Here's a glimpse into my 24 years of life in form of my favorite pastime; a list.
Disclaimer: I apologize at the list not being in chronological order.
Here it goes,
1. The only extra curricular activity my elementary school offered were #violin classes. I played the instrument from Kindergarten through Freshman year of High School.
2. In those years, my sister and I would play the Star-Spangled Banner and the Dominican National Anthem at the events of a social sports club my Dad was apart of.
3. I got to be apart of the #music Advancement Program at the Julliard School; a Saturday program that helps students from diverse backgrounds excel in the classical music field.
4. The reason why I went on my first solo trip to #Toronto and Montreal, Canada was because I didn't want to lose a gift card that was expiring. Thank you Janire!
5. I graduated College, quit my job of 4 years, went to Toronto, came back and then left again ...on tour with R&B artist, Anthony Flammia.
6. I found #AnthonyFlammia on #Spotify, thanks to Karen Rodriguez. After introducing myself to his manager, I got an offer to work with him and his team and next thing I knew I'm on his first national tour as his Marketing/PR coordinator. I was 21 years old.
7. I had just completed an internship at #RocNation.
8. My introduction to anxiety was interning at #RocNation. How and why it happened is still a mystery to me.
9. After that first experience, I became claustrophobic and spent a ton of money on Ubers to avoid the New York City train.
10. SIDE NOTE (one of many tangents!) I almost went to Brazil with my University but had to cancel the trip last minute because of my #anxiety.
11. I still went to Toronto that Fall and I'd honestly say, along with #naturalmedicine, that solo trip cured my anxiety. I'll explain in a lengthier post soon.
12. Honorable Mention: I met my mentor in Toronto eating pupusas in Kensington Market.
14. The artist, Aminé and I spent two summers hanging out, going to music shows and festivals. I was the first person to buy his debut mixtape, Odyssey to Me.
15. We met while interning at #DefJam.
17. I've managed to see most of my favorite artists perform live. I'll start with me crying when Tank surprised the crowd at the annual WBLS R&B Fest.
18. The headliner was Musiq Soulchild, with Jon B opening the stage for him. Tank was never on the setlist but miraculously appeared to preview his new song at the time, "You're My Star." I was in TEARS.
19. He follows me on Twitter. That's an interesting life moment. So does Brian McKnight, BJ the Chicago Kid, Mr. Vegas (another interesting life moment) and Sabrina Claudio.
20. Brian McKnight is my favorite R&B artist, next to Miguel. I saw him live for the first time on my 23rd birthday.
21. The artist I used to work with, Anthony Flammia opened up for BJ the Chicago Kid in New York and that's how we met.
22. I also met #SabrinaClaudio, pre-stardom touring with Anthony Flammia. I invited her to come out to his show via Twitter and she came with her Mom. The sweetest girl!
23. Now, Mr. Vegas. I took my friend to go see him perform live at SOB's for her birthday and ended up dancing "Bruk It Down" on stage.
24. My first experience at a music festival was in Philadelphia for Made In America, in 2014. I remember running wild to the front of the stage for Miguel's set.
25. I also didn't stay for Beyoncé because music festivals are no joke and I was not mentally nor physically prepared.
26. I did go to Jay Z and Beyonce's first On The Run tour and didn't like it. I made the mistake of getting nosebleed seats in an open stadium. You can imagine the rest..
27. I was given the opportunity to work J. Cole's Dollar and a Dream show one year and my supervisor had us give away pizza to the fans waiting on line. At one point, a whole box fell on the floor with all the shoving and pushing and they still picked it up and ate it.
28. I got trampled in a mosh pit during The Meadows Music & Arts Festival during Tory Lanez set. I fell, and 4 other people fell on top of me.
29. Watching Day 26 perform live for their 10-year anniversary was nostalgic and perfect.
30. I've always wished I could sing.
In 8th grade, I auditioned for LaGuardia High School and sang K-Ci and Jojo's "All My Life." I didn't get in.
31. That same day, I also auditioned to be a drama major, performed a monologue ...twice and still didn't get in. It was never a dream of mine to be a singer or an actress but, at the time, I loved it. One of my phases.
32. I realized acting was not for me when I tried to be in the Drama Club in High School. The enthusiasm completely went away.
The random but relevant moments in my life; bare with me..
33. My 6th grade Math teacher encouraged me to participate in a Math competition and I won first place. 13 years later, her and I still keep in touch. She bought me my first easy bake oven!
34. In High School, I tried to teach myself the hindu language; I was obsessed with Bollywood films.
35. My first accident was at the age of 22. I slid down a steep park hill... on a bicycle.
5 stitches on my upper lip and a scar under my eye.
