Archive for ‘viajes’

August 16, 2008

31.

by la rebelde


“I’m tilting! I’m tilting!” was all I could say as I gripped the handlebars of mis amigas’ lowrider…I mean, recumbent…bicycle last weekend. Tocaya jogged alongside me on the bike path as I tried to stay upright, both of us laughing our asses off. Since I never learned to ride a bike, my amazing amigas—who I’ve known since our first year of college when we were roommates in the “Latina quad”—decided they would be the patient ones who would teach me…before I turned 31 the following Monday. I’d had other lessons before. A few years ago one my colegas rented a bike for my birthday, but they didn’t have any small enough for me, so I left that parking lot with bruised shins and bruised crotch. Ay.

In the springtime before I turned 8 years old, my parents got me the best bike ever! It was pink like strawberry milk, with a white basket in front and red, pink and white tassels on the handlebars. Strawberry Shortcake—my favorite—graced the basket. I rode it up and down our street—a dirt road with a dead-end—but I was afraid to take off the training wheels. A few months later I got real sick and spent a week in the hospital. “No climbing trees, no riding bikes,” said Dr. Pinkerton who looked like the Pink Panther. “Not until we’re sure you are better.” The next summer we moved and I wasn’t allowed to ride my bike on the street because, for some reason, cholos liked to have their drug deals go down right in front of our house. And, well, I was a girl. My brothers got to explore the neighborhood in ways I never did, even though they were younger. In the meantime, I got to read books…lots of books. So I never learned to ride and Strawberry Shortcake sat, rusting in the shed out back.

Last weekend, mis amigas and I decided that if I learned to ride the recumbent, we wouldn’t have to rent one. And besides, it’s the only one mis amigas had that could adjust to my very small stature. After a brief trial run, we changed our minds and headed to the rental place where the hipster dude recommended a cute little pale blue bike—just my size.

I’m not sure how much time passed—maybe 2 or 3 hours. But I learned how to ride. I had great teachers. And while there wasn’t enough time for me to master the ability to ride in a straight line so that we could hit the bike path, I felt the wind in my hair…as I rode circles and circles in a parking lot. I almost fell off a couple times, but I never once fell on my ass!

31 is different than 30. 30 is exciting—it’s almost not even not-twenties. 31, however, is definitely, firmly in the thirties. It’s sort of anti-climactic really. But 31 is going to be a great year, I can feel it already!

* This photo was taken from Mount Tom in western Massachusetts. I don’t have a photo of the bike path, but I took this photo looking toward the bike path. I know…I really think ahead with this blog thing.
**I am, of course, reminded of Cindylu’s love for the number 31. I wonder what she will write when she turns 31.

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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.

October 16, 2007

gadget.

by la rebelde

Gadget was my first car. She was a 1989 Mercury Tracer Hatchback. Beige. I got her in college and she lasted me through my grad program in Tejas. Mi amiga used to call it “the huevo” and my gramma picked up on “the huevo” too. But Gadget was named after the girl chipmunk on the Rescue Rangers cartoon show, who could fix everything because she was bad-ass. Gadget also got her name from the Inspector Gadget show. My papá made me give Gadget to manito because he didn’t think she would make it in the upper midwest. She now lives in manito’s driveway, and has pink tires from the time he drove through some paint. Now her name is “the woop-dee.” I miss her.

* * *

So it’s been a while since I posted on the bloga. Amigas started calling me and asking what was going on with me, why I hadn’t posted and why I was never on IM anymore.

I thought it was because I was traveling. Being away threw me off for a bit because my computer time was spent on dissertation research, not on other internet-based procrastination, which is a good thing. I went to Colorado to visit my good friend from college and, lucky for me, I was able to have dinner with Lo too! (This is a photo I took in Denver.) The trip made me realize that I miss the Rocky mountains, the desert air, and the green chile–even if it’s not the same in Colorado as in Nuevo México (seriously, not the same, but close enough to last me until my next trip home). I also just miss having good friends around. Over a year into my residence in LA, and I’m still looking for community. Dang.

Anyway, I decided today that my absence from mi bloga is actually my computer’s fault. My beloved mac has my whole academic life on it. I mean, I sorta backup my stuff, but, you know, I forget sometimes…okay, a lot of times. And as I do more work toward my dissertation, I get resentful at my computer and how much I depend on it. I spend hours and hours each day looking at its screen. And quite frankly, I got tired of looking at it.

To make matters worse, while I was in Colorado, my system crashed and then the battery stopped charging. I know it’s a convenient excuse not to want to use the computer, but it pissed me off. Today I took it in, to have a “genius” give it a look over at the “genius bar”. He said it was just because the battery was totally dead. I guess I haven’t been following the rules of good battery care.

So now my computer has a fresh battery, and it’s like when we first met. I decided to give my computer the name that belonged to my first car—Gadget. Maybe I’ll be more inclined to look at Gadget, at least for my dissertation if not for my blog.

We’ll see how it goes.

***Gadget image is from here.