Tag Archives: London

Dream From Within

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Bucket List!

Okay, we all have them, but if you don’t, I highly encourage you to make one. Add all you can possibly add to your bucket list. Be a dreamer, be an achiever. Don’t settle for anything less than you deserve, and please understand that all of you deserve the BEST that the world could possibly offer.

We are ALL beautiful people. Don’t be afraid of having a burning desire to see, breathe, and experience the unimaginable. So dig deep into your soul, see what moves you. What are you passionate about…what are you REALLY passionate about? Write it down and begin your journey.

” As soon as anyone starts telling you to be realistic, cross that person off your invitation list.” John Eliot 

Now it won’t be easy. There might come some instances in which people tell you to relax. They might tell you that what you want to do is ‘impossible’. But is it really? No. It’s not. No matter what, do not belittle your own dreams! You can do anything you set your mind to.

To me a bucket list is more than just a piece of paper or a document saved on your computer. A bucket list is the start of your own journey. And well… I decided to start early 🙂

Wembley Stadium, before a match.

Wembley Stadium, before a match.

Starting Early

The hardest part about doing something is starting it. Once you get going, I feel that you have so much momentum going your way that no one could stop you. Maybe it was luck or a coincidence that the study abroad program that I planned on attending was in the Olympic host city. I honestly had no idea that the Olympics were going to be hosted in London till the summer before.

Truth is, I have a TON of things on my bucket list. So I’d figure I better start early. When the opportunity presented itself I did not hesitate at all.

My passion is learning. Learning from others, new experiences, and myself. The way that I receive that passion is through sports, traveling, and doing something that’s breathtaking.

Since little, I have always wanted to attend an Olympic event. I loved all of the momentum that came along with it. I knew I would one day experience it, and I did.

Olympic Events

Throughout the summer of 2012 I did not just go to an Olympic event, I went to several. All were remarkable, I had the opportunity to see Cycling-Road, Beach Volleyball, Volleyball, Soccer (or Football), Judo, and last but certainly not least — Basketball.

Basketball was my first love. As a young 5th grader I fell in love with the game. The both of us were inseparable. Besides my family and studies, all I gave my heart to was basketball. Growing up,  I inspired to be in the WNBA and what not. I looked up to couple players tremendously, they were: Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird. I always wished I would have the opportunity to seem them play live.

On Monday July 30, 2012 I did. Once I saw them come out on the court and warm up, I got goosebumps, I had tears, I had so many feelings. I watched them play the game I love and continue to love. It wasn’t just ‘a’ dream come true, it was MY dream come true. I will never forget that special moment.

Pictured: Sue Bird. USA vs. Angola

Pictured: Sue Bird. USA vs. Angola

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals. ” Zig Ziglar

By achieving your goals you learn so much about yourself, you learn through your journey and your process. You learn that you really are capable of doing anything you set your mind to. You learn that you are a very special person, and that when you do good, good things will come. Now,  that I can scratch “Go to the Olympics” from the my bucket list, I ask you :

What will YOU scratch off from your bucket list??

Olympic Road Cycling

Olympic Road Cycling

Horse Guards Parade

Horse Guards Parade

Olympic Medalists: Misty May & Kerri Walsh

Making Sense of it All

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On my way to London

On my way to London

London was calling my name. After several months of anticipation, the time had come. I hugged my mom and boarded my flight. It was a long trip over there, but we finally arrived.

Hello LONDON!

We arrived to our ‘flats’ and noticed we quickly had to get used to going up flights of stairs to reach our new home. That was no big deal though, because we were finally here! I knew I was going to have an unforgettable time in which I could reflect on forever. What I did not know though, was that besides experiencing new things, how much these next 5 weeks would mean to me, and shape me.

The living room in my flat

The living room in my flat

My side of the room in the flat

My side of the room in the flat

It honestly is very hard for me to sum up all of my experiences during those 5 weeks abroad, therefore I will highlight some which were very important to me.

I’m in College – I’m Confused

Okay, let’s be honest. At one point or another (several in my case), we all have been confused about what we should major in. We tend to go back on forth, trying to decide what is we want to study while we are in college. Daunting and confusing, right? At least for me it was. I knew I had/have a passion for sports and I knew I wanted to make a difference one way or another, but that was it.

Throughout my journey several scenarios started playing in my head. Although fascinating, it was still even more confusing because again I wanted to do it all, at least that is what it seemed like.

Before the Olympics began we visited several venues, toured and examined the facilities with our class. Talk about something that is MIND BLOWING. Beautiful stadiums. We toured them and examined them. At that moment, I figured, okay I want to work in Facility Management. I want take care of the place that athletes call home.

And then, there was another event. A group of us helped out with the Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Campaign. During that day, I kept on getting the idea of how cool it would be to plan and run such event.

