2021 - Vibing with Cat White
2021 - What a year! It kicked off with a bang on January 6, with an attack on American democracy, and the year has only gotten weirder and wilder. Especially for me, personally.
I survived the devastating Texas winter storm Uri (barely!), navigated an uncertain and controversial Texas legislative session (the first of three!) while helping to rethink and organize a treasured political educational statewide event for my employer during a pandemic AND an apocalyptic snowstorm; got vaccinated, and then resigned from my job of 10 years. And that’s not even half of it!
I also turned 50 this year. Along with Missy Elliott, Mary J. Blige, Sofia Coppola, Sandra Oh, Amy Poehler, Snoop Dogg, Jared Leto and a ton of other totally cool people. I’m actually pretty happy about the milestone.
I was presented with this wonderful opportunity to jump back into my soul’s work - writing; and have been blessed with some time to meditate and honor my life’s accomplishments thus far, and think about how I’d like to proceed. I’m not sure what the near future holds, but I’m excited and invigorated for a new year and new adventures.
The opportunity to write again has been such a fun and fulfilling experience for me, and a pleasurable way to transition to the next chapter of my story.
I love working for a digital regional magazine that highlights the rich culture, cuisine and people of the area where I lived a majority of my life. While I love Austin, which is surprisingly similar to the Southern Tier in some ways, the Twin Tiers is steeped deep in my bones. I enjoy the fact that the temperature rarely dips below 50-degrees in central Texas, but I miss driving the back roads of the Twin Tiers enveloped in the spectacular change of seasons that color the hillside in brilliant reds, oranges and yellows.
I’m incredibly grateful to be able to stay connected to a region of the country that shaped who I am as an American citizen through writing for Southern Tier Life. Living in such close proximity to so much American history (Mark Twain, John W. Jones, Park Church, Harris Hill, Corning Glass, the Finger Lakes, Cornell, etc.) has certainly influenced who I am and my viewpoint.
I’m also appreciative of the opportunity to interview ExPats from the region who have moved on, and to be able to share updates of all they’re doing all around the world.
One of the most rewarding aspects of my stint working for the Star-Gazette was the opportunities it gave me to meet local folks doing positive, interesting, fun things to positively impact the region. I’m happy to, again, be writing similarly about extraordinary people doing extraordinary things.
So far this year, I’ve interviewed a professional dancer who grew up roaming the same Elmira streets I did, who’s currently realizing her dream to perform on Broadway in the musical Chicago. I got to chat with and highlight a fellow classmate who’s traveled the world, making some of the globe’s most influential entertainers look fabulous; as well as an impactful artist and philanthropist, whose work is still influenced by the rolling green hills and serene lake views of the Twin Tiers; and a hot new fashion stylist, who’s sharing his professional blessings by returning to host fashion industry bootcamps in the community, lifting up youth from his hometown as he continues his rise in the industry. If that doesn’t define Southern Tier spirit, I don’t know what does!
I got to interview a variety of folks who grew up in small-town western New York State, shaped by the same serene surroundings and steeped in the blue-collar yet bougie, artistic, environmentally-conscious culture I did. Folks who’ve moved on to enjoy life elsewhere, carrying their experiences far and wide, like dandelion seeds on the wind.
No matter what my professional life ends up looking like, I hope I’m able to continue bringing you updates from Southern Tier ExPats. There are so many interesting people to catch up with!
This month I stuck close to home for the feature, turning the spotlight on Liz White, who happens to be my little sister and the person I admire most in this world. She’s truly been my best friend (usually to her chagrin) and biggest ally. Regardless of all that, she deserves the recognition because Liz White, born and bred in Elmira, N.Y., is an RN, currently working as a travel nurse. It was mind blowing to step back and take stock of this woman’s accomplishments. My sister’s saved lives, y’all!! And, she’s weathered the COVID-19 pandemic these past two years, with a resilience that astounds me. I hope you’ll read her story and catch up on what she’s been doing since taking the plunge and moving, along with her young son, to the Lone Star State with me 10 years ago. It’s been quite a ride!
I hope you all have a merry Christmas and joyous holiday season! Stay warm!!
If you have a subject for a future ExPats feature, please send the name and contact information to email@example.com.