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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Taking a walk

I like to take a walk. Most times,  I have no set destination. I don't have any special errands to make. I don't even pay much attention to the weather. I pack a bag, put on my comfortable sneakers, and head out. I always put on a favorite song when starting my walk. Depending on my mood, it can be a club beat or a love song. I look to the sky and admire its beauty. If it's raining, I turn down my music to listen to the raindrops. If it's sunny, I let the warmth touch my face for a moment. I love sunny days most. I like when it's breezy, because I can smell the perfume I'm wearing. Each time I go for a walk, I wear a different scent. I love to smell good, it heightens my mood. Sometimes, my walk begins with a bus ride to a specific location, sometimes a train ride. If I'm staying in the neighborhood, I take a stroll. I watch people's movements, facial expressions, or listen to passing conversations. Some of them are interesting, some I wish I hadn't heard. There's a lot of construction in my area so the drilling, broken pavement, and dust is unavoidable. It can be difficult crossing the street with huge trucks blocking the walkway. The men in hardhats usually look aggravated. Once, I was told to try flirting with the guys at a construction site. My shyness and their facial expressions discourages me from doing so.

I like walking down different blocks. There are many streets and avenues in the city. No one block is alike. Each one has something different about it, whether it's the types of houses, stores, or people that resides there. Fall season is the best time to explore, especially tree lined blocks. Seeing the colorful trees along a block is pretty. I enjoy walking through neighborhoods I once lived in, or pass by schools I've attended. It's surreal how quickly time flies. It wasn't too long ago that the playground was gigantic. Today it's so small. The schools still look the same on the outside, but the buildings surrounding them are new. The culture of people have changed drastically too. It's no longer an all Black, Hispanic neighborhood. It's not as "bad" as it was years ago. We still have our problems, but this time we actually have police presence.

I see a lot when walking. I like street art and see lots of it! I also like art that honors history. I like walking through parks and along waterfronts. I even like walking through subway stations. The things found in a subway station can be intriguing. The people are interesting to watch too. Their way of dress varies depending on the station's location. One can learn a lot from reading subway ads or subway art. Artists that share their craft with millions of people riding the trains is admirable. I love free music.

Taking a walk is reflective. I always come back with new perspectives and ideas. It fuels my creatively. I become inspired by what I see. Music plays a major role in this experience. Lyrics, beats, vocals all captivate me. I love passing by a cafe. The smell of fresh coffee is addictive, I don't want to leave it. I like to think about my present, future, and remember my past. Walking gives me strength and makes me happy. It's an adventure.

Grad school acceptance, future social worker

I'm a grad student. (Smiling and taking a deep breath) Today, I was accepted to the University of Southern California (USC) Master's in Social Work program. No, I am not moving to California (maybe I will someday). I am part of their virtual program where I'll be taking the same classes, as on-campus students, just online. It's challenging but something I haven't done before. I spoke to my admissions advisor and was told this MSW program is "highly competitive," and the admissions committee really liked my personal statement. I'm honored and thank USC for accepting me into their program. I shared the good news on Facebook and Twitter and the response was overwhelming! I thank all my friends for their support and for believing in me. It means a lot, especially when beginning a new journey. I was asked from a friend, and social worker, if I was excited. I told him I was but didn't mention I'm also nervous. I'm confident I can do a good job, but nervous by the newness of it all. I'm looking forward  to starting my classes and field placement. I hope where ever I'm placed, I'll gain the necessary skills needed to be a successful social worker. I hope to learn a lot and enjoy the process. My goal is to incorporate this great field with another great field, ESL teaching. There's a strong connection between the two and somehow I will find a way to bring them both together. In doing so, not only will I be doing something I love, but help more people. No matter what happens in this new journey, I will continue to teach. I will always be a teacher.

Promise to self: I will work hard and continue to teach and help people. I will do my best in serving the community and have empathy for all those in need. I will be their advocate, and empower them to be self-sufficient. This is my goal.

I'm proud to say I'm a grad student. I give all praise and gratitude to God, because He made this possible. My dream begins January 2013.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Teachers never stop teaching and learning (creatively)

I am teaching again and this time I'm doing things my way. Beginning October 14th, I will be offering a free ESL conversation class at a local recreational center. Every Sunday afternoon until December 16th, students will have a chance to practice speaking English in a fun, pressure free environment. I already have my classroom, all I need are students. Once I posted this on Facebook, the response has been great. Majority of my former students are interested and say they will attend. I look forward to seeing them again. I've missed them, I miss teaching. My goal is to give back to a community that welcomed me when I first started teaching. It’s my pleasure to do this for them and for my students. No matter what happens in the job market, teachers never stop teaching. I’m proud to be one.

