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Jermaine

 

When did you last sing to yourself or to someone else and what song?

Actually the last song I sung was something from Ricky Martin. That was actually like three weeks ago. It was like in a sports club, like a bar. Karaoke. 

 

What is your favorite journey?

I mean, hopefully to travel someday. I ain’t been doing no travel for a minute. Hopefully go back home. I’m from Costa Rica. My bosses, they from the DR, Santo Domingo, so I would really like to go out there in the future, which is going to happen someday soon. Yeah. 

 

What characteristics do you value most in your friends?

To be honest with you, I don’t really keep a lot of friends around here. Everybody is mean. People out here is mean. There’s very few people. I got my customers. They come in here and say hello. But I usually keep to myself. I don’t really want to be like that. Where I came from, we very friendly. There’s a lot of people here with different personalities. It’s like, I’m not going to say I’m scared, but sometimes you don’t know who to approach. I tell people life’s short. You got to live one day at a time. You can’t be angry all your life. Life is never going to be cookies and cream. You just got to keep everything balanced. But mostly, I love to interact. I look at everybody the same. I don’t have no preference. But it’s just that, people here, especially in Jersey, very tough. See what I’m saying. For instance, you go to the supermarket, right. You going to pick up a nice tomato. You’re not going to take a rotten tomato and put it in your refrigerator. You know why? Because if you take that rotten tomato, it’s going to spoil all your other products. That’s how it is with people. I’d rather have a little positive circle than a whole bunch.

 

What’s the biggest problem in your life?

As I said before, problems going to always come. Even if we try to stay away from it, problem’s going to always come. For example, when you’re driving. You about to start the car and start driving. Everything is clear until when you start driving, you going to see a pothole here. That’s how life is. You’re going to face so many different obstacles. I take it as it comes. I don’t stress. Stay positive. Stay focused. Everything in life has a solution. Problems is just temporary. The only thing permanent is when you go six, seven feet under. 

 

What is the secret to lasting relationships?

This is how I look at it, right. It’s three things for me. Communication, trust, and respect. If those three things is not in a relationship, it’s not going. Communication beats everything. 

 

When and where are / were you happiest?

I mean, I’m not going to say it all depends. As I said before, I try to stay positive. At the job that I do, I enjoy doing my job. Of course, my days off. Everybody likes a day off. But you know I always stay happy. I’m always on a good spirit. You got to have that good vibe, that way everybody else pick it up. 

 

What do you fear most?

To be honest with you, I don’t like problems. Put it like this, I don’t bother nobody. Nobody bother me. I try to stay out of trouble. I don’t really have one. I get along with everybody. Other than that I don’t really have no fear like that. I’m not saying I’m superhuman. I’m not going to say nothing scares me. I try to stay positive. I believe in God. Before I get up, leave out the house, I pray every morning. I’m not going to say every day, but I try my best, before I leave out the house, I pray. I could be here now. I might not be here later on. Who knows. To be honest with you, none of us know when we leave this Earth. For instance, you see all these products we have here. All that stuff got expiration dates. We got one. We just don’t know when our day’s going to come, but we surely going to leave this Earth. I just try to stay out of problems.

 

Would your childhood self be proud of you now?

Yeah, pretty much. Yeah. Yeah. 

 

What’s the key to life?

Be successful. Stay focused and be successful. Whatever dreams you want to accomplish. Whatever dreams and hopes you have. Study. Get a profession. Go for your goals. 

 

What’s going to be your greatest accomplishment in the next five years?

I want to do that in the future, try to go back to school. I got to do this first. I be here all day, from 7 to 9. Hopefully by next year I should be going back to school. Education is very important. That’s the main thing. I tell people, you can have 50,000 jobs, but education is the key of everything. I want to go back to school, get into the medical field. 

 

How important is money in your life?

Money is, you know, it helps us to get out of problems and struggles. Some people be like, “Money makes you happy.” Money doesn’t make you happy. It’s just to take care of your bills, pay your rent, get you out of certain situations and circumstances. At the end of the day, I’d rather be rich with love than rich with money. Think about it. You see a lot of people dead and gone now, and they got all these millions of dollars, and they can’t take it with them. 

 

What should I ask the next person?

Why do people hold on to grudges? If someone have done something to you, why hold on to it? That’s why a lot of people can’t move on in their life. Sometimes in life, we got to let go of certain things. It’s easy saying it, but at the same time, if we just give it a try, it works. None of us is perfect.


