Life After College

Happy birthday, Grandpa. šŸŽ‚

Happy birthday, Grandpa.

I missed you a little extra today.

I miss you every day. I think about you a lot on my commutes to and from work. Because the sun is eternally in my eyes for the first 15 minutes of my drive (and depending on how late I come home, the last 15, too). It reminds of the times I used to run to play in your garden with the sun in my eyes.

And you were there. In your hat. Weeding and spreading the compost and pruning and trimming. And sharing the fresh fruits and veggies with me and whoever else was around. I still smell tomatoes at the store because they remind me of you. I hope your garden in Heaven is as fruitful.

We miss you. You’d be really proud. Ali graduated. She looked like a grown-up, but she’s still the goofy girl you love.

And Joe John’s good. He just got cleared to play football again. Apparently, his knee is totally healed up and he’s better than ever. And he just got confirmed, which is crazy because I feel like I just blinked and he turned into a man.

Julibug is good, too. Her head still hurts, but I think it’ll go away soon now that school is over.

And I’m good. Working. Trying to make everyone proud. The usual.

Keep watching over us, okay? Because we need it, probably more than we know.

I love you.

Happy birthday.


My momā€™s dad was diagnosed with Alzheimerā€™s about eight or nine years ago.Ā On August 4, 2016, he passed away in the nursing home peacefully. He leaves behind an amazing legacy of children and grandchildren, and through us, he will live on. He instilled the values of hard work and persistence in all of us and he will be greatly missed. So while we mourn his passing, we rejoice in the fact that he has found peace and know he will watch over all of us, however far we may go.

Life After College

The Ones Who Love Us…

The ones who love us never really leave us; you can always find them in here.

-J.K Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

This week, the world lost a great man. A strong man. A man who valued hard work and instilled it in his kids and grandkids. And he is finally, finally at peace.

Today, in the most Alvarez-style I’ve ever seen, we had a party. And if anyone tries to tell me he wasn’t with us today, I’d explain how wrong that sentiment is.

He was there, with his wife, looking at the legacy they built, from the ground up when they moved to the United States from Colombia.

He was there, in his son who was grilling and wearing a hat and out of the corners of all our eyes looked just like him.

He was there in his grandsons who are the spitting image of him at their age.

He was there in his granddaughters who were content to sit and enjoy the outside.

He was there in his great-granddaughters who love to garden and spent the day in the pool.

He was there in every laugh at every joke and in the music we played a little too loud and in the smiles we shared.

He was there in the sun and the breeze and the silver lining in the clouds.

He was in our hearts and all around us. He always will be.

And he was proud.

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My momā€™s dad was diagnosed with Alzheimerā€™s about eight or nine years ago. On August 4, he passed away in the nursing home peacefully. He leaves behind an amazing legacy of children and grandchildren, and through us, he will live on. He instilled the values of hard work and persistence in all of us and he will be greatly missed. So while we mourn his passing, we rejoice in the fact that he has found peace and know he will watch over all of us, however far we may go.

Life After College

We’re All Human, Aren’t We?

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As usual, when life gets too stressful to handle (or too hectic or too mundane or a lot of other things), I turn to my favorite books to cope: Harry Potter. For me, it’s like hanging out with an old friend, but my stories about books can wait for another time.

Since I read Harry Potter while I was in London, I’ve read all seven books at least once a semester, sometimes twice, and always over the summer.Ā As graduation was a stressful time, happy, of course, but stressful too, I naturally turned to my old friends to get me through the sleepless nights. Last week, I finished reading them.

Every time I read them, I find something newly applicable to the world. Something that was there beforeĀ but didn’t really click until now. I’ve read all these words many times, but every time, something different sticks.

This time, it was a quote from Kingsley in the Deathly Hollows.

[Here come some spoilers.]

So in this scene, Harry, Ron, and Hermione are on the run and they finally manage to tune into Potterwatch, the illegal, underground radio station dedicated to telling the news like it is and encouraging people to do what is good and right. All the people involved have code names, because who wants to go to Azkaban, right. Kingsley is called Royal and he’s encouraging the wizarding community to protect Muggles (non-wizards) in addition to each other. So here comes the scene, straight out of the book:

“What would you say, Royal, to those listeners who reply that in these dangerous times, it should be ‘Wizards first’?” asked Lee.

