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While You Were Away

Last post on this blog: May 12th

I think it was about time I put down my virtual red pen, shoved aside the text books for a moment, and sat down to write something of my own.

Summer drained me. A mere few weeks after my last entry, I plunged myself into the world of “being an art teacher”. This world demands your full load of patience, and then some. I think all teacher worlds demand this, mind you, and teachers that love what they do earned my undying admiration.

I was art teacher for a month in a summer camp. The main objective of the camp was for kids to practice their English in a fun way, they said. The art activities didn’t have to be particularly complex or farfetched, they said. What they didn’t say was:

– Kids expect innovation/newness at every single fucking turn. You can’t have them coloring paper with crayons two days in a row, they’ll go crazy!

Watercolors again!?!?!? MAN!!!!
Watercolors again!?!?!? MAN!!!!

– Art supplies are freakin’ expensive. And this particular school was very skeptical about giving me free rein of their art supplies (which are used specifically for summer camp, since they don’t have art class in the school year curriculum … those paints and glitter and glue bottles have been sitting there for years!)

– Kids can’t really be kids … they can’t run, they can’t jump, they can’t skip. Otherwise, they might fall, and godforbiftheyfallthey’ll SUE US! Jeezus! This was the attitude at te beginning of the day, at the end of it, and oh lordy lord! LUNCH TIME. Lunch.Time.Was.HELL!!!

Can't run, can't walk, can't scream, can't talk...
Can't run, can't walk, can't scream, can't talk...

– I’d be having lunch with the same group assigned to me the hour before lunch. Which meant two full hours with the same group. Which turned out to be the biggest group (20). Of 7 -9 year old BOYS. Who ate in a flash. And couldn’t go anywhere else after they ate their lunch. Guess what they did in those remaining 45 minutes. … I’ll let your imagination do the rest.

Fit this inside a small classroom. Yeah. That.
Fit this inside a small classroom. Yeah. That.

… so, by the end of June, I was happy to the point of tears that the whole ordeal was over. I remembered summer camp work quite differently. I guess different camps work different ways. Sometimes bigger IS better.

The one thing that kept me going and going and going through all those days of feeling subhuman was the notion that I was flying off to see Dad on that very last day of camp. Ohhhh, it was worth it! Thank you, Eze!

I visited Dad during a Father’s Day weekend: it was a flurry of activity, trying to make all the hours last. I’ll always say I wish I had him nearby, but after seeing him and Martha and Felipe carry on with their lives over there, I realized they’ve pretty much found their groove … even if it’s a poor groove. They’re comfy. And their house smells like wood, and apple-cinnamon, and Christmas, and home :( I wish it was nearer …


The rest of summer went by way too fast, I think. Most days were spent looking out the window, wondering why my work schedule was so funky that they always put me in during evenings or closing shifts. At least work is still going strong, and I still like it. I think, however, that I could have made better use of my time during summer, I dunno. It was over in a flash.

And now, August-December semester is here (my favorite: it’s plagued with a smattering of holidays, the occasional strike, and unexpected tropical storms and hurricanes). I’m only  taking one class, and thankfully! I thought it would be easier, but gosh, this professor is driving nails down my temper’s blackboard! I have my first test tomorrow, and for the first time in a long while, my nerves are on edge.

During this semester I’ve also gotten timidly involved in the revamping/overhaul/let’s-get-this-shit-running of … as an editor (hence, the virtual red pen). I’ve kept sewing what I sew, and then some more: I took Grandma’s sewing machine, wiped the dust and cockroach eggs off, and put it to good use. My wardrobe is growing again, thanks to this wonderful machine and the magnanimous generosity of a few friends (Maricarmen, Lynnie, thank you!).

This summer's masterpiece: McCartney & Yellow Submarine
This summer's masterpiece: McCartney & Yellow Submarine

… and now holidays are getting nearer, starting off with my favorite: Halloween … which my colleagues say won’t be my favorite no mo’ because it gets all fucked up in a jiffy at the store. I don’t doubt it: Hot Topic is one of the very few costume outlets in this island. If you can’t find your sexy fireman outfit with us, where can you? No, we don’t have sexy firemen outfits … dude, get a freaking red g-string and a heavy duty hose at Sears, jeezus!

So, catch me ‘round the bend. I’m pretty sure I’ll be covered head to toe in repurposings and hemming-ins ^_^


2008 – Un Recap

El 2008 me dejó más lecciones que muchos de los años anteriores.

