As a journalist, I am scared of a Trump presidency.
As someone with Mexican, African-American, and LGBT best friends (on speed dial kind of friends), I am scared of a Trump presidency.
As someone with a Hispanic boyfriend, I am scared of a Trump presidency.
As someone who will have to answer for my country when I move abroad in less than a year, I am scared of a Trump presidency.
As someone who has to put my nationality on a customs form in 47 days and many more times in the next four years, I am ASHAMED of a Trump presidency.
That isn’t right. That should never be right. That should never be the reaction of the world to a potential American president.
If you voted for Trump and have been vocal about it, at least you have balls to stand behind what you believe. That’s the nicest thing I can say to you and while I vehemently disagree with your choice, I can find some respect for owning up to it. If you voted for Trump from the shadows, looking over your shoulder, lying to pollsters, your family, and your friends, I hope you sleep well and long and aren’t troubled with the weight of the futures of Americans you just jeopardized with a small inked circle.
This was a conflagration of everything this country supposedly stands for and I do not understand. Or, rather, I unfortunately do.
I understand that America is full of scared people with outdated and harmful ideologies more than we thought and so here we are. I just didn’t want to believe that this land of the free and home of the brave was this fundamentally flawed, this broken, this backwards.
We have signed up for four years of being issued wounds that will leave blazing scars. We have signed up for mistrust and lies and uncertainties and rampant egos. Regardless of what Trump does going forward, his win has caused a gaping chasm in American society.
But we’re Americans, aren’t we? We bounce back, we persevere, we fight for justice, we overcome. We have done so for 240 years and just because we weren’t expecting to do so in 2016, here we are, and we’ll rally. We will not back down to this new surge of racism and sexism and unfounded fears of minorities and those who are different. We will not go quietly into that good night.
Enjoy your one-term presidency, Mr. Trump. And be prepared for millions of Americans to be coming at you with their ideas of how to make America truly great.
Actually, I returned more than a month ago, but in usual fashion after I travel, am just now writing about it.
I have stories for WEEKS about Rio and all the amazing experiences I had and life lessons I learned. From working for the USOC during #Lochmess to giving myself a crash course in boxing 45 minutes before a bout to the tennis match from hell (don’t ask) to the unlimited Uncrustables in the office, it was definitely the opportunity of a lifetime.
I wish I could have brought my DSLR, but I didn’t want to risk it and wasn’t sure how much I’d be able to sightsee/have time to take pictures for fun. It turns out that I had a decent amount of free time so I was lucky enough to wander the Olympic Park quite a bit and attend a large variety of events, even if I didn’t cover them. I ended up covering fencing, diving, boxing, sailing, taekwondo and water polo in my tenure there. There were a few others on the docket but they didn’t do as well as expected so those stories never saw the light of day.
Without further ado, my “Best Of” picture list from Rio de Janeiro.
the Main Press Center
View from the MPC
looking down the main concourse of the Park
the Carioca Arenas (where I spent about 90% of my time when not at the MPC)
the swimming arena
Pre-Games swimming conference with Phelps
Remember the days when all we had to hate about Lochte was his hair? Those were nice
the fencing team ❤
Favorite sport ever
Saw the Williams sisters play (and lose). Major bucket list item crossed off
Steele Johnson and David Boudia accepting silver for 10m synchro diving
Simone is life
Where’s Katie Ledecky
at the top of Corvocado
The best chocolate mousse I’ve ever had in my life. Nicole and I craved this pretty much on a daily basis.
USA! USA! USA!
Last day in the MPC
I’m going to add something before these pictures. We were warned before leaving that while our names were on the list for Opening Ceremony tickets, it was unlikely we’d get them from the USOC (as the IOC does have to share the wealth and interns are low on the priority list for allocated tickets). However, we’d have a chance to wait in line for any extra tickets once the NOCs had been given theirs. So we did. And lo and behold, we all got into the opening. Literal dream come true, especially as it was unexpected. We had amazing seats in the press tribune and it was well worth the hour and a half trip to Maracanã via public transport and the two-hour wait in line, and the two-hour trip back to the hotel. It was an explosion of colors and I loved every minute of it. The closing, while not as grand, was equally as heartfelt and joyful.
Got my Opening ticket!
During the Parade of Nations
At the end of the Parade of Nations
Closing (Simone with the American flag)
**Re the title: So in Portuguese, “rr” has an English “h” sound. So thus, this blog title is pronounced “Baja Blast,” like the mountain dew drink. While I don’t like Baja Blast, I thought the linguistic pun was hilarious. I’m sorry. Barra da Tijuca was the name of our hotel’s neighborhood.
As many of you probably already know from Facebook/Twitter (Where HAVEN’T I posted about this tbh), I am heading to Rio de Janeiro TOMORROW to cover the Olympics.
YOU READ THAT CORRECTLY.
I scored an internship with the U.S. Olympic Committee, along with three other students, to cover the 2016 Summer Games.
I’m excited, pumped, thrilled, ecstatic, joyful, where’s my thesaurus.
Covering the Olympics is my dream. It combines everything good and wonderful in this life: writing, sports, traveling, and a never-ending parade of cultures and languages.
