As of right now, I am not just patting myself on the back, but I have written myself a personal cheer because today I broke the my limit of how many people I could direct in 20 minutes. Lets play with some numbers so you have an idea. Today was workshop day, this is the day that poets have signed up to several different workshops like, beat boxing, improv, emotion control etc..all new tools for them to use in their craft. Imagine 500 poets, 15 workshops between two buildings and this was the easy part, because as they all showed up 20 minutes before workshops started and about 450 of them realized they didn’t remember what workshop they signed up for. Me. I am just an intern so I didn’t create the building flow, the plan for everything to go wrong..I just do as I am told. In this case I was told to direct teens from outside to the inside by 1:15. Somehow I managed to create a system to get the line under control. Sadly enough, I didn’t meet my 1:15 deadline, instead I got them all in at 1:20. Good timing in my mind. Good enough to buy me a 15 minute break :)
Once workshops were done and over with we cleaned up all the rooms and headed back to campus. Before I go on I must say how grateful I am for my College Unbound lifestyle. I don’t think I have appreciated sharing a shower with two men so much before the trip. Now that I am sharing showers with a floor full of woman I am super grateful for the axe body wash that exist in my bathroom at home! Its just something not normal about taking a shower in a stall similar to the one that usually has a toilet in it. With all in the drain and ugh toothpaste all over the counter where I have to brush my teeth. Its just inhumane I tell ya.
Besides workshops today I got to walk around off campus for a little bit before I was back on duty which was really fun. Me and my coworker Myles stumbled on frozen yogurt and believe it or not before today I had never had frozen yogurt. So we went in to the shop..which was self serve (fun stuff) and I tried it. Notice the video posted after this blog its kind of funny. Good stuff though every summer I seem to discover a new food, last year it was tomatos ( which I’m still skeptical about) this year it was frozen yogurt. Sounds good to me.
After frozen yogurt we were due back on campus for the MC Olympics, I just want to say that there is a very thin line between poets and rappers. With my background in rapping, I had to get front row seat to this event. Like I said there is a thin line between rappers and poets and tonight proved this to be true. Out of 60 contestants only 11 were good enough to move on to the finals. And me being a female I am happy to say the ladies represented quite well, 4 out of 11 of them were ladies!!!
No tears today :) tomorrow is quarter finals…Im hoping to be in the bouts with Providence and Philly!!! Wish me luck
Random Fun Fact: My favorite instruments are the piano and the saxophone, but I can’t play either. I just really enjoy listening to them!
Ahhh Brave New Voices is here and I managed to get no sleep last night. I had this weird excitement, one similar to the night before a field trip when your in elementary school. Tossing and turning, short dreams about all the things that can go wrong, like oversleeping, missing the bus, getting lost, and not having your permission slip! Yeah thats what last night was for me. But enough about the lack of unconscious mind state last night because today was full of exciting things!
I almost don’t know where to start, these kids were so full of positive energy that nothing in my body would let me yawn. For a little bit of scenery and background, we are all staying on the Berkeley campus of Cal. Which is cool because I get to see a new side of the Bay for four days and I was in dire need of a change of scenery. My first impression of the poets was just…wow…the energy these young people bring is absolutely amazing!! I was in complete awe as the day unraveled, there was rap cyphers, dance circles, chanting sessions, and plenty of hugs!
My job today was to man the workshop registration table, I enjoyed the chance to get to meet every team member personally as they passed by to sign their names. But there was this weird coworker I had managed to acquire somewhere between set-up and lunch. She didn’t have a wrist band because she wasn’t a team member, and she wasn’t staff because I would have seen her somewhere in my 3 weeks prior to BNV. She literally just came from nowhere, she was like a BNV groupie who had been on the Cleveland team before moving to Cali with her mom. Turns out one of the members on the Cleveland team had dropped out and they had an extra bed that she had planned on staying in. As I tell this story do understand that what she did was totally illegal because she was a minor, and I probably should have told staff but I figured she had already fought her way in and it wasn’t my place to put her out. So she stayed and made registration very….intresting, for she had no idea what she was talking about but she wanted to help so what could I do?
