The last time I posted on a blog was two years ago while I studied abroad in Dusseldorf, Germany. I have fond, vivid memories of traveling frequently as an excuse to find cool, cultural things to write about, pushing myself beyond my limits, both physically and mentally, and struggling with shitty hostel WiFi. Like Germany, IOLit will be a first for me in many ways and I hope it inspires me to be just as creative as I was back then.
I'm called many things by different people in my life. My wonderful last name brings up beautiful images of a certain curved, yellow fruit. Hence the nickname, "The Great Banana" or the passing "What's up, Banana?" by a chosen few. One of my best friends calls me Crystalball, a reference to my supposed powers of perception. The other simply calls me "B". Whether that stands for bestie, brat, or bad-ass, we'll never know. As a teacher, I'm Ms. B, and as a daughter, I'm Crístal. Here, I hope to be Crystal, IOLit editor and resident nerd.
My life has changed a lot in a year. This same time last year, I'd just return from New York, where I went to visit my extended family after graduating with my BA in English in December 2016, and was starting not one or two, but three different part-time jobs. I had a go at that for 6 months, dropping job number three sometime in March when I started receiving grad school decisions and needed to spend weekends preparing for that inevitable transition instead of decorating cakes at my local supermarket. By August, Illinois had become my new home and by December, I was celebrating my 23rd birthday with new friends.
I'm that busy kind of person who always has to be doing something more. Yet, it wasn't enough to be working 3 jobs less than a year ago and it isn't enough to be a full-time graduate student and TESOL instructor now. I need to be creating something meaningful outside of my academic pursuits, and what better way to do that than co-creating IOLit, a journal meant to foster an environment that not only thrives on creativity, but also actively empowers it.
To some, IOLit may just be another journal, but to us women behind the name, it is both a daunting and invigorating opportunity to inspire, give back to, and fight alongside the marginalized voices of our world. I plan to contribute to this cause in two ways: 1) assisting in every way I can in making the IOLit platform accessible and 2) leading by example through this blog, where I plan to write about the things I care about and that make me happy regardless of others' doubts, societal pressure, and pessimism.
We are so excited to get IOLit going and look forward to seeing your creativity and sharing our collective stories!
Until next time,
Some pictures of me and some of the places I've seen! I'm not a professional photographer so don't expect anything grandiose!