Archive for ‘pensamientos’

June 2, 2011

damsel in distress.

by la rebelde

HOOP SKIRTS AND TRAIN TRACKS Pictures, Images and Photos

It was a beautiful LA day.  I was sitting on the steps in front of my building, suitcase and computer bag in tow, waiting for my friend to pick me up to take me to the airport.  I’m looking kind of fly because, well, I felt kind of fly that morning.

A young Asian American woman, maybe in her early 20s, came out with the cutest little white puppy. I’ve been wanting to get a dog for a really long time, but haven’t because I travel too much.

She was taking him for a walk, but he was not on a leash.  As soon as they came out of the gate, the puppy ran, exploring everything in sight.  She ran after him.  Or more accurately, she hobbled.  She tried to run after him, but couldn’t because she was wearing some ridiculous flip-flops.  You know, the kind that certain women wear when they only want to be looked at, but not actually have to walk anywhere.  To her credit, she was still in her pajamas.  Despite her calls to it, the puppy, of course, kept running away, even out into the street.  She just kept crying, “Oh no! Oh no!” over and over again, literally pouting that the puppy did not just miraculously come back to her.

Now, I know I’m being a little judgmental, seeing as how I know nothing about this woman. She just acted so…helpless.  Maybe it was the shoes.  But hello, put the dog on a damn leash!

Suddenly five Latino men came out of nowhere.  And I do mean nowhere.  (I’d been sitting on those steps for at least 10 min and hadn’t seen anyone.)  One ran after the puppy.  A truck stopped in the street and two more got out to chase the puppy.  Another stopped the traffic.  And still another got out of his car to join the chase.

After a few minutes, the puppy came up to me and I petted it.  I begrudgingly gave it back to her.  The truck of men rolled by really slowly and gave us the up and down.

Really, guys?  Really?  I know it’s nice to help people who are in need of help.  But seriously, that damsel-in-distress thing is what gets your attention?  Disappointing.

[Image By Bluefox_09]
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May 31, 2011

dreaming in color.

by la rebelde

It’s not often that I remember my dreams.  If I do remember one when I wake up, the memory of it is gone after about an hour or so, as if it drifted out of my head while I was busy eating breakfast.  Strange.

There are some that I remember quite vividly, and can still recall them as if they were real.  One I blogged about before.  Some of my more life-like dreams have recurring characters, who are not actually in my life.  One, in particular, used to visit me often.  He is brown and beautifully sexy…and faceless.

The first time he appeared, I was 27 or 28 years old.  The dream took place far in the future and I was in the midst of an argument with my mom.  She had grown old and was suffering from some kind of illness–Alzheimer’s maybe?  We were arguing about cleaning the house, only, the house wasn’t our house.  It was my tía’s house with the 70s-style wood cabinets and copper decorations along the ceiling to compliment yellow floral wallpaper.  One minute my mom was lucid, the next she was not.  We’d just eaten canned peaches from a gigantic costco-size can and were about to put the extra in the fridge.  I took a plastic container from the cabinet.  But she started obsessively opening utensil drawers, insisting that the extra peaches should be stored there.  Before I could do anything about it, she poured the whole can of peaches into the drawer with the spoons and spatulas.  A huge drippy, sticky mess.  She went on as if it hadn’t happened.

I was upset — frustrated about the immediate situation, and scared about what was happening to her health and how we (mis ‘manitos and I) would care for her in her older age.  But I had no idea how to talk to her because she could not hear me.  Faceless brown guy swooped in, hugged me, and took me to the other room.  We sat on the couch and he held me until I calmed down.  He told me it would be okay, that he would be with me, mis ‘manitos, and my mom as we struggled through this rough part of our lives.  I remember waking up feeling like things would be okay, like all the stress in my life was surmountable because I was not alone.

He came to me several times over the next few years.  One amiga used to call him “peaches guy.”  And just this afternoon, I shared the story with a different amiga.  Feeling a little bashful and silly, I asked her, “Do you remember those dreams I used to have with the peaches guy?” I thought she could not possibly remember that. But she did.

He has not visited me in at least 5 years…until this week.

Maybe the spirits of the universe have been trying to tell me something.  This time, I guess I should pay better attention to what’s going on with me that warrants such a nice visit.

