Friday, April 17, 2009

What I’ve learned from this recession…

There is something about difficult times that makes people realize what’s really, truly important in their lives. A good kick in the behind is always good, if it makes you think differently and steers you in new and exciting directions. Or so I think.

After talking to a friend and with a newly found enthusiasm about the unknown, here’s a list of what I’ve learned or was reminded about from this recession, that I hope will stick with me (or that I can least archive in my “thought to self” mental file) moving forward:

1. “Saving for a rainy day” is more than just 5 words thrown together. Having grown up in a capitalist world, and having had my fare share of “oops”, and “shoot!” financial moments, I’ve learned that “Saving for a rainy day” means more than just a cushion for those “just in case” circumstances one might run across. To me, “saving for a rainy day” now means peace of mind, financial security and stability. Probably peace of mind more than anything else J.

2. No matter how settled you are in your job, network, network, network!!!! Most of you out there who received that horrendous pink piece of paper probably learned this the hard way, had you not been networking before you lost your job. Some people hate it, but this recession has proven the value of Marketing Yourself 101. Here’s a good Wiki about the subject matter:

3.Find a support system. Having friends and family know where you stand and not being afraid to ask for help (still learning!), it’s part of building a support system to help you get through tough, unpredictable times. No one will know you need help if you don’t speak up. Nor can they help if they don’t know what to help you with. Everyone needs a hand every once in a while. Go ahead, ask for help!

4.Volunteer. Now, more than ever before, I’ve seen the value that comes from investing some of one’s “spare” time to benefit others. Not only does volunteering provide a sense of well being, but it also provides a platform, outside of work, to do some of the things that one might not get to do between 8 and 5. (At least in my case, and hopefully not for too long). It also provides the opportunity to meet new people, do something good for others and work with likeminded people towards a common goal. Check out and learn more!

5.Do what you like, like what you do. Not new, huh? Though, on my way to working towards one specific goal, I lost touch with many sides of me that make who I am, and “who I want to be when I grow up”. This recession taught me that, no matter how hard one might be working towards one goal, nor how much one might really, really want something, losing touch of one’s core is not what setting goals is about. It’s about finding a balance to do what you like, like what you do, and still enjoy life J.

I think the “things I’ve learned from this recession” might warrant a Part II, but for now I’ll leave you with this quote from Grandma Moses:

"Life is what you make of it, always has, always will"


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Moving a mountain…

Recently, I was reminded about the idea of how one person can move a mountain. How sometimes it can take one person, with one simple goal, to drive and create change. Although that one person might not be able to move the mountain alone, he/she can sure call on some help!

Idea! + Action = Mountain moved

So, I’ve identified a mountain, and I’m on a quest to move it. For clarification purposes, the mountain in case is called “closing the gap on volunteers at an organization” and the organization in case, Child Advocates of Silicon Valley (, a local non-profit whose mission is to provide stability and hope to abused, abandoned or neglected children in Santa Clara County Foster Care system.

As a volunteer at the organization I’ve had the opportunity to Pay It Forward and work towards helping raise awareness about the organization among the Latino Community in the area, and also increase their volunteer base. On my pursuit to do my part, I’ve come across wonderful people willing to help that have reminded me about the power in each of us to make a difference. About how one gesture of kindness can have a positive “ripple effect” and help move a mountain, any mountain. And, because I’ve seen that positive “ripple effect” in full force, I have been completely renovated and inspired.

So, in hopes that one of you out there might be interested in helping me move that mountain, here’s more information about the organization:

(Insert shameless plug here)

To all of my kickballers out there, I hope to see you on the 25th of this month and thanks in advance for your support. Big, big thanks to Paul diBari for taking the shirts idea to raise funds and running with it!

“I believe in the power of each individual to be part of a cause greater than themselves and to be an active agent in the change we need in the world.”
Zilaida Salgueiro

P.S. More to come!!!!

About Child Advocates
Child Advocates of Silicon Valley has been providing essential services to children in the Santa Clara County foster care system since 1986. The organization trains and supports Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers to work one-on-one with children, helping to ensure that each child will live in a safe and loving environment and has the resources needed to grow up healthy and strong.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Out in the world...

For those of you who know me, you probably know that I am applying to grad school after wanting to go back for three years. What you may not know is how hard it has been and how much I’ve thought about life during the process.

