Monday, May 31, 2010

"All Quiet Along the Western Front"

Ce ne sont pas les ennemis, mais les amis qui condamnent l'homme a la solitude

- Milan Kundera

Lately I keep pondering what would have happened if I would have been an English and French major. I miss my French class and Mr. Tritt. The French films were the best, especially the black and white ones. His class was always philosophical, and I still have all of my work, notes, tests, worksheets from his classes - I took three with him. He was always so contemplative. So, thanks to Maria, I still have some wonderful quotes. I came across the quote above, it's quite true, especially now. Perhaps, it's not so grave as I feel it might be, I just have to look past the experience. It's in the times of solitude that life tests our strength, right?

Grenades, no man's land, machine guns, bombs, have all been going off in my head. A constant war zone, with full blown war tactics, is currently taking place. The green and paint appear everyday. Platoons begin their battle at night, unfortunately.

It's not like the war is a new concept, but lately it has felt like World War II. I just need a cease-fire to occur until finals are over. I cannot quite function, all i feel like doing is sleeping. With a billion things to finish before finals, sleeping is not an option. I had more than enough sleep this past weekend :/

I need to learn military strategy to win this war. The only books I have read regarding war are All Quite Along the Western Front (hence, the title of today's post), and Johnny Got his Gun (a great depressing book). I think I will revisit those books in summer.

I can do this.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Le Petit Prince.

I don't want to Wince the Night Away anymore.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Up Close and Personal: Ribs and Strangers

When my aunt was ready to move, i contemplated how life would be without her. I felt that if enticed her to stay in California with heavenly food, she might just stay. Scrumptious pizza, ice cream, baked goods, Italian food, Thai, nor Mexican food could compete with the dream house in another state, unfortunately. Ah, food doesn't exactly solve any problems. To my dismay months came and went, and my aunt finalized her move. She left two days after Valentine's Day.

Even after she left, I kept the food trips going. Although, they weren't as fun, as I no longer bought for two, but for one. My food adventures ceased to excite me as they did with my aunt.

I now limit my food adventures, but once in a while I still go, in memory of our food trips. Instead I have found other great accomplices to rummage the city for great food finds. But no one can take my aunt's place, she was my best friend.

Today, I decided that Joey's BBQ ribs would be a nice way to start my homework. I have heard about their delicious ribs that make your heart run - or rather stop if you consume too many. I ordered their special, a bit of everything, to go. My brother would come home later, and he sure runs an appetite (the ribs are a piece of heaven, I assure you). So I sat, and recalled a time, when I didn't need comfort food, my aunt was always my stability, my sanity, she was my best friend.

Waiting for my food, I scanned the rather large restaurant. Three parties were scattered in the rather large place. A couple, I assumed, and two different groups of friends were sitting across from me. Almost simultaneously, I heard a voice behind me order food and palpable rapid whispers from the different groups in the room. Intense eyes quickly darted behind me. Some heads completed a 180 degree turn. I diverted my attention to whoever was behind me. What could be so awesome to elicit such reaction?

A woman - although the voice had a rather masculine tone - was behind me.

She stood behind me, utterly covered in black. Nothing could be seen, but one could hear a voice, as her words came out...

can I have the...


Was I really beginning to feel uncomfortable, as the rest in the restaurant were feeling? To be fair, one of the couples seemed to be unaware of the new restaurant patron.

I should KNOW better, and so I shifted my eyes back to the rest of the people. Observing their critical gaze. The rest of the people shifted in their seats and murmured inaudible words. Whole bodies turned around to get a better view. A nudge from one person to another precipitated a turn, like a deck of cards falling.

Al this within seconds.

Our history is full of racism, and prejudice. People that dressed, looked, and talked differently from 'us' were immediately ostracized, shunned, criticized, and vilified. I can only imagine how groups, such as the Chinese, under the Chinese Exclusion Act, and others must have felt to be seen as a 'spectacle.' I am glad to live in the 21st century, but nevertheless, we encounter racism and prejudice all the same. The woman or man - although I would think the person a woman - surely must have felt the whispers and eyes boring at her back. The eerie looks and secretive whispers could make anyone feel like an outsider. Leaving the restaurant, I realized that sometimes little things have not changed. It's just hidden underneath a facade.

Up close and personal, with ribs, strangers and unexpected events, I was allowed to witness how far we have come today.

Instead of feeling sad, as I am, there must be something I could contribute for the betterment of society's racial relations. Right?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Black specks of dust settle into my shoe. I look around, pure silence. Sheer tranquility. My brother's sleep is comforting, his breathing keeps me company. Once in a while I dream fantastical dreams. Worlds of the impossible surround me. The sky comes into my room. The sky is my ceiling. I dream of gently sloping hills. I hear the willow trees gently rapping at my door.

Mexico is only next door. With butterflies that take on a Jurassic Park role. Spiny backs with yellow and gold. Hair stretching from their backs to their toes. Wings that seem of leather made. Mexico made. I can see the corn heads grow. The tinge of color taking hold.

Oh, Mexico! Waking up to the same everyday, but never quite the same.

From below you can see translucent balloons abruptly ending their fiery flight, amid the canopy line. Children take to the hills to claim a mesh of paper and wire: ah! a trophy at hand. At night you can hear the river rolling, pushing, humming like an old woman, trying to reach an end.

The smell of ocote penetrates the air. You can almost touch the smell.
Thick slabs of masa are slapped in to the metate. Sopes, the size of my head, are prepared for breakfast. Dog breakfast that is.

The fresh, pipping hot tortillas come next. A brown hand, with depressions running deep into her veins, plucks the last pumpkin flowers of summer. Different hues of yellow ooze from the tortilla. The cheese is so rich, it refuses to be white. The flower nestles in the smooth bed of cheese, both wrapped tight under warm corn tortilla sheets.


My mom comes home. The scene flees for the cover of night, leaving me alone.

Ah. I can't quite due justice to Sitala here in this blog. I'll revisit the place again, and maybe I'll be able to write a better description of how it made me feel. Nature was so powerful in Sitala - a very rural part of Mexico.


On another note: Thanks! For letting me know. You know who you are - I hope. :)