“…there was people my age who are too quick to grow up.”

This entry is from one of our Youth Interns, Kierstin Alston. See the "Meet the Team" page for more information. One of my cousins was telling me about anime that they watch, ‘cause one of my cousins is very into anime. And so he was telling me what animes to watch and he was like, “It's your birthday. How old are you turning?” And I told him how old I was turning and then he was like, “Hey, let's watch an anime together.” So we watched an anime together and he was giving me this whole entire background of the anime. And his brother comes in. His brother was just messing with me, but he got upset 'cause his brother was messing with me and we couldn’t take the time to watch the anime, and I always find it funny when my older cousins, not my older cousins, but like, you know, ‘cause I'm the oldest, right? So I find it funny when the cousins who are a bit closer to my age. So, probably around like 10 or 10 – you know, 11, 9, when they get to that age, I find that they try – they try to act – I don’t wanna say they act cooler, but they do very much so try to act like they aren't kids as well, just trying to fit in. And I always found that funny, 'cause I'm like, you don't have to fit in, you’re talking to the girl who used to play with baby dolls all the way up to eighth grade. Which is also something I found was actually pretty weird to some people because I have – see, I played with dolls for a very long time. But I like dolls. And it got to a point where I wasn't playing with dolls as much as I just liked dressing them up, and doing their hair and stuff. I feel like for me dolls unleash a creativity side of me. They always have been a side of creativity for me. I don't know if it's because my grandmother on my father's side has a doll collection, or what. But dolls have always been, like, a creativity escape for me. I can always dress them up, do their hair, do their makeup, you know, it was just easy for me. So I didn't understand why there would always…

Comments Off on “…there was people my age who are too quick to grow up.”

“I think it kind of (…) give a lesson about, like, hidden potential.”

And so, I think the closest call – or, like, the most recent call I've had was this summer. So since we couldn't really go anywhere this summer and last summer, I've been spending a lot of my time outside playing basketball. And so I remember, this was a few weeks into the summer and, you know, whenever I shot a hoop or did a lay-up or something, bees would like, just come after me. I don't know where they would come from. And so I was so confused. And so one day the ball went over the hoop. And so I go to grab it. And I see these hornets going in and out of my basketball hoop. So they were inside my basketball hoop on the backboard on the back side of it and, like the little holes that are meant for, like – I don't know what they're meant for. I don't even know why there’re holes in that. But the backboard is hollow, right? And so the hornets had made like a home inside of it. And so I go inside I tell my parents and nobody believes me for a week, because I would go and try to show them and for some reason the hornets wouldn’t come out. And then one day, I chuck a football at it and a hornet comes out and my parents see. And so my dad, he brings the hoop down. We use – I don't know what the spray is called, but it's supposed to, like, kill the bees. And so, we sprayed them, and then all of the hornets came out. And I took the screwdriver to, like, break the honeycomb. So that, like, the hornets or other hornets don't come back and, like, build a nest again. And ultimately it was very scary. But at the same time, the honeycombs are beautiful, I think it was the first time I'd ever, like, seen the honeycombs up close and I think it's just so amazing how this small creature can make something so beautiful, and I think it kind of shows like – or gives a lesson about, like, hidden potential.

Comments Off on “I think it kind of (…) give a lesson about, like, hidden potential.”

“I’m eating Smarties right now. Thats not really calming me down.”

But this comfort food? I don't know, like candy? Like food that makes you calm down. Like any food will calm me down. I mean, unless I don't like the flavor then I will spit it out and I will get mad. Like, spaghetti or lasagna -- no, not lasagna. I don't know why lasagna doesn't calm me down even though it's like one of my favorite foods. I don't know, I'm eating Smarties right now. That's not really calming me down. Though I was eating chocolate earlier, that calmed me down. I don't know. I might be getting this definition wrong.

Comments Off on “I’m eating Smarties right now. Thats not really calming me down.”

“I have often been told that I sound like our former First Lady Rosalynn Carter.”

