review and renew

As this notable year comes to a close, I can't help but be amazed by the amount of change and growth that has happened. Ratha and I strive to give each year a theme, and this past one's was "2009: Live it Up!" Let's see if we accomplished that goal.
  • My first act of 2009 was one of forgiveness. Off to a good start.
  • Starting and finishing Third Semester at AMDA. For those who've never done it, it's one hell of a ride.
  • Michelle's bachelorette party in Las Vegas planned by Danielle and myself. Over indulgence? For sure.
  • California in the summer. Almost as good as California in the fall.
  • Cathy's college graduation!
  • First professional audition: National Tour of Avenue Q. Scored two call backs for the role of Christmas Eve. Many more auditions - and call backs - quickly followed.
  • Building amazing friendships with two inspiring people who have already changed my life.
  • Quarter Life Crisis. More like Quarter Life Celebration!
  • AMDA Graduation - "Kiss today goodbye..."
  • Post-school job at Havana Central. Truth is, I love that place.
  • Booked my first acting job, an Off-Broadway show, which I eventually ended up dropping out of.
  • Sang in my first cabaret. Will certainly be doing more of that in the future.
  • Job promotion offered. Job promotion declined because...
I'd say I did pretty well, overall.

And now, "2010: Legendary!" So far, it's gearing up to be the best year yet.
  • California in winter. Not as pretty as California in spring. But it will do.
  • Moving to, living in, and working and earning EMC points in Miami, February 8-April 5.
  • Mexico in April.
  • Moving back to New York City and into a new apartment late April/early May.
  • Back to survival jobs and open calls.
All that before the summer? Yeah!

Finally, my annual resolutions.
  • Lose 15 pounds by March 3, opening night of Miss Saigon. I'm fairly satisfied with my current weight, but if I have to traipse around in a bikini on stage seven shows a week, what I've got ain't gonna cut it. I'm easing up on the grub and hitting the gym as often as I can.
  • Travel some place I've never been - a continuation of my former lifelong resolution. I didn't actually go anywhere new in 2009, so Miami and Mexico are making up for it.
  • Go to church more often. I've been so incredibly blessed during my time in New York. Thanks are long overdue.
  • Read all the books in my bookshelf. Because sadly, I haven't.
  • Blog more! I feel like this time of my life is the start of something wonderful, and I want to remember it all someday.
It IS going to be legen - wait for it - DARY! Blogosphere five!


all i ever wanted

You know, I spend all this time carefully weighing my options before I make decisions, and somehow, things always end up the opposite way from which I planned. Sometimes it's unfair. Other times, it's fortunate. Either way, life never fails to remind me that things really do happen for a reason.

For the last month, I have been training to become a Catering Manager with Havana Central. About a week ago, I sat down with the Senior Vice President of the company to discuss the future of the department, and this is what he told me: "We are reorganizing the department right now, so we don't know exactly where you'll fit in. That, combined with some changes we're making with our budget for next year, means that we're not sure when the promotion will officially take place. January is slow, so it might not be until March, possibly May or June. We think you are very talented and we feel you are a great addition to our team. However, I know that you are passionate about performing and are pursuing that as well. I respect your decision to keep your options open. So what I want you to do is take a few days and think about where you see yourself in one year, two years, three years. If that includes Havana Central, then we'd love to have you."

I did think about it. And for a second, it seemed like a good deal. Working to build a company, having my ideas heard, using the work experience I had gained in the last few years. But then I really got honest with myself and began to think: what do I want? What, in this world, would allow me to feel like I was contributing something to the community, help me leave an impression upon others, and ultimately, make me happy? And the truth is, as it always was, that I want to perform. I didn't leave California behind to live the same life I had been living. I didn't work myself to the bone for 16 months straight to quit the moment I graduated. And I didn't devote nearly 20 years of my life to performing to give up on it the moment I faced a little adversity.

I decided to decline my promotion. The thought of doing more work for up to six months without officially getting promoted made me question why I took the job anyway. I took the job to survive in New York while I auditioned and pursued acting. If I accepted, it meant I would work a regular job schedule, weekdays 9-5, and that I could no longer audition. Since I wasn't getting paid any more than when I was hosting, I chose to return to my old position to give myself the freedom to do what was really important to me.

And then, I received the phone call that would change the course of my life forever.

Two weeks prior to that promotion talk, I received a call back from Actors' Playhouse in Coral Gables, Florida, for their spring production of Miss Saigon. I had originally auditioned for them back in August and hadn't heard from them since. In early December, they returned to New York to finish casting for the show. I went to the call back, my first audition in weeks, and did quite well. At the end of it, the Artistic Director asked me questions about my dance experience, availability, and ability to move to the Miami area come February. All of which I took as good signs, but I didn't want to get my hopes up since I had come this far in the past without booking anything. Haha, not this time!

Tuesday morning, I was offered a spot in the cast of Miss Saigon. The two-month job contract includes round trip airfare from New York to Miami, housing, transportation, a salary, and points toward joining Actors Equity, making me an Equity Member Candidate. As a non-union actor, this is one hell of a deal. I'm literally one step closer to all I ever wanted.

I informed my restaurant of my intent to leave. From this point on, I'll be working administratively to help tie up loose ends from busy season. My last day will be sometime in late January. After that, I'm making a quick trip home to California to see family and friends, as well as performing in one (and quite possibly two) shows before I fly to Miami on February 8.

From there, who knows where life will take me. As previous posts will attest, I had been so unsure about whether or not I could find my niche in the performing arts. Booking this job means that I actually have a shot at doing what I love for a living. And that is an INCREDIBLE feeling.

"I've learned that if you're truly honest about what you want out of life, life gives it to you."
-Wise words from my friend, Ted Mosby