Saturday, December 4, 2010

Random Acts of Kindness


So... recently I've been thinking of starting this new thing. I've been noticing a lot lately random acts of kindness people are doing for each other. Inspired by that, I began trying to do at least one a day. For example, a few weeks ago I saw a Fed Ex guy struggling to open the door of the place he was gong to deliver because he had boxes in his hand. So I opened it for him. Or helping a woman carry a stroller up the stairs from the subway. A week ago I bought a bag of dunken donuts coffee for myself to brew at home. When you buy it, at least here in NY, they give you a free medium coffee. Well I didn't want mine... so I offered it to the women in front of me. Now don't get me wrong... I'm not saying all this to boast about myself. They're just examples of unexpected gifts that we can give to each other.

I feel like we all need to help each other out more. The simplest gesture can brighten someone's day. Even simply smiling at someone can make them feel good. So having said that, I'd like to encourage all of you to participate with me. Do something for someone else. Go out of your way to help a stranger or a friend without expecting anything in return. See how it makes you feel and then start to observe what people are doing to randomly help you out. All of you in Florida, maybe it's that driver who let's you pull out in front of them (I know you know that this is definitely a random act in South Florida driving). Start to observe how many people help you and how that increases as you help them. Remember that you get back what you give out and this is the best way to give out that I can think of.

So this is Random Acts of Kindness... I'd love to hear your stories about how this works out for you and please feel free to share what you did and what was done for you.

Class dismissed.

~H-less

Thursday, November 11, 2010

50 years!

So it's been quite a while since I've posted a new blog. However, it's taken me some time to mull this story over in my head.
50 years! That's how long it's been since my mother graduated high school and a few weeks ago, I had to honor of accompanying her to the big reunion. To be honest, I wasn't completely sure what I was getting myself into however, within the first few minutes I knew it would be an interesting night.
Here are the highlights from my evening:
1. Having many "uh hem" older gentlemen come up to me and say "Hey! You look great! You haven't changed at all!" only for me to respond "Thank you very much. I have an outstanding plastic surgeon!"
2. Making friends with another non-high school attendee who practically fell asleep at the table until I got up to get him coffee. Five minutes later he invites me to visit he and his wife the next time I go to Florida so they can take me out on their boat in the Keys (woo hoo!).
3. Reading in the book where everyone said what they've been up to the past 50 years. A particular man said he was looking for available daughters for his sons. I grabbed the book, brought my mom and went to his table and said "I'm looking for John Garbowski... I'm an available daughter" Following this statement a dowry was discussed between he and my mother. (For the record, this guy made my night)
4. Watching them all dance. It was a fascinating glimpse into the future of dance for my life and it wasn't as bleak as I thought it would be.
5. Realizing the difference between when someone my age wins a prize at an event like this and someone their age wins a prize. The speed it takes to get to where the prize is... significantly slower. The enthusiasm for winning said prize... still very present.
6. Seeing how amazing my mom looked compared to other women her age. No offense to anyone there... but mom looked the youngest.
7. Getting a peak into my moms young life although becoming slightly annoyed each time they called her "Patty".

After the party we talked a lot about moms high school years, her experiences and how it effected her adult life. One of the stories she told me I feel holds some major significance in the way that I believe children and teenagers need to start behaving.
In every school you always have those who stand out. Either they're incredibly shy or just different then everyone else. This inevitably creates a sense of isolation for that person, something I know about all too well. Talking about this with mom I learned that there were two such individuals in her class. Here's the difference though. Instead of those kids being bullied, teased, put down and left out, mom's entire class nominated these two King and Queen of one of their dances. They came together to help their fellow classmates feel accepted and cared about rather than binding together to shun them. Think about this. What if we did this now? 50 years later and everyone is so competitive. 50 years later and no one looks out for each other any more. 50 years later and those individuals who are "different" are being bullied and if they don't kill themselves physically certainly their spirit is in some way damaged.
I think a great lesson can be learned in this. A lesson of compassion, a lesson of acceptance and a lesson of love. This is not any different than anything I've preached before. We need to look out for each other and the class of 1960 exemplifies exactly how to do that.
So my hat is off to you all! Thank you for a wonderful evening and an incredible learning experience!




Class dismissed.
~H-less

PS-For those of you who know about orbs... take a close look at that last picture.

Monday, October 18, 2010

"I'm Gay"

Okay... not really. But here's the thing. Recently, I re-watched the Kevin Kline movie "In & Out". For those of you who don't know, it's a film about a man who is set to be married and the weekend before the wedding he realizes that he's gay. He comes out at his wedding. His wife-to-be is furious, his parents look confused and hurt and everyone seems like they're in shock. Along with that, he gets fired from his teaching job, something he obviously loves doing. There's a scene in this film where the school explains that he was fired because he came out and the community doesn't want a gay teacher. Then... the most amazing part of the film... everyone in the room, one at a time, start to stand up and say "I'm gay" including his parents. The acceptance and love that the entire community showed for him was incredibly touching... loving him for who he is not what he is.

In all honesty... it made me wonder. Why can't we all just stand up for our gay friends instead of treating them like they're so different? Why do we have to look at anyone who is different in any way and not accept them? Why is there this idea of what's normal or perfect that we're all supposed to live up to? That's too much pressure for any one of us to put on ourselves. So why do it? Why can't we all just look at each other and see the human being, the soul, the spirit that each of us has? To no longer see race, class, disability or sexual preference but to see the person who is inside. Why can't we just do that? What the hell is everyone so fearful of?

Easier said than done...I get that. But if standing up for my gay friends means that I have to say I'm gay even though I'm not.. then so be it. If that's the way to get ignorant people to open their eyes and stop trying to change someone because they don't agree with their lifestyle then so be it. And if that's the way to spread a message of loving each other as human beings then that's right... you guessed it.. so be it.

I've attached a video below about gay marriage that I recently put on my facebook account. It's pretty vulgar so beware... but the message is good. I'm tired of people saying what's right for another person when they don't understand what that person may be going through. I'm sick of hearing what people believe is right by God... ALL humans are loved and accepted by God... no matter what they represent.

To all my gay friends... this ones for you. Thanks for staying true to who you are and not being ashamed of it!

Class dismiss.
~H-less

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0TMTrpugT0E&has_verified=1

Monday, October 4, 2010

One comment... one moment

Picture this. 5th grade classroom... it's the last period in school for the day and you're stuck in math. ugh... math! Everyone is energetically waiting for the bell to ring including your friend who sits next to you sporting a pair of new eye glasses. He'd never worn eye glasses before so of course all day people have been making comments to him about it. Some out of malice and others for "fun". The teacher says something that we happened to miss because we simply weren't paying attention and this young man who for the moment didn't have his glasses on asks the children around him "what'd he say?". Without thinking I said "maybe you should put your glasses on so you can hear him".

