Ebb and Flow

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I’m soon to hit a year mark up here in Big D – and my how time flies! Remember when classes used to creep along and at some point you NEVER thought the semester would end? That endless summer break felt like it was eons away.

Well, the time ran out on those hot summer afternoons and rowdy evenings to follow in my beloved city. My days are now spent in an office with some pursuit of happiness as the goal. Making the transition to the working world over the last few months has really put things into perspective – I knew little to nothing about the world around me.

Life comes at you, FAST. As an example: I wanted to blog my way through the new city in which I now reside. And how many times did I actually follow through with it? Oy Vey, now that’s a bit embarrassing. Getting up early, busting my butt at work and working many evenings as well, I see where your day-to-day responsibilities make things complicated. I’ve heard that excuse so many times and I’m only 22 – life got in the way of living my life. I spoke with a woman last week about how she’s 40+ and has still not traveled where she dreamed of going since she was a child. ‘Life got in the way,’ she claimed.

That would probably be one of my biggest fears in life. Getting so caught up with the present life and what’s the next step, you forget to take in the beauty of the world around you.

I think a true secret to happiness is just to soak in the environment around you. So what, you may not have racked up the vacation hours to book a trip. Take a trip right in your city! Absorb and take advantage of your current surroundings, or as Dave Matthews so poetically wrote, take “the best of what’s around.”

The next time you’re on a run, stop. Take a deep breath. Is it sunny outside? Can you see the stars from the city? What flowers are in bloom and what do they smell like? Soak in the world around you, let “the best of what’s around” get in the way and let it stay.

This is no overnight, triumphant change. It take practice to make progress. I still have a hard time, but it really does start to make a difference. I also try to not stay so strict to a routine. Yes, I still have a full-time job and work, but I like to switch up and not keep to a schedule. I switch up my lunch and workout times just for the hell of it. I feel more freedom that way. Breaking the mold of routine helps me steer clear of that tunnel vision state of mind and really makes me appreciate all my blessings!

So next time when you feel so caught up in the moment, remember it’s the little things. Remember to breathe, feel and try to understand the world around you. Whether we ever truly understand it or not, it’s a beautiful, sick and complicated world out there. If we’re not learning, we’re not growing. If we’re not growing, we’re dying. Live it up and soak it in!

Little Texas Ex in the Big D. Part One of… Many?

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Here’s a big “Howdy” from up here in the one and only place where big hair is not only acceptable, but strongly encouraged (enter teasing comb into my hair accessory drawer here).

I’ve taken one serious hiatus since my last post. I am not going to lie, senior year happened to get the best of me. The whole FOMO = Fear Of Missing Out (just picked up the only acronym I’ll ever use in here) kicked in right as winter break began back at the end of December. So I indulged in all things Austin, and all thing typically collegiate. I felt as if my college career ending was a ticking time bomb for the equivalent of the world coming to an end. And it really was until the Monday after graduation when I finally landed a legitimate interview for a j-o-b. Then within a week and a half, I landed my happy Longhorn graduate-ass in the middle of Uptown in Dallas, Texas.

Let’s get real here. Everyone, especially in Texas, has their preconceived notions about every other city in which they’ve never resided in for some period of time.
Waco is full of crazies and Branch Dividions, am I right?
Austin is full of tattooed hippies and people that don’t know how to do anything but party? Afterall, my past residence was the only city in which THC was actually detected in the air. Take that, Boulder, Colorado!
Houstonians hate Dallasites and vice versa.

So yeah, Dallas. What did I think about Dallas? Well, until about a month ago, not many positive thoughts ran through my head still living in Austin, settling to work at a rowing dock for the summer to prolong the inevitable disease us college graduates call adulthood. Sounds like a typical Austinite.

My current employer offered me a job. I immediately burst into tears after the phone call concluded. Those tears were not those of joy, but of absolute fear and insecurity that I might potentially be ripped from “my city” at that very moment.

Well, I was. That phone call closed a chapter in my life that I felt I wasn’t ready for in the slightest. Then within less than two weeks I was sleeping on my Austinite-red couch in the middle of Big D, resting up for a job, that (oh my g-d), wasn’t a reporting job. Blasphemy is the word that popped in my head as my broadcast professor Kate Dawson ever so famously said the first day in my major’s sequence, “well, half of y’all will cop out and do PR or something anyway.”

I “copped” out. I’m a social media junkie that sits at my own cubicle all day, everyday. But I share company with the most challenging but encouraging environment with the my badass group of colleagues I could have asked for. I am ENAMORED with my job, my co-workers, and my new city. Change isn’t poison. Change is medicine. Change is the remedy for that itch that you’ve been dying to scratch, and scratch I did. Hard.