A través de penas y malratos, al fin entendí que no puedo “bregar” con mi carrera. Por más que me esfuerce por retener el interés y ser la más profesional y la más “echá pa’ lante”, definitivamente estoy tratando de caber en una chaqueta que no me corresponde. A lo mejor he logrado convencer a los demás de que puedo ejercer mi profesión de manera adecuada; pero nunca logré convencerme a mí misma, que era lo más importante. Octubre 2008 marca el momento exacto en que me divorcié de mi carrera: no más tratar de ser la Super Técnica, ni ser una ejecutiva adecuada siquiera. El intento me brinda más desgracias que lo que pueda pagar un puesto de esos. En el proceso decepcioné a algunas personas; pero sé que, los que me quieran, sabrán ver el beneficio de este cambio tan espectacularmente controversial.

Actualmente estoy trabajando en Hot Topic como vendedora por el sueldo mínimo: al igual que en invierno de 1999, soy feliz en la simplicidad de mis labores. Esta vez pretendo no dejarme descarrilar por el hambre del dinero. También estoy estudiando, ésa es la prioridad actual. Lo que termine de hacer con los estudios, es mi esperanza, será a lo que me dedicaré… cuando sea grande! :-)

Estos últimos meses del 2008 fueron plácidos en el ámbito laboral; pero, como la vida nunca puede ser 100% sosegada, en mi familia las cosas se voltearon patas pa’rriba. Mi abuela visitó el hospital dos veces en dos semanas, situación en la que me ví tan involucrada – a mí misma y a mis hermanos – que no pude quedarme callada más rato y tuve que expresarlo aquí… para desagrado de par de tíos y demás familiares periferales que realmente no vienen al caso, pero que se sintieron TAN aludidos que decidieron comentar sobre un blog que en cualquier otro momento no se hubiesen dignado en leer. Hablé originalmente sobre una familia desbandada, y fue como un self-fulfilling prophecy: mis comentarios sirvieron para deshacer la madeja de familia innecesaria que nos rodeaba como satélites muertos.

Por otro lado, el núcleo también se está afectando. Éste es el detalle que todavía es relevante, el que todavía pica, el que no pienso mencionar aún. Nos ha tocado crecer, nos ha tocado revestirnos de paciencia… me ha tocado reevaluar la situación familiar, y qué hay que hacer para que esta generación Campo-Rossy no se convierta en una maldita copia de la Rossy-Stiehl. Sería muy fácil dejarlo pasar, es la inercia que nos hace gravitar hacia ese horroroso destino; pero quiero demasiado a mis hermanos, a mi madre, a mi padre, a lo que es realmente mi familia y mi templo, para dejar que eso pase.

En estos momentos difíciles, sin embargo, he encontrado que al fin tengo un propio hogar: Ezequiel, Caprica & yo. Es un comfort saber que duermo con mi hogar todas las noches. No importa los embates, el calor y el cariño que ellos me brindan es lo que recarga mis fuerzas.

También tengo que reconocer que este año he aprendido que familia no siempre es = a sangre. Poco a poco se va estableciendo mi nueva familia. Están los de siempre: papi, mami, mis hermanos … y están los de ahora: Pepe, Jose, Mari, Julio… Eze y yo llevamos ya 4 años juntos. Cuatro años que han sido suficiente para empezar a montar una tradición… a ver si la seguimos en el 2009…


In Absentia

Eze’s been away for 4 days now. It’s not much, but it feels like eternity. You know it feels like eternity when you start getting used to being by your own in the evenings and mornings. But you’re not so used that you forget that there is someone who usually comforts you when you wake up in the middle of a stormy night, ridden with nightmares about shape-shifting trees that murder people. It’s the void in the pillow next to you that hurts the most… but you’ve gone numb.

Nonetheless, I’ve kept myself mostly busy:

On Saturday I went shopping with my mother: one of the most productive shopping sessions I’ve had in my life (and I hate shopping). In the evening, I tended to the usual in Frecuencias Alternas.

On Sunday I received a visit by Alysha and Tattiana. We cooked ground meat for taquitos and I made a batch of polvorones. In the meanwhile we watched Andres López’s Pelota de Letras (a Colombian comedian and his 3-hours-long stand-up routine, very funny, but exhausting!).

Monday and Tuesday have obviously been work-days, but I’ve managed to spend the evenings in something other than moping. I’ve already finished watching season 3 of Doctor Who (which was not as tragic as the ending of season 2, but just as enjoyable). I’ve also come across a few interesting contacts, namely Rasputina‘s manager (I contacted him regarding a rumored recital to be held here in Puerto Rico in November, and as he confirmed so kindly, I took the liberty of asking about the possibility of interviewing them over the phone for Frecuencias Alternas – he hasn’t answered yet, but the exchange was interesting enough for me).

