Finally- all 200 photos from graduation are posted online, my bags are all unpacked and I’ve begun changing the profiles on my social media. I am no longer a student at Boston University. Truth be told, I began posting on this blog and transformed it to “Mel Takes Boston” two summers ago to basically give myself the courage I needed to pick myself up from where I was and launch myself forward. I was so scared. I cried almost every other night that summer of 2012 when I decided to transfer into BU. I questioned my decision daily and I feared so much. The people closest to me were concerned about my lavish decision, and that really didn’t help make it any easier. Yet, deep down something in me knew I had to pursue this acceptance and take on Boston University’s College of Communication. You see, my heart was begging for an escape and I never thought that it could fully mend, but not until the last month of my two year journey did it heal. I fell in love. Almost altogether I fell in love with the apartment I lived in and its magical view, the best friends I had at my side almost daily, the fine education I excelled at, the dream that turned itself into a reality with the promise of my first real TV reporting gig and my current leading man. If that wasn’t enough- I fell in love with the kind city that turned out to be not so scary and intimidating after all, I fell for the people and their support, I fell in love with a city in wake of its most painful tragedy. My heart felt so much in the past two years that in the last coming month the most incredible thing occurred. I felt my heart outpour with love.
For all you skeptics- I’ve been trying to shake off my recent love daze, and so I waited before I would write this final post. Yet, somehow I cannot shake this overwhelming feeling off. And it’s so great that I am filled with joy and able to share it. I tend to be an idealist, yet I was raised by a family of realists. I try often to remind myself that it’s impossible for this happiness to continue and that at some point it will end. You see, that’s where the realist side of me is mistaken. People who are realistic are not emotionless. For awhile I was saddened by my upcoming graduation that it was painful to be around me. In my mind I considered the day after I graduated and left Boston that this whole reality would come to an end and I could never get it back. But, after some good counseling with my best friend and lots of prayers and well wishes. I realized that no Melissa, no one is dying after all. BU will continue to exist and the city of Boston will always flourish tulips in the spring. I could stay talking to my friends day after day. I could keep on loving. I can now use my useful education and skills to my advantage. And all that love can be channeled and spread to others. No one has to say a painful goodbye.
The incredible studio apartment I lived in during my last year at BU. I was a Resident Assistant at the beloved Stuvi2 on-campus housing.
And as I try not to make this post a diary entry, I own up to the fact that this whole blog began as just that. It was a way where I could write out my feelings in a presentable fashion and be able to own what I felt. I owned the hard times. I owned the successes and owned the journey. In retrospect this blog was created to solely benefit me, and the fact that today I get hundreds of views on my posts is first of all nice– I deeply appreciate my audience– but more importantly it has shown me that THIS is what I want to do. I want to be able to produce work that inspires others and in turn causes them to act and inspire those around them. I graduated high school in 2010 from John A. Ferguson Senior High after three years as the morning announcements anchor. When I graduated I wanted to be a journalist so I could create positive change in the world. Four years later after two hardworking years at Miami Dade College and two final years at Boston University, I am graduating with the same pursuit. I want to be a journalist because I truly believe that I have the capacity to do good for the world. And there’s really no denying that.
As I move onto my next journey in West Texas. I will be joining the CBS affiliate in Lubbock, TX as a general assignment reporter for their evening newscasts. I am thrilled and ready to take Texas.
Stay tuned, my friends. #MelTakesTexas
In early February of 2014 massive protests broke out in the streets of Caracas, Venezuela. Why did they start? Where did this angst come from? And how long would they last? Tension kept growing and three months later the unrest in Venezuela is still an ongoing situation. The violence in the Latin American country has not settled and attention is just not a priority for mainstream media. Articles have surfaced, photographers have visited and few organizations have paid close attention to the country’s distress. For a very informative and in-depth coverage on the crisis in Venezuela I urge you to watch the ABC and Univision joint-venture- Fusion‘s #SOSVenezuela documentary by Mariana Atencio. (http://fusion.net/Culture/video/sosvenezuela-fusions-mariana-atencio-takes-us-inside-situation-540484) The documentary does a great job breaking down the specifics of what’s on-going in the country.