Dallas, you better bring it. Cause I’m ready to tear this place up, big-ish hair and all.

scotchy, scotch, scotch in my belly

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Lights. Camera. Action! Yesterday was my turn to anchor for my class news show called Texas Newswatch. Not gonna lie, playing the role of Ron Burgundy (minus the mustache and lack of hard liquor on our set), was pretty exciting!

I’m not usually into being in the spotlight, well not in this type of scenario (kidding), but anchoring really opened my eyes to what potential I may have for the future. It is a bit awkward and funny seeing yourself on camera though! I just love everything about putting together a news show, but I have a feeling I’m going to go into producing. I think it’s more of a control thing. Yup, little bit of a control freak, but at least I admit to it! Who doesn’t like control every once in a while (or all the time for me), right?

Well, now I’ll let you decide. Below is the link to last night’s show. Let me know what you think. Thanks for dropping in again and have a wonderful weekend. Let’s hope we have a better weekend in football, right? Who knows. My next rant will probably involve sports cause I have a feeling we are going to get our asses handed to us on Saturday at DKR. And of course, I wouldn’t miss a slaughtering such as this for the world. Wonderful for senior year, huh?

Enjoy!

oh and ps- if you haven’t seen anchorman, you’re not American. Baxter told me so. Do it. NOW!

blast from the past

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bonjour again. this one will be short and sweet, promise! just had an interesting few days and thought I would touch on the topic of revisiting old confrontations.

On a campus of over 50,000 students, one would think to assume that you could successfully avoid people that you particularly wouldn’t want to see when you’re stressed to the max, running on little sleep and looking like a hot mess (to say the least). Of course, that’s when the people of your past creep up, revisit you and shake your world up entirely that day.

That happened to me earlier this week. Indeed, it is always awkward when things go awry in your friendship and relationship and it makes it particularly uncomfortable when you end up having to share the same space with them for some amount of time.

What are they doing here? Why are they in my space interrupting my daily routine? Should I keep pretending I’m doing work on my computer or acknowledge their presence?

I think the main purpose of these people revisiting you later in your life and pestering you to no end is a way of some greater power testing your social capacity. How are you going to react to a particularly uncomfortable situation?

There’s always certain ways to go about doing something. There are multiple paths to choose in life and there’s a always a right and wrong way to go about a situation. It’s so easy to ignore the person and continue to move on with you life. That’s your pride talking. You think that because this certain person hurt or wronged you, they deserve none of your time. Sure, I’ve certainly done that before. Who hasn’t?

Here’s the true test. Can you swallow your pride and put everything behind you for about 5 minutes in order to cordially get through a conversation with the other person? Sure, gritting your teeth may be involved, alongside with sweaty palms and that nervous tapping foot you may start to twitch on the lower half of your body. Lord knows we’ve been on both sides of this spectrum.

So, I did it. I chewed up and downed my pride in order to do the right thing. I talked to someone who was once apart of my life that wronged me, and doing my usual thing by acting happy, interested, and optimistic about life, in turn shell shocked this person.

It was a pretty satisfying feeling, not gonna lie. The fact that this person was completely dumbfounded by my sincerity left me on this high that pumped me through the rest of the day without ANY caffeine. Unreal, right?

So, the right path is usually the most difficult one, but in turn it can become the most rewarding. Don’t expect pots of golden rainbows and those red balloons to float down from the sky, but it’s more of an internal satisfaction. And feeding off of a feeling like that can really take you places. Come on, try it! I dare you.

Happy Thursday! Besos πŸ™‚

inVINCEable

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Hello stranger! Or, I guess that would be me, wouldn’t it? My bad. I’ll flatter you, blog, and make you feel special by giving you more attention from now on.

Life has been moving in the fast lane lately, but even that cliche-ed statement doesn’t even do it justice. Honestly, I like being busy. Having a set schedule and a routine planned out throughout the week makes me feel like I really accomplished something. I love the routine of working out, especially now since the weather is so incredible, it really has motivated me to run everywhere. My neighborhood is perfect for it. I even have a trail right in my own back yard. I share it with the residents at the Austin State Hospital. They get play time around the middle of the afternoon, right in the middle of my run. Everyone needs some outdoors time, right? Oh, and if anyone is every interested in jogging with me, let me know! (now that I’ve probably scared you off)

I guess instead of focusing on some certain theme for this blog I’ll just update you and fill you in as to why I have been so incredibly busy lately. I hate it when blogs are filled with life updates, but there’s some events I’m pretty proud of that are going on right now. Can’t help myself sometimes.

1. My China maymester application was due Monday and yes, I think I rocked it. I know I can write, and my best work has always come out of when I’m under the gun. If that doesn’t say aspiring journalist to you, you might be hard of hearing and you might want to clean those ears of yours out. I’d be devastated if I didn’t get onto this trip, but I’m not thinking like that. I should find out in the next few weeks and of course, I’ll keep you posted!