Charles

 

When did you last sing to yourself or to someone else and what song?

Let’s see. It was this morning, and it was something on the radio, and it was, I don’t know the name of it. He says, “Nah nah, baby I’m good.” [laughs] That was it. It was this morning coming to work.

 

What is your favorite journey?

I don’t have a favorite place or a favorite time. That one really is hard. I don’t normally get too excited about anything. I like going places and seeing new things or discovering something. I guess just living. Just going, doing whatever. I’m not really good at that. That’s not a thing I ever think about. I like to get in the car and just go and see. I guess that’s it. I’d love to go to the Grand Canyon and see it one time before I die, or do several things like that, but finances, other things, limit where you can go and how far. I’d like to see Australia. 

 

What characteristics do you value most in your friends?

Integrity. Honesty. If you’re honest, and you have moral values of some sort, whether they’re the same as yours or not, they’re people worth knowing. I don’t like people who lie. It’s just one of those things. 

 

What’s the biggest problem in your life?

[laughs] Uh, let’s see. Health. Yeah. I have COPD, back surgery, high blood pressure. A number of things, and they seem to all work together to make me feel really bad most of the time. I just had a back surgery, and they fused like four vertebrae, put rods in, and all that kind of stuff.

 

What is the secret to lasting relationships?

There again, I think it’s being honest. Yeah. Pretty much being honest.

 

When and where are / were you happiest?

When I was young, I used to go mining for gemstones and things like that. I really enjoyed that. I can’t do it anymore. Just being out doing things like that.

 

What do you fear most?

[laughs] Hm. Losing somebody who’s really important to me before I’m ready for it. 

 

Would your childhood self be proud of you now?

I don’t think my childhood self would care. [laughs] Honestly and truly. I didn’t think about growing up. I never thought about growing up. I’ve always been pretty much one of those people who sort of take it as it comes.

 

What’s the key to life?

[laughs] Whew. That one’s hard too. It’s like there’s no real key. You just, like I say, take it as it comes. You can’t control anything really, so why bother trying to control things?

 

What’s going to be your greatest accomplishment in the next five years?

Making it through the next five years. [laughs] That’s probably about it. Yeah. I mean like I say, I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t really care what’s going to happen. I just sort of want to move along and go. A long time ago, I learned not to worry too much about what’s going on. I just sort of go with the flow.

 

Why do people hold on to grudges?

I think it’s in your nature to hold a grudge. If somebody’s done you wrong in a way you feel it’s done wrong, it’s just a mechanism not to have that done to you again. It’s hard to forgive somebody for that kind of assault against you. If somebody attacked you, you fight back. And I think a grudge is the same thing. It’s a defensive mechanism, and you just have to get past it or ignore it. But I don’t think you can actually get rid of it. I think no matter what, you hold it somehow.

 

What should I ask the next person?

I would like to know why people don’t have more respect for their fellow human beings, because I think if you respect people — if you respect their religion, if you respect their way of life, if you respect who they are — you get along with them.


Collin

 

When did you last sing to yourself or to someone else and what song?

It was on the way here, I was singing that song by Is, “Over the Rainbow.” Yeah. It was ironic. It was a good surf jam that followed this morning on my playlist. So that was the last one. 

 

What is your favorite journey?

Just the time I spent from being a kid in college to getting out of the military and going back to college. It was a good journey. Lot of growing up and stuff. So that was probably the best journey I’ve had so far. Four or five years, somewhere in there. 

 

What characteristics do you value most in your friends?

Loyalty and honesty. You always need someone who’s not going to lie to you or steal from you, and then you always want somebody who’s got your back, you know? What more could you ask for in a person?

 

What’s the biggest problem in your life?

Whew. Probably commitment to my girlfriend. [laughs] It’s like at the year mark. All those, “Am I going to get married? Do I do this now?” That’s probably the biggest thing I’m dealing with right now. Forever. [laughs]

 

What is the secret to lasting relationships?

Probably just good communication and honesty. If you can talk to somebody about anything, all your problems can get resolved pretty quickly if you can just figure it out, versus kind of shutting down and fighting about it.

 

When and where are / were you happiest?