Now I need to point something out. In my defense, this is something that my dad would say to my mom in order to pick on her. Though there is no excuse for my words to him, I should say that she never seemed very upset by it... so I think I figured that it wouldn't hurt his feelings. I was very wrong. The look on his face and the way his entire body just seemed to deplete of any positive energy he had was heartbreaking and it's a moment in my life I wish I could take back.

You may think that I should just get over it. But in all honesty, this is not something I can just get over. The truth is that from grade 4 and all through high school I was the victim of bullying. To know that I may have hurt someone in the same way I was hurt, even if it was one comment... one moment... it's enough to break my heart and wish it hadn't happened.

My bullying was... rough. That's probably an understatement. It got to the point where I would fake being sick in order to not go to school. I actually learned how to manipulate the thermometer to where it would show that I was just under the normal 98.6 degrees. This would make my mom feel that whatever I had was viral and she would allow me to stay home (sorry, Mom). Anything I could do to avoid being called ugly, stupid, a monster... or to have things thrown at me, to be spit at, to be called every name... basically to have ever action I did get judged in such a harsh manner by kids who were the same age as me... the same level of education... from the same areas of town and who knew the same people. All of these "sames" and we were so different. No matter how hard I tried I could never fit in. As a result, I learned to live alone... with in myself. This meant that all during high school when most of the really bad bullying had ceased... I was misunderstood because I was so quiet... and because I was so quiet I was picked on once again. Popularity definitely wasn't my thing in school and it wasn't until college that I was able to slowly come out of my shell. Even now though... retreating to that place I lived for so long alone is my defense mechanism and in times of stress, anger, sadness or loneliness... it's what provides me comfort simply because it's where I lived for so long.

It should come as no surprise that I write this on the brink of our 5th teen suicide since September over bullying, the last one being Tyler Clementi from Rutgers University. It might surprise some to learn that suicide was an option that I critically considered. I'm very glad I didn't. I would've missed out on so much! I would've missed out on falling in love, seeing my brothers get married and make beautiful babies, going to grad-school (twice), having amazing friends... and being there for my mom when she's needed me most. What every one is saying is all true. People change. It won't always be bad and you're life will absolutely get better as has mine and one day you'll even learn to love yourself which as someone whose been bullied can tell you... it's an uphill battle.

Words are significant. Take the time to think before you speak, plan before you act, and live every moment in love. It's with love that we overcome hardships and love can save those children who are being bullied and prevent these all too soon deaths. It only takes one person to care to make a difference.

Please watch these if you haven't seen them yet. The first is Ellen's message and the second is Kathy Griffin's message. Both are important.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Br7nbQSIyhg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vu2JeZn1Uw0

Class dismissed. Be nice to each other.

~H-less

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Holding out for a home life

THIS is what it's all about. It's about rolling in the grass and getting licked in the face by your favorite dog. It's about playing pirate ship and figuring out where to hang the flag. It's about making her laugh while she eats her noodles, following him to play in his room and getting pulled in two directions by children who want you to spend time only with them. It's about having chocolate milk spilt on you and painting a picture together, readings stories at night and helping them take baths. It's about driving long distance in your car with all the windows down, hair blowing with the wind and blaring the music as loud as it can go... singing along and not caring that other people are watching. It's about receiving a hug that is the comfort and answer to everything wrong in life.

No matter how bad it seems, how hard it gets, how many pillars are down and how hope threatens to disappear... home is what makes it better and it is good to be here. It's good to feel the love from these kids and enjoy driving again. it's good to have the type of warm weather that only South Florida can have (not so much the humidity though... that doesn't make for good hair days). It's just good... and enjoying this trip will be pretty easy.

Cherish your home life kids... that's my lesson of the day. Hug, love, and laugh often!

Class dismissed.

~H-less

Thursday, September 9, 2010

It's Tini Time!


*ring ring--ring ring* goes my cell phone at 8:30 at night. It's my brother... and at this time of night it can only mean one thing.

"hello?" I say.

"Hi Tini!" says the little voice on the other end of the line... filled with enthusiasm and radiating with the type of love that only a child can emanate.

"Hey baby!!! How are you?" I say, doing my best to match his level of excitement.

"Good. I'm gonna pick you up from the airport" which is really pronounced aiwpowt because with this particular child pronouncing R's always comes out as W's... and it just adds to the level of cuteness that he exudes.

"Really, Frankie. Are you gonna drive?"

"Nope"

"Well whose gonna drive the car then?"

"Daddy is!"... he says this to me as if I should've already known. Kind of like saying 'Duh, Tini'.

He continues... "So are you on the airplane?".

I'm laughing as I say "No, baby... Tini will be there Monday so that's 4 days from now"

"4 days?" he questions. Silence briefly consumes the conversation and I can tell he's mulling this over. Then with as much conviction as a 4 year old could possibly muster up he says "No! 2 days".

Laughter. "I'm sorry baby but it's definitely 4 days... but I promise we'll have so much fun when I get there"

More silence ensues which obviously means that Frankie is thinking very hard about what he can say next. Then with even more conviction (and cuteness) he responds "3 days!" ... hoping that we can make a compromise. This runs in the family. One of my brothers would always start off asking mom for more then 1 cookie... I believe the magic number was 5 but I may stand corrected on this. He'd work his way down to one, mom would give him the cookie and he'd spend the entire day walking around with it in his hand until the dog who had been following him all day finally (and most likely out of frustration of having to watch the cookie like a hawk all day) snatched it away from him. After fits of tears the process of cookie compromising would inevitably start once again. So it comes as no surprise to me that this little man spends time trying to get me to come home sooner than my trip is actually booked for.

The fact that he's so excited to see me completely melts my heart and fills every inch of me with utter happiness. It's amazing what the love of a child can bring into your life...

As this conversation goes on I can't help but think about how much I've really missed this little guy... and all my little guys back home (of course including our little princess). I'm so excited to see them it's sick. One might say, I'm too excited to sleep. Hence taking the time to write this out after midnight. So as of Monday I'll be homebound and happy as can be about it!

Hey Frankie... 3 days!!! :-)

~H-less

Monday, September 6, 2010

SHITSS

And here's why...

So as most of you know my summer job has consisted of working in a restaurant/bar that's actually pretty upscale. Not crazy upscale like $100 per person but you can definitely spend a lot of money if you eat a full course meal plus drinks. (the views are also amazing). Anyway, I'm not going to sit here and act as if I'm the most amazing server in the business... I'm definitely not. BUT... I'm not bad at it... I'd venture to say that I'm pretty good. People have a good time with me... I make them laugh and help them feel welcomed and do my best not to desert them even if every one of my tables is full.

