“You know, you remind me of myself when I was your age.” I was about to leave my second meeting of the local chapter of National Association of Hispanic Journalists. Cristina Fernández, then a reporter for El Nuevo Día Orlando, approached me with a warm smile.
“I really admire that you’re not afraid to get involved in everything!” I laughed nervously, because nothing could be farther from the truth– I was afraid. I was very nervous, and, to top it off, I was the only student among what seemed like a very intimate, tight-knit group of friends. Add to that the fact that all of these were veteran journalists in either print or television media, and you might understand why I felt exactly like a fish out of water.
It’s been about three years since that meeting occurred, and while I yearn to get more involved in our local chapter, I have not missed a single national convention since! Now, these people are my acquaintances and friends.
And not only that. That night, I felt every bit the college sophomore. Heck– I was a college sophomore! I had yet to do anything that would earn me any praise or merit from these incredible people.
Unfortunately, I don’t get to see these friends as often as I’d like, save for these special events. I’ve only had the opportunity to talk to Cristina in person a handful of times.
But together, we’ve sought to hone our professional skills. We’ve taken coast-to-coast by storm in attending each convention. And, last year, we mourned the untimely death of Michael Jackson– while breakin’ it down to “Beat It” during the convention in San Juan, Puerto Rico. (Wondering what the unexpected death of the King of Pop does to a multitude of Latino journalists? It was chaos!)
And when I took the most giant leap of faith in my life, starting this effort, Cristina commented and E-mailed often, and offered nothing but unconditional support.
Cristina moved to work as assistant editor at El Nuevo Día in Puerto Rico a few years ago, and I miss her being in Orlando, but social media has removed some of the barriers that distance used to impose on friendships. I witness that every day as I watch our “Holdin’ Out” family grow, and gain support from people in different parts of the world.
Today I received a comment on the blog– in French. As in, from France. Luckily for me, I took French in high school and college, and since it was a brief, simple comment, I was able to dig deep in my memory for the meaning behind the words. So, here’s my brief reply:
Bonjour, Marie Noelie! Je suis très contente que vous m’avez contacté! Dieu vous bénisse.
Here’s my translation for all you non-francophones (okay, okay, I did double-check with Google, I confess!) :
Hello, Marie Noelie! I’m very happy you contacted me. God Bless you.
I should add that she has a young daughter with spina bifida. I extend a very warm welcome to her and her daughter to our “family!”
I’m afraid I’ll have to leave now. As we speak, my beloved PC is being attacked by a “trojan virus,” and so I keep getting lewd pop-ups and warning messages. Oh dear. Don’t worry– I’ll find a way to blog tomorrow!
And to my dear friend, Cristina– gracias por tu apoyo. You are one of those wonderful people who read my blog when practically no one had heard of it! I’ll never forget that.
Dieu vous bénisse,