Monday, May 21st

Image

I feel positive today, unconcerned and carefree. The thought crossed my mind earlier that we’re play acting, playing house like kids do, acting out the imagined version of what a life together should look like. Immediately, I followed it with the thought, “But it has been six years since I’ve been in a relationship.” I stopped myself with that thought, stopped the onslaught freak out and gave myself a little wiggle room, because it has been five years since I’ve committed to someone. And six years ago, I was 20 and in a different place in life with a different philosophy, trying to be in a relationship that would never work.

 This time is different, and I have more life behind me, and it’s destined to feel a little strange, like riding a bike when you haven’t done it for years – maybe you haven’t forgotten, but surely you’re going to teeter with balance and nerves for the first little while. It’s the first time I’ve been in one of those grown up relationships we all play acted when we were little; there’s some joy and excitement in actually doing the things I always thought I might.

I’m looking forward to grilling tonight with Ellie and Andy and Zander – our first double date and first spring evening spent outdoors.

Published in: on May 21, 2012 at 10:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

Lies

I completely and utterly lied about having made the JET decision. I think I thought I was telling the truth, or I was at the least trying to convince myself that I had made the final decision, but no… not even a little. It’s going to be fascinating to read this in a year and know what happened. Ultimately, whatever happens will have been the right thing. I hope. I hope my life philosophies aren’t radically altered this year in depressing ways.

So something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time —

Stellenbosch things.

Here’s a quick list – I’ll do it up better later.

Food:

Cal’Caccio (pizzapizzapizzapizza – the classy kind)
Java Cafe (wireless internet, good food – variety)
Bohemia (pizza and chips for LIFE)
Beads (pasta)
Julians (cute cafe – great desserts – good food)
Chinese place in Eikhart mall (super cheap, really tasty buffet on Friday nights)
Place I don’t remember the name of at the gate of Concordia (if you’re on campus – more traditional south african food)
Lecca il gelato (spelling? world – er, south africa’s – best gelato)
Kauai (wraps, smoothies, fresh squeezed juice)
Cubana (chain – incredible steak, all around awesome food, fun drinks, do the flaming tequila shots, share hookah)

Drink/Party:
Bohemia (beginners bar – kind of emo/punk/indie rock)
Brazen Head (my bar, baby, my bar – watch futbol here – don’t come if you’re not cheering ManU)
The club at the top of the Eikhart mall… on the top floor – somewhat near the theater but outside – very fun
I wish i could remember the name of this awesome place we went to that had great drinks and tvs but also this great ambiance… plush like… nto couches or bean bags but like love bag things – whatever they’re called. Fun.
Everywhere on Long Street in Cape Town
the gay bars strip in Cape Town
Fandango – stellenbosch (live bands – great jazz, fun fruity cocktails)

To Do:

Hike Stellenbosch mountain
hike other mountains
keep hiking
botanical gardens in stellenbosch
kloofing in cape town
wine tasting/wine tours in stellenbosch
wine route – through the west cape
cape point/cape of good hope (penguin colony!)
old town stellenbosch – beautiful houses/architecture
museum on campus
beaches in cape town – any of them (they’re cold!)
abseiling in cape town (table mountain)
hike/climb table mountain
money willing – Kruger National Park (best use of money perhaps ever)
Cango Caves (outside of Cape Town – western cape)
The Waterfront in Cape Town (super touristy but pretty)

+8 million other things.

and no matter what you do in stellenbosch or cape town or the western cape or south africa in general – drink hunters dry and savannah dry and a ton of wine.

Leaving on a JET plane

It’s time, America, for your results:

Will it be Los Angeles, the home of the television and film industry, where Cyndi can set her sights on becoming the next great TV writer…

or…

Will it be Japan, the underdog in this competition, the one with stability and stamina, the choice the judges have chosen but about which the contestant has doubts?

Last night over 4 votes came in, America, and I can now reveal to you, in no particular order… that Cyndi Waite…

WILL be going to Japan!!!

