Three things I just purchased at the drugstore?

Toilet paper. Neon pink nail polish. The above pictured Papal candle.


Dinner w/tim at Cafe Brazil.

Quite possibly my favorite place to eat in Los Angeles.
Not to mention, the company was overdue and therefore absolutely brilliant. Tim told me beautiful stories about love, loss and healing. Tears!


I have a sneaking suspicion...

that my current diet of caffeine and Ibuprofen is going to prove unhealthy.



Forewarning: This might be a bit jumbled, as what I'm trying to get out is not exactly clear even in my head.

So, I've been thinking about value lately. Human value, to be exact. And I'm rather confused. It's something I think about when the phrase "better than" pops up in my mind. Like when I look around the bus and think about the people there as opposed to the LMU grads who are accountants working for one of the big 4 and live in lofts in downtown Los Angeles. What makes them "better than" the crowd on the bus? What makes them more worthy of being a friend or an ally?

I recently happened upon the Facebook Application "Owned!" which allows users to put themselves on the market and see how much they/their frends are worth. YB Normyl (excellent pseudonym) posted on the wall: "Where's the BONUS money? It says buy now and get $100000 bonus then there's no bonus, or give a human and get 50000 then nothing. Maybe it's time to go back to FFS." And Steve Simpson from Knoxville, TN said, "I own 15 photos.And yet,it still says.I own no one.But on other people's photos.It shows below them,the people they own.Why is that?Another issue the makers of this application,should look into fixing." Like these tech issues are the most pervasive issue at play. YOU ARE ATTEMPTING TO OWN YOUR FRIENDS. You place value on their lives. OK, it's not the silly game that I am taking issue with. The words "value, "worth," and "loyalty" have just been really big roadblocks for me to get over (i.e. where your loyalties lie depends on who you think is more deserving of them, who is valuable enough to be worthy of your time).

I guess I just find it extremely interesting that the phrase "better than" can exist in terms of people. You are probably thinking, she's just making some big life realization via some hippy-dippy-trippy shit. I'm not even quite sure what I am trying to get across. I guess it's just the bus teaching me yet another life lesson. I'll see an older Mexican woman carrying her lunch in a plastic grocery bag, certainly off to a day of housekeeping or nannying. I'll study her face intently and examine her hands, the hands of someone who has worked hard her whole life. She's not beautiful, like the beautiful blonde Australian couple with soft hands and a beautiful blonde daughter sitting across from me. So is it beauty that defines worth? The Mexican woman must surely have better life stories, and a family I would love to get to know, more so than the couple. But then why do I think that? Why do I think the beautiful blonde couple has a boring family with few struggles and no fun stories? Does strength equal worth?

Bah. I haven't a clue.


Screw June 21

Summer is here. Now. I tasted it in the air last night.

Rilo Kiley @ the Greek

Jenny Lewis is a total badass.
I want to be her.


Thoughts after Tijuana

De Colores was fantastic. There was an exceptional group of 38 people who decided to give a weekend up and head down to Tijuana to experience a true sense of community. Friday night we stayed at Adolfo's house in Chula Vista, just a short drive to the border. (Adolfo is a unbelievable humble, genuine man who works at Chris North's factory in Tijuana. Chris North is an LMU grad who started De Colores service trips with his wife something like 20 years ago!) After the delicious dinner feast made by Adolfo's wife Eva, we played the Name Game, a De Colores tradition designed to get everyone to know each other. Adolfo's youngest son Carlos hung out with all of us, and had such maturity and clarity for a 17 year-old. Well, maybe more clarity than maturity :)

Early Saturday morning (after an awesome breakfast of chorizo, eggs and beans) we headed down past the border and into the community of El Florido, where we began our separate work projects. I spent the morning shoveling and mixing concrete to make a patio for the house of a woman named Ceci and her family. One of the most vibrant memories that stands out from this weekend was after we finished the project, 12 of us piled in the back of Adolfo's pickup (I swear I was being safe, Dad) with plates of steaming hot sweet empanadas on our laps! Ceci has two children, an 18 year-old son named Abraham who is mentally disabled and just the sweetest boy, and a younger daughter who is getting perfect scores in school! Good for her!

