THE FASHION DIARIES: Playing With Neutrals

If there’s one thing I love about the fact that it’s almost summer, is playing with neutrals. I found this adorable polyester two-piece in my mom’s closet and I decided to play it up with my blue suede jacket for a little color-blocking.

Playing with neutrals and dark colors are also in this spring/summer season. Can we just take a second to thank Mother Nature for this warmer weather we’re having?

I could have left this outfit as-is and pursue ballet flats, but why do that when there are these adorable kitty-cat wedges in your mom’s closet that haven’t been worn in years? That’s one way to put a little prowl in your step (pun intended). These, too, are a neutral color with appropriate, small amounts of gold, purple, and green. Plus, they have a little ring around the big toe for a little modern flair.

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Fun fact: this necklace was limited-edition at the Louvre in Paris, France. Yes, I said Paris. I haven’t been to Paris enough times to know whether or not one would wear this in Paris *insert thinking emoji here*.

You could really wear this outfit anywhere — even the workplace, just make sure you bring a pair of backup shoes!

Finding Your Place | Transferring | Look At Me Now

I quoted this in another blog post, and I’m going to quote it again:

“Sometimes to chase after your future, you have to stop running and plant yourself in one place. Take a stand and fight for what you want. And know that even after the darkest of nights, the dawn will come. And you will find a place where you don’t have to hide. A place to call home.” — Carrie Bradshaw, The Carrie Diaries

This past year was a time for reflection and starting a new, and honestly, I have zero regrets. I remember almost two years ago, my family packed up our stuff in Medfield, Massachusetts and moved to Bristol, Rhode Island. I wish I had a better attitude about it, at the time. But it wound up becoming an adventure. Who knew that a year later from that I’d be switching schools, too? Transferring was something that was on my mind for a really long time. And according to my great philosopher, HelloKaty’s YouTube video, “If you’re not happy somewhere, or with someone, get out.” She also touches upon the complex and surely complicated process of transferring. To back up her argument, transferring someplace else is one of the most courageous things you can do. It is not a cowardly act. Everyone has their opinion, but I was certainly not happy. Being on the phone crying in the corner of the library is not healthy, whatsoever. And yes, it happened frequently. I knew that I would become a “double transfer” (as I switched high schools, too), but I knew in my gut and my heart that this was the right move for me.

For those of you who know me personally, you’d know that I switched my majors a billion times. Now, I can finally say, I’m 1,000,000x more confident in my choice at RWU. One thing that’s true about anything is that it takes time for anything to grow and find out who you are. It just took me a few more trials and errors than anyone else.

Listen, why am I telling you this? I was recently inspired by my poetry professor whom I talked to yesterday about poetry, and we both agreed that poetry would be my focus for next year, as I’ll be a junior writing my thesis and taking a senior seminar. This is not a “go to RWU!” ad, but I’m just saying the Creative Writing professors really influenced my choice to come and to take a shot at higher level classes and dip my toes into a few things. I’m now taking a Literary Publishing course, and I’m absolutely loving it. RWU students also reintroduced me to fashion: my second love (writing being the first). I’m slowly heading back into my Audrey Hepburn phase by taking a chance with vintage clothing, as seen here:

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I love playing with neutrals, as they are really in this season. I decided to put a little “spring” (and heel) in my step by appropriating my mom’s lace-up kitten heels — no, really, talk about vintage! Florals are definitely in this season, as well. And any printed pant with a v-neck sweater? Totes vintage and adorbs!

In short, I’m grateful to my parents for deciding to leave Massachusetts. If it weren’t for that, I wouldn’t be interning at Rhode Island Monthly this summer!!! That’s right, I will be an Editorial Intern at the premiere publication in Rhode Island! ☺

Moreover, wherever one door closes, another door opens to a new opportunity (or more). I’m one step closer to becoming a published journalist and poetry author. My professor said my voice is really strong and authentic. I was right when I said I had dreams too big for that small town in Massachusetts, and Massachusetts at large. Sure, Rhode Island is not that much bigger, but I’m following and achieving my dreams more than I ever thought possible.

This is me, and this is exactly where I’m supposed to be. (Yes, I just semi-quoted that song from Camp Rock).

FASHION AMBITION: School-y Style

Before I get into my FASHION AMBITION post, let me start out by saying that I am back on this blog and (feeling) better than ever. I don’t know why, but I started to feel like I was putting on this constant “persona” that ultimately controlled who I really am. But according to this blog post about what I went through around this time last year, I’m not going to let this define me, and I never will let it define me.