The situation has been that (I’ve always refused to use the word “problem”), in order to write the essays I had to do a lot of soul searching, a lot of digging deep and a lot of remembering how I got to where I am today and where I want to be in the future. And the fact is that it brought to surface a lot of those things that somehow got hidden underneath the layers and layers of trying to go about life on my own. Without a cushion to fall back on or at least that I refuse to consider since my only back up plan was, and still is, figuring things out and going with Plan B, whatever that may be at the time.

Like for many of you, my life has been far from perfect. I know… what a shocker, whose has anyways? Though, I’ve realized that the older I’ve got, the more I’ve forgotten about the things that made me who I am. I’d say forgotten, although I sometimes think that I just push things down into a vault as to not remember the bad days, the hard parts… the facts. The fact that growing up we couldn’t afford extracurricular activities, which I died to take part on. Or that my neighbor was the one who took us to school because we didn’t have a car and when college time came around I’d take a two hour bus ride to make it to class, and then back. Or that every time a new year would come around we all hopefully thought… next year… next year will be better. Truth is it just kept getting harder and harder.

Though, I have never given up. And I found a way to make my life and that of those I care about the most better… going back to school to pursue an MBA. And so, the application is in. Yes, application without an “s”. Just one school talked straight to me and made me feel “at home”. Though, a few days before and a few days after, life sent me so many messages that I’ve got a bit overwhelmed.

I met two random human beings that I think came around to remind me of why I was applying to school in the first place. One helped me organize the ideas for the essays that had been going around in circles in my head for MONTHS, and the other helped me define the reason why I want to be a Leader of Consequence, Duke’s business school motto.

Days after, the facts came to surface again. The struggles, my mom’s sacrifices, the reminder of why I want to “put my life on hold” so that the rest of it may look better. At least a part of it. I’m 26 you know!! I’m already thinking about… WAIT, don’t say!! YES, a family. I guess it is true about what they say about our “internal clock”. And so it hit me… maybe it IS meant to be. Maybe it’s life’s way of saying “Way to go! It’s your turn now! You CAN make a difference. You already did, you submitted your application!"

So, (queue Carrie Bradshaw from Sex & The City), “I can’t help but wonder”… is it really meant to be?!

So, for those of you who know me, for those of you who may identify with me, or just those of you who want to wish someone a good thing… cross your fingers so that in two months my acceptance letter comes in.

Oh, and yeah, share this with someone who you think will get a kick, a laugh, a tear or whatever, out of this. Once it’s out into the world… the world can do its part!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes we can!!!

I grew up in Puerto Rico, an Island just shy of 4,000,000 people and just 100 x 35 miles of land. My parents divorced when I was 7, and my mom became a single mom, head of the household, with 3 kids and no job. I grew up really quick and took on responsibilities that most would agree are not meant for a kid/teenager. Our resources were limited and our circumstances hard. The story of my life? Doubt it. The building blocks of who I am? Absolutely.

I’ve come to learn that there is something about overcoming obstacles that helps build one’s character and define the human being one will forever be. Today, as I watched the 1st African American to become President of the United States, I was reminded of a quote I read over two years ago, and still holds strong in my core: “You are not your circumstances, you are your opportunities”.

Today, as I am part of history, I was reminded of the reason I decided to move thousands of miles away from home. I was reminded that I came to the United States of America because this IS the land of opportunities. I came to the United States of America to prove myself, be my own person, make my own decisions and stand on my own two feet. Has it been easy? Sure hasn’t. But today, my faith in this nation, in the opportunities it can provide, has been restored.

I was reminded that it is not a name, one’s skin color, nor where we come from, that defines who we are. Rather, it is in the understanding of our differences and in finding common ground that we become one with our nation.

I was reminded that one’s life does not have to be defined by circumstances. Obama defined his life by his opportunities, and he defied the odds.

I have faith in this nation, I have faith in Obama! Yes we can!!!

Go Oh!Bama™

Monday, October 20, 2008

Oh! Bama…

I am delighted to be part of this year’s Presidential election. Not only is it my first time voting for a president, it is also the first time that I strongly support a political candidate.

Although I always exercised my right to vote since I turned 18, no one in my family ever knew who I would be voting for. I grew up in Puerto Rico, where politics is considered a sport and most people support their team… no matter what. Even when their team captain (aka Candidate) might be investigated by the FBI, which is the case of one of the candidates for Governor in this year’s election.

