There were no awards given out at some beautiful ceremony, or trophies sitting high on top of pillars with my name engraved in the gold colored metal—but, I did it. I finished another writing challenge, and now I have pages of poems that I actually like, and some of them I even feel pretty proud of.
There were no other black people in the group, and there were fewer women in the club than there were men. The club was a reflection of what I commonly saw when I laced up my boots and went hiking. Unless I was in the mountains of the diverse multi-cultural melting pot that was Los Angeles, California, I was almost always the only black female hiking in a sea of paler faces out in the woods.
An afternoon of looking for stock photos for a video on smoking, later that day, had me staring at, what looked to be, an image of a giant squid riding a brachiosaurus on my computer screen. It was at this point that I decided I couldn’t possibly apply anything that I had learned during this internship into my future career.
I have always been familiar with mid-century architecture and design. As a former architecture student I was made aware of Palm Springs, CA’s significance to the modernism movement and its impact on design, architecture, art, fashion and culture. However, even with my interest in architecture and design, I had never attended Palm Springs’ Modernism Week celebration.
We ended up accidentally finding the infamous and highly disgusting gum wall in an alley that we thought we were going to be mugged in, finding the house that they used as the Intern house owned by character, Meredith Grey, in the television show Grey’s Anatomy, and the building that they used for the front of the Grey-Sloane Hospital before hopping on our late flight back to California. My sister had to dodge crazy looks from the residents of Queen Ann Hill to snap a quick picture of the house that has been repainted by the current owners.
The four of us stared down at the black sludge bubbling up from the short blades of green grass that had been blocked off with black iron gates. A small gust of wind had picked up a smell, of what seemed like burned tire rubber, and found its way into our nostrils. I instinctively moved my feet around a bit as if to sidestep the process that was taking hold underneath my boots.
One of the strangest feelings in the world for me has to be the time I watched a group of young artists paint the logo, that I had designed and come up with in my head. Watching the sign that they painted being mounted on top of an art gallery store front is also right up there with the painting. I watched as they printed a copy of the image out on sheets of paper and carefully took their time with every stroke of their brushes to perfectly capture the original doodle I made for Create To Learn, and couldn’t help but be surprised out how everything turned out.
I was amazed at the level of care and talent they had in mixing their paint colors to match the bold child-like hues I selected for the finished logo. They kindly told me that they enjoyed my work and that they were having fun painting the drawing that had once just been an idea for a grad school project.
I ended up getting the chance to sit down and speak with a professional contact, whom I met while working on a research project for graduate school, on her online podcast, “Operation Community Stimulus.” The show takes the time to interview community nonprofits and business owners who give advice to college students and young working professionals, and regularly airs live from 5:30pm to 6:00pm on Fridays.
The show gave me another chance to give one of the most important pieces of advice I tend to give students hoping to enter the job force for the first time. I speak with individuals all the time who wonder how young professionals, such as myself, enter into the job force with “entry-level” job requirements that ask for years of experience. They scratch their heads and wonder how it’s even possible to some how have experience before not really having any experience, to which I always reply—internships.
There were moments, however, where we would run into people from various countries, which didn’t always quite know English, and still have lovely conversations with them. We understood them through their body gestures and smiles, and we learned more about them from the food and culture they decided to share with us. Those strangers were the ones who made us felt a little more at home in a place that was far away from the home that we have always known.
My last weekend abroad ended with me traveling by myself on a train to Pisa that Friday, on a train to Venice on Saturday with a group of fellow students, and by bus and train to Cinque Terre with a cheap tour guide group. I snapped a lot of pictures, got soaked to the bone standing in the rain waiting for a gondola ride in Venice, and hiked from the town of Vernazza to Monterosso al Mare.
The glaring spots from street lights flew past me at a momentous speed. I was barreling into the darkness with a concerned look on my face. “Had I gotten on the wrong midnight train to the Pisa airport for my flight to Paris?” I had seen no one that I was supposed to be traveling with and, I was traveling to a foreign country alone, again.
We found out along the way that someone had been pick pocketed by a Roma and we felt sorry for the teary-eyed girl until we heard about the girl who had been pick pocketed several times and had her Italian apartment robbed twice in the same week. It was then, after hearing that story, that my roommates and I felt a little more panicked about the rest of our luggage that was locked in our apartment back in Florence.
We spent the next two days visiting famous sites such as La Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, La Catedral de Barcelona, one of Barcelona’s amazing beaches. We tried Sangria from Spain and had tons of tapas. The weather was cool, the city was great and, to be honest, I kind of liked it more than Italy.
Today, I woke up to my alarm, grabbed my running shorts, and shoes and left my Italian apartment to go running around the Fiume Arno river. The cool breeze brushed my sleepy face as I tried to take it all in.
there is more to these two industries than what gets published in the news. Even now, with the advent of the Internet and social media and networking platforms, the functions and the relationship of both professions has changed to accommodate the evolving landscape of the modern age.