Thursday, February 26, 2009

slowly reclaiming gratefulness

In this battle between giving up and dreaming, I've been kicking myself in the balls (metaphorically) for about two days now. After talking to the ex a few days back and finding out who he's not as miserable as I wish he was. (Yeah, that sounds awful. Okay maybe I worded it wrong: after finding out he's doing better than I thought he was). He's gonna be attending his dream school: the Berklee school of music. That's awesome. Congrats. Just a few months ago we talked about how he'd no way in life afford the 200 grand or approximately whatever it costs to attend annually. His band just finished their first album, and judging from the news, they must be doing good.

It's not like other people's success undermines my own. I guess maybe it makes me reassess my success and where I am.

Not meaning to sound pompous: I could have gone to Stanford. If this guy can go to his dream school, why couldn't I go to mine? Because I didn't have the balls to, or the confidence to, mas bien. Maybe it makes things easier for him, as a citizen. But I've heard of other dreamers in great places, making it far. And this isn't to say I'm not. I got a full ride to a 4 year private Jesuit school. But it kinda eats at me three years too late thinking that I might have been there, on my way to med school if I had only applied. Especially after finding out an acquaintance was accepted to Stanford. One of those moments where it's like she got into Stanford?. I mean it's not like I'm discrediting her intelligence. It's just that she seemed the stereotypical latina on a bad road: doing shit behind her parents' back, bringing in guys into her house late at night, rebellious, and more into Banda Pachuco than AP History. I dunno. I'm being a complete asshole right now. Point being, I need to believe in myself a little more. I could've made it. And maybe (yeah this is going too far) I could've gotten a full ride there too. (I heard of a Guatemalan dreamer who made it to Stanford on a full ride, so yeah it's possible). But it's too late. Whatever. I'm here and I have to be thankful. I got everything paid for, what the hell am I bitching about?

Sorry guys. Apologies.It all spouted from resentment at the ex. Lesson learned: don't ask about how he's doing. Just wish him the best and move one. Whatever. He wants to be in a band. I want to work for the red cross or the united nations relief agency. Somehow I feel like I've got just a little more to contribute to the world. It's just hearing that he was well on his way to his dream hit me. It hit me hard. It was kind of like: What the hell am I doing with my dream? It's on hold for let's see how long. . .

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Still on the Back Burner

I don't know why I've decided to sleep in my OBAMA t-shirt tonight. I've already made the decision. Although initially I was a little disappointed because I was waiting for some kind of allusion to the DREAM act or to immigration reform somewhere. My ears perked during the education spiel. Especially when he said something about the children of America and I thought it was ever-so appropriate for us DREAMers.

(okay side note: I'm still watching the coverage and Bobby Jindal's bit is kind of painful, the guy sounds like an infomercial).

But I understand the guy already has so much heat against him, mentioning anything in regards to immigration would push buttons and probably launch jeering on national television (oh! and how annoying were the standing/applause interruptions? there were too distracting). And so the whole speech long, I didn't really feel any hope; actually I thought about how grave the whole situation is for everyone right now, for those con papeles, and those of us without: estamos fregados. From the tone and points in his speech, we've got a while before we can feel optimistic that our issues will be addressed. I didn't think health care would come before immigration. I think that's when I realized, "oh we'll be on the back burner for a bit." But then the DREAM act fits right in with the education emphasis. And since Obama's supported it before, its introduction to the senate seems appropriate, although they'll be juggling all this other stuff. I don't know, I don't know. I've got a year and half to wait it out, I tell myself. Then its researching how to blow this popsicle stand and head north to Canada. Or I was thinking of joining the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, ya que no puedo enlistarme en los Peace Corps. Yeesh, you can't even help fellow humans. Go figure.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

If it were any worse it'd be a pickle . . .

I'm still in my self-pity streak. But it's getting better! Today I had an obsession with pepinos, yes that's right cucumbers. Why? cus my neighbor was blasting some Shakira and I heard the "y ahora estas aqui, queriendo ser feliz, cuando no te importo un pepino tu destino." And I realized that perfectly summed up the way i've been feeling the last couple of days. Como que nada me importa un pepino It's almost like I like to be a downer. But only I don't, or at least I've got some sick excuse of being a realist.(Yes that's what a bonafide pessimist would say, I guess)

Anyway I met with Celina Rodriguez today because after 5 weeks I needed to get the "internship" contract papers signed. I like how she wrote down that I work 6 hours a day 3x a week so I could meet my minimum 150 hours required to get credit. Man, I'm one hard worker! hahaha. But yeah, after five weeks of being "on-air" I finally get to see the radio station. Yep, I'll be going to Frisco tomorrow at 4:20 am (No I'm not driving, she's supposed to pick me up. Yet somehow I have a gut feeling she'll leave stranded at 4 am in the morning next to the freeway waiting. Faith, though. Gotta have faith)I finally get to see what this famous radio station looks like. Oh the excitement :) Well I'm off to sleep my 5 hours.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A glimmer of hope

Good news. After my crazy pity rant yesterday, I decided to get on it and start researching plans for the summer. Gotta get beefin that resume. I e-mailed the publisher of EL OBSERVADOR, a weekly bilingual newspaper in the bay area serving Latino interests. The publisher e-mailed me back immediately (one hour later). Asked for a resume and availability for interviews.

