Busy Bee (Written By AmbassadorNique)

busybee

Wheels up! D and I are on our way to sunshine and Palm trees for the next 3 days. Although this isn’t exactly a vacation hopefully we get an opportunity to slow down a bit. I also hope to change the run and gun ways of our trips and slow down and bit to enjoy the moments being away from the norm.

As I take off I can’t help but notice how the Jhene Aiko’ lyrics stick out to me even more as she sings “there’s no better place than here, no better time than now”, simple yes, but such a true reflection of this moment.

Since my acceptance into the information school life has been moving rather quickly. Meetings, forms, people and places.

I am doing my best to balance the same things I’ve been focused on for the past year and a half. A healthy lifestyle, education, and financial responsibility.

I’ve met some awesome people thus far and it’s amazing how the universe puts you in contact with such great people who then point you in the direction of more great people. As my vision continues to form the number of people who have invested their time into me also grows. Mentors have become close friends and help me sharpen my
tools.

Do it yourself projects have become a new way to a save money. A photography backdrop made of PVC pipes.

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An 8×4 foot dry erase white board that only cost me $13!

LowesWhiteBoardAmbassadorNique

Time!!
One thing we cannot buy nor get back… We must take advantage. I personally would like to be better with my time. I’ve honestly gotten comfortable being 10 minutes late or prioritizing wrapping up last minute projects or chores before heading out. I do not want the reputation of the person who is always late to everything. I want to be a better estimator of time and error on the side of being early. I also would like to take 1 hour a night for me! At 10pm every night i want to spend 10 minutes meditating, 30 minutes reading and the rest writing, relaxing or whatever else I decide.

Until next time!

AmbassadorNique

T.O.D.A.Y. – March 26 (Written By AmbassadorNique)

As I continue down this road towards graduate school many scary truths must be confronted through different avenues of self reflection, conversation and personal growth.’Tis is life I suppose.

Today wasn’t as typical as most days, getting up about an hour earlier to make it to a rescheduled barber appointment where I would start my morning with a fresh haircut and good conversation. My barber who I hadn’t seen in about a month told me congrats on my acceptance to graduate school and we proceeded to talk about life, family, sports, and world events. Watching ESPN’s First Take after a debate about excessive celebration, Skip and Stephen tackled and rarely agreed on the issue the NFL Washington Redskins’ refusal to change the teams name. My barber noted, this year in the NFL an N bomb will warrant a 15 yard penalty, yet a team name will not be changed even though legitimate organizations, tribes and American’s have cried foul. I guess money does change everything. Bad for business maybe?

This made me think more about the narratives of Native American’s here in their own land and how the story is told. What happens when we water down cultures and minimize them to the point where we can say we visited a handful of them, left gifts and opened up a foundation so any harm done should be forgiven similar to what Daniel Snyder is currently in the process of doing. Nevertheless my cut was finished, and it was time for work.

A short talk with a co-worker on future plans about work and graduate school led me to understand that I am seeking employment that will assist my growth technologically and mentally. After this discussion I was on my way to lunch with a recently admitted PhD candidate to talk about funding… So I thought.

I’d heard many great things about this woman and was eager to meet her. Although my initial question about how to fund my graduate degree wasn’t directly answered this woman turned my world upside down, picked me apart, broke my down, and picked me up only to put me back together again. It felt like a conversation with my older brother or father poking at all of the holes in my thinking only to remind me of all the work I still needed to do, and the questions left to be answered. She agreed we’d continue to meet, which I am grateful for. While I had been somewhat mentally deflated I still felt I truly enjoyed the conversation. Furthermore I am up for the challenge and can’t wait to show and prove.

After work I met with one of my mentors and a good friend to listen to Teju Cole speak about the American re-release of his book “Everyday Is For The Thief”. His talk was inspiring and left many new thoughts. For example his assertion that the evolution of art as grown-up’s being to intersect all of our passions into one gave my mind a stir. Of speaking honestly about Nigeria he broke down how the country was built on the corruption that served outside entities and so when the locals were finally independent the same traits had trickled all the way down to gate attendants. America was not an exception, too often our savior complex along with two branches of our government being owned by corporations and lobbyist assured that we were just as corrupt he noted. Two things that will stick with me are the need for American’s to understand that we are equal’s to anyone and everyone with whom we deliver aid or assistance too. As human beings we must always remember this. Teju’s quote that he was “tired of being a grateful African” were words to live by. We must speak truth loud and clear if we ever expect change.

Overall today was a long but life is good.

