What’s up: an update

The other night I had a nightmare in which I was unable to form an essay and articulate it in class. I was so disappointed in myself and began to blame the teacher for not giving me enough time to put together a well-thoughtout and presentable argument. When I awoke, I realized that I have indeed neglected my dreams of being a creative being and writer.

In particular, I have also neglected this website. I feel guilty for having neglected this website for almost over a year! I came to a crossroads wherein I didn’t know how to continue this website and so, I just kind of stopped.

In 2015, I found myself working for a growing and beautiful Spanish resort company; however as much as I enjoyed the opportunity, I needed to leave the position to focus on my small family. Even during the transition from working and constantly being on the move to becoming (mostly) settled and focusing on home life, I still felt an eagerness to learn, discover and be part of something bigger.

Luckily I had enough inspiration to challenge myself through illustration and have been drawing almost everyday since. I redid my tumblr account and have posted all of my experimental, learning projects at chamomile notes.tumblr.com. Some of the drawings were drawn using Google Images as references or pop culture as inspiration, but all of them are original. If you should view them, please feel free to leave me comments.

As we are moving into 2016, I intend to start writing more and more often, and I would also like to continue illustration. My hope is to be able to keep this website updated more regularly.

On to 2016… *cheers*

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I am unique because…

While I’ve been swimming in the job market, looking for my next opportunity, I’ve often found myself discouraged and really down. I’ve found myself being passed up for entry-level positions like data entry clerk and receptionist, and I start to feel like my credentials aren’t good enough to be a good candidate for any role. But that’s not true because there are lots of reasons why I am unique and just haven’t found the perfect organization to grow in. For now, we can start with five reasons why I am unique.

1. I’m efficient, especially when I get to call the shots and can keep my team focused. Added that I am punctual and do well with meeting deadlines, my efficiency gets a boost and those daunting tasks are checked off as quickly as it was to write them down. I’ve always been complimented on how quickly I’ve gotten things done.

2. I like to learn new things. And I take the new things I learn and file them in a wrinkle in my brain to be referenced at a later time if/when necessary. Life is a series of building things upon things. People have told me that I’m really “sharp,” but I just take things that are given or said to me to heart.

3. I’m creative. I like learning new things and I also like combining information and new ideas to be more efficient, thus I am creative. In the creative category, I also like to illustrate, draw, photograph, write — pretty much produce my own original pieces whenever possible. I’m actually teaching myself (with the help of lynda.com) Adobe Illustrator.

4. There is always room for improvement. Sometimes I think it would be so great to be so confident that I thought I was the best at everything I do — you know how they say, “Fake it ’til you make it,” but I’m of the mentality that I can become better. I read biographies, self-help books, quotes. I ask strangers for their opinion on random subjects. I will never be perfect, but I can be better. I am always doing something.

5. I’m genuinely and highly motivated. I don’t just want to get a job anywhere, I want to find a position that will contribute to my professional growth. I don’t want to just relish in becoming an assistant, I want to surpass that eventually and take on bigger projects. I truly and honestly want to grow into a career where I can own what I do and where I am.

Want to know more reasons why I am unique? Comment, tweet me, reach me and let me know!


Taking photos

Last Christmas, I got a Canon T3i for a present and I’ve finally started to really use it. I’ve read books about photography of all kinds, watched some videos online about how to take good pictures, even checked Lynda.com for tutorials about lighting and I’m constantly browsing Tumblr and Pinterest to see what “interesting” photos are suppose to look like.

I decided to stick some of my better photos on a blog so I can see if I’ve finally develop some sort of style and improved if any.

Here’s the link, if anyone’s interested.

photosbygaoli.wordpress.com

Meanwhile, I’ll be accepting free feedback.

Thanks!


What is La Llorona?

By Gaoli Moua

If you ever hear a woman weeping in the dead of night while crying out “¡O hijos míos!” you should be a little scared because she could be La Llorona.

La Llorona, the Weeping Woman, has haunted Mexican and Latin American children for over five centuries. She has been written about in books, spoken about around the campfire and portrayed in Hollywood films. For some, she is just a mythical character created to scare children into good behavior, but for others she is a real entity that is often seen in the night.

