New Roads

Chevy challenges you with its slogan “Find New Roads” to find new ways to achieve the unthinkable. To develop a new route towards your destination to betterment and empowerment. The fact is, this has been the code immigrant Hispanic-Americans have been living by for decades, myself included.

I grew up in Miami in the early 90s. Memories of eating hot-dogs while listening to Oscar de Leon’s Que Bueno Baila Usted and then listening to John Mellencamp’s Small Town and eating arepas make up the environmental paradox that forms my iconic America. I’ve often struggled with the feelings of displacement that stem from emigrating before even entering kindergarten. My perception of America has been engrained in my existence prior to even living here. My first word was in English, my mother’s first car was a red 1965 Ford Mustang and my father had plans to move here even before my conception.  The fact is that Miami has been my gateway to an education. I was a citizen long before obtaining that blue passport and there is nothing more American than that.

Ode to Friendship

Friends are the true staples a girl in her thirties cannot live without. Clad in earthy neutrals the real bold statements are made by the company you keep, choose carefully.

The smell of pumpkin spice wafts in the air as daylight savings time confuses our biological clocks. It officially feels like fall, everything is changing, and we are no different. The fact is, this time of every year is my favorite. The weather agrees with me most days, as does the season’s fashion. See, while I have always adored fashion for the art that it is, I tend to be more practical in my wardrobe choices. I am rational and calculated, and my choice in friendships is no different. The women in my life are as varied as the clothing that I keep. This may seem like a haphazard comparison lacking any reflection or appreciation for their friendship, but I will ask that you reconsider. Take, for instance, what I consider to be the quintessential fall outfit for a girl in her thirties, the dress. What follows is an essential list of fall must-haves for any girl:

Shock the System

I’ve done some pretty scary things in my life. I ran off a mountain in Venezuela’s Colonia Tovar to set in motion a paragliding tour in the skies under which I was born. I’ve white water rafted down the Class IV Sarapiqui River in Costa Rica…without knowing how to swim. More than once, I have spoken in front of an audience of over 3,000 people. And while I thoroughly enjoyed the combination of adrenaline and panic, I’d never really ever been scared. I attribute this fearlessness to the upbringing I have had.

How Not to Quit Teaching

dreamstime_xl_40341016With all the buzz surrounding back to school activities this week, I have to be honest and say that there is a certain nostalgia felt in the month of August when one is no longer a teacher. True, there are things that will never be missed. For example, the muscle pain that invades your body after the first day of teaching Kindergarten, a pain that can rival fibromyalgia. Nor will I miss parents grunting below their breaths knowing full well a teacher is walking behind them, “why do teachers need so many supplies, this stuff is so expensive!” The debate that follows in your mind, “should I turn around and explain that the education system does not account for the price it costs to make my classroom functional and their child motivated, and because I am neither provided with the resources nor the salary to be able to afford it, I have to begrudgingly ask parents for it? Or, should I smile and nod?” I will not miss the fact that since it is the first day, I just smile and nod, and feel like a smaller lesser human being for it. That, I will not miss.

Camping in Parque Tayrona, Colombia

Parque Tayrona is in the Sierra Nevada, which is a 3-4 hour drive North of Cartagena. I arrive clad in brand new white sneakers and a vintage Louis Vuitton backpack in which I’m smuggling wine and Aguaardiente. I feel more than prepared for what should be a “short walk” to our accommodations. Being in good company and having done hikes before, how long could it take to hike up a few kilometers?

Introduccion a Cartagena

Pisar dentro de Cartagena de Indias, la ciudad amurallada, es ser transportado automáticamente a una época llena de ambición y posibilidad. De pronto respiras un aire salado impregnado con coco y pescado frito y no solo das  fuerzas  a tus pulmones sino a tus sueños irrealizados también. Al exhalar, el sonido de un acordeón en la lejanía le hace armonía al deambular de un caballo. Un vendedor ambulante suena como metrónomo de una canción <<Botero, Botero, Botero>> en la que todos somos participes haciéndole los acompañamientos con nuestras conversaciones plurilingües. Te sientes inseguro, y sin saber el porqué.

How To Avoid Social Suicide

I was 13 years old when the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal caused the impeachment of her husband, President Clinton, in 1998. I was just a teenager who did not fully understand the magnitude of what spousal betrayal and utter humiliation entailed. Still, I remember being in complete awe of Hillary Clinton and her decision to stay. The older I become, the more I admire her resilience. The latest of her public debacles is the court-ordered release of another batch of emails from Hillary’s private email server. Analysts nationwide have spent the past week thoroughly reading and scrutinizing tens of thousands of pages worth of emails Hillary probably never thought twice about sending. Some analysts have made predictions about what this might do to her presidential campaign, while others have used the emails to turn Hillary into the punchline of some very sour jokes. Let’s face it, warm socks and not knowing how to use a fax machine can be funny.

Impostor Syndrome

IMG_20150615_215323Meeting Judy Blume fulfills goals I did not know I had for myself, my ten year old self. And, somehow, it seems the adult in me needed to hear what she had to say even more.

Carta a un expatriado venezolano en Miami

Estimado expatriado venezolano recién llegado a Miami,
Ayer te vi. Te vi en el estadio de los Marlins, asistiendo al evento del día de herencia Venezolana. Tú no me reconociste y no te culpo. Tengo que admitir que, a veces, ni yo me reconozco. Pero, hagamos memoria a ver si te acuerdas y como cada gran historia…comenzaremos desde el principio.