Tuesday, June 13, 2017

All the #DessertGoals Met at Spot Dessert Bar


A couple months ago, my friend invited me and a few others to Spot Dessert Bar down in the West Village and holy yum! I'd never heard of it before, but I was certainly glad we went with a group so that we could each order—and taste—a few things on the menu. In fact, Spot encourages this by offering these dessert tapas in sets so you can share or indulge your taste buds. I loved that the Asia-inspired seasonal desserts were really satisfying and delicious without being over-the-top sweet. In clockwise order from the top left:

Yuzu Eskimo: frozen Japanese citrus cream bars with chocolate ganache, strawberries, and Oreo crumbs.

Golden Toast: crispy honey buttered toast with fresh strawberries, whipped cream, and condensed milk ice cream.

The Harvest: layers of berries, soft cheesecake, meringue kisses, raspberry sorbet, and black rose milk tea.

Milky Puff: warm flaky puff pastry served with milk ice cream, corn flakes, brûlée bananas, and white chocolate honey comb.

And yes, they all tasted as delicious as they look. Not pictured are my Nutella hot chocolate, which tasted so much better and less sweet than one I'd ordered days earlier, and my friends' bubble teas served in plastic light bulbs! A+ for cuteness and presentation, no?

By the way, I've been on such a dessert kick lately thanks to work. I've been writing so much about sweets, including safe-to-eat raw cookie dough, an all-you-can-eat ice cream festival, fancy banana pudding, kids' birthday cakes, and the best rainbow foods around NYC, that I've been wondering if I shouldn't just say goodbye to my teeth and hello to becoming the resident dessert expert.

Monday, May 29, 2017

New Leaves


Hey all! I know I keep popping in, disappearing for six months and then coming back in, but things are getting better…

Health

I’ll start off with a health update since that was still in topsy turvy mode when I last checked in. After my mastectomy in December, I underwent radiation for five weeks ending in February. I remember struggling with it much more the first time I went through this in 2013, but the fatigue set in strongly about midway through. I could hardly stay awake during my commute into midtown for my daily sessions and then I was staying up too late come nighttime. Thankfully, it didn’t last terribly long and towards the end, I was feeling much more rested and alert throughout the day.

What did hit me like a bomb was the skin discoloration around the radiated area. DAMN did I get fried. Hormonal therapy injections are still going on, but I’m almost done and after this week’s injection, I’ll have just three left to go. That’s a hooray!

You know what’s not a hooray though? The fact that the hormonal therapy plus the new medication have led me to develop osteoporosis. Fantastic. Moving on because this crap is depressing.

Work

A few weeks ago I finally jumped back into the office/full-time magazine life. That’s right! After six years of freelancing, I'm now the associate editor for Time Out New York Kids! I’d been freelancing for them since last fall and for Time Out New York for the past year so the transition has been pretty smooth—I just have to get used to the commute again. Here’s a positive point for the commute though: I’ll have time to write blog posts again! Those of you who’ve read Dry As Toast since its early days back in 2008 remember how often I’d publish (Every. Single. Day.) and how many ideas I’d generate from traveling to and from work every day. So there’s that! Plus, maybe I’ll have time to read all these books I keep collecting on my Kindle. Has anyone read The Handmaid’s Tale yet?

Porcupine Hugs

There’s also a HUGE bit of news I wanted to share with you. I exhibited at the National Stationery Show last week!! As some of you might remember, I was set to make my tradeshow debut with Porcupine Hugs at the National Stationery Show in 2015. It had been a longstanding dream of mine, to showcase my cards and my art at the Jacob Javits Center here in New York City alongside big greeting card companies and smaller business I’d come to know and respect. After five or six years of walking the show and befriending so many in the community, I felt ready to take the leap. Unfortunately, a few weeks before the show, life exploded and I had to back out. It took me a long time to feel confident enough to try again. Funny enough, it was while I recovering from my mastectomy in December that I decided I wanted to exhibit this year. I figured if I’m not going to be living in Europe, I might as well make the most of my time here. So NSS 2017 it was! More on that journey later, but I’ll just say that I’m so proud and thrilled that I finally accomplished that goal.

Life

As for the rest of life...I feel like that's only just about to start back up now. My time and energy has been consumed by surgeries, treatment, and recovery and it overlapped with preparing for the stationery show. Now that the most stressful parts are behind me (I hope!), I'm looking forward to tackling my next business and career goals, becoming social again, and enjoying my summer. More goodness to come as I get the writing juices flowing again...