“I’d say that it’s one short step from ‘Wizards first’ to ‘Purebloods first’ and then to ‘Death Eaters,'” replied Kingsley. “We’re all human, aren’t we? Every human life is worth the same, and worth saving.”

-Rowling, 440

In light of what happened in Orlando, and what seems to keep happening around the world, I pose the same question.Ā We’re all human, aren’t we?Ā I don’t understand why bad things happen. It doesn’t make sense to me. But I do see the outpouring of love and support and I have faith that love and goodness will have to win.

We are all human, plain and simple. In times of great joy we should celebrate with each other and in times of tragedy we should mourn and support each other.

My prayersĀ and those of so many others are with the families of those involved in the tragedy in Orlando. Additionally, I’m thinking of and praying for the first responders and people of Orlando as they struggle to understand the senselessness of this act.

College Lessons and Things

Nostalgia

As I sit here tonight, knowing in less than 48 hours I will walk the stage, I look around my room and can’t help but laugh. It’s a disaster and my dad will be here tomorrow to help me move and I couldn’t even bring myself to start packing today. I couldn’t even start the tidying-up process. I have shoes and clothes everywhere. I didn’t do laundry yet. My kitchen isn’t clean. There’s paperwork all over my table that needs to be sorted through (and probably thrown away). And it occurs to me that as silly as it is, maybe I didn’t do any of thoseĀ things today because I don’t feel like I’m ready to leave.

I’ve spent the last four years living on this campus. I spent the last four semesters in this apartment. This has been the place I’ve called home for the better part of four years. And tomorrow (or today, because it’s the crazy late middle of the night) I’m moving most of my stuff into a new home.

This week didn’t go like I planned. Today didn’t go like I planned. Like the rest of life, the last four years have come with their own set of trials and tribulations, but it definitely wasn’t bad.

This week I was talking to a friend, a guy I met in College Algebra freshman year many, many moons ago, and we were laughing about the crazy professor we had. The stories he told us, in the middle of his sentence explaining the math problems. The random ramblings of a crazy man who stuck a wrench in a freezer at Walmart. And we laughed. Hard. I remember how much I hated that class because I was so bored and it was at 8 a.m. and no one wants to do math, even if they are good at it, at 8 a.m. But he was right when he told me I’d miss those days.

In four years, I’ve grown. I’ve grown to make mistakes and learn from them (or in some cases, just learned how to better deal with making the same mistake over and over again; it’s part of my charm). I’ve grown from a goofy high school kid to a goofy almost grown up. I’ve grown to learn that sometimes you just need to call it good for the night and try again after sleep. And I’ve grown to learn that my decisions are my own.

UMHB, the campus, my apartment, has been aĀ home for four years. And now I’m ready to make a new place a home. But before that, tonight and tomorrow, I get to feel nostalgia for the memories I made and the friends I shared them with.

College Lessons and Things

And there it goes…

It occurred to me last night that I am not only into single digit class days, but I only hadĀ to attend three more classes before graduation. I can count those on my fingers. That’s how close to graduation I am. And then this morning I went to one of those classes. So now, I’m down to two.

Graduation is terrifyingly close, but it’s so exciting at the same time. And then I wonder what happened to my college years. Where did they go?

Four years ago, I was preparing to graduate high school. I was thrilled to begin college. I was ready to be done with petty high school drama. I was nervous, of course, because college was a totally different beast, but this is what I spent 12 years of school preparing for. I was ready.

Three years ago, I wondered where my freshman year went. I was thrilled to begin my summer vacation a month earlier than my family. I was ready to live, if only for a semester, with my best friend. I was nervous about the prospect of studying in London six months later, but I was ready. I just did a whole year of college on my own. Could three months in London really be that different? I was ready.

Two years ago, I came home from London, changed for the better. I officially decided to declare my major. I was thrilled to come back to a job I loved in the fall. I was entering the second half of my college career with no idea what my plans were, but that didn’t phase me. Life was going to sort itself out and I would be ready.