To give you an idea of what my day physically looked like check out this time schedule.
6. am- Shower
7.- 8.30 am- Commute from SF to Downtown Berkeley
8.30-9.00am- Check into my room..collect meal card and keys
9.15.-11.45am- Prep tables for registration
11.45- 12.15- Grab boxed lunch from cafeteria and set post
12.15- 5.00pm - Team registration…table 3
5.00-9.00pm- Open Ceremony
9.00-1.00am- Late Night Activities
(So as I write this blog after 1 in the morning please do forgive me if something seems a little off in my structure.)
After registration there was opening ceremony which was cool minus one 40 minute detail. Our keynote speaker was Black Panther Leader Bobby Seal. Let me start with this, I have much respect for the man, but I think his public speaking days are numbered. Let me just put it like this he was scheduled to speak for 15 minutes he spoke for 40 and only about 5 minutes of his speech made sense. Not sure if it was the talk we had in mind for the opening speech but, the kids seemed to enjoy the parts where he cussed so I guess it worked out!
Today was great, and it set BNV off to a running start. For my night cap I went to the open mic for rookies. I thought it would be best to listen to the kids who were at BNV for the first time like myself and because they were all around the age group of my future students next year. Lets just say it gave me quite the marker at how high the bar could/should be set for 8th grade poets. Besides that one of the MCs for the open mic did a poem that brought me to tears. It was the first shed of saline hot streams thus far but it was intense. I look forward to moments like these and not because I enjoy public sobbing but it makes me feel closer to normal. For so long I think people live through adversity thinking its only them, feeling like that one out of a million wondering why the cards were specifically stacked against them. Just made me think about spoken word in a different light. I thought that I just enjoyed the wordplay and the freedom of the stage but its becoming a community of true healing for me. Made me think about my internship back in Providence. One of the main programs they would like to provide is a healing program, makes me think that bringing spoken word to this organization is a good fit.
Just a thought..if we had a group of 30 poets who helped each other tell their stories. That is where the change happens!
Sweet Dreams and Happy Accidents
Random Fun Fact: on the qwerty keyboard the letters q-w-e-r-t-y are one after the other from left to right (don’t believe me look down at your keyboard) ..this was how they keyboard got its name :)…and the letters B-N-V happen to be next to each other, but that one is just a coincidence!
Woah today was hectic. BNV is defiantly about to go down! I spent more time at my internship today then I did all summer. I didn’t get home until 8 but that was okay with me, anything that keeps me occupied makes me happy. Not hard work though I did things like put together supply boxes and order bagels for 66 people online.
Interestingly enough, I met up with my a friend from Providence for chips and salsa in the mission district. He is not exactly my friend he is the boyfriend of my RA, but he is cool peoples. Good thing is that he claims himself to be a curriculum guru. We talked for two hours about VENT and curriculum. I told him I needed suggestions for evaluation. He gave me some good advice his main suggestion was to do daily student response forms to make sure they were comfortable with my teaching etiquette and homework assignments to make sure they were using the tools correctly. I had knew that much about the homework peice but I thought the student response form were interesting. A good way to get daily feedback and to the ability to adapt accordingly. Cool thing is I have someone else to look at things, knew he was an education major but I didn’t but two and two together.
Sadly enough this was the latest I had been out since my first weekend in San Francisco. As I walked home I admired the cities lit skyline. Almost couldn’t believe it took me so long to see this sight it was quite the view from the top of the hill. As if that wasn’t pretty enough I passed a bright moon that resembled a marble in the sky. It was so big and so close that I just wanted to sit outside and admire it for a little while. But it was my bed time and BNV was up on the menu :)
Random Fun Fact: Some of my better writing happens with pen and paper opposed to keyboard and laptop.
Have you ever looked in a mirror and wondered why they were made? Like who thought it would be convenient to stare at yourself..let me make sure my hair is right, and that my cloths look neat. I would probably not being saying this if I weren’t sitting in front of my closet here that is a floor to ceiling mirror. But lately I have found myself paying way to much attention to the mirror. In my room at school I have one little mirror but here its like I watch myself sleep, I wake up its the first thing I’m staring in to. Its so funny, I never take so long to get dressed but here with this darn mirror in front of me it takes me at least 40 minutes. I am constantly changing my shirt ( though I have worn all of them before and I am pretty sure I like them all). Its just a weird thing, I should probably take a second to google “why mirrors were made” but it would just ruin my rage right now.