Now here's what gets me. When I do have full tables and I'm running around like a chicken that's head is lost because the bar tenders are behind in making my drinks or the kitchen is taking FOREVER to get the food out... it doesn't mean I've forgotten you... it means I'm doing everything in my power to get you whatever it is you ordered as fast as possible. So stop giving me stink eye!

The real reason I wanted to write this though is not because of the amount of stink eye I get from rich, spoiled wives of financial center men who have no control over their kids and make my job a living hell. No... that's not it at all. It's because of the lack of tipping that mostly comes from my friendly international visitors. I understand how horribly cliche and known this already is. "Internationals don't know how to tip" isn't exactly the newest idea of the century. However, given my circumstances in my summer position where I'm depending solely on the income of this job to pay my rent... it sheds a new light to how frustrated I get when I'm encountered with International people who give me a 5 dollar tip on a 95 dollar check, a 2 dollar tip on a 79 dollar check or a 6 dollar tip on a 60 dollar check (obviously that was the best one). For each of these tables the service was absolutely 20% tip worthy.

For those of you who didn't know... the word TIPS stands for To Insure Prompt Service of which you will always get at my restaurant. So foreigners... try and remember that TIPS in America means 15-20%... if you don't comply with these rules I can guarantee you you'll receive what I have newly dubbed SHITSS: Sneaky Hot-headed Italians Taking/Stealing your Shit.

Class dismissed. Bastardos.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Some things are just worth re-posting


Read this article in the Onion and had to laugh out loud! Enjoy!!! :-)

~H-less

8.4 Million New Yorkers Suddenly Realize New York City A Horrible Place To Live
'We're Getting The Hell Out Of This Sewer,' Entire Populace Reports
SEPTEMBER 2, 2010 | ISSUE 46•35



NEW YORK—At 4:32 p.m. Tuesday, every single resident of New York City decided to evacuate the famed metropolis, having realizing it was nothing more than a massive, trash-ridden hellhole that slowly sucks the life out of every one of its inhabitants.

With audible murmurs of "This is no way to live," "What the hell am I doing here—I hate it here," and "Fuck this place. Fuck this horrible place," all 8.4 million citizens in each of the five boroughs packed up their belongings and told reporters they would rather blow their brains out with a shotgun than spend another waking moment in this festering cesspool of filth and scum and sadness.

By 5:15 p.m. there was gridlock traffic on the outbound sides of the Holland and Lincoln tunnels, and the area's three major airports were flooded with New Yorkers, all of whom said they wanted to go anyplace where the pressure of 20 million tons of concrete wasn't constantly suffocating them.

"I always had this perverted sense of pride because I was managing to scrape by here," said Brooklyn resident Andrew McQuade, who, after watching two subway rats gnawing on a third bloody rat carcass, finally determined that New York City was a giant sprawling cancer. "Well, fuck that. I don't need to pay $2,000 a month to share a doghouse-sized apartment with some random Craigslist dipshit to prove my worth. I want to live like a goddamn human being."

"You see this?" added McQuade, pointing at a real estate listing for a duplex in Hagerstown, MD. "Two bedrooms, two baths, a den—a fucking den—and a patio. Twelve hundred a month. That's total, not per person."

According to residents, the mass exodus was triggered by a number of normal, everyday New York City events. For Erin Caldwell of Manhattan, an endlessly honking car horn sent her over the edge, causing her to go into a blind rage and scream "shut up!" at the vehicle as loud as she could until her voice went hoarse; for Danny Tremba of Queens it was being cursed at for walking too slow; and for Paul Ogden, also of Queens, it was his overreaction to somebody walking too slow.

Other incidents that prompted citizens to pick up and leave included the sight of garbage bags stacked 5 feet high on the sidewalk; the realization that being alone among millions of anonymous people is actually quite horrifying; a blaring siren that droned on and fucking on; muddy, refuse-filled puddles that have inexplicably not dried in three years; the thought of growing into a person whose meanness and cynicism is cloaked in a kind of holier-than-thou brand of sarcasm that the rest of the world finds nauseating; and all the goddamn people.

In addition, 3 million New Yorkers reportedly left the city because they realized the phrase "Only in New York" is actually just a defense mechanism used to convince themselves that seeing a naked man take a shit on a park bench is somehow endearing, or part of some shared cultural experience.

"I was sitting on my stoop, drinking coffee, and out of nowhere this crazy-looking woman just starts screaming, 'I am inside all of you,' over and over," Bronx resident Sarah Perez, 37, said. "Then, we both had this moment where we looked at each other and realized, okay, we have to get out of here."

"This place sucks," Manhattan resident Woody Allen, 74, told reporters. "It just fucking sucks."

When fleeing New Yorkers were asked if they would miss the city's iconic landmarks, most responded that Central Park is just a pathetic excuse for experiencing actual nature, that the Brooklyn Bridge is great but it's just a fucking bridge, that nobody goes to the Met anyway, and that living in a dingy, grime-caked apartment while exhaust fumes from an idling truck seep through your bedroom window isn't worth slightly bigger bagels.

"This is no place to raise a kid, that's for sure," said 32-year-old Brandon Rushing, a lifelong New Yorker. "I grew up here and I turned into a giant asshole. Why would I want that for my son?"

"Plus, we're the place most likely to get nuked by a dirty bomb in a terrorist attack," he added. "So that's great. Also, it smells like shit here, and I'm not exaggerating. You'll just be walking around and it starts smelling like human shit, and it just fills your nostrils and you breathe in shit for like 20 seconds."

Before departing by private helicopter, Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke with members of the media to address the situation.

"You know what the greatest city in the world is?" Bloomberg asked reporters. "Scottsdale, Arizona. It's clean, it's not too big, it's got a couple streets with shops and restaurants, and the people there aren't fucking insane. This place is fucking insane. And by the way, that's not a reason to like it. Anyone who says that is a delusional dirtbag."

By Tuesday night, New York was completely abandoned. At press time, however, some 10 million Los Angeles–area residents, tired of their self-centered, laid-back culture and lack of four distinct seasons, and yearning for the hustle and bustle of East Coast life, had already begun repopulating the city.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Take Picture?


Alright. So... tonight after my work out I took my usual walk out to the peer to watch the water and contemplate life. As I'm starring at the water thinking of what was, what is, and what can be I was rudely interrupted by a couple clearly from a different country and a camera. "Take picture?".... "Yea" I say... when I'm really thinking "well now that you've shoved your camera in my hand do I really have an effing choice?"

