Thursday, July 2, 2015

Doing what I want... not what the society want

Three years ago I had the privilege to get my second job, the job that has helped me to connect with myself. It was a very boring job in an office, helping college professors to correct their thesis papers or just simply get data from research samples. I was called research assistant, a very fancy name for my resume and exactly what I wanted, something very pretty that when companies looked at it, they were able to say ok I want this guy in my company. My goals for those days were so simple; finish my college degree, get a good job with a good salary, get a house, etc (I'm sure you know how to finish that list). My boss was a very smart and ethic woman, I will always be amazed how she could watch Netflix series and work at the same time, she was the most successful woman doing multitasking, real multi-hard both focus-tasking, that I have ever known. I also knew my mentor, a great man that has been for me always that I need help, I can't express how that man has influenced and has inspired me to go thru my real interests and follow what I want.

Why do I tell you about my second job? Because there is a before and after in me as a person when I finished that job, it is because I began to be the real Fernando Ortiz, the person that wants to help people, the person that doesn't want to be sit in an office wasting his time or giving all his potential to help one company to be richer when you just get a simple paycheck. I want to be the owner of a big company, feed my mind with books, experiences and places that will leave me breathless. I don't want a simple routine in my life, I want a routine where I'm growing as a person, not by a paycheck. I want to travel, have friends from all around the world to have the opportunity to get new perspectives about life and feed my soul with feelings such as gratitude, kindness, love and freedom. I'm an adventurer guy with a free soul and a voracious appetite for new things explores new places and expand my mind in all aspects. After that job I realized part of who I am and I was mentally aware of things I had never thought before, I was getting alive.

Everything has a price and this way of thinking has it. They have called me crazy, stupid and dumb. It is very hard to explain, to reach each thing that I mentioned before, I need to take risk, risk that not everybody is willing to take, guts to moved against the norm. patience to be misunderstood by my thoughts and be humble when the people fire at me with stupids things. I need to improve a lot of things in my life and I'm always open to doing it. I don't expect the people understand me but I don't want people telling me what I can't do, probably the people who judge me is the people that have not had the courage to take big risks, they are waiting for change doing the same things day after day, they pray to God for amazing things, when the amazing things happen with people who is moving day after day.

There is a rule of thumb in this journey, Never give up. No matter how difficult or impossible looks your path or where you want to go, NEVER GIVE UP. When difficult times come the easiest path is to give up but don't do it! I almost give up in both of my last two journeys and if I had done that, I had lost a lot of incredible things. The satisfaction is amazing when you reach something difficult, if you fail, believe me, you're ahead of a lot of people and it is a step forward in your life.

Trust in yourself, work smart and be careful who you chose to be a partner to follow your dreams. God and peace give me the strength in this journey, find what give you strength and follow your journey.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

We speak Spanish but we 're almost completely different

Three months ago I decided to stay in Ecuador to follow one of my dreams. My mom and I are from Puerto Rico and my dad from Ecuador, whom don't know me. I also wanted to have time with my grandparents for more than a couple of weeks, I felt the necessity in my heart to know more about my roots, more about my father's culture and traditions. I didn't feel completely inside my heart and the idea to move here was around me since one year ago. I bought a ticket to come to Ecuador the past January with the intention to stay only one month. The ticket was for February 4 to 27 but after 2 weeks in this country, that feeling that was with me during the last year, came again and I took the decision to stay and get a double citizenship given my Ecuadorian roots.

I have been here since February and as it happened me the last year living in US, the first months are easy but once the time goes, you could face the differentiation between your culture and the country you're residing. The language no matter if is the same or not, always is different. As you know, North America English isn't the same than British English, Brazil Portuguese isn't the same than Portugal, the same happens with Spanish. A funny anecdote, one time I was playing pool with my uncle and I made a crazy shot and I said: "I had lucky", but lucky in a particular way that puerto ricans say it but for my uncle's ears I said "I had a vagina", because the particular name that we use for lucky in Puerto Rico, in Ecuador means that part of the woman body. Another issue, Food traditions! the food could give you problems if you aren't familiar with them. Example, if you go to visit a familiar and they are eating, they will give you food and you can't denied to eat or just prepare to have big problems. Imagine you got to your uncle's house and they are eating strange things for you like guinea pigs, an animal that I look like a pretty domestic animal, I know, they look like a large big rat but for me they are cute and I don't want to eat them or at least avoid it. In my country a soup is served as a regular food meanwhile here is served as an appetizer for the lunch, so in my brain eating soup with something aside(bread, plantain ships, veggies) is enough for my stomach BUT here I have to make an effort to eat soup and lunch.

