I have a dear friend, Rita Saavedra, who I greatly admire…she is a very caring teacher and works wonders with her children who have special challenges. I know they really love her. She is a treasure, and has been a super big source of encouragement to me over the years. She has frequented by classes on art at the Evangelical Lutheran Church. She loves to kick off her shoes and make herself comfortable on the floor and listen and draw while I talk…
I love her art and I hope you will enjoy seeing and hearing her views of her recent pilgrimage to the Holy Lands. Thank you!
Guest Blogger Rita Saavedra
Traveling with Asperger’s.
Here are some, I guess, unique perspective when traveling with Asperger’s.
1. It was hard for me to go to fancy smancy hotels with tons of food and pass by poverty on the same day. Nothing wrong with going to the hotels but i kept wondering where the excess food went.
2. I did not realize how much I love simplicity. I kept worrying am I going to break something.
3. I really had a hard time internally following directions. I am usually the one who plans everything. I had to tell myself over and over again follow directions and stay with the group. It reaffirmed my desire to stay single. Draw outside the lines. Flow where God sends me.
4. I missed my students a great deal. They teach me every day. I thought of catch phrases like “beep beep beep” and “no way at all” throughout the trip.
5. The “holy” sites were full of people. I saw the best of humanity and the worst of humanity there. A mother comforting a child and a French priest not letting those with physical disabilities pass because they were not Catholic.
6. For me the garden of Gethsemane was the most moving along with mount Moriah. Both had few people and I was able to feel Gods presence. I also loved the boat sailing on the Galilee. They sang me happy birthday. The Wailing Wall was so sad. I felt comforted there.
7. Israeli art touched my heart in a way I did not expect. I was able to talk to a few Jewish artists. There use of color inspired me.
8. I did break down a few times in frustration. The airport is super confusing and never the same twice. Very unpredictable.
9. I learned a pilgrimage is not the same as a vacation. A vacation is relaxing, a time to take a break. A pilgrimage is about growth as a person. Connecting with God.
10. I have to thank those with me. I get very disoriented when I am in unfamiliar situations. They were patient with me. I don’t think I will go on an adventure like this again. It took a lot of work financially to get here.
I do know it has changed my art and perspective forever.
Rita Saavedra has studied special education at Johns Hopkins and Towson Universities in Baltimore Maryland. She currently works in the Frederick Maryland area as a Special Education Teacher for CSAAC, Community Services for Autistic Adults and Children. She loves to draw and paint and regularly connects with God through the Arts:)