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Hello 2017 + Hello 35


Hi all, just popping in since it’s been a while since my last update. In case you were wondering, I am alive and well. In the coming weeks I’ll share more details on December’s mastectomy, recovery, the ongoing hormonal therapy, and the new round of radiation treatment I just started a few days ago, but for now just wanted to wish you all a happy new year. I hope 2017 is filled with goodness, strength, and health.

Last week, I also hit the 35th year mark and celebrated the occasion with a surprise dinner, drinks with a whole wonderful group of friends Saturday night, and then ice skating around Bryant Park on Sunday. I might have packed in quite a lot - and might have been dreading the ice skating commitment early Sunday morning - but every year I’m humbled by the love I receive on my birthday. That reminder of how much warmth is around me has been helpful because the last month and a half hasn't been smooth sailing throughout. Not super hard, but not incredibly easy either. I’m usually thrilled to reach another birthday and have never dreaded turning a year older. In fact, I love it! And probably will for as long as I continue not really looking my age, but this year’s was a bit different and it wasn’t until I woke up the day after when I realized man, I AM LAME.

I hid under the covers thinking about my current circumstance: I’m sleeping in my mom’s living room on an air mattress borrowed from my sister. Most of my belongings are still in a storage room. I’m dealing with cancer again. I’m still recovering from surgery. And I have a serious case of "I just don’t give a crap" in regards to many of my work commitments. It’s been really difficult to get rearing back into life and career again when I'm trying to juggle so many appointments and side effects from medications. It’s as if my brain has filtered out whatever it’s deemed unnecessary for survival and joy.

I think I was especially eager for 35 because it sounded firmly adult, a good milestone, but my life does not mirror that to me at the moment. But onwards, right? I’ll try to be gentle with myself, honest with those around me - including friends and colleagues about what they can feasibly expect from me in the coming month - and seek out more things to feel genuinely happy about. More details on the other goings on to come. I promise there’s some good + exciting mixed in!

How has your 2017 begun?

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Gone Girls


Tomorrow, I’ll be going in for a double mastectomy and hopefully get closer to putting this breast cancer chapter behind me. It took a month after my doctors asked me to consider the procedure to get a date for the surgery and in that time, I let myself drift into this space of false security where I knew that ordeal was hovering around somewhere out there, but nothing I needed to worry about for now. But then "somewhere out there" became “a week from now,” which turned into “this week,” “in a couple days,” and now, “tomorrow.” Tomorrow. Tomorrow. Tomorrow.

After weeks of holding it together pretty well, I finally broke down a few days ago when the terror hit me. I will never look this way again - ever. When I look at myself in the mirror, I will look completely different, for better or for worse, and I will never be the way I’ve come to know myself. To those who’ve joked and noted that “Dorkys, you hardly have anything there!” (myself included), the loss goes beyond that. I’m not only grieving over losing actual pieces of myself, but also how I’ve come to view myself. This image of what Dorkys looks like, what she’s always looked like, will be completely different starting tomorrow and that horrifies me because I don’t know what that new image is going to be. What will my relationship with her be like? It took me decades to become comfortable with this body, and now I have to start over?

Just typing this is difficult…because I don’t want to say goodbye to this me.

See, this me has been pretty good to me for the most part if you don’t count that whole getting cancer in the first place thing. Yeah, she always got me carded at the bar because I looked like a “Girl Scout” and made shopping for adult clothes a stressful experience, but that’s all been part of my identity for the past 34 years: petite, small-breasted, curly-haired, feisty, tiny, cute. How am I going to feel when I wake up from surgery and my chest is bandaged up, gauze and tape where my breasts used to be? How am I going to feel a week later when the bandages finally fall away? When I look down and see a blank slate where my dark nipples used to be? Birth marks and freckles all chased away by a deep scar racing across my chest.

