Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Let's Catch Up Blog

Hey everyone!

So the time has come for me to update my blog thoroughly and fully as I would have liked to have been doing consistently throughout this year, but alas my crazy schedule that I gave myself didn't allow me to. There is no time like the present so here goes a semesters worth of thoughts, experiences, reflections, and thanks to those who have contributed to my persona. I do not know how long this blog is going to get, but for your (the reader's) convenience I am going to have subtitles for each section I'm going to talk about to make it easier to navigate through, and you can bypass the parts you don't want to read...although I'm sure you'll want to read all of it, right?

The Big Accomplishment:

So I guess that is the big news in my life at the moment is... I GRADUATED FROM COLLEGE!! A journey that wouldn't have been possible without so many people. Many of whom will be mentioned later in the blog. My time at CSUN seems to have blown by and be filled with many amazing memories. 5 years well spent exploring and figuring out a little bit more of who I am, and where I am going. It was a great close to a wonderful chapter, and now I'm one of over 200,000 ALUMNI!!!
So I've graduated college and there's only one question that comes out of anybody that you tell you've just graduated (and my fellow recent graduates and college senior know what I'm talking about). What are you going to do now? Up until one week ago this question really freaked me out because I didn't have a real answer for it. I had applied to teach in Spain, but didn't have any definitive answer. Up until the last year and a half I was so sure of my path into an LAUSD class room as an elementary school teacher, and the closer I got to graduation the less I knew what I wanted to do with my life (as you have read in previous posts about new law school aspirations). It's definitely a scary feeling when you're future is uncertain, but I have a little bit more time to worry about it because the next 1-3 years of my life are set. I'M GOING TO MADRID!! On May 27, 2011 I woke up in my Reseda apartment, checked my email, and there was the message I'd been waiting for since NOVEMBER!! I got placed! I literally screamed in my apartment, and immediately accepted the position. The position is with a program between the Spanish and United States to help teachers in Spain K-12 schools with English, and other subjects. I'm excited, nervous, anxious, scared, and thrilled all at once. It's going to be a pain to finish the process to get there, but alas there an adventure that awaits me :)