2. Production class is kicking my ass, but in a good way. Like I said above, being busy is essential for my happiness, and man I feel like I haven’t had any breathing room in production. It’s sick but I love it. Our class is really starting to pick up and our past few shows have been a really great success. The best part is that everyone in our class plays a different, yet vital role in making these shows flow smoothly. It’s incredible to see people exude their strengths even under such immense pressure. I cannot wait to produce again, but until the last show I’ll settle as an anchor. Here’s the link to our shows if you have some time to waste:


Texas Newswatch 2010

And here’s the piece that I am most proud of. It’s about football injuries. Check it out! (my natural sound went out, so if there’s a shot silent pause, there’s supposed to be background noise of football practice. Technology just likes to give me a hard time)


Football Injuries Story

3. I just booked all my flights for my trip to Israel! We head out from New York on January 2, so I figured I could catch an early flight to NY and stay there for New Years. Going to be wild and absolutely freezing. I am getting cold chills, goosebumps and the works just thinking about it. I honestly don’t think I have anything in my closet that would come close to keeping me warm. I never intended on going up north during the winter with good reason. What am I thinking about wanting to possibly move up north/ Boston after graduation? Am I out of my mind!? Meh, it’s a possibility. I cannot wait for Israel. Actually, it still hasn’t hit me yet that I’m going to go visit a place that has been THE topic of discussion on and off my ENTIRE life. Arielle says it’s going to change my life. I hope she’s right!

4. For those interested, my elbow has had a pretty sluggish recovery, but I think it’s finally getting back to normal (just a lot of icing after climbing does the trick). I am now in the process of learning to lead climb. It’s such an incredible feeling! It’s where you clip into the wall on your way up to the top of the route. Imagine if you want to set up a top rope outside, well someone’s gotta up up there and literally “lead” the rope to the top. Well, now I guess that’s going to be me! I still haven’t taken my first big fall on lead, but I know it’s coming. It’s only a matter of time. I think the hardest part about leading is trying to jump over the mental hurdles that are preventing you from getting to the next hold. I am scared out of my mind up there for the time being, so my mind is saying I can’t go on while my body is pumped and still has a lot to literally grunt out in order to get to the top. Climbers grunt a lot. I told myself I wouldn’t be one of those, but once again, I was proven wrong. Weird, huh? It helps you push through more than you’d ever realize!

5. FINALLY. Two letters: VY. The man who needs no introduction but I’ll give him one anyway. He’s a UT legend who literally carried the Longhorns to win the national championship in 2005 with the winning touchdown play against USC (don’t you miss us actually having an entertaining team to watch?) and now is quarterback for the Tennessee Titans. Yes, the man was in Austin this weekend. He came back during his bye week for the premiere of his own steakhouse, the Vince Young Steakhouse, which is located in the old Real World house on 3rd and San Jacinto. My classmate and buddy of mine Foram is doing her next story for our class on the steakhouse and know what a sports nut I was and asked me to tag along. You don’t have to tell me twice to jump on an opportunity like this! I have been looking forward to it pretty much all week.

So we get there and it’s a little sneak peak for just the media. Foram and I were there competing for the best spot in the house so we could get shorts of Laura, on of the co-owners, the executive chef, oh, and this guy named Vince who also owns the restaurant. We started off here, which is so very Austin, Texas. This is the entrance to the restaurant:

He had a custom longhorn that’s entirely made of coins and it’s positioned in the front corner of the steakhouse. Behind it is an infamous photo, confetti rains of Vince as he throw up a “1” hand symbol and looks up at the sky after winning the national championship in 2005. Epic to say the least.

Maybe if you’re not the biggest Longhorn fan, this steakhouse may not be the place for you. Go to Eddie V’s or Perry’s or something. They’re fine dining establishments, but if burnt orange makes you nauseous, “steer” clear. This place bleeds burnt orange, but in a tasteful way. It is fine dining, so don’t expect you can show up in casual dress (unless you’re coming back from a game of course, then burnt orange is always appropriate).

Ok, to the good stuff. After getting a tour of the restaurant, we had a Q&A with the owners and the man himself. I was struggling to get my rinky-dinky little hand mic in with all these big time News 8 and KXAN pro mics and big cameras, but I think we pulled it off well. I even asked a question to him! I asked, “Vince, what about this project are you most proud of?” Loved his answer. He ranted about how lucky he was that he was 27 and doing all of these great things so early in life. He attributed so much of his success to his start at UT, his team and family for support, and even threw in the city of Austin and how supportive we are of him (well, with good reason!) That was by far the best answer he gave throughout the Q&A. I was so freaking proud!

