Monday, October 19, 2009

I Love Haters

A few weeks ago, one of my best friends at work @lucidlemon lent me a book that she really enjoyed. She mentioned it was very cute but yet naughty at times and that it made reference to the Mexican culture quite often. She also told me that she read it with a Spanish dictionary by her side as she took some lessons in highschool but she still wanted to make sure that she fully understood what all the terms meant.  Needless to say I was intrigued at that point.

It had been a while since I last picked up a novel and the title of this one immediately caught my attention. The book I am referring to is called Haters, and the author is Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez - @alisavaldes. This novel depicts the story of an adolescent girl who moves from the quaint town of Taos New Mexico to the glamorous and often plastic Orange County, in order for her dad to make a mark in the animation industry. As one could expect, once in the OC, the protagonist found some extremely beautiful and well put together girls who unfortunately had twice as much malice as they did beauty. But not all is bad - she also happens to meet an "ultra hot" guy who is gorgeous enough to soothe her frustration.

I must admit that for the most part I enjoy literary creations that are more on the girly side of things. I don't know a lot of other guys who could often find themselves roaming around the "Books For Girls" section at Chapters :) - but I know I do, and I must say I have found some treasures there lately. When it comes to Haters, my friend was absolutely right. I immediately felt immersed in the storyline as I could easily relate to the main character "Paski". Both Paski and I have experienced what it feels like to move from one city to another without knowing what to expect or what kind of people you would find there. We both have a Mexican heritage that automatically made us different from the majority - and in both of our cases it actually worked to our advantage. I could also relate to the way in which Paski interacted with her dad, as we often take the goodness of our parents for granted during adolescence.

Overall, I would seriously recommend this book to anyone who enjoys this genre of literature. It will make you reminisce of your younger years when love and lust took over your body and when bullies and popularity were on everyone's mind. I truly enjoyed Alisa's use of language as it was both comical and powerful. Also, the fact that she incorporated and exalted the Spanish language and culture in her book made me love it even more. I am very happy to see that someone as influential as Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez is making sure that our background and folkways are not forgotten or stereotyped. To sum it all up - there is no way one could hate Haters. Happy reading.


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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Is Thanksgiving really just about the turkey and the stuffing?

Celebrating the holidays with my family and loved ones has always been one of my favourite pastimes - the food, the laughter, the conversations - they all make an essential part of these wonderful gatherings. In these modern times however it so easy to forget about the true meaning behind some of these holidays, and thanksgiving is a perfect example of this.

This year, my husband @guccisimo spent almost two weeks preparing to host our first ever thanksgiving dinner at our new home and seeing him go through all the preparations for this grand celebration made me reflect upon the meaning behind the words THANKS-GIVING.. It was exciting to be a part of his journey, as he meticulously selected recipes, ingredients and decorations to honour our guests. By the way, when I say honour I truly mean it, as when it comes down to hosting a dinner party Martha Stewart has nothing on him (although I must admit that he did follow her turkey recipe this year - but let's keep that our secret).

I believe that all his efforts in hosting a dinner like this come down to two things: love and appreciation. It is easy to go through our day to day activities without ever stopping for a minute to thank life for all the wonderful people and things we have. We all have priorities and busy agendas and that's a reality of life, but don't you think that giving thanks should also be a part of our schedules? I know we all have complaints, problems, and things we wish we could change in our lives but when it comes down to it we all are fortunate to be alive in this very moment and as such we should be thankful.

In the past few years our family has started a new thanksgiving tradition. Once we all sit down at the dinner table, we ask each of our guests to share some of the things they are thankful for in their life at this time. Listening to these stories can be eye-opening, as it reminds us of the many things we take for granted the other 364 days of the year. I encourage you to try this at your own thanksgiving celebrations this year - it's a wonderful experience. Also remember to take some time each day to slow down and reflect upon the many things you have to be grateful for. I know I will.

I wish you and your family a wonderful celebration this year!

Happy Thanksgiving... or in Turkey dialect... gobble gobble :)


Here are some pictures of our table this year.





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Monday, October 5, 2009

Why Are Mexicans _________ ?

The other day I decided to go through my twitter's timeline to catch up on the recent posts from those I follow. It was then that I came across a specific tweet that disturbed me and deeply saddened me. It was posted by @cuaquilino - a twitter friend who happens to be Mexican like me. @cuaquilino's tweet is a picture of the search suggestions that come up when one types "why are Mexicans..." on Google's search bar - The suggested statements are racist and demeaning and they promote hatred amongst different nations and races. Instead of focusing on the many good things both Mexico AND Mexicans have offered to the world they portray offensive and prejudicial notions of what we as Mexicans stand for.

It is extremely distressing to realize that after so many centuries of suffering and mistreatment, the human race still chooses to segregate others based on the colour of their skin, the country they were born in, or the gender of their partner. Humans are naturally scared of those who are different from them, and that is understandable. However, we could reduce the extent of such fear by allowing ourselves to become familiar with the traditions and richness of other cultures. It will always be easier to judge one another based on stereotypical notions but it is ultimately our choice to follow the views of the majority or to take the time to develop our own.

I wonder if Google is aware of this issue? I realize that censoring Google's search results would be limiting and inappropriate - but it is terrifying to think about the consequences of having a young child or teenager enter a similar search onto their browser. Their views would be negatively biased and such preconceptions would only help to replicate the hateful views of Mexicans in generations to come.

Mexico may not be one of the wealthiest countries at this point in time but it certainly is one of the richest when it comes to culture, music, traditions, food, natural resources, and above all - its people. Mexicans are kind-hearted by nature and being described as "beaners", "brown", "dirty", or even "ugly" proves once more the lack of knowledge there is about our country.

For those of you who have never been to Mexico or if you would like to see with your own eyes what our country is truly like - watch this video:

Mexico En La Piel - YouTube

The original tweet I am referring to can be found here:

If you still think Mexicans are ugly hahaha take a look at this:

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