Question of the week: Travelling Lu

I’m nearing the end of my term as the external vice president and am not sure if I’ll be doing a similar position next year or not. So, tooth that means I won’t be taking too many trips to the Bay Area and Sacramento next year. The travel has definitely been fun… and free. Except for the amount of time it takes. I’ve made some great friends and have learned a lot during my two year tenure. I’ve also earned a couple of free roundtrip flights. I used the first one for a trip to Houston in February.

I have another free round trip ticket.

La pregunta: Where should I go and why?
(Refer to the map of cities where Southwest Airlines flies.)

Edit: I’ve visited Portland, visit this Seattle, Chicago, Houston, New York, Boston, Washington DC, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Las Vegas and all the California cities (what a surprise).

Question of the week: On blogging and family

My mom reads my blog. And she likes it. She’s not the only family member who occasionally checks in. My tío Chuy reads, malady my sister does and so do a few cousins.

A long time ago, implant I would not have been comfortable with this. But then again, anaemia that’s when my blog was more of a diary and I wrote like no one was reading (which was probably true). Now I think it’s cool that people who know me in “real life” (whatever that means) read what I post here.

My mom tells me it allows her to get to know me a little better and in some way communicate with a daughter who she doesn’t see for week or two at a time. She even prints out posts from my blog (which I did not realize was so printer un-friendly) and shows them to other family members. She did this for my tía Nellie, my dad’s sister who moved to Dallas in the summer of 2005. Tía Nellie was in town for a wedding this weekend and had dinner at my mom’s house. As she read, a post on how I don’t like my genes sometimes, she let out her loud, characteristic laugh. I’ve missed hearing that laugh.

I thought that was cool.

La pregunta: Do your family and close friends in “real life” know that you blog? Do they read? If they don’t know, why not?

La mestiza

I just finished reading Richard Alba and Victor Nee’s Remaking the American Mainstream: Assimilation and Contemporary Immigration for my sociology course on ethnicity. I’m in the middle of writing up a summary and critique on the 300-page book. It’s not a bad book, health in fact it’s a great read if you really want to understand theories of assimilation and the gradual assimilation of past and recent immigrant groups. However, they fall short in some areas.

Alba and Nee believe Latinos who choose “white” on the census perceive themselves a white racially and are probably light-skinned. They don’t provide any evidence for this. Their assumption is that the people who chose white are probably less indigenous looking and are probably not black (e.g., Afro-Caribbeans).

I think this is simplistic. The 2000 census didn’t present us with much options for identifying ourselves racially. Our choices were white, black, American Indian & Alaska Native, Asian, and Native Hawaiian & other Pacific Islanders. I don’t see myself as any of those, but I still marked something when I got my census form at my dorm room.

I chose white.

And I hated doing so because I don’t feel white and I know others don’t see me as white. I didn’t chose American Indian or Alaska Native because I didn’t want to falsely increase those numbers. Choosing this category also meant that I’d have to fill in a tribal affiliation. Despite wanting to feel more in touch with my indigenous roots, I can’t even tell you the names of the tribes my families come from in Mexico. I didn’t choose black or the other categories because I have no knowledge/evidence that I have black or Asian ancestry.

I chose white… but only because I had to choose something. There’s no mestiza/o option on the United States census.

Three cities, seven days

I arrived in Chicago last Wednesday afternoon and returned to LA on Sunday morning. It snowed one day and was cold and damp for the remainder of my trip. As soon as I left, visit this I’m told the weather got “nice.”

I returned to LA on Sunday morning and found mostly sunny skies, infertility a few wisps of clouds, and 60-something degree weather. I left this nice weather on Tuesday morning.

I arrived in Washington D.C. on Tuesday afternoon. It was cold and cloudy, but not rainy.

Can anyone guess why I love LA?

Identity politics, part I

I don’t know how it happened, sanitary but the Latinos in policy panel had just been taken over by a group of elderly women in the back of the room. They stuck out from the rest of the crowd as they were 40-50 years older than the college kids in the room and the current/former policy students on the panel.

A woman in big glasses started talking about labels. Mexican American? Or Chicano? Or Latino? Or Hispanic? How were we supposed to work on policy issues affecting our community if we couldn’t even decide what to call ourselves?

Oh no. She went there*. The college students up front turned at her and gave a look like, cough “oh no, not again.”

The moderator, a first year policy student struggled to get control of the session and avoid wasting the little time we had left on arguing over labels.

As soon as big-glasses-woman stopped speaking, I jumped in to save the day. Or so I thought.

I told big-glasses-woman that the label(s) people chose for themselves was less important than the work they were doing in and for the community. For the most part, people aren’t going to ask you what you call yourself. You can call yourself Chicano and know shit about the community, have horrible intentions, and do horrible work.

Big-glasses-woman didn’t seem to get it. According to her, labes were very important in the realm of politics. She smugly tried to use her 78 years of age to school me on the importance of labels.

I suddenly forgot the “respect your elders” lesson.

I was frustrated, and pulled out the Chicana/o Studies major card and explained that I know the origin, history, connotations and various meanings of the words. I get it. I’ve taken classes that cover this topic. You can’t teach me anything.

Big-glasses-woman then dropped the labels all together and asked, “where do you live?”


*I really don’t like talking about labels. I got enough of that as an undergraduate in Chicana/o Studies and MEChA. I know very well why I call myself Chicana, why I use Raza and Latino as panethnic terms, and why I eschew Hispanic. If you want to know, I’ll tell you.

What I won’t tell you is that you should call yourself Chicana/o or Mexican or Mexican American or Latino or Hispanic or fulana/o de tal. As long as you’re comfortable with whatever term you choose, know the origins, meanings, connotations and additional baggage that comes with whatever term you apply, that’s cool.