My Beloved World – US Supreme Court Chief Justice Sonia Sotomayor

My Beloved World - US Supreme Court Chief Justice Sonia Sotomayor

On Monday, March 10, 2014 I was able to hear United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor speak about her life and brand new memoir My Beloved World at the University of Washington’s HUB Ballroom. The event was packed. She gave us many words and lessons to live by and showed us what a world class leader looks like. Although I’m already halfway through her book I really wanted a signed copy. They ran out of copies, but guess who’s face showed up the morning after in the Seattle Times! 😉

-AmbassadorNique

UPDATE: Hurry Up and WAIT! (Written By AmbassadorNique)

Happy Black History Month! We only get 28 days to celebrate so lets make the best of it!

Something I think is cool that you may have noticed is my daily dedication to black history. Each day I will try to celebrate blackness by sharing a photo of someone that has inspired me to be greater.  

As I wait for March to come I look forward to hearing back from the University of Washington’s iSchool program. Accepted or not there are many goals that I would like to achieve in the near future. Since my grad app is now finished I’ve moved on to applying for new jobs. I would like a role that will allow me to receive hands on IT experience that will help me succeed in any Information Management program. 

Along with job hunting I am putting the final touches on my PhotoVoice Eagles With Camera’s project and planning the Meet The Artist Display this month as well. Stay tuned for details.

Speaking of the kids, D and I will help fundraise $650 to help send a student from Northgate Elementary to Washington DC this May! If you wan’t to help us leave our names with a donations here. https://squareup.com/market/northgate-elementary-school 

Speaking of Photo’s! I hope to update my seasonal Gallery in my living room and plan on getting one of my photo’s printed on a canvas painting.

Before I forget.. February 18th! 4-6pm at UW we will be screening “The House I Live In” I am really excited to be screening this doc. Check out the trailer here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0atL1HSwi8 

As far as AmbassadorNique Productions I would like to get Patches made to make more shirts and beanie’s. If anyone has leads let me know!

I hope to also make time for reading and writing. I am slowly reading the book Of Men We Reaped and Sonia Sotomayor’s – My Beloved Country is next.

I also want to make Digital Stories from the pictures I took this past fall even though my hard drive recently crashed and I lost most of them because I didn’t back it up! BACK UP YOUR STUFF PEOPLE! In more than one place! 

There is much work to be done and time continues to move forward. Keep your back to the wind, your head high, your eyes focused and your shoes tied. Live long and prosper!

-AmbassadorNique 

Committed (Written By AmbassadorNique)

How committed are we in making our goals into a reality? Is it something that we will dedicate everyday too? What is it that we are committed too? What if no one believes?

Yes, our goals will change but with change comes updated blueprints. We must continue to make new friends whom inspire us, and create new partnerships and projects that will take us closer to our destinations. Read everyday, write more and find new ways to articulate our vision.

The Goal 

My current goal is to use technology to create sustainable learning resources and outlets for story telling for all communities but especially communities of color and underrepresented communities. It is my belief that having a sense of identity brings us closer to whom we really are and where we would like to be. The bridge between our dreams and our realities are the resources and opportunities that we take advantage of. Every human being has a vision of where he or she wants to be. I hope to not only reach my goal but inspire curiosity, and deliver the resources and opportunities that will feed it.  

Through technology, photography, videography and digital media, we have the power to share stories. Technology has made the people around us more human than ever. No longer must we assume or categorize the other. With technology we can now share our individualities, our stories, our truths, our fears, our love, our lives.

Upcoming Projects: 

Project 1: Digital Stories

Due: November 10th

By the end of the week I will have created my digital story about why I want to attend the iSchool  This project is apart of a larger project that I am doing at work over at UW. Its very important for me to complete this project because it has everything to do with why I believe technology is so important.

Project 2: PhotoVoice

Due: November 5th – December 18th

I will complete a 5 week 1 hour course with Northgate Elementary where students will create a collage that will answer the question, “How are you apart of your community?” The project will be done with a diverse group of students at an elementary school that is 90% at or below poverty level. This project will introduce students to photography, the importance of identity, the importance of community, and will hopefully spark a new level of social conciseness.  We will bring artists to come speak to the students about their own stories, community involvement, and techniques. The students will be introduced to basic photography, be handed camera’s and told to take pictures of how they are apart of their communities. The students will then create a collage and a caption for their collage. After the project is completed students will share their art with their peers and parents at an art show. Our hope is that our students, their parents and our community will take pride in the art that is created.