We also got a one on one interview with him which was incredible. He is such a humble, intelligent and sincere individual. I’d heard great things about him before, but to see it all in action really put everything into perspective for me. He will never forget his roots here in Austin, and he wanted to bring this to us, for us. Who couldn’t benefit from another great steakhouse here anyway?

Foram asked him what his advice would be for the Longhorns today and compare it to his experience while being on the team. He said he was poised, that’s what kept him focused on this task ahead. If you throw an interception, move on, don’t dwell on it, and concentrate on completing the next play. Don’t look back. Keep your head high. He said we can pull out of this. Do you agree?

I think even if the horns don’t pull out of this season like we all wished, those same tokens of advice can be applicable to everyday life, he also said that as well. His practices in football has definitely influenced how he conducts his daily life. He does everything with poise. I try to do the same (see, we have so much in common!)

Also HAD to get a picture wit him. Couldn’t help myself!

And for those who love food like I do, I really think you should give this place a try. They even have wine bottles for sale that have his signature on them! Start saving now, cause I know those have got to be pricey. Here’s a preview of what they have on the menu:

the steak, of course, and below are the sides served family-style. (sweet potato mashers were my favorite!)

All right, I’m sure you’re over reading this blog by now, so I’ll let you go. Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you again soon, promise!

oh, and HOOK ‘EM HORNS!

espNOT

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Today had a similar feel to a marathon. Better yet, picture someone with multiple casts on, with crutches, trying to run the New York marathon. In the freezing rain. That’s more like it.

I think Thursdays are going to feel this way until the end of the semester. Today, we just taped our first news show in my producing class called Texas Newswatch. Interestingly enough, I ended up producing the mock show, which never really made it to air. So really, today’s show was show two in my opinion. My classmates said I was a natural at producing. I was assertive but in a very encouraging way. I kept my group motivated, and even when everything in the world seemed to go wrong with our show, I kept a positive energy and an optimistic outlook that kept the show running until the end (even if I felt like my hair was going to fall out in the process). Even with those emotions running strong, the blood pumping quickly and the adrenaline causing me to sweat (well, that’s not abnormal for me), everyone thought that I remained cool, calm and collected. Can I have a medal now!?

I was pretty proud of such great compliments my team gave me a week ago today. I did feel incredibly comfortable as a producer. I am usually really proud of my work as a reporter, but this came so much more naturally to me. I feel like I may have found my calling last week in the control room (stress and all! I think I am one of those who definitely works better under pressure).

Unfortunately, I wish I could have said the same thing for my producers today. And let me tell you, my girls and fellow classmates Diane and Sobia had it rough today. We all did actually, because this team effort of our was an embarrassment (and that’s being nice). Everything, no let me repeat, EVERYTHING seemed to go wrong today, and it seemed to cause a domino effect because everyone seemed to be so stuck on the past mistakes instead of making sure they don’t happen in the rest of the show. Producing a news show, as I have quickly learned, is an incredibly intricate process, that if one person slips through the cracks and doesn’t perform, the entire show can train wreck in no time. And the worst part is, the producers are usually the ones blamed for the pitfalls (which in our case, were endless today). I hate that. It’s like blaming Garrett Gilbert for losing the OU game this year. Nothing bothers me more when angry fans resort to such slander when they’re upset. Yes, mistakes were made by Gilbert, but what about his running team or our offensive coordinator Greg Davis making let’s just say “interesting” calls that game? I cannot tell you how many times I heard fans behind me cussing Gilbert out from the stands. Come on, overly intoxicated frat guy, if you think you can do any better and can lead the Horns to a W, SUIT UP OR SHUT UP.

Haha ok, my last tangent for this post. But yes, football and producing a news show do have that similar thread running through them, it’s all a collaborative effort.

So anyway, after three valiant attempts to not completely ruin our chances of ever making it into the broadcast world, we wrap up our show at exactly 5 p.m. We didn’t even get a run through, which should have started at 3 (we didn’t get on camera til 4). So my school day ends with my most patient professor and pretty much head director of our show saying that it was the worst show she’s ever helped produce at UT. Ouch.

“Producers, we have a lot to talk about on Tuesday. Now, go home.”

End of a terrible day, or so I thought. Couldn’t get too much scrutiny for being a weather reporter, right? I wasn’t even graded for that today, I just wanted the extra practice. Wrong again!

So I had been dying to go to this ESPN info session because it’s pretty much been my dream my entire life that I have wanted to work for them. That has to perk me right up and end this chaotic day on a high note. Until most recently, I have wanted to be an on field reporter. I have had countless dreams where I was the next Erin Andrews covering College Gameday or Pam Oliver at Jerry world covering the big Cowboys game. I have projected myself there, and I thought this info session could be my first step in that journey to the top. But then I discovered producing, and at that point I also discovered a passion and a skill I never thought existed previously.