I know I’ll still feel like this me inside and when I close my eyes, I’ll still see this me as she’s been my whole life. Maybe someday the me in my head will slowly morph into the actual me as time goes on. And while I hope that acceptance comes sooner than 34 years from now, I’m also expecting a profound sense of loss to wash over me when I wake up the following day and many days after that.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Best Winter Weekend Getaways from NYC for Families


Now that Thanksgiving is over (already??) wintertime will soon be here and if you're a parent, a student, or have the great fortune of working at a school like my sister does, then that also means that winter break is on the horizon. I've started working for Time Out New York Kids every week writing fun events listings for their website and for this month's winter issue, I've written a roundup of the best winter getaways the family can take once the snow sets in. I've only been skiing once when I was 11 years old, but it was such an awful, scary experience that I never tried it again. Think climbing up the mountain on a chair lift with no lesson as to how to get off or skiing down a bunny hill and continually smashing up against the side of a barn in order to finally come to halt.

Now after doing research for this piece, I think I'd love to give it another try. Snow tubing and sledding sounds amazing and I've never done either so those are also on my list. Ice skating might be the only snowy sporty activity that I really enjoy especially when its against a backdrop of New York City at Central Park. What are some of your favorite seasonal activities?

For a list of wintry sports spots and more laid-back destinations to visit with your family in the coming months, read Time Out New York Kids' feature on the best winter weekend getaways from NYC for families.

Image: timeout.com

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Stay Cozy


Happy Thanksgiving, all! Today, I am thankful for my amazing, supportive family and friends, the kind words I've received from you dear readers, the fact that I'm still alive to celebrate today, and the 10 hours of sleep I was finally able to get last night. I'm also grateful for this ginormous, cozy scarf that my friend taught me to knit last winter that has been keeping me warm these days. Big and little things!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Starting Breast Cancer Hormonal Therapy – Lupron: Month 1

A
fter being diagnosed with breast cancer this second time around, my doctors decided to up the ante to make sure that it wouldn’t come back again. I’d already had a lumpectomy in 2013, underwent radiation, and then started on a five-year-long plan of Tamoxifen pills. Because my cancer cells were estrogen receptor positive and fed off the estrogen hormone to grow, the pills were supposed to block that hormone from reaching the cancer cells and thus significantly lower my chances of recurrence. But turns out it wasn’t enough. I’m not even four years in and I’m battling this monster again.

Now not only did we remove cancer cells with a second lumpectomy, hopefully clearing out the area entirely with a bilateral mastectomy scheduled for December 2nd, possibly zapping the spot with a second round of radiation, and continuing a daily intake of Tamoxifen (for the time being), but I’ve also started monthly hormonal therapy injections of Lupron. The Tamoxifen might keep estrogen hormone from reaching the cancer cells’ receptors, but the Lupron will completely lower the amount of estrogen I have running through my body. In essence, I will be going into a fake menopause for the next year in the hopes that any traces of cancer still left in my body will be starved to death. Should be a fun ride.

As with most things prescribed to fix one medical issue, this one can mess you up in other ways. For example, a rare side effect of Tamoxifen is uterine or endometrial cancer. Meanwhile, Lupron can lead to a thinning of the bones and worsen depression, two side effects I’m highly wary about because of my petite frame and mental health history. Other common side effects include hot flashes, vaginal dryness, mood changes, decreased libido, and forgetfulness. And because this drug is typically prescribed to manage endometriosis, a disorder in which tissue that normally lines the uterus is found outside it, a woman’s period will be spotty or stop entirely for the duration of the treatment. Anyone’s who experienced menopause will probably tell you that it highly sucks and that’s basically what I’m expecting out of this journey. When I started on the Tamoxifen, the most common and hardest side effect to deal with was the hot flashes and it took at least two years before my body temperature was able to regain some stability.

The Lupron injection itself wasn’t totally painful, but I was incredibly anxious leading up to it because I hate needles. I went into it thinking it would be a shot on my arm, but they went with my tush instead. This was fine because I think the needle might have poked right out the other end of my tiny arms; I actually have some fat stored in my ass. Some soreness followed for the next couple of days, but Advil helped me handle that.

While my mood has been bouncing around the past month, it’s hard to tell what’s caused by the hormonal change and was is just natural considering this stressful situation.

I kept waiting for the hot flashes and mood swings to immediately take over, but nothing was really noticeable for the first two weeks. By the end of the third week though, I started to get hints of a hot flash when laying in bed. I like to sleep completely covered from head to toe and I’m sure that paired with the heat going in the apartment didn’t help. The first full-fledged hot flash happened towards end of week four. Alex and I were cuddling in bed under the covers. We were both fully clothed and I had on a sweater because his apartment is usually chilly. After a few minutes of nuzzling, I felt my body temperature start to shoot up and when I couldn’t handle it anymore, I sat up, threw the covers off of us, zipped my sweater off, flung the T-shirt up over my head, and sat there wiping my forehead waiting for my body to cool down. It just sneaks up on you so quickly.

