Ojitos has nothing on baby Alessandro
I met my 3-month old nephew when I arrived in Houston last Friday. It was noon and he was still wearing his Astros pajamas (his mom is a big fan).
I sat in the backseat of Vero’s black truck with the baby. He held my finger with his tiny fist and stared at me with his huge eyes.
I fell in love.
“Who do you think he looks like,” I asked Vero.
“Oh, he’s all Julio. He has the Mosqueda lips and everything. And when he smiles, you can definitely tell he has the Mosqueda smile. All of you have that big smile,” she responded nodding toward her husband/my cousin.
“Yeah, we do. Pero siempre estamos enojados, so we don’t show it,” I joked.
I studied Alessandro’s face some more. I have no clue what Julio looked like as a baby since he’s a few years older than me and he didn’t have any baby pictures on hand. However, I did notice that Alessandro’s eyes were like Eddie’s (Julio’s younger brother) and my tía Mari’s.
I miss Alessandro already. Of course, I miss my cousin and his wife too. They’re good people and I’m grateful I’ve gotten the chance to reconnect with them in recent years.
Either I’m just clumsy, or New York hates me.
First, I hit my head while getting in to the cab. I tried not to look at it as an omen and just the result of misjudgment on my part.
Today, I smashed my finger on the gate of the elevator. It’ one of those old school elevators. It has a gate and a single door (like you’d use to open your bedroom or house). It’s a hassle, especially when you have your luggage with you.
I almost cried — form the pain, frustration and home-sickness — in the cab, but reminded myself that it would smear my mascara.
The past day and a half hasn’t been all bad. I presented a paper on UC admissions with my co-worker in a roundtable format, met up with some friends and didn’t get lost. Later, I had dinner with Sean, watched Lost and narrowly beat my host at Rock Band (actually, it was a draw, but I did beat him at the last song, Creep). I left Harlem for Union Square where the Hispanic Special Interest Group of the AERA was hosting a party. I saw friends I rarely (if ever) see at UCLA and met some new people.
I hope the next few days here are injury free.
Cross your fingers.
When I met Ojitos, I was only a few months removed from a tough breakup.
For the first few months after the breakup, I stayed away from the ex. I needed that time away from him in order to start getting over how hurt and angry I felt. It wasn’t easy.
Less than six weeks after it set in that the break up was permanent, a close mutual friend died in a tragic accident. Many of my close friends, including the ex were greatly affected by this loss. In fact, the ex was the one who informed me of our friend’s death. In that process of grieving, I needed everyone close by.
I started hanging out again with the ex as platonic friends. One evening, we had dinner with his roommates and mutual friends at their apartment. Afterward, we played Guitar Hero (I won, of course) and caught up with work and life.
Texas has been good to me.
When I left Austin Friday morning, I was still hung over from partying the night before with my friends David and Jay. By the time I got home it was close to 3 am. I didn’t get to sleep until after 4 and had to be up a few hours later to begin the 3 hour drive to Houston.
I left my hostess’ house a little after 8 and began the uneventful drive to Houston.
I was tired by the time I met up with my cousin, Julio, and his wife, Veronica. Still, I didn’t want to sleep away the afternoon. There was a museum to visit (the Museum of Natural Science) and a 3-month old baby to play with. Julio and Vero’s son, Alessandro, is one of those good babies.
On Saturday I went to a rodeo and stuck around for the Brooks & Dunn concert that evening. It was interesting. Later that evening I watched UCLA win a close game against Texas A&M. Sunday was spent relaxing with Vero’s family and having fajitas (not carne asada).
I’m off to New York in a few hours. I’m not looking forward to cooler weather, but I am looking forward to meeting up with friends.
Back in late December, I attended a UCLA basketball game with my friend Eligio at the storied Pauley Pavilion. UCLA handedly beat UC Davis. Eligio and I stayed afterward to talk to some people and try and get photos with some of the star players like Josh Shipp (junior, guard/foward) and Kevin Love (freshman, center).
UCLA plays Texas A&M tonight in the second round of the NCAA tournament. UCLA is seeded first in the West and Texas A&M is ten. From what I’ve read, the Aggies are a team with a lot of big guys who play in a physical and aggressive manner (LAT pre-game story). The game will be a challenge, but I know UCLA has a very strong team.
I packed my UCLA hoodie specifically because I wanted to represent while I was in Texas and New York during the beginning of the tournament. I may be in hostile territory right now, but I’ll proudly wear my UCLA hoodie as I explore more of Houston.