I think I started drooling at the time when they played the first intro video, of course geared toward THE University of Texas at Austin. Chills? Yeah, I got them. And for the next hour and a half I was grinning for ear to ear thinking about how great life would be up in Connecticut (I don’t even like the cold, at all). Just to be on the ESPN campus almost brings me to tears from all the excitement built up inside. I even kept the grin on strong when they discussed about the crazy hours and even Thanksgiving away from home and family. I. do. not. care. I want to be there more than anything.

Then I had the opportunity to meet one of the head studio producers, Stephanie (who is also a Longhorn alum!). I darted up out of my seat to make sure I was first in line to meet her. She said she was from Houston originally, I asked her a little about what internship she had in college and that I was worried mine would not be sufficient for ESPN. She eased my anxiety a little bit for the time being. We also talked about living in Bristol, and she described how peaceful it was. Sounds great to me. We also talked about how she was in New York every weekend for a long time and I told her I recently went there for the first time and how I felt I needed to decompress when I left. She agreed.

Conversation was going well for small talk, then she asked if I really was interested in producing. I told her I really was, and that I was currently in the producing class at UT and how I semi-successfully produced my first show last week.

“Oh, so were in the show I watched this afternoon?”

Choke. Crash. Burn. Die. Jobless. Homeless. ESPN-less. Yeah. You’re looking at her! I replied with how embarrassed I was and said how much we have to work on in order to get the show running smoothly. She said, “yeah, I saw that.”
I thought that was pretty much my cue out of there, considering there were about 20 other people behind me that were eager to meet this VIP as well. So I thanked her so much for her time and I asked if she had a business card. She said she’s technically not allowed to give that info out, but she gave her info to my professor so I could get it from her.

Have I completely ruined my first impression of myself to this woman? Probably so. Although those are hard to change (so I’ve learned in my many comm classes I’ve taken in my 3 years at UT), they aren’t always permanent. I have every intention of contacting this woman by any means necessary and picking her brain so I can eventually get where she is today, looking at all of us and seeing us trying pillage each other in order to get 5 minutes alone with her, like the competitive and primitive-like creatures we really are. She laughs, and one day I will laugh hysterically at all of us too. Hopefully one day, I can also look back on this day and laugh at how incredibly dramatic I was. Until then, I blog about it so you all can enjoy a good laugh too in the meantime.

Here’s a taste of what I do in class, for those of you who aren’t incredibly familiar. Go ahead, click the link! And if you finish this video without craving something sweet and delicious, well, you just won’t. And by the way, I hate chocolate and don’t eat bacon. Oh, the sacrifices I make for broadcasting! Cheers!

just. breathe.

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Breathe. People really don’t understand how important it is to always try to stay in control of your breath. Or maybe it’s just a sense of being aware of your breath. The feeling of control and the motion of air escaping in and out of your body puts life a slower pace the stresses of the outside world halt from eating away at you for just a moment. I learned a lot of these ideas in yoga. Never thought I’d say I liked yoga, but it’s not an easy workout, super sweaty and almost to a disgusting point (maybe that’s just me and my own perspiration problems), and it’s therapeutic, more than I ever thought possible. The consciousness of our breath keeps us in sync with what our body is feeling and what it really needs. Well, on days like today, I honestly forget to do so.

At some point in our busy lives, things begin to pile up on each other. Whether it be a deadline for a project, appointments, interviews, you daily thought process, hell! Just the day in the life of a graduating senior, all these obligations and hectic schedules cause us to escape away from the serenity of the breath of life and send us out for a ride on the crazy train, as I like to call it.

Like today. I’m already frustrated because within only a few months of climbing, to no one’s surprise if you really know me, I hurt myself. Shocking! I stressed out the tendons in my elbow (random? yeah, I thought so too) and it continuously shoots pain in my joints to my wrists. Takes talent to injure yourself as many times as I have in my short 21 years on this planet. I think the fact that I know I can’t relieve my own stresses through climbing is getting to me. To me, it’s like going on a nice long run until you feel that your lungs are going to collapse, but better. Except now my running legs aren’t working. Especially when you’ve a mentally draining day like today. No time to breathe here.

All right. Tangent over. So, among my many appointments to schedule interviews for my first story due tomorrow, along with the applications for the China program lingering in the back of my head and so on, I had a tight schedule for the day. Never smart, and I know it’s all self-induced stress, but sometimes I get a sick thrill from working under pressure. True journalist-in-training? It sure feels like it, but maybe along with future job contracts I should write in that I need an oxygen tank in case of emergencies. Could be beneficial!