May 17, 2011

what was missing.

by la rebelde

I have been thinking a lot lately about whether and how to come back to blogging. I stopped blogging regularly because I got caught up with my pinche dissertation. It was a rough time, rougher than I ever expected. The last year of grad school was the roughest year in my life, in fact. Not that I expected it to be a walk in the park, but really, I was put through the wringer in a way one of my mentors called “unprecedented.” Back when I slumped on blog posts, a good friend reminded me that my dissertation should not take away the joy of writing and the importance of putting words on the page about things that matter. That was over two years ago.

The other day I had a writing meeting with a friend/camarada who is finishing up her own pinche dissertation. We exchanged intros to our pieces and then had a trans-pacific video chat. (Thank goodness for the internets!) She pointed out that I need to trust my story-telling voice, because it’s good. “You know, the one you write with on your blog,” she said — another reminder that story-telling is the reason I started doing this history work in the first place. I didn’t go to grad school just because I thought history is “interesting.”  I went because I believed — I still believe — that telling/knowing our stories and exposing the functions and consequences of power and imperialism are necessary for liberation.

This is where I have to begin from now on — to write from my heart, from my gut.  What was missing during the last nine months of dissertation writing was me. It’s definitely time for a comeback. Maybe here, maybe somewhere else. But it’s long overdue.

By the way, I’m glad to see that some of my favorite bloggers are still around. If any of you are still following me, know that I have kept up with your blogs even if I haven’t commented very often.

peace + love.

June 13, 2009

stream of consciousness.

by la rebelde

PERHAPS it was a series of events. I don’t think I realized what was going on—the number of things I was mulling over inside consciously…or maybe unconsciously. My amigas seemed to know what was going on with me before I did. They know when I’m off my game. And I am lucky to have them in my life.

MOURNING. A couple months ago, I thought to myself, I’m not sure that I even know how to mourn. The last time I was in Nuevo México, I spent all my time taking care of my abuelita and everyone else, that I didn’t have time to confront my own emotions about my abuelito having left this world for a better one. Now, I haven’t been a mass-going sister since I went away for college when I was 18, just 3 years after I decided not to be confirmed and 5 years after I finished my 9th year of Catholic schooling. But during many hours spent at church, at rosarios, at mass, the novena, with familia, I was reminded of the power of meditation, of praying in a way that I find healing. In the weeks following my abuelito’s passing, three of my amigas have lost close family members. Praying, thinking, talking in my thoughts with ancestors past. I am still learning.

AMIGAS.  Jennifer’s and Joseph’s wedding.  A four-day-long reunion with amigas I’ve known for ten years now (ten years!).  Good times catching up, sharing tasty meals and lots and lots of dancing!  Despite my exhaustion from driving all around LA and Bakersfield, it was refreshing. And a welcome follow-up to my trip to Austin just a few weeks before (a reunion, as well, minus the dancing). It’s not that I’d forgotten how amazing it is to be around good friends, it’s just that it has been a while since I spent time with more than one good friend at once. There’s so much that doesn’t need to be explained when you’re with friends you’ve known for so long.

MANITO D. He had been working the graveyard shift at the drugstore for a couple of months, to make up hours lost since my abuelito’s health took a turn for the worse. He experienced not one, but two, robberies at gunpoint within a month. The second one was really scary. I’m so thankful that he is okay and that he has some time off to heal and focus on himself. He told me the other day that between my abuelito’s passing and having his life threatened twice, he’s been thinking a lot about life, how precious it is, and how he doesn’t want to put off spending time with people he loves and on things that are really important to him. For me too, it is a reminder.

BABIES. Two of my closest amigas in the whole world are making new life in their wombs. They will be the first mothers among my close friends. It’s exciting! And I anticipate that it will mean big changes for our relationships as well, although I’m not sure yet what these changes will look like.

MOVING. I wrote my last post in the midst of all of these things. For a month I spent a lot of energy weighing the pros and cons of moving to small-midwestern-college-town versus staying in Los Angeles. I am not one to think quantitatively. And in the end, I realized that I could make many different lists (I am good at making lists!). I could see which list was longer. I could make a good argument for either place, arguments that would be in my best interest in one way or another. But some decisions cannot be based on lists. Three years ago, during the oral defense of my comprehensive exams, my profes asked me, at what kind of institution do you see yourself teaching when you finish? I told them it depended on what was going on in my life, that place is more important to me than the type of school, that academia alone is not going to make me happy. They were shocked that I’d said it out loud.

