My First Meme

March 28, 2008 at 9:22 pm | Posted in Blogging, Self | 3 Comments

So my meme cherry is officially getting popped!  My deepest apologies to La Canucka for ignoring her children meme, but I just couldn’t come up with anything that wouldn’t be trite and totally coming out of my ass.  I don’t fully understand this meme thing, but I like to talk about myself as much as the next girl. 

What are your top 3 favorite foods?

  • frijol colado, scrambled eggs, and homemade tortillas
  • nachos or anything with cheese, really
  • chocolate cake

What was the last book you read and would you recommend it?

Breathe, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat.  Yep, I’d recommend it.  I’d pretty much recommend that people read anything unless it’s total crap.

What are your top 3 favorite places?

  • Tucson, Arizona
  • the mountains in Utah
  • my couch

What was the last lie you told?

I honestly can’t remember.

What are your favorite 3 sports (to watch or participate in)?

I’m generally not very competitive and I feel no drive to kick major butt so I’m not very good at team sports.  I’d have to say: hiking, canoeing, and lawn games like badminton and croquet. 

What was the last movie you watched and would you recommend it?

I am Legend. I think that was it.  I remember watching a comedy after that, but I can’t remember what it was.  Sure, I’d recommend I am Legend.  I have the same philosophy about movies as I do books.

List 3 things you can see outside of the nearest window.

My car, a church that’s been renovated into apartments, and a half-assed cityscape.

Where was the last place you went?

Out to dinner with Homeboy in a Mexican restaurant in Providence.

What are your top 3 favorite “good causes” or charities?

The one I work for, of course: the Woodlawn CDC.  The International Institute and the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence.  Keep it local!

What was the last thing you did for someone else?

What was the last thing I didn’t do for someone else?  I wish I could remember the last thing someone did for me (other than mommy of course)…but waaah, waaah, waaah, no?  The last thing I did for someone else…brought a client to the School Department for his working papers.

Name 3 places you have never been that you want to visit.

Cape Verde, Central America, and India.  Although I’d pretty much go anywhere.  Except for Indiana.  I don’t care much about Indiana.

What was the last thing you threw in the garbage/recycling?
A bazillion Staburst wrappers from our Friday afternoon candy eating orgy.

Name 3 things on your bedside table.
My journal, the book I’m currently reading, and condoms.  Was the last one too much info?  If so, then the third is my alarm clock.
Describe or name the last piece of art you looked at.

Um, a T-shirt design for Pawtucket Peace Week.  Does that count?

What are the top 3 things that your job requires you to think about?
Only three?  It’d have to be: paperwork and numbers, where the hell my clients are going to find jobs in this shitty economy, and how to balance the needs of my clients with the mountain of documentation I have to provide to comply with the funders.

What was the last musical or theatrical event that you attended?

The Peace Rally today where I saw: Love Peace, a group of teenagers who does skits to educate people about interpersonal violence, Project Peace, and various kids who performed just because they wanted to.

What are the first 3 things you would do if you won the lottery?
Are we talking a thousand dollars on a scratch card or the big bucks?  If it’s the latter, I’d pay off my debts, help Homeboy’s family, and buy a house in Mexico.

Describe or name the last serious injury or illness you had?

Thankfully, I’ve never been truly ill thus far, but I did suffer from gastritis from eating too much chile.

What are the top 3 things that you wish you could do?
I wish I could: do a big-girl pull up, stop living from paycheck to paycheck, and be a little more Zen in my daily life.

What was the last thing that someone said to you that you will remember forever?
This is a hard one for some reason.  I have a hard time remembering what people say to me.  That’s why I carry a little notebook to write down things that people say that I want to remember.  The last entry was from yesterday (which I also blogged about) when Your Highness told me that so-and-so was “as cool as the other side of the pillow.” 

I know that you’re supposed to tag your blogging buds when you finish a meme, but really all of the people whose blogs I read and I actually know have been tagged.  So I figure I’ll tag some folks whose blogs I read although they don’t know I exist.  Actually, now that I think about it, I don’t think they’d be particularly thrilled about being tagged by a stranger…so this strand of the meme trail will be left unattached. 

