Blog #8: Wonder Women

I am a woman above everything else.
 Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
 Who are four cool people I want to be like? I can think of four women in particular:
  1. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis: In middle school, I wrote a lengthy historical paper on Jackie Kennedy. I was enthralled by the Kennedy family at this age, just beginning to understand why people bothered with the question ‘what if’. What if John F. Kennedy had lived to serve a full term-two terms-as president? Would his marriage with Jackie Kennedy last? I found Jackie to be a poised first lady, very similar to the image of Michelle Obama. She was passionate about the arts, and helped with the creation of the National Cultural Center, later renamed the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Even through the tragedy of her son’s death, then her husband’s, she had an immense strength to continue being involved in politics.  I also loved Jackie’s beginnings as a reporter and photographer, a foreshadow of the work I would do as an MCJ major. Her love for writing persisted even when she couldn’t pursue it as an occupation.
  2. Eleanor Castanon: Eleanor is my paternal great-grandmother, and one of the most beautiful people I have encountered in my short life. Holidays are important in the Castanon family: New Years, Christmas, Easter, Fourth of July and Thanksgiving. However, my dad and I would visit his grandparents most weekends on their small ranch in Five Points. We would leave early to get their favorites in Kerman: donuts, or Chinese food from Beijing Garden. No trip was as special as the time we took my Grandma Eleanor to pick up the food. She rode shotgun in my dad’s truck. She told me stories about my dad, my grandpa, and my grandma. She danced to both English and Spanish songs, and just radiated with happiness. I will always remember my grandma happy, always looking at you with a coy smile. She fiercely loved my great-grandpa, Pete, even when he was as helpless as a child after his stroke. My goal is to build a family as strong and loving as the one she built. She was the absolute matriarch of our family, and is dearly missed.
  3. Trisha Galvan: Trisha is my cousin, but closer to my parents’ age. I have only come to know Trisha well as I began high school. She is a wife and a mother to two kids, some of my favorite people in the world. Trisha has the gift of hospitality, always able to bring people around the table for food and laughter. Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve at the Galvan house have been installed as new traditions. When her son was diagnosed with Type-1 (juvenille) diabetes, we were there by her side in the hospital. When she was diagnosed with cancer, we were there once again. It has been a crazy rollercoaster of emotions for our families since both of these diagnoses, but one thing has remained: our constant faith that something good is on the otherside of these difficult times. Despite these trying times, we have kept up with celebrating holidays and the big moments together. In many ways, Trisha emodies some of the best traits of our Grandma Eleanor.
  4. Chris Beltz: Chris is someone who has recently entered my life as a spiritual mentor. She loves to work with students, and has a genuine interest in every student she meets. Every Thursday, she cooks dinner for about 30-40 college students because she wants them to feel at home. Chris is intelligent-her subject of choice is physical science. She has shared her testimony with so much wisdom, the kind that comes with years and years of heartache and triumphs. She is a wonderful mother, a tremendous athlete, and a supportive friend. I made it my goal to climb a more challenging route at Metalmark, the local rock climbing gym, and I wouldn’t have made it to the top without Chris’s guidance. I look forward to developing a closer relationship with Chris.

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