LOS ANGELES. I decided to stay here. I still cannot quite put all of these thoughts that I have collected over the last year or more into words. Perhaps I don’t need to. Who knows what the coming year will bring for me and my loved ones? But I have a good feeling about it!

April 24, 2009

surprise.

by la rebelde

When I first started grad school, I was one of those bright-eyed, bushy-tailed 22-year-old fresh-out-of-undergrad, annoying first-years. Not much different than the ones I have trouble connecting with now. But I was different than most in that I wasn’t excited to bury my head in books and archives. I’d decided to go to grad school because I thought it could be a way—a way that I was good at—to help make this world a better place. I believed—and still do—that one road to liberation was through learning. History was not simply “an interesting intellectual project,” as many approach it.  Rather, its connections to the present world were/are essential to making history matter—and to imagining a different, better, more just world. When I was teaching, my students challenged me on that point everyday. And while I had a deep investment in making these connections, my graduate training in a field where everyone is disciplined to worry about being “presentist”—especially women, people of color, queer folks, etc. who are more prone to such accusations—made it fairly difficult.

My experience at a small liberal arts school in the late 90s, where there were no grad students, and where struggles for Ethnic Studies—most specifically, for Asian American Studies—was a well-organized student-run project that had been maintained over decades. And it continues now. Because there were no courses, students read on their own, and led classes and discussions amongst each other. The movement for ES was based on students’ visions, which took a connection between community with the academy, along with a critical eye to privileges in their many forms, as its fundamental basis.

So it threw me for a loop the other day, when a colega of mine expressed frustration at not only the presence, but the participation, of undergraduates at a certain ES conference underway as I write this post. Colega felt that undergraduate participation lessened the rigor of her own academic experience at the conference, that panels should be reserved for graduate students and faculty. I argued that undergraduates should always be a central part of the fabric of ethnic studies, that we have much to learn from them as they do from us, that ES should be a place where we challenge these kinds of hierarchies even if we recognize that they are real and powerful.

The conversation left me pissed off and, frankly, surprised. I was surprised, not only because we actually went to the same undergrad institution, with overlapping activist friends, but because the conversation revealed to me that we have a fundamental, somewhat existential, disagreement. After all these years in the elite academic circles, you’d think I would no longer be surprised. You’d think that I would be better able to accept that not everyone comes to it with the same political and personal investments as I do. You’d think that after one of my own institutions’ programs has “reserved” one panel for graduate students to present at its 25th anniversary event, and we’d have to compete for one of four spots on that panel—another incarnation of the same logic that my colega expressed—that I would not be tripped up by the pervasiveness of elitism. I’m surprised by my own surprise, but not surprised by my disappointment. I’m not naïve. But I guess I’m still an idealist, even if a cynical one.

June 19, 2008

amazing gifts.

by la rebelde

It goes without saying, the best thing about traveling for academic purposes is rolling deep—spending time with amigas/os who live far away and reminding yourself why it is you do what you do. On the flip side, if you are a single person who lives alone and is writing a dissertation, the return to solitude can be even more pronounced—in a lonely apartment, the silence deafening. That’s why I watch so much t.v.

The last two weeks were non-stop activity— exciting, relaxing, eye-straining, mundane, frustrating, nerve-wracking, and relieving—in that order.

The bulk of it—7 days straight, in fact—was spent scoring AP exam essays in Louisville. It’s no fun, but I do it for the money—7 days work for 1 month’s rent and utilities is nothing to scoff at. But I don’t believe in AP the way the high school teachers I worked with do. They’re invested because they teach students to pass this test. Those students sometimes end up in my classroom, and oftentimes they are resistant to working on critical thinking skills. “It’s the arrogance of youth,” I’ve been told. “No, it’s not,” I’ve responded. “It’s the arrogance of privilege.” Kids who take AP classes aren’t any smarter than those who don’t. For the most part, they just went to wealthy high schools with mostly white student bodies. But I digress. Seven days spent in Louisville allowed me to refresh my knowledge of Jacksonian America and the Vietnam War. It gave me time with 2 amigas/colegas who I greatly respect. And it forced me to take some time away from my impending dissertation. I took this photo on an evening walk along the Ohio River—the historian in me couldn’t help but think of the many folks who crossed this border-river to “freedom” in the North, sort of like the Río Grande/Bravo.