(she also watches far too much reality television)

Anywho. Going to Japan. I’ve decided. I still can’t say that I’m one million percent, and it’s a strange feeling – as Intern Noelle pointed out today (and I’m completely aware of) – I don’t really feel or do anything big part way. I feel things really intensely, and I do things really passionately. It’s strange for me to be at a place where I’m not passionate – but maybe the passion will come. I’m not NOT passionate, either. The excitement is growing. Every night I look up more information about different cities and prefectures, and I feel that tingle of excitement. But during the day, when I’m at the magazine, I remember how much writing and editing and maybe tv writing is my path, and I can’t help but get discouraged again, thinking that teaching English in Japan for a year… doesn’t quite fit in or help me reach my goals.

THIS blog, though, is supposed to be about excitement and sharing the news of making the decision. I had made the decision a couple of days ago, but then I read that the average JET needs around $3000 in start-up costs, and I was so disappointed, knowing that it wouldn’t be feasible for me. Even with selling my car, I didn’t think I’d be able to have enough. Then today, I had a pretty rough day at work – Noelle was offered the assistant position we interviewed for. I didn’t necessarily even really want the job – It’s not where I would have been happy, it’s not a job that would have utilized my strengths. But it still unraveled me – partially because it was a hit to my ego, and a lot because my excitement for her in getting a real job, a big kids job – with benefits and a salary and all that good stuff – reminded me that I’m nowhere near that. For her, this job IS a stepping stone to her bigger goals – and it just made me realize that I don’t even know where my stepping stones ARE, let alone be jumping up them. So I was pretty down about life and doubting myself AND on top of it thought that JET wasn’t an option EITHER anymore. And then when I was told that Noelle got the position, she offered me a position with over double the hours I am receiving now working on a project until mid-July. The amount I’ll be making will be what I need to do JET! Life is pretty incredible, huh? Or maybe it’s the people in it. It was a good reminder to me – I’ve been feeling negative lately. I’m going to save all the money from that job and live off the money from my second job. It will be tight, but it’s doable.

JAPAN.

back to Japan.

So – I leave July 25, barring me being able to finish all the paperwork. It’s going to happen. I can’t see it yet – it’s like when I was in middle school and so excited about college already, but I couldn’t see it – it was so far away that it was like… I felt like I genuinely would NEVER be there, almost like I would have to die first – it was jsut that far away. It’s sort of like this – I think my excitement and passion for this experience is there – but I can’t SEE the experience yet – I know so little about Japan.. it’s such a foreign world and language and culture to me that… I just can’t… I can’t put myself there yet. I’m going to start learning the language – JET sends us language books, and I’m going to keep reading and learning about the country and the culture. I will see it soon :)

So… in two months and 12 days (if I did the math right), I will be…

japan2

somewhere in this picture. I’m hoping for Okinawa…. but who isn’t?!

I think I will either rename this blog or start a new one to chronicle the Japan adventures – I think I’ll name it “Leaving on a JET plane.”

Published in: on May 13, 2009 at 10:09 am  Leave a Comment  

Global Women’s Rights Awards Gala

I’ve done some pretty spectacular things these past few months in LA – partied with the Guerrilla Girls (okay, more like crashed their party…), sat in on staff meetings with Ellie Smeal at the helm, edited with the senior editor at an incredible publication – been published in the most revered, prolific, incredible feminist magazine there is, interviewed for a position to be the FMFs Vice President’s assistant, seen Kirstie Alley order three dozen cupcakes (they were for friends!), not died seeing movies at the fabulous Highland Theater, met Amy Brenneman and Ellie on the same day, eaten an inordinate amount of bagels in the office… and the list goes on.

But this past week – last Wednesday – may have been the topper, the pinnacle of my experiences as an intern these past few months. Actually, I take that back – seeing my name in print in Ms. and holding a copy of this new issue of the magazine for the first time – that’s the winner – but… one of the toppers, the pinnacles, of my experiences as an intern these past few months… was the annual Global Women’s Rights Awards hosted by the FMF. The event is a fundraiser – this year the these was the intersection of women’s issues and the media. There is a live and silent auction, it’s held at the Beverly Hills Hotel, and it’s a night to remember.

