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…


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.


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…


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!


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.


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 🙂


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….


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!


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