“Wait, I have something for you,” Alex said from behind me. I thought he’d go grab me a cup of cold water, but instead I felt his icy hands up against my back.

“Yes,” I moaned before exposing the back of my neck to him so that he could warm his hands on my skin. I usually shriek in pain whenever cold hits me, but this time? It was such a relief.
 
Damn hot flashes, I thought. And so it begins.

Image: dailydropcap.com

Friday, November 11, 2016

The 2016 Presidential Election: Yeah, That Really Just Happened


It's been three days since Election Day and I still can't believe Donald Trump actually won the presidency. During the past year and a half of madness that was his campaign, I devoured any news covering him and the other candidates. I was fascinated, yes, but I just assumed that there'd be no way that such an ignorant loose cannon would get very far. But then the other candidates started falling off and a year after launching his campaign stating that Mexico was sending us its drugs, crime, and rapists, he received the Republican nomination. Surprised me for sure, but then I thought that after three dismal debates against Hillary Clinton, his bumbling idiocy would be so clear to anyone left doubting if he'd be a good president or not. "But look at him!" I'd tell my boyfriend, who was cringing too hard to look at the screen. "Everyone is going to see how terrible he is! This is perfect!"

But no, his supporters kept cheering on louder and no matter how many scandals came to light, pussy he'd grabbed, or derogatory comments he spewed, he found a following of "deplorables" eager to carry their savior straight to the White House. He'd been an entertaining hot mess to watch, but as election night wore on and all that red started covering the map, the dread and frightening realization finally set in: Donald Trump, a man who's taken to Twitter to insult everyone and your moms, was going to be the next president of the United States of America. Up until that final moment, I just could not, would not believe that such a hateful person could win out over all.

And yet he did and that fact hit me like a ton of bricks at 3:30am when the terror finally caught up with me and I started sobbing in bed. It makes me sad and terrified not just because of the direction this country will take under his leadership, but because of how many agreed with and voted for someone who's demonized entire ethnic groups with stereotypes and lies. His campaign has fanned the flames of fear in people and given them the permission to act on that ignorance. Since Trump was named as the president elect, news of confrontations, hate crimes, and bigotry against members of Black, Hispanic, and Muslim communities has been trickling in.

Like others in my social circles, I realize that I am so spoiled by living in such a culturally diverse, liberal bubble. The idea that a racist, sexist demagogue with no clue as to how to run an ethical business let alone America could ever hold the highest office in the country is just preposterous to us. But turns out there's a huge chunk of Americans, namely working-class white Americans from rural areas, who believe differently and who've grown resentful of how our government has neglected them. Trump's promise to "Make America Great Again" by deporting certain people, increasing racial profiling, building walls, bringing back their coal-mining jobs, and instituting discriminatory policies based on religious beliefs resounded with them. And that's the part that really scares me. Because while most of us are hoping that he'll only be able to do so much during his time in office, it's a fact that our neighbors around the country voted for him despite a platform built on hatred and ignorance. Their worries and racist inclinations might have been kept at bay before, but once Trump came in and laughed at the very idea of political correctness, they saw someone who was finally speaking their language. So what if the message was full of insensitivity and lies? Every other politician is full of broken promises anyway. At least here we had a government outsider ready to destroy the party with a sledgehammer, someone who understood them and wasn't afraid to speak his mind. To them, this was someone who could snatch America back from the evil clutches of liberals and minorities. As Van Jones said, "This was a whitelash." Never mind that Trump is just as elitist as those they feel have shunned them in the past.

When I attended Syracuse University in 2005, my friend and I attended an Ann Coulter event. She and I were curious as to what it'd be like because we knew her to be a conservative pundit with nothing but vitriol running through her veins. I couldn't tell you what on Earth she was there to talk about because all that's been cemented in my brain are a) the insults she hurled at a young woman who dared to challenge her prejudiced viewpoints during the Q&A portion of the evening and b) how scary it was to be surrounded by an audience that cheered her on and lavished her with praise. Who were these people and why were there so many of them? Who raised them? Why were they so mean?