Besides the narcissist I am becoming I am doing quite well (though here and there I consider booking out of here a week or two early ). BNV starts in less than 72 hours and things have already took on new life around the office. For today I sat at a table with people from the following places…The UK, Jamaica, Guam, Barbados, The Bronx, and Hawaii. Which made for an interesting day. As my UK friend apologized for her earphones slipping out of the jack and letting Adele’s magnificent voice spill out in the room. Only to find out that everyone around her…even us Americans knew the song word by word and where delighted to let it play aloud.
Music, its such a strange thing. It can bring people together from all sorts of different backgrounds. I know how cliche it sounds but its so true. Its an amazing thing, though its a bonding mechanism to use with caution, which brings me to the next point of my day. Though the time I spend commuting day to day is not that bad the choice to leave my Beats ( headphones) at home this morning was probably the worse decision I made all day. There is nothing like listening to music with my regular headphones( compared to my Beats) and hearing the conversation two seats ahead of me drown out my favorite Bruno Mars song! Something just doesn’t match up when you have one man talking to the moon ( Bruno Mars) and the other man talking to the gas station we are passing by ( random bus man)
With that I have created a list of the top things to follow when your riding the bus in SF, to make everyone’s trip an enjoyable one.
1. People don’t want to hear your conversation on the bus, so use your inside whisper voice.
2. People don’t want to wait for you to get on the bus, its very simple here on the west coast…if you have a bus pass you board to the left to swipe your card…if you are paying cash board to the right and please have exact change for the bus driver does not carry money …and if you have a transfer just board to the left with the pass holders and flash your transfer to the bus driver.
3. Respect the elderly at all times!.. If you are waiting to board the bus at the stop with an elderly woman.. you wait for her to board first..I don’t care how slow she is moving it is never polite to put yourself before the elderly… If there is no more seats left in the front then you stand up if your under the age of 50 and give someone over that age your seat! Male or female!
4. Last but not least, no one wants to hear your music on the bus so use your head phones or don’t play it at all. Especially if its have a bunch of profanity..its just not becoming!
Ahhh the sweet simplicity of traveling alone, sometimes you just pay attention to way too much! Anywho my bed time is approaching and I haven’t read my fair share of the Depression Times ( NY Times) so I am going to get to that!
Hoping your day is/was full of Happy Accidents
Random Fact ( this one is a classic but you are sure to crack up) : When I was little I thought serial killers where people who would kill you through your cereal hahahahah…so from age 6- 9 I didn’t eat cereal…this is before I learned to spell *serial* obviously!…
Firstly, I must apologize for my lack of blogging in this past week. My brain has been so caught up in my curriculum, reading, this summer course, and this internship that I have learned not to save this blog writing for the last portion of my day. Lately I have been in the bed by 11 o’clock..and for those of you who know me, know that this time is early for me. Even better is for the most part I have been getting my full 8 hours of sleep. Which is rare. But I can’t tell if its responsible for this overwhelming feeling of exhaustion I am experiencing everyday around 6 o’clock. Its kind of weird, I never really believed in the idea of being over rested, but recently I think I am a victim of this very thing.
My internship has picked up quite a bit since my last post. Though my day to day work in the office is probably not that exciting for I am really just doing busy work….making copies, plugging in excel sheets, passing out flyers, and getting t-shirt sizes..I’m guessing this is usual intern work here for I am not alone in this. But excitingly enough Brave New Voices is now 6 days away! As I count the days down to this shindig, as mentioned earlier I have allowed my brain to stay stretched with my curriculum which has been much fun.
In between the copy machine and excel plugging I have managed to start chipping away at what I think is the 3rd iteration of VENT. I have restructured the mission, created the vision statement, redefined the module’s overview descriptions and I am now back to the trenches of day to day lesson plans. All is very much so exciting because as I work through the kinks of it all I have like world class poetry gurus around me to answer questions like, how much time do students actually need to write a MEANINGFUL PIECE….or what do you suggest I do with students who do not take a liking in the writing process? Good stuff so far!
