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JCE BLOG: THE TEXANS ARRIVE IN BALI

JCE BLOG: THE TEXANS ARRIVE IN BALI

Four tired but happy Texans arrive –finally– to Bali.

We arrived in Bali around 8:30 p.m. Sunday. Excited — still — after a 10,000 mile, 29 hour and 3 plane journey.

Carson points out we are 12 hours ahead of everyone we love. So, we can literally say we’re on the opposite side of the world.

The Bali International airport was busy with the last flights of the day.

The heat in Jakarta earlier in the day turned to a cool breeze in Bali.

The airport was buzzing with activity –families happy to get off planes and into cars for their trips home.

We were greeted by our driver, Ari, arranged by the hotel.

He asked us how our trip had been so far. I replied, “long but happy to be here. First time.”

After 29 hours on planes, we’re ready to explore Bali.

My excitement gives way to peace after I saw butterflies that lined our walk to the car.

Butterflies lined the walkway from the airport to the car.

Butterflies have taken on a new meaning since 2010 when my mom died unexpectedly.

My family and I believe she comes to us in the form of a butterfly. She always dreamed to traveling.

Indoneisan drive on the left side of the road.
Ari takes us on the 1 hour drive to Ubud, where we’ll be staying in Bali.
Ubud known as the traditional center of Bali for its healing.

Ubud is in the center of the island and described as the healing and peaceful area of Bali. It’s littered with yoga centers, healers, palm readers and a Starbucks… so it doesn’t throw off the Westerners zen.

For a Sunday, the streets of Bali are busy. I’m use to the quiet Sunday streets of East Texas.

The streets of Bali are busy — even for a Sunday.

We arrive after 10 p.m. to our resort.

Bruce and I had a few choices on where to stay but the Sankara just seemed like our style. Local with all the touches of a 5-star hotel. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to have our own private pool.

Our stay in Ubud will be at the Sankara in Ubud.

We’re settled for the night. We’ve got a busy day planned for Monday. Follow our Bali trip via Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram.  Search for me.

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JCE BLOG: WHEN IN TAIWAN EAT AS THE TAIWANESE DO

JCE BLOG: WHEN IN TAIWAN EAT AS THE TAIWANESE DO

We arrive at the Taoyuan International Airport.

The 15+ hour Hello Kitty flight is over – we’ve arrived at the at Taoyuan International Airport in Taipei, Taiwan.

Our legs needed some movement and our tummies needed food – stat!

Despite the Hello Kitty meal placemats and plastic-wear — the EVA airline food wasn’t spectacular.

Eva Airlines inflight food not great but thanks for the Hello Kitty plasticwear.

Once we got our bearings we began to hunt for a breakfast spot.

A breakfast sandwich? Orange juice? Yogurt with some granola? No. No. No.

We spotted a place not far from our gate that was getting tons of customers.

It didn’t take long for us to decide on a Taiwanese breakfast consisting of dumplings and soups.

It was dumplings and soup for breakfast.

Four meals that included soup pork dumplings, chicken dumpling soup, beef noodles, edamame and green tea.

Two of the Taiwanese breakfast meals that included dumplings and soup.

The four meals for just $22 USD! And it was a delicious breakfast.

We decided we had to eat our breakfast “family-style” — all sharing our meals.

“The chicken broth is to die for,” said Bruce.

“These dumplings are on par with my NYC dumpling spot,” I said.

It didn’t take long for us to devour our Taiwanese breakfast meals.

We walked around the terminal to walk it off.

Xièxiè, Taiwan for the wonderful first few hours in Asia. Off to Indonesia.

 

A good first 4 hours in Asia at the Taipea airport.

Follow our journey to Bali on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagam. Just search for me.

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JCE BLOG: BALI BOUND ON THE HELLO KITTY JET

JCE BLOG: BALI BOUND ON THE HELLO KITTY JET

The Hello Kitty jet arrives to our terminal.

When you get told your flight will be decked out on the inside and outside with Hello Kitty — there’s no reaction that’s acceptable other than pure excitement.

I mean Hello Kitty is the Mickey Mouse of Asia — right?

Eva Air is the premiere airline of Taiwan. It just started having flights into Houston International airport back in March.

What can you expect on the Hello Kitty jet? Tons of Hello Kitty swag, of course.

 

Carson can’t contain his excitment for Hello Kitty.

It all begins with the baggage tags – with a pilot-themed Hello Kitty.

The baggage tags have a Hello Kitty pilot!

And Eva Air isn’t skimping on their boarding passes either. Look!

Eva Air isn’t playing with this Hello Kitty endorsement.

As to what to expect on the flight — I’ve Googled and found we’ll get Hello Kitty night masks, meal placemats, pillows and playing cards.

Just a quick Google tells us what we can expect in the air.

The 25+ hour flight to Taipei, then to Jakarta and finally Bali — is getting off to a great start thanks to Miss Hello Kitty.

YASSS to the Hello Kitty boarding.

 Next stop Asia!