Later that afternoon, the community made us an amazing lunch (OK, I'm going to be talking about food a lot...De Colores is often called "De Caloric" with the regulars...there is no shortage of food during the weekend!) and a cake baked especially for Father's Day. After that, Adolfo and the community members got to share some memories about Brendan, who was on his last DC trip. There was kind of a quiet hush over the group the whole weekend, knowing that DC would go on, but probably never be the same.

From El Florido, we went on to get some awesome ice cream at a crazy place with millions of flavors...like tequila and tuna. Then it was on to Casa del Migrante, a shelter for men who had been recently deported. We had dinner (yup, another meal) with the men, and I had a really powerful experience with a man named Rudy who had been deported 4 days earlier. His wife and twin four year-old daughters were still in the US and he planned on trying to go back over the border in the next few days. After talking about his "babies" for awhile, he just broke down and had to leave the table. I felt like my heart had gotten ripped out of my chest. At that moment I felt like I had to do something. I got up and left the table and headed over to find out about volunteering at Casa. I felt immediately at home when I walked in there, and I could definitely see myself spending some time there. I'm thinking next summer, or even a whole year starting next summer. I know that's a big thing to say, and that the romantic feelings of helping people in a foreign country will most likely die away as I continue my 9-5 workdays in LA. But I want people to challenge me to keep considering a year of service. I'm wearing a bracelet from Tijuana daily to remind me.

After Casa, we headed over to Chris North's factory for a game of Futbol Rapido. There was a gorgeous sunset and a couple games before we headed over to the community center in Tecolote to hang out with the community for a bit before we went out to a Taco Stand for some late night grub.

The next morning, we got up and had some breakfast (thanks to the women of Tecolote) and headed off for the beach for a reflection at the border fence. Unfortunately, Tijuana police were being crazy for no good reason and had blocked off all the streets by the beach. So we had to skip out on the reflection, but the drive to the border gave us all a good look at both the old and new border fences...symbols of...God knows what. Life, death, destiny, struggle, Hope.

I am writing this as I am polishing off a jar of Nutella (I reached the bottom faster than expected) while watching the Lakers lose in a pitiful Game 6 loss, wondering how I could deal living abroad for a year without luxuries like cable, high-speed internet, Nutella and copious amounts of free time. I honestly don't know. My dad called it "running away" today in a phone conversation. I did just start a new job, one that is perfect for me, but I am already having escapist thoughts. Perhaps it is a bit of running away. I have no idea what the next year holds for me. Maybe Mexico, maybe LA, maybe Seattle. I'm just going to try to live it up while I can and not have expectations either way :)


Bienvenidos a El Florido!

Comunidad de El Florido


Such troublemakers...we called them the Little Rascals

THE MAN, Adolfo, with the Father's Day cake

David, Ceci (best empanadas I have EVER had!) and Sam

Los ninos enjoying some cake

Casa del Migrante...quite possibly where I might spend a year of my life!

Tijuana, outside of Casa

Tijuana sunset

Futbol Rapido at Chris North's factory

Tecolote and the infamous dove tree (Beth!)

Goodbyes (and baby Coley)

The Wall.


Darfur and an uncharacteristically minor life crisis

Films have a tendency of making their way into my heart and leaving a lasting impact:
Born into Brothels (to see the impact art has on children)
Harold and Maude (to live like Maude, not Harold--don't fret)
The Diving Bell and The Butterfly (anything is possible when the mind is focused)

Now, documentaries really get me going. Darfur Now is a documentary that didn't really leave me with much hope, however. I guess its importance to me was really more of a work of perfect timing. Its appearance in my life came after working for a few weeks at a nonprofit, and after watching another documentary, The Third Wave, about volunteers who came to Sri Lanka after the tsunami. While The Third Wave made me really consider the idea of volunteering overseas for the first time, Darfur Now made me see the possibilities of actually working on behalf of the marginalized and voiceless.