Also, I might as well announce that I am officially a Glambassador! This means I am (sort of) officially an influencer. This is a huge step for me and my blog, and I can’t thank you guys enough for the overwhelming amount of support, from the time I made this blog to now.

So without further ado, let’s get fashion-ambitious!

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So, I saw this really cute jumpsuit and I thought to myself, “ooh I gotta have it.” Jumpsuits are definitely in right now, and I’m jumping in full-swing on this trend. What I love about this jumpsuit is that it has this sort of gaucho-palazzo pant style to it. Stripes and other patterns are also in for the spring, along with colors such as this rose-gold, and other shades of pink. These neutral tones are also trendy this season. These can be paired with any military-style or leather jacket, like the one I’m wearing in this ensemble. If you haven’t already, check out my spring colors article from the Hawks’ Herald. 

I was going to wear my snakeskin boots with this outfit until I reminded myself that I’d be walking from one building to the next. Not that there’s anything wrong with wearing heels on a college campus, I just thought I’d save my poor little feet from the pain and suffering. So, I decided to go with flat shoes that are, surprise surprise, rose-gold. For a more edgy, casual look, I decided to put my hair up in a high ponytail. High ponytails with a jumpsuit = tré chic.

At this time, I’d like to say I’m thankful to be happy and healthy and thankful to RWU for being a safe haven for me.

A Day In The Life Of A Blogger

7:00-8:00 AM: Wake up (and hit the snooze button a million times)

8:45-9:00 AM: Arrive at school (I commute to school)

9:05 AM: Grab a White Mocha Iced Latte at Starbucks (yes, I’m addicted), and catch up on some reading

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***But first, let me take a selfie***

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10:00-10:50 AM: Class

11:00AM-12:30PM: Lunchtime! I usually get a cheese quesadilla on the grill or a salad.

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1:00-4:00: Tutoring — I’m a writing tutor! I usually make about 2-3 cups of coffee during my shift (I told you I’m addicted). They’re usually Nantucket Blend with half&half and two Splendas.

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5:00-7:50: Yes, three-hour classes exist. I just so happen to be taking two of them this semester — yikes! But I’m not complaining because I’m loving all of my classes.

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8:00 PM and after: Hawks’ Herald meeting. For those of you who don’t know, I write recipes, fashion, and fitness articles for my campus newspaper’s Arts & Culture section. Stay tuned for my article on palazzo pants!

I also use this time to do homework, eat, study, go home and pour myself a drink and say “a toast to myself, and this blessed life I was given.”

In between everything else: My trusty Pandora stations! I usually turn to my Top Hits station, Chainsmokers, Miley Cyrus, and when I really want some throwbacks, Jesse McCartney and/or NSYNC!

This is just a typical Monday schedule for me; if you’re wondering where I fit in my workouts, I work out five-four times a week. ☺

Have a great week, A(pril)-listers!

 

 

 

FASHION AMBITION: Gingham Style

When I thought about posting this earlier this week, I thought, “wow, it’s going to be sunny and Spring-y all week!” Well, I was wrong. It snowed (in April) down here in Rhode Island and we’re all pissed that we’re still wearing our winter jackets in the second month of Spring (that I was named after, lol and NO I WAS NOT BORN IN APRIL).

Moreover, I’ve taken to stepping out of my comfort zone in terms of clothing. Growing up, you were constantly judged on how you dressed. There came a point where I stopped giving a you-know-what and started wearing activewear to school this semester because I got back into the fitness game, and I figured it’s college, why not? Anyway, it all started with that Easter outfit I mentioned in my latest FASHION AMBITION post. I went scrounging through [one of] my mom’s closets and found these adorable Gingham-print pants. I know I said head-to-toe color would eventually grow out of style, but this outfit is one for the books:

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*If you look closely (blame it on the IG filter), the pants are pink, orange, and purple, and the sweater is cold-shoulder with a little ruffle on each sleeve.*

This is a break from your normal red, navy, or black Gingham print. When you have pants like these, always pair them with a flat shoe. Believe it or not, there are multiple types of flat shoes, check out this article by VogueDon’t be surprised when your girl says she has all of those listed.

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Want more fashion? Vote on my Instagram what you would like to see! Also, check out my latest fashion article that I wrote for the Hawks’ Herald! 

What’s In My Backpack?

What’s up, A(pril)-listers? April here, and I’m going to show you a glimpse of this ‘busy girl life’ of mine!

A college girl is never complete without her necessities. Where does she keep them? Why, in her backpack, of course!