My New York Adventure

For those of you who don't know, I took a trip to NYC during Spring Break to celebrate my birthday, last Spring Break as an undergrad, and as a reunion for my AArmy friends who I met while I was studying abroad in Puerto Rico. Those ten days are going to forever going to be in my memory as a fantastic experience. For the full effect, you can see a photo book I created two entries down.
It really was the trip of a lifetime. I scheduled the 10 day trip- over extending my 7 day Spring break. It was a really interesting time because in addition to balancing out all of the exploring that I had to do since it was my first time in NYC/East Coast, I also had to work on my million and one projects/papers/studying/readings. This is because realistically I couldn't take 10 days off and not do any work, so I had to take my laptop and library books along with. So I get to New York 3pm and bravely decide to trek through the New York Subway system to my absolutely wonderful friend Joyanet's apartment. An hour and a half, and 3 trains later I arrived to the right stop by a miracle. I had the directions on my email of my phone, which I thought would stay open, but as soon as I lost reception on the subway the app closed. So I did it all on MEMORY!! It was a very proud moment lol. Once I was at the stop I was waiting for Joy to come get me so that we could walk to her apartment together and I kept getting super strange looks from people (and all with good reason...I was wearing flip-flops). Now to defend my choice of footwear, I must say that I did have my tennis shoes in my back pack ready to go. I hate having to take off and put on my shoes when I'm at the airport, so I wear the flip-flops to make the process easier. The original plan was to wear the flip-flops til I got to NYC and then change them once I got to JFK, but when I got there, the weather wasn't really as bad as I had expected cold East coast weather to be, so I kept them on. Needless to say I definitely got those "Ugh, a tourist" looks as I was standing outside of H&M.
The next few days were filled with great exploring and much needed relaxation. I ate real New York cheesecake (Chocolate Mousse!), and watched a few movies, studied at the New York public library. I met some great people through my friend Joy as well as I got to catch up with some extended family members on the East Side. I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art with my Aunt Leslie, which is generally a $20 suggested donation (they even have big signs at the front making it seem as if this $20 is mandatory). Leslie and I get out $5 each ready and waiting in line. Leslie goes first and gives her the $5 bill, the attendant asks how many, and Leslie quickly responds "Two." The look on the girls face was pretty hilarious, so off we went inside to explore. In the museum we went to Britain, China, Asia, and Egypt (and got lost in all of the exhibits). That museum is so large you probably could go at least 3 times and not see everything. We were excited once we were able to find the exit. From there we ventured around, until we met up with my cousin Monica in the evening. It was a heartfelt meeting because Leslie and Monica hadn't seen each other in probably over 10 years. It made me feel really special to take part in that wonderful moment. We then went looking for these wonderful mini cupcakes, getting lost again, til we found them, and headed to a movie. It was pretty funny because both Leslie and Monica had the same reaction with the cupcakes "where's the rest of it?" haha they were pretty mini.
I also got to share another great experience with Leslie...going to a BROADWAY musical!!! We saw Avenue Q, which I thought was absolutely funny/wonderful/amazing. My old roommate Beylah and her boyfriend Chris had mentioned this show to me earlier, and so I wanted to check it out. If you've talked to me at all since I've been back from this trip I'm pretty sure I've mention some sort of reference to this show I fell in love with it (enough to buy the soundtrack and vocal sheet music). If you have a chance to see Avenue Q-- GO SEE IT (CSUN Theatre Dept. Spring 2012)
The next day on my birthday the rest of the AArmy crew arrived (Ricky, Isabel, and Treavor), a sweet reunion since we last saw each other in December 2009. Right from the beginning it was one adventure after the other. We had to find parking for Ricky's car, which is extremely tricky on the upper east side Manhattan (and I'm sure everywhere else too). Isabel and I had a great spot marked as we were waiting for the boys to come with the car from the parking garage. They had found a spot, and called to see if we had one that was closer and we said "We got a great one." As they come around the corner, and ask us if it where we were standing is the spot, they show us the fire hydrant that is like 5 feet away from us.(No wonder people weren't fighting us for the spot). So we went off looking again for a spot. Once settled we hopped on a train to head to the Yankee game we had planned to go to, only to find that the $5 tickets we planned on getting had sold out 20 minutes earlier and the cheapest tickets we could get were sold out and the cheapest we could get were $60 tickets to a game that had already started. With some luck and some quick thinking we were able to get into the game, explore the stadium and witness a Yankee win!
The rest was exploring non-stop.Wall street, Times Square, Top of the Rock, Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, we even went into FAO Schwarts which has the Big Piano from the Movie Big with Tom Hanks. I totally wanted to get on it, but the only people there were like 4 and 5 year olds so I figured it would be inappropriate, and only took a picture of the sign instead.
Our biggest adventure though, came on our way to my birthday dinner. We were off to get some mofongo (traditional dish from Puerto Rico) in Washington Heights. The subway station that we were at (181st St.) doesn't have any stairs, the subway is 18 stories from the ground floor, so the only way out is the elevator. So we get into the elevator 28 of us in there total (7 from the AArmy crew). We start heading up and about a minute in we just sort of stop. One lady that is in there with us quickly makes a joke about, "Sorry guys, but I always get stuck in elevators..." We all sort of laugh it off the elevator operator pushes a few buttons we move a few feet, and then we stop again. Not two minutes after we stop the same girl starts freakin' out hyperventilating and tellin' us she's gonna get charged extra for picking up her son late from daycare. The elevator operator calls the central office to tell them that we are stuck, and they say they are on it. Without any more information than "We are taking care of it," people start freaking out. We didn't know how long we were going to be in there for (almost 2 hours), and it was hot (people were layered because of the cold weather outside, which made it more uncomfortable). The one thing that made me the most irritated was the older couple standing behind me. The lady kept bugging her husband to see what was going on so every 10 minutes he would ask the attendant "What are you doing to remedy the situation?", when we all saw the same thing--she called the main office and help was on the way. Finally, the woman tells the attendant "You don't understand, you're not understanding, you have to help us, you have educated people on this elevator..." lol. Just had to bite my tongue on that one... We also had a 9 year old girl with us who started to freak out along the way, we had her calmed down for a bit, but when everyone started freaking out and banging on the elevator walls it just set off the whole panic attack. The firefighters came to rescue us, as we had to climb a ladder through the roof of the elevator and jump through to the elevator next door. We survived the experience, I admire Rachel for doing it in heels. As horrible as it sounds, I didn't find it that bad, my friends and I were mostly just talking and joking with each other making the experience a little more bearable, and we're famous! NBC, ABC, CBS, Good Morning America, Univision, all had our story, check out the Huffington Post article at this link.
The remainder of our time together went by so quickly. A tipsy Saturday and a wardrobe malfunction leading me to trip over my pants and land right in the middle of the dance floor, a Walk through Central Park, finishing my homework assignment that was due before I got back to Cali, eating an absolutely delicious meal at Serendipity, taking a cab, a waste of money play (NEVER GO SEE A PERFECT MURDER), and a perfect night in Times Square.
I really did fall in love with New York City, and could possibly see myself there for a short while...all that blizzard stuff is kind of a turn off haha. I guess we'll just have to wait for the right opportunity to take a bite into the big apple.