Project 3: Graduate School Applications

Due: January 2014

I will be applying to the University of Washington and the University of Oregon’s iSchool’s for Fall 2014 with the same mission. I will fine tune my mission, complete the GRE’s (Dec 21st) and share my plan with as many people as possible. It is my belief that sharing will help fine tune the outcome and place me in front of more resources and networks. Graduate school will offer me an opportunity to create more resources and build more bridges that will bring more technology access and education to all students.

Closing 

My commitment will be determined by my actions. I must continue to surround myself with those who inspire me. It is important to use my time wisely, support the causes that create the world that I would like to see. Spend my time and my money on helping push forward these causes and not getting side tracked with what has become the societal norm. My time and my creativity are my most important possessions. With that said I must communicate better, be wiser, eat healthier, exercise and mediate more and love stronger. I must stay committed. 

-AmbassadorNique 

Road To Fuji Blog — Sayonara Nippon (Day Eleven)

We would eat breakfast, pack our bags, catch the airport shuttle and take a 8.5 hour flight back to Seattle! Sayonara Nippon, until next time! 

Domonique Meeks
AmbassadorNique Productions

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DomoVlog: Road To Fuji
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Road To Fuji Blog — Run This Town (Day Ten)

I woke up pretty early and forced myself to go back to sleep. I would wake up, try to organize my belongings into my bags. We would be meeting Snipes who was my fathers first friend in Japan who arrived at Yakota Air-force Base with him back in 1986. He now had a civilian job after retiring. We would get the chance to sit and have coffee with him and speak about old times, what was going on now and our plans for the futures. The last time we’d seen him was when we were living in Japan as children. Facebook is awesome!

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After spending some time with him we would have to say goodbye as we were all meting with Kanako and Natsumi at 1pm.

After both arrived we would go to a toy store before eating lunch. We were able to sit for awhile and catch up and learn more about Kanako’s  new job working for the ambassador from the US.

After eating we would take the train to a traditional Buddhist temple where we would do a Japanese fortune teller. I was very nervous, Kanako, Natsumi and Rupert pulled good fortunes then crystal pulled a bad one that she tied. I would nervously pull a good one! Dez would pull a bad one right after.

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We would wash our hands at a temple toss a coin in a wishing well type thing and pray.

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After this we would visit the many small shops in the area and just walk.

This lead us to the train station that we Would take the Harajuku. We would visit more shops for hours.

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Next we would head to an arcade place where we would take booth pictures and I would win first place in Mario cart beating Rupert kanako and Natsumi!

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After we ate again at a small lounge. We talked more and shared food.

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Kanako and Natsumi would walk us back to our train station and we would say our goodbyes and head on our way back to Ginza and sleep.

Domonique Meeks
AmbassadorNique Productions

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DomoVlog: Road To Fuji
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Road To Fuji Blog — Tokyo Turn Up 2! (Day Nine)

I SLEPT FOR 15 HOURS!

I woke up and would go down stairs to take advantage of the Onsen that was on the 5th floor of the the ryokan. I would return an hour later to get dressed repack my bag send a few sunrise pix to friends and family, checkout and take the taxi ride to the train station and head back to Tokyo.

We would arrive back in Tokyo around 1230 to check into our hotel drop off our heavy bags and head to the currency exchange for more yen! My good friends Sayo and Natsumi would meet us at the Ginza building currency exchange. They would get a chance to briefly meet Dez, Madi and Rupert before Natsumi, Sayo and I would head out for lunch.

I wanted Okonomiyaki for a few reasons. It’s very popular, I’ve been asked if I liked it now for YEARS! And a lot of people had asked me if I’d ever tried it. We would go to a spot in Ginza that specialized in okonomiyaki. It would be served with grilled ramen, miso soup, Chinese cabbage salad and rice. One thing I did not know about Okonomiyaki was that the main ingredient was Chinese cabbage. I am not a fan. I asked if they could make it without it but after the puzzled looked by the waiter I decided just to deal with it and eat it anyway. Honestly, it wasn’t bad! Without cabbage it would have been great lol!

Natsumi, Sayo and I talked about our lives, what was going on and what was coming up.Sayo’s husband Nayalan would join us later in the day along with her younger sister Tomo who came all the way from Nagano (2.5 hours via bullet train to spend time with us and see me!).

After eating we would head to Tokyo station to meet Sayo’s younger sister, her husband and my friend Yuki.

