This Isn’t The End

I didn’t expect that on my first day of high school I would ever find solace in all the chaos of competitiveness, of great expectations, and of surviving the college admissions game. Nor did I expect to sit in the wrong class for an hour, dazed and confused, before realizing that I had read the wrinkled schedule printout in my hand wrong. I remember thinking to myself in that moment, “How will I ever survive the next four years?”

Yet here I am, still dazed and confused — but not lost. These hallways, the same ones that kept me from arriving to the correct class as a freshman, slowly but surely (and without me noticing) became my home away from home.

I jumped into journalism not knowing that I would discover my niche in the world. Writing became my safe haven, my go-to when life got difficult. I threw myself into my hopes and dreams, believing wholeheartedly in my potential, in the possibility that someday I would become someone that my freshman self would have been proud of.

When I became the Harbinger’s Managing Editor, I didn’t realize how far I had come until, in the blink of an eye, it was time to pass on the torch. I started off as shy, reserved, and unsure. I’m still all of these things, and perhaps rougher on the edges, but with more certainty of who I am, what I stand for, and what I want out of life.

Nonetheless, it has been an amazing experience witnessing this year’s young staff writers, with the same excitement and uncertainty I first had, take a hold of the challenges the pink room had to offer. In no time, they made the newspaper their own, becoming seasoned writers, photographers, and reporters. I know that while I’m adjusting to life after Cambridge, the Harbinger will continue to educate, inform, and empower young minds.  

With that being said, the most valuable thing I’ve learned from my time here is that life is too short to dwell on the future or the past. I learned how to live in the present, to enjoy and appreciate all of life’s firsts: My first drive, my first music festival, my first near-death experience with friends (I swear it was funny).

Despite the stress of all the newspaper deadlines, the pressure of continuing its legacy, and my desire to leave an imprint of my own, I managed to enjoy the moments that made the stress of senior year worthwhile — Getting lost in my fits of laughter with close friends, basking in the sun during lunch, having philosophical conversations under the courtyard palm trees.

I will miss these moments, but I refuse to be sad.

In the span of four years, I’ve had moments of triumph, of bliss, and excitement as well as moments that made me question every decision I’ve ever made. Though I didn’t expect it, these hallways became the backdrop of my coming of age story, complete with a beginning and middle, but not an end.  

Miami LGBTQ Pride Parade and a Baptism by Glitter

Meandering my way through a crowd splashed in the colors of the rainbow, I found myself fully immersed into a parade that not only celebrated the pride of being fabulously different, but also the bond of a community bound by their love of loving freely.

Miami’s yearly Gay Pride Parade, a weekend-long celebration, once again proved that the Magic city is the home for unapologetic misfits. Throughout my re-exploration of Collin’s Avenue, where the streets were closed off to make way for extraveggant floats and dancers, I came in contact with people of all ages, ethniticites, and religions. That weekend, only one thing mattered: unity.

The crowd sparkled in the sunlight with their vibrant costumes and glitter. A man, sporting the latest makeup trends while holding a sign that read “Free Glitter” approached me as I was merely participating in the parade as a speculator through the lens of my camera.  Before I knew it, my face, clothes and hair, was drenched by a silver waterfall.

And just like that, having arrived as a stranger, I emerged from the crowd illuminated by glitter and as a member of the family.

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Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival Media Coverage

From March 3 to 5, I was granted the opportunity of attending Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival as a reporter for the Miami Herald. I wrote two pieces on the event, each with their own set of photographs. The first is very news-oriented while the second is a personal account…. Next up? Miami Ultra Music Festival! 

Source: Young fans travel from all directions to enjoy Okeechobee Music & Art Festival | Miami Herald

Source: Okeechobee Fest 2017: I’ll Be Back – OUTLOUD Multimedia

Okeechobee Fest, Here I Come

Next week, Friday, I will be embarking on a new journey — my first music festival. Three days and two nights of nonstop music are awaiting as I prepare my daily playlist in preparation. This is an entirely new environment for me and, quite frankly, I don’t know what to expect. Maybe that’s what makes this soon-to-be experience so exciting. 