I was inspired by internet sensation, Katy Bellotte’s, YouTube video on what she carries in her college bag and what classes she is taking this spring 2018 semester. I was originally going to make this a CollegeFashionista article, but I thought I’d get up-close-and-personal with you guys on my blog, instead. I’m trying to build my fashion/lifestyle “brand,” after all!

Without further ado, here is what’s in my backpack:

To begin with, I might as well show you how big my backpack is. It has numerous pockets for my needs, so I never run out of space to put my things.

 

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Sidenote: my bag is by Kenneth Cole Reaction.

Now, let’s get down to business as to what a busy girl, like myself, carries in her backpack to survive throughout the day!

1.) Inspiration

image1 (12) One can use a little fashion inspiration wherever they go. I love to get my outfit/health/fitness inspo from magazines like Seventeen, Vogue, Teen Vogue, or Vanity Fair. 

2.) Wallet(s) and earphones

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My little furry sidekick, Sassy, obviously wanted to be in the pic XD. What a little diva! Anyway, one of my wallets isn’t big enough, so I carry two Coach wallets (both were gifts). One is for various types of cards, and the other is just simply for money (and used Starbucks gift cards, lol!). And when I pop in those earphones and play my workout playlist or any of my bangin’ Pandora stations, I feel unstoppable and I feel like I’m in a movie.

3.) Notebook(s) and planner

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As Katy Bellotte said in her video, “A person is only as good as their planner.” I agree with that wholeheartedly. I bought my planner at the RWU bookstore and it’s by Vera Bradley (as are the notebooks pictured above). I like how my planner comes with it’s own special “bookmark” and keeps tabs of the months. It also comes with little stickers that say “haircut,” “appointment,” “doctor,” “girls’ night out,” etc. So cute!

You might be wondering what classes I’m taking. If not, I’m going to tell you, anyways. I’m taking Literary Publishing, Form in Poetry, Marketing Principles, Public Speaking, and Literary Philosophy. I absolutely love my classes, oh, and for those of you wondering (or are new here), I’m a Creative Writing major with a minor in Arts Management at RWU.

*Not included in this post, but I also carry numerous textbooks with me… I’m a huuuuge nerd!*

4.) Lipsticks, gloss, and chapstick

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I carry not one, but four things of lip-wear in my front pocket. First, I have two lipsticks. The dark lip is totally in right now, and I love a bold lip color. One of them is a mauve (my new favorite color), and the other is “Gone Griege” (brown). But I tend to use one or the other when I feel like dressing up. For those of you who’ve seen me on campus, I’ve been going for the active look. So with that, I go for my pumpkin spice chapstick. Now, in terms of my lip gloss, I don’t like to wear it all that much, but when I do, I pair it with a more neutral lipstick shade.

5.) Pens, pens, and more pens!

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I recently got felt-tip pens for Christmas, and I’m absolutely obsessed with them! One can never go wrong with a great pen. There’s something about a really good pen that makes your words flow better on paper. For my creative writing classes, I like to use my purple pen because the purple is the color of creativity. I like to use my orange pen for my marketing class — it just has that “vibe,” you know?

***Things that are not listed that I keep in my backpack:

  • laptop
  • phone and laptop chargers

— must haves!!

#Stayorganized #StayCLASSy

xoxo, April ♥

 

 

Fitness, Fashion, and Time Management

Back by popular demand! Thanks to one of my good friends at RWU, I finally figured out what I wanted to write about after a month’s hiatus.

Where do I begin? Well, put simply, I’m on cloud 9! I finished my first semester at RWU with a 3.665 GPA (and made Dean’s List for the second time in my overall college career!), and I recently made some changes in my lifestyle. In my freshman year of college when I was writing for The Odyssey Online, I wrote an article about my struggles with body image in eighth grade and during my first couple of years of college. I didn’t like my puffy face in pictures anymore and I often found myself looking at old pictures of me in high school when I was in my prime fitness. I found myself body-shaming myself. That’s when I said, “enough is enough!” and started back at my local gym again, and even got myself a personal trainer. I’ve learned over time that if you want something to happen, you have to make it happen. I began stocking up on fruits, vegetables, and protein shake mix. You know you’re getting old when you get excited about going grocery shopping! X-D

I’ve heard about this program for a while, and I recently decided to give it a try. It’s called 1st Phorm where you get to sign up and get free access to workouts, diet plans, etc. In my two weeks of utilizing the program, I’ve been feeling (and looking) leaner, and more confident. *Insert Demi Lovato’s song here.*

