Friday, July 10, 2009

Entitled

Today I thought I would explain the new title of my blog, Estefanie que fue Espana. It happened when I was walking and talking with my friend Suria on our lunchbreak from school. Her and I were off the same time on Mondays and Tuesdays at our university in Getafe and would often eat and study together. Suria is honestly one of the most fascinating people that I know. I loved spending time with her in Spain because I never knew (nor did anyone else) what she would say or do next. She isn't wildly energetic or scattered, she is simply a unique being.

So there we were, walking under the spring blossoms of the Carlos III campus, when she told me about the titles.

"Everyone in the mexican community has a title. Like, you know, they always call me Suria la estudiante"

Suria la estudiante lives in a mexican neighborhood in Riverside and goes to UCR. Being a first generation US citizen and one of the few college students, this title is apparently stuck to her like glue. Everyone else in the community also has a nickname. All who are fat are tagged with "el gordo", single moms are "la soltera" and so on. Everyone is labeled and has a role, as if they were putting on a play.

"But I hate it. I absolutely hate it," she tells me. I asked her why, and found out some change was in store for her. "Because when I go back, I will no longer be Suria la estudiante. I will be Suria que fue Espana. And sometimes, you know, I just want to be Suria"

I smiled at that. After all, we all understand the need for individuality. But I was fascinated by this labeling phenomenon. Being very well-read, I knew that many cultures stick tags onto people's names but I had somehow missed that this was extremely common for Mexicans. I wondered what my name would be. So far, I am in the same boat as Suria. Suria, who would listen to her iPod with the ten songs on it even at her favorite bar, Chapandaz. Suria who bought all the women in her family rosaries in Vatican City. Suria who is so many things and doesn't want to be summed up in a few words. But I can't really hide my delight. All of us, the Getafe crew and the rest of the brats, are all somebody que fue Espana.

Which, by the way, means "went to Spain". I am happy, estoy contenta, to let that define me. And now, Estefanie que fue Espana va a dormir un poquito porque tengo que preparar para mis vacaciones de acampar en Mammoth :)

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Happy Birthdayness

I want to wish a happy birthday to my beautiful cousin Allison, aka Alli the Dink! Click here to read her spunky fun shabby-chic blog:

http://www.alittleshabbyalwayschic.blogspot.com/

:)

Monday, July 06, 2009

The Zahir, and other fine subjects

Last week I finished reading Paulo Coelho's The Zahir, which I bought at Casa del Libro on Gran Via before I left Madrid. I have discovered that I like to linger over Mr. Coelho's books, because they are truly works of art. He has a beautiful mind and a way with words that spins stories of suspense, depth and insight. The Zahir intrigued me for many reasons. It is about a famous author whose wife suddenly disappears, and the long journey that brings him back to her. Curiously, this distracted and worldly man writes about spirituality, which is precisely what his wife saw that he lacked. While he wrote about love and a deeper connection with a central energy/idea of God, his marriage didn't measure up. I think this is a very interesting take on novel writing, to pen a man's journey back to the woman he loves. To discover why he loves her in the first place, and what it will take to unite them geographically and emotionally. The ending also got me thinking. Information revealed on the final page should leave the reader feeling sad for this man, and yet I put down the book feeling inspired. It took me a while, but I figured out why. The novel had begun with emptiness and confusion, and ended with love. Simply, purely love. So it doesn't matter that the ending wasn't ideal for our fine gentleman. What matters is that the surprise revealed on the final page is one of Love. The more I thought about it, the more appropriate it became. Paulo Coelho frequently writes about the importance of Love. Singular, all-encompassing, and unconditional. The pages of The Zahir are filled with our main character trying to funnel and simplify his life into what he has discovered is most important to him: his ability to love another with his entire self. Well everyone, it's on my shelf if you would like to borrow it!

Although my free time lately has been a little tight, I have of course begun a new book. The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver. My AP Literature teacher in high school, the famous Connie Cutler, told us quite a few times that this was one of her most favorite novels. I trust her taste in books (even though she doesn't love Jude the Obscure as much as I do), so I hope it's a good one. Kingsolver is still setting the scene, I'm only on page 50 or so, but it's promising to be a great read. I frequently crack it open on my breaks at work. On that subject, lately I feel as if I should pick out some bedding at Target and set up camp behind my register. My life is eat sleep Target, repeat! I am thankful for the hours and enjoy my job so much... but man oh man, my feet hurt and sometimes I want to raise an evil eyebrow when I hear, "what do you mean my card was declined?!" Most of the time, and by that I mean 99% of the time, it's all fun. I see people I know, I talk to people and learn about all kinds of different things. Retail is what you make of it!

