Travel to Cuba

¡Vamos Pa’ Cuba! Puente Cultural Integration is planning its first trip to Cuba.  Government policies keep changing and we have been paying close attention to the latest updates. In the last couple of months, the US has opened bids for domestic airline carriers to provide service to Cuba and has eliminated many restrictions for travel. We, like so many others, are anxious to see Cuba before their doors open to all tourism and trade. Interest has been great in the Metro Detroit area. Because this is unknown territory for US businesses, there is value in seeking out a cultural liaison that can help you to bridge the gap between the US and Cuba.

We are working with strategic partners and our initial trip falls under two categories allowed by the US State Dept. for travel to Cuba.

  1. Educational Activities: exploration of cultural centers, museums, music, art, architecture, and cuisine.
  2. People-to-People: our primary goal is to form relationships with various locals in multiple cities that will provide ongoing mutually beneficial relationships. We aim to eat with the locals, find dance instructors, meet musicians and honor their craft, connect with artisans, and stay in “casas particulares” to embrace the daily life of the Cuban people.

As of March 15th, the Department of Treasury has updated its FAQS page which includes the following, “Travel-related transactions are permitted by general license for certain travel related to the following activities, subject to the criteria and conditions in each general license: family visits; official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations; journalistic activity; professional research and professional meetings; educational activities; religious activities; public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions; support for the Cuban people; humanitarian projects; activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes; exportation, importation, or transmission of information or information materials; and certain authorized export transactions.”

 

 

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Motor City Re-Store Round 2 Awards November 28, 2017

Equal Access to Resources in Southwest Detroit

I am really proud to be part of a bilingual collaborative that helps provide resources to the business owners in Southwest Detroit. We decided to join forces last year and have had wonderful results.

Estoy muy orgullosa de ser parte de una colaboración bilingüe que ayuda proporcionar recursos para los dueños de negocio en Southwest Detroit. Decidimos juntarnos hace un año y hemos tenido excelentes resultados.

In November, it was my honor to be the interpreter for Don Rodrigo Padilla, from Taquería el Nacimiento, as he received not only a grant award from the DEGC’s MotorCity Re-Store program, but was also asked to tell his story at the event. (He is also featured on billboards around the city!)

En Noviembre, tuve el honor de ser intérprete para el estimado Don Rodrigo Padilla, de la Taquería el Nacimiento cuando no solo recibió un premio por parte de Motor City Re-Store, sino también le pidieron que contara su historia en el evento.

Motor City Re-Store Round 2 Awards November 28, 2017
Rodrigo Padilla with interpreter Bridget Espinosa, Motor City Re-Store Round 2 Awards November 28, 2017 – as featured in Latino Press 12/7/2017 (Also a MMR Winner!)

Southwest Detroit received more awards than any other neighborhood, in part due to the hard work of our collaboration. Four businesses from the BID – West Vernor – Springwells Business Improvement District, for which I provide outreach, received grants and eight TechTown SWOT City clients in in my Southwest Detroit portfolio received awards, including:

Follow these businesses on Facebook so you can see the progress as they help to beautify Southwest Detroit with new murals and other exterior improvements.

Southwest Detroit recibió más premios que cualquier otro vecindario, nuevo de cuarenta y uno, debido al trabajo colaborativo de nuestras agencias. Cuatro negocios en el BID – el Distrito Comercial de Mejoramiento de West Vernor – Springwells, por la cual apoyo en las comunicaciones, y ocho de mis clientes de TechTown SWOT City recibieron premios.

Sigue los negocios en Facebook para que puedas ver el progreso mientras ayuden embellecer a Southwest Detroit con murales nuevos y otras mejoras exteriores.

MCR_Taqueria El Nacimiento_Don Rodrigo
Don Rodrigo – Taquería el Nacimiento 7400 W. Vernor Detroit, MI 48209

Photos courtesy of Latino Press http://www.latinodetroit.com and MotorCity Re-Store.

What’s your passion?

Last October, I sat in my principal’s office feeling that there was something bigger waiting for me. “I love teaching Spanish, but I feel like I have met every goal, every milestone. What can I do to keep this up for another 15 years?” I asked. Her powerful response, “What are you passionate about? Find your passion.”

Girona Spain

I have spent the last six months doing just that. I did the scariest thing any teacher could do.  I walked away after 21 years. I am a teacher. I am a Spanish teacher. I love everything about the culture & Spanish language (yep, especially the irregular verb conjugations!) It is such a part of my identity. I am a teacher of life and I am following my passions. Puente Cultural Integration was created to channel my passions and my energies.

I am connecting my passions and my strengths. Could your organization benefit from my skill set?

My strengths are:

  • organizing people
  • communicating
  • problem-solving
  • teaching cultures & language
  • all things Latin American
  • dynamic cross-cultural training

Banner Puente 4

My passions are:

  • the people & cultures of Latin America
  • helping disadvantaged youth (both in the US & globally)
  • travel
  • education
Barcelona - Sea
Trip to Barcelona, Spain 2014

I will be realistic about my path and I need to do more in this world.  My business cannot be about me.  There is something more out there.  Watch out world!

If your company is in the Metro Detroit or Chicago areas and would like Puente Cultural Integration to provide consulting, cross-cultural or diversity training for your staff, please contact bridget@puenteci.com for a quote. 

I need to help . . .

I feel a calling.  Again.

Last month, I spent five days helping to run a camp in the Dominican Republic. I need to do more.  Now I know. I need to go back. These kids, this community, they touched me.

DR15_BAAM Panoramic Basket
First Day of Camp – Basketball as a Mission, Dominican Republic 2015

When I was in high school, I knew I needed to go to Mexico – to live, to learn, to meet these people I had studied. It wasn’t a whim. I knew I had to become bilingual – I didn’t want to just learn textbook Spanish – I wanted to understand everything about the culture too.  Street Spanish. Everyday Spanish.

In college, after spending six months living with a family in Morelia, Michoacán and traveling throughout Central Mexico, I dreamed of going into the Peace Corps or becoming a missionary in Latin America. My professors talked of living among the Mayan Indians in Mérida and of studying civilizations across the globe. “I’m going to do that too,” I thought.

But, life happens. The last 21 years happened.

  • Finish college at 21.
  • Get the phone call NHS needs a Spanish teacher
  • Fight it! “I’m not ready to be an adult yet!”
  • I am hired.
  • Grad School in Mexico = Grad School Debt
  • Marry the Mexican man of my dreams
  • Kids (2 beautiful bilingual boys)
  • Decide after 21 yrs to leave teaching
  • Travel to the DR as a volunteer

Now what?

My heart needs to help. I dreamed of teaching in the inner-city.  I dreamed of building schools in rural Latin America. I want to help build lives, give love, provide skills.

DR15_BAAM Group
Last Day of Camp – Basketball as a Mission, Dominican Republic 2015

Can I afford to follow my heart? Can I afford to ignore this ache again? I think I know the answer. Can’t wait to see what powerful things are going to happen!

If you are interested in reaching disadvantaged kids in Latin American or would like to find out more regarding Basketball as a Mission. Contact us here or go to http://www.basketballasamission.org. 

If your company is in the Metro Detroit or Chicago areas and would like Puente Cultural Integration to provide consulting, cross-cultural or diversity training for your staff, please contact bridget@puenteci.com for a quote.