Out here doing this stuff, surfing on the beach. I think one of the best memories I ever had was, I paddled out when I lived in HawaiI to like the middle of nowhere. It was really weird because it was this little bay, and there was three or four dudes out there surfing these pretty good looking waves, but as I started to paddle out, the water just got completely murky. So, you know, it being Hawaii, there’s tiger sharks and shit everywhere. So I’m like paddling out there, I’m sitting on my board, whether or not I go out there or not. And all of a sudden, this sea turtle just pops up right next to me and scares the shit out of me. It sounds corny, but it was one of those weird little moments that I felt I had. I kept going. I paddled out there, and the water actually cleared up, and it was some of the nicest surf I’d ever had in my life. I actually got a little sea turtle tattooed on me to kind of remind me, keep on going. Don’t just be too scared to go do stuff. It could have a good ending. That would’ve been in August of 2009.

 

What do you fear most?

Fucking spiders, man. I hate spiders like a little girl. Like legit. [laughs]

 

Would your childhood self be proud of you now?

Yeah I think so. Definitely. I’ve kind of made something of myself. Kind of a gnarly childhood. Divorces and stuff. I grew up. I went to school. I have a good job. I have a home, car, good friends, no real vices or anything like that. I think he’d be pretty stoked that I did OK. I feel like I’m pretty normal. [laughs]

 

What’s the key to life?

I would say having something to do or being somewhere where you can do stuff that makes you happy. Even if you hate your job, or you hate your house, or things like that, as long as there’s one thing that you can kind of go back to and circle around to, it kind of helps deal with everything. Nothing’s ever going to be perfect, but you can soothe the pains with whatever it is you like to do.

 

What’s going to be your greatest accomplishment in the next five years?

Oooh, I don’t know man. Depends on what gets thrown my way. Uh. Yeah, I don’t know yet. I have a bunch of little obstacles. I can’t think of anything super major. Maybe committing to my girlfriend. That’s probably the biggest obstacle I have. [laughs]

 

Why do people not have more respect for their fellow human beings?

I think a lot of people nowadays get really selfish, wrapped up in themselves and what makes them happy, you know. So then everybody’s out there trying to figure out what makes them happy, and so no one is trying to help the other person get happy. It’s like maybe somebody can’t pick up something they dropped in the parking lot, but you’re more concerned with putting your coffee down before you help them. It kind of just builds and builds from there. I think one random act of kindness a day can go a long way just with one person, once a day, or once a week.

 

What should I ask the next person?

Hm. Have you asked a lot of people? I don’t want to take somebody else’s question if it’s already been asked. If you had to be one other organism besides a human, what would you be?


Sharon

 

When did you last sing to yourself or to someone else and what song?

Just a few minutes ago, but I don’t know what he was playing. I was humming along with him and singing. There’s a fife player at the fort today. 

 

What is your favorite journey?

I think my journey to Alaska. I learned a lot about myself. About 15 years ago. I worked there. I went up and worked for a summer, and I drove up and back. I learned I was resilient enough to keep on going. 

 

What characteristics do you value most in your friends?

Truthfulness. I’m sort of a truthfulness person too. It helps if you’re both truthful. 

 

What’s the biggest problem in your life?

Money. It’s no big problem. If I had a whole bunch more, I could do a lot more. 

 

What is the secret to lasting relationships?

I’m sort of a bad one to ask. Um. Forgiveness. 

 

When and where are / were you happiest?

I’m really happy here in St. Augustine. Right now. 

 

What do you fear most?

Alzheimer’s. My mother has it. That’s jump-off-the-bridge time. [laughs]

 

Would your childhood self be proud of you now?

Yeah probably, because I’m so completely different than she was. 

 

What’s the key to life?

Enjoying it. Just enjoying it. Whatever it is. 

 

What’s going to be your greatest accomplishment in the next five years?

I can’t think of anything. I have nothing else I particularly want to accomplish, so it’s sort of hard to say. I can’t answer that. I don’t know. Except just still being alive and able to move. [laughs] Arthritis is getting me. 

 

If you had to be one other organism besides a human, what would you be?

Butterfly. Just a flitting, pretty butterfly. For such a short period of time.

 

What should I ask the next person?

What has been your greatest accomplishment?


Britani

 

When did you last sing to yourself or to someone else and what song?

Oh wow. That would be last night. I was actually singing with my fiance. Oh what song was it? It’s something from a long time ago. It’s “Shake It Fast” by, I don’t know [Mystikal]. I was in eighth grade when it came out. We were being goofy and trying on Halloween costumes, and for some reason we started singing “Shake It Fast” and dancing to it. 

