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Monday, May 28, 2012

Gratitude to Veterans

Author's note: In celebrating Memorial Day, I salute all veterans of yesterday, today, and future.

For the sacrifice made
Protecting us from invade
Willing to fight for freedom
Part of our nation’s anthem
Making your families proud
It can be felt all around
Through bravery, standing tall
Never backing down or fall
We salute you our heroes
Our appreciation grows
“Thank you” we continue to say
Remembering you everyday

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Unspoken message

Dedicated to someone I still consider a friend.

How does one start a conversation
When lines of communication is broken
Each word tangled with emotions
Like a menu with many options

Silence has erupted
In a friendship now disrupted
Feelings try to compromise
Disagreement arises

Walk away, leave alone
Miss talking on the phone
Sad things ended up this way
Would give anything for yesterday

Never knowing how much
Enjoyed keeping in touch
Feeding off your energy
Thinking of you highly

How does one say “I love you”
When it has an unknown value
Despite what’s written or said
Still hope this message is read

Witnessing God's presence

Looking up at the sky this evening
I thank God for another blessing
To see another day
Allowing my health to be okay
Light shines from above
As I pray for those I love
It wasn’t too soon
That sun overshadowed moon
And to my surprise
His presence is before my eyes
Suddenly clouds move in
Feeling a chill on my skin
A small glow now in the distance
I stand in silence

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Nightly ride

Dark blue sky arrives
Another day survives
Rush hour has passed
No rain in tonight’s forecast
Stand waiting for the bus
Hear kids laugh and cuss
Nearby building dims light
Moon is shining bright

Bus finally comes, I get on
So many of us yawn
Tiredness kicks in
Wipe away chalk from my chin
Quietness enters after next stop
One avenue closes shop
Another seems busy
People walk carefree

Stepping off I see
This place I want to be
A brief nightly roam
Someday calling it home

Monday, May 21, 2012


Tear drops fall onto the surface
Cause a ripple effect that’s endless
Reflection sets the scene
Unraveling itself like a machine
The background is faded
How it got there is complicated
Defeat surrounds the puddle
Leftover efforts no longer able
To compete, be recognized
Shooed away like fireflies
The light has been dimmed
On the heart now trimmed
Crying a message with no connection
Aimlessly flow in any direction
Hollow space completely filled
Of a vision unable to rebuild

Sunday, May 20, 2012

When it's time it's time

"When you open one door, there will be another one to open. It gets harder each time but if you stay focused, the doors will open for you." My dad used to say this to me growing up. I always found it most motivating and it's kept me steadfast in pursuing my goals. I appreciate his advice and for believing in me. I'm opening the door dad. Life lesson of the week, when you want something bad enough, one don't stop until the goal is reached. Self-motivation is key to success. I'm focusing on me now and not afraid to be direct about it. I'm ready to make my dreams a reality.

I attended a training about case management on Friday. It was an all day intensive about documenting case notes and using strength-based language in writing these notes. It also focused on clients' strengths and ways to effectively monitor their progress. I was definitely out of my comfort zone since I usually attend trainings relating to adult literacy/ESL. This class was not only helpful but added to my reason for wanting to be a social worker. Simply put, I love this stuff! I had a chance to talk with the facilitators, also social workers about my interest. One in particular gave me good insight as to how to diverge into the field. Of course grad school is the starting point, but there are other ways to get involved. I appreciate her feedback and compliment. She said that she liked my energy in the class, and "the world would be lucky to have you [as a social worker]." I'm honored by her words. This is not the first time I heard this. A sign perhaps?

After the training, I taught my class. It felt great knowing I am doing and pursuing two careers I love very much. I feel lucky and blessed to be in a position to do just that. I think my students would be proud of me knowing that I want to make a difference in this world. What a great way to do that by being both an educator and social worker! My door is starting to open and I'm very excited by what's behind it.

Dara Day 3

Saturday, May 19, 2012 

Take a walk with me
On another journey
Of reflection and time
Well spent you’ll see

Started out with a movie
Something not always done
A matinee, ate some popcorn
Enjoyed laughing at the comedy

Heading down the escalators
Didn’t know where to go next
More people came in the theater
Observing the new movie flyers

The sun was out
Smiled over the nice weather
Grabbed a bagel and juice
Deciding my next route

Pink roses align the walkway
Sat at a green table
Munched on the bagel, thinking
Wishing everyday was like today
Teens chat, little boy chased pigeons
A man talked loud to himself
Ladies walked by with shopping bags
Their actions blended like crayons 