“The Llorona is a popular figure throughout Central America, Mexico, and Southwestern United States, where I grew up,” Spanish Professor Marc Anderson said. “She was originally based on the Aztec goddess Coatlicue, who supposedly appeared prophetically just before the Spanish conquest crying for her children who would be lost. After the conquest, she was seen frequently, usually as the prelude to disaster.”

Growing up in Montrose, Colo., Anderson heard one of the many different variations of the Llonora story.

“We heard stories about the ‘Ditch Witch,’ who wandered along irrigation ditches looking for her children, whom she had supposedly drowned,” Anderson said.

“[As a child,] I wasn’t really scared by the story—it was just a ghost story,” Anderson said. “Of course, if I had been wandering around the arroyo (creek) at night, I might have felt differently. My suspicion is that only very young children would be scared of the Llorona or her male counterpart, El duende.”

Maria Tibavinsky, a 20-year-old senior from Lawrenceville, Ga., majoring in Nutrition Science, said she was also not afraid of La Llorona or the story. Growing up in Bogota, Columbia, Tibavinsky learned about the story in school but couldn’t recall the details of the myth.

“I was probably more afraid of el cuco, the boogey man,” said Tibavinsky. “But sometimes I would hear my Aunts say that a friend had seen [La Llorona].”

Paloma Baldovinos, a 22-year-old senior double majoring in international affairs and anthropology from Hampton, Ga., remembers being scared of the La Llorona story as a child.

“Once upon a time when the Spanish first began to settle in Mexico, there was a particularly wealthy Spanish officer who led a young, native girl to believe that he loved her and would marry her,” Baldovinos recalled.

“They were together for a while and she bore him 3 children; all seemed well. But later [the Spanish officer] was offered a marriage to the daughter of a high-ranking Spanish official. He had money but he knew what the marriage could do for his rank so he accepted and married her. As soon as the native girl, mother of his children, found out, she was devastated. In a fit of rage and frustration she killed her children and threw them into the lake. When she realized what she’d done, she committed suicide to ‘remedy’ her pain.”

In most La Llorona stories, the native girl’s spirit reaches the gates of heaven and is refused entry because she did not have her children’s spirits with her. She is told she can only enter when she has found them.

“The scary part was that we were told that at nights you could hear her walking the streets wailing out ‘¡O hijos míos!’—basically ‘Oh, my children!’—in search of her children,” Baldovinos explained.

“If we were crying or making a big fuss, we were always warned that she would come get us and take us into the lake because she thought that we were one of her children screaming out for her.”

Even though she is just a myth, there are have been reports of La Llorona sightings by people of all ages all over the Americas. The story has been localized according to country and region, where many communities have identified bodies of water with her.

Juan Carlos Ramirez, a Mexican literature professor at San Diego State University Imperial Valley Campus, told Alejandra Davila at the Imperial Valley Press in 2011that the myth promotes good motherhood and solicits good behavior from children.

“I do plan on telling my children this story,” Baldovinos said. “However, I am not sure if I will scare them with it because, I have to admit that, to this day I feel a tremor of fear pass through me on those dark windy nights when the wind seems to wail out.”

Folk story or not, La Llorona is a story that is likely to have a lasting impact on people of all ages. Adapted to television, NBC’s Grimm’s “La Llorona” episode received high ratings when it first aired last October.


This story was originally written in October 2012 and submitted to a student newspaper for publication.


Social media for job candidates

By Gaoli Moua

Social media are fun and convenient. They reunite us with people from the past and helps us forge new connections effortlessly. They amplify the extroverts in us with its allure of easy updating and commenting. They allow us to share anything and everything with disregard to our overall viewers⎯and that is where the danger lies.

Social media are still in the developing stages, but they should not be treated like pages of a personal diary or the stage on which life’s drama plays out. Instead, they should be treated like extensions of our professional personas, because over sharing has the potential to stunt career advancement.

As technology becomes more sophisticated, employers will rely more heavily on social media to discover talent. In a 2011 Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey, 89 percent of respondents said they used social media in their recruiting efforts. 64 percent of respondents had previously hired people through social networks and 55 percent planned to increase their budgets for social recruiting in 2012.

