Dear Marlene,

 

Iím writing you because, like I said earlier, I could really use some help paying for my tuition this semester. Also, since itís been so long since weíve spoken in person I thought it was time for an in depth update on whatís been going on with my family and I. I donít think of you guys as a bank. You and your family have been such a blessing to me and my family, and I really do love you guys like my family!Only God knows where Iíd be now without the Villavicencios.

 

††††††††††† First off, my mom is doing well. Sheís still working the same job, still going out with her boyfriend Abe, who is a good guy from what I can tell. She helps me tremendously, and makes lots of sacrifices for me. She helps me pay my rent, and other bills that I canít pay yet. She has gotten the money that financial aid wasnít able to cover. She also helps out my sister Rosaly and her husband a lot, because theyíre always jumping from job to job, and sometimes have no job. Sheís one of the main reasons I need to get my ass in gear and finish. Sheís never once said I would have to pay her back. She truly just wants was best for me. But I owe her big time.

 

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Mom & Abe visiting me last year

 

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Both my sisters have moved out of the house. Actually, they both live in the same apartment complex close to home.Rosaly lives with her husband and my nephew. She was pregnant last year, but in November she had a miscarriage. It was very sad for her and the family. The way it happened wasnít too nice. Sheís well. It must be hard for her though, considering my other sister is pregnant too. Katrisia has been pregnant for almost seven months now. You wonít believe this though. The guy who got her pregnant is the brother of my other sisterís husband. Read that again if you have to. My mom was really flippiní out over this whole thing. My sisters are crazy. That guy has since gone off to the military leaving my sister alone. I donít know if they made any kind of commitment together or what. Things are calmer now though, y, si dios quiere, weíll be welcoming a new member to the family soon.

 

My nephew LeRhonie

 

††††††††††† My brother is still living at home with my mom. He drives her up the wall. Every time I call home theyíre bickering about something. He was working at a bookstore, Books-A-Million, and is now also working at some BioTech company doing some kind of office work. The only thing he is really motivated about is music. He really wants to go back to school to study music and become a music teacher. Hopefully, if Iím blessed in the future, I can help him with this.

 

††††††††††† My Aunt and cousins are also doing well. For awhile my Aunt was living in the old trailer home we used to live in, but has since moved out to a town home. Hopefully this is better for her and my cousin Madelyn, because I think they were miserable living in that trailer. I can relate. It was in really bad shape. That trailer home has been completely blown away by one of those hurricanes last year. Thankfully no one has to live in there anymore. My cousin Bimbi got his masters degree in accounting and is getting married to a nice Egyptian woman who has two kids. My cousin Sammy is a leader in some youth church (heís no longer into drugs and gangs). My cousin Jacquina lives with her boyfriend and has a baby.

 

My cousin Bimbi with his fiancťe

 

††††††††††† Thanks so much for supporting Andres on his visit up here last summer.Oh yeah, and for helping us get that air conditioner (I loved that thing). I had such a great time hanging out.We talked more about our goals, and plans to do something creative and productive together. We hope these projects weíre planning will help us each grow individually and bring us closer as friends.This has been something weíve wanted to do since we were younger. Remember the video game creation kit you bought us, and all the art supplies? It wasnít a waste. Even though we failed to focus and finish what we started so many times, weíve learned so much, and weíre not planning on giving up anytime soon.

 

Andres resting on the hike down Rachel Lake.

 

Andres washing my dishes.

 

Andres biking through Bainbridge Island.

 

††††††††††† Last year I started hanging out with this Philipino girl that I knew from work, Pinky. She likes to go by Alex. Sheís about five years older than me, and studying to be a nurse. I still donít really know why sheís into a broke ass college student who has no car, but she is. I guess she believes in me, and I seem to make her happy.We donít see each other often, once or twice a week, but weíve decided to be with only each other and have a relationship that will hopefully grow as we grow (Iím not trying to be corny).Sheís really helped me mature, and given me another reason to live the best life I can. I care about her a lot.

 

My girlfriend Pinky.