Basically, each experience and situation made me desire an occupation in respective fields. In life, we all have those moments, were we think we got it all figured out (at least for those 15 minutes), but we just end up going in circles trying to figure ourselves out.

Celebrity guest: Shawn Johnson

Celebrity guest: Shawn Johnson

Olympic Stadium

Olympic Stadium

But….What about…?

My first time going inside Olympic Park was eye opening. Not only was I in Olympic territory experiencing something that I never thought I would at my age, but I got to meet a couple strangers. While wandering inside, I saw this small group of people who I thought were Colombian. I only knew this because I heard them speak and I noticed their accent. Nonetheless, I had to make sure.

Kindly, I stopped the group and I asked them where they were from. I was right. Not only were they from Colombia, but they were actually from the Colombian Olympic Committee. Till this day, I still cannot believe I did not exchange information with them. I wanted to, I just did not think of it in the moment. It was overwhelming and I was unprepared. I had my opportunity to network with people from my country whom were involved in such great movement.

As soon as I got to my flat, I searched online for the Colombian Olympic Committee. I was looking for ways in which I could get in contact with them. I figured it woud be pretty fascinating to have a career that revolves around the Olympics. Mixing in sports, traveling, different cultures, and world movements, yeah it was the perfect fit for me.

While browsing the site I came across the World Games 2013. The great thing about opportunities is that within opportunities there are even more opportunities. The World Games is organized by the International Olympic Committee, these are games that are hosted one year after the Olympics for sports that are not in the Olympics. Coincidence or not, I found out these games will take part in Colombia, and I actually had an opportunity at being a volunteer.

It is crazy how a trip can open doors for you and guide you in what seems to be the perfect direction.

Thank you London for directing me towards my next opportunity.

Tower Bridge

“Opportunities Multiply As They Are Seized

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After my first trip to Europe, years passed and I never left U.S. ground. I wanted to go, I wanted to travel, but I always made up excuses for not being able to.

Coral Gables Senior High Graduation- Natalie Ruiz

Coral Gables Senior High Graduation- Natalie Ruiz

I graduated from Coral Gables Senior High School and got ready to start my new beginning at The Florida State University. At FSU, they offered a First Year Abroad program. My mom as always, tried to convince me to go, to spend my whole freshman year in a country abroad. She has always tried to convince me to take the opportunities she was not able to have when was younger.

The excuses kept on building up. My mother’s efforts came up short, I ended up just deciding to start my freshman year like any other student. I came to FSU, knowing a handful of people, all of my close friends went to schools I should not name. I had fear. I had fear that after my first year abroad I would come here completely clueless. I let that opportunity go. Boy…Do I regret it. I had the opportunity to experience something remarkable and I never seized such chance.

“I do not regret the things I’ve done, but those I did not do.”- Rory Cochrane

A life full of regrets is not the life to live. As we grow older and mature, the opportunities we have will often change. We often are afraid of doing something different. I regret not listening to my mother now. I should have gone. But with all mistakes made, comes experience. I knew now that I would not let the opportunities to grow, to better myself, pass me by. Full of determination, I made a promise to myself that I would study abroad.

For those that know more about me, they know that my life has always revolved around sports, primarily basketball. I was a basketball junkie, there was a point in my life in which everything consisted with basketball.

Coral Gables Vs. Miami High- Natalie Ruiz

Coral Gables Vs. Miami High- Natalie Ruiz

Surrounded with sports my entire life, I figured it would be fascinating to work in the Sport Industry. One day, when chatting with a couple others the topic of study abroad came about. I came to Florida State wanting to pretty much do everything I could. I remember even trying to plan out what I would do every summer, imagining the internships I would apply to etc. I did not want to waste any time. I figured the best time for me to study abroad would be that summer transitioning between my freshman and sophomore year. As I browsed through the website, it was very difficult for me to decide on just one place to go. To be honest, I wanted to go everywhere. Suddenly, I then scrolled over this one particular program — the  Global Sport Management one in London.

Perfect Timing, Perfect Opportunity

Has it ever occurred to you that there are just some things you are destined to do? Well to me, it sure felt that way at that moment. It was the perfect timing, the perfect opportunity, because that given summer of 2012, London would host the Olympics. Exactly, the Olympics. I did not hesitate this time. As soon as I could, I applied to the program. When I received the email that stated that I was accepted to partake in such journey, I called my mom and I just cried. Tears of joy dripped down my face. Not only would I have the opportunity to travel to another country, or have the opportunity to be among an Olympic Movement, but I would have the opportunity to attend Olympic Events. That summer I did not just experience one culture, but several others.

Cheers!

Tower Bridge- Natalie Ruiz

Tower Bridge- Natalie Ruiz