Just for your information, I think you are all Northerners and you probably don't know very much about Southern accents, but there's not just one Southern accent. And I did not actually discover that until James Earl Carter Jr. was elected President of the United States in 1976. There was an article in a Newsweek Magazine edition shortly after his election talking about Southern accents. This article quoted an expert linguist who has spent a lot of time studying Southern United States accents, and the linguist concluded that the state of Georgia actually has four different types of Southern accent. I do not remember which one it said that President Jimmy Carter speaks, but I do remember that one of the four Southern Accents in Georgia is called Gulf Coastal Plains. And that means it stretches from somewhere in the central area of Georgia, where I live and was born, and goes all the way down through Southwest Georgia to the Gulf of Mexico. I believe that the accent that you're hearing in this recording is a Gulf Coastal Plains accent. I have often been told that I sound like our former First Lady Rosalynn Carter.

Comments Off on “I have often been told that I sound like our former First Lady Rosalynn Carter.”

“I’ve never felt more empowered in my life.”

My brother recommended that we go to New York City and I agreed. And then before I know it, after all these years, thirteen years at that point of deciding I was never going to go to New York City and it never really came to mind, uh, we found ourselves in a car going to New York City one day later. And I'm not sure if I've ever felt more empowered in my life. I'd been on certain trips in my life. I had flown to the Bahamas and I had been to Texas and gone on a road trip with a friend to South Carolina and, you know, these like things that just seem like there's these reasons for going. There's family there or there's friends or you have a main attraction that you want to go see. I had done that type of traveling, but never in my life had I tapped into this revelation that, if there's a place I wanted to go, technically I could go there whenever I wanted so long as I had a day off and a car that worked. And so I went from thinking I'd never had a reason to go New York City. I didn't know anyone in particular there that would pull me into that region. I went from just being like, "Okay, yeah. I'll never go because why would I and plus who knows what could happen?" to suddenly like "All right, well. We're ten hours away, and let's make it happen. Let's drive straight to Midtown Manhattan." And so that's what we did.

Comments Off on “I’ve never felt more empowered in my life.”

“Let’s just say it was ten times better.”

So, before I talk about how I celebrate these things and how it compared to last year. Let's just say it was ten times better because everything last year was virtual and it's just not the same, you know, no one has their camera on over zoom and if they do, you just see their fans. So, it was really nice to celebrate these things in person. So, I celebrated Diwali and it was really fun because in my high school we could dress up for it, and so me and my friends we wore traditional Indian attire. We also had a Diwali dinner at our school, with Indian food and a dance party with Indian music. For Day of the Dead in my Spanish class, we made an ofrenda and everyone brought in pictures of their dead relatives and things they liked. And it was nice to bond with our classmates over their families and their cultures and whatnot. So, celebrating these holidays were amazing this year because we could celebrate them in person and just bond with the people around us.

Comments Off on “Let’s just say it was ten times better.”

“It was a surreal experience seeing all of those things.”

One of the prompts is "what's the coolest animal you've seen in person?" And like one of the team members, I have also went whale watching and I think that was one of the coolest experiences ever. We saw probably like hundreds of dolphins swimming right next to our boat. It was such a big -- I'm not sure what the term for a group of dolphins is called. But like, it was a very, very large group of dolphins. And there were some baby dolphins swimming right next to their moms. And there were hundreds of them. They were like hop -- sorry, jumping out of the water and they were doing, some of them were making these noises. It was, it was such a cool experience, like being at the head of the ship and so many -- or like the head of boat and so many dolphins just around us. And we did also get to see blue, a blue whale which is crazy thinking that one of -- like I got to see one of the largest mammals, or I believe the largest mammal ever. So, that was such a cool experience. And the thing with whales is that like, when we saw the whale, like the blowhole, and like its sprouting water out and it was huge, like you see it in pictures and videos like how -- in pictures and videos, it doesn't capture like how high the water goes and how much water that is. And when the whale dives back in and the tail like flaps into the water, it leaves this like glossy spot-on top, like on the surface of the water. I don't know, it was a surreal experience seeing all of those things.

Comments Off on “It was a surreal experience seeing all of those things.”

“I don’t like people who are nice-nasty.”