*fingers crossed*

just when i was starting to feel like a Joe Schmoe.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Back to the Drawing Board

"You know what the number one cause of death is among people in their 20s?"
--Self Pity

Since I went 16 years without the bad news making a difference, I figured I'd continue living my life the same way. Not thinking about it. Waiting around to see if the DREAM Act gets passed, or to see if true love in the form of a raven-haired blue-eyed U.S. citizen comes along. I've never really thought of a plan B. And with less than two years till graduation, it becomes harder to think of a backup plan. In fact, I'm not even sure there is a plan in the first place. In the meantime the plan was just to graduate with a min 3.5 GPA. But that's not enough to stand out. And since I found out the truth, I've always felt like I've had to stand out even more than the rest to get noticed, to get a little credit, maybe a little slack. After all if I'm more hardworking, I'm not one of those "lazy illegals" that comes to mooch off the system. No, let me tell you, I'm a contribution to the damn system. So aside from a 3.5 I needed to get involved, get busy, a part-time job, an internship, something.

That's the ordeal. Who wants to hire me? Who'll take me in. I figured: LA RAZA. So I start contacting Spanish media (since my career goal is to be an international correspondent in Latin America, one day. . . that day seems farther away than reality sometimes). They know the situation right? I get a short-lived gig with LA ALIANZA NEWS (Good stuff, I get a few pieces published). But I need something more, I want something that'll keep me busy. And I thought I had it made when I hounded Celina Rodriguez for 4 months. First day we met she tells me: all right you can start by gathering weather reports and reading them on air. Air Time! On my first day?! Lady, I don't know anything about the radio. But I was excited, all right, now I'm plunging in, now I'll learn something. But it's become five weeks of "reporting weather on-air" via my phone in my room an hour away from the actual radio station. Yeah my voice gets broadcast; yeah people hear me and few have recognized me. But I know nothing about radio journalism. Nothing. And it isn't her fault she's ultra busy. And that's when I think, I wouldn't mind driving to San Francisco just so I could learn a few things. Oh wait, no license. Fuckin-A. I'm a bad driver as it is. But no license, that just really kills things. Because, really, that's the only thing holding me back from heading to San Francisco at 4:20 am to witness the live production of her radio show. The only thing. I'm willing to sleep 4 hours. I'm willing to spend 2 hours on the road. But I wouldn't risk it. Not with my current driving skills anyway. She said the station would move to San Jose. Soon. That was a 5 weeks ago soon. And so I look back on it, and 5 weeks of mumbling numbers and conditions over the phone, boy do I really feel accomplished. Way to stand out.

Junior year. No real experience(not to my standards, anyway). What the hell am I doing? Where am I going? What am I gonna do?

I didn't care about the money, I just wanted to "beef up my resume." Yeah but it's starting to take a toll now. I wanna stay in the Bay Area this summer to scout for more opportunities, but that means paying rent somewhere, which translates into money. And from whence shall this money come from? I don't know, I just don't know. For now I take some consolation in making sad whale sounds and bawling. Tomorrow, who knows?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Hard Truth

Unable to contain the excitement I screamed jumping up and down, like a kid demanding more cotton candy at the annual fair.
"I passed! I passed! I passed! With a 100%!!! Beat that brother!!!
My brother had not done so well on his written test during his driver's ed course, as I reminded him how exceedingly well I had done on mine.
"Mom can you take me to the DMV tomorrow? I'm gonna need my birth certificate and my social security card. Can you please find them by tomorrow?"
Mom had always kept important documents locked in a file cabinet. Half the time she couldn't even remember where she stored stuff. She stayed silent and didn't seem nearly as excited as I was. Of course this was understandable: driving would mean a new kind of freedom; and parents, well, they aren't exactly ecstatic when it's the chick's turn to leave the next.
"We can't go to the DMV, you don't have a social security card," Mom answered with a grave look on her face after a few moments of silence.
"Ok, well I'm still gonna need my birth certificate and . . . brother, do you know what else I can bring instead of my social security card? I asked carelessly throwing aside what my mom had just said thoughtlessly as if flicking a pesky mosquito or an annoying strand of hair in my face.
"You don't understand, if you don't have a social security card, you can't get your learner's permit or a license," the ever-knowing brother replied.
"What do you mean?" I didn't understand. I had just scored the highest grade in class on my driver's ed written test. How could my success and vast DMV handbook knowledge go to waste?
"You need to show proof of legal residency or citizenship to have a permit or a license issued. And we haven't become residents yet," Mom clarified.
"Oh." Bummer. Eh, no biggie, right?


No car. No certainty of college education. No guaranteed job after college (assuming I'd go to college in the first place). No ID to get a blockbuster account. No ID to watch an R-rated movie. No ID to enjoy a drink on my 21st birthday.

Like thousands of students, I am an American living in the shadows. I leave no trace in this country.

Ni de aqui ni de aya

Born in Queretaro, Mexico, I was brought to the U.S. at the age of one. Sadly I retain no early memories of the joy, pain, tragedy, or happiness of Mexican life. I grew up in the land of McDonald's the land of Chuck E. Cheese's, the land of Looney Toons. But I was always happy. Happy with my Happy Meals, happy with my pizza, happy dressing up as a witch and trick or treating on Halloween, and happy setting out milk and tamales para Santa Clos.

But I am not American. And my merits and my contributions to this society go unacknowledged. Uncared for. Unrecognized. And I'm on the verge of not caring. But that would be selfish and unfair to the 20 years of struggle that my parents have endured in bringing us to this country. Sometimes my father's voice quivers and he looks down and says, "It's my fault for bringing you here."

"I thought I could provide for you here what I couldn't in Mexico, but all that's been provided are obstacles and frustration. I'm sorry."

No Dad. I'm Sorry

I'm sorry for almost giving up. And I promise that I'll keep looking forward and give you something to be proud of, something worth those twenty years of manual labor. The DREAM act doesn't encompass the dreams of students only; with it lay the sweat and blood, the sacrifices, and the dreams of parents. And that's the reason I still care.