Follow our Bali journey on my Facebook, Twitter, Snap & Instagam. Just search for me.

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JCE BLOG: TO GET A BREAK, YOU NEED A SHOT

JCE BLOG: TO GET A BREAK, YOU NEED A SHOT

It was a photo that made the news for its tone deafness.

The Speaker of the House Paul Ryan surrounded by a group of mostly white interns with a caption that read: “I
think this sets a record for the most number of #CapitolHill interns in a single selfie. #SpeakerSelfie”

A photo posted by Speaker Paul Ryan (@speakerryan) on Jul 16, 2016 at 11:12am

At first, I didn’t bother to read more than just the headline on this latest “DC scandal.” It seemed like clickbate. It took a post by a professor at Columbia University to open my eyes to the problem with the ‘tone deaf selfie.’ How could it be that a photo taken by the most powerful person on Capitol Hill have visibly no person of color?

“…despite their differences in politics, all have one thing in common: someone at some point gave them a shot. Someone mentored them, someone coached them, someone with connections introduced them to someone else. Likely, several someones helped them get to D.C.”

I couldn’t shake the words from professor Duy Linh Tu.

He’s correct — to help diversify photos like the one Speaker Ryan took with his interns — we’ve got to give minorities a shot.

Last year, actress Viola Davis gave an acceptance speech for ‘Best Actress’ for a TV drama, the first black woman to win the award, that highlighted this for the entire nation.

“The only thing that separates women of color from everyone else is opportunity,” she said. “You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.”

As a first-generation Mexican-American male, I’ve been given plenty of shots in my life that I worked to get and keep.

In college, I got two shots to intern on Capitol Hill. For two semesters, I worked for a U.S. senator and representative. It was an amazing experience but it doesn’t pay. I had to hold down a part-time job.

In 2008, I got another shot to intern at the Today Show in New York City for a summer. My parents helped with one month’s worth of rent but I had to bartend on the weekends to live in the Big Apple. The internship didn’t pay. But I don’t regret it — the opportunity gave me a look into my future career as a broadcaster.

But bottom line: I was given and worked hard for these opportunities. But it took someone taking a shot on me.

So, if you have the means to mentor or coach someone — take the time to do so!

It could be their shot — to get that break in life.

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JCE BLOG: A TALK WITH THE NEXT GENERATION

JCE BLOG: A TALK WITH THE NEXT GENERATION

Giving my motivation talk to the 5th graders at Maggiano’s in Plano.

I got a big honor – to deliver motivational remarks to the 5th graders at my former elementary school in Garland, Texas.

One of the 5th grade teachers had seen a blurb written in the GISD newsletter last fall and contacted me about giving a speech at their banquet.

I know for many elementary school probably seems like ages ago — but for me it was a period of enlightenment. It was a place I learned to succeed.

My biggest accomplishment still stands to this day — top AR Reader!
During my 5th grade year, I read over a hundred books and raked up over 500 AR points. Nerd — yes! It was a delight to meet all the graduating 5th graders.
Thank you to the Williams family for the invitation.

The top 5th graders at Williams Elementary.

Below are my remarks:
Thank you for the invite to talk to all the graduates from my alma mater — Williams Elementary. First of all, congratulations to all of you for making it through the first part of your educational career. I was in your shoes about 18 years ago — and let me tell you it goes by fast!

As you move forward to middle school, high school and college — I’d like to share THREE things I’ve learned along the way that I want you to keep in mind.

 

1. SAY THANK YOU — to those who’ve helped you along the way. There are two educators from Williams I still stay in contact with — my 5th grade teacher Mrs. Garcia and former librarian Mrs. Craft. Both of those women helped me understand that there was a world outside of Williams and Garland. Over the past 20 years, I’ve included them on updates in my life and they’ve given me advice and support. Before you leave Williams — think of those educators and mentors who helped you.

 

2. BE YOURSELF — middle school will be a chance for you to really get to know yourself. You’ll meet new friends and probably say goodbye to others — but it’s okay. Find people that will challenge and support you. I’ve got a 3 friends who I met in middle school — that I keep up with. Those friends — Angie, Shelby and Elizabeth — knew me as John and still do — even if I’m on TV everyday… they are good friends. So, again, be yourself and surround yourself around friends who love and care for you.

 

3. FIND YOUR PASSION — it was actually at Williams that I learned I like to talk to people and learn about their lives. I didn’t know it just yet — but that skill is something I use everyday as a news anchor/reporter. From the moment I left Williams — I added to that ‘communication’ skill in high school and college — with classes and internships. And it helped find the career I love to wake up and do everyday. That’s one of the great things that Williams provided — a chance to find a skill that helped set me up for success.

 

So again, SAY THANK YOU, BE YOURSELF and FIND YOUR PASSION — if you keep those three things I mind over the next few years — you’ll be a step ahead of the game. Good luck — and I expect to see great things from all of you.

Embarrassing 5th grade graduation photo with my cousin, Maribel Estrada.