My Improv Fam

New York was one of the things that awoke my need to get back in the performing scene (Glee contributed significantly as well haha), but one other thing that helped me get back into the groove was improv. This semester I was fortunate enough to be able to enroll in an improv class, 6 hours a week, 6 hours of escape from meetings, papers, agendas, books, 6 hours of laughter and creativity. I never would have imagined myself as a person who would take part in comedy world, since show tunes are my forte, but in the summer of 2008 I was looking for that escape from the books and landed in an improv improv class at Antelope Valley College. It turns out I'm kind of good at it (debatable...judge for from this semester's final here).
To be honest I was really nervous to come into the improv class at CSUN. It was a class that required the teacher's permission, and an audition (I knew I was an OKAY improviser, but was I really good enough to compete with all of these people who were theatre). Audition came and went and little by little the 26 of us became an improv troupe. The strangers we were at the beginning allowed the ice to melt with our games like scorpion and fruit basket. We became different people when we did our scenes, but I think we were able to let loose most during the lip-sync *click for mine*.
I think that by the end of the class we were like a little family. I feel so appreciative of the fact that I had the opportunity to work with such talented people who have decided to dedicate their lives to an art that brings such joy. It makes me think at times that I took the "easy way out" by sticking to the books instead of the stage (cause I'd still more than anything would love to be on Broadway), but I guess a valuable lesson I've learned with these wonderful individuals is that it's not too late, and maybe I will hit a big break and be "ONE! Singular" I really think I'm going to be looking for auditions in the future :)
The final for our class was a fun and bittersweet experience. We had fun because there is a kind of adrenaline that takes over when you are performing in front of an audience that doesn't know what to expect, and it was bittersweet because our experience together spending 6 hours a week for 16 weeks ended. Dinner at Chilli's was a cherry on top to a semester full of Cathys & Katherines and the many variations that come along with it, questions and statements, the ghetto kindergartners, and the fierce competition to be the winner of Story, Story DIE!

My spot in the History Department is History...

The History Department at CSUN since I started working there in September 2007 has been a home for me. Almost four years of answering phones, making coffee, putting the mail where it's supposed to go, making appointments for advisement, delivering important documents, copying/scanning books, shredding, inputting grades, and other miscellaneous tasks. This was only my second "real" job (2nd to working at the bookstore as a cashier 2 semesters), and not only did it teach me to do all of these clerical duties, but I feel that my experience here extends far beyond the coffee beans and copy machine. Through this "in" I learned more than I could imagine about how the university works and an insight a potential career path for me.
As I cleared out my desk, it was hard to leave something that had been so familiar for so long, one of the few things that were stable during my college journey. This job saved me from a great worry about money, and provided some wonderful mentors. My little office in ST 610 will always be dear to me, as one of the building blocks of my character. :)

Undoubtedly Awesome
University Ambassadors

This year I was blessed to be the President of the University Ambassadors. It was a task I was so nervous about taking, having sort of fallen into to position with the rest of my e-board as the only ones running for the spots, but we sure pulled it together in a year full of transitions. I lived and breathed ambassadors this year starting from meeting every week last summer in order to make an awesome retreat (which we did). Transition from an E-board with experienced members to five first timers, transition from our beloved advisor to another who will unleash much potential. I learned more than I expected this year, which has been a great privilege. We got a glimpse into the professional world as one of the interview committees for the Assistant Director Position for Student Outreach and Recruitment, and all of the professional perks of being able to network with all of the "VIPs".
I've said this during my speeches during banquet, and to various individuals about the program, but I'll say it here so it's in print FOREVER haha... I'm truly grateful to the great organization of Ambassadors that as cliche as it sounds...has brought me life long friends. Because of UA I have created relationships that will go beyond the CSUN walls and venture off to exciting places.
I can only hope that I too have made an impact on others in the organization as well as the program itself because I really gave my all as soon as the title of President was handed to me. Once an ambassador, always an ambassador.


The stepping stone to what I am today, lies in an organization created by a group of ladies in Berkeley 1994. Last year at the XV celebration I was honored to be the student speaker to tell about my journey through Hermanas, and what it has done for me. This year my participation in hermanas really wasn't at all what I had anticipated, but I've learned that those obstacles aren't going to hold me back from giving to the organization that helped a lonely freshman girl in 2007 become a college graduate.
5 years, countless social and community service events, 8 retreats, 7 littles, a bunch of study hours, plenty of fundraisers later, and one scholarship later is the ORIGINAL Cathy with a B.A. and determination to use what she learned through this organization to spread the hermandad :)

My CAUSistas

CAUSA was the first organization that I branched to after I joined HAU. I wanted to be a part of it because it was a chance to get to know people that had similar background as I did. I didn't have to explain to them what a pupusa was. What I didn't know is that I bargained for another group of great friends and memories that make me smile. I learned so much about the Central American culture and history, and I know that through the CAUSA I am more aware about issues, and am able to make an impact in my community.


So I know that this ended up being a super long blog, and I thank those of you who have made it down to the end. It' is kind of like you have made it next to me through this journey that I've had these last five years, and especially the rough waters that were crossed this year (2 presidencies, 19 units, 3 capstone classes). There are so many individuals that I could thank, but then again that would take a lot more space than I've already used, but I guess I'll close with one big thanks to my professors who challenged and supported me, to my friends who have listened and given me a great time, and to my family for giving me the motivation to keep going to make you proud #6 has a B.A.- It's your turn :)

Thanks again for reading, Comments are always appreciated.

La Presidenta (Ahh I have to figure out what I'm going to do with my email signature!! :0/)

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