As this weekend approaches I must say I am looking forward to a break from the office. With my break I have all three days of my weekend mapped out and thought it would be cool to share with you guys.
Friday- In honor of my childhood I have reserved a ticket for myself to see Harry Potter in the morning and to follow I am heading to the famous book store in North Beach…City Lights.
Saturday- Youth Speaks ( My Internship) is having an MC event in the park for most of the late morning and early afternoon. Which is good I will see another side of the city and I get to enjoy some of what I hope is sun…for lately SF has been holding up to its fog city reputation! ….Followed by the fun in the park I have been invited to a show called ” Mortified” which is something similar to live bait in Providence where people are storytelling :)
Sunday- Today will serve as my relaxed day so I am doing nothing much past a late breakfast and a trip to the nail salon to get some fresh paint on my toes : )
So my weekend is fulled with plenty as you can see…I will fill you in as it unfolds :)
Today has proved to me that no matter how rough your mornings are you just shouldn’t chalk up your day as a bad one before lunch. Internship is still a bit shaky but its bound to change.
Its funny, as I worked my way through what I thought was the red sea for it was a bunch of elementary aged students who were wearing the same red summer camp shirts, I realized that maybe I was going about this whole internship thing the wrong way. Maybe this wasn’t the highlight of my summer that I should have been waiting for. Then I thought, your only saying this because yet another day sort of went down the drain. But then I let my mind play with the idea a little bit and it sort of worked my day out of the “bad” category.
The question I have asked everyone I came into contact with here in SF is “what do you do for fun” and not surprised here that they all have that same moment. They all stand puzzled, as they try to think about what they do outside of their daily routine.
Made me think about a chapter from the Happiness Project (as much as I didn’t like this book I find myself going back to it..) I think this was in her month of May chapter where she talked about fun. Thinking that if she could figure out what was fun to her then she could enjoy a lot more things. I laughed as she struggled to brainstorm things that were fun for her but today I thought about it. As I sat on the park bench watching the other little camp matching t-shirt kiddies run around I said to myself you really don’t know whats fun for you either. I laughed to myself because I thought it was funny that a person could live for 20 years and not be able to explain to themselves whats fun.
So I challenged myself, on the spot, to list at least 5 things that I did for fun. (Please don’t laugh when you read this list)
1. Basketball ( Of Course..this was a no brainer)
2. Creative Writing
3. Go to the movies alone..( I love pretending to be a movie critic)
4. Reading ( This is and on and off relationship but I enjoy it when its on)
5. Shop for sneakers
As one could imagine this list doesn’t exactly fit the 20 year old college student preamble of fun. Though all 5 are pretty accurate. I love sports in general but, basketball will always be the top, creative writing is something I have always enjoyed doing, going to the movies alone is a recent joy, reading as stated is on and off but lately has been on! and if you were to count the sneaker boxes in my room with sneakers in them that I have only worn one time then you would understand this love is serious.
But this list helped me tons today. Besides it proving to me that I need to step out of the box, it made me think about what I could potentially add to the list. Sending me back to my top things to do in San Francisco, giving me better thoughts about this trip in general. Today as I sat on that park bench enjoying the breeze that made me a little chilly, I was able to return to that “first day in a new place” excitement. Though I have been anxious about things starting up at my internship, I was able to focus on a life outside of that.
After today, I would encourage everyone I know to take a second to put yourself in the hot seat. Think about what you do for fun. Try to stay away from things that interest you because its two different things. Write out what you literally run to when you think hey I want to have some genuine fun!
Random cool fact: When I was younger my brothers listened to everything I said. I use to tell them that in order to play a sport professionally they had to let me coach them during the summer. Hahaha I had them up one summer, every morning at 5 am jogging around the house to work on their endurance :)
I’m currently working on inhaling and exhaling with ease, its one of those things that have so much power over how I deal with the unexpected road blocks. Today was my second day at the internship and lets just say that things are slow to start. I guess its something that comes with my generation, I don’t like too many things that take time to build up momentum. I was so excited about my internship that I was totally oblivious to how long it would take for me to actually get to work. I am so eager to get the ball rolling that its driving me insane.