As for me, I was heavy hearted reading and hearing the news about Venezuela. I was born in Miami, FL from Cuban parents who left their country to escape communism. This perspective gives me a level of understanding of what horror can unfold in your homeland right before your eyes. Additionally, I grew up living amongst many Venezuelans and have so many friends from the region. Studying in Boston it never occurred to me how large the Venezuelan population is here either. When protests began in the South American country they had an immediate ripple affect here in Boston. Many young Bostonians (primarily Venezuelans studying in this rich academic city) began social media campaigns to foster support for their beloved country. These grassroots efforts were contagious and caused lots of acton in Boston.
My video follows the Bostonian perspective of immigrants, students, families and professors on their plight to a peaceful Venezuela.
And without further ado, here’s my story:
My view of Boston Summer, Fall, Winter
The changing of the seasons is a perfect representation of the passing of time. Time will pass whether it is good, bad, fun or boring. What you highlight from these times is what will stay with you. That sometimes involves a few bad moments sandwiched between the beautiful, amazing ones. And that’s what I always remind myself– no matter how bad or petty a moment. Because there is something really magical with the changing of the seasons. The way the trees finally let go and accept the winter. The way the snow falls and stops the river currents. Just the way the sun shines down and feels against your skin, it’s all a treat. And before you know it as quickly as the snow hit the ground, is as soon as the leaves will blossom. Because finals, sickness, vulnerability, failing, unemployment, and heartbreak will soon blossom to graduation, cancer-free, courage, success, a damn well-deserved job and love. It’s just the changing of the seasons.
From Miami surrounded by my Cuban family I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving or as the proud Miamians will say aloud “Hah-ppy Sans Giving!”
A year ago I turned to this blog monthly to share my experience from moving away or as sometimes I feel abroad (Note: moving out of Miami to anywhere else in the world leaves you feeling abroad as you go through culture shock). I have begun to accept things around me as normal and I am definitely feeling confident and proud as I roam Boston– I really can’t imagine why or when I was ever afraid of belonging. Naturally, after my crazy summer in New York City- not a second was dedicated to blogging my experience other than my Instagram pictures- I returned to Boston with a sense of belonging. A year later, here I am. Laughing at myself for thinking I’d “take Boston” yet, feeling as if I have. In May I will graduate from the beautiful Boston University (because it really is a very, very pretty school). And in just a year I can already notice the transformation it made in my life. As cheesy as this seems to be going, I’ll go there and admit that I am thankful for my education. I feel as if I have been given goggles that allow me to see the world in a way which many can’t. And Amen to that. I hope everyone can at least have a chance to try on these goggles, because what you will see is hard to explain, but how you will think will forever change.
I have an incredible view of Boston’s skyline from my BU apartment. It is very difficult to ever have a bad moment when looking out those windows.
As I lay in my bright purple sheets in my extremely girly room, I of course am thankful for my family. Blessed for their support and their belief in me. I am as always grateful for the colorful community I have around me in my hometown and for the tiny new one I am a part of in Boston.
A portrait of the women in my family including four generations from my mother’s side. (Left to right) My aunt Miriam, cousin Mei-Lyn, little me, great grandmother Ignacia, sister Lilly, cousin Annie, grandmother Mirtha, mom Mayda.
And here’s a shout out to the girl I was a year ago: thank you overly enthusiastic young Melissa for writing these posts and somehow trying to group your feelings. It allows me to never forget the huge decision I made and stuck with for the following two years of my life. Thank you for your courage and fearlessness and the woman you are becoming would have never felt so enlightened if it weren’t for you.
Be grateful, happy thanksgiving xox
Filed under BU, Inspire, Life
Last night myself and my two colleagues and friends Hilary Ribons and Seline Jung met Anderson Cooper. Since the Boston Marathon bombing lots of big key figures have been in Boston, including big time journalists like Cooper. It was around 9:30 p.m. when Seline saw Anderson’s tweet. That’s it she said this is our moment to finally meet him. I excitedly agreed and figured we could find him, since earlier we had seen live trucks all over the city. I thought all we had to do was find that CNN live-truck van. After stalking out NBC, ABC and CNN news trucks and asking around we finally were told where Cooper was doing his live show. Like children let loose in a candy store we ran screaming and holding each others hands down the streets of Boston, really it was very much over the top. Luckily, when we neared the set and saw Anderson at work we simmered down and truly enjoyed the works of any live television production. Yes, we were excited when we said “Hi” and thanked him for his work, and then of course when he offered a photo-op! However, I must say that meeting Anderson Cooper was not the highlight of my night. And I am sure Mr. Cooper would agree with me as to why. If you have been following my work these past weeks. You are familiar with my video story about the Boston Marathon witness and hero Carlos Arredondo, which has received a lot of attention and has been featured on local Miami news stations as well as NBCLatino.com. Carlos’s story is special, so please check it out. So, after a week and a half that I met Carlos and worked on his story which he was so incredibly supportive and kind about (truly a journalists’ dream). I had to admit that my earlier encounter that evening meant so much more to me than meeting Anderson Cooper, and as a journalist I would like to say Cooper would agree. Lately, I have been learning that some stories I cover will never ever leave me, and it is actually an incredible thing.
