt kind of bad because I’m not sure if she understood the reason why I declined (both she and her husband speak very little English)—as much as I would like to tutor her daughter (and really, I would do it for free), I just don’t have time.

Kids are funny. The aforementioned 3rd grader, at first, was too shy to even come out from behind her mother’s legs to talk to me. But throughout the week and months, she has gotten more brazen and will even come and look over my shoulder while I am at the computer.

I have no doubt that 'Aska Digital Studio’ will continue to be patroned by YAVs for years to come. I’m happy for Buchanan's next YAV, and the YAV after that, that they’ll have this little oasis—that they will have glorious internet time!—and that they’ll get to know this wonderful, hardworking family, like I have.

Just a few weeks ago, Jessy brought out her adorable youngest daughter, who is about three years old, for me to meet.

Her name is Aksa.

"The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things." -Henry Ward Beecher

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