Thursday, March 30, 2006

Oh lord.

This week has been C-R-A-Z-Y.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Alternative Spring Break: from my journal.

I spent my spring break in Louisiana working to help out rebuild the community affected by Hurricane Katrina. It was very intense. A life-changing experience. Everything in New Orleans shouts "Katrina," and sadness is in the air. Some parts of the city are empty and lifeless. Some other parts, life the French Quater, look fine.

I kept a journal for the trip. Here are some excerpts:

DAY 1 - Sat. March 18:
It was the longest ride ever. It took 16 hrs to get here. I read a lot of my "Loving Che" book. I love it. There were many beautiful things to see when we were on the road.

DAY 2 - Sun. March 19:
If I didn't have to write this down I wouldn't know that it's Sunday. Life has been random and beautiful for the past 2 weeks.
Today has been great. I bought some postcards and a great shirt for my sis. We walked around the French Quater and it was beautiful. I took a lot of pictures.
In an art gallery, the owner was talking about some of the pieces when somehow it came out that we're here to volunteer. The expression in her face completely changed. You could see sadness and gratefulness in her eyes. I've seen that look before. In the faces of many after the earthquake in 2001.

DAY 3 - Mon. March 20:
I was ready to go out and help... after my peanut butter and jelly bagle.
I feel like I was blind to what really happened here.
This morning a lady walked by and said thank you. She lost her job and she said she was homeless last week. People on the streets were stopping by to say thank you.

Day 4 - Tues. March 21:
Today we painted a school. I got to paint the trims on a room with Megan and Derrick. Time went flying because of the good conversations.
I found out I like to be called by my last name.
New Orleans is destroyed. Some parts we drove around are completely trashed and empty.

DAY 5 - Wed. March 22:
We worked for Habitat for Humanity building a house for a family displaced by Katrina.
I'm tired. We played Tripa Chuca and spent a lot of time arguing about a line -- if it touched or didn't.
I still need the perfect photo for my poster assignment.
Hoy tome cafe del Libano.

DAY 6 - Thurs. March 23:
So crazy. I've had so much fun this week. This morning no one wanted to work. But when I started working hard I got props ("I see you, Gutierrez").
There was an article on the local newspaper about us today.
I was messing with Kerry today... almost all day. I caught her doing nothing, sittin down with her feet up in the lader and I called that "pulling a Kerry." We said she was "chillin, chillin like strawberry fillin."
Daniel reminded me how I got up to get his guacamole at Chilli's when the waitress wouldn't come. Derrick has been working on his Spanish.
[I had some sketches after this]

DAY 7 - Fri. March 24:
Last day. Loaded with emotions, amazing conversations, a beautiful sunset, and photos.
Going around the city I was overwhelmed with sadness and loneliness. Because the empty houses and torn-down dreams screamed that to me. New Orleans is destroyed and so empty.
Now, seven months after the tragedy... looks as if it happened last month.
So many people left with nothing. So many people left with no one.
I saw a piece of a china plate on the ground. A familiar object. Maybe someone's favorite.
I met Mr. Morris Jones. A photographer from New Orleans. We talked for awhile, even after they all left.
History. Life.
He called me a Godsent.

No music. No life.
New Orleans is a city of contrasts. Rich and poor, old and new, party and sorrow, life and death. The boundaries are best defined here.
We went to a park by the river. I saw the sunset and took some pics.
Daniel saw me sitting on a bench and came. We talked.
Derrick played the piano when we were back in the boat when we stayed. It was nice. I was sitting by the window watching a star and Daniel came. He's good about catching me on my quiet moments.
Somehow I ended up learning to play "Für Alice" on the piano. It felt better than just listening to it. "We're making music." Because "You can never go wrong with the white keys."
[More drawings after this]

Friday, March 17, 2006

D.C. Times: Midnight walks & eggs and toast at 2 am.

I had been in DC before. Once. I thought I liked it. But in this trip, I came to realize I love it.

I went for the 2006 NASPA conference as a MUFP. I have to admit that I'm blessed with so many different opportunities presented to me during my college years. It never crossed my mind that I'd be visiting places like I have, or meeting people like the ones that have marked my way so far, or that I would grow so much. I just never thought about it. A higher education has always meant a better life, better opportunities... I just didn't realized at what level.

When I got on the plane I couldn't stop smiling. It had been awhile since I hadn't left the state so that alone was a great deal for me. Last week I worked so hard to leave everything in order with my classes, assignments, and work, that I didn't really feel prepared for the DC experience that awaited me. On Friday I got my resume ready and some business cards (that I ended up not using because of a little mistake), I also got a list of people I needed to call when I got there. I had to call my friend Aaron, my AAUW advisors, and my cousins. I didn't have my cousin's number, so I sent her an email when I got there asking her to call me, and she did. So we got together on Wednesday.

Overall I had an amazing time. I took so many photos and met so many wonderful people... and saw so much.

I keep telling my friend Erin that we needed to make the most out of time there. And we did. We left all the sleeping for when we got back to AR. We rode the metro so much we became pros at it. The last time we took it to the airport we didn't even have to look at the map!