Lucky for me, I spent a few days with a close amiga in Lexington before heading to Louisville. Although we speak often on the phone, it was somehow different to be in her space, to see where she goes everyday, to meet the people she spends time with. Amiga has been subletting a fabulous house from her friend who is studying away. There’s something about the character of those southern houses surrounded by greenery and flowers–the architecture, the porches, the history. It was a quaint neighborhood, where I imagine many faculty live—definitely not working-class and mostly white (I know you’re surprised about that one). We had a great time, just staying up late talking.

After Louisville, I traveled directly to the Berks conference on the History of Women. It was the first time I presented at a major conference. My amigas/colegas and I stayed with a profe who was generous enough to share his home. He and two Chicana scholars attended our panel. I looked at them the entire time I was speaking and for good reason. During the Q + A, a white man asked a question—or rather, made a comment—about my work, suggesting that I hadn’t used primary documents, that I’d relied on the work of long-established historians. This kind of comment is a straight up diss for historians. He clearly hadn’t paid attention to my talk. I responded by discussing my sources and turning the discussion more toward the difficulty of finding sources about working-class women of color—there just aren’t many out there, especially ones that were created a hundred years ago. One profe responded to his question also by challenging his assumptions. Fortunately other folks asked good questions. I was grateful that the brown folks in the audience had come to support us, and could be angry for me, for us, when I was too nervous, anxious and tired to be angry for myself.

This is how I spent the first two weeks of June. Everyday was spent with good friends—four in total. The nourishment of time spent with amigas, mentors and community was good for my soul. They are amazing gifts. And I often wish I could put all of my amigas/os, who are scattered around the globe now, in my pocket to carry with me all the time.

June 16, 2008

time.

by la rebelde

In order, left to right:
Rosa Parks (1913-2005)
Sojourner Truth (1797-1883)
Harriet Tubman (1820-1913)

I’ve been traveling again—on business…again. Except for those few days I spent with a close amiga in Lexington, I’ve been scoring AP exams and presenting at the big Women’s History conference—the one that only happens every 3 years. All of this has been exhausting and nourishing at the same time. Exhausting because I read hand written essays all day for seven days straight before flying to the conference. And nourishing because I spent the last two weeks surrounded by good friends, mentors and colleagues.

**

At the end of a long day of conferencing yesterday, I attended a panel in which the very last speaker ended her discussion with an anecdote about Rosa Parks. She mentioned how Parks had often been asked if she knew Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman (at least I think she said it was Tubman, but it was definitely someone of that time period—it was a long day!). The story stuck with me for the rest of the day. In fact, when she said it, I couldn’t hold back from expressing audible horror at the sheer ridiculousness of the situation. It’s as if abolition work and civil rights era work had been conflated in time and purpose. But I thought, maybe as a historian, I had been taking for granted the contextual specificity that has been drilled into me.

And then I remembered—this is also a common problem for high school students whose exam essays I’ve read over the last few years. They constantly collapse time when thinking about the histories of Blacks in the U.S. Some make statements that say something like “the Civil Rights movement freed the slaves,” which is, of course, wrong. I’m not saying that abolition and civil rights are not related struggles—of course they are. My concern is more that the contextual differences are not taken as seriously as they are for white history or the more traditional historical narratives that get reproduced all the time. Students don’t usually conflate the U.S. Civil War with the Vietnam War or Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Nixon—even though there are similar parallels involving imperialism and conquest (not to mention masculinity!). When the story is more explicitly about peoples of color, context seems to fall by the wayside more often. Histories of “oppression” are then relegated to a bygone era so as to relieve present-day guilt about atrocities past and present—even if present-day people are simultaneously associated with historical actors.

**

The Parks story also reminded me of an interaction I had a few weeks ago with a friend of an amiga. After we were introduced, we made polite conversation. He asked about my dissertation. I gave my usual brief description. As a Chicano who grew up in LA and who had taken Chicano Studies courses, he knew the general area my research deals with and wanted to know more. He asked me something about the transcontinental railroad—people always ask about it when I mention I study Chinese Americans, even though it’s no longer a part of my study. It’s as if Chinese Americans and transcontinental railroad are inseparable in their present-day racial imaginaries. A little bit later, we all piled in the car and headed out to grab a drink. On the way, we stopped at a nearby 7-11 because someone needed to hit up the ATM. As the rest of us waited in the car, this same dude noticed a group of teenage Asian boys hanging out nearby. “Hey! There’s a bunch of Chinese guys over there. You should interview them and ask them about the transcontinental railroad for your research. They’re all right there!”

