Saturday, September 11, 2010

What makes us human

Coming from a boy, sitting behind a desk, in a middle school classroom, I could hear the response to a question my teacher had just posed: "Didn't a plane crash into them or something?"

Our history teacher had just asked us if we knew what the twin towers were. As 8th graders, we all knew what they were, but we never really knew the magic of them or what daily events went on there.

In the minutes following the news from our teacher that the twin towers had been under attack, our principal at the time, got on the PA system and asked that all teachers turn off their televisions and computers. On a day when mass chaos filled the streets of where I now live, I had never felt so disconnected.

At the time, I couldn't understand the hugeness of what was going on, but I did feel lost and angry that I didn't have the chance. My field hockey practice got canceled after school, and I went home with my then best friend where we began to get some more explanations from her mom. Words like "terrorism" and "war" were thrown out in the open, and for the first time in my life I heard the name "Osama Bin Laden."

That day was so surreal as I remember being able to see a faint bit of smoke from my kitchen window in the direction of where Flight 93 had crashed in Pennsylvania. Nine years later, I have a much better understanding on a day that now has a permanent place in history books.

This day has sparked debate, discussion, and many more questions in the last years as man people have chosen to look deeper into what cause the 9-11 incident.

While nothing seems clear about the attacks themselves, still, one thing has been very clear, and that is how it has affected each and every person differently.

Whether it is my story, or the one I posted months ago from my colleage (Story) , everyone's story is different.

On Thursday, as I read through the new Jorge and Laura Posada book, I was thrown a curve ball. Suddenly I was not only reading about the struggle of their son's illness, but now I was reading about Laura's 9-11 experience, in which her son was downtown at a hospital and she was uptown at home trying to get some rest. But as news came of the twin towers, she went into panic mode, and rushed out the door in the direction of the twin towers. She described the moment in great detail and it became clear that nothing else mattered at that moment to her than her baby boy.

As tears filled my eyes during my four train ride from the Bronx back into Manhattan, I realized how intensely emotions and experiences differed for people that day. And with 9-11 now upon us, today, for the 9th year since the attacks, I can only imagine that the feelings of loss and sadness running high.

The history books may dwell on concrete facts, but it is the stories that make it all real--the feelings--the thoughts--the hopes. It is these things that make that day. It is these things that make us human.

We will always remember.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010



With the economic crisis, it is very rare to walk through Manhattan, tell people that your degree is in communication with a focus on journalism, and then be told that you have chosen the perfect career path and that many jobs are opening up. The awful truth is that journalism is on its death bed, undergoing an agonizing execution in which it is kept breathing only because companies are willing to hire on the cheap. This either means that companies are hiring very few people to do many, many tasks at decent proficiency, rather than many talented crew members who can bring a wealth of knowledge in a variety of areas—or that companies are outsourcing.

According to USA Today, in 2008, MediaNews Group CEO Dean Singleton suggested that “papers should explore outsourcing in nearly every aspect of their operations.”

Well if news outlets are going to be outsourcing… then I have made an executive decision for myself…I am going to outsource myself. So with that, I bid adieu to New York City, to the United States, and I embark, in two months, on a trip to Italy in which I hope to first excel in a four week course that will grant me the certificate which makes me completely marketable as a teacher in Italy and to second: find a placement in Rome, the city that I considered to be my home for three months in 2008.

Things aren’t going to be easy. In fact, finding a placement may be very difficult seeing as the EU rules are very strict about who can and cannot work in Italy. However, life is not easy now: for instance, my apartment isn’t perfect—and I am not sure it will ever be a perfect apartment…I sleep on the floor, a dog sleeps in the kitchen next to me which makes my fan blow lovely dog scents my way each night, and the living space outside my room is small. In addition, I currently am unemployed—call it a casualty of the economy and recession, or just call it plain crappy. So leaving uneasy—to go to well…possibly more uneasy isn’t really scaring me away just yet. I am reminded by my peers and people I look up to that I am young and that this is the time to take chances and see the world, even if it doesn’t work out the way I planned. A good friend even noted not to worry that “America will always take me back.”

But with outsourcing my services and self to another country, I hope that I am able to make future contacts and employment opportunities past my hopeful year of employment as an English teacher. Seeing as I did not go to school to teach and how I am the oddball female of the family (My mother and sister are both English teachers…sheesh), it is my full determination to find a job internationally related to communications and media. So while America may always take me back—I am not sure coming back is what I hope to do.

The results of all this is that I may not live on more than a low income for many years of my life and I may not live in a big old mansion overlooking Lake Eerie or Lake Michigan, but I will be dedicating my life to living out what I want to do…in the places I want to do it. It’s time to make mistakes, and be happy with those mistakes…and with that I say: Bon Voyage.