36. I used to "play bathroom attendant" as a kid at the sport club my Dad was in, collecting tips to buy myself a butter roll at the restaurant next door. The start of my "hustling" years.
37. I have a lot of great memories there. My Dad was their resident DJ. If I didn't stay with him for a party, I'd wait up for him at home to make sure he got in safe.
38. When I did stay with him and I'd get tired, I'd put chairs together to make a bed and grab table cloths to cover myself.
39. There were times that he'd DJ children's parties and my friends and I would go crash the party, say we're with the DJ (mind you, we were preteens), compete in their dance competitions and win free goodies bags.
40. My cousin and I used to have a YouTube show.
41. Later that year, we got caught shoplifting.. #kidsdothedarnestthing
42. Anyway, my first real trip by myself was with an organization created by students from my High School, called #NY2NO.
43. For 9 days we slept on cots in an abandoned church in New Orleans, Louisiana. Apparently, 2 weeks before my group went, the place was robbed at gun point.
44. I remember creating a Powerpoint presentation to convince my parents to let me go on this trip. One of the most memorable and humbling experiences of my life.
45. It was important enough that on December 31st, 2017 I packed my bags and moved to NOLA.
46. Speaking of interesting experiences with organizations, I was apart of cult. Ok, kidding, that's a harsh word but it was a community service program with young students ran by a pathological man.
47. My friends and I got kicked out of said program for exposing him.
48. I met my first boyfriend in that program. We were never encouraged to date but, the minute I got kicked out, it was fair game.
49. In 2007, my brother was diagnosed with leukemia. Those 2-3 years were full of all kinds of ups and downs.
50. His cancer went into remission allowing him to attend his 5th grade graduation. I remember watching him walk down the aisle with the principal to R. Kelly's "The World Greatest." One of my favorite life moments! Later that year, it returned.
51. My sister and I were not a match for him to receive a bone marrow transplant but luckily someone in Europe was and he became a #cancersurvivor.
52. From the moment I found out my 10 year old brother was diagnosed with a life threatening disease, I joined SMAC also known as the Student Movement Against Cancer.
53. During my Junior and Senior year of High School, I became the President of #SMAC.
54. I even went on an overnight retreat one year with the American Cancer Society.
55. While my brother was in the hospital, I became the first member of Charna's Kids Club, a sibling support group. Alice, Emily and Kelly, you three are magical human beings, I thank you for everything you did for me and my brother.
56. Honorable Mention: The Make-A-Wish foundation is amazing.
57. Fun Fact: I worked at Sprinkles Cupcakes for 4 years. From senior year of High School to senior year of College.
58. I was a commuter in College, which sucked, for the most part. There was not one Finals week that I didn't end up sleeping in the library overnight.
59. Shockingly, a trip to Fordham University with the cult I was apart of played a part in my choice to go there. I met Rosie Perez that day too.
60. On top of that, I miraculously got a full scholarship.
61. Originally I went to College to study PR and Communications and ended up majoring in African and African American Studies and later on, Communications and Media Studies.
62. I was not the best student. Arguably, I prefer to learn on my own. I almost didn't graduate because one of my professors threatened to fail me for not meeting his final paper page requirement.
63. That same professor who pitied me, saw me on line graduation day and fixed my tassel to the "haven't graduated yet" side. Talk about petty..
64. My Sophomore year of College was my favorite year because I got my own apartment off campus.
65. I managed to survive having a 7-day class/internship/work schedule and still find time to party every weekend. House parties in the Bronx and on Dyckman will never be the same.
66. There was a night where my girls and I went to a very shady party, deep in the Bronx and had no money to come back to the friend's house we were staying at. We were young and our parents had no idea we were out. We explained to the cab driver our situation and she brought us to our neighborhood for free. Mid-way we realized the cab was not registered to her name, the taxi ID behind her seat was a man. We took it as a sign that homegirl was our #guardianangel. Chile!
67. In 2015, I made it a goal to travel once a month and actually did it. No, I'm not rich. Some of these "trips" were day or weekend trips to places where either I was taking an $8 bus to or one of my friends were driving.
68. I was so poor that I once bought a one way to Costa Rica because I have no self control and at the moment, that was all I could afford.
70. I returned to Dominican Republic after 14 years that year too. Shoutout to Abuela!
71. SIDE NOTE: (Another tangent!) I'm notorious for always throwing events/parties at my parent's house. Even in Middle School, I'd use any excuse to have people over. On my graduation day, I had a celebration and somehow convinced 20 of my friends to go to a bar deep in Brooklyn from Uptown Manhattan ...past midnight ...by public transportation. A real New Yorker is judging me right now.