The creative bug has hit me again, this time through video.  I created two videos in an effort to express my missing of PIX 11 (It’s been over a month since PIX has been off TV). A dispute between a cable company and the network has caused PIX11 to be off air. Those of us who are customers of this cable company cannot watch PIX11 on our TVs. It’s frustrating and unfair. PIX11 created a campaign asking fans to upload a video of what they miss about PIX11. I did and emailed my videos to PIX. The response was wonderful and surprising. I didn’t expect anyone to like it, especially the one where I’m “crying.” I’m still laughing at myself. Sometimes my creativity can be humorous! Here are the links to both videos on YouTube:

“I miss PIX11 so much that it makes me cry”:

I truly appreciate the support and viewership! It means a lot.

As for jobs and grad school, I’m still waiting. I’ve been told I should hear back from the grad school I applied to “shortly.” I went on a second interview for a job position I really hope I get. I should hear something from them no later than early October.  I’m anticipating an opportunity that will not only give back to the community, but gain skills in social work. I will keep you posted.

On the writing front, one of my stories was rejected from a publication, as well as from a writing contest. I felt bummed out about it, but with my stubbornness, it makes me want to write more. I haven’t forgotten you, my fans of Transitional Love. It should be completed in a few weeks. I’m still writing for Examiner. I’m being more creative with that by adding video and pictures to my news stories. Of course, I’m always looking for new stories to cover! Have a story to share? Email me at  I’m working on a community blog I created a month ago that needs more activity. So far there are only two posts, one from me and a friend of mine. The blog is called, Together Under the Sun:  If interested, check out the site and submit a post. All are welcomed and you don’t need to be a writer to write.

I love the Fall season. I like the changing of the leaves and the chance to discover something new. Change is good.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Author's note: This is a free-write poem I came up with while sitting by the waterfront. Some minor changes have been made.

I am Me
Simple, uncomplicated Me
Making no apologies
For anyone who refuses to see
Who and what I want to be
The sacrifice, my journey
Seeps through my soul like peppermint tea
Refreshing to know and accept
This unknown that holds a key
To every and anything possible
Unlocking potential to roam free

Stop and surrender


I took a break from writing, job searching, waiting for a response from grad school, people, and me. I stressed myself out trying to do everything at once. It was to such an extent that I gave myself a headache, literally! I cried and got aggravated by this waiting process hoping for something good to happen. I questioned my path and wondered if I will ever reach my dream. Family and financial woes didn’t help the equation either. This was a danger zone for me, and I knew I needed to take a break to sort things out. I stayed home, snacked on some junk food and watched comedies. My favorite comedies are Living Single, Martin and The Steve Harvey Show. There was a marathon of NY Undercover on cable. I could watch that show all day, I love it that much! I listened to music and daydreamed of how I want my life to be when I’m older. I always believed that life becomes adventurous at 40. Why? I feel, at that age, one no longer cares about the little stuff we young people focus on. They’re set in their ways, do what they want when they want, and have fun as they see fit. I like that. I hope when I’m 40, I’m successful in my career, either married or have a boyfriend, have tons of friends, and go out dancing every other weekend. Thinking of that makes me smile. I didn’t go online or turned on my laptop. I kept my phone on vibrate and only answered it if my dad was calling me. I did no reading or researching. I simply stopped everything.


The hardest thing to do is to surrender self. I’m used to having control of things. Lately, this control has become frustrating. The things I’ve been pursuing takes time, some problems cannot be solved, and not everything can be changed by self. I need to surrender. I went to the waterfront and the beach. Both experiences felt great. I listened to music from my walkman (yes I still own one!), music I haven’t heard in a long time. I wrote in my notebook and drank water. Watching the sun and clouds interact in the sky was beautiful. I took many pictures. The breeze from the water felt great. I wrote another to-do list, a simple one focusing on things I can do now, as opposed to the future. I daydreamed watching different kinds of boats passing by. At the beach, I watched how people were playing in the water. Some were like me sitting near the shoreline. I had no chair or towel; I just sat on God’s earth and stared into the horizon. As music played in my ears, I allowed my feet to feel the sand and drank coffee. Eventually, I stepped into the water watching my jeans get wet with each crashing wave. I didn’t care. I made footprints in the sand writing “On the trail,” and took a picture of it. I laughed to myself doing this, because it’s been years since I’ve done that.  I saw a woman nearby sitting against the huge rocks. I think she was praying. Like me, she got her pants wet too and I saw her smile. Maybe she was also reflecting.

Later, I walked to the pier and observed the elders fishing or sitting alongside their fishing equipment. They looked contented. For a moment, I envied them, because I feel I should be contented too. I found an empty spot and began talking to God. As I prayed, the sky opened up in a way that was beautiful. I felt like God was standing right next to me. I didn’t feel sad anymore, but comfortable. Watching the water’s current was relaxing, and the sun felt good. I recited the serenity prayer which reads: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” I absolutely love this prayer and believe in its words. I know I have to let go and let God, because He is in control not me. I cannot isolate myself from the world anymore, because that doesn’t solve anything. Lastly, I can’t let my pride dictate what I want to become. I need to trust my instincts and learn to trust people again. Not everyone is out to hurt me. I posted a picture on Facebook of me on the beach with the caption “Hello.” I received a lot of “hellos.” I know my friends missed me, I missed them too.