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 :)

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