Computerless and Bereft

December 10, 2007 at 10:16 am | Posted in Blogging, Internet | 4 Comments

I’ve been engaged in a battle of wills with Gateway for the last six months over the sorry state of my laptop.  I’ve been losing miserably.  I spent four hours on Thursday night on the phone with Gateway when I could have been: doing my lengthy homework for class, blogging, cooking and eating dinner, exercising (yeah, right), playing tug of war with Mr. Puppers, or watching 12 Corazones with Homeboy.  Instead, I spent it on the phone with Gateway tech support alternately whining, bitching, wheedling, and insulting the fine folks at this behemoth of uselessness.

Alas, I am computerless, hence the silence on the blogging front. 

But I’ve got things to share, and am looking forward to doing so on Orale, Pues once I have a computer that works!

Keeps Pulling Me Back

December 1, 2007 at 12:33 pm | Posted in Blogging, Self | 10 Comments

One of my favorite lines from Rumi’s poems is:

Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love.

And this is manifesting itself in my blog.  I think.  The liveliest posts are ones about Mexico and Homeboy.  I tried to blog about Cape Verdean immigration to Pawtucket, and even I was bored by the flatness of what I produced.  My love for and commitment to The Bucket exists, but is still in its infancy.  Whereas my personal knowledge of and commitment to Mexico and the Yucatan is much deeper and has been growing for years.  Odd, considering that I’m from here, and have been discovering aspects of Rhode Island worthy of my fascination and attention since I moved back. 

As Orale, Pues! continues to develop, I think I’ll keep in mind Rumi’s words.

The subjects to which love draws me are the subjects I’ll post about.  I think it’ll be interesting to see how this blog unfolds if I only post about what moves me or obsesses me.

And I’m curious…I’d like to know how my visitors (regular or sporadic) who have personal blogs choose what to post about.  What is it that, in your opinion, makes a post rock or crash and burn?

How Many Balls Can I Juggle?

November 23, 2007 at 11:49 am | Posted in Blogging, Nonprofit, Working | 2 Comments

These past five months of working part-time, looking for full time work, and spending lots of time getting Homeboy acclimated to the U.S. have been alternately frustrating and wonderfully under-scheduled.  Alas, it’s now time to go back to my favorite state of being: overcommitted and frazzled, yet ultimately enlivened and inspired.

I’m a bit daunted by the roster of activities I’ll have on my plate from Monday on:

  • My brand new job designing and implementing a workforce development program for out-of-school youth (high school drop-outs in normal-speak).  This job is a great mix of program management and case management, and the offer couldn’t have come at a better time.  I was getting bitter and crazed about the difficulty of finding a full-time position in the nonprofit world.  Ultimately, I think all those rejections for positions I was perfectly qualified for primed me for this job: with people I know and adore, in a community that has grown on me, and only five minutes from our apartment.
  • And since my new job will be at the community center where my old job rents office space, I will also continue Weeding & Seeding a few hours a week.  I’ll get to tend the projects I love the most: a leadership development program for urban youth and the volunteer tax preparation site for low to moderate income families.  And I’ll also continue writing whatever random stuff needs writing: flyers, newsletters, letters begging people for things, translations, etc.
  • A new, itsy bitsy (yet super cool and exciting) freelance blog writing gig.  I’m offering commentary and posting articles on the topics closest to my heart: immigration, ESL instruction, and cultural competency in the workplace. 
  • And lastly, I’m making the slowest progress possible toward my Master’s.  At this rate, I’ll be done with it in 2015.  But every semester, I get giddy with excitement before the first day of my class.  I get light-headed with glee when I have the syllabus in my sweaty little hands.  And next semester, I’ll take a course on grant writing, which will be so useful to the work that people give me money to do.

My challenge will be to find some balance without compromising my favorite activities like sleeping, reading, and staring into space for uninterrupted stretches of time.  And oh yeah, to make sure that I continue to be a good wife to Homeboy and a good dog-mommy to Leo.

Immigration Grrrls Rock!

November 22, 2007 at 2:03 am | Posted in Blogging, Immigration, Internet, Marriage | 6 Comments

The idea of forming friendships and making acquaintances online has long made me twitchy.  Pretty ironic, considering I am the consummate lurker and do love to post my snark (and occasional advice) on forums.  And it makes me feel slightly uneasy when I’ve followed someone’s blog or forum posts and then meet them in person.  In fact, at an expat gathering in Cancun last Xmas season, I admitted sheepishly to Rivergirl that I followed her blog and therefore knew about the parts of her life that she chose to share in posts.  I felt as though I was admitting to something bizarre like collecting panties from Japanese schoolgirls but Rivergirl took it in stride. 

