Category Archives: This is How We Do It

Turning Into A Bright, Green, New Palm Tree


SInce being back home, folks always ask if I miss traveling and if I am anxious to leave LA again. I must confess, my first few days back in the States I did hyperventilate a little, because maybe Halloween costume prepping in the gritty Downtown Fashion District was not the best activity to do first.


Como la flooooor. Me as Selena at the Troubador on Halloween

There are so many great places left to see on the world, and I am not giving up on my dream of flying in the Hello Kitty plane, but my lovely and sometimes bootsy (the “B” in “bootsy” can also mean beautiful) city has a lot to offer in the way of quirky adventures and a diverse crowd of people. Outsiders think we Angelenos are obsessed with plastic surgery and offer little in the way of culture, and if you’re visiting on a vacation package that only includes celebrity home tours and nothing west of Cahuenga Blvd., then I could see why you would believe that. Quite frankly, the people who I find the most shallow and pretentious are the people who moved from tiny hellhole towns to try and make it in the entertainment industry. They like to brag about standing in line behind Ethan Hawke at Starbucks and when you invite them to an East LA taqueria they say stupid things like “Ok, but I don’t want to get beat up because I’m white.”

But where else are you going to find these babies?!


These door knocker /eye of Horus/ Illuminati earrings are my jam! I bought them at the Santee Alley from this one stall that had other fabulous, spangly and dangly earrings and nameplate necklaces. They almost reach my shoulders and make me feel as regal and majestic as Queen Nefertiti. I like to wear them with my favorite lipstick, Ruby Woo by MAC.


For the longest time I was shy when it came to wearing red lipstick for anything other than fancy occasions, and then I would stick to dark (please refer pack to Selena pic), chola burgundy reds. This shade is a keeper because it brings out my skin tone. It is also the perfect Rocky Horror red.

For today, I bid you adieu, here is what I listen to get beautified:

How can “don’t dream it, be it” not be your mantra?

I get up at 6 a.m. for my internship, so I have to bailar sin cesar.

Nico’s voice sounds like a pur.

What are your glamming out songs?

Tagged , , ,

Schrödinger Memories

I guess I should talk about my move back to El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de Los Ángeles de Porciúncula. Heck, that name reads like a blond, overly made-up character on a telenovela, but my city is deserving of such a grand epithet.

Buenos días Córdoba. The lovely Rio Suquia that flows through the city, oftentimes with a wino wandering her unkept, concrete banks.

Buenos días Córdoba. The lovely Rio Suquia that flows through the city, oftentimes with a wino wandering her unkept, concrete banks.


Had I stayed just a few months longer it would have been two years that I would have spent in Argentina. My original plan was to see how long I could stick it out in another country. It could have been six months, it could have been six years.  My existence in Argentina and my relation to LA seemed more of a Schrödinger’s Cat type of deal, where nothing happened unless I got a phone call from one of my friends. A lot was happening: my brother had a baby, one of my closest friends got married and I wasn’t  available to give the requisite drunken speech that revealed too much information on her single days. Life was passing me by because Argentina, especially sleepy little Córdoba wasn’t my place. I left without much hoopla, I am bad at saying goodbye. The last days I spent drinking mate and eating facturas with people I wanted to see for the last time.  A really neat building a block away from the apartment

A really neat building a block away from the apartment

The last few weeks Córdoba seemed less quaint and more close- minded. With every day that passed I smiled to myself that I would not have to deal with an apartment that flooded even if it rained for only 20 minutes, the loud fireworks and maybe some homemade bombs that went off as various labor unions and political organizations marched down the main avenue where we lived, and the uncomfortable stillness of feeling trapped in time. I needed to do something other than teach English, which was great for meeting new people, but paid poorly and not a longterm goal of mine.  I needed to see my friends and family before anyone died or face some other life altering event.


The lake at Parque Sarmiento

Argentina taught me some important lessons through the people that surrounded me and accepted me in their lives not as just another Yankee (as they call us folk from los Uniteds) who was going to attempt a CIA-backed golpe de estado or coup d’état. I learned how to cook some local dishes, how to throw some serious dinner parties, and how to exchange curse word laden, trucker pleasantries with even the most macho of men. On a more profound level, I learned to value interpersonal relationships over individualism. Americans take “me time” too seriously, but many of my fondest memories involve sharing some mate, a bottle of Malbec, or the asado favorite, wine with Pritty soda, but the keyword was sharing. In Argentina, it seemed nobody actually bothers to schedule in, or actually jot down time in their Google calendar to see their friends; friends just show up and a boring afternoon or evening turns into a  joke filled gossip-card game playing-counseling session that extends well past midnight. Signing up for a Saturday afternoon writing workshop meant that I probably wouldn’t go home until 3 a.m, as communal picadas were prepared and everybody pitched in for some Fernet and Coca-Cola.