Also, almost everyone in my family, if not all, strongly supports one of the main political parties (also no matter what), and I always had a hard time agreeing with their perspective on politics. Thus, I kept my mouth shut and I avoided the confrontation.

Though, this year, I am not the only one in my family voting for a Presidential candidate, and it just so happens that we strongly disagree on who should become our next President. Some of the reasons are based on those “fundamental differences” that have been depicted by the candidates over and over again, that do not leave room for compromising, but, some other reasons are based on pure “media buzz”, and this time, I am not keeping my mouth shut.

I’ve followed the candidates’ debates, read up on about how they got where they are at, have been watching CNN for a more detail coverage of the campaign trail and have kept my eyes open for whatever comes up on the Internet and news. And, one of the most recent “media buzz” reasons my relative uses in her argument is Obama’s “relationship to 1960’s radical William Ayers”. My argument has been, in simple words, that I don’t think the United States would be so dumb as to let anyone that could potentially be a threat to the Nation get even slightly close to running for president. Last time I checked, we still had the US Department of Homeland Security.

Thus, I was satisfied to read that former Secretary of State, Colin Powell, is supporting Barack Obama’s campaign. Not only does this support my argument, but it also reminds us that this election goes well beyond political denomination, race and/or gender. It all comes down to who has the skills, ability and knowledge to get the United States back on track. I moved to the United States because this was, growing up, the land of opportunities. Now, as I also fear about what my future will hold as the economy keeps shacking us up, I trust Obama’s competence to do just that.

Oh, Vote OBAMA!

To read the article about Powell’s endorsement, check out this link:

Not registered to vote yet? Check out non-partisan Voter Registration website:

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Oh to be young… and learn to go with the flow…

As we get older life either gets more complicated or we learn to go with the flow… I’ve tried to go with the latter since I’m always working on reinventing myself, either by means of a new point of view, new hobby, new goal, or as it has happened in the last 3 years, just a new place to call home.

Although some would debate the decisions that I’ve made and the conclusions I’ve come to about the many things life has thrown at me, looking back I can say I’m happy with them, and I’ve made peace with a lot, if not all, of those that might have caused a few sleepless nights.

Today, as I celebrate one more year on earth, I also celebrate where I am, and where I’m going. I celebrate the friends I’ve made along the way, the challenges that have made me a stronger and more independent woman, the joys of experiencing new things, the tears of pushing my boundaries to become a better person and the overall satisfaction that comes with seeing the life I've always wanted and how the tools to get there are provided along the way.

Tonight I’ll be celebrating the welcoming to the “late twenties” by doing one of the things that make me the happiest… I’m going Salsa dancing!!! Some of my friends will be joining and I’ll be sharing with them a piece of me that screams Puerto Rican! I’ll be sharing one of the things that reminds me where I’m from, what makes me who I am and what life is all about; I’ve learned to go with the flow by dancing to my own rhythm and always having “the music in me”.

So, if you ever see me walking with a huge smile on my face and kinda’ going side to side, no I haven’t had “one to many”, I’m probably going with the flow with some Salsa music in the background :)

Oh, to be young and celebrate life!

Happy Birthday to me!!!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Letting go…

I’ve always been intrigued by Buddhism. And, lately, I've found myself searching about it as I’m looking to find some answers for questions with big question marks. I also picked up a book I read awhile ago, If the Buddha dated, and am finding that by re-reading it, some questions are somewhat answered.

I guess in our search for love, we sometimes lose ourselves as we look for what we think we want in others. And then, when we think we’ve found it, we try to hold on to it, even when what got us there in the first place is clearly not there anymore. But, why?

In my case, and as the book says “longing for a lover is an expression of longing to awaken our hearts, to know love”. Funny enough, that’s what I lost sight of. I wanted to awaken my heart, know love, but as my fears started blinding me, I also lost clearness of reality.

Although it took my awhile to canalize my emotions, I’ve let go of the anger, I’ve let go of the questions, I’ve let go of the fear… there’s a reason for everything, and that’s what I need to remind myself of.

“Buddhism is about self-knowledge, a fearless exploration of all we are, so we can be friends with ourselves. Dating with a Buddhist consciousness means a willingness to confront anything inside that kindles fear or anxiety”.

I’m not afraid… I’ve let go…