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Haven’t been writing here, and for a good reason. I’ve got better at entrying my journal, and it’s just too much work to keep up with both.

Things have been going smoothly, and at the same time overwhelming, and that’s not an oxymoron. I’m pleased with everything that I have going on here, but it’s just a little too much on my plate right now.

We have a Bharatanatyam performance in 2 days. I’m only dancing a short piece, but it’s still a ton of work. We have at least 3 practices each week, and last weekend, we were away in Tepotzlan at Paty’s (my teacher) house to rehearse.

In the office, I’ve pretty much been by myself. Laura, the other intern (now a former intern), already left at the beginning of this month for a job at a law firm. Every day, I have to answer all the emails, all the phone calls, talk with everyone who walks into our center, and at the same time, put together on several presentations (state promotions for Illinois, test preps), draft the newsletter and continue working on two big projects: study group and pre-departure orientation. The way I usually work is concentrate and be productive for a couple of hours, then slow down for about half an hour, and then restart my engine. With all these deadlines coming down on me bam bam bam, I hardly even have time to breath, let alone slow down.

Also work-related, met with Megan for a mid-term evaluation, and learned more crucial lessons on professionalism. I love walking barefoot, and have a problem keeping my shoes on. Especially when i sit at one place (a.k.a. in front of the computer in the office) for a long time, I have the habit of kicking my shoes out, and then I’d get up and walk around barefoot. I also need to change my postures from time to time, and that may mean sitting cross-legged on my chair. All of this looks casual and unprofessional. Another thing that Megan brought up was my style of communication. She said I was too blunt and a little too casual with higher-up like Alan, which is totally true. While I understand that Alan is the top boss, it’s hard to avoid chitchatting with him. We speak in English (i tend to be very casual in English) and he makes you feel like you’re one of his best pals. And when I don’t feel distant from someone, I can also be very direct. Also, (unfortunately), it’s hard for me to “praise” or complement to people of higher ranks. It feels both inappropriate (they’re the boss after all – they don’t need my evaluation) and too ass-kissing. Maybe I just need to learn how. Or maybe someone can teach me another way to look at it that is not: making your boss feel good about him/herself so that you can become a favorite –> puke

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That’s my graduation advice.
I left Wes at 10 a.m. this morning and am staying in New York for a couple of days. I arrived in the city and went out for lunch with Ivy and Keith at a Mexican restaurant. It’s a small cosy place, red and blue alternating on the walls and on the tables. The man working at the burrito bar, who I assumed owns the place, suddenly started singing. I couldn’t make out what language he was singing in, but his voice was surprisingly good. He reached all the high notes, while still having the male raspiness. When he came to our table with the food, I told him how much I liked his voice. He asked if I was a singer. I laughed, assuring him that it’s one of the things that I could never do: I’m terrible with pitch and always sing out of tune. He later came back to the table and asked me: What do you want to do in life? I was struck that someone would ask me that question just a few hours after I left college, but I didn’t want to take it very serious so I just laughed again and replied: definitely not singing. The man, still looking at me in the eyes, said: That’s ok, but look deep into yourself and ask what you really want to be, and let it be. And you can only be good at it with lots of practice, it takes hard work, but let it be, be yourself. You know the Beatles’ song? Let it be. Don’t read the Bible, read the Beatles.
Thank you for your words of wisdom.

So far the internship in Mexico is the best after-graduation option for me: the job seems stimulating, the commitment is not long, and I get paid, not much, but enough to get by on a budget. Normally I’d jump up at the chance to go anywhere, and I’ve started the paperwork – and it might not go through – but I’m actually not that thrilled this time.

This is my second bout of travel guilt. I distinctly remember the first one. I was in Hawai’i; I had hardly started traveling back then, but I was at the high of my idealist militancy, and I felt like I should have gone home and got myself integrated in some kind of social movement, started building network, etc. instead of bumming around. All of this was weighing down my mind until I met an old hobo from Cali on a bus ride in the Big Island. I confided in him and he gave me his words of wisdom: it’s ok – you’re going to places and meeting people and learning; it will enrich you as a person and you will be more of help to others later in life.
His assurance has helped me got through the past few years with few moments of doubt. I’ve constantly told myself: I’m young, I want to see the world, I want to learn from other people. And it’s true. I owe so much to the relationships that I’ve built and/or kept while being away from home: old friends that stay with me, new ones that I’ve made, strangers that take me in, feed me, look out for me. They encourage, inspire, essentially shape me into who I am. I’ve learned tremendously.
But at this moment, I really don’t know if I can use the same “excuse” to justify spending 5 months in Mexico City, doing something that I’m interested in but not as a career. I just feel like once I graduate, I should head-dive right into the chosen path, learning more skills in either a social service or a policy setting. But maybe 5 months is not terribly long, summer will come and I’ll head home? Maybe I can afford some procrastination?

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