When I look back on my high school track & field/cross country days, I made the connection that working out also helps me concentrate on my school work. When I first came to RWU, I wasn’t working out and I was eating pizza and diet coke every day… NOT GOOD!!! Plus, I was busy with tutoring and editing, but that’s still no excuse! We all come up with excuses for not paying attention to our well-being. Taking care of yourself is one of the most important things in life. That means fueling your body with proper nutrients and getting enough physical activity, no matter what it is. As Elle Woods said, “exercise releases endorphins. Endorphins make you happy!” I also took a couple of pages out of a People magazine about women who, literally, lost half their weight. One woman said that she is teaching her kids that food is meant to be a source of fuel and not a means of happiness. But, of course, food can make you happy, especially when you’re hangry. So, don’t punish yourself when you slip in a cookie, or something — OWN IT! Everybody deserves a break, right?

Another thing I really got into during my time at RWU was fashion. As some of you know, I was recently appointed Style Guru for College Fashionista! So, if you’ve seen me hashtagging #stylegurulove and #gettingsomewhere, they’re affiliated with that platform. I’ve gotten excellent tips on acing an interview, and of course, fashion advice. I am sort of correlating my new ~healthy lifestyle~ with fashion.

As seen on (both) my Instagram(s):

 

I’ll let you guys in on a little secret; I’m always in for a good bargain. So, I occasionally buy my leggings/tops at WalMart, and recently (as in an hour ago) Fabletics. Both places/brands have really cute stuff! My blue leggings even have pockets 😮 Another site I discovered is RainbowShops.com (their leggings are less than $10!). As you can tell, I’m addicted to leggings!

In terms of time management, I’ve learned to really “schedule out my schedule” and prioritize my health and my school work at the same time. I don’t have my own car, and I have late classes Mondays and Wednesdays, so I use the time in between getting my ride home and in between my earlier classes to do homework, tutor, and workout.

Here’s an example of what my schedule looks like:

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This will be a busy semester, for sure! But I’m determined to make Dean’s List for a third, fourth, fifth time and get leaner and stronger. *Insert muscle emoji here*

In Case You Lose Hope | Always Try to Help

October 10th was World Mental Health Day. So naturally, I posted a picture of myself from the month of March — the month of my mental breakdown. Just to debrief for those of you who haven’t seen it: I’ve been struggling with anxiety my whole life, was diagnosed with depression at 15, and was diagnosed with PTSD last spring.

I’m not here to “fish for compliments,” but rather to say that there’s no shame in being vulnerable. I’m not ashamed of telling my story because it’s a story of how I kept fighting. I knew going back to school was going to be difficult. I’m always tired, and sometimes I find it hard to keep going. But really, getting the education and experience that I have now is all I’ve ever dreamed of.

Now, I’m going to share with you another story that’s not mine, but a story that did give me hope. This is a story my dad’s oncologist shared with me. This is one of the top oncologists in Massachusetts, if not the nation, and she took time out her busy day with patients and a family of her own to write out this story in an email. It went a little something like this:

“After some prompting, your dad did share with me that you transfered to Roger Williams. I also ask about you and how you are doing at Saint A’s. I could tell he was concerned about something. As his doctor, I encouraged him to open up a little but so he did confide to me that you had gotten sick and were in the hospital. I was sorry to hear that for both of you. Any kind of illness is a difficult thing. Certainly your dad knows that first hand.

I relayed to him a story about one of my other patients and her daughter. I have known both of them for 20 years. The daughter was just a toddler when her mother got cancer. Mom is doing great. The daughter grew up to be a lovely young woman. She went to Wellesley College where she excelled. After graduation she got a great job in Boston and an apartment with her friends. Then everything fell apart for her. I can still remember the email I received from her mom, so worried about what was happening. We got her daughter in to a good medical-mental health care. With some time and and medication adjustment she got better. She just graduated from BU with a Master’s Degree and has a wonderful boyfriend.”

She told my dad this because when you are in the midst of something like this, it’s scary for everyone. Sometimes it feels eternal and hopeless as if it will never get better. But her job is to preach over and over to her patients to take things one day at a time. At times, it may seem like hard work, but you have to keep at it. The same thing is true for my Creative Writing studies, editing for the paper, and so much more. My dad’s doctor reminded me that I, too, have supportive parents as I’m making my way down recovery road.

Someday when I have a publishing career or writing/editing for Vanity Fair, I hope I can take the time to write to someone, or, even better, help someone when I can.