For weeks prior, while doing phone and administration work, I was also working on helping out with the event. I wrote a good chunk of the descriptions for the silent auction items, which was absolutely a joy and such a fun way to be involved. The day of, we (the interns) helped finish registration stuff – getting nametags and registration envelopes prepared. We helped set up the event, and then we got ready for our event duties. Noelle and I were each assigned to a person for the night – mine was Amy Brenneman – an actress on Private Practice (she was also Judging Amy on the same name show). I adore Private Practice and her so it was a pleasure. Noelle was working with Christiane Amanpour, one of our honorees this year. She is the chief international correspondent for CNN. She’s incredible.

Throughout the night I had the pleasure of meeting – Christiane, Amy, Neal Baer – the executive producer and head writer for Law & Order: SVU (another honoree), Jay Leno (who hosted the live auction – his wife Mavis is a board member and strong feminist), Diane Lane, Tim Allen (he’s a feminist?), Dolores Huerta (!!!!! the legendary, iconic, incredible, amazing, absolutely wonderful and accomplished and gaaaaahhhh brilliant labor movement leader herself), and a host of other brilliant people.

I could talk forever about the event, but I’ll stop and post the few pictures I have now. There are more coming!

gala1-christiane

From left to right – Me, Kierstyn (an FMF intern), Christiane Amanpour (Chief International Correspondent for CNN), my new best friend – one of the DC FMFers, and intern Noelle. Christiane has this intense presence; she walks into a room and controls it without ever needing to say a word.

gala2amy

Kierstyn, Me, Amy Brenneman, Anushay, Noelle, intern Lindsey   This is the first picture we took with Amy. I marveled all night at her ability to know exactly where the camera is… where the light is. Tyra would be proud. She is so much fun to be around – a lot of energy, and she always keeps eye contact with you, as though she’s genuinely interested in everything you’re saying, though I’m sure she talks to a million excited interns like us all the time :)

gala3amy

Kierstyn, Me, Amy, Editor Jess, Noelle, Lindsey — Another picture with Amy, this one with Jess! We dragged her in the photo. My face is so red in all these pictures – it’s like I’m bursting at the seams with excitement. I don’t contain any emotion very well haha but it was so incredible being around her. I never actually told her I was a huge fan or asked any questions about her career or the shows… I sort of wonder if I should have, but I’m pretty sure she knew… I don’t think I hid it well….

gala4diane

Me, Diane Lane, Anushay — Anushay was awesome at getting these pictures. She was completley natural at going up and introducing herself. It was wonderful to be working on the event/to be with FMF – it gave us more, well, uh, reason to say hello. Ms. Lane was at a front table and looked like she had a wonderful time. When we introduced ourselves, she was so friendly, shook our hands and was gracious about taking a picture with the two excited fans. She’s absolutely beautiful in person – she looks exactly, EXACTLY like she does on screen.

It was a beautiful night. I cried at several different parts, and I was backstage, where I couldn’t even hear all of it. I’ll post the pictures soon I took with Jay Leno, Dolores Huerta and the others.

Published in: on May 7, 2009 at 8:44 am  Leave a Comment  

Extra! Extra! Read all about it – Ms. is on the newsstands, there’s no doubt about it!

The spring issue of Ms. is out on newsstands as of yesterday!

ms-spring-20091

Finally, it’s here! I have a short article in the national news reports section on the old home of a feminist leader that is now being turned into a historical landmark and museum. I also wrote two of the short book recommendations – one for Staceyann Chin’s The Other Side of Paradise (best.book.ever.written. besides anything Augusten Burroughs, obviously)and It’s Not That I’m Bitter by a Gina Barreca.

The other interns and I wrote all of the national short takes; I wrote Arizona, the San Francisco one in the California section and Wisconsin.

It’s been a great three months and a lot of hard work, and I’m really proud to be a part of the final product.

OH and I fact-checked the hell out of like 8 million stories (actually 8 million – count).

Happy reading!!

Published in: on May 6, 2009 at 7:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

Alright, Blog, Let’s Chat

There’s JET. There’s this opportunity at the FMF. There’s life. There’s liquor.