There are commons things such as the basic Spanish's words, the food is familiar with my taste, the weather is almost the same, more fresh here than Puerto Rico, Although no matter how similar it can be to your country, you always will miss talking with someone of your homeland, have a good coffee with your best friend or play Dominos with your family(tradition in Puerto Rico). There are a lot of differences that I have realized and I have faced during these months. If you go to another country to live just be careful how you express your feelings, be humble to admit your errors, talk frequently with your family and old friends because they will remember that you're not alone, and don't try to compare where you are living with your homeland, it will be something normal for your brain but for the people who are listening you, they could think that you're criticizing. Remember you are going to places where they use to do things as they have done for years, trying to change their minds is very difficult, no matter whether the change is good for them, a lot of times they will see you as a bad person and you will begin to have problems.

It isn't easy make a big change in your life, but I know every experience I'm getting here is preparing me for something great. Just try to push yourself out of your comfort zone and you will realize there are beautiful things out there and when you lose your path just pray and have faith that everything will be alright.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Digging into a black hole!

I don't consider myself as an smart person but I've had experiences that taught me important lessons. Right now probably is one of them, I don't know what to think, what to do or how to act. I'm digging in a black hole where I don't freakin know where it will finish. Everything looks too dark, without any guide or signals to at least know if I'm doing the right things. I'm 26 years old and I don't have any idea if I will success in this journey that I'm right now, just I'm completely convinced that I will succeed soon or later, just I'm digging into a black hole, everything is too dark, nobody could give a guide or show me a signal. Probably the signals have been always in front of me but I'm so obstinate to follow what I think it will be worth for me instead giving up everything and take the easy path. I know everything is dark now but at the final I will see beautiful galaxies.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

It's time to write again!... A year in AmeriCorps NCCC FEMA Corps

(Abajo en español)

February 25, 2014

A couple walking the Bay to Breakers Marathon
I will always remember that date. Today is February 12, 2015, I look back and my life has changed so much after that day, it really was like the title of this blog, my journey had begun. I never imagined I was going to meet a lot of people from different part of United States, and  Oakland and Texas were going to be my home for 3 and 6 months. I visited the Golden Gate Bridge, Grand Canyon, Dallas Cowboys Stadium and so many amazing places that weren't in my plans. I ate for the first time Bagels, Peanut Butter/ Jelly Sandwich and No Gluten food. I lost over 12 pounds and I realized that I was or sadly I still addicted to sugar. . I had a complete crazy day in San Francisco where I met people from New Zeland, Mexico, France and Argentina, took a nap in a bleacher in the San Francisco Bay, walked and completed an insane 12 km Bay to Breakers marathon(google it), went to my first MLB game where I saw my favorite and 2014 MLB champion team San Francisco Giants, all of these things in the same day without planning it. I saw and touched snow for the first time, and of course I had a snowball fight with my team, The most important, I saw how 10 strange people were converted in my family for ten months. My 10 months were unforgettable and I will remember for the rest of my life.

My Amerifamily

My time in AmeriCorps NCCC FEMA Corps has a lot of mixed feelings but at this time I only want to remember the good ones, the bad moments I had, it has helped me to get more maturity and more confidence taking my own decisions. I miss my Ameri family, how every of them filled something in my life even at the final we were tired of each others. AmeriCorps NCCC FEMA Corps isn't a program for everybody, at least 60 people were out of the program at the final, you have to have a strong commitment and sometimes the right people in your side to finish the program. I had to make very tough decisions, decisions that really hurt me but it was something that I don't regret. I was so close to leave the program at the middle because it was very hard being in an office 9 hours without anything to do, literally ANYTHING to do or doing things very simple like moving objects from one room to another! Sometimes we felt like FEMA Bitches,a couple of employees asking for our "help" for stupids things or works that they were supposed to do.

