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Friday, May 16, 2014

With Each Step I Get Closer

I believe that the first step one takes forward is closer to getting to where they want to be. It’s not always an easy step, but once it’s done, it’s done. Once that happens, it’s a great feeling of accomplishment. Everything I am currently striving for is a mission to self that I can do what I thought I couldn’t or was told I can’t. Skeptics are everywhere, so are haters. Luckily, I haven’t had to deal with people like that (unless they’re being quiet about it). I don’t care, because this is my journey and everything I work hard towards is for Dara. The goal is to better me so I can better others. We are all on this journey together. I aspire to inspire, and offer hugs when needed.

Monday, May 12, 2014: “Congratulations”

I’ve been accepted to the John D. Fellowship for Public Service! I will be a fellow for the Department of Aging beginning this September. I am honored and feel privileged to be part of such an opportunity. I am so happy I can dance, and eventually I will (hip permitting)! Thanks to the selection panel for selecting me to not only represent one of their city agencies, but the chance to work in emergency management. I look forward to making a difference and helping all of us be prepared for disasters.

First week as a grad student (May 5-9, 2014)

It feels good to be back in school. This time around feels different. Originally, I thought it was because it happened unexpectedly. Another thought was that I am actually pursuing a Master’s degree. Interesting enough, it’s neither of those things. It’s my approach. I am a student, but I’m approaching this as a training experience. I am being trained as a human service professional. In this approach, I feel more relaxed. The work is challenging and it will take a great deal of hard work, but I know I can do it. I like what I’m learning so far and the conversations with fellow classmates (that’s part of our assignments, discussing what we read and sharing our opinions). I like my professor and classmates. I appreciate their insight. So far, I am off to a good start. I’m striving for a high GPA!

Making time for hangout time: getting reacquainted

I have a confession to make. I don’t make time to go out. When I work, I work hard and try to complete every task right then and there. However, this has caused me to burn out, become frustrated, and lonely. I am learning to balance my priorities and have good time management. Sometimes, it’s hard for me to turn off the laptop or cell phone because I’m always writing, researching, or reading something. I promised self and God that when I walk again I will go out more. This is a challenge for me, not going out alone but with people. Sounds odd doesn’t it? I tend to put school, work, and career first, people second. It has worked to some extent. I have three degrees, more training than I can count, and great teaching and learning experiences. That in itself is priceless. What I don’t have is a lot of experience hanging out, mingling with people. I am alone most of the time. I decided I need to include people in the mix. I want to laugh and laughing to self can bring unwanted attention. There are events I’d like to attend, and it would be nice to go with friends. I am learning to get over any insecurities I have, such as, whether or not people can relate to me, would they be interested in what I’m doing or saying, will I bore them etcetera. I’ve gone out recently and enjoyed the experience. One thing that helps me not feel “different,” is focusing on the environment I’m in and the treasures around me. 

Depending on the company, the environment we’re in or the conversation we’re having puts my mind at ease. Laughter is always welcomed. The one thing that has always bothered me is being reminded of how different I am whether it’s culturally, racially, weight-class, or whatever it is. I try to avoid people like that. I really dislike it, because I go out with people to have a good time, not be judged or feel segregated. When that happens, I quickly tune out and leave. I like being in natural environments whether alone or with people, because it’s vast. It is what it is, and I am who I am. I am truly in my comfort zone no matter what’s being said or done by others. I am reacquainting myself with friendships, and learning to be free-spirited with people again. Here’s to the adventure.


The sun is always near. I am still a child of Mother Earth and still learning about this journey called life. I don’t have all the answers, nor do I understand every situation. I just try to maintain, pace self, and do everything out of love. It gets harder as I get older. I try not to let life’s happenings or problems worry me. Sometimes they do. When I don’t know what to do, I just look to the sky and let the sun guide me. Then I take another step forward.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Hello May: Here's to the Adventure

There’s something I’ve been reading and learning lately during my travels. The importance of inspiration. Inspiration is around us all. From the hidden treasures we find or see, to the people we know and meet. We can also inspire those who are in our lives, or be inspired by those we do not know. It’s all part of this journey called life. My goal is to explore, laugh more, and inspire self and others. Welcome to May, a new month of happiness and adventure.

Thursday, May 1: “You are okay”

I went to the doctor to deal with the second health problem I’ve been having. The good news is I am okay. I have a follow-up appointment in three months, but so far everything looks normal. It was a sigh of relief. Afterwards, I went to the park and wrote a reflection piece. I took a picture of it so I can share it here. Shortly, after I wrote it, a flock of birds flew over me and gave me an unwanted gift. Thank goodness for hand sanitizer and a removable hoodie!