Tonight. I chose liquor after 14.77 hours of choosing the 1st, 2nd, and unmentioned fourth. I got to the FMF/Ms. at 9:00am this morning. I clocked out at Islands at 11:45 tonight. That’s a hell of a freaking long day.

I have JET – I could go to Japan and teach English for a year… paid… an apartment… in Japan… be abroad… holy shit thing I’ve sought out, things I’ve considered selling everything I own to do (to backpack, to travel, to live abroad) — all paid for, and paid for well, and I’d live abroad and gain global perspective and learn a new language and the benefits go on and on. But I’d be in Japan. Not in the US. Not starting the path of my career that I want to be on. That I’m passionate about. The one that I’m meant to be on.

Then I found out late last night that the exec. vice president of the FMF is hiring a new assistant; hers is leaving. I’m not an assistant person. Let’s all take a momend and be honest. Nobody that reads this NEEDED to take a moment. Me – in an assistant position – it doesn’t work. The math doesn’t add right. The equations don’t equal. To be a good assistant, one must be organized and a micromanager. Me? My Strengths? I’m an idea’ist, a big-picture person, a writer, an editor, a loyal friend, but I am not organized. I am not a micromanager.

But I interviewed today. With nearly (nearly) everything I am I interviewed today. I impressed myself. For a job I’m not entirely sure I’m cut our for and even more entirely sure Noelle is meant for (fellow intern – good friend), I surprised myself by how well I interviewed. I could feel it in my bones – I know when I do well, I know when an interview goes well – and then at the end?

Let me regale you with what she said. I’m so happily drunk, I may have spelled regailed… regaled? you incorrectly.

She said.

Almost nearly. I’d be stupid not to go to Japan. “I could make an argument for all the reasons you need to accept this offer in Japan.”

And I want to laugh, want to say – oh this is so my life – she basically offered Noelle the job in front of me, telling me how amazing I am, how much she admires my work and my writing, but saying she respects me enough to say with honesty that I’d be dumb to give up an opportunity with the salary of the Japan offer. But it was flattering and helpful, too, because she mocked teaching English. Actually sort of mocked it. In the way that only KS can do – becuase it didn’t come across condescending or cruel – it came across honest, more like I think about it and understand it than I’ve been able to describe to anyone.

“Let’s be serious. You won’t have to be teaching ESL [English as a 2nd language] forever. You think this will divert you from your career path, but if you choose to go into non-profit, women’s work, this will enhance your resume, make you even more valuable.”

She was the first one to speak to my fears about this issue and not just my heart. My heart will always say jump ship and be scared and be abroad. My fears relate to my mind, and my mind will always say fight for your career.

She combined it all and said – do it, and you will be fighting for your career.

So maybe, at the end of the day, KS FMF, taught me a lesson that no other interviewer, no other job position holder, no other key to my future, could offer; she gave me peace.

She won’t choose me. I know this. She’ll choose Noelle. And my ego will take a hit, but then it won’t, you know? Because tears come to my eyes when I think of how fit Noelle is for this position and just how destined I am to work in the editorial field – in some non-profit, for women capacity. I will start trying to freelance and try to build a career from there.

And I may not make the most realistic, down to earth, practical choices every time I come to these place of utter, stressful, absolutely impossible, difficult decision places, but I will always fight for what I believe in, for what i stand for, and that is one part, one line, of my failed interview today that I will always believe, to which I’ll always stay true.

I’ll freelance write. I’ll find an editorial position, some way, some how.

And when I’m stressed as i was today, I’ll end the night drinking Long Islands with friends, belting out “If I Could Turn Back Time” at the most fun of karaoke bars, reminding myself all the while that “$15 drinks” really means – “You made it to LA.”

Dreams do come true.

No matter what my choices, this is just the beginning… right?