And now, come January 20th, we're going to have a bonafide bully leading our country and representing us around the world. "Now it’s time for America to bind the wounds of division; have to get together," Trump said in his victory speech. "To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people." Oh, really? Now?! Now you want to "come together as one united people" after the divisive venom you spit in our faces? Please, Mr. Soon-to-Be President, how exactly do you propose we heal from the wounds you slashed into us? Because I think you'll soon find that while mere words can launch a crowd into action, it'll take more than just words to soothe the unrest it has caused.

Monday, November 7, 2016

More Decisions, More Surgery


Three weeks after September’s surgery, I was scheduled to have yet another lumpectomy. The pathology results had shown that the margins weren’t clear for one of the two tumors removed, meaning some cancerous cells might have been left behind. Two days before that surgery, my doctors called. They had presented my case at a weekly conference to the hospital’s surgeons, radiologists, and oncologists who collectively felt that I should consider a mastectomy because of the tumor’s weird behavior. They were concerned that it will spread or creep up again despite radiation and medication like it did this second time around. One minute, I’m feeling on top of the world, paying bills, pushing money into my savings account, on track with work, and texting my friends about my wonderful start to the day and the next I’m a sobbing mess. After receiving the day’s fun assignment from my Time Out New York Kids editor, I actually texted, “This is awesome!” Yeah, that kind of morning.

And then this call comes in and just devastates me. I tell the girls. “I’m about to burst,” I reply to their attempts to soothe me via Whatsapp. I run into the bathroom, close the door, and slump into the carpet. Muffled hysterics ensue.

A mastectomy. Everything gone. Mangled. Broken. Ugly. No longer sexy. Or pretty. I’ll look disgusting. No one will ever want me. The pain. It’ll hurt. What if it comes back anyway? F'ing surgery again? More intense. Will I feel an emptiness in my chest? The shock. Waking up and finding nothing there. Just gone.

The suggestion had come up in conversations before. My mom brought it up after I told my parents I’d have to have a third lumpectomy. “Mira a la Kardashian! Y Adamari López!” I corrected her that it wasn't Kim Kardashian but Angelina Jolie who'd had a mastectomy and then shut that suggestion down real quick. That’s way too drastic and never anything I would voluntarily sign up for, I told them. Even when I wrote about Jolie’s preventative double mastectomy in 2013, it still felt so distant from what I’d ever had to go through. My case didn’t feel that serious. It wasn’t even genetic!

And now, three years later, here I am. It feels so unfair to have to consider this decision. I still feel little.

I showed up at my surgeon’s office the following day and asked her a list of questions my therapist helped me write down. She put me in touch with a patient of her’s who was more than happy to chat on the phone with me for an hour, share her experience, and address any concerns I had. I researched and read about the procedure online. What to expect. The benefits and risks. I met my potential plastic surgeon and cried when he told me the process would take so much longer than I had anticipated. I thought I’d be OK by next summer, but no. A year, maybe more. I thought I could put most of this behind me in a matter of months, but because I’d already received radiation once and am supposed to go in for another round, he just didn’t want to risk complications by acting too quickly.

On one hand, this whole situation f’ing blows and quite simply, I don’t want it. Nope. I’ve only just started feeling back to normal after my last surgery and now I’ll have to go through the process all over again. The being physically helpless, the discomfort, the not being able to just do things like wash my hair and shave my arm pits or wear anything other than a button-down shirt. And don’t get me started on taking time off work. But this time around I have to accept that I’m going to need help and I simply cannot do all the things. The big-deal week-long Holiday Handmade Cavalcade I was helping organize for the fourth year in a row? I decided to back out of that along with two other markets coming up in the next month.

But here are the silver linings I’ve been clinging to since deciding that yes, I’m having a double mastectomy.

- If I do nothing, my chances of breast cancer recurrence is 30 percent. After a double mastectomy it would - supposedly - go down to 1 percent. I won’t have to look over my shoulder waiting for this to return (although I can’t front, I’m still scared something will show up somewhere else so I don’t know if that total ease will ever fully return.)

- I won’t need to go in for regular MRIs and mammograms twice a year anymore, which is great because a) those MRIs are so damn loud and obnoxious and b) fewer blasts of radiation, which just cannot be good for me.