Now here's the thing. When I see someone with headphones on and looking... thoughtful... that to me is code to leave them alone. And please please don't mistake me. I'm not complaining in the least about taking pictures for people. I actually volunteer to do it all the time and it's given me some memorable moments in the city. But this was on my terms. So to reiterate... I'm not complaining...I'm just... stating how I feel in a snarky way. :-)

Tourist... take a note. When you see people with headphones on, don't bother them. When you see people looking out at the water lost in their own world... leave them alone. If they want to take your picture... they'll offer. It's that simple. Also, when you choose to not take my advice and selfishly interrupt these individuals anyway ... the very least you could do is say please and thank you rather than shoving your camera into their hands and after the picture is taken grab it right back and walk away exchanging no niceties. Having to do something you don't want to do is bad enough... it's that much worse when rudeness is involved. Honestly, courtesy is everything... and not being nice about it kind of goes above and beyond the interruption. Appreciation is everything... regardless of whether or not I wanted to help you out. So next time, be aware, be nice and say thanks. All just suggestions... but good ones none the less.

Class dismissed.

~H-less

Friday, August 27, 2010

A letter to the MTA


Dear MTA,

It is with great concern that I compose this. Hearing this week that there are thoughts of charging 130 dollars for a monthly metro card starting in January completely floored me. 130 dollars!?

Now... I understand this game. You say an outrageous price and then when you really make it 104 we're "happy and grateful" that it's anything other than the outrageous 130 you previously suggested. But here's the thing... even 104 is a bit extreme. Why is it you're raising prices but firing people? How come we keep paying more but getting less? I can't possibly be the only one whose noticed that the service has actually gotten worse over the past few years.

And let's discuss this dear MTA... I rode the Staten Island ferry tonight for FREE. I know what you're thinking... who in their right mind would ever go to Staten Island by choice. Consequently, I just wanted to be on the water for an hour with a great view of the city. However, it's mass transportation that's pretty decently run (with the exception of a rare accident every now and then) AND... again... it's free.

You're getting it wrong MTA. Stop over charging us. Stop raising prices. Stop trying to take money from the little man who depends on the subway to get to their minimum wage job which barely gives them enough money to pay for rent and food for their families. We're all strapped for cash and this is just not the way to go about it. Find another solution because if this goes through and our rates are raised to 130... I'm personally going to rally every New Yorker to start jumping the turnstiles. I'm pretty sure with the amount of people you keep firing that there's no way you'll have the man power to catch us all.

Signed with sincere annoyance,
~H-less

http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2010/08/24/2010-08-24_an_mta_sideswipe_riders_stunned_as_agency_releases_plan_for_whopping_130_monthly.html

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

By the way

By the way... if there's anyone out there who knows why I'd be having issues transferring movies from iMovie to Vimeo please please let me know! It speeds it up and then then timing gets all off... kinda frustrating actually. The one person who I thought could help me with this dropped off the face of the planet... again. Ugh... men. I'll never understand them.

Anyway... any help would be super appreciated!!! :-)

~H-less

Umbrella Etiquette


Okay New Yorkers... here's the thing. When it's raining and wet and we're all cranky and miserable because the sun will not come out tomorrow... we need to at the very least learn the proper way to deal with our umbrellas when we're walking through the crowded streets of the city. Tourists... this might be a good lesson for you as well.

First of all... all you people with those oversized umbrellas that could seriously cover 10 people at once... your selfishness is not going unnoticed... to put it mildly... you suck. You take up the entire sidewalk with your umbrellas making everyone around you figure out how they're gonna maneuver they're own just to walk by you while you whale it up down the street. Are you dry? Yes. Have you managed to piss off everyone around you? Um... yes. You have. Way to go. Maybe... get a smaller umbrella so you don't upset people who are already unhappy about the fact that it's raining on them as they walk to work because there aren't any cabs available. ... It's just a thought...

Now here's my pet peeve. Tall people... you need to lift up your umbrellas because honestly... I can't lift mine over your 6'5 body. I know it's more comfortable to hold it closer to your body... but in all seriousness it's not easy for me to raise my arm as high as it can go while squeezing through those jerks with the Shamu umbrellas. So please... try and be aware of us shorter folks and I guess... be a little more courteous. Short people... get with the program. Stop lifting your umbrella over the 6'5 people and I think we'll all learn to get along. Oh... and the other thing. If we could walk around on rainy days like we're driving on the streets rather than making it a cluster of people going every direction.... I don't know... I think it would make life easy all around... don't you?

That's it. Thank you for attending H-less' How To Use Your Umbrella 101 lecture. Now go outside, try to stay dry, and be nice to each other.

Class dismissed.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Yankee Picture Video

So my video of the Yankee pictures is up! But once again... transferring it from iMovie to Vimeo wasn't very successful. It speeds up the pictures... I don't know why. It's actually kind of annoying SO if anyone out there knows of another editing program I can use as a mac owner that'd be amazing!

Enjoy the video and turn up your speakers! :-)

~H-less~

Yankee Game pictures! from Cristina Ambrose on Vimeo.

Friday, August 20, 2010

A question...

As I sit at home on this lovely Friday night feeling pretty physically sick (no idea where this is coming from)... I wonder if this whole true love thing is possible? Don't get me wrong... I've always believed it is... but given the state of dating in NYC... I just wonder how possible it is here. Men come to NY to work hard and play hard... at least... this is my theory. They're not looking for soul mates or wives or any of that... and what they're looking for... well... I won't offer that. So I pose this question to my readers... in New York City... a city full of life, excitement and an incredibly overwhelming amount of energy... is it possible to find love? And if so... what the hell am I doing wrong?

Sincerely,
H-less

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Yankees Game!!!





Finally after over 4 years of living in the city I attended my very first Yankee game!!! It was of course totally amazing and everything I thought it would be... lots of fun watching men in tights swinging bats and hitting balls. :-) The tickets were provided courtesy of my brother who always seems to have the hookup... and the seats were great! Section 225, row 2... right by third base.




We started off in the Yankee Store where we got some official merchandise from the park (because really... ya have to do that). After that we spent some time walking around the new stadium, which is totally beautiful by the way. They had lots of old pictures and memorabilia around and the atmosphere was just bursting with positive energy and excitement.



After walking around the stadium, and some insistence by moi, we headed over to Lobels to get what was quoted to us as the best place to grab a steak sandwich. Truth be told, it wasn't half bad! :-) They cut and took care of the meat right in front of your eyes which I guess given the amount of people who could fit into a stadium they probably have to do.



When we got to our outstanding seats there were a few signs there that caused a bit of concern...



... we didn't get hit by either... but got close to catching a few foul balls! :-)


A few things about this game in particular that you should know. First of all, it was against the Detroit Tigers who managed to get a home run on pitch number one. It was kind of a buzz kill... but CC managed to pull it all together after that. We won, of course which was great considering the Yankees lost the previous two.
Secondly, my camera kind of loved Derek Jeter. I realize how cliche this is... but cut me some slack... it was my first game and I was in a great position for some awesome butt shots!