 

What is your favorite journey?

My favorite journey would probably be my journey down here. I’m originally from Ohio, and I was just kind of working a dead-end job up there. I’d graduated from college with my undergraduate degree, and I was really unhappy. My mom actually lived down here in Spring Hill. I had the opportunity to move, and she was really the only person that was down here, and kind of on a whim, my now-fiance and I kind of packed up and made our way down here. We’ve been here for three years. It’s great. It’s beautiful. You couldn’t really ask for more than to be down here by the water, kind of carefree for the most part. There’s bills to be paid, but yeah. We’re in St. Petersburg, Florida. There’s always something going on downtown. The beach is within 20 minutes of where I live. There’s several beaches within 20 minutes. And then, of course, my walk into my job here at USF St. Pete, I pass the harbor every day. I can eat lunch and look out into the harbor. It’s pretty chill. 

 

What characteristics do you value most in your friends?

I would say I value most honesty, and a good sense of humor is always very important. Loyalty. Those are really the things I look for. I’m pretty open to anybody. I don’t have like a criteria for friends. If you’re nice to me, I’ll be nice to you. If you’re open with me and honest, you’ll get the same back. 

 

What’s the biggest problem in your life?

That’s a good question. I guess it would be — in addition to working here at USF St. Pete, i’m actually in the MBA program, the grad program. I’m working in a job that I enjoy for the most part, but it’s not where I want to be, and I don’t know where I want to be. I think that from what I’ve gathered from most people, most people are in that situation regardless of their age or where they come from. Right now, that’s my biggest problem, which may continue to be a problem as I age. [laughs]

 

What is the secret to lasting relationships?

Honesty. That’s the biggest thing. I’ve had just a few relationships, but I’ve found that the relationship I’m in currently, you know, I was able to be honest from the beginning. There’s nothing I feel like I have to hide, and that just, it makes everything easy. And I feel that honesty from my partner. It makes me happy, and it’s something I don’t have to worry about. It makes our relationship pretty carefree.

 

When and where are / were you happiest?

I’m really happiest just kind of being. I don’t have to be engaged on anything. When I can turn off my mind, shut off my mind, and just be with those I care about the most — whether it’s friends, family, or my fiance. Just being able to be myself and not have to turn anything on or really focus on anything. Just let things happen, and let time pass, and enjoy the moment. 

 

What do you fear most?

Hm. That’s a good question. I guess this kind of goes along with another question you asked, but not being where I want to be, and maybe never knowing exactly what it is or where it is that I want to be, and then not being able to attain that. That’s kind of something that I don’t necessarily dwell on, but it’s kind of there every day, you know. Where do I want to go? What do I want to be when I grow up? [laughs] Not figuring that out, that would be my greatest fear.

 

Would your childhood self be proud of you now?

Oh yeah, absolutely. I always have prided myself on being kind to others and just living my life and knowing that every day I’ve treated others as I’ve wanted to be treated. Also, starting my graduate degree. That was something that was really big to me. Not necessarily when I was a child, but when I was in high school and after I got my bachelor’s degree, this was something that I absolutely wanted to pursue. Once I got accepted and started the program, that’s when I was like, OK, I’m doing what I set out to do. I feel like I’m going to continue to do that wherever I end up.

 

What’s the key to life?

Just be who you are. I know I say that. It’s very generic, actually. I don’t know. For a long time, I hid the fact that I’m bisexual. I’m currently engaged to a woman. For a long time, it was something that I hid. Once I finally came out, all these doors opened, and everyone I’ve come across, be it family, strangers, they’ve all been very accepting and kind. And if they weren’t really accepting, at least they were to my face. [laughs] That’s all I really care about. Just be true to yourself. Don’t worry too much. Everything happens for a reason. You’ll end up where you’re supposed to be. 

 

What’s going to be your greatest accomplishment in the next five years?

Well, I will be graduating in, should be May of 2017. I will be married. We’re planning on October 15, 2016. Hopefully by then I will have figured out what I want to do with my degree and will be pursuing that, actively engaged in that. That’s the extent of my five-year plan. Hopefully do a lot of fun things along the way. 

 

What has been your greatest accomplishment?

I would saying coming out has been my greatest accomplishment. It took actually me finding the right person to make me feel comfortable, and just how happy I was after I came out, it completely changed my life. I feel like that’s a big feat and accomplishment on its own. 

 

What should I ask the next person?

Who is your hero?