I sat in the office today waiting for my next step. I talked to every staff member, asked them what their responsibility was in Brave New Voices and offered my help but they all directed me back to square one. Back to the woman who supposedly has my next 3 weeks mapped out at youth speaks. Problem is every time I speak with this woman she tells me to give her an hour to get back into the groove. So an hour I gave her..one hour after the other she told me to give her another hour. I literally sat in the office until it was time to go home and then she thanks me for my patience and reassures me that she will be all set for me tomorrow. I smile and bid her a good night.
As I prepare for tomorrow I can only hope that my patience of today wasn’t in vain. I don’t know what else to do other than keep showing up, and keep asking questions.
Outside of my internship life its weird to think that I have only been here for a week and a day. It feels like I have been here forever. Not sure if that is a good or bad thing. Great thing is that the hills aren’t bothering me that much any more. Trick is don’t wear tight pants ever and to give yourself a lovely tune to hum as you climb..works every time.
I spent the day reading a book that was trying to convince me that the pursuit of happiness didn’t /shouldn’t just have to come in a time of adversity. Before I get into that, may I point out that this is the first time that I have read a book in one day. More than likely, it was because I was challenged to do so but, that’s besides the point. I somehow managed to digest 296 pages before my midnight deadline, between my bathroom breaks and my need for a walk every forty pages I did it. Though, it wasn’t that hard to do, I decided at the end of my quest that I needed to reward myself and because I finished before my bedtime I allowed myself 30 minutes of HGTV.
Are you more likely to think about happiness when everything in your life is going well, or when your facing catastrophe?…Good question maybe, but it almost seems irrelevant to me. The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin, is a story of a woman who has decided that she is not too happy with her life and so she spends a year working on minor things like singing in the morning, cleaning out her closet, and no longer nagging her husband in hopes of becoming happier with her life. For some reason I am having a hard time really caring so much about her need for happiness.
When she raises the argument that a person doesn’t need to be depressed or facing hard times to feel the need for happiness I don’t know how to approach the conversation. Which brings me to question myself. Does one need to be in adversity to think about how to build happiness? Is there a proper time to focus purely on being happy? Not sure what my answer to these questions would be. On one hand I really don’t care about the author and her need to make her life feel a bit better but on the other hand I guess some of her techniques can be useful.
It’s almost like she was bored with life and said hey I’m going to write a book about “how to be happy” even though its kind of irrelevant to my life right now. Made me think though, wonder if I would care so much about happiness if I was in her shoes. She has a wonderful family, and she is doing the job of her dreams. Two things that I long for at the age of 20. Interesting enough she didn’t even have any bad habits to drop like smoking, or drinking she just wanted to enhance her life.
I guess its not a bad thing but I am not sure if I would write a book about how to be happy if I didn’t have something in the way causing me to be unhappy. Just seems redundant to me. But all in all that is how I spent my day. I don’t think I would recommend this book to someone its not really worth the time, though I did like her whole sing in the morning to boost your mood, if your struggling to find happiness in your life this book wouldn’t help much.
Tomorrow I go back to my internship for the official first day. I’m not sure what I expect from this internship piece anymore. But, I am hoping it gives me some sort of a social life here in San Francisco because in one week I have pretty much covered all of the tourist attractions and I am on my last two books that I have brought for the summer. And if I continue to read them by the day I will be back in Barnes in Nobles by this weekend.
