Last summer I had an internship with the Mexican Government. I was working in my cubicle when my boss popped her head in to tell me I was going to accompany her to Tlaxcala. I didn’t know where that was but I was eager to get out of the office. She told me to run home and grab a sweater and to meet her back here in 30 minutes. We left at 12:30, keep in mind my internship ends at 3:30 everyday.
I’m assuming that Tlaxcala is somewhat close…three and a half hours later we are still driving. We arrive in the CITY of Tlaxcala and she asks me if I would like to be dropped off at the city center or the shopping mall. I stammer, “I thought I was coming with you?” She looks at me and says, “No. I have a business meeting. I’ll meet you in front of the Catedral in 4 hours.” So without a phone, without money, without a camera, I exit the car. Do you have any idea how impossible it is to find a bathroom without money in Mexico? It took 40 painful minutes to finally find a bathroom. I didn’t have any money to buy food and I hadn’t eaten lunch…I was going hungry that day.
I’d also like it noted that last summer my Spanish didn’t compare to what it is now. I often had trouble understanding conversations without a context and had trouble communicating, especially when nervous. I felt like crying. I walked through unknown city streets feeling a little scared and totally alone.
I ended up wandering down a back alley that in hindsight probably was fairly dangerous. It led me to what I can only describe as a sketchy hippie barrio. Before I fled for a safer part of town I noticed a small boutique tucked away on the corner. I entered the boutique and found to my surprise and enjoyment a picture frame boutique. It was full of bright colors, funky designs, and pop art figures painted onto thick wooden frames. I loved it! I thought they would be really cool in my dorm and thought to myself I should try and reproduce some when I get back to San Diego. (If I get back)
After a couple more hungry hours I made my way back to the cathedral where I was suppose to meet my boss. She was almost two hours late to pick me up. I was furious, upset, and frustrated. I got back that night at midnight.
When I got back to San Diego later that summer I headed to Home Depot and bought some lumber. I made four bright frames with a sunflower design. My mom took a look at them and said, “Caitlin! These look fantastic. You should sell them.” That was the only encouragement I needed.
FAST FORWARD A YEAR AND A HALF.
I will be applying for $5,000 dollars of seed capital money from the Juniata Committee December 8th. After a year and a half of business plan edits, countless hours spent in the studio, pulling my hair out over color combinations, and I have no idea how many business meetings this summer I will be launching my business. My baby. I am so excited. Let's hope the committee funds me! Wish me luck!