Say what?! The TC-RR was completed almost 150 years ago! And, I don’t study the TC-RR, which I had made clear in our earlier conversation. And, those kids might not have even been Chinese. I could go on and on, but you get the point. I didn’t say anything—mostly because I was about to be stuck with this dude for the next few hours. It occurred to me—he may not have known I am Chinese (not that it should even matter). Mexicans in LA sometimes talk smack about Chinese people to me, not knowing I’m Chinese too. I’ve decided that it’s not worth explaining my identities unless I’m actually invested in the person or the conversation. This time I didn’t care. He may have been joking, but it was definitely not funny. And I knew it was about to be a long night.

**

More about the nourishing parts of my travels to come later…

May 27, 2008

got muses?

by la rebelde

An amiga recently shared with me her experience attending a creative writing workshop. Like me, she is an academic whose field of study continually recreates an investment in different kinds of objectivity—quite different from the kind of poetry and flower talk that her fellow participants discussed. They had to share poems with each other. It made me think, gosh, I’ve never written poetry—in fact, my version would probably be to write a narrative and then press the return-button at different points that looked…nice. I struggle with creativity in my writing. Creativity is not part of the standard historian training package. But how to find my own voice in my academic writing, or any writing?

My advisers have recently critiqued me for “letting historiography overpower my own voice”—as in, relying on established scholars to say what I want to say for me. I get that I should do that. In fact, I didn’t want to do that in the first place, but I thought I had to. Anyway, I’m working on developing my writing voice. I mean, I have lots of ideas that I can speak about for hours, but writing it is a different story.

At amiga’s workshop, some folks discussed how they lost their muses. According to wikipedia, in Greek mythology, muses are

“a sisterhood of goddesses or spirits, their number set at nine by Classical times, who embody the arts and inspire the creation process with their graces through remembered and improvised song and stage, writing, traditional music, and dance.”

But, in my world, is it a person, place or thing? If not a person, does it have a personality? (For some reason it conjures up memories of some movie with Sharon Stone or some other blonde actress who was supposed to be a sexy muse….but I digress.) Would a muse help one with creativity in writing—even a historian? I’m just not sure I ever had one (or many). And if I didn’t know I had one in the first place, maybe I’ve lost mine without my knowing it. And if I didn’t know I lost my muse, it may have been gone for a long, long time.

***

“I’d rather work on my dissertation, than work on this conference paper,” I told another amiga a couple weeks ago. I wasn’t kidding. I’d reached a point where I felt that writing my dissertation would somehow be easier—because there wouldn’t be the pressure of writing a concise and interesting narrative in 10 pages or less. Or maybe it was because I kept psyching myself out by focusing on the larger project instead of focusing on the 10 pages. Either way, it was not a good situation.

Later on, a third amiga popped up on my gchat to see how my paper had gone and whether I’d submitted it in to the commenter. I had. “How do you feel about it?” she asked. “It’s not my best work…but then again, maybe it is—and that’s the scary thing.”

The thing about being in the dissertation stage is that I know a whole heck of a lot of stuff. I also know good writing when I see it. The process of making my writing good? That’s a whole other story—yet to be realized. At the same time, I know my thinking is so much sharper than it was in years past—I’ve worked hard at that I’m pretty sure that my writing has improved too. But because now it’s my turn to write new stuff, this process has become a bit overwhelming.

***

The last few weeks have been a writing disaster. But not for lack of inspiration–I like my dissertation topic. For that reason, luckily, I have not stopped writing. And I have not become paralyzed by the academic banter—I refuse to. But I have potentially, unknowingly lost my muse. And if this is the case, then I need to find one (or more than one). So, queridos readers, do you have a muse? Have you ever lost your muse? How did you find it again or keep it from leaving?

May 9, 2008

not from Los Angeles.

by la rebelde

Whenever I meet new people, they inevitably ask me if I’m from Los Angeles. Of course, I am not. I tend to think that fact is fairly obvious, but maybe I’m wrong.