Then my baby turned hell on wheels dies on me. Not the battery, but the entire system in the car goes down. Flipping out at two AAA guys (poor them for being in my path), and trying not to completely freak out because I might miss most of my interviews for the afternoon (yeah, no breathing here either). Seriously, it’s just a piece of machinery, and somehow in my tunnel-vision mode, I couldn’t understand that. Losing sight of breath again for another countless time today.

We have so much on this Earth to be thankful for. For every negative thing that has happened over the past year, I could probably think of an exponential amount of positive things that completely trump the number of negatives. So why do we as humans tend to dwell on such minute occurrences of negativity? It almost sickens me to think about it, because we all fall victim to dramatizing something in our own worlds that could literally tear us apart and make us go temporarily insane. Yes, it happened to me and I know it has happened to you at some point as well. I wish this strange imbalance could somehow be magically changed over night. It’s not that easy.

I think it comes back to your breath. And with that breath and like I said before, just movement of your belly rising and falling, puts everything into perspective. I think it’s lucky that this breath of ours exists at all. Looking back, all the past problems that at one point I thought were going to be life changing, have become so trivial. I have my health (minus the elbow, which WILL get better soon πŸ™‚ ), my intelligence (sometimes), my family, my true friends, and I still have so much left to experience in this world. And that’s just the beginning. So yes, I may have cried about my stress earlier today, which I am incredibly embarrassed to admit, but now I am completely content with the world at this current moment and I’m back to my breath. Now the tricky part is sticking with it.

oh, and cooking is also a great stress reliever for those of you that are master chefs-in-training, like me! Look at how domestic I am:

chopped salmon patties mixed with chopped parsley, garlic and dill. plus, a roasted acorn squash sprinkled with ground cinnamon on top!

see you soon πŸ™‚

en limbo?

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Well, my last course schedule gets published tomorrow afternoon. Excited? Eh, I could think of some better words to describe my emotions at this time. Anxious? Psh, what senior in college isn’t anxious at this point? Relieved, perhaps. But I came across something very interesting during one of my last trips to my academic adviser in the comm school.

I’ve had this aching desire to travel to an Asian country recently. First off, I love Asian children. Wait, I take that back, I love all children and I miss them the most out of anything in college. They never seem to hang around, and that’s probably for their own good. So I have tossed around the idea of possibly getting my English teaching certification and go teach English abroad for a year or so. I could fulfill my need to be with children, do my mitzvahs for others, while also making a little bit of dough so I can get this itching travel bug out of me before the real world really starts knocking at my back door. Maybe it’s also an attempt to prolong my youth just a bit longer. Because, after all, my finance professor did say that we most likely will be employed for the next 50 or so years of our life. Oh, and we need to start a retirement fund and college fund for my unborn children as soon as possible. THIS. ALL. CAN. WAIT.

But then I pick up this Maymester in China brochure, and for the first time in a few weeks, my head clears of all irrational and absurd ideas about the future. I focus on China, which was once a Communist-driven mad house and has turned into a strong democratic unit and an economic gladiator and is currently kicking our economy’s ass. Kudos to them! Could I really have an opportunity learn about the history of one of the most skewed outlets of news media in history, fill my last journalism requirement and still graduate on time? duh. How did I not find this program sooner!?

My mom, of course in true Janis fashion, was not thrilled about the idea. She may or may not have hung up on me. I found that to be quite entertaining because I can pretty much count to the second as to when she’ll call me back after an incident such as this. And then she said something completely unexpected. It’s hard for her to empathize with my sudden interest in studying abroad in China, but she understands that an opportunity such as this is rare and it can give me a new perspective into the world of journalism, domestically and internationally.

So now comes the tricky part, the application process and somehow trying to raise some funds so my mother won’t completely be out-of-pocket. I couldn’t burden her with all of these expenses especially if is she’s not completely gung-ho for the idea in the first place. I also think that being awarded scholarships will show her how strong my interest in the program really is. So I’m doing it and I’m doing it on my own! I think it will also make the trip that much more worthwhile knowing that it’s something I earned myself.

Application deadline is November 1st, so I still have a bit of time to get my life together and throw together something amazing to convince these authoritative figures how badly I need to go on this trip. And rest assured, I’ll keep you posted every step of the way!

PS- Imagine me posing for a peace sign photo with children like these. Here’s to hoping, and wish me luck!

surprising rediscoveries

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hey you. I always think of ideas for my next blog entry, but when it comes down to opening up a new post I blank. Maybe I need to start carrying a notepad around or make better use of my iphone for such things, but until then, I’ll just wing it.

I had a feeling one of my first posts would have something to do with what I’m about to divulge into and probably bore most of you with, but I’m doing it anyway. To wrap up the past few months in the most positive way possible, would be for me to say it was a time of growth and self discovery. I felt that most of my junior year of college changed me in ways I could have never imagined. And now, looking back, it disgusts me. I lost every sense of who I was for people who I thought meant something to me. I thought these people who miraculously came into my life were going to better me as an individual, a lover and a best friend. And boy was I wrong.