Thirdly, the Yankees honored a woman who each game hops on the subway from Queens and makes her way to the stadium all the way up in the Bronx all by herself. This seemingly ordinary act was extraordinary because she's blind. So that day, Yankee players met her at her door as a surprise and escorted her to the stadium. She seemed incredibly sweet and absolutely thrilled that they did that for her. And lastly, we sat next to Detoit Tigers player number 26 Brennan Boesch's mom. She was also really sweet... but incredibly worried for her son. Apparently he hasn't been playing so hot and after he would go up to bat if he didn't hit the ball she'd quickly disappear only to reappear just before he went up to bat again. It was touching. I loved that she cared so much and really just put her entire self into him during the few hours he was on the field. I wish I could contact him to tell him it was an honor meeting her and what a wonderful woman I thought she was... but alas finding his contact information or even his facebook page was difficult. And this is coming from a professional facebook hunter!

To sum it all up, the game was wonderful... but in truth the time spent with my brother was priceless. It's been way too long since I've seen my family, so to have him up here for even a short amount of time was perfectly timed! Hopefully soon I'll be visiting home and seeing everyone again... but until then I'll continue my journey here happily experiencing all that New York has to offer!



*Please note that there will be a video of all the pictures to come soon-- I'm having difficulty with the program but as soon as I can fix it the vid will be posted! Also, for those of you who are my facebook friends all my pictures will be posted as well*

Here's a quicky video of the stadium:



7th inning stretch!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Waldorf vs. Cristina

Okay... so tonight I went over to the Waldorf located on Park Avenue to visit my brother who is in town for the next few days. I walked into the lobby and sat down like any normal person would waiting for someone they were about to visit. The thing is... all the workers kept starring at me. Now okay... as a girl you kind of get used to people starring. I don't say this in any kind of cocky way at all... I'm like the least cocky person you'll ever meet. However, this was just a little weird. Particularly they were all looking at my feet. For the record, I hate my feet and I realize they're not exactly beautiful feet but that's no reason to stare.

It turns out... this hotel has a dress code. A dress code! So when I walked in with my faded jeans, t-shirt that says "peace" and my old navy sandels... well... I was a walking felon in those walls. I stuck out like a sore thumb and ALL the staff were watching me like I was some crazy homeless girl that was gonna try and steal one of these overly priced posh items that were strewn about the hotel... which by the way... weren't that pretty to begin with.

I found their actual dress code online:

Dress Attire

T-shirts, tank tops, faded jeans, cut-offs, and casual hats are not permitted in the Main Lobby, Park Avenue Lobby, restaurants, or public areas of the hotel. While name badges may be worn by conference attendees in private conference rooms, we request that name badges be removed in the public areas of the hotel. Thank you for your cooperation.

Needless to say, the next time I visit my brother at this establishment that apparently thinks they're just too good for down to earth people like myself... I'll be wearing a bikini top, short skirt and my whore boots with a big name tag that says "I'm H-less, bitch".

Coney Island Task!


So I've completed and blogged about my first scavenger hunt task... check it out!

http://hlessnycscavengerhunt.blogspot.com/2010/08/task-1-coney-island.html

Thursday, August 12, 2010

That's what friends are for...


I am a lucky girl. Seriously. To have the friends that I have... well to be honest I consider myself truly blessed when it comes to the friend department.

Since I've been back in the country there has been a bit of an onslaught of disappointments in my life. I arrived kind of sick thanks to the South American water, my current job won't allow me to work until I'm cleared from said sickness, a job that I completely thought I had in the bag after 3 different interviews with them fell through... I wanted it really badly... and... well a few other things that just have left me rendered speechless and saying things like "why" and "that makes absolutely no sense". Few of you know what I'm referring to here. Suffice it to say... my week has been pretty shitty.

When my good friend Christina found out about my current state she took it upon herself to spice up my life with a scavenger hunt. To top it off... she created a blog, list of requirements, and 25 things for me to do in the city by January. I'm super excited about it. Some of them are things that I've already done before... but who cares!? It'll be worth it to do them again.
Anyway... the link for that particular blog is listed below. I'll be starting my adventure this weekend so keep it on your radar!

http://hlessnycscavengerhunt.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

How could I forget!?


I can't believe I forgot to add this in...

From the moment we arrived on the farm and they learned that our group was comprised of singers and a puppeteer they pretty much demanded a puppet show. So as our gift to them... we gave them one the night before we left! Thanks to our puppet master, Margot... we did a shadow puppet show to the tune of "free falling". The lyrics of course were adapted by myself with the help of Margot while we harvested in the field that day. Sarah Grace helped Margot with the images and Trevor played the guitar and helped me with singing. Unfortunately, no one took a video... however I do have the lyrics which I'm proudly sharing below. The people on the farm loved it... and performing it for them at the end of our stay was perfecto!

It's a good farm
Lots of people
From the States
France & Australia too
It's a good farm
Lots of plants, chickens and pigs
No horses
So donkeys will have to do

Now we're free
Free farming
Now we're free
Free Farming

It's a good farm
Lots of good cooking
But no bacon
Meat or cheese too
We make it up by
Eating lots of beans
They start of great
Until we digest them and they don't want to go all the way through

Now we're free
Free farting
Now we're free
Free farting

We will miss you
Your cheeriness and laughter
Delphine singing
And Tierra calling us doctora too
Te Adoro
Todos los buenos cuentos
Y claro
Las pequinas senioritas tambien

And you'll be
With us always
And you'll be
With us always

The End.



The other thing I wanted to share is our toilet rules. As most of you know by now... we had a composting toilet. These are the rules that were put up for us and I just had to laugh out loud at them.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Ecuador was "great... just great"




In a world where life can easily become mundane... wake up, brush your teeth, eat breakfast, go to work, come home and maybe work out, shower go to bed only to do it all over again the next day... having a trip like this is imperative in the process of shaking life up a bit. I've never been on such an adventure... and to be honest the best thing about this whole trip was the unknown. I woke up every day in Ecuador not knowing what my day would hold, what I would encounter, what I would do and that was so refreshing! The unknown was exciting, nerve racking, adventurous and illuminating all at the same time. Along with that, there was an abundance of "never's" that I had while on this trip some of which being:

I've never:
-slept in a pad-locked room before
-harvested anything
-walked the streets of a foreign country by myself
-bought a coke for .45 cents
-ate beans for 2 weeks straight
-had so much fun before!