I guess I didn’t preach this when I talked about my hospital stay, but mental illness isn’t one of those things you can’t power through on your own.

Moral of the story: never be afraid to ask for help when you need it, and there’s always time to help someone else out.

Did you know my goal going into college was to become a doctor? Yeah, things change, and that’s a fact. But I still want to impact people with my writing (but that’s another blog post). ☺

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The Two Tips To Achieve Self Love

Unfuckwithable: (adj.) when you’re truly at peace and in touch with yourself, and nothing anyone says or does bothers you, and no negativity or drama can touch you.

Sophrosyne: (n.) a healthy state of mind, characterized by self-control, moderation, and a deep awareness of one’s true self, and resulting in true happiness.

I was originally going to post something about what I want in a guy, but then I realized, why focus on boys when you should be focusing on yourself? How can you love if you don’t love yourself?

This I realized when I looked at my RA’s bulletin board. The theme of her bulletin board was “Steps Towards Loving Yourself.” Two of the tips that stuck out to me were 1) Get out of your comfort zone, and 2) Do what makes you happy.

Let’s flashback to the first two weeks of the Spring semester, which were not too long ago. I would constantly confine myself to my room and just wanted to be isolated — only leading me to crying my eyes out. My mom took me out to dinner one Monday night, and she explained to me that her best friend from college was is in the same sort of “rut.” Her best friend was a piano major, so she decided to focus on her piano studies. Soon enough, she found herself performing in theater productions. How did she get that far? She set goals for each day. Even if something wasn’t happening the next day, she would make something happen.

An example of this (for me): the following day, I was invited to a poetry workshop hosted by renowned poet Tiana Clark (who told me I have a talent for writing and writing poetry). So that was something to focus on. The day after, I promised myself I would work on an article for my school’s newspaper, The Crier. 

Yes, I started writing poetry. I performed at three open-mics, thus far and was invited to another one next week. I even started uploading my performances to YouTube. I’m no stranger to showcasing my work, as I was an artist back in the day. Performing in front of my peers, Goffstown Public Library, and the East Greenwich Hotel, Bar, and Lounge was already one (or several) steps to branching out of my comfort zone. There was another thing I had in mind…

Believe it or not, I actually dropped reading at masses because I not only wanted to focus my attention on my English and Spanish studies, but I wanted to turn my attention to my women’s group, our partnering Social Justice Club, and my writing/journalistic career.

One thing I can tell my elementary school self: April, you don’t have to write pretend news articles when you’re older, and you’ll have your chance to be on an actual television set. I always knew I would go into entertainment one way or another. So, in addition to writing articles for The Crier and Her Culture, I decided to step up and take my passions for social justice and writing to the next level and joined the SAC Broadcasting team. On Tuesday I filmed my very first episode of my very own recurring series “All People Matter @ SAC” or “Hawk Thoughts.”

There isn’t really much left to say except to follow these steps towards loving yourself. Create your own opportunity every day. Step out of your comfort zone and pursue your interests. Because of this, I would not be as happy as I am right now, even if that means being stuck in your room writing this on a snow day. But hey, just doing what I love to do and loving myself in the process ☺

 

 

Toto, We’re Not In Manchester, Anymore | WBA Manchester

“Be the one who nurtures and builds. Be the one who has an understanding and forgiving heart one who looks for the best in people. Leave people better than you found them.”

What an eye-opening, life-changing week! Every day after coming back from Hillside Middle School to teach English and Mathematics to refugees, I would plop down on my sleeping bag, exhausted. To me, feeling exhausted is a way of feeling fulfilled. I felt that way every day coming home from Tufts Medical Center. I even felt that way today after coming back from my Intro. to Spanish-American Literature class — the most advanced Spanish course of this semester. Yes, I’m an overachiever, but that’s not the point.

No lie, I had a flare up of panic attacks prior to this Winter Break Alternative Service & Solidarity trip. But, my mom kept reminding me that I’ll be doing something I love: service. And I knew my Spanish double major would come in handy on this trip. I couldn’t stop fidgeting and shaking during the send-off mass, and even stumbled upon my words while reading (every lector’s nightmare). It wasn’t until we actually started working when I felt more at ease.

That Monday, I and another girl on my trip drove to Hillside Middle School for the first time. The coordinator had no idea we were coming, so they let us help out with “lunch buddies.” We stayed with the girls while the boys went off with the principal. The girls were working on a “positivity project” with a woman from Girls Inc. It was a collage of words from women’s magazine that promote positivity. It seems as though the media only promotes being perfect, flawlessness, and almost fakeness. Yeah, you’re trying to advertise your products and clothing. But what real girl is going to buy them to make themselves feel beautiful when these products can only make you feel “plastic.” I remember being in middle school thinking I had to have all these different couture items to make me feel like a celebrity. I was sad that I couldn’t see the girls’ finished projects.