One year ago, I realized I needed to start figuring things out (like getting a driver’s license) so I could get things together in terms of internships to graduateĀ because all of a sudden, graduation looked much closer than it had. So I spent the summer working on thatĀ because that was step one and I wanted to be ready when fall came.

Half a year ago, still without a driver’s license, I was pretending everything was fine. Graduation is still a long time away. Plus, there were only nine hours left to complete my degree. I’d take those, I’d do my three internships, it would all work out fine and I would be ready.

And today. Today, it did work out fine. I am taking the nine remaining hours and I am almost done with my internships. But today, I also wonder where the last four years went, because I don’t feel ready.

Real grown-ups always talk about how life just passes you by if you let it. They talk about enjoying every day. When you’re a kid, you don’t really understand. Every day seems like a lifetime. And then you start college (and enter a time warp) and all of a sudden you get it. All of a sudden, the years just pass you by. One day it’s January and the next it’s April. And you’ve blinked, and there goes college.

Time for the real world. I’m [almost] ready.

Other Stuff

No New Me

Every year, everyone does the standard new year post about “new year, new me.” And then he or she makes a resolution that lasts about two weeks (until the resolve wears off and life gets in the way, and we fall back into our bad habits). This year, that isn’t for me.

This year isn’t about a new me. It’s about growing into myself. The young woman I already am and who I’m becoming.

2015 was a long year. It was a good year, but it was a hard year. There was a lot of devastation this year, and not just in my personal life. There were natural disasters and man-made disasters. There was a lot of unnecessary loss of life and a lot of fighting over silly stuff.

2016Ā holds many opportunities for me. I’m going to graduate. I’m going to have to get my life together and be a real grown up. And I’m going to begin the path to fulfilling my potential and leaving my mark on the world.

So, no new me this year. Just me. And the beginning of a new year. And a clean slate.

2015-2016

Writing 101

Uncertainty

Today’s challenge is to use one word as inspiration for your post. There was a list of about six words available for us to choose from, or we could pick something else. Today, I decided I’m going to free write for 15 minutes and then I’ll edit and post and see how that goes. Thanks for your continued interest!

I think uncertainty is part of life and it isn’t always a bad thing.

I’m uncertain about a lot of things in my life. I don’t know what my plans are after graduation in the spring. I just officially declared my major last semester and I still have second thoughts like 12 times a day. This is the part of the semester (you know, the 14 weeks between the first week where I have an A in every class and finals, where I pretend like just passing is acceptable and calculate the minimum grades I need on my finals to pass) where I’m uncertain what my GPA this semester is going to look like, and that’s a scary thought because my scholarships depend on my grades.

And I’m okay with all of that uncertainty because I know I haveĀ someĀ constants, whatever happens; the most important being that I’m surrounded by people who want me to succeed.

My psychology professor this semester keeps talking about planning. The class is called Psychology of Leadership and covers pretty much what it sounds like it would cover. We learn about different leadership styles, explore our own, and learn how we might be better leaders in the future. One of the points the authors of both our textbooks and my professor keep making is that planning, having a vision, is essential for planning for the future which is, in turn, essential to good leadership.

The other day, we were talking about planning and executions of those plans, and she asked for some examples. So I said that I plan on graduating in May, so I have to take all of the appropriate classes to achieve that goal and she wanted to know about my plans after graduation. Well, I don’t actually have those at the moment. And I said as much. And she looked almost personally offended that I don’t have my entire life planned out and that sparked a 20 minute lecture on needing to plan or you’ll end up somewhere you don’t want to be and that’s not a good thing, blah, blah, blah.

Naturally, I came home and told Roseanna and then we laughed about it. And then she told me about one of her professors who has asked them to set goals for themselves and to sit down with her and discuss them and the whole shebang. And she said that everyone has different ideas about long-term and short-term goals. And some long-terms goals might just be getting to graduation. And after that, life might be a big black hole of mystery and dragons.

Basically, as uncertain as I am about so many things in life, I’m enjoying my life as is, even without all the plans. It scares me sometimes that I don’t have it all totally together, but mostly, I’m okay with that. I’m sure (and so is my support system) that I’m going to find my passion and go with it and I won’t know what hit me. And until then, I’m certain I’ll be uncertain and happy with that.