72. Shoutout to my parents for helping carry out intoxicated people, feeding bread to people laying on my bathroom floor, cleaning throw up from my bedroom and allowing me to continue after every, "this is the last one" or "we'll be out my midnight."
73. They're the real MVP's. Always supporting my wild decisions. Like that time I bought, yet another, one way flight to Europe.
74. During that trip, I decided to extend my stay and take a solo trip to Barcelona 'until my money ran out'. #badhabits When I bought my flight home, I had to stop in Russia for a few hours. Shook, I tried to stay up and not make it obvious that I was American.
75. I traveled to 3 different cities before Spain. Venice, Italy was one of those cities. The highlight of that trip was learning how to row a gondola.
76. Sad but, hilarious fun fact. My friend Nicole and I arrived to Paris, France the day Donald Trump got elected to be your President.
77. Now that I think about it, I should've just stayed in Europe. Anyway, every Parisian we spoke to laughed at us when asked where we were from and we'd say the "USA."
78. At the Christmas market in Paris, I found a Haitian booth. He was selling liquor, playing kompa. LIFE. MADE.
78. Kompa is a Haitian music genre that I discovered because of my friend's sister.
79. I learned to dance kompa, #kizomba and semba strictly by going to dance socials.
80. In Toronto, during my solo trip, I went to a kizomba social and it felt like being home away from home.
81. The best part of my Eurotrip was in Londong watching the musical, "In The Heights." It hit all the home-y feels too. The original show started in New York, by Lin-Manuel Miranda, about the neighborhood I was born and raised in. I cried like a baby. It was an honor to sign their wall. I obnoxiously wrote in big letters, "I'M FROM WASH HEIGHTS! THANK YOU!"
82. Fun Fact #463568723: I met Lin-Manuel Miranda in College. He performed a monologue for us and I remember him warning the audience not to record it, little did we know a few years later it would become a scene on "Hamilton."
83. A random thought just came to mind. Once upon a time, a group of I think 16 or 19 underage students got together to buy fake IDs from this supplier in China. Let me explain how suspicious this was. I had wired money through Western Union to this, now closed and under FBI investigation, business. They were delivered to a friend's house and I suddenly went from 19 to 23 years old.
84. My friend and I had gone to a club once, on a weekday, thinking "we're in! Nothing can happen to us now." ...until we saw cops walk in. Assuming they were coming to get us, we ran into a bathroom stall together and stood there for what felt like forever. The bathroom attendant must've been confused. Thank you lady for not calling security!
85. My parents found one of my IDs and shred it. Another episode of the series #kidsdothedarnestthings
86. I ended up throwing the other one away.
87. When my friends and I went to London and discovered there are no open container laws, we went to the nearest bodega, bought personals of Hennessy and drank in the tube. You can leave the hood but the hood don't leave you.
88. We got on the London Eye right after.
89. Speaking of intoxicated interesting experiences, I fell asleep on a beach after partying in Phuket, Thailand once.
90. My friends and I went to Thailand last November and in the third city we visited, Phuket, we met Dominicans and decided to walk to the beach and wait for the sun to rise. I, on the other hand, had other plans.
91. Thailand was out of this world. We learned to cook Thai dishes in Bangkok.
92. Bathed, fed and threw mud on elephants at the Elephant Sanctuary in Chiang Mai.
93. Had one of the funnest clubbing experiences in Phuket. Apparently, I like clubbing when I'm abroad but not when I'm in the US.
94. And finally, in Ko Phi Phi, we jumped off boats and basked in some of God's most beautiful creations.
95. My birthday's in the Summer and every year, like the roaring Leo that I am, I celebrate my year around the sun all month. Formal invitation, itineraries and all. One year, I organized a field day. My family, friends and I played a game of softball and even had a water balloon fight in the rain.
96. SIDE NOTE: (Last tangent, I swear!) My middle school had a field day every year with a double dutch competition. My best friend and I won first place every year.
97. SIDE NOTE ON A SIDE NOTE: The 3 years I was in that school were the best and worst. I was bullied every day and managed to, despite the fact, make everyday count. I'd get to school early to work in the main office, go to club meetings during lunch and even handled the scoreboard during the basketball games after school.
98. In our yearbook, I was given the SCHOOL as a fictional "gift" because I was that heavily involved.
99. Back to birthdays! Last year, I introduced my friends to the Port Morris Distillery in the Bronx. We toured the distillery, drank moonshine and danced to Pedro Navaja's live salsa band. 65 of my friends came to my celebration!
100. I am eternally grateful for my genuine friendships. Can you believe I've only lived in New Orleans a few months and over 20 of my friends have come to visit? I can't either.
Thank you for reading.
As always, spread love.