My English major and knowledge in the sciences came in handy, as well. That Monday afternoon, a handful of us went to Elmwood Gardens to help with homework. After helping girls with English and science homework, I was asked by one of the coordinators to lead group discussions — something you’d think I’d be used to. The girls and I talked about random stuff that happened in school, well at least they did. These girls definitely reminded me of myself when I was middle school — inside jokes and talking about boys.

During one of our reflections, we talked about the inevitable: the future. I hate talking about the future with all my heart because I’m more of a “live in the moment” kind of gal. I couldn’t help but feel not so much “on the trip,” unless I was at Hillside or Elmwood, because I felt like I have to tend to you loyal followers and be in constant communication on social media. Let me just tell you this: you’re not going to enjoy the gift of the present if all you’re thinking about is what you don’t know what you want! You simply don’t enjoy life like that. So, it is better to cherish your present in order to not take it for granted. What you want in the future may or may not even work out! I just wish people could stop saying stuff like “I think I’m going to go to California (or wherever) after graduation!” as if they’re so certain what they’re going to do. Just have a realistic plan! I know, I’m only a sophomore in college and I’m going off on this tangent. But this is where I say to myself: “April, stop being this critical because you’re still torn between being a lawyer and a journalist.” 

But, as I watched a Ted Talk given by a young woman from Bhutan, she mentioned that people like her look to have a future based on happiness and to be willing to drop to the lowest social status to obtain this future and to be happy. That was me in my freshman year of high school when I went from public school to private Catholic school. There’s so much sacrifice to live this ideal life. Sacrifice has always been a theme in my life, not just mine, but my family’s. I’m not the only one, I’ve come to realize. The day before, we went to the airport to pick up a family from Bhutan. It was like watching The Good Lie — a movie we watched about Sudanese refugees coming to America. I couldn’t tell if I was going to cry with happiness (for them), if my heart was so full for them, or both. I just wanted to give the grandmother the shoes off my feet so hers wouldn’t freeze in the sandals she was wearing.

I can honestly say I have a somewhat understanding of what my dad and his family went through when they moved from Italy to the United States. There was this one line from The Good Lie: “You come to America and this is how you choose to live your life?” Believe it or not, my dad actually gives semi-good life advice. Because of him, and what my family has been through, and my mom even told me this as she drove me back to school: live life to the fullest and it’s what YOU make of your experience(s). I will never take where I live for granted. I only ever moved to one state, and I used to be so bitter about it. These refugees we were working with were moving to completely different countries on completely different continents with completely different cultures and norms — COMPLETELY DIFFERENT!

There’s another thing that comes with working with refugees: patience. I now know what it’s like to be a teacher and having to control your rowdy eighth graders to get them to do their work. As I help these refugee kids out with math, I’m reminded of when I was an eighth grader with mono and could not grasp the concept of exponents. Well, look at me now, I’m teaching math I couldn’t do when I was in eighth grade! Take that! My favorite subject to help them out with was English (no, duh! I’m a writer!). So my writing assistant skills were put to the test, as well. I felt like my high school Spanish teacher by saying things like “¿Listas/os?” and “¿Necesitas ayuda?” I learned a lot from my mother about teaching, that’s for sure. It was exhausting, but rewarding. My thoughts were on food and sleep after each day as I dozed off on the carpeted floor, writing this all down. Headaches and being “hangry” was another thing.

There was one reflection that I won’t forget. So, let me ask you a question: have you ever wondered where your hands have been? What they’ve touched? Who they’ve touched? The other hands they’ve shaken? How many times they’ve bled or have been callused? Hands might as well be their own living organism. Hands aren’t something we can necessarily control, unless your brain tells them to do something. Like humans, they do things they regret. I can’t help but refer this to both Pontius Pilate and Macbeth. And like humans, they, literally and figuratively, touch the lives of others.

The last day of WBA was ever so bittersweet. I had to say goodbye to those whom I served. We took a brief trip to Mount Uncanoonuc. As I looked over city of Manchester, I came to two conclusions:

1.) We’ve touched (with our hands) the hearts of people from Manchester and refugees from countries around the world.

2.) Toto, we’re not in Manchester, anymore. We’re the whole world in one city.

Enjoy these pictures!

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