My previous worry was that I wasn't good enough at writing or graphic design or business to actually enter a service opportunity where I was working on those things. I didn't go to college to study political science or international law, and I definitely don't have a great understanding of the way the world works. But you know what? There are hungry people in the world. I could help feed them. There are people suffering with heartbreak after natural disasters. I could help comfort them. I can do simple things. I don't have to be a policymaker or grantwriter. I can literally hand food out to people that need it. It's so simple! And not as frightening as I initially thought.

I guess it's not a life crisis, but just a authentic realization that as much as I love my job, I do eventually want to take at least a year and spend it doing service abroad. Never before have I been bitten by the travel bug, which is probably why I turned down the opportunity to work with Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC) earlier this year. But I want to see the world now, and more importantly, I want to work with and for people who need help. Yay! Clarity.

It's Father's Day This Sunday!

Do something nice for him.
Here's a few words I sent to my dad to get you in the mood:

I will be celebrating Father's Day in Tijuana, doing something that I love dearly--doing what I can to make the lives of the marginalized just a little bit brighter. And the reason that I even am able to do something like this is because of you and all the support and love you have given me over the years. You have given me a soft heart, one that is sensitive to the plight of others and finds genuine pain in the face of injustice. You could laugh at me for being young, naive, idealistic, you name it, but over the years I think you have come to see this need to aid others as the way my soul is meant to exist. I am a child of whims, easily romanticized and enchanted by new adventures. But this desire to help others has been fostered by you (and mom) in a loving environment and has therefore grown into a tangible duty that I must realize. During high school, I threatened you with grand ideas of going into the Peace Corps in Afghanistan and "saving the world." At that time, I think I just wanted to make you guys realize I was independent and was determined to do whatever I wanted. And while my ideas now are a bit less grand, they certainly still focus on people who need my help. Know that whatever I end up doing (graphic design, journalism, non-profits, technology) it is going to focus on using my talents and my education to help the world become a better place. The education I have received at LMU, and more importantly from you, has prepared me for a life that I know is not going to be easy. It's going to be messy and painful, heartbreaking and with little reward. But I'm getting strong enough to take it. The way you have cultivated love inside of me makes me know it is possible for me to do that for another human being.

You are the man I look up to most in my life. Part of the reason I haven't had a serious relationship is because I haven't found anyone even a percentage as admirable as you. I am really proud of you, and I know your intellect could be put to use in ways far more amazing than the things Ford has you doing. I would HONESTLY love to spend some time doing service with you, and see the way your mind could be put to use in the lives of people who really need help. I know you can be skeptical of opportunities like that at times, but please trust that I am no longer on this career path merely because of romantic ideals. I'm doing this for real. Be excited for me! Know that I'm learning a lot, researching the way the world works, learning the business side of nonprofits, and I genuinely want to see a change. Thank you for being the greatest father I have ever known, for loving my mother beyond all her faults, for having a soft heart yourself (toward Dusty, Buffy, the birds you feed outside and the hateful fish), for appreciating LOLcats and for loving model boats so much you wrote a book about it. You amaze and inspire me!

I love you!!

Coffee part 2

Inspiration & coffee with Erik


Some ways to keep track of me.

Photos: http://picasaweb.google.com/bernadettematthews
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10800266
Twitter: https://twitter.com/bernmatthews
Linked In: http://www.linkedin.com/in/bernadettematthews

I love the bus: Part 1 [of many]

Today a man got on Big Blue with a gigantic lamp, cord dragging behind him.
I've also realized—after a few weeks of taking public transportation and analyzing which men I find attractive—out of my college friends, I would be voted "Most Likely to have the hots for a homeless guy."

Before I begin.

This is an attempt to reawaken the writer inside me. The first line on the cover sheet I send out with all my resumes states, “My kindergarten teacher predicted I would be a writer.” I go on to describe how I’ve taken that desire and witnessed its reincarnations as a college newspaper columnist, an advertising major, and finally as a graphic designer who abandoned words in favor of line and color, but whose obsession with typography hinted at an underlying love of the written word. While piles of college research papers may have briefly turned my simple love into an inevitable hatred, I can now claim victory over those four years of mental anguish and say that I have emerged with a desire to make sense of all the thoughts, images and words flying around inside my mind. And, says the twenty-first century, what better way to do so than with a blog? Here it goes.