I also found out about a private animal shelter (No-Kill) in Humacao: El Faro de los Animales. They’re a non-profit organization (with no funding by the government) that’s dedicated to the care of homeless animals and the search of loving homes for them. They have a series of different programs to allow the public to participate and help as much as they can with this mission. I’m seriously considering spending at least 2 days a month in this place and help out with my time (every other saturday or some similar arrangement).

Oh … yeah, and the reason for this last discovery: I’m looking for puppy. :-) I finally feel ready to adopt a little bundle of canine love. Let’s see how soon it turns out to be.


Our Visit to San Diego – The Town

That’s better!, originally uploaded by dhevi_anais.

We got to San Diego on Tuesday (July 24th) at midnight. Ravenous, thanks to the overprice of airport food and the hairline slit of a time frame between connecting flights, we were oh-so-thankful when we realized, already in the room, that there was at least one pizzeria available for delivery until 3am. Nothing could have prepared us for the kind of yuckiness such pizza would possess: it was progressively bad as you ate it, until at the end you were only minutes away from disemboweling your disgust at the porcelain throne. Hahahah! Thankfully, the rest of the trip fared much better, food-wise.

The free breakfast was way better, as Pepe can attest! Thank you, Pepe! The offer was “Free Continental Breakfast”, and I was expecting a deluge of fruit and seeds, like a huge trail mix on a plate. I was pleased to find that they also included cereal, pastries, muffins and a small toaster oven.

The first day, we went immediately to find our feet: bought a 4-Day Tripper and saw a bit of downtown San Diego, before heading for the Zoo (I will talk at length about the Zoo on a later post). After the Zoo, we headed immediately to the convention center for Comic-Con Preview Night (I will also talk at length about the Comic-Con on a later later post). At the end of all that flurry of activity, we were tired and incredibly hungry again (the San Diego Zoo doesn’t offer a great variety of fair-priced, healthy, hearty meals … just nachos, fajitas and churros, and all of it is junk-food quality and overpriced. The convention center didn’t have any food stands open either, I think. So after some bickering and dawdling, we finally plopped our sorry and tired asses on a sports bar/restaurant named the Lobster Baja Burrito mutherfucker … No, that’s not the actual name, but it was equally long and I didn’t keep a memento to remind me. The food was yummy, fairly priced, and abundant. I was a happy camper, and I think my travel buddies were happy as well. We went to sleep full and contented.

After that, the rest of the trip was mainly about the Comic-Con. For the next couple of days, we woke up at about 7am had our Free Continental Breakfast, and headed for the convention center. On Thursday, we decided to visit the Horton Plaza, a sort of mall in a totally different style from the ones I’ve seen so far in my life and travels: it has steps and levels all over, pretty but confusing! Pepe says he visited one just like that in L.A. I wonder if that’s the ways malls are all over California…

We found another gastronomic haven at the Horton Plaza that night: the something-something Café (sorry, my memory is hideously bad when the rest of the body is taking over all the energy), which is sort of like a deli-style market with a small grill outside. We ate … a LOT. I’ll have to say: when they advertise grain bread, they DO mean grain. It was unnerving to feel thick, chewy seeds inside my sandwich. The grilled chicken alfredo pasta (cold!) was awesome, and I finally had my first Cherry Coke ever! I bought a Cherries n’ Cream soda and a canned cold “frappuccino” drink from Cinnabon for the road (they were good too!). I also tried their berry parfait: not so good.

On Friday night we took the wrong bus, ended up pretty far from the hotel, had to take a taxi all the way back. It was a creepy experience, mostly because (in the bus) I sat in front of a guy that at first sight looked all normal and primped. After a while I noticed he was laughing to himself for no apparent reason (no Bluetooth hands-free cell phone system nor headphones were on sight) and he was also sucking his thumb (a full grown man!) and fondling his own chest. Ew!!! and Weird!!! After that, I couldn’t fully gather my nerves again that night.

Saturday was the oddest day: we woke up at 3:50 to head out as early as possible to the convention center (that day the Battlestar Galactica and Heroes panels were to be held). We had the bestest of days there, topped off by a nice and cheap meal at the resident (fish) taco place: Rubio’s Mexican Grill. It was more than fairly priced, the fish taco was decent (at least) and the rest of the food was quite yummy. We visited once more before heading back home, just so you know. We even wished we had the money to bring the franchise to Puerto Rico, it would dethrone Taco Maker and Taco Bell in the bat of an eyelash.

Sunday and Monday were sort of wind-down days: Eze and I didn’t leave bed until past 9 am. Both days we totally missed breakfast hour, but bless Mari and Pepe! they brought us some breakfast to the room (talk about friendly room service!) On Sunday we ventured far into Gaslamp street and ambled into a small, posh restaurant (don’t remember the name either). The prices were a bit hefty, so I ordered a prosciutto pizza (nice! topped with red onions and goat cheese, although it irked me that they put the prosciutto in the pizza before cooking it, so the ham was sort of over-salty and chewy … a total pet peeve of mine).

