Día del Taco

I like to think that I learn something new everyday. Today was no exception. While visiting some family members visiting from Guanajuato, I asked about their weekend plans. My tía Anita, who lives in LA, told me that they’d be celebrating our tía Lola’s birthday and el Día del Taco with a taquiza. Ralph and I were confused.

Tía Anita explained that a new holiday had been declared in Mexico in honor of tacos and that tomorrow, March 31st would be the first Día del Taco. I know, I know. Mexicans are always eating tacos, so what makes March 31st different? I don’t know, but I like the fact that such a day exists.

When I got home, I googled Día del Taco and found the official website. Apparently, there’s a big party in el Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. The website (in Spanish only) is full of information on tacos and how they differ through out the 31 states in Mexico.

Sadly, I can’t truly celebrate el Día del Taco. Eating a taco means eating a tortilla and I have one more week to go before Easter. I hope you all have plenty of tacos for me. If you’re in LA and still don’t know where to find a good taco, check out Taco Hunt.

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Institute for the Frida Kahlo Obsessed

I used to have a banner for my old blog that read “Frida obsessed Chicana? Not quite.”

I made the banner to attract new readers and poke fun at the fact that many Chicanas (and Chicanos) I knew were pretty obsessed with Frida. They had t-shirts, prints of her artwork around their rooms/apartments, dressed up as her for Halloween (complete with the unibrow), watched the Salma Hayek movie over and over, and randomly talked about her and her life.

I’ve liked Frida’s work ever since I was introduced to her by my cousin Bibi in 5th or 6th grade. Bibi was a design major at San Diego State and introduced me to Chicano art. She told me about why many of Frida’s self-portraits depicted her in a state of extreme pain. By the time I went to LACMA Mexico: Splendors of 30 Centuries in 6th grade, I was aware that Diego Rivera was a womanizer and had cheated on Frida.

But I’m not obsessed. And far from it. I’m like Jake and Tezozomoc, two of the guys behind Puro Pedo Magazine. A few years ago, they started making short films under the name TJ Films. One of the first, is Institute for the Frida Kahlo Obsessed. It’s now on YouTube in an abridged version. Enjoy!

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Question of the week: Mexican weddings

On Saturday during Mike (Ralph’s brother) and Melissa’s wedding, a mariachi made up of youths from San Jose played during the reception. I sat a few seats away from Ralph’s brother-in-law, Jimmy. As the mariachi played “Guadalajara”, he noted, “this always makes me proud to be Mexican.”

I nodded. The effect of mariachi music isn’t a surge in feelings of pride. Instead, the music takes me back to the days when I used to be part of a folklórico group. I danced all the way up until I began high school and replaced ballet folkórico with marching band. I don’t regret quitting dancing, but miss it tremedously… especially when I hear a [good] live mariachi.

On Saturday afternoon, while the mariachi played, I tapped my feet along to the music and hummed the tune. I imagined myself as a 13 year old, on a stage somewhere in Southern California, surrounded by other dancers like Danny and my friends Star and Miriam. While my feet moved quickly, I smiled out at the crowd and waved my blue dress to create a blur of colorful ribbons and blue fabric.

Every time I hear the mariachis, I think, ‘my Jalisco dress and white boots still fit. I wonder where I can find some folklórico classes for adults.’

La pregunta: What’s your favorite element of the Mexican wedding?

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Una gran reflección

It was an odd question for a MySpace survey.

“Have you ever smuggled any one in to the US?”

My friend answered, “yes… seriously, we smuggled in my grandma.”

I giggled and thought, ‘haven’t all Mexicans helped someone cross the border?’ It’s like having nopales in the backyard and having a tío named Pancho. It seemed like a given.

I asked Ralph if his family had ever helped someone cross. He said no, and it made sense since he’s 3rd generation and grew up much further from the border in Fremont.

This all came up around the anniversary of the one year anniversary of the huge immigrants’ rights marches. Remember la gran marcha?

One of the things that bugged me about the reaction to the marches was how our opponents made it seem like everyone marching was an “illegal alien.” They didn’t seem to realize that thousands of those marching were not immigrants themselves and were born in the US like me and Ralph. Other critics said the marches would fuel an anti-immigrant backlash because of the national flags and the sheer number of marchers (a million in LA) crowding US city streets.

The critics and anti-immigrant pundits didn’t seem to get it. Thousands of the marchers were citizens just like them. They didn’t understand that you don’t have to be an undocumented immigrant to care about immigrants’ rights and be motivated to march in the streets. I guess for them the only reason you would do something like march is out of self-interest.

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Catharsis

“Be thankful you’re alive,” Lori wrote in a MySpace bulletin. I checked out the photo. It was the brown one in which she looks melancholy yet peaceful. It reminds me of an Elliott Smith song, “Miss Misery.”

I opened up the bulletin.

Today is a special day, it’s my grandfather, Bartolo Mosqueda’s birthday. 🙂 R.I.P grandpa….

But no seriously i’m thankful i’m alive and everyday this year, i’m just a lil bit more greatful for everything i have, and have accomplished… and on my way to accomplising. So many years have passed, but some events seem like just yesterday.

I read those words, and thought, ‘has it really been five years? Today’s not the anniversary, is it?’ I forgot the day my sister wouldn’t ever forget.

I only remembered March 23rd as my Grandpa’s birthday. He would have been 82 today. I had completely forgotten another event that occurred on March 23rd five years ago. I almost lost my sister.

It was an incredibly painful time in both of our lives. I managed to bury those memories deep inside. But like most painful memories, it doesn’t take much to take you back to that day. All I needed was a photo and those words to recall what happened on March 23rd. Today could have been different. Rather than just thinking of how much I missed my Grandpa, I could also have been thinking about how much I missed my sister.

I found myself sobbing like I had when my dad told me the news. He showed up at my apartment on a Friday evening under the guise that he had a meeting with a client in the area. He didn’t even get out of the car, but we sat in his Jeep in my apartment driveway. He began in that calm voice he reserves for the news that ends with “has passed away.” The tears rushed out uncontrollably. I sobbed and heaved and hiccupped.

I needed something else to remind me of that day. The tears weren’t enough. I went back and searched for what I had written in the old blog. I didn’t need the words to re-open the wound and make it feel fresh again, but it helped.

Lori finds catharsis in playing on the swings. I find it in writing. The words take me back to that time and remind me that it’s all in the past. There are five years after it when Lori and my family got through that difficult time and grew from the experience.

Five years. Damn.

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