Maryland Latinas to National Park Service Interns

It’s been a four day week, but only after an incredible weekend with one of my close friends, and other LHIP intern, Alexia! I took advantage of the extended weekend to travel a little –one of my ongoing addictions. I found out Alexia was interning with LHIP in Santa Fe, New Mexico earlier in May right before graduating. She and I both participated and met at a high school program called the Hispanic Youth Symposium (HYS) –now known as the Hispanic College Institute (HCI)—back in the summer of 2010. Coming from the DMV Area, our life paths have continued to align as we graduated high school in Maryland in 2012, pursued college in the state of Virginia, joined incredibly diverse sorority organizations (She’s a sister of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and I’m an Hermana of Sigma Lambda Upsilon/ Señoritas Latinas Unidas Sorority, Incorporated) and are now Class of 2016. It was only destiny that we were both now interning to the National Park Service too! I called Alexia and told her I was only six hours from her, had my car, and an extended weekend –scheming for some adventure. Without hesitation, she invited me over and we were both super excited to explore Santa Fe and spend some time together. IMG_6841 Santa Fe was gorgeous to say the least. The amount of Latino cultural influence was super comforting to me. Street signs, city names, and even markets were often in Spanish or reference Hispanic culture. Even my mom had a street: Camino Consuelo! It warmed my heart. We joked about how even Americans here pronounced names correctly without an accent –not as common in Maryland where we come from. Coming from an architecture background, I immediately noticed the difference in building type and materials. The warm colored houses and shopping centers were so eye catching –giving the whole town a different feel. On our way downtown, we would pass this whole neighborhood of just orange colored stucco houses –such a difference from the traditional brick houses and building I’m accustomed to on the east coast.   IMG_6779IMG_6771IMG_6763IMG_6890 On our adventures, Alexia and I went to a Wine Festival at El Rancho de las Golondrinas where we saw talked with some of the local vendors for not only wine but cider, pastries, jewelry, and art. Afterwards, we took the trip to Albuquerque, for some fun Saturday nightlife. Sunday we took the a four mile hike a Hydes State Park which had incredible views and ended at a stream with amazingly clear and fresh water. For the Fourth of July, we went to Downtown Sante Fe for the Pancakes on the Plaza Festival. Although we missed the pancakes from waking up too late (it was a long weekend okay!), we got to walk through an amazing car show, eat one of the best chicken fajita wraps, and listen to an incredible local Latin rock band.  Of course, I couldn’t leave without buying a traditional Mexican woven blanket and a Sante Fe keychain. Small souvenirs that will remind me of yet another state I’ve discovered. IMG_6907 The trip was well worth the six hours of driving. Not to mention the incredible views on the road that made the drive must easier. I made it back to Denver just in time to see the multiple firework shows happening. It was a long weekend, but definitely memories I will always cherish! Alexia and I ended up talking about how far we’ve come in life and although we have our struggles with school, finding housing, or making ends meet now that were on our own half way across the country, we’re still making it happen better than we thought. It’s a true blessing and I must say I’m thankful for having women like her and others by my side to support me in my many endeavors. I needed this little dosage of motivation. From Colorado & Missing New Mexico, Isabel   IMG_6775IMG_6886IMG_6868IMG_4372 IMG_4383

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