On Monday, to while a bit of time away before leaving for the airport, Mari and I walked a block from the hotel to a local Salvation Army thrift shop. I left with 5 “new” shirts (of which 4 turned out to be pretty decent buys for $3.50 apiece) and a few other trinkets. We arrived at the airport at 3 pm to wait for our flight, which left at 10 pm. Pretty long wait but the San Diego airport is pretty comfy and it offers a few decent-priced options for food.

I was sad to leave, I always am. Leaving is my least favorite part of a trip. Both flights (going and coming back) were horrendous. The Economy-Class seats at Delta and US Airways are terribly uncomfortable and narrow, and damn the day they decided to start scrimping on food! Snacks and drinks at airplanes now are a joke! Even the peanuts are bad. Plus we had a small incident with one of the flight attendants from Delta. I wouldn’t bother saving a few bucks to fly with them again. It’s not worth it.

So, my take on San Diego?

A nice place to visit, it’s incredibly near to Mexico (one of the trolley lines, the Blue Line, goes all the way to Tijuana … haaa! How I would have loved to make that trip!), and it shows mainly on the food. The climate is bizarre: the sun heats you up and makes you sweat, but the breeze is chilly. I’m surprised I didn’t get sick. People there are terminally nice and customer service is incredibly great at large!

The views and the scenery are what you would expect of a city lining a docking bay: boats and seagulls abound, and sunsets are quite tranquil and pretty. Nothing much that is missing in this island, though. Only detail is that the city is cleaner and more orderly (and, of course, this being California, you have way much more chances of running into the beautiful and famous – not an exceptionally great plus to me). It’s expensive, and the people there seem to be living life much more preoccupied with how they look than with what they think. Maybe I’m mistaken, though.

I noticed two distinct social classes: the upscale rich kids, visiting Old Town for an afternoon of shopping, and the Mexicans, either obviously service workers and maids, or kids out into the other part of town that’s somewhat less refined, less touristic – the part of town I would have liked to get to know better.

Train/Trolley/Bus Station
BTW: Trains got to me. Line cars were pretty and quaint – I had never seen one in real life. But trains are something else. I had seen the Metro at NYC, which is wonderfully engrossing and I will forever be in love with it. But the train in San Diego was the first actual freight train I’ve seen in my life. I couldn’t have fathomed the length of these vehicles, and no one could have conveyed to me the attention their prescence commands … at least the attention they command from me. I’m in love with trains. That much I can say.

I’m helplessly in love with New York City, this much I could surmise by visiting yet another place that does not fulfill and does not command the heart the same way New York has.

But fun was had, the company was insurmountably great… would do it again in a heartbeat. But let me rest for a year before … the flight over there is too long and restless.

Also: I read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows during my trip: FUCK Mrs. Rowlings! I feel cheated …


San Diego Comic Con 2007 Update #1

Well, it’s official: we’ve been here for two days now, and the whole Comic Con experience has been fun, extenuating and mind-boggling.

We took our late-afternoon flight on Tuesday 24th by Delta Airlines. I have to say the seats are freakishly small. I know I’m overweight, but I’m also small-sized, which makes me an average-sized individual, and I was feeling a bit too smug in their seats. Eze was definitely tight, and Pepe and Maricarmen had more than one trouble and pain over this detail, specially considering it was two 4-hour flights (both with delays, mind you).

At our arrival (at nearly midnight) we were ravenous. Delta Airlines didn’t serve in-flight meals in any of our flights, so we had to tide our hunger over with the meager snacks they provided (plus the hideously bad coffee) and whatever snack we could chance across in between flights (which wasn’t anything considerable because the time between connecting flights was pretty limited). We ordered for pizza delivery from the Days Inn hotel we are staying in, and while it seemed an awesome idea at the moment (everything tasted like a piece of mana), it proved to be not such a sound decision the next day (indigestion and heartburn ensued).

The stay at the Days Inn includes continental breakfast, but we found it to be less composed of fruit (which is the typical meal for which the term ‘continental breakfast’ has been coined) and more composed of assorted pastries.

Yesterday (Wednesday 25th) we visited the San Diego Zoo, to later on pre-register for the Comic Con and attend Preview Night (which was like opening a fun park to a huge herd of wild children). We’ve been juicing the most out of this visit and tomorrow and Saturday will be no exception. So bear with me and my lack of blogging. As we speak, a small pain has been creeping up onto my shoulder and I really need some sleep. So I’ll have to leave it here, more as soon as I return to my blogging ways.

Thanks for reading!

Peace out!