It all started with a series of 3 flights to get us to our destination of Quito, Ecuador. I told my best friend Margot who I had never travelled with before that if we're friends after this trip that we'll be friends for life. Somehow I managed to hold it all together during those flights... I figured because of the claustrophobia, lack of sleep and 3 flights I'd either make a scene or jump out of the plane just to spare her the hassle of having to deal with me. Somehow though I managed to get through it without harming anyone and she and I are as close as we've ever been. We spent a few nights in Quito and our hostels were... I guess everything you'd expect a hostel to be... loud, semi-dirty, uncomfortable beds and incredibly cool people... in other words.. good times. We even got invited to play lazar tag with a group of Israelis who joked that it'd be the Israelis vs. the Americans (apparently the impression is that we're born with guns in our hands). The game was insanely ghetto and so bad... but at the same time we had a great time with this group of people!
One 15 minute cab ride, a 2 hour bus ride through the Andes and another 10 minute cab ride later and we arrived at the Comuna de Rhiannon. Thank goodness that 2nd cab ride wasn't too long. The guy was driving so fast I just about peed myself and was happy to arrive safely at the farm. There were three different categories of people at the farm: the insanely spiritual, the sex and drug obsessed, and the down to earth people. We had representatives from several different countries: Canada, Spain, Ecuador, Argentina, Mexico, Germany, France, Columbia, England, Chili, Australia & Paraguay. I guess you can say we had our own little U.N. living in this electric free house.





I spent my days doing a number of things... harvesting Quinoa, picking and shucking corn, making compost for planting, working with my girls Ursala and Luna (the donkeys), planting trees and watering everything on the farm that needed to be watered. It didn't seem like a lot of work at the time since it was only 4 hours each day... but at the same time it was pretty tiring mostly because of the high altitude. We were nestled in the middle of the Andes surrounded by a few volcanoes one of which being Cotopaxi... she was just beautiful on a normal day... stunning on a clear day!






My favorite time of day was around 4:30-5:00 when the clouds would roll in. We were so high up that they would either be at level with us or directly below us... the views were magnificent! I imagined people looking up from the ground level at the clouds thinking that must be where heaven lies... and knowing that it's where we were. I took hikes down revenes. The first one was with these 2 guys from England... as we were walking down I asked one of them "how are we gonna get back up?" to which he responded "well we'll go back the way we came and then go straight up!". He said this in such a chipper manor that I wasn't sure if he was serious or not. He was though... and I asked him what I did to make him not like me and he just laughed... said I could do it... and funny enough... I could and I did or else I guess I'd still be stuck down there which wouldn't be such a bad thing considering how beautiful it was.






The most treasured experiences I had were my conversations with a man named James who was very spiritually wise... I learned a lot from him and he gave me the gift of having one of the most profound spiritual experiences of my life... I hope James that she's right... on all counts! Also, the walks I had around the farm with a man named Fernando who would not let me speak any English to him. Needless to say I know a lot more than "donde esta el bano" now... he was incredibly sweet and gave me the most beautiful gift before I left... a shell which I understand is magical and brings luck to whoever wears it. To spend time with both these men was such an honor.

This is James aka mountain man




This is Fernando who I'm pretty sure hates Abba for writing that song




The best experience though... the one that beats out anything and everything... the one that I'll hold nearest to my heart for years to come... was the time spent with the individuals who were with me during this experience: Margot, Sarah Grace and Trevor. I've never laughed so hard in my life... and to be perfectly honest... it had been such a long time since I had felt free enough to laugh like that on a daily basis that to have that laughter and those experiences at this time in my life was an incredible joy and I'm so appreciative to them for giving me the priceless gift of love and friendship. Between the symphony of farts, singing as loud as we can and simply loving each other... to be honest there are no words. I love you guys and I know this experience was magnified by your presence, your laughter and your love. :)






In a nutshell... Ecuador was just great... and the memories I made there will last me a lifetime. With hope and luck... I'll have more trips in the future to foreign countries... I doubt that they'll teach me nearly as much about myself as I learned in my two weeks in South America... but maybe I'll be lucky enough to be proven wrong. <3

"Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” – Mark Jenkins

“The use of traveling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are.” – Samuel Johnson





video

Monday, July 26, 2010

A quicky update

Simply because Christina requested it (love and miss you!)... and because i have the time... i wanted to do a quicky update.
Ecuador is pretty awesome although I have to say that Ive been doing things that I´ve never really done in my life before... etc work with just about every type of animal shit you can imagine. Needless to say it´s been interesting. I think the best part has been the company and the food (shocking right?). I´d love to write more but there´s just so much to do and so little time left. In one week we´ll all be back in the states which I´m sure will be accompanied by a bit of culture shock. Going from a little tiny electric free house in Ecuador to the city that never sleeps is gonna be crazy. BUT... ill be happy to have a bed, toilet and great shower once again.

Love and miss you all and can´t wait to add pictures next week!!!!

Monday, July 19, 2010

I´m in South America... it´s like America... but South!!!

Hey everyone!!! After three flights, no sleep, and barely any food... we´ve all arrived safely in Ecuador! It´s quite chilly here... at least not the 100 degrees that I´ve been used to in NY over the past few weeks. We´re saying at the cutest hostel for a night or so and then it´s off to the farm! Anyway... lots of stories to come... I just wanted to let everyone know that we made it and we´re so excited for this adventure!!!!!

love to all!

Monday, July 12, 2010

I'm too excited to sleep!

The time has dwindled down and at last I am a mere 5 days away from my vacation! This time next week... I'll be in Ecuador having an experience unlike any I've ever had before! Hostels, dorms, tents, and all... including a very exclusive stay at an organic farm for two weeks which amenities include... well okay... there are no amenities. Actually there's not really any electric there and they have a compost toilet (yea..I can't wait to learn about that one)... and... oh yea... I'm volunteering with them while I'm there. BUT... the view will be gorgeous... the atmosphere will be uplifting and the people will be graciously sweet and amazing. I'm very excited, eager, anxious, nervous... you name it! I think the only thing I'm worried about is not eating meat for two weeks. However, I have a funny feeling that my body will thank me for the break.

When I think about this trip I feel they'll be something liberating about not having my phone, e-mail, and facebook at the tip of my fingers 24 hours a day. They'll be something magical about having time for yoga and meditation without a set schedule of somewhere to be. It's just me time (with a little time set aside to help the kind people out on the farm).

Hopefully we'll all make our way to some volcanoes... maybe even the Galapagos! Rest assured... I'll be taking plenty of pictures and will most likely blog about it when I either have internet access or when I get back! :-)

Anyway family... just thought I'd share their website with you and with luck I'll be coming back rejuvenated, refreshed, and ready to tackle my life head on, full force and with loads of vigor and passion!

http://www.rhiannon-community.org

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What Makes A New Yorker?

In three days I'll happily be celebrating my 4 year anniversary living in the city that never sleeps. Naturally, this momentous occasion contributes to my curious nature. What makes a person a New Yorker?

My perception on this topic has gone through a few transformations. At first, I claimed the city simply by saying I lived here and that's enough to make me a New Yorker. Alas, that wasn't enough. Yelling at cabs, flipping off the drivers and going as far as to hit their cars on the hood if they attempted to drive in front of me when I have the walk sign was my next move. Certainly, it was done many many times (and still is today). That contributed to my New Yorkness.