I found out three days after graduation, after going through a multi-step application process in February/March. Best phone call of my life (shout-out to my entire family for not being home that day so I had to scream and scare my dog by myself. Dogs don’t know how to differentiate between, “OMG MY HUMAN IS IN TROUBLE I MUST BARK AND FIX IT BECAUSE #BARKING” and “OMG MY HUMAN IS EXCITED I MUST BE CALM AND LET HER HUG ME AND CRY AND NOT BARK BECAUSE BARKING IS BAD BAD DOG OMG KENNEL TIME”).
It was the latter kind this time around.
25 days of my life will revolve around sports and only sports pretty much 24/7. As in there are a few beach volleyball games scheduled for midnight local time so you think I’m kidding? I’m not.
Sports are the greatest. If my career lets me write features and profiles in any journalism specialty, I’ll be happy. If I get to do that within the sports world? I’ll be over the moon. In no other subset of society do you get such emotional extremes and such an intricate intersection of people from literally all walks of life. It’s fascinating to watch and it’s fascinating to write about and be in the middle of. Bonus of being a journalist not an athlete is that I don’t have the bruises and injuries to go with the thrilling parts.
I am going to try my best to update the blog with pictures and stories as I go but I suspect many of them will have to wait until I get home. But never fear! They will be coming at some point.
So three weeks ago the boy came to the good old U.S. of A.
I was super pumped, obviously, to see him, but also to show off my life. I don’t get a chance to play tour guide to Indy very often. I mean. I do city bus tours for work, but those still have a focus on IUPUI and the relationship between school/city. I don’t get to show the fun side of Indy or even introduce my culture to someone for the first time. Just imagine what would happen if I even mentioned a bar during a tour to 17-year olds. Chaos. Panic.
We started our trip in NYC, the Big Apple. Ale’s first text to me stateside was to tell me he arrived safely. The second was to tell me he had eaten the best burger of his entire life.
Welcome to America.
NYC was as overwhelming and awesome as ever. By the end of every trip there, when I start getting the hang of the metro and bumping into people without saying “sorry” every time, I start thinking that maybe I could be a New Yorker. I could totally do it. And then I remember that I’m a city girl but not a BIG city girl and would get eaten alive. Oh well.
After a few days, it was time for Indy.
I’d been warning him for months that as this represented his first trip to the states, and his first chance to meet any of my friends/family aside from my mom (who came to Spain last year), he was going to have to put up with a fair number of introductions. We aren’t sure when he’s coming back so this was my chance to have the people closest to me get to know the guy I’d been raving about for the last year and a half (HOLY CRAP IT’S BEEN A YEAR AND A HALF WHAT).
It’s a strange thing to view your hometown through the eyes of someone who never has. Even students who visit, just by their Americanness*, have a basic frame of reference. Ale had no basic image in his head to go off of because nothing in Europe is anything like the Midwest. The Midwest itself has its own culture within the larger US sphere.
It’s a doubly strange thing to see your hometown through eyes that haven’t been trying to escape it for a year. I’ve been planning my departure almost since the minute I came home July 31, 2015. So what an odd thing to have the boy I love, from the city I adore, come to this city I often feel like I can’t ditch fast enough.
And what an even stranger thing to have him love it here. Three visits to Longs Donuts (pretty sure he misses that basic yeast donut more than he misses me), multiple nights staying up late munching on popcorn and talking, fake Thanksgiving, a proper American rite of passage: a 4th of July celebration, and meeting countless people filled our days. We went laser tagging, target shooting (‘Murica), got deep dish pizza, and watched three seasons of Modern Family. All in the 14 days he was here.
It was a mind-bending experience. I’ve spent so much time this past year trying not to hate the hometown I once loved, the city I’ve lived in for the larger part of 22 years, the city that holds all my childhood memories, my milestones, my college years, my family.
But slowly and surely, as I loved on him for 14 days, so I got to rediscover and grudgingly learn to like (love is a strong word after all), my city again.
In the process, it made this the most agonizing goodbye yet.
While I obviously spent 7 months in Spain last year, coming home still almost like coming home from a drawn-out vacation. He and I said goodbye, with the plan to reunite at Christmas, but with both of us only tentatively expecting that two people with no long-distance experience would actually make it.
December really was like coming home from vacation. I spent a glorious two weeks in my favorite city on earth and then came home. Another goodbye, another set of planes, and boom. The next day I was back in class.
But this…This time, instead of the American going to Spain, the Spaniard came to the States. And he invaded (in the best of ways) my city, my culture, and my life instead of the other way around.
I accidentally drove to the apartment we were staying at twice this last week instead of my internship (which is a mile down the road). I went to Longs almost ordered half a dozen before I remembered that he wasn’t waiting for me to share them with and I really shouldn’t have 6 donuts on my own. I watched the one remaining episode of Modern Family season 4 that we didn’t quite finish and kept looking over, expecting him to sympathize with grumpy old Jay whenever I didn’t. I leave my car multiple times a day, preparing myself to tease him because he doesn’t slam his door hard enough, and then remember that mine was the only one being used now.
It’s much harder to ignore the traces of someone left behind than it is to be the one brushing off those pieces of yourself into someone else’s existence.
So we said goodbye at the airport until Christmas, I looked up plane tickets as therapy the minute I got home, and we started finding our way back to long distance normalcy.
And so another countdown begins. Or rather two. One to Christmas. One to next summer, when I move to Spain semi-permanently (permanently? Who knows).
But for now, it was another goodbye. Another year of this craziness. But one with a renewed appreciation for my hometown, for the people in my life, and my life itself.