From this whole trip – the conflicts, the ups, the downs, the laughter the disappointment (that didn’t last long) – everything, if you look close enough, you see that the staff had earned their right to be here months ago when you saw how well they did with the challenges set before them. Whether I saw this in the film clip WIld that represented their sheer determination to be successful and independent, saw this in a quite that had described their achievements to this point, or many of countless events that made me laugh, contemplate, or just reflect, this staff – deserved to be here for many reasons. These realizations usually hit on the last day.
Saturday. We all knew the last day would be as inevitable as the first day which we had been waiting for. At some point during the week, it sped by, snuck under our radar, and appeared without a minute’s notice. Here it was.
Waking up later than 6:00 AM was actually a gift while being in New York, it was absolute and it was GREAT 🙂 No expectations, no needs, no have-to’s – it was just G R E A T. I could imagine it was pretty awesome for the staff to. On the agenda I found myself planning to meet a friend from high school near Penn Station and thanking the manager who helped us out with getting the tickets moved to a day for Phantom where we could see them. I headed out with a bundled package of sweatshirts from Repentino. under my arm and headed to UPS and a Barnes and Noble early to grab some books to prepare for our Authors Among Us Event. Broadway, then to a few blocks up from Penn Station, to hit Barnes & Noble at 10:00 – however, the 9:00 AM opening was actually 10:00 – wow – and I was to meet everyone at 9:30 AM at Penn Station – so I changed plans – headed to Penn Station.
Arriving on the corner of Penn Station at 9:30ish AM – I saw my high school buddy Umar at Modell’s Sporting Goods. It is still amazing to be able to get together with people from your past, catch up and with it being so long in between. Having the chance to meet up with friends is a gift itself for sure.
We hit the Starbucks below the Empire State building where he presented me a great birthday gift, a Andrew McCutchen Pirates jersey! Now I had a Steeler’s, Penguins, and Pirates’ jersey (and still owed Umar a list of Mexican items in queue for his generosity!) We always made the Empire State Starbucks the meeting place, and then would head over to Heartland Brewery for lunch, yet, this was an early day. Too early for being open, this was still closed and on my timetable, I had set to be back at 1:00-ish to be ready for the 2:00 departure. We wandered through stores near Penn Station, then headed to Macy’s which while on my previous visit thought it was a seasonal one time thing, saw that their Spring Flower Show was annual. Everytime in the last two years I have been in Macy’s, I could smell the flowers as soon as you enter and the designs, the way they are added among the various places in Macy’s – it is a must see.
It seemed that we had just had so little time and the odd thing, while the staff was with our other chaperone exploring Central Park and more, I couldn’t deny that I totally missed them 🙂 I really honestly, valued how much of themselves the staff had brought to New York this year – and that they had brought themselves – you could not deny. I missed them through and through almost the whole time. It never seems I have enough time to spend with friends from high school, when I get a chance to visit them, and yet, the time I had been used to seeing this staff this week, it really hit home – being proud of them was an understatement.
Additionally, sometimes you go through so many events and tend to become “used to” all the propaganda, advertising, comments, etc. – without the realization that there needs to be a change. What I am referring to is how women and females in general are depicted. I still can’t get over how so much of the public, places women in a category that boxes many women in, and belittles them on the scale of opportunity, talent, and expression. What I hope is, and what I have seen in the fur years of Repentino., is one small area, among many that are available, to empower women and allow them to become leaders, movers, changers, and a presence not only in society, but in the media and the public sphere. I never have been so proud of what the female staff of Repentino. have been able to do, this workshop proved how powerful, creative, effective, and influential they can be, and when I say I am proud of them ; that sentiment is part of it. We of course were lucky to have one male stafffer with us, and he did amazing, and yes, he promoted and encouraged the ladies around us to move forward and do great. That is what Repentino. staff do. I truly hope to see the names of so many of the leaders we’ve been lucky to have in Repentino. go on and become what they dream of, whether they see glimpses of that in Mexico, in New York, or anywhere, it is vital that these experiences become building blocks for what they maybe can or can’t see themselves doing in the future, but have the opportunity to doing any of these choices they wish to achieve.
While it was shocking to realize how much I had become used to being around the staff all week, it was nice to be able to reflect and hope that these experiences could add to their already attained experiences and push them forward to be anything they hoed to be. As I parted with my friends and hit Penn Station, heading to Broadway- it felt great to have a lazy, easy day to be able to let these hopes and aspirations surface. I hit the Barnes and Noble /Broadway to grab a wallet one of the staff had left behind, tried to grab books by Eric Smith and Zoraida Cordova (but as luck would have it, this was the only store in New York out of their books, lol) – then headed back to the hostel.
The staff began to come back from their trek through Central Park, to Rockefeller Center and back, we pulled out the luggage, some last-minute stops to Duane & Reade (Walgreens) on Broadway, and the shuttle arrived at 2:30 PM. We were all loaded up headed out to JFK, and as we left the limits of New York, no one, especially me, could not help but being absolutely, 100% proud of what the staff left behind in the way of contributions, influences, and working through the difficulties that arose and overcoming them. Colder than when we arrived, we seemed to be leaving a day ahead of an expected snowfall, and that seemed to be quite fine with everyone!
As we weighed our bags, (mine included being overweight) and getting all in order we made it through to the terminal with ease, a little tired but feeling we completed beyond measure what we had set out to do. I for one had seen the staff grow in many ways I would have never seen, had it been not for this trip and again, being proud falls on what they had achieved in front of so many people. On the loooong flight back – (I was able to watch Creed and Wild (not finishing) – I couldn’t help but think of my family as well, and how strange it is sometimes to come to the states and not be able to see them – yet the longing that occurs midweek to return to Mexico.
The staff presented me with an awesome book from Chiapas as a birthday gift, and it was GREAT. I have always found the most personal gifts were those that seemed personal when given, this was one of the best received for sure. Having written in the book from ach of the staff that was pretty great alone, and seeing how much heart they put into the success of this trip was another conversation altogether. We truly could have received every award possible through CSPA but nothing truly embodies the feeling when we go to New York, as the staff themselves, what they bring to New York and how they define New York every year with their talents and abilities, it seemed their gift was emphasizing this again without them having to say a word and to say I was grateful, a HUGE understatement.
You can blog, you can write, you can photograph, but it is almost impossible to catch every little quirky thing that occurs to capture the essence of every CSPA trip, and such was the case here. The moment that one of the staff had so many blisters from hurrying she just took off her shoes and ran the rest of the way to the hostel, the nervous beginning when no one is talking, everyone is seated in a conference workshop, and all are on needles wondering how it will start, the dilemmas of a missed show only to have the tickets in hand, the random people you meet on the subway and the conversations you are pulled into, the scream of someone scared by a Chewbacca outfit in Times Square, someone was RIGHT behind me, where did she go? 🙂 , the feeling you get inside of witnessing some pretty great moments on a Broadway stage coupled with music, the feeling good feel as you settle down to a shake, coffee,or meal and realizing you are in the middle of New York CITY! – there is so so much more if we sit down and think about it and hopefully, these will be the moments, along with the obvious moments that occurred, that will last beyond one year, 2 years, or even three, but a lifetime.
I still look back at the very first trip we made and yes, those moments linger and still remain. It is hysterical to look back and see the mishaps, no matter how well you plan, no matter how well you try to detail everything out, the unexpected always happens. Yet after year four of attending CSPA representing Repentino., you realize it is perfectly okay, because you have a staff with you that can make anything happen.