Riding the subway and body checking people who try and get on before you get off.
Ordering grocery delivery well past midnight.
Helping give directions or yelling at tourists who insist on stopping right in front of me as I'm walking.
Loving pizza and walking across Brooklyn Bridge to hit that ice cream place and go to Jacque Torres.
Wearing high heals on streets marked with put holes.
Hating Times Square but loving the West VIllage.
Broadway, Off-Broadway, off-off broadway...

The qualities are obviously extensive... but given the recent days of heat which have been far worse than anything I ever experienced in South Florida... my brain can only produce this mini-list. Suffice it to say... the biggest thing I've learned is that New Yorkers are seriously misunderstood people. We're not mean. We're not rude. We have this horribly bad rap all around the world yet when I talk to tourists they constantly tell me how nice New Yorkers are. When they say this to me I always reply by saying "New Yorkers are only mean and rude to people who are psycho or stupid". This undoubtedly always gets a laugh... but in all seriousness... it's 100% true.

I'm proud to be a New Yorker. I'm proud to have had the life lessons that New York and New York alone could give me along with the experiences that could only take place here. The Naked Cowboy, Shakespeare in the Park, Fireworks from several different barges, 150 people doing Yoga in Bryant Park... More importantly... I'm exceedingly happy to make it official!

Happy Anniversary, New York. I love you!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

There are no words...

There's a saying... something about it's not final till it's etched in stone. I never really understood that until now. I have no words. Just pictures and a solemn and saddened heart.





It should be noted that dads gravestone is appropriately the only one of it's kind in the entire cemetery... I guess we wanted to make sure that he was always the center of attention.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

An Appropriate Re-post



This weekend has been amazing! I've watched one of my dearest friends get married to the love of her life and to be perfectly honest I've never been so inspired by the perfection of a moment like this before. She looked incredibly happy... happier than I'd ever seen her and although I feel that her wedding is blog worthy... it's not the sole reason for this particular addition today.
As I'm riding on the Bolt Bus on my way back to NYC I'm reflecting on the importance of today. It's fathers day. An otherwise routine holiday for most has become a day filled with thoughts and memories of what was and what could've been for me. When dad was alive I feel like we would kind of compete to see who would call him first. It was always Sam of course because Sam for some reason finds it incredibly appropriate to call people before the sun has risen simply because he's awake. So I think today, as I remember dad for his humor and heart, that it's inevitable that I should re-post a blog that I wrote for him 2 years ago. Although I know he's gone, I still feel his presence in my life.
Dad, I'm sure I speak for all of us when I say that we miss you very much and hopefully you're in a place where you're filled with unlimited happiness and love. Please continue to remind us that you're still with us although perhaps you could stop messing with the electronics in moms house ;-)

All my love,
Cookie


So it's that time of the year when we all come together to celebrate our fathers and all the wonderful attributes they've added to our lives.  For those of you lucky enough to have met my dad, you know exactly why it is I have turned out the way that I am.  

My dad is, to say the least, a character.  Let me clue you in a bit.  About three years ago (or so...i can't remember now), we decided to get a new puppy.  Now my dad wanted to name this wonderful addition to our lives Dick.  He thought it would be nice to invite people over to pet his Dick.  :-)  Funny, right?  Which by the way, we didn't give the dog that name... for some reason it didn't suit him.  That, or my mom said no.  His name is Simba and I adore him!  

My dad without a doubt taught me how important it is to laugh.  Joking is something that you will find emanates throughout my house and not a single family dinner goes by without it.  Whether it's lovingly teasing someone, telling a joke, or simply him spilling his drink (which happens just about every dinner as well), we all get in a great laugh when dad is around.  One of the greatest laughing memories is when we were having a conversation and he said "barping and furting" as opposed to burping and farting.  One of those "had to be there" moments... and certainly one of the best!  

My dad taught me the necessity of music in my life.  No matter what is going on, he is constantly singing, humming, or whistling.  There is a tune in my dads heart that is on continuous play.  He loves to blast music throughout the house and to this day plays our old jukebox that he had from years of owning a sports bar.  Dad always used to tell me to find a man who sings all the time and it's definitely one of my most sought after attributes.  Dad's song, is what inspires me to sing.  I'm positive my music abilities come from him.  He has one of those swanky Frank Sinatra type voices... it's very nice!  He is also a great Organ player!  

My dad has taught me (or is still trying to) the importance of a dollar.  Not an easy thing to teach a girl who loves to shop.  But I know that I'm getting better at it.  He taught me how to drive (also, not an easy thing to teach a girl who loves to speed), how to work a room, and how to flip the bird.  I learned when I was 2 and have been using it happily ever since.  

When I was younger we used to go to Carvel for ice cream allot.  Those were some of my favorite childhood memories..

The absolute most important thing that my dad has taught me is forgiveness.  We have definitely had our rough patches.  And the more I think about it, the more I know that the reason we've butted heads as often as we have is because we are insanely alike in personality.  Not really a bad thing, but for two stubborn Italians, it just doesn't work out some times.  I know though that our bond is very strong and even if we're infuriated at each other, we still love each other deeply.  How can I not forgive the man who taught me how to laugh and sing?   

I'd like to take this time to mention that finding a good picture of my dad and I is close to impossible.  But the picture that I've added is actually one of my favorites of him because he just looks so damn happy!  It's with him, my mother, and my nephew Frankie on the tire swing that my dad put up especially for him.  

As for the video, when I was a little girl, my dad and I used to sing this song together.  It should be known that I was very sick as a baby, and the fact that I'm still here today is a miracle.  So at that point in my life, me singing this song with him was very special.  This, is "our song".  

Dad, your love and dedication to me out weigh any tiff we've ever had.  And my love for you is stronger and more deep rooted than you'll ever know.  You have made a positive and lasting impression upon my life and I know no matter how far apart we are,  our hearts and minds are with each other.  Remember that I love you... "enough".  





There are two other dads in my life that I'd like to pay a small tribute to as well.  My brothers are both fathers.  Each with one child and another on the way.  There are no words to express how incredibly proud I am of the two of you and certainly throughout the years you both will positively impact the lives of your children.  I know my life would not be the same without you in it.  I love you!!!  

PS-Hi mom! :-)  

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Oh to be brave...


Recently, I've been thinking a lot about what it means to be brave. How sometimes in the moments that we're brave we don't even realize it's what we're doing. Making the decision to move to NY was probably the bravest thing I've ever done. I uprooted myself from my entire family, my friends, and at the time what was an amazing relationship. That was brave. But there are so many other moments of bravery that fly by like light breezes... here one second and gone the next. Being brave enough to walk past the projects every day for work or even brave enough to give your number to that random guy who made you smile all night... it seems to me that this type of bravery, the bravery that lies in the every day choices that we make is the type that molds, guides, and informs our lives.

