Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Hello, March!

Happy Mardi Gras, everyone!

I am having some serious Mardi Gras woes.  I think I should be sipping on a Bloody Mary right now instead of discussing nonprofits in class (as evidenced by my tweet below). Know what I mean?

I am SO glad to say goodbye to February, it was an all-around struggle of a month for me.  I realize things could always be worse, but it was definitely a month of personal growth in more ways than one.  So I say goodbye to February and goodbye to the things that you can only learn with time.

My heart is so full with a desire to be back in the south.  I miss Louisiana, especially today.  The people, the culture, the doing of all things a little bit slower...because good times sure do go by way too fast.

I'll be home in the sunny RGV in the next few days, and my goal is to feed my soul and heal my heart.  I want to feel more like myself and that involves a lot of family and a lot of sun.  It will all begin tomorrow night with a concert to Amos Lee.  Here is one of my favorites from his new album, Mountains of Sorrow Rivers of Song "Chill in the Air"
Current thoughts:

  • A haircut is coming up, I will be going short, short, short. In late April/early May.  I need to wait for the weather to warm up around here before getting rid of these locks keeping me warm.
  • The second largest Mardi Gras (technically Samedi Gras) in STL is only maybe a quarter the size of real Mardi Gras
  • I'm on the search for Strawberry Abita, if you stock up, please send some my way!
  • Is it possible to find a good crawfish boil around here?
  • While I miss Louisiana, I am torn at something calling me back home to Texas, to work with the population I know best
  • I hope that "12 Years a Slave" winning Picture of the Year draws more people to read Solomon Northup's story
I leave you all with a poem that I will not translate, by one of my favorite's, Jorge Luis Borges. 
"Después de un tiempo uno aprende la sutil diferencia entre sostener una mano y encadenar el alma.

Y uno aprende que el amor no significa acostarse y una compañía no significa seguridad y uno empieza a aprender...

Que los besos no son contratos y los regalos no son promesas, y uno empieza a aceptar sus derrotas con la cabeza alta y los ojos abiertos.

Y uno aprende a construir todos sus caminos en el hoy, porque el terreno de mañana es demasiado inseguro para planes... y los futuros tienen una forma de caerse en la mitad.

Y después de un tiempo uno aprende que si es demasiado, hasta el calor del sol quema.

Así que uno planta su propio jardín y decora su propia alma, en lugar de esperar a que alguien le traiga flores.

Y uno aprende que realmente puede aguantar, que uno realmente es fuerte, que uno realmente vale, y uno aprende y aprende... y con cada día uno aprende.

Con el tiempo aprendes que estar con alguien porque te ofrece un buen futuro significa que tarde o temprano querrás volver a tu pasado.

Con el tiempo comprendes que sólo quien es capaz de quererte con tus defectos, sin pretender cambiarte, puede brindarte toda la felicidad que deseas.

Con el tiempo te das cuenta de que si estás al lado de esa persona sólo por acompañar tu soledad, irremediablemente acabarás deseando no volver a verla.

Con el tiempo entiendes que los verdaderos amigos son contados, y que el que no lucha por ellos tarde o temprano se verá rodeado sólo de amistades falsas.

Con el tiempo aprendes que las palabras dichas en un momento de ira pueden seguir lastimando a quien heriste, durante toda la vida.

Con el tiempo aprendes que disculpar cualquiera lo hace, pero perdonar es sólo de almas grandes.

Con el tiempo comprendes que si has herido a un amigo duramente, muy probablemente la amistad jamás volverá a ser igual.

Con el tiempo te das cuenta que aunque seas feliz con tus amigos, algún día llorarás por aquellos que dejaste ir.

Con el tiempo te das cuenta de que cada experiencia vivida con cada persona es irrepetible.

Con el tiempo te das cuenta de que el que humilla o desprecia a un ser humano, tarde o temprano sufrirá las mismas humillaciones o desprecios, multiplicados al cuadrado.

Con el tiempo comprendes que apresurar las cosas o forzarlas a que pasen ocasionará que al final no sean como esperabas.

Con el tiempo te das cuenta de que en realidad lo mejor no era el futuro, sino el momento que estabas viviendo justo en ese instante.

Con el tiempo aprenderás que intentar perdonar o pedir perdón, decir que amas, decir que extrañas, decir que necesitas, decir que quieres ser amigo, ante una tumba, ya no tiene ningún sentido, ya es tarde, nunca dejes que algo te sea demasiado tarde.

Pero desafortunadamente, LO APRENDERÁS sólo con el tiempo..." 

* Note: I believe there's a translation available by Veronica A. Shoffstall *

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Love is Not Made Up

I've felt so overwhelmed with love the past couple of days.  Valentine's Day is not Single Awareness Day as many call it, for me it's always a chance to reflect on how much love exists in this world.  I am beginning to sound like a cheesy greeting card. Keep reading...
Yesterday did not exactly start off great, it was supposed to be a fairly nice day (weather-wise).  Lesson learned: do NOT trust St. Louis weather.  One of my roommates and I were supposed to go to a professional development workshop in the morning.  We walked to school and realized there was a small chance of snow.  Snow it did not.  It began raining (freezing cold rain), but on the bright side it was only sprinkling.  By the time we got out of our professional development a mere three hours later, the city had iced over.  A combination of sleet, rain, and ice was just bad news.  I proceeded to walk across campus to catch the train to my internship.  Normally this would take 10-12 minutes, but it took twice as long because of the flats that I was wearing.  I know what you're thinking if you're reading this but I left my boots at my internship and rather than carrying around three pairs of shoes by the end of the day I wore the flats.  BAD IDEA.  I almost slipped at least three times, missed my train, and proceeded to actually fall while holding onto a rail when I got off the train.  Happy Valentine's Day to me.

Despite all of this I still loved seeing the expressions of love around me.  Those who stopped to ask if I was okay.  The men on the train holding beautiful flowers soon to be delivered to their prospective partners.  The beautiful posts of everyone who felt loved yesterday.  Regardless of whether you believe Valentine's Day is a made up holiday or not.  Love is not made up.  This holiday is a reminder of that.

Thank you Valentine's Day for instilling hope.  

Then, I came across a beautiful and brave testimony by Ellen Page.  Last night she bravely came out at the Time to Thrive conference sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign. So inspirational and just beautiful.  I am constantly reminded that this is the civil rights issue of our time.  Watch it below
"But what I have learned is that love—the beauty of it, the joy of it, and yes, even the pain of it—is the most incredible gift to give and to receive as a human being" - Ellen Page

Now go forth and give that gift every chance you get.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Goodbye, January

Oh man, January has just flown by for me.  I'm ready for a new month.  February just breezes on by because it's so short.  I am certainly craving some warmer temperatures, although I wouldn't be surprised if we got some snowfall in February or even early March around here.

At least I have home to look forward to with warm and sunny temperatures in early March.

Here is what my January has consisted of:
My new internship at the St. Louis Mayor's Office in the Education sector (!).  Isn't City Hall absolutely stunning?
Welcoming this cutie to St. Louis! Thanks for visiting, Lisa. 

Finally making it to the top of the Gateway Arch in STL.  It was beautiful.
Feeling like a kid and loving it at City Museum

Feeling thankful for views like this
...and this
Visiting the Missouri State Capitol 

Final thoughts:
  • If you know anyone in Texas connected to an education advocacy and/or policy organization please shoot me an e-mail or drop me a comment.  I am interested in connecting! 
  • I think some of these 2014 goals have been going well, especially the having more fun portion :)
  • Also, the networking goal...already met my goal for networking in January, go me!
  • If you have any good song or album recommendations please comment.