Some of the teams in AmeriCorps had a very active year, but all depends what type of duties your group were assigned to. Our group never got deployed to any disaster, we stayed in offices all year something very BORED a lot of times, but the best part of it, you become part of a group of incredible people that work in those offices. It is amazing the quality of great people that you know in those offices. I'm so grateful of them, they help us every day and made our stayed in those office more easy, also we received excellent career advice and a lot of memorable moments.

I finished the program four months ago, it has been so quickly that I didn't realize it til now, finishing this post. In AmeriCorps I pushed myself so hard and I'm missing that, I was out of my comfort zone, I learned how to be fluent in English, I drop my time in the physical training from 19min to 12:50min 1.5 miles, I began doing 12 and 20 push ups/sit ups and I finished doing over 40 in each and I lost the fear of public speaking in my not native language. The journey had begun that February 25, 2014 from Puerto Rico to California, California to Texas, Texas to Puerto Rico and Puerto Rico to Ecuador, it has been 13 great months and I chose follow my heart and pursuit my happiness and personal goals.
Snowball fight!!


25 de febrero de 2014

Siempre voy a recordar ese día, Hoy es 12 de febrero de 2015, miro hacia atrás y mi vida ha cambiado tanto desde ese día, fue como el título de este blog Mi viaje había comenzado. Nunca imaginé que iba a conocer a tantas personas de diferentes partes de Estados Unidos, que Oakland y Texas iban a ser mi hogar por 3 y 6 meses, que visitaría el famoso puente Golden Gate, el sorprendene Gran Cañon, el gigantesco estadio de los Dallas Cowboys y  otros extraordinarios lugares que no estaban ni en mis planes. Comí por primera vez Bagels, sandwich de mantequilla de maní con jalea y comí mucha comida sin glutén. También tuve en San Francisco uno de esos días completamente locos en la conocí personas de Nueva Zelanda, México, Francia y Argentina, cogí un nap en unos "bleachers" alfrente de la bahía de San Francisco, camine de costa a costa en un loco y extravagante maratón de 12 kilometros llamado Bay to Breakers(gogulealo) y termine viendo a mi equipo de pelota favorito y actuales campeones de MLB, los Gigantes de San Francisco, todo esto corrido en un lapso de 24 horas, sin dormir y sin haberlo planeado. Vi y toque por primera vez nieve y claro tuve una guerra de bolas de nieve con mi equipo, Lo mas importante vi como 10 extraños se convirtieron en mi familia, fueron 10 meses inolvidables y que siempre recordaré por el resto de mi vida.

Mi tiempo en AmeriCorps NCCC FEMA Corps tiene sentimientos encontrados pero en este momento solo prefiero recordar los buenos, los que día a día me hacen pensar que valio la pena, los tiempos malos que tuve me han ayudado a coger más madurez y a tomar las decisiones que hoy día estoy tomando. Extraño a mi familia de AmeriCorps, a mi equipo que estuvo viviendo conmigo por 10 meses corridos, todos llenaban cierta parte de mi en algún sentido aunque al final estuvieramos cansado unos del otro. AmeriCorps NCCC FEMA Corps no es un programa para todo el mundo, al menos 60 personas no terminaron el programa, tenías que tener un compromiso muy fuerte o la suerte de tener las personas correctas a tu lado para terminar el servicio voluntario. Durante el programa tuve que tomar desiciones muy duras, desiciones que realmente me dolieron pero fue algo que no me arrepiento. Estuve tan cerca de irme a mitad del programa, fue bien fuerte estar 9 horas en una oficina sin hacer literalmente nada o hacer cosas tan simples como mover objetos de una oficina a otra. Muchas veces nos sentiamos las perras de FEMA, unos cuantos empleados siempre pidiendo "ayuda" para hacer cosas estupidas o trabajos que ellos se supone que hicieran.