Friday, May 2: “She was great”

I went to my interview for the John D. Solomon Fellowship for Public Service at NYC Office of Emergency Management. I was interviewed by three different agencies all looking for a fellow to assist in their emergency preparedness projects. I was nervous at first, but having my mom walk with me to OEM made me feel calm. Not only she wanted to see where their building was, but the walk there was nice. It was a nice morning, sun shining bright, and the pink tree blossoms were beautiful. As we hugged, she wished me luck. Then she looked at me and said, “I am so proud of you. I know you’re going to win them over!” I thanked her. Before she walked away, she said, “You know, you just need to go on and get that doctorate Professor.” Professor is my nickname. I smiled, “Oh mom! I’m already going for the Masters.” She shook her head, “Yeah, and I know you’re going to get that doctorate, I already know. So I can really call you a professor.” As we waved goodbye, I smiled feeling a bit emotional. Even as an adult, I still appreciate having mom walk with me to work or somewhere important. As she insists on me pursuing a doctorate degree (which she has been saying since getting the bachelor’s degree), I feel moved. She believes in me, and has always done so no matter what I applied for or pursued. That means more to me than she may realize. I love her so much.

Having a selfie moment
I met some nice people at OEM, along with the interviewers, and applicants. There was breakfast served in their lounge giving us a chance to mingle. I spoke to everyone, and quickly realized I was the only native New Yorker applying for this fellowship. However, it was impressive meeting a firefighter, and grad students studying a variety of majors. It was also nice meeting some who were also pursuing their degrees online. The interviews felt more conversational than the traditional interview setup. I made some laugh, and spoke of my experience as a teacher and volunteer, particularly in hurricane Sandy relief. I was told I had “an outgoing personality,” and they liked my energy. I did feel happy. I liked everyone I met, and it felt great wearing a suit again. I love the corporate look! After finishing from one of the interviews, I overheard one of the interviewers tell his colleague, “She was great.” I walked out feeling on cloud nine.

I visited the park outside the OEM building taking pictures of the pretty trees, and sun. I reflected on the experience. I posted it on Facebook, “As I walked up the half curved path, I quietly prayed thanking God and my late grandmother for being with me. I smiled noticing the sun peek from behind the clouds. The breeze felt nice. I feel my path is now open for me to walk on. It's been a journey, one I'm grateful to continue.”  Whether I get accepted or not, I am appreciative I got this far. I am walking again, and I am pursuing my dream one step at a time. I’m humble by the blessing.
The weekend: Saturday, May 3

I took the train into Manhattan. This was my second train ride since surgery, but the first into the city. I was excited and happy to be taking the train again without any issues. I visited the West Village, a favorite place to visit since it is so artsy and different. I took pictures, as I always do. I believe there are hidden treasures around, sometimes it could be the most insignificant thing. One of my favorite treasures besides finding old Metrocards (I found plenty), is seeing old signs of the subway. I am fascinated by our subway system (thanks to a friend who inspired me years ago), and its history. When I see old signs, such as the one at the West 4 Street station, it makes me feel I stepped back in time. I love the art of the subway especially the old architecture. I’d love to own a piece of it, if possible. For now, I‘ll take pictures. I met a dear friend whom I always have a nice time with. It felt good just to be hanging out again. I even tried vegan cake and it was super delicious! Who knew?

Sunday, May 4: Exploring Grand Central

As a native New Yorker, there are still so many things I haven’t seen or explored. Grand Central terminal is one of them. I admire its marble architecture and now 100 year history. I encouraged my mom to come with me, and we pretended we were tourists for the day. We visited a stationary store where I got a lot of crafting ideas. Then we headed to the main concourse where the famous clock stands in the middle. We both stood looking up at the beautiful ceiling of carvings and sketches couldn’t take enough pictures! I wanted to visit Grand Central on a weekend since weekdays are very busy. I collected some maps, saw a Metro North train, and watched tourists take pictures of themselves or with family. There were people just hanging around eating, on their cell phones, or sitting on the floor. We had fun taking pictures of different parts of the terminal. I like to take funny pictures (as you can see here), and making mom laugh. Actually, anytime someone hangs out with me is guaranteed to laugh. I like to have fun.

After exploring the terminal and having yummy iced coffee at a bakery, I showed mom the MTA headquarters. I still remember when I attended their board meeting in 2012. I blogged about it here (June 2012). It was a nerve wracking yet cool experience. I hope to attend one again. Then we walked to PIX plaza where my favorite news station is, PIX 11 news. I looked to see if I saw my reporter friend and his colleagues. No one was there, but I’m glad I had a chance to see the building and imagine myself working there. That would be a dream job!

Monday, May 5: First day of class

I am officially a grad student at Concordia University. I started my class today. I feel excited and look forward to studying hard and learning a lot. My first class is MHS 500: History and Foundations of Human Services. The professor is also the director of the human services program. I am impressed. I definitely have my work cut out for me. This month has started off better than anticipated. I feel this is a transitional month for me, and so far I can feel it happening. I feel happier and more attractive. I like the positive attention I am receiving from people I know and complete strangers. I look forward to more happy days ahead.