Sky was blue, few clouds around
Cool breeze made the flowers bounce
Like a wave of colorful pinks and purples
Suddenly I heard no sound
Took some pictures of this scene
Curious onlookers watched me
Love how camera captures life
Clear, beautiful, serene

Went into the city
So crowded and busy
The doors opened, many rushed through
Been years since taking the ferry

Looked out onto the water
Breathed in the oncoming breeze
Reminisced during the ride
No one near was a bother
Hello to an unfamiliar island
Discovered a seating area
With tourists, family gatherings
Alone but not saddened

Tall building seen in the distance
Music playing in my ears
Reflecting, remembering
A structure of such essence
Grateful for this unplanned event
It has been a good week
Of newness, life lessons and wisdom
Feeling relaxed and content



Saturday, May 12, 2012

Vacant lot closed and a grand opening

5-11-12 Friday night: Success! The vacant lot has been closed. Now let's see if any building will occur. At least now neighbors can breathe a sigh of relief.

5-12-12 Today: I did a story about my friend's grand opening of his new supermarket. This grand opening is a great accomplishment to my friend since he also owns the discount store next door. Walking in, Tee stood smiling and saying, "I was wondering when ya'll were coming!" Both my mom and I said, "We're so happy for you!" as we exchanged hugs and applause. His staff were applauding too. With heavy competition from nearby businesses, Tee has been struggling to keep his discount store afloat. This supermarket will not only help in dealing with competitors, but will offer a convenient supermarket that includes a fish market for all to enjoy. I asked Tee if I could do a story about today's grand opening. He willingly said yes and allowed me to take pictures. This is my first story where I interviewed someone, took pictures, and featured such an event. My amateur reporting skills are increasing. My article on this story can be found on

I am very proud of Tee and wish him nothing but success. When I asked him how he feels about his new supermarket, Tee proudly said, "I am grateful this is finally happening."

Friday, May 11, 2012

Should I be called "Investigator Dara?"

I've been on my own trail of something different in which I've been promoting my writing and doing some investigative work. This is also Teacher's Appreciation Week where we teachers are honored for our hard work and dedication to our students. I'm proud to be a teacher. I'm proud to be a writer. I love to write both creatively and about newsworthy issues. In knowing Greg Mocker from PIX11 news, he has inspired me to write and investigate matters that's happening in NYC, particularly in my neighborhood.

Last week I posted about a vacant lot that's been posing danger in my neighborhood. I've wrote about it on, called NYC311, and shared this with Mocker and another reporter on PIX11. I am happy to report that my concerns have been heard. Not only did Mocker reported about this lot on Wednesday, he got in contact with the lot's owner ( He is now aware of the situation. I witnessed some men, which is believed to be the lot's owners or representatives from the realty company, assessing the trash inside the lot. The lot owner, according to Mocker, said he will have the lot cleaned up. I checked the lot today. It still looks the same. Let's hope the owner keeps his word.
Here's my recent article about this update:

Its been four weeks into the semester and each day I admire my students more and more. They have been working very hard in learning English, and have a positive attitude about it. For homework, I asked them to describe their perfect day. The next day, I had them draw or cut out pictures describing their perfect day. I love art and think it's a great way to express oneself. On a personal note, it helps relieve stress, anxiety, or sadness. I have to admit this assignment not only helped them practice English, it helped cheer up my mood.

I've been seeking volunteer opportunities in social services to gain experience and insight into the social work field. I submitted applications and my resume, but so far no luck. I always thought finding volunteer opportunities would be easier than landing a job. I was wrong. I won't give up. My goal in life is to help people and make a difference. I pray an opportunity presents itself to me soon.

So should I be called "Investigator Dara?" Nah, I think I'll stick to being called "Teacher" and "Writer" for now.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The unwelcomed next door neighbor

There's this vacant lot next to my building. It's been abandoned for over two years and it's an ugly sight. Lately, there have been break-ins, a small fire, and people roaming around inside. The doors have been torn down which leaves room for crime to occur. It's dangerous walking by it. It's also scary knowing this is a hiding spot for anyone to start trouble. I have reported this to NYC 311, reporters on PIX 11 news, and tried to get neighbors to stand with me to get this fixed. To no avail, the lot is still open and no help has arrived. This is one next door neighbor I wish not to have. Something must be done before someone gets hurt.

Here's my story about this problem on

The Empty Bubble

How is it possible
To be surrounded by
Next to, in front of, behind
So many, don’t want to hide
Inside a bubble of circumstances
With a variety of faces
Being the magnet to others
Unable to magnetize
Friendships that build relationships
Try to reach out, left aside
Watch everyone come together
And yet asked “what’s the matter?”