Continue reading “Okeechobee Fest, Here I Come”

My Holiday Wishlist

The closer we get to Christmas, the bigger my wish list gets…Luckily I can narrow it down to three items that I absolutely love!

Screenshot_3Leather bound journal

I love journals.  I often flip through them, smelling the paper and obsessing over the blank pages, imagining all the things that I can do with them.

 

 

Wall tapestry x354-q80

Wall tapestry is a new obsession of mine. I first came across them when I entered Earthbound Trading Co. at the Mall. The great thing about them is that it can be used for various purposes. It can be a blanket when I’m cold or it can be a tablecloth if I’m feeling festive.

 

 

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Polaroid Cameras

I love to capture moments and a polaroid camera is perfect for that. They are compact and cute in design. Although they’re a little pricey,  I think owning a polaroid is definitely worth it!

 

 

Damien Rice in Concert is Magic

On November 8th of last year, I had the pleasure of seeing Irish folk artist, Damien Rice, in concert. When I found out that he would be coming to Miami for the first time, I had just finished obsessing over his third album release, “My Favorite Faded Fantasy.” After a 7 year hiatus, he had come back lyrically and musically stronger than ever before. And thankfully I was able to witness it.

A few days after, I decided to write about my experience but never got around to posting it. When I came across it again, I thought it would be appropriate to post it today, exactly a year since the concert:

Damien Rice knows how to captivate his audience. As the lights dimmed, the sound of laughter and chit chat quickly faded. Damien stepped out of the darkness and into the spotlight of the stage, greeted the crowd, and began to sing.

Right then and there, I was enchanted.

It was just him and his guitar. That’s all. Yet he managed to echo the heartbreaks, grief, and pain of hundreds. He would begin a song with a soft melody and end up bent double, viciously strumming—no, beating the guitar. The lights would suddenly go out disorienting us for a second, leaving us holding on to chord of the last song yet yearning for the next.

Often between songs he would tell a story. He jokingly told the audience about how growing up a Catholic boy made him a guilt-ridden man as a prelude to the opening of “9 Crimes.” He also shared the story of a man who thought he had a chance with a woman he fancied. After taking a few sips of wine, he slurred the lyrics of “Cheers Darling.”

But it was “Volcano” that showed the artistic and creative genius Damien was and still is. He made us a part of his performance by dividing the theater into sections, each with a different verse. At his cue, my voice joined the chorus-like sound of the many who sung along. Damien then proceeded to sing his line, his voice rising above ours.

And in that moment, it was just the audience, Damien, and his music. Nothing else mattered except for the undeniable string that connected us all to one another. 

Wake Me Up When November Ends

On November first, I submitted my first official college application. And later that week I submitted another, then another, then another. And now the wait has officially begun. I still have a lot more applications to go — safety schools, scholarships, regular decision applications—yet it’s so hard to believe that I’m at the point in my life where I’m making decisions for myself, decisions that can possibly change the course of the rest of my life.

Part of me is ready for it, but another part isn’t.

I’m ready to grow up into the person I’ve always wanted to be with the help of my dream colleges, but part of me wants to remain young, naive, and full of teenage bliss.

Nonetheless, the moment that I’ve been waiting for (my first college acceptance) is right around the corner and, quite frankly, I can’t wait. The first week of December is when I start to hear back from colleges, and I’ve never wanted November to end so soon.

This month-long wait is both a blessing and a curse.

I am giddy, excited, and hopeful but the pessimism and worries still weigh heavy on my shoulders. It’s going to be a rough month full of anxiety, self-doubt, and long nights of fighting away my sleep depriving thoughts of what-ifs.

November is going to be all about preparing emotionally for what may come in the future— whether I’ve planned for it or not. It is a month for self-reflection and deciding what I truly want to for myself. Yet, no matter what the outcome may be, I am confident that I’ll make the best of it.