Why have I been thinking about bravery, you ask? Good question. I'm not sure. Most likely because I feel that the choices I'm making in my life right now in this very moment will dictate the course of my future. I'm not just talking career but also relationships... being single in NY is not easy and to be honest I feel like the only people who say that are the ones who aren't looking for something serious. Of course it'd be easy if all I wanted was a fling... there's eye candy every where! Alas... that's not what I want... never really has been. Even friendships... it's difficult to figure out who to trust... and trust takes major bravery.

If I were to take a step back from my life right now... I'd look at what was going on and wonder if I'm being brave enough. Am i? Probably not. I'm sure there are choices that I've failed to make or things I've said no to where perhaps I should've just gone for it. It's no good to look at the past though... the things that could've been are long gone and what's left is the road before us... the road that leads hopefully down a path towards success (which is a completely different blog... suffice it to say that success always seems to change as perspective does). No longer do I wish to take the easy road or even the easy way out... but I want to climb like hell to reach the top of the mountain... I want to fight for the things I believe in... the things I've always held dear to my heart; my family, the safety and education of all young people... love. I just hope in the great scheme of things that dad is up there brewing up an amazing concoction of a wonderful future for me...

From this moment on... no more regrets. I'll speak my heart... I'll take big risks... even if I look like a fool doing it which knowing me and my tendency towards sillyness it's an inevitability. I'll be brave. I guess the question now is... will you be brave?

"For all sad words of tongue and pen, The saddest are these, “It might have been”."
JGW

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork...



As it's the end of the school year my room is inevitably full of paper work. What better day to go through it all then today... a day where for the first time in the past 4 years I've lived here we're under a tornado warning. I think it's pretty safe to say I'm not going outside.

Going through paper work always leaves me with a nostalgic feeling. To see the journey of where we began to now through sign in sheets and lesson plans each of them barring their own significant memories. Times like when my middle schoolers spent entire clubs practicing for a performance only to have it cancelled because of a snow storm. Days catered to getting that one boy who never participated (but always showed up) to be an active member of club. Apparently, the key there was to bring in lots of stage combat... who would have thought fake fighting was the way to his heart. Clubs spent discussing violence in neighborhoods, bullying, suicide and sex with energetic teenage girls whose opinions were very strong and shockingly diverse. Rounding out the year with such an eclectic array of lessons and time spent with these young people definitely makes it perfectly understandable as to why I'm a bit tired. No need to fret there... my much anticipated vacation is mere 5 weeks away!

While going through the mountain of papers in my room I came across a poem written by one of my teenagers. At the time, I remember being so touched by her words and how they closely relate to the reasons behind the work I do, that I asked her to give me a copy. Hidden in between sign in sheets I found it once again and I feel it's so beautiful and thought provoking that it's worth sharing with the blog world. And by blog world I basically mean my family because I have no doubt that they're the only ones reading this. :-)

It's title is "In The Eyes of a Lost Child" and although I don't feel safe leaving the name of the young lady who wrote it... in order to give her credit I've simply put her initials below the work. Certainly, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do and maybe it'll inspire you in the same ways it inspires me.

IN THE EYES OF A LOST CHILD

Looking from the eyes of a lost child
Who needs warmth and wisdom to guide them
What do they do?
Hardships and struggles are on their mind
No love, no family, no memories are placed in sight
They're lost
In a world that is hard to cope with
But they're strong
They keep taking the beatings of life
No dreams, no hopes, no future
Where am I? one would say
Where am I going? another would say
Every day they wake up not knowing
If they'll make it to another day
It's either the hunger will kill them,
The loneliness,
Or the burning passion of hate growing inside them
Can't cry anymore?
All their tears have dried
Can't they save themselves?
Who knows?
Can you?
Of course you can
But will you?
Now that's up to you
But always remember...
To try to look through the eyes of a lost child...

ZBO

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Dedication


It's so hard to believe that it's been almost two years since I've posted a blog...

...Two years... a LOT has happened in that amount of time. Two years filled with happiness and heartache alike, two years filled with laughter and tears, two years filled with life and death. It comes as no surprise to me that this week is the week I decide to write once more... and what a week it's been. This week has proven to me that I made the right choice when I decided to stay in NYC. This week has given me hope that the path I've taken is leading me in the direction of change that I've aspired to make in the world; to help change the world one kid at a time knowing that if their worlds are changed it will contribute to them taking the steps necessary in changing the worlds of those around them creating a beautiful domino effect of change. Because change is a choice I teach them that choices + actions = consequences (thank you Augusto Boal).

My jobs consist of working with an array kids some who are unprivileged, homeless or who come from the foster care system. These kids have seen it all, heard it all, and nothing phases them. So when I first set off to teach this particular group I worked with, I honestly had no idea what to expect. Will they like me? Will I be able to relate to them? What can I possibly teach them? These are the questions that fluttered in my mind as I walked past the street filled with Albanian mafia members standing next to their Mercedes Benz' and Lexus'. These questions remained unanswered as I continued past the housing projects that are just one block away from the school. It's the first time in a long time that I was truly acutely aware of my whiteness.

As the weeks went on, I learned more and more about these amazing girls who decided to join my club. They were strong, resilient, and although they confessed that they thought I was weird at first they continued to come back week after week, club after club. Now we're at the end of our road, and I could not be sadder about it. I keep wondering if I did enough. If there was something else I could've done to make sure that my message of seeing life through a positive lens sunk in.

This very last week of club my girls told me that I made a positive impact on their lives. Me of all people! I couldn't really believe it only because in the beginning I was so unsure of how I would even get along with these kids! Some of them were crying so of course I had to do everything I could to not cry and they continued to tell me that they really appreciated how I would take whatever problem they were facing and give it a positive spin, find a way in which it was something that was good for them, making it an experience to learn from. It was incredibly moving.

These girls taught me that the roughest neighborhoods house some of the most beautiful souls I've met, that although they're tough exterior may proceed them it doesn't make up who they are and that the work I'm doing is valuable and appreciated. These girls also taught me how teenagers' opinions on important topics such as sex education in schools or violence in schools can be varied and valuable. I had never really had such conversations with teenagers before this group came into my life so I was surprised when their opinions didn't match up and how just by listening to each other they opened their eyes to different points of view.

Girls, if your reading this... I am so honored and touched that you allowed me into your lives, opened up your hearts, and shared your thoughts and opinions with me. I will undoubtedly miss you to pieces and will constantly be sending you every ounce of good vibes I have. You deserve amazing lives and through perseverance, dedication, and love you're bound to have them! Keep your chins up during times of struggle and heartache and remember that YOU are special and if at the time you don't feel special know that you'll ALWAYS be special to me!

"Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties."

PS-The picture at the top of the blog is of a poster that was made during club today together with the art club. The art club painted the Leadership logo and the girls colored and wrote in the papers that say "leadership has taught me". Good times!