- I can turn my lifelong insecurities about my small breasts and the turmoil this cancer has caused me into something better. After seeing the possibilities that breast reconstruction can offer and how some women have reclaimed their body by challenging society's perception of femininity by going flat, getting an amazing chest tattoo, and other feats of “I am still woman, hear me roar,” I’m hoping that I can come out of this journey appreciating my body more than I have before.

It’s been a week and a half since I made my decision and I’m still waiting for this surgery to be scheduled. This is a problem because I’ve slowly slipped into a mental space that feels like it’s not really going to happen. I’m finally feeling physically better from the last surgery. My left arm is no longer in chicken wing mode. I can wear my backpack, sleep comfortably, and be social again. I can relax because I'm good, right?

But I know as soon as I get that damn call that my surgery has been scheduled, it’s going to get way too real all over again.

Monday, October 17, 2016

A Chat With: William Álvarez

Sometimes a good way to get a little motivation to keep pursuing your goals is to talk to others who are paving a similar path for themselves. Over the next several weeks, I'll be chatting and posting about others who've marched off the norm in their careers or personal lives, have ditched their 9-to-5 jobs to pursue their true passion, embraced the freelance life, have made travel a priority, created their own business from the ground up, or are just kicking ass according to their own rules.


Name: William Álvarez
Location: New Jersey/New York

Describe your current work + life situation.

I'm based out of the NJ/NY area, and spend around 10 days every month traveling to anywhere in the world that I have friends to visit. Most of the times these are places near a beach. My travel plans include a now official (and almost obligated) quarterly trip to Colombia, which where I'm from originally.

I quit my corporate job a year ago and started consulting on search engine marketing on my own. I work remotely and deliver client work over emails and phone calls. This allows me to manage my own time and gives me the flexibility to do my job from anywhere in the world I want and can be. I'm a free agent and sell my time based on my immediate life plans.

What route did you have to take to get here?

After so many years thinking about jumping on this lifestyle, I hesitated so much because I was concerned about not having a steady income, so everything was about not making money. At the same time, I was quitting my job because money was not a motivation for me anymore. After becoming more experienced in my field and cultivating my professional network, I have found it pretty easy to get gigs consistently every month and money stopped being a concern. I set up my business myself, got help from a lawyer and a CPA, put up a basic but complete website and have my social profiles up to date with contact information and my full skills and services offered.

What are some of your biggest accomplishments so far?

My biggest accomplishments have to do more with nurturing my passions. Something I could not do with peace of mind while I had a 9-to-5 job. I have more time now to train in capoeira almost every day, and learn more from more people around the world that I really admire. I've become a better player and my game has improved a lot. I dedicate more time to physical activities and feel much better mentally too. I'm never worried about what I can do to keep my boss happy? Instead, I now focus on making myself happy. On the professional side, my clients are happy with what I do and have no problem with me traveling around the world.

What are some of the greatest things about living the life you do?

I don't have set schedules for anything. Well, work sometimes still requires that, but much less than when I was an employee. I can spend a whole week day watching Netflix and no one is going to tell me anything. I can meet a different friend for lunch every day and can keep up with their lives. Overall, I'm never rushed to finish anything or meet a deadline, or aspects of life that put people under pressure. I have a lot of tranquility today.

What are some of the obstacles you’ve had to face on your journey?

The biggest obstacles were the first months after I quit my job because of the uncertainty about what was going to happen. Had it been a good or a bad decision? Was I going to be able to pay my rent? How was I gonna fulfill my dream of traveling more? There's still a big dependency on work because money doesn't get deposited in my bank account out of thin air.


Your perfect day…what would that look like?

My perfect day is when I'm on the beach looking at the horizon and contemplating nature. I think this is true now and also in the future. I will always want to be by the ocean, on a boat, swimming freely. Soon, I want to start helping misrepresented communities in places that I enjoy, that probably have resources that they don't know how to explode.

What advice would you give your younger self?

To my younger self: be more adventurous and take more risks earlier in life. Don't wait too long.

And what advice would you give those who are scared of making that leap?

To others: be good at what you do, make sure that you're versatile enough to be able to take any or many possible roads in life. Believe in education, no one can take that away from you. Never be afraid of pursuing your dreams, try and if you failed, at least you will have lived that experience and learnt from it. But hopefully you won't fail and will find a more rewarding life.

Follow William on his website, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Images: William Álvarez