Published in: on April 25, 2009 at 11:56 am  Comments (1)  

Cape Town: My One True Love

There’s a kid named Alex who goes to UNL who is currently studying abroad in Botswana (so envious!). He’s headed to Cape Town for the weekend, I’m assuming. He asked me what he should see/do while he’s there. I wasn’t online when he asked me this so I responded to him in a facebook post. I said:

everything – is your answer in cape town. everything. just stand in one place, turn in circles, take deep breaths, maybe close your eyes for a second and just take it in. it’s beautiful – no matter where you are, what you’re in front of – it’s just fucking breathtaking.

when you’re done with all that do Long Street. and i do mean DO. everywhere is amazing. everything is amazing. there is also what we dubbed the “gay strip” that’s fantastic if you like gay bars, but that’s not on long. robin island is amazing, of course. cape of good hope, the penguin colony, Canal Walk, amazing restaurants everywhere (eat pizza on Long!), and there are museums and all that jazz all around. but really – go spend a day at the beach and check out the mountains. it’s like almost painful how incredible it all is. drive/climb table mountain and see the view – it will blow you away. go abseiling and kloofing. you can see museums anywhere – go jump off cliffs while you’re in cape town!

I was struck by how much I both remember and have forgotten – I couldn’t remember the actual name of so many places, but the image and feeling of the places themselves was still so vividly with me. It also was surprising to see just how much I came to know and love a city after such a (relatively) short time. I know Cape Town. and then, it surprised me even more to realize that I NEVER did a museum in Cape Town. not once. and with all the history in South Africa, that should appall me, but it absolutley doesn’t. I did South Africa the way I want to do it again and again and again – at a completley visceral level. I felt it all, man. I jumped off cliffs.

After I wrote this – without much thought, all it just feeling and remembering – I read through it and couldn’t help but come to the strikingly clear conclusion that Cape Town may be the love of my life. I’d even chase it to an airport and buy a ticket to tell it I love it. This must be the real thing.

Published in: on April 18, 2009 at 10:07 am  Leave a Comment  

Turns Out… Rejection Letters Are So 2008

I applied to a Random House associate program – they hire recent graduates interested in publishing with a year contract. They encourage their own program members to apply for jobs in the company at the end of the year. I expected it to be quite competitive, I wondered if I could get in, I slaved over crafting the perfect cover letter and resume.

This is the response I received this afternoon:

Dear Cynthia,

Thank you for applying to the 2009 Random House, Inc. Associates Program.

Unfortunately, the program has been suspended for this year. Please feel free to visit our job board at http://www.careers.randomhouse.com for further opportunities that are of interest to you and that suit your background. Again, thank you for your interest in Random House and we wish you every success in the future.

Regards,

Random House Human Resources

Apparently cancellation letters are the new rejection letters.

Intern Noelle applied for this, too and received this email (although if she had been accepted, my email would have been the best rejection letter ever). We took it as a “Welcome to the Real World in 2009, Recent Graduates $60,000 in debt with degrees that they thought promised them enough of a yearly salary to pay off that exhorbitant debt and, perhaps, maybe even provide benefits!”

We spent a solid three minutes laughing.

I think it’s my sign, my permission slip, to run off to Central and South America backpacking for a year.

….but, seriously, couldn’t they have at least told me whether or not I would have been chosen?!

Published in: on April 6, 2009 at 11:53 pm  Comments (1)  

Hilda Solis for Superhero

Our new Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis, may be my new political superhero. I’m in the middle of fact-checking a story on her for the next issue of the magazine, and I’m reading the transcripts of her confirmation hearings and then her swearing in ceremony… and I just… started crying. I was so touched and so moved by her story and her passion and her unwavering dedication to fighting for the everyday worker… for working families.. for the right for all workers to unionize… for workers benefits. Everything she talks about – from feeling so privileged and blessed to having made it through college with federal loans and grants to her background growing up with working-class parents. She forced her dreams to come true – fought through the bureaucracy and the disadvantages of her socioeconomic class. I’m so excited to see what she’ll do for women, for people, in this position. I just… gah. I’ll stop blabbing and post part of the speech. These are excerpts from her speech after she took the oath:

Hilda Solis:

I could not have gone to college without the help of those who fought for our civil rights and the right for underrepresented people to attend the university.

And I want to underscore how important the financial aid – the federal financial aid – system was and is today.

