Sunday, April 03, 2005

just like a stage mother

who's mentoring? ME!

I think I have mentioned that I am seeing a new shrink. Why do we call them shrink I sometimes wonder... That is completely beside the point. But she has adviced me to do something for me. Not that I don't but I specifically need to make an effort on this.

Anyway, beyond digression... I followed her advice. After all, I am not about to waste my hard earned money to not listen to her. I seeked help, therefore I will take the help I am getting.

Friday morning office presentation was by another Filipino architect and his sincerity to a cause he's been connected with, moved me. And for someone trying to rebuild a lost life, I can't argue the worthwhileness of the task at hand. It is to mentor Interior Design/ Architecture students for a student charrette competition lead by the Interior Architecture Division of the AIA. A last minute request for more volunteers. I had nothing better to do so I said what the hell, I am available the whole Saturday. If I don't like it I could leave.

Come Saturday morning before my alarm clock ever got to it's duties of waking me up, my Mom beat it to a punch by 15 minutes. She was so excited to tell me about a potential business venture to develop one of our few properties in the Philippines left unsold. I can't brag about it yet because, who knows what will happen. All I can say is... if it happens it will facilitate major positive change for everyone in the family. I'll blog more about it when it actually happens.

So I got up and dragged my lazy ass in the shower. Washed my hair after a week of trying to keep my dreadlocks in place and got ready to be the best mentor I can be.

I got to the Johnson Fain office near the Dodger Stadium in a previous car dealership building. They have transformed it into a really hip environment for an architect's studio. Breakfast were served aplenty and my appetite didn't fail me. I takes alot of courage to sit there and not know anybody. Of course evweryone thought I was one of the student participants. Yes, I can pass for a teenager anytime of the day still.

I was paired up with another volunteer mentor and we were assigned to mentor two competing teams. We had no idea which school they were with. The other team were over confident because according to them they had won a competition with another school at first place and so they know what they are doing and they do not need out help. the other team however were more receptive to us and were very nervous being there.
The competition started at 8:30 a.m. and was slated to finish at 3:30 p.m. Within that time, the students are suppose to finish 2 boards and an optional model. The boards are suppose to show how well they understood the program given to them through some buzz words objective, floor plan, sections, sketches and details. The program was entitled CIPHER. A secret operation recruitment agency for cryptographers posing as an entertainment venue for youth ages 21-28. Very interesting. 9/11 was mentioned and the healing process of the nation and the need to cipher information to avoid another similar occurance. Very compelling...
My baby team which we had fondly dubbed 3m team because of their love for using double sided tape, was the only team out of 18 to address that part of the program. They have decided to do a tatoo parlor/night club with pulley towers that could only be accessed after solving several ciphers including an atbash code that read "HEALING"! It had a staiway leading to nowhere and tunnels to test imagination. It addressed the sub-culture youth that hangs out Venice and the Santa Monica Third Street Promenade wanting tatoos to symbologize their physical self. Makes sense, right? Who better to break codes than the code makers themselves! My mentoring in action.... I ended up staying all day and night even after my back screams pain. As a relief I met the Project Architect of the unauguably coolest State owned and financed building for the CalTrans office in Downtown LA. I even got to join in the most souight after tour of the interiors showcasing the glass floor conference center roofing the ground floor elevator lobby. My feet refused to take one more step but I forced it too. I am not gonna let any physical pain prevent me from an almost fulfilling afternoon!
We got back to the studio and it was transformed to a party atmosphere. Wine and 2 Vietnamese catering tables with fresh rolled spring rolls of your likings and a Asian salad bar. Fancy! They announced the 6 finalized and my team was one of them. Not the teram who didn't want our mentoring but the team that was receptive to our guidance. Isn't that always the case. The ones who thik they know everything never learns.
I met their professors and they were a very interesting couple.
The girls were very appreciative and even asked for further guidance in preparing their speech to present their solution to the program given to them. Like a stage mom proud of her kid's achievements I gave them everything I could in the time given to us.
They ended up a happy SECOND which was no feat since they were up against 5 other teams who were very talented and some much older and have more experience. They won a $6,000.00 cash prize. I heard one of them really needed the money.
It was very fulfilling indeed specially how they showed appreciation. I offeref to be a reference for them when they start looking for a job, I even offerred internship if they want to work where I am. I am sure I could make it work for them.
Tired and a little drunk. I dragged myself home with a smile on my face knowing that I have imparted some very important lessons to make it in this business.
Congratulations Perla and Jamie! You made my weekend worthwhile.