I don’t know how much this post counts for a happy accident but the happy project was quite the accident in itself…
Today I started my internship at Youth Speaks and it was nothing short of amazing. I find that “first days” at any point in my life are always nerve racking. I mean lets face it no one wants to feel socially rejected and I have this fear every time I step foot into a new social realm. Thankfully my new colleagues at Youth Speaks are nice people :)
Weirdest part of my day was introducing myself as an intern from Providence. All of my past internships have been local, making it all a reality that i had traveled 3,000 miles to work for the leading non profit for youth development through the arts in the country. I could say I was immediately put to work but, I don’t know how much poetry in the park for the afternoon counts for work. My supervisor just recently got married over the weekend so I don’t get to the dirty work until Thursday when she returns. But I must say I enjoyed every minute of watching the Bay Area slam team perform in the park. At one point a 15 year old member on the team flipped with a mic in his hand as he recited his poem. Literally opened my world to a knew meaning of performance poetry. With that I look forward to the next few weeks of performances and workshops. I think the young talent I am about to witness is going to give me a new meaning to life in general. Which may be a lot to put on the shoulders of 12-19 year olds but I am sure they can handle it!
Besides starting my internship today I found a new mode of transportation in the city. Apparently there is an underground bus..not sure how I could have missed it but its there and made my travel life a lot easier today. Though public transit here is nice, its pretty darn confusing and after yesterday lets just say I shall never take bus 48 again for I ended up seeing a whole new side of California that seemed to be cold and isolated. After two hours I managed to find my way back to civilization but lets just say I am glad for taxis.
Best thing about life here thus far is this roof top access that I have at the place I am staying. I must admit that it is nice to click the keys on my laptop as my mind wanders over the water in my horizon.
My first weekend in San Francisco was defiantly one for the books. I managed to get lost a hundred times, walk across Golden Gate bridge, walk not only down but back up the world’s crookedest street ( which is also after the world’s steepest street), find the hot spot for Burritos in San Fran and last but not least I had the chance to do it all with a great friend :)
One of those happy accidents occurred this weekend for Saturday night I found myself on a train to pick up my best friend from the airport. I am finding that individual travel is great but sometimes tourist attractions like the Golden Gate Bridge just aren’t that fun to do alone. And with that I took advantage of the spare company I had over this holiday weekend.
Saturday when he got in we weren’t working with much daylight there for we settled for dinner on the pier. Besides everyone who travels to San Fran should have a ride on the infamous street cars.
Though it took me 2 years to get back to San Fran just to walk over the Golden Gate Bridge I did it. I grew up watching nickelodeon shows with the bridge plastered in the background. It was something on my bucket list and I am proud to say that I have checked it off. If I learned anything from this trip it was ..1) You must learn to dodge bicycles to make it over the Golden Gate bridge alive 2) When you get to the middle of the bridge its about 10 degrees colder and 3) It is defiantly something you DO NOT DO ALONE.
This weekend was needed for it helped me sort of break the ice between me and San Francisco. As I say my farewells to this weekend I do realize that I start my internship tomorrow.
I am learning how important titles are in this writing business. Note that the name of this blog for the summer is Happy Accidents. Though Webster suggests that most accidents result in injury and/ or damage I must disagree. Some of my greatest feats thus far have been from accident. As in something I didn’t particularly plan..something that just literally came about by chance. Therefore I declare that this summer is full of happy accidents that result not in damage or injury ( though the hills here are steep enough to make you feel like your going to fall down and hurt yourself) but result in joy..laughter..and some back door learning. I don’t think its too much to ask for a few happy accidents here and there. Which is why I am sticking with the title.
The other day someone asked me what was so special about blogging. Made me scratch my head a little bit because I never thought too hard about it. Partially because its only my second summer blogging and mostly because I spend my life writing and recording every event. Only the summer is when i decide to publicize it all so it made me think whats so special about blogging. It wasn’t until I caught myself at every point of my day observing the little things that I usually brush aside. Things like how friendly people actually are when you walk around with no headphones or how early the birds actually start to chirp every morning. Then I thought…” this is why I blog during the summer”. I get to take note to the small delicate things of a day. I walk a little slower and stay in the sun a little longer.
Well for those who didn’t know I am in San Francisco for the next four weeks. During my stay I am interning with Youth Speaks as they prepare for the national poetry event ” Brave New Voices.” And of course I have smaller purposes for my stay like walking down the crookedest street in the world and walking over Golden Gate Bridge.
Well I hope that you find joy in the entries and photos to follow. Feel free to follow my links to facebook and twitter for some newsfeed outside of this daily blog.