Me posing with Anderson Cooper on his Thursday night’s live 10 p.m. broadcast for CNN. PHOTO BY Seline Jung
Earlier that evening around 7 p.m. I agreed to walk over to Bolyston Street with Hilary and Seline. Hilary led us to Copley plaza to see the memorial that has been set-up for the victims of the bombing. The memorial included the original barricades from the Marathon full of posters, flowers, and supportive signs and trinkets. I even saw a few supportive signs from Miami. As we approached Copley I finally felt as if some closure reached me from the past couple of weeks because when we arrived Hilary thought she spotted Carlos, the man Seline and I interviewed. I instantly scanned the crowd until I bursted over to a man standing nicely dressed and showered, quite the difference from when I had met him covered in sweat and blood. To my surprise it was Carlos. I bolted forward to him and as he saw me, he smiled and embraced me. Once in his arms I must admit that I began to cry. No words came out— not like I even knew what to say, just tears. That man gently stood there and held me. I cannot explain, how someone who has gone through so much just allowed me to shed my tears. I felt a pang of guilt, but at the same time acknowledged the strength Carlos encapsulates. Soon after he introduced me to two people he was standing with, I began to tell him how his story was just played in my journalism school and he was elated. He told me that he was very happy to hear the video had done so well and received lots of praise and also told me how he knew I would be so successful. He continued to be very kind and warm, I was so happy to see him happy. Finally, for once I felt as if some sort of closure was brought to my journey during the 2013 Boston Marathon week. When we exchanged goodbyes I realized something important— our entire conversation happened in Spanish as it did the day I met him until he changed to English for the camera, I think that’s why he did not forget me.
The 2013 Boston Marathon memorial at Copley Square. PHOTO BY Melissa Adan.
My fascination with a recent January Boston snowfall.
It’s been three months since my move and I’ve been working for BUTV10‘s show Inside Boston. What I thought would be the easiest thing ever has turned out to be so challenging and yet- addicting. Anyone who knows me, knows my passion for my work is a big part of my life. So, adapting to a new work environment has been exciting and fun, but hard. I have struggled. I have kicked myself with the tri-pod multiple times. Gotten lost late at night in a city with expensive equipment. Figured out useful camera settings directly after interviews. And yet, I keep at it. It’s hard sometimes to see the big picture while working through something. I get it that this knowledge will benefit me so much later. But when your back hurts from hauling equipment, when you’re producing a video that probably only a handful of people will watch, and you’re sacrificing your Friday nights- you stop to wonder what the hell you are thinking. But it’s just that. It’s just that effort that will make you learn.
So here are my current life woes I face reporting in Boston:
- Transportation– I have managed to get lost on the Green line. Honestly, give me a break. I’m tryingggggg.
- Familiarity– “Oh, just meet me at the café after State Street and past the old monument!” …. Umm, I DON’T KNOW WHERE ANYTHING IS!!!
- Camera Work- Yeah, I wish I would have paid attention more to the camera work involved in setting up my million and one stories back in Miami rather than complaining about it… Sorry every camera man I have ever worked with!!!! I appreciate you!
- Weather– still trying to figure out how reporters dress in this weather and don’t freeze… ? Or is freezing just normal/accepted?
Other than that, eventually I will figure out transportation and I will always remember to GET OFF THE E-LINE BEFORE COPLEY. And, probably by next year I will be shouting out strange, incoherent meeting directions to friends. As far as camera work, every single shoot I think I learn something new and all my problems are over… well, once you learn how to fix one problem please keep in mind that there will be other problems that arise. And Boston come at me, things are starting to not phase me. Because if I can work with well brand new people, comunicate easily with my Chinese friend, end up in Lechmere waiting on a T with sketchy people, finally make it home by midnight and be up early the next morning for another shoot— I think I’ll be okay. As far as weather goes, that I may just never get used to…