Most of the time people figure out that I’m not from Los Angeles because they begin the conversation assuming that I am. They want to know where in LA I grew up (they always assume it’s east of the river). That’s when I have to explain that I’m actually from Albuquerque. It may be hard to believe, but there are a lot of nuevomexicanos in Southern California. We’ve been migrating out here for centuries and the migration pattern goes the opposite direction too. My grampa talks about this all the time. Not all of us who look like Mexicans and call ourselves Mexicans historically came from the region that is now Mexico. I’m just saying.

Just a few months ago, a new acquaintance was so surprised when I said I am not from Los Angeles that she sputtered, “but you have that LA Latina look.” I remember thinking, Dang, already? I hadn’t even lived here for a year at that point! It must be your impeccable eyeliner, my amiga joked later. Very funny, funny girl, I’d responded. “What is the LA Latina look?” I asked. “Well, you know, all the LA Latinas have a little look,” the woman went on. “All the black girls in LA have a little look and all the Asian girls have a little look.” Hmm…I decided not to out myself as Chinese Am too—that might have thrown her for a loop. In case you were wondering, she was “Latina.”

In academic circles, people assume I’m from LA for three reasons: First–because where else would a Chinese American/Chicana be from? Second–because I study the histories of Chinese and Mexican people in Los Angeles. And third—because if you go to school in Tejas or the Midwest, why else would you study LA (as opposed to some city in the Midwest or Tejas)? But the truth is, I came to my project by asking a series of questions about the interrelatedness of Asian American and Chicana/o histories and how those stories took place in the context of overlapping processes of conquest/empire, questions that I have been asking since I was in college (and that was a long time ago). Those questions (and the railroad tracks) led me from Nuevo México to El Paso to Chicago to Tucson to San Diego (briefly) and finally to Los Angeles. Contrary to what some might think, I did not come here because I idealize Los Angeles’ multiracial populations or because I believe in the kind of LA/SoCal/Bay-area exceptionalism that I read about in the books and hear about time and time again in the voices of Cali brown folks who just miss their home.

I suppose it’s good for me to be able to articulate how I came to my project and my relationship to this here ciudad. Funny, when I lived in New York City, no one thought I was a (real) “New Yorker” and my mom grew up there!

May 6, 2008

on business.

by la rebelde

I’ve been away from Los Angeles for a while. All “on business” as they say. My favorite part about traveling “on business” is that I get to reconnect with friends I haven’t seen in a long time. (Obviously, “business” is not the central thing.) I’d forgotten what it was like to be around amigas/os constantly. When I was in small-midwestern-college-town, I was almost a social butterfly! I say almost because I wasn’t trying to be social—I just enjoyed hanging out with friends. It was a work-hard-play-hard kind of lifestyle—studying until 11 or 12 and hitting up my favorite lounge bar for a tequila gimlet (my favorite drink, in case you were wondering) before going home. Very different from the life I lead in LA, where amigas/os are harder to come by. Now, back in my apartment, I’m reminded of what it’s like to be alone again.

Well, I’m not completely alone, actually. My good amiga has been crashing in my study while she completes her comprehensive exams, which she has a week to do. It’s nice to know someone else is around, even if just for a few days. And just like several of my LA friends before her, she’ll be moving up north, to the bay area, in a couple weeks. I’m happy for her, but sad to see her go.

I spent this last semester exceedingly worried about my funding situation for the next school year (which also meant I put unnecessary stress on myself to write faster, but that’s another post altogether). I poured over fellowship and grant applications, hoping that I’d get one so that I could stay in Los Angeles. So that I wouldn’t have to go back to small-midwestern-college-town where white liberals abound and where I too easily fall into the (un)comfortable space of invisibility—privileged invisibility. So that I could feel more settled and postpone the inevitable academic process of uprooting my home and my life just one more year. So that I could continue getting to know the spaces and, more importantly, the communities who live in the legacy of the histories that I’m trying to learn about.

After much thought and agony—and a pile of rejection letters—I decided it would be worth taking out loans and possibly teaching so that I could stay in LA. And then I got one! I haven’t gotten the official letter yet, but I got a fellowship that will pay for my food and shelter for one more year. I should be happier than I am, because, hell, I’m a privileged-ass person in this world. But I’m anxious about what lies in store for the next year—whether I’ll find new friends and a larger community. And whether I’ll be able to bust out this pinche dissertation, so I can (hopefully?) move on to a post-doc or a job situation. I guess time will tell. In the meantime, I shall write.