And how important the Pell grant, the guaranteed student loans, work study programs, all those programs, that helped me get my education and I know those programs continue to help provide the support for so many million, million of Americans.

So many experiences have helped to shape my life to prepare me for this moment.

I have visited fields and factories.

I have even walked picket lines.

And I have talked to and listened to not just those who work in offices during the day, but also those who clean the offices at night.

Many people have educated me, mentored me, and inspired me: From Martin Luther King Jr., who sparked my deep commitment to civil and human rights, to Cesar Chavez, who inspired the world with simply saying: “Si Se Puede!”

I am a product – and I’m proud of this – of the women’s movement, the labor movement, the environmental movement and the social justice movement.

[applause]

And the fact that I am standing before you today as a child of an immigrant family, a working family, is proof that in America, anything is possible.

Published in: on March 25, 2009 at 2:59 am  Leave a Comment  

Beverly Hellians are Third-Rate when it comes to Classism

I work. A lot. I don’t have a day off, and three or four days a week I go from one job directly to the next. (On a side note – I often find myself, as I’m lying in bed at night so exhausted that even reading blogs is too much energy, wondering how The Mom did it for so many years. And she didn’t just have blogs to come home to – she had two kids.)But yes, I work a lot. And I work hard. These ideas – of working often and hard – seemed commonplace and expected even to me until I started working in Beverly Hills. Now that I’ve been working at Islands for a month or so, alongside the magazine, I have this unique vantage point of one of the most famous and wealthy cities in the world: I am at once accepted and respected and looked down on and mistreated. I see class issues everytime I step into Islands, and it’s accentuated by every moment I spend at the mag. I’m at this weird cross section of life where I’m at once completely working class but for 30 hours a week or so get to be something slightly different by being at such a reputable, well-known, incredible publication – I tell it to myself too – I’m at Ms. Magazine – every day. And then I show up at Islands, where I get asked, “Do you know who I am? My husband produced The Sound of Music,” becuase, in this woman’s world, me knowing that is going to magically make the exact table she wants to become open. She expects the world to change as she walks through it to meet her expectations. I’ve never been around people as self-entitled as the ones I encounter at the restauarnt. To switch from the magazine world to the working class world… all in one day… is fascinating.

I’ve gotten incredibly off-track (how tired is Cyndi?). I raise all these points to introduce this video I came across on my new favorite blog. Chris Rock talks about what equality isn’t… and how to reach equality. I was so touched by this.

Best parts: the beginning, 3:05 and 4:55

The beginning of this video is where I was going with my own train of thought about what I’ve seen working out here. This is a city filled with incredibly self-entitled people… the thought to me that so many people have never worked a working class job a day in their life is probably as absurd as treating a working class server of theirs with respect is to them. I love that people like Chris Rock have worked, worked their asses off to get to where they are. It frustrates me that a disproportionate number of success stories who have come from lower socioeconomic classes are systematically disadvantaged minorities. By frustrates, I mean enrages. He’s a DENTIST. Living next to these cultural icons- that’s such a poignant, provocative illustration he makes. I just… want the world to be a prettier place, one where the people cleaning the streets are as important as the ones littering on them as they walk to their lunch meetings and penthouse offices. I want to feel as confident about myself and where I’m going when I step into Islands restaurant as I do when I step into Ms. because, at the end of the day, I know my goals are bigger than the boosters and high chairs I clean at the end of the night at the restaurant, but at both places… I work equally as hard, and while it’s audacious, I’d wager that it’s also veracious to say that the (disprorportionately) lower class minorities bussing tables are busting their asses far more than many of the white upper-class men running our major industries. One job is not categorically better than another, and one person is certainly not better than the other.

I think I want to live in Chris Rock’s version of our world.

Oh, and ps – to the woman asking me if I know who you are – You telling me about your Sound of Music producing husband is equivalent to me saying to a host, “Do you know who I am? My mother is an accountant for Hoshizaki America. They probably MADE the ice machine in this place.” Now where’s my window table?

Published in: on March 23, 2009 at 10:05 am  Comments (2)  
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.