My last night in Argentina I ate a choripan, which is a chorizo on French bread oozing chimichurri, all kinds of pickled veggies, and olives. By the time I had left, I had my favorite chori cart (because it had green and black olives) that was parked at the end of Parque Sarmiento, overlooking the houses of Barrio San Vicente. A good chori cart in Argentina is just as important as a good taco truck in California; a rapid, reliable late-night source of nourishment after being up in the club that stains the sidewalk with grease, assuring you that your hangover won’t be too bad the next day. It could also be a great way to earn back your calories after a workout in the park.


“There is nothing better than a good chori.”

Early in the morning the taxi drove from Córdoba Capital to the airport in the outskirts of the city; the vacant lots, and albergues transitorios (pay-by-the-hour motels, wink, wink) rolled by like a tumbleweed in a lonely cowboy song. I looked out the window as the plane flew over the imposing snow covered Andes dotted with little blue lakes, and got tossed around by a bit of turbulence as airplanes are wont to do when they are faced with the task of crossing the mountains whose white peaks are so pointy they look like they are reaching up to poke a hole in anything flying over them. I was glad to be home, as I passed blocks lined with diners, strip malls, and palm trees, and then finally into my bed. It was almost as if nothing had even happened.

My favorite song by Rodrigo El Potro

Tagged , , , , ,

“Dear White People” I have High Hopes For Y’all

I found this trailer while surfing the net and came across a blog post about Adidas’ ridiculous shackle shoes, when I came upon a link for Dear White People, a movie that should be in theaters everywhere. Now. The main characters are black, but their stories are shared in real life among other people of color.

When I was a young buffalo at SF State (far from the Ivy League halls in this trailer), I remember being bombarded by La Raza Student Organization and MEChA recruiters with material saying that we young educated Chicanos needed to stick together against the Man, and other forces undermining advancement and education for people of color. When I was coming up I never truly thought of my fellow Latinos living in the States as my brothers and sisters; as a fourth generation pocha, I didn’t grow speaking Spanish, I was never enrolled in ESL classes, and nobody in my family has a harrowing tale of almost drowning in the Rio Grande or crossing the barren Arizona desert while dodging the INS. I do not claim to be the descendent of Aztec warriors. Other Latinos with whom I had grown up seemed to share this same view with their gossiping and judging their peers for choosing school over breaking out into fights on the schoolyard. There was definitely a lack of empowering Latinos making a difference in the community whose examples I could have used against high school teachers who said we would never see the inside of a university so we might as well get someone to sign our field trip slips to visit Mount Saint Mary’s College.

Fast forward to life at SF State; unlike most college campuses across the US, my alma mater is diverse as they come and home to a lot of foreign students as well. I felt all of us were in this university thing together, all of us joined together in a caffeinated struggle to pass our classes and graduate on time while juggling internships, jobs, and sometimes children and bad relationships. I ended up joining the first Latina sorority on campus, and I can say the experience was mostly good times. For every down and informed non POC, there was always the güero who couldn’t grasp the thought that a taxi would take one look and drive off after looking at a couple of college kids trying to make it back to the dorms after a night around the Bay, and who still thought it was OK to tell my Asian friend that her Michigan accent sounded more “fresh off the boat” from mainland China. This wasn’t Jim Crow Mississippi, it was San Francisco circa 2005.

When the trailer opens, the hipster clad characters declare they are tired of Tyler Perry’s BS feel good movies that are tied to Christian propaganda. Now, I’m not going to summarize the whole trailer for you, as it is at the beginning of this post so you are going are going to have to watch it your own damn self, but it is fresh and thought provoking. The characters look like they could be from SF State, and not thugs as is the typical portrayal of black people in Hollywood. The trailer presents four students: Sam who has a radio show calling out White folks on their ignorance, Lionel who breaks a watermelon over a group of white students’ rascist gangsta party, Coco who is accused of wearing a weave, and Troy who is dating a white chick. The title is definitely getting some folk all riled up. In this modern world, we shouldn’t need a film like Dear White People, just like other educated people of color shouldn’t need to band together in sororities or MEChA, but we do. You bust that watermelon, Lionel.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Fine Tuning My Pimp Walk

Four days after surgery I was ready to put weight on my left leg and begin with physical therapy. My stitches were removed and now I have a few tiny “x” shaped scabs. After only a week I began walking home from physical therapy, though it took me about five minutes each block. What is difficult in the long 10 block trek from therapy to the apartment are the cracks in the sidewalk , the tree roots causing breaks in the sidewalk, cars who just wont slow down to let me cross, and the lack of ramps for folks on wheelchairs and hop-a-longs like myself. The ones that do exist are steep or slippery. This makes me yearn for the days when I didn’t have to negotiate with the sidewalk. Sometimes Hernan carries me when crossing streets with heavy traffic, because the folks of Cordoba don’t stop for anything, especially in the mornings. The Cordobeses tend to have a more slow and relaxed way of going about their daily lives compared to the Porteños, but maybe if they put down their mate once in a while they wouldn’t have to be in a rush to drive to work on time. I get a lot of stares from adults who will hold up traffic staring at my swollen knee, trying to figure out what happened while the light is green and other cars are honking at them to drive, yet couldn’t be bothered to hold a door open for me.  Last week while trying to open the door to enter the supermarket, a lady came and just waited impatiently right next to me as I struggled with the heavy glass and my crutches at the same time. This couldn’t be bad karma, since I have a history with crutches and always try to be courteous and hold doors open for folks when I am able-bodied. I take this as incentive to get better quickly, because crutches are annoying, and anyway I need to be completely off them by my next appointment. I remember thinking while on a high school trip to Spain, how impossible it would be to be on crutches walking old world streets with cracks and rocks in them, and now I’m doing it.

