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Friend: How have u been?
Me: “it’s been a rough week, but i just need to find my groove again. I’m optimistic about tmrrw.”
I’ve been really off lately. I didn’t figure in properly how my mini-break (3 weeks in Europe) would affect my work game mentally and physically. Like I knew I would probably have jet lag, but my mind hasn’t fully returned to the work situation. Plus the big earthquake in Ecuador has me thinking – how is my biz going to co-exist with rebuilding a country?
This week has been slow at my teahouse, so it has allowed me more time to reflect about life as of May 2016. And what my mind always wanders to is writing. Les Brown says in one of his videos that we either live our dreams or our fears. And for some reason I’m living my two biggest fears – A. not getting published & B. —.
So how do I make my two biggest goals happen? Like I know, lol. But there must be a correlation btwn somewhat successfully starting my tea & English language biz and failing miserably at the two most impt goals in my life. But what?
So what has six months as a biz person taught me that I can seriously apply to my other areas of life and help me accomplish my two goals?
- “Make it work!” IT being everything. Life gives you what you need to make things happen, you just have to find the courage to do it.
- “I can hear you.” (This is what a hella unfriendly clerk in a macaroon store in Paris
told me bc he surely didn’t want to walk over and take my order, lol.) People want someone to listen to them. So I’m like a bartender. People come to me to vent, to ask for practical advice, to feel less lonely, to be encouraged. As my name means counselor, I accept this role. I think my years of isolation/not-fitting-in/being non-cliquey has enabled me to relate to others in a way that helps them feel better about themselves and life. that’s a gift from god.
- “Naw, I’m not doing that!” Stay with your ideas but also be flexible. It’s a tricky balance.
- “Move Forward!” A lot of Yachay folks – present and former employees&students– stop by to discuss that Yachay life. I listen bc I know everyone wants to be heard; but I don’t get involved emotionally bc Yachay is my past. It served its purpose in my life; thus, my life goes forward and not back. When people ask why I left Yachay, I tell people with a quickness, “I got fired from Yachay. That’s life!” And everyone agrees es lo que hay. No biggie. I’m still the intelligent Afro-Am woman that I have always been and always will be.
- “If you stay ready…” Sometimes I feel myself making a bad first impression. I assume no one is going to show up for tea, so I don’t have all of the items on the menu, which makes me look unprofessional. So as I revise my menu, I need to keep in mind the In ‘n Out approach to biz. I also need to remember I have a biz that is open to the public and I want the public to support, so I need to step my professional game up. Stay ready, yo!
- “Love Thyself!” – I’m a fan of life breaks. When I entered UCLA as a burnt-out freshman, I knew life breaks were needed things. (Malia Obama was right in taking that gap year break before going to Harvard.) I just know I work really hard, so I need to play really hard, and playing for me is stepping back from reality if only for an hour nap or 3 weeks in Europe.
- Keep it Simple! Keep it Real! Keep it Flowin! – it’s been my motto in life for more than a decade.
- “It ain’t always about you, boo.” I am lowering my expectations and not taking things so personal. I have encountered a lot of people who don’t keep their words, only look out for self and misuse my “friendship.” Because this happens on the regular in this expat life, I’m learning not to have my Cali standards in many situations but to always have my LA skepticism.
- “My cup runneth over.” What God has for me, is for me; so don’t hate on others. I often feel the mice-fighting-over-crumps scenario in Ibarra/Ecuador as I try to establish my biz and build biz relationships. I believe in helping people by sharing my knowledge, so when people don’t do the communal things, I’m learning to let it go. Everyone doesn’t want me to succeed; everyone doesn’t like me; everyone doesn’t share in my work ethic. I gotta do me and meet God on the other side.
- “You’re not my client. Siga no mas.” I’m ok that not everyone wants to have my products & services. And I won’t lower my prices bc I give highly quality English services and some good tea.
- “Espera No Mas” (Continue to wait/hope) – I wrote a book entitled this (of course, no one wants to publish it, but I’m not bitter, hahaha). And it really is the story of my life; things never come when I want them to come; they come when God decides it is time. For example, tonight as I was doing my yoga, the image for my window front came to me. I have been trying to figure out how to make Mama California look nice, and man, it just hasn’t come for 1 year. But out of nowhere, tonight on the floor with my legs high up in the air, the vision arrived. Then confirmation came with a similar image on FB page “Libros y café.” Perhaps my Romeo will arrive in the same fashion, hehe.
- “Don’t chase the money; chase the dream.” “Work on your craft, and the money will come.” “Follow your passion.” “You have to do what you love.” You should do what you want in life. My decision to do me has confused many people. My mom mumbled her confusion of my lifestyle while we were in Paris. I couldn’t even make out what she was really saying, but it was something like she wasn’t going to waste too much energy giving me feedback/commentary, bc she knew I was going to do me and it might work out, haha. I have chosen to go way off the mainstream path towards the American Dream. Yet this path that I am on is the most logical for me. If I would have not taken my five-year-break-from-life—-I can’t even finish that thought, bc there was no alternative for me. I had to live LA to be able to live my life and not the life others expected me to live. I wanted to be a writer — you know, write the Next Great American Novel– so I tried, still trying. I wanted to see the world, so I put myself out there in the non-Cali arena and went oh-natural with my hair. And I learned to float with the tides of life. I haven’t sunk, so I guess I’m doing alright.
- “Do like a stupid” Ai-san was right– don’t take yourself too seriously. Laugh more, sing aloud more, dance more, crack a joke more, wear those “ubiquitous” colors more (an older, white female colleague’s comment on my clothing). #YOLO #TheHustleIsReal #MakeLifeWork #AmaLaVida #CaliONMyMind