Imagine my surprise when, after embarking on a long visa process to get Homeboy here, I started bonding with women on immigration forums.  This bonding led to emails, text messages, phone calls, and in one case, in-person visits!  All with women I’d be thrilled to suck back cups of coffee with on my lunch break or share some beers and fried goodies with after work.  And what connects us is the fact that we all went through the immigration process (some much more arduous than others, and others still unresolved) for a Mexican. 

There’s Stephanie, who lives too far away to meet for a weekend, but is from an area enticing enough for me to fantasize about a double-shot of adventure: meeting her and her Mexican in person, and taking a road trip through Baja.

There’s Candace, who I “met” on the Ciudad Juarez forum.  It turns out that she and her husband own a house in the same fraccionamiento in Cancun that Homeboy and I first lived in. 

And Laura in Wisconsin, who filed a hardship waiver to get her once undocumented husband legalized.  A fellow writer and wonderer, yet she seems much more productive and less lazy than I.  Maybe she’s faking it, but perhaps she’s not and she’ll post some inspiration for me to get my butt in gear.

I’ve saved Monica for last, since she holds the place of honor as the only woman I’ve ever met in person after connecting online.  Of course, it was inevitable that we’d get along: our Mexicans share a name, they’re both from the Yucatan Peninsula, they both worked in restaurants and bars in tourist regions, and they arrived in the US for the first time ever within a week of each other.  And they’re both currently cold ALL THE TIME. 

Perhaps for others, meeting online and then in person is normal.  For me, not so much.  But it’s added another fascinating layer to my life. 

So thanks, immigration grrrls for changing my mind about online friendships!

And adelante, chavas! Or shall I say, ñoras!

A Bit About The Gabacha

November 20, 2007 at 4:01 pm | Posted in Blogging, Life in the US, Marriage, Self, Working | 5 Comments

Kelly told me that I should write a Hello World! post to introduce myself.  And she’s a bit older than I, so when she talks, I listen. 

I spent the first chunk of my adult life living in Cancun, Mexico, and moved back to New England, which is where I grew up.  I never, ever wanted to live in a place as gauche and Americanized as Cancun.  Or so I thought.  But I ended up there because of a happy accident.  I had spent five months living in a Mayan village doing field work for my undergrad thesis on why Yucatec Maya migrate to Cancun to work and how their migration changes the village.  I fell in love with the youngest son in the house where I took my meals and used a bucket to bathe.  He made the same decision that many from his village make, and after I spent a few months in the States, we both moved to Cancun. 

My boss at the English school I taught at said that once a person spends a few years living in another country, they’re neither at home in their birth country nor in their adopted land.  I found out how true that was when two years ago I moved back to the States alone.  After a long visa journey my Yucateco is now by my side in the States with his shiny new Green Card.  He’s generally deeply confused about being here, and my ambivalence about the U.S. doesn’t help so much.  You’ll hear more about this, and my take on acclimation and being in a bicultural marriage.

But of course, there’s much more to a person than her love story, no?

I consider myself a writer-in-training, yet have found that when I sit to write something that will be seen by many, I become paralyzed and can’t continue.  So this blog will be a way to flex my writing muscles (aren’t writers supposed to stay away from cliches?), and share what excites, confuses, enrages, and delights me.  And hopefully I’ll work through this paralysis. 

A lot of what fires me up and inspires me comes from my job.  I’ve spent the past year and a half working and communicating with: cops, prostitutes, high school kids, the mayor, the IRS, school principals, disgruntled City Year Corps members, and a host of other random people in the Pawtucket community.  I’ve gotten paid to: accompany a street outreach worker to talk prostitutes off the streets, hold up one end of a broom in a limbo contest at a neighborhood block party, organize a neighborhood clean-up, cajole people into preparing tax returns as volunteers, beg for free food from neighborhood restaurants (a.k.a. ask for donations), and more.

But all this fun will be over by next Monday.  I’ll start a job as the Youth Center Program Manager at the community center where we’ve rented offices for my current job.  I’ll design, plan, and implement a program to help get at-risk youth jobs and training.  I’m sure I’ll have more to say about that.

You don’t want my life story, do you? Well, don’t worry.  I’ll stop here.  The point of a blog is to show you what I want to share, not tell you everything right away. 

So my little spiel is over.  I’m now officially joining the constant conversation that rumbles across the Internet. 

And I promise I’ll get and learn to use a digital camera to break up the monotony of text!

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