Something I've always said, I like people who – I can't say I like them, but I prefer people who are just rude and mean, and are just really flat out about it, rather than people who try to hide behind it or hide behind the pretense of being nice or being honest or anything like that. Of course, I don't like rude or mean people, but I’d rather you just outwardly be, like, a rude person rather than – I like to call it nice-nasty. I didn't make up that term, but people – I don't like people who are nice-nasty. Like, if you've ever seen Mean Girls – I love how I'm saying “you” as if, you know, this is just a random person who's just talking, but like if you've ever seen Mean Girls, the way Regina George goes, Regina George is pretty nice-nasty a lot of the times. Like, when Regina George is like, “I like your skirt,” and then ((the girl's)) like, “Oh my God, thanks,” and she walks away. And then she goes, “That's the ugliest effing skirt I’ve ever seen.” I hate that. Like, what, like? Or like in middle school, the mean girl who isn't ever, like, outwardly mean or rude, but just like does little off-the-wall little mean stuff and like, goes, “Wow, like, I love your pants. Where'd you get those? Oh, wow, they’re sure, like, unique I guess, hahaha.” And then they go and, like, giggle with their friends and like, “Hahaha, oh my God, Gretchen, look at her pants. Those are so cute, hahaha.” And it's, like, just hearing the words you say, “Oh, that's not – that's not rude.” But, like, you know, you know you're being mean. Like, you know, you're trying to, like, make fun of them. I hate that.

Comments Off on “I don’t like people who are nice-nasty.”

“And so what I took away from that is just be extremely patient.”

I did learn once that -- I was on a team that was working with a team in India. Programmers. And I didn't experience this personally, but I had like a training module for business communication internationally, that it's more customary in India for them to like, have a short personal conversation before getting down to business. Like, "Hey, how's it going? How's your day going?" Or even getting to know you, like, "What is your hobby?" or something before starting work. Which in my experience in the United States, that is not as common. It's just like, "let's get on this call. Let's go through the agenda. Let's do what we're here to do." And the message was that if you do that, some people in India might perceive that as rude. Just goes to show that it's a subjective thing. Tough, tough thing to navigate. And so, what I took away from that is just be extremely patient. It'd be valuable to be generally aware of what's considered rude or not. Cuz you know, the goal is to not be rude. It's not constructive to a relationship usually. So yeah, you sometimes gotta -- sometimes instead of saying, "We got a problem," sometimes you gotta frame it as a challenge or an opportunity and that's just part of collaborating with people, I think.

Comments Off on “And so what I took away from that is just be extremely patient.”

“They had to close down the museum.”

So when I was in second grade, we went on this field trip to this weird museum and I wish I knew what it was called, but I have a feeling that if I describe it enough, somebody who's lived in Michigan their whole life will know what I'm talking about. But it's this museum where the basement is a whole town and it's a very mid-western town, you walk through and it's all these little storefronts and it's very quaint and cute and it's fairly big for being a town-based basement in a museum, like it's a very strange experience. So we were there in second grade and the upstairs had this rock-climbing wall. And there was also a bunch of -- there was a Warheads, like, dispenser, little candy dispensers up there too. And so, you know, my classmates were all surrounded by the -- we were all surrounding this Warheads candy machine and we're getting just an outrageous amount of them. And all of a sudden, I hear this bang and I turn around a kid in my class was climbing up the rock-climbing wall and had absolutely ate it, like slipped and hit his head on the rock-climbing wall and fell all the way down to the ground and he wasn't that far up, but it was still a fairly big fall. And I just remembered looking over and seeing he had hit his head and so he was bleeding, like he had a huge nosebleed. And I remember looking over the rock-climbing wall and it's covered in blood from where he landed. I shouldn't be laughing but it's like it's so traumatic for me. Like I literally thought, I think everybody in my class screamed. And my mom was supervising the field trip, so I ran back to her, and I was like, "Oh my God," and then everyone got to leave class early and they had to close down the museum. Or at least that part of them museum for the rest of the time that we were there at least, to clean it. But yeah, it was definitely a museum experience that left an impression on me.

Comments Off on “They had to close down the museum.”

End of content

No more pages to load