 

So, hereís my school situation. After my Spring 2004 semester, I still had seven more classes. Since the graduation ceremony is only done in April the school was going to let me walk as long as I took the rest of my classes that summer (2004). Otherwise, I would have been done that summer, and then wouldíve had to wait nine months to come back for the graduation ceremony.

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I was under the impression that I would be able to file for financial aid for that summer(2004), like if it was the start of the new year. But no, it was still part of the year I was completing, that I had already gotten all my money for. So that graduation ceremony was scrapped for me because I would have to wait until the next school year (Fall2004 Ė Spring2005) to get money for the rest of my seven classes.

 

That summer, after some thinking, I decided I wouldnít take out another huge loan. This is the main reason itís taken so long now. I had saved up enough to take two classes that semester, which was all I needed to be a half-time student, and not have to pay my loans back yet. So I worked and went to school for a total four classes that school year (2004-2005). At first I was going to do the same plan as the previous year: do graduation in April take the rest of the three classes in the summer. But they didnít offer one of my required classes that summer. I said screw it, and decided to just work and take a break (this is last summer, when Andres came up).

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So last semester I took two classes. I would have had only one to go, English. But I didnít Ďsatisfactorilyí complete my project on time for my GAM450 class, and was given an incomplete (this was an independent study). The professor was kind of a jerk. I also bit off more than I could chew on this project. I really thought I could finish it on time. It just took way longer than I expected. So right now I still have two to go plus another math class to get a math minor, so three total. This math minor is not required, but Iíve been working for it, and it will look good on my resume. Iím in two classes now. I talked to the professor for my last required class andI can take it as an independent study this summer.

 

Anyway, to summarize this mess, itís taken so long because I decided to work and take my last seven classes a few at a time. I also had some stumbling blocks in one class that I have to retake. Iím trying to finish these last three classes now, but still havenít paid for them, and the deadline is coming up. The original plan between my mom and I was to pay for the classes out of pocket, using our tax returns and some insurance money she said she was expecting (from hurricane damage). Now my mom is really stretched helping keep me, my sister and her husband afloat, and thereís been a problem with the insurance money. Sheís still expecting, but my tuition deadline is coming up soon.

 

Is there any way you and youíre family can give me a loan to help pay for these classes? Youíve given to me and have never asked for anything back but my success (even though Iíve always planned to pay it back), but this will most definitely be paid back. We can even draw up some official papers if necessary.I know itís a lot to ask, coming from someone whoís not your responsibility. Hereís how you can help:

 

1.      Loan to pay for both classes ($2940):

-          Iíll pass and pay for English early summer. Only a 3 credit class, I can pay for myself.

-          Half-time student, keep my in school deferment going for my loans

-          Graduate this April

 

2.      Loan to pay for one class, GAM450 ($1725)

-          Iíll Apply for economic hardship deferment on loans (no longer half time student)

-          Take Math and English in the summer graduate in August, or just take one class in summer the other in winter and graduate in December.†††††††††

 

3.      Loan to pay for one class, MAT357 ($1035)

-          Iíll Apply for economic hardship deferment on loans (no longer half time student)

-          Take GAM450 and English in the summer graduate in August, or just take one class in summer the other in winter and graduate in December.

 

4.      No Loan

-          Donít worry, itís cool. Iíll still love you guys forever.

-          Iíll Apply for economic hardship deferment on loans (no longer half time student)

-          Work, save up, and take classes and graduate a.s.a.p.

 

 

I still really want to make my dream of making video games come true. Iím just ready to move on from this phase. Iíve become a little impatient and anxious. So donít worry too much if you canít help, no big deal. Things will still work out in the name of God whose always had my back, been patient with me, and blessed me far beyond what I deserve. I leave you with some pictures of my little world, which youíre welcome to come up and check out for yourself anytime. Hopefully when I graduate. See you guys soon.

 

My apartment place courtyard

 

My apartment complex from the south

 

My building is the dark orange one in the middle

 

My job. Across the street from where I live.

Uwajimaya, Asian Supermarket

 

 

My kitchen area

 

My desk corner

 

My computer and books corner

 

My gym, bed, and closet corner

 

Me wearing my favorite jacket

 

Me looking like a dork