It’s sad when people saw the unhealthy indications of relationships that were meant for disaster and failure, yet I failed to ever notice these red flags on my own. And the funny thing is even when people indicated to me that something didn’t seem right about my current endeavors, I always thought they were crazy! Cracks me up. The gleam of something new, exciting, different and completely out of the box blinded me to the reality of the situation and it gave people endless opportunities to manipulate the hell out of me. I believed that all these changes were great for me and that endless opportunities were ahead now that I had branched out to a new group of people. Still unnerves me that I was ever so susceptible to such pressure (especially now since I’m taking a class that’s ironically called theories of persuasion. Too many instances pop into my head that now just make me laugh at how obvious these tricks really are). And by the time I realized what was going on, I was in a pretty deep state of perpetual sadness and loneliness. What’s even more depressing was that I had given up everything for these people who were so important to me at the time. I’d given up all my love and passion for what makes me truly happy in order to make time to make these other people happy. In turn, it made me feel empty, meaningless and insignificant.

It took a change of location, a place all my own and living alone in order for me to figure out many different things. Living on my own, all by myself? The thought never occurred to me that it could actually happen. And in a whirlwind of a second, there I was. I was petrified. I felt like I was in such a fragile state with such devastating losses in my life that it would be nearly impossible for me to live happily alone. That opinion changed to quickly because I was able to spend as much time as I wanted with just me, and I was long overdue with a re-aquaintance with myself, if you will.

Overall, it’s been a pretty sluggish process in order for me to put my life back to where it was. Actually, I take that back, I can never go back to who I was. ClichΓ© as it sounds, your relationships you make in your life, whether good or bad, shape you. Every bond, fight, breakup and falling out changes you for better or worse. So I take these experiences to heart, learn from them and now I have made myself very sure that I will never let something like this ever happen again. Now I am really beginning to understand why learning history is so important: so that we don’t make those idiotic mistakes ever again! I’m in the process of rebuilding from rubble of my former self and it hasn’t been easy. But I’m not gonna lie, I’ve had a blast on this journey of rediscovery. I have come back in touch with who I think I am at this time in my life, and I have figured out what makes me the happiest. I’ve gone a little overkill on those activities for now, but why not!?

Like my current obsession: rock climbing. Yes, this once sheltered little girl, who wasn’t only encouraged but forced to be a barbie-playing, inside-dwelling, fru-fru queen is actually tearing my once manicured hands up with cuts and callused fingers to climb rocks. And I don’t think I’ve ever felt as happy as I have since I started in the middle of July. It’s difficult to put into words how this sport makes me feel, other than alive. I feel everything. I feel challenged every time I put my hands on a jug or a hold, sometimes slipping and falling hard on the ground. But other times I catch on and continue on my route to the end, and that keeps me coming back for more. It truly has become an addiction, but hey, there could be worse addictions in life, right? I’m sore all the time but it’s a soreness that has is accompanied by a great sense of accomplishment. I have never felt this in shape before in my life. But I think the most surprising thing I’ve experienced with this sport comes back to people. This community of Austin climbers is really something special. I’ve never met a group of more passionate and fun-loving people in my entire life. They seem like a family and it’s so admirable to witness and hopefully one day I’ll be a part of it. It’s amazing to see how they support each other while still pushing one another to do their best while still having a freakin’ ball. That energy is contagious, and I think climbing has blended more from just a sport into sort of a sporty social event. It’s hard to pull myself away from climbing. I find myself in class daydreaming about my most challenging problem in the gym and how I can position a certain hand or foot differently in order to reach the top instead of the actual finance problem my teach won’t stop yapping about.

Well, this has been quite the tangent of a post, but the best way I feel I can wrap it up is that people always have and most likely will continue to surprise you. You think you know someone inside and out and love them for letting you break that seal of trust into a very vulnerable and unsafe place. You love them unconditionally for that and for the ability for you to completely confide in that individual. Man or woman, best friend or significant other, you think you find your soul-mate. And then the wind changes and it feels like the rug is pulled underneath you and somehow that friendship loses it’s sparkle and actually quite the opposite, the sparkle fizzles and dies right before your eyes. I guess that’s just life. People come into your life as quickly, if not more quickly than they disappear. But with every misfortune you experience when you lose someone special in your life, somehow the clock continues to tick and life really does go on. Shocker, huh? You learn you can and are a good person with or, like in my case, without those people. You learn to rediscover yourself in some new and exciting way, and through ways like climbing, can make you feel like yourself again. I do feel like myself again, finally. Except there’s a difference, I feel better than I was once before. And the best part is that it finally feels right. I think I’m getting closer to where I want to be in life and how I want to portray myself to the rest of the world.