Most employers are looking for the fastest way to sort out the rejects when recruiting. Part of sorting through resumes is researching candidates via the Internet for a first impression. A 2010 study conducted by Execunet, a membership organization dedicated to helping executives, found that 70 percent of business managers had rejected job applicants based on information found online.

“You never want to give people a reason to say ‘no,’” said University of Georgia, Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications Professor Barry Hollander. “Too much information is a bad thing because you’re not really controlling the information. You aren’t emphasizing the right things.”

Cynics might say social media activity won’t affect the careers of people who are not actively job hunting or seeking promotion. However, employers can use it as a tool to check employee performance through monitoring online behavior during work hours and checking employees who might play hooky on the job.

The significance of social media can vary depending on an individual’s industry and job title, but that doesn’t negate its effects. An opinion writer has more leeway to publically critique politicians than a doctor who could offend his or her patients. In addition, some companies, like CBS, have social media policies in their employee handbooks.

One could argue that specific social networks have certain appeals and rules governing their usage. Facebook is thought of as more personal and private, while other networks like LinkedIn are considered to be more professional. However, Facebook remains one of the predominant sites employers are tempted to check when sourcing candidates because, not only does it show up in a search, it is the most popular social networking site.

Despite privacy settings that have been implemented for the popular site, there is always a way to get around them⎯not to mention users who don’t know how to use them. In a 2012 survey, Consumer Reports found that almost 13 million users did not know about or had never used any of Facebook’s privacy tools.

Facebook’s privacy tools does not protect the other social networking accounts synced to it, whereby users can simultaneously update a string of social networking sites. Viewers can see Facebook updates regardless of whether or not they are subscribed to it if it is available on another site.

Many social media users have a false sense of privacy that enables them to share intimate, and sometimes inappropriate, details of their lives. Sharing too much could put off a “friend” and could get you “unfriended.” So why couldn’t sharing also put off an employer.

Should users censor themselves? No. But they should be more cautious in what they choose to publish online.
“It’s okay to use social media to make yourself seem like a real person to your customers, your clients, followers, readers, or whatever it may be,” Hollander said.

In this day and age, employees and job applicants are expected to stay on trend. We are expected to know how to leverage social media while we interact with each other and brand ourselves by showing off our personalities and latest projects. Understanding how sharing can impact your job, or the job you want, is essential to success.

It is inevitable that technology will become more sophisticated while our lives become more transparent. Your social media profiles and activity should reflect who you are and who you want to be. Don’t be the candidate who gets passed over for an opportunity that could have transformed your life.


This Op-Ed piece was originally written as an assignment for Pulitzer prize winner and Commentator Cynthia Tucker’s editorial/opinion writing class at the University of Georgia. (Fall 2012)


What’s up?

This semester is my last semester as an undergraduate. Although I’m excited that I will be able to join my other friends in the “real world” soon, I’m more excited to be finished with school work. I hope that actual work is more fulfilling.

While it is my last semester, I have been trying to get as many experiences in as possible. I started a new internship and I am becoming more ambitious with writing—I’ve been taking on more assignments. I do enjoy the creative freedom that these opportunities have given me, but I can’t help but to wonder if I’m doing enough, or if I’m doing the right things.

With my new internship, I’ve been learning more about social media blasts. To be honest, I use to think that social media was a no-brainer, but after this initial experience, social media can take a lot of time!

Despite all that I want to do before I graduate, my grades are also important. I find it harder to study now—maybe it is the senioritis coming through. What is priority is that I actually graduate this fall.

While my days are busy and it seems my list of things to do only gets longer, I’m happy that things are progressing well.


Taste of Athens 2012

A couple of weeks ago, I received last minute tickets from my editor to attend the 2012 Taste of Athens. I only had an hour to spend there, so my brother and I grubbed the whole time we were there. It was my first time at this annual event, which turned out better than I had imagined: there were over 50 food/beverage/service vendors present, volunteers at every corner and, most importantly, a wide selection of foods and beverages to choose from. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to try everything, but by our second plates, we were already full.

While I was busy eating and mapping out our next food stop, I only took these pictures (of my brother’s plate). I can’t recall the names of the foods nor their respective restaurants, but I do remember that they were all really tasty.