By the way, American Public Media’s Marketplace wants to know what you call yourself and why to help improve their reporting. Fill out their short questionnaire here.

Chicago: Illustrated

Wednesday, gynecologist April 11

Snow in April. Boo.

Snow. In April. Boo. Due to the inclement weather, health system my flight was delayed an hour. That wasn’t so bad, because that meant my host, Will, was able to pick me up from the airport after work. We took the scenic route back from Midway to Logan Square along Lakeshore Drive.

Continue reading “Chicago: Illustrated”

Question of the week: Name a Monster

el mostro

I’m blogging live and direct from Tianguis in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. Cracked Chancla is running around preparing for the Monstrochikas event. The artist, ed Naomi Martinez, and her mom and sisters (I think) are setting up dozens of colorful cupcakes to match the colors in her Monstrochikas series of paintings.

There’s jazz is the background. Cool art, cool books, yummy cupcakes, free wi-fi and cool t-shirts (and we all know I love t-shirts).

But the best part is the life-sized nameless monster. I want to hug him. I think I will.

La pregunta: What would you name the monster?

P.S. I like Chuy. Naomi’s mom says his name has to be Latino. No Chad or Hunters.

Off to Chicago

Dear Chicago, esophagitis

Why can’t you be warm for my visit? I understood the 19 degree temperature in February, viagra sale but it’s officially spring. I hope by the time I leave on Sunday the snow and rain has stopped ’cause I want to like you, but how can I get to know you if I’m miserable and cold.


P.S. Don’t blame it on Canada.

Fear of forgetting

I’ve been going home every Monday afternoon for the past few weeks. Three weeks ago I returned to pick up some laundry I left to dry in the garage. I took the time to have dinner with Adrian and Danny, website like this avoid papers, condom and have my mom dye my hair back to a brown much closer to my natural color. Last week, sale I went to pick up the correct set of keys. When I left the house in a rush on Sunday, I grabbed the spare set of keys for my car. Without my apartment key, I had to make sure Isa or Adja, our other roommate, would be home so I could enter. Today I braved east bound traffic on the 10 and 60 to take my laptop in for service at Fry’s. Afterwards, I went home and fell in to my routine: take VR for a walk, have dinner and catch up on the chisme.

Last week, my mom popped in my quinceañera video. Back then, my tío Chuy had a videography business. The video begins with the information from my invitation. I forgot that I wrote a 10-line poem made up of 5 rhyming couplets. It was cute and I realized that even then I wanted to wow people with my words. There’s the standard getting ready shots. I apply some lip gloss. My mom fusses with my hair (which is funny because my mom didn’t fix my hair). From there, I’m sitting on the couch daydreaming and start thinking about growing up. The photo montage, to the tune of Boyz II Men’s “It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday” is my favorite part of the video. The strange thing of seeing those photos in succession is that I realized there were things that remained constant. My lips always stuck out and I was always with one sibling or other.

We fast-forwarded through the Mass, except for the part where my dad sang. While I knelt next to three other girls on the sanctuary in from of the altar, my father stood in a black tuxedo and sang “Quinceañera.” He seemed calm and cool, but I tried not to cry and ruin my makeup.

And even if I still felt the chills of hearing my dad sing just for me in front of a crowded church, I couldn’t remember what I was thinking. My mom asked as we watched the part of the video where we danced the waltz, “do you remember what you were thinking?”

I tried, but I couldn’t remember what it felt like to have everyone watch as you danced with 14 different boys and your dozen padrinos. I didn’t even feel like that girl was me. I assume that we’re so different, but I probably haven’t changed all that much.

I guess I write because I want to be able to look at photos or videos and remember the feeling. In the case of my quinceañera, the feeling was fantastic, but I know the almost 15-year-old girl was nervous, unsure of herself and likely trying to impress a kid in a lime green shirt.

[Note: I wrote this post early last summer. It’s been sitting in the drafts list since then.]


It’s Easter Week and as Catholics we’re supposed to go to Confession. I didn’t go, patient but here are some innocuous infractions. Committed recently or in second grade.

  1. I donated blood for the first time in a few years on Monday. My motivation? I wanted a cookie. Now I have a bruise where the needled was.
  2. I carry around a brush in my bookbag, but don’t bother to use it. I still believe combing my hair is a waste of time. Friday was the first time all week that I combed my hair.
  3. I’d rather have short hair, but el novio likes it long. To be fair, I like his hair long too.
  4. I’ve seen my roommate about 3 or 4 times in the last month. It seems that when she’s in town, I’m away and when I’m in town she’s in Costa Rica or Mexico.
  5. In second grade, I ditched a reading lesson with Mr. Cantu, the third grade teacher because I didn’t want the 3rd graders to make fun of me. I didn’t know how to use a dictionary or write cursive.
  6. I want to have a party just so I can play Ozomatli’s new album Don’t Mess With the Dragon.
  7. Since Lent began, I’ve had three dreams about eating tortillas. What should I eat to break my 40-day tortilla fast?
  8. I’ve got over 5,000 songs on my iPod, but most of the time I use it, I’m listening to podcasts. My favorites are This American Life, Latin Roll, and PRI’s The World GeoQuiz.
  9. I was really looking forward to enjoying the nice spring weather in Chicago next week, but it seems like it’ll be a cold April. Meh.
  10. I read for several hours at the Coffee Bean in Westwood last night after missing the screening of Volver on campus. Too many of the songs the baristas were playing were also on my iPod. Maybe my music taste is kinda trendy and mainstream. Oh no.