I was happy to see them all, especially to meet Sayo’s husband for the first time whom I had heard so much about. Nayalan is a pretty awesome individual. He pretty much knew Tokyo better than all of us. He would help me find souvenirs for my father, and a Japanese DVD player that I hoped would play my region coded Japanese DVDs (it did.. YES!). I was happy to have a chance to catch up with all of them. Nayalan even answered all of my random questions about his family background. He even has a tumblr and pretty awesome YouTube channel about his life in Japan! He is an artist who draws very well too! I didn’t get to ask him what brought him to Japan but i know he taught English for 5 years and ended up meeting Sayo.

After seein taffy being made and going to the domo store in tokyo station I would randomly see a Japanese guy with a Tulane University Greenwave shirt. I asked if one of my friends could ask him if he would take a picture with me. My brother graduated from undergrad at Tulane in New Orleans, Louisiana, so it was very surprising to see a random person with this shirt.

After this the randomness continued when we saw an electric bull outside the station. We all wondered why it was there and Nayalan showed some interest. I told him I’d pay the ¥200 it cost to ride it to video him doing it! He said he’d pay half and I could pay the other. After seeing his bravery I had to try it to! Why? Well I’m in Japan! I don’t know any of these people watching me and could care less what they think, plus who else could say they road their first electric bull in the middle of Tokyo outside in front of staring Japanese people? Nayalan would stay on for 24 seconds before getting tossed off. It really didn’t seem to be going so fast until I was the one in the helmet with one hand up. It was pretty shaky and getting clipped kind of hurt especially after being sore from Fuji! I stayed on for 27 seconds. And yes I have the video!

As the sunset we (Natsu, Sayo, Tomo, Yuki, and Nayalan) headed to Yoyogi Park which has historical relevance to being one of the first parks where bboys would practice in the 80s after wild style came out. We got off the train at Hyrajuku and walked a ways to the park and just sat and people watched and took pictures before searching for the snoop dog tribute Mural. on our way we would stumble upon a festival in the park. We drank beer, got snow cones and watched Hawaiian performers, and just enjoyed each others company for a few hours.

After this we would head to shinjiku where the hachiko dog statute and the busiest cross walk in the world is. The sidewalk wasn’t so busy to say it was Saturday night but we would walk through twice and take pictures from one of the busiest Starbucks in the world.

We would walk Yuki to her train station before going to really cool spot in the basement of some building in Tokyo. The restaurant was in the basement of a building and was almost a mini food court with about 5 restaurants. We would sit down and be given 5 menu’s from all of the restaurants and we were able to order from anywhere we wanted.

They convinced me to try raw horse meat and swore to me it was good. I watched them all prove it before I would try.

After dinner we would all head home. I had such a fun day and a great time with all of them and enjoyed their company. Sayo’s younger sister Tomo who will possibly be attending Gunma university and studying abroad at Central Washington, even baked me homemade cookies and individually wrapped them! 🙂

After making it back to my hotel I would share my day with my Brodie’s reach out to my dads old Air Force buddy about meeting in the morning shower and sleep.

Domonique Meeks
AmbassadorNique Productions

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DomoVlog: Road To Fuji
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Road To Fuji Blog — FUJI SUMMIT (Day Eight)

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THIS IS THE POINT FUJI GOT REAL!!

You know that feeling you have when you first wake up from a nap… The feeling of wanting to slowly wake up, get use to your surroundings, stretch. Yeah, well none that happened for me.

After waking up from a nightmare that bugs were crawling on me and being cold I was jerked awake by Rupert telling me it was time to go as if we were late for something. I jumped from the top bunk of what looked like a huge bunk bed. We would hike in dark up Mt. Fuji from station seven.

The trail would become even more difficult. We found ourselves climbing over rocks trying to dodge the ledges thankfully we had good weather and only dealt with rough winds at times. Thank goodness for warm clothing! Safe to say it was cold! After hours of hiking and stumbling over rocks, it seemed as though we would never get to the top. The mountain was crowded with people! This was a Thursday night / Friday morning, I could only imagine what a Friday / Saturday would look like. We heard conversations, chants, random noises, radios, ect. Definitely not so peaceful.

Hours in I would see the same young elementary school boy that impressed me in the daylight by 2am was in tears crying from frustration and probably pain and lack of sleep.I felt his pain… I would also have an old man fall flat on his face about 30 minutes later! Honestly, I couldn’t help him. I was so tired that I knew if I tried we would both end up on the ground.

Looking forward and backwards we could see nothing but headlamps of people miles ahead and behind us, everyone with relatively the same goal, make it to the top before sunrise. Around 4 daylight would start to break through the clouds. It was honestly a bit discouraging. We looked up and saw tons of people miles ahead of us and my goal changed from making it before sunrise to just making it to the top! Throughout my heart would beat way to fast, head would ache and altitude would cause dizzyness. I would have to stop get water and catch my breath bc I definitely wasn’t trying to end up on the news for dying on Fuji!