Although I don’t see the complete discovery of myself miraculously coming to me anytime soon, I compare that journey to a really long problem on the rock wall. We as people take a lot of missteps, slips and falls in that journey to the top. But grabbing onto a new hold or new position is the thrill of it all. And one day when I’m old and wrinkly and at the top of my route, I can’t wait to take a look down and see how much I accomplished in my life that I never thought was possible. I can’t wait for that feeling of satisfaction, but it can definitely wait for now.

So I’ll leave you with a few photos. If you feel stuck on a task that seems impossible to accomplish, check this out and I think it can give you a little push along the way so you can reach your goal. Oh, and it will give you a good laugh too. If only it was as easy as it looks in these photos πŸ™‚ Besos!

Hello world! Unfortunate accounts of Keeping Austin Weird.

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Wow. First time on WordPress. Pretty exciting feeling, minus the immense sense of confusion from the process of setting all of this up. Other than that, very happy to be here and call this my virtual home away from home.

This week in Austin has been nothing short of exciting, but most definitely not in a good way. I woke up Tuesday morning with my alarms buzzing right by my ear as it always does. Being a heavy sleeper has it’s major advantages and disadvantages, one being I used to never hear my alarm freshman year which caused me to be the obvious one who just rolled out of bed, running in ten minutes late to class looking like a hot mess and probably forgetting something to write with. Who knew you’d need a pencil, right?

Well, I slammed the snooze button at 8 like I do most every morning. I told myself I’d get up at 8:30 to make it to class by 9:30. No biggie. Except at 8:24, I get a phone call from my friend Stephanie. She’s hysterical and screaming at me to not go on campus. There’s a shooter. A WHAT!? Pulling my groggy self together, I immediately panic.

“Where are you!? Are you OK,” I asked.
“I’m at work, I have to go,” screamed Stephanie, not giving me a sign as to what was going on and if she was injured or not.
“Dude, just tell me if you’re all right! What is going on,” I repeated.
Click.

Tears immediately start rolling down my face and I begin to lose my breath. My home had been violated in the worst way possible. My second home, where I probably spend more time than I do in my own apartment, has been ransacked in the most unthinkable manner and may have hurt my family in Austin!?

As I hung up with Stephanie, the emergency sirens start permeating the air. I live almost 20 blocks away and have never heard them before from my place. This was serious.

Then, Stephanie’s roommates called me to come over immediately so that I wouldn’t have to be alone. I think I brushed my teeth, threw some shoes on and grabbed my laptop and was out the door. I knew I’d need it in order to gather information about classes and pulling up different news sites at the same time.

The sirens would not stop going off. I arrived at my friend’s house soon after and about 6 of us were glued to our computers and the TV for the next few hours. I’m not a big Twitter person, I originally joined the site in order to get news from as many different media outlets as possible, but it turned out to be the most efficient and accurate way to figure out what was going on. Faster than UT could get out their information. Facebook was also helpful because it kept me in contact with others and they put up statuses reassuring they were all right. But I guess all the news outlets in Austin figured it was more important to get out pertinent information than to check and double check facts. Twitter=1. News in Austin=0.

We find out soon after that the gunman killed himself on the top floor of our biggest library. No one was injured. Surprised? Hell yes. Relieved? More so than I have felt in my entire life.

I think the UT community has a lot of people to thank for keeping the situation so incredibly under control. The Austin Police Department, the UTPD, the SWAT teams and the State Troopers, all of whom arrived on the scene within minutes of getting wind of an armed suspect on campus. Without them, it’s terrifying thinking about what could have gone down without such a quick response.

The thought just lingers with me now, who can you really trust on a campus with over 55,000 students? My mom said, “you know, with so many people at your school, someone was bound to go crazy eventually.” No kidding. And although there are no firearms allowed on school campus, the talk of it all lately has really gotten to me. What if someone was armed during the Virginia Tech shooting and they could have wounded the shooter and stopped him before he killed 32 people and injured so many others? Would a shot to the leg really saved lives? Would it be worth that one, miraculous day to know that as I walk in front of the Tower along with hundreds of other people, that many others could be armed too? I’d never carry a weapon, whether it was legal or not, so I’d basically be target practice for whoever felt like playing with their little toy in their belt. The feeling of insecurity weighs heavy on both sides.

I only mention that because ironically, some Federalist representative was supposed to speak on campus about the 2nd Amendment and the right to bear arms. Almost wish I would have gone to that, think there would have been a pretty fired up Q&A at the end of his presentation.

I am so incredibly thankful for my friends and family, and it kind of sucks that it takes an experience like this to get everyone grounded and realize what’s really important in life. Exams, grades, social life, meh. It’s the relationships that really mean something, and I realize that now more than ever.

Love in Response to Tragedy