Tagged ,

You Can’t Take it With You

Hi there just got informed that I will be receiving my money for the testing days I did with the marketing company tomorrow. I also have a job interview Monday for web content editor, so cross your fingers or sacrifice a chicken in hopes that I find employment soon. The marketing company still has not made their decision yet, so put in a good word for me on that one, too. This week I gained two more English students, one chick who studies anthropology at the Universidad Nacional and some random dude who just wants to get more “edumacated”.  I’m happy with how life is flowin’ so far, but being away makes me miss my friends and a few places, sights, and smells back in California. I don’t miss my parents too much because I know they are doing fine. Aside from all the great stuff Argentina has, my nostalgia for LA and SF (where I spent 4 years of my life studying at San Francisco State University) makes me realize the minor details that it lacks.

Entonces, here are some lists that I’m glad I brought with me, stuff I miss, and stuff from here that I really enjoy.


1My selection of semi-business casual clothes that can be dressed down with a pair of jeans: I brought the basics as well as some cute tops from various sales at Urban Outfitters and other stores that are usually out of reach of my spending power. Here in Cordoba the fashion choices are limited. Every gal wears the same leather boots with the same jeans and top. Most of the clothes are expensive; some stores  charge Banana Republic prices for Forever 21 quality. There are wholesale shops on calle San Martin, but they all sell the same junk.

2. My Ipod Touch: This was a gift to replace the original Ipod I had, but was stolen in Ecuador last year. It’s a great gym companion and I can use it to Skype, and take pictures. I lost my camera this year in Mexico 😦

3. Pics of friends back home and my parents: Self explanatory, most of them are from my freshmen year at SFSU.

4. My dressy accessories: I’m not much of a posh person, so don’t think I own Cartier or diamonds or any of that jazz, but a few shiny studs or some colorful feather earrings can add flair to any boring black outfit, or for making a butchy outfit more girly. Sadly, I find most of my outfits inch towards the former. Jeans and a t shirt is not my look.

5. Computer! Duh!!! Otherwise I’d waste my pesos at the internet cafe.

6. My makeup “All I Ever Wanted” kit from Urban Outfitters: It has all the eyeshadow colors in the rainbow. I watch youtube makeup tutorials for ideas. Great for going out.

7. My knitting needles: So I can make some quick accessories. They’re not heavy and don’t take up too much luggage space.

8. My high school and university transcripts: Something tells me this will be useful for employment/legal purposes.

9.  Baby wipes by Kleenex Cottonelle: Farmacity sells baby wipes, but they do not carry the Kleenex brand, which are flushable and have a nice scent. I use them for stain removal and cleaning my hands when there is no soap and water.


1. Alfajores! My favorite are the Aguila dark chocolate with dulce de leche and Oreo. It is a chocolate dream come true, alfajores are like little round portable cakes but creamier.

2. Facturas: My favorite is the bola de fraile, a baked puff filled with custard or dulce de leche in the middle.

3. Mercado Norte: A great outdoor market for all the necessities such as fresh fruits and veggies. Here I have found some huge avocados with which to make guacamole.

4. Olives from San Marcos Sierras, a hippie pueblo that produces the best honey and olives. I can go through a jar of olives in a week.

5. Low cost allergy medicine: I stopped taking allergy meds back in the States, but here I can get 20 pills for $5, a steal!

6. Chimichurri: Hernan makes the best chimichurri, with garlic, oregano, parsley, salt, pepper, and ground aji. We put it on everything.

7. Free tango classes: Hernan and I go every Tuesday. The instructor also teaches folklor.

8. The numerous bijouteries near Plaza San Martin: For when you feel the urge to make yourself a beaded necklace or some earrings.

Anyone who knows me probably knows I miss burritos and pupusas. I also miss the beach now that it’s starting to warm up on this side of the equator. Well, that’s all for now. Have a great Thursday.


Tagged , , , , , , ,

That Cordobes Accent

People here in Córdoba have a different accent compared to the Porteños (people of Buenos Aires) who say things like “Sho me shamo”. The Cordobes accent sounds long and drawn out.  Here’s a short lesson:

No wonder it takes people 3 hours just drink some damn yerba mate.

Tagged , , ,