Algunos equipos en AmeriCorps tuvieron un año muy activo, pero todo dependía que tipo de tareas tu grupo fuese asignado. Mi equipo nunca fue enviado a ningún desastre natural, estuvimos en oficinas de FEMA todo el año, algo bien aburrido muchas veces, pero la mejor parte de eso, formabas parte de un grupo de personas increibles que trabajaban allí. Estoy tan agradecido, ellos nos ayudaron cada día e hicieron más fácil nuestra estadía en esas oficinas, también recibimos excelentes consejos profesionales y muchos momentos memorables.

Terminé el programa hace 4 meses, ha pasado todo tan rápido que no me había dado cuenta. En AmeriCorps me esforcé mucho y siempre quería pasar mis limites lo cual estoy extrañando mucho, estaba fuera de mi zona de confort, aprendí a hablar inglés fluentemente, baje mi tiempo de 19 minutos a 12:50 en 1.5 millas, comenzé haciendo solo 12 y 20 push ups/abdominales y termine haciendo mas de 40 en cada uno y perdí el miedo a hablar públicamente en mi idioma secundario. El viaje había comenzado ese 25 de febrero de 2014, de Puerto Rico a California, California a Texas, Texas a Puerto Rico y ahora finalmente de Puerto Rico a Ecuador. Mi siguiente parada no lo sé pero han sido 13 meses grandiosos y después de todo esto escogí hacerle caso a mi corazón y perseguir mi felicidad y metas personales.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

My last day here

My last day here in this world and I really don't know that. I woke up in the morning with a bad mood, just because I'm not a morning person. I get in the van in my way to my job, I won't care about the great sunny day, I turn on my music and the morning is only for me. I got the parking near the work and begin to walk to my work place. I still listening music with my cellphone without view my surroundings, I still mad with my friend, I didn't like my friend's joke yesterday in the night. I got to the office and still having my mood, I have a forced smile to my coworkers, I hate them right now, and please don't ask me for my weekend, it is like asking for my ex girlfriend, I had good moments but now I wanna forget it and begin work with my things. It is almost noon I realized that I have to change my mood because it is only on the morning. I go to lunch and it is like a routine, I eat and spent the rest of the lunch watching facebook and some friend's snapchats. I come back to the office and I realize a new person I have never seen before but I follow my path to my office, who cares about him? It's probably another person here.

It was my last day, the flashbacks are coming, I regret saying I'm not a morning person, my bad mood and I wasted the majority of my time watching a stupid smartphone instead sharing with my teammates.

My last day here in this world and I really don't know that. I woke up and I remember that I'am blessed because it is a new day and I still alive. I slept well, thanks to God I'm not on Syria and I'm not scared about every noise of a gunshot or bomb every 30 minutes. It's a good sunny day, I can appreciate the moment I have here, I realized that every minutes, hours, days have to count because only left 6 months here, I will miss them, the conversations, each single person, although I know that I forgot it sometimes because stay with the same person during the 7 days a week. I will come back to the reality of life. I get in the van in my way to the work, the front passenger put good music, we all are singing like we were the Coldplay band, really the 75% of us are bad singers but who cares about it, we are sharing something in common, nobody is here to judge. I got the parking near the work and begin to walk, I look my surroundings for something new, it's look like a normal day but I try to show a little smile to some people that pass around me, you never know if you are changing his day only for that simple gesture. I try to make some joke to get some smiles from my teammates, and yes sometimes I'm childish but I just want a smile from them at any cost, It is lunch time and we meet outside, we share and some tell short stories, at leat I can remember that after my lunch and I didn't forget who I spent watching on facebook in my cellphone. After my lunch I got the courage to claim the coffee that one coworker offer to us, we agreed to lunch together the next day/ I feel satisfy because I dared to do something new and in some way I put myself out of my comfort zone...

It was my last day, the flashbacks are coming and I'm blessed for the beautiful day I had/