We found this nice cafe near the hotel, Open City Cafe... we liked it cause it was open until 2 am everyday. We ended up there after a night of sight seeing and a little rain. I think that was Monday. In the intent of not being cheated by my memory, I wrote down little outlines for everyday that I spent in DC. I know someday I'll look back and smile when I see little notes like "Had day planned. Full of workshops," "A little rest," "Look out the window until I saw nothing but clouds," or "Great food. Great talk." This is why I have a blog. I write to not forget little things in this journey of mine. I should write it down on paper... but I guess this is how my generation does it.

I got to go to some really great workshops. The one that I liked the best were the ones sponsored by the NASPA Women's Center. I got to meet Jehmu Greene, from Rock the Vote and Michele Wetherald, AAUW's president. I also met my advisors for the SAC, Mariama and Greta.

I got to walk in DC. I walked a lot. My feet still hurt. It didn't help that I had to wear "grown-up shoes," as Erin called them, for the conference. I took with me two pairs of shoes, but I had to take a quick trip to payless to get another pair... just so at the end my feet would end up hurting in three different places. That wasn't pretty.

But at night, when I got to wear my sneakers, it was all good. Nights were the best. I don't think I ever got to the room before 1 am. There was one night that we were standing in front of the Lincoln memorial at midnight, taking pictures. Oh, I took so many pictures.

Something that help my city-soul was the metro station right across the street from the hotel. Did I mention we became pros at it?! It was awesome. It was clean, also.

I saw my friend Aaron. I hadn't seen him since 2001 after graduation. It had been too long. We talk on the phone all the time, but seeing him was almost surreal. He's a little chubbier than I remember. I bet he thought the same of me.

And my family... Oh we had fun! I got to finally meet my two cousins Carmen Elena and Karla and my tia Maya. It almost felt like I had known them from long ago. We called my dad. I got to talk to him for a minute and Karla talked to him in German... I just know they were talking about tamales... I know I heard the word "tamal."

This is not the last I write about DC, but for now it is. I have to go home and pack for Alternative Spring Break in New Orleans. I hope I get to see my friend, Ryan.

My photoblog will soon be filled with DC shots. These are just some of my favorite:

This is Erin and me in Chinatown after having some really good Chinese food :)

The entrance of the Kennedy Center... that night was one of the highlights of the trip.

The view from the top of the Kennedy Center... how can someone not fall in love with that view?!

This is during Jehmu Greene's talk. She's joining Project Vote soon.

Me... outside the Gallery Pl/Chinatown metro station.

Me and Aaron waiting for the metro before saying good-bye.

My primas and me!!! That's Karla and Carmen Elena. We were at Karla's studio apartment.

Las tres mosqueteras! That's Carmen, tia Mayamerica, and Karlisima.

That's me and Carmen!!! By the way, Carmen... I'm waiting for the email about Daniela!

Karla and me... outside Union Station. It was windy :)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Oh my city-soul!

I just got back from Washington DC. My heart is filled with joy... I have so much to write here. I feel like this:

This is outside Union Station, Washington DC. Earlier today.

Friday, March 10, 2006

I'm getting old!!!!!!!

TO ME!!!!!!!! In one of the longest weeks EVER!!!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Something Red

I had coffee with a friend today. I love coffee with friends.

We talked a lot. About so many things. It was nice. We talked about art... and life. Oh, art is life.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

And the other two Bs made it to Foster City!

I hate FedEx.

I don't care that they have one of the most talked-about logos, I will never send anything through FedEx again. The Two Bs made it to CA yesterday, the painting was safe and everything seems to be ok, (THANK YOU MARIA!) But the painting was supposed to be there on TUESDAY!

Bunch of liars.

I'm in peace now, though. I've been with my corazón en la mano since I sent the painting. I'm glad that it made it.

And well, I'm talking about making it to the "Las Mujeres" art exhibit at the Galeria Tonantzin in San Juan Bautista, CA. Thanks to my friend Maria Sanchez, one of my paintings is in exhibit now. The reception is on March 11th (the day after my bday!) so if you're in the area you should go :)

"The Two Berthas"
Las Mujeres Exhibit
Galeria Tonantzin
San Juan Bautista, CA
For sale

Friday, March 03, 2006

That card...

(This was on Wednesday)
During the critique on my 3-D design class (the one for the "box as a metaphor of self" assignment) something happened. Something weird.

One of the boxes had a stack of tarot cards and the girl said that she was interested in that, that it was fun. Well... when we were passing the box around for everyone to see (cause it was not very big) it got to me and I don't know why but I decided to take just half the stack of cards to see what card I'd get (cause she said that it just happened that when she did that the card on top was "the lovers" and that it fit her box because her box was in the shape of a heart)... well I got a creepy card. It didn't say anything, most of the other ones had titles or something, but no the one I got... nooooooooooo, it had to be something that'd get under my skin. It was a lady that was blind folded and was tied around with something that looked like fabric, she was surrounded by 8 swords. When I did that I looked at my friend next to me and said "well, that doesn't look good" and she looked at me funny. When the other girl got to her sit I asked her what it meant (I had kept the card) and she just looked at me and said "That's not a good card." Of course that scared me out a little, my friend was giggling... I bet it was because of the expression on my face.

I don't even want to know what it means.

But my car broke down yesterday.