As the sun began to peak above the clouds you could hear the roars and cheers from people whom had made it to the top. Beautiful faces of all races of people who had all come for the same thing! People from all over the world (mostly Japan of course) filled the mountain peak.

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It took about 5 minutes for me to actually calm down stop and appreciate the moment of what was just accomplished. As I searched for the rest of my team I would meet each of them individually, between bathroom runs, taking pictures and or just finding a place to sit down.

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Dez and I would take pictures of the sunrise before I finally sat down with my sister madi and waited for my brother Rupert. I ordered ramen for ¥1000. I was so tired I found my self dozing off and napping (I’ve been told this is a bad idea at such high elevation).

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We stayed on top of the mountain for about 2.5 hours just enjoying the moment and mostly looking for each other to take pictures and waiting on one another to receive the final stamps on our sticks.

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Our journey down would be a long one… A very long one. About 2 hours down Madi and I realized that the trail we took down was much easier than the one we took up. After putting together this mystery and realizing there were too many elders and children on this trail headed up the mountain. We had seen both on our climb up, but definitely not as many as we saw headed up. We realized Rupert had chosen to take the expert trail. While this honestly made me a little angry at first, we had made it… The past was the past.. Plus it was his birthday so this really was a senseless argument.

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After a few near ankle sprains a meeting between my bottom and the ground, a headache, thirst and some bathroom breaks, we finally made it down to the 5th station a few hours later.

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We took the bus for an hour down to the train station, hopped in a taxi and would arrive at our ryokan (traditional japanese hotel) 2 hours before check in. We’d use their free wifi, eat at the karaoke restaurant across the street check in, shower and I would fall asleep by 430pm until the next morning!

Domonique Meeks
AmbassadorNique Productions

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DomoVlog: Road To Fuji
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Road To Fuji Blog (Day Seven)

August 1, 2013 was the day we climbed Mt. Fuji’s Yoshidaguchi trail. We woke up, got dressed and were on the bullet train by 620am. I am a bit hungry since I don’t eat instant oatmeal but I will find food. We eventually found food and ate at Mos Burger. Rupert and Madi started their climb from the Umaumagaeshi starting point which was about 2.5 hours from the 5th station where Dez and I would be starting. Dez and I left from the train station by bus at 2:50pm and took an hour bus ride to the 5th station of Mt. Fuji. We would get off the bus and I would buy my Fuji hiking stick, (everyone bought there’s at the train station, I didn’t because I thought the ones at the top would look different because the wood wasn’t the same as I remembered my fathers stick he received in ‘89. Dez and I would walk about 15 to 20 min to meet up with Rupert and Madi. Two Americans who taught English in Korea asked us if we were from Seattle because they noticed Dez’s Seahawks backpack. In order to meet up with Rupert and Madi, we would veer left on the trail while everyone else kept right. Simultaneously 3 people screamed “nooo wrong way!” But we informed them we were meeting our friends. After meeting the rest of our team at the 5th station we paid ¥200 for a stamp on our Fuji walking sticks. Our team literally walked about three minutes before we hit a hut selling sixth station stamps. Was this a joke?! Who knows… We paid anyway. The seventh station definitely wasn’t as close. Walking this trail really wasn’t that hard, dirt small rocks hills and switch backs. If this was what Fuji would be the entire time I could deal with it. Bathrooms were a suggested donation of ¥200 at the bottom of the mountain. I paid not wanting bad karma. We made it to the seventh station around 7pm at night. We would have to walk a few more minutes to our reserved napping hut that would cost us ¥5800 yen each. The hut had food, snacks and water but they definitely new the worth and demand of their product. After paying ¥500 for a soy sauce top ramen it was time to rest. We slept on mats until about 11pm when we would wake up, get our gear together and start our journey.

Before we started hiking we saw a picture of this guy… lol basically it says be on the look out for this guy!! YIKES!!

This is Dez on the trail when we first started and her Seahawks backpack!

Up the stairs we go! This is kind of how fuji started, switch backs and stairs.

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Almost to station 7…

We made it to our hut that was just a bit past station 7. 

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Overpriced snacks, Supply and demand baby! 

Overall, like I said the first half of the hike wasn’t bad at all, I remember telling my brother if this was how it would be I would be okay! We would then rest from 7p to 11p before waking up and starting day eight. 

Domonique Meeks
AmbassadorNique Productions

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DomoVlog: Road To Fuji
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