An exciting moment I had today was when one of my supervisors, Erlyn, frantically called at me to come to a different register. When I arrived, she was waiting for me to translate for a customer! Yay, I got to use my Spanish. The woman had 2 products and wanted to know if they were the same or what the differences were between them. It was an electronics product, so I had fun figuring out that one in my head! She made no big deal about my bilingual abilities- but my supervisors did! I thought Erlyn was going to break out into song about me being able to speak Spanish. I remember the day I told her, just a simple "by the way" comment so she would know if she ever needed help with a customer. So excited she was! And it truly is exciting and wonderful, and a gift to be able to speak another language. I can literally communicate with millions more people than someone who speaks only English. I think about all of the people I spoke with in Spain, and now beginning here and it makes me realize what a huge impact this knowledge has on my life. Es un regalito que ha majorado mi vida para siempre, no? ;)

Tomorrow is day 7 of my 9 days of working, and sleep is needed. Time to round up the puppies and pile us all into my bed - goodnight, blogland readers.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Home 1 month

Has it really been a whole month? It's all gone by in a flash. So many things, so many thoughts. Here are some of the brief highlights:

- I scored a job at Target as a cashier, which is really fun. I really love interacting with people, which makes being at the front a great position for me. And since it is Target, I get to see people I know all the time. Let's see, I'm in my third week, let's see if I can remember everyone I have run into... Mom, Grandma, Joni Sanchez, Nancy Benson, that nice lady from church and her granddaughter, Lauren & Jourdan Wardlaw, Ashley, Michelle, Lauren & Tannis, a couple random people from high school, CarolAnn & her boyfriend.

- On the same day that Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson died last week, Sean and I went to a Third Eye Blind concert in Hollywood. Turns out MJ had a huge impact on the career of the lead singer, so they did a cool tribute to him at the end with "Give me one more chance"

- Sean and I celebrated our 10 month-aversary that night! We've been "together" in terms of location for about 2 of those months. Well, love knows no boundaries does it?

- MY GRANDPARENTS BOUGHT ME A CAR! Yes, I wrote this in my last post. But it's still amazing and I'm still excited. Sean brought me a cute stuffed hootie for my back window, and I put some mardi gras beads on my rearview mirror. Pimpage: complete.

- Read another amazing book by Paulo Coelho: The Zahir

- Culture Shock!!!


It's been wonderful and strange to be back home. There have definitely been a few moments where I have thought, "but in Spain..." The first time I really felt it was a week after I had gotten home. The fam, Sean, Tyler and I went to the Balloon and Wine festival and I felt very awkward around the people at the event. Here I was, fresh from beautiful Spain where people always look their best and wear scarves and such, and.... pot bellies and SKIN hoodies? Tramp stamps and platform flip flops? Boobs served up on a waterbra platter? The hamburgers and hanging out at the Herrick's trailer were the best, it was just the people... where do they come from?? Somewhere along the way I became a judgemental Spaniard. Currently in the process of reversing that, while holding onto my own higher expectations of myself. Like all the trendy self-help books will say: Balance.

Work has been a really great way for me to "get back into the swing of things," the swing of things being returning once again to Temecula. I absolutely love to work and have a job (my parents might find this amazing since I don't always enjoy doing "work" around the house like cleaning my room. Well, if I knew how to explain that one I could probably just write my book and make my millions already). So, work is great. My supervisors are really spunky and sweet which makes life dandy. After I had been there only a week, one supervisor asked me if I had ever considered moving up in the company. Shock! They must like me ;) Well, I can't say I have ever thought about a career in retail. No honest work is beneath me, but I had this dream when I was in high school. That I would go to a great school like UC Davis and have options to be brilliant. I could be a brilliant retailer, but... eh, not my thing. I enjoy bagging groceries, but when my time comes, I'll leave Target and some other punk student can take my place, a'la circle of life.

Speaking of work, I have stories. Oh, what a comical job it can be if you just SEE the comedy! The other day, a little old lady came to my register. I rug up paper towels...boring...cat food....that cat will EAT you when you die.... and KY JELLY! It was difficult not to giggle or say anything. But you know, us Chi Omegas are composed and professional when the situation asks. It's funny, I told this story on Facebook and a friend of mine thought it was so great, she told the other ladies in her office. The older ones thought it was great, but the younger ones were grossed out. I say, you go granny! We should all hope to be so spunky in our ancient days ahead ;)

How about some everyday stuff? Tomorrow when I wake up I am going to take Darcy and Ava (the puppies) on a long walk then go to work. Afterwards, I get to see my great friend Lyn-Marie who recently got a job with Rock & Republic and moved to Brea. Watch out world, this girl is a *firecracker*