Search Results for miami

Lana del Rey – Is she Latina?

Apparently Lana del Rey is the hot thing right now, and her popularity began some time last year – but I had no clue who she was until a couple weeks ago.

I don’t listen to music in English even half as much as I listen to music in Spanish – so that might be why Lana flew under my radar for so long, and she would have continued to remain unknown to me if it weren’t for these terrible headaches I’ve been getting.

These particular headaches aren’t anything to fool around with – I can’t just take Tylenol and carry on as I usually do – and by “carry on as I usually do”, I mean playing Pitbull full blast for at least some portion of my day.

Well, I can’t manage with no music at all and so I decided I needed a temporary replacement for Pitbull, Reggaeton, Norteños, and all the other typically loud-ish music I listen to. One day, with a headache building, I flipped through the satellite radio channels and impatiently stopped on some sort of “coffeehouse” station – I ended up leaving it on the entire week. The music was calm, didn’t distract me from my work and some of the songs they repeated often began to grow on me.

Then one day, this song began to play and I stopped mid-typing, completely absorbed in the hauntingly beautiful music and the singer’s voice.

I rushed to find out the name of the singer and the song, which turned out to be “Video Games” by Lana del Rey. I laughed to myself, seeing the name. Leave it to me to find the only Latina on the coffeehouse station, but when I looked up the artist to find out more about her, I found a number of things I didn’t expect.

First of all, she’s highly controversial for a multitude of reasons. (See here, and here, and over here…Okay, and here too.)

The other thing I found out? While her exact heritage isn’t publicly known, Lana most likely isn’t Latina. Born Elizabeth Woolridge Grant, her birth name suggests Anglo ancestry, (though one never knows whose hiding in the family tree.) The Spanish-sounding “Lana del Rey” is just a stage name which some say was concocted from the name of movie star Lana Turner and the Ford Del Rey automobile. Lana tells a different story…

“I wanted a name I could shape the music towards [...] I was going to Miami quite a lot at the time, speaking a lot of Spanish with my friends from Cuba – Lana Del Rey reminded us of the glamour of the seaside. It sounded gorgeous coming off the tip of the tongue.” – Source: Vogue magazine interview

Despite the various controversies over everything from her authenticity to her plump lips, I can’t help but like the girl based on her voice alone. As for Lana/Elizabeth using a Spanish name for her public persona, who am I to judge? If I hadn’t married a Mr. López, maybe I’d have changed my name to Tracy del Rey by now. Is it not one’s prerogative to call themselves whatever they please? What do you think?

Resolutions + Perspective

I don’t really do New Year’s resolutions, but this year it became a time of self-examination and a clear starting point to make some changes. The changes I’ve made have been a long time coming – some once, (or many times), attempted and abandoned, others have been bouncing around in my head waiting for me to give them importance – still others have only come to me recently, as if they knew now was the moment I would welcome them.

I don’t like to call them “goals” or “resolutions” because I prefer to think I spend every day of my life stepping toward the self-actualized version of myself – Admittedly it’s a two steps adelante and one step atrás sort of thing.

Like many others, one of my “resolutions” (for want of a better word), is to take my health more seriously. I’m starting to feel my age and that – even more than wanting to look like a bikini chica in a Pitbull video, may be enough to scare me straight. My back hurts when I wake up. My knees ache when it rains. It’s too early to consider retiring to Miami so maybe, just maybe, I need to put down the Bubu Lubus.

When my dedication to working towards these “resolutions” wavers, (as it always does), I need to try to remember that my “problem” – my “struggle” – is only difficult from my perspective.

Think about this with me. Think about the ridiculousness of the challenges we face. Some common complaints:

• Food is too accessible and abundant. I can’t get away from the temptations.
• It’s too cold out so I can’t [leave the warmth of my house to] get some exercise.
• I’ve become bored with my workout. I don’t feel motivated.
• Food blogs tempt me with delicious photos of flan and burritos.

(Okay, that last complaint is mine.)

These are what you call “first world problems.” If you just shift your perspective, you may start to laugh at the once mountainous obstacles that seemed insurmountable.

This should shift your perspective. I took this photo in El Salvador – but what does it have to do with anything I’m talking about here? Let me explain.

While we were in El Salvador we went to visit family in Chalatenango. It was a long drive from San Salvador in an unairconditioned microbus. On the way back to the city, the traffic became thick. We shoved at the already open windows to let more air into the vehicle which now moved at a crawl. We fanned ourselves, watched beads of sweat roll down the sides of each others’ faces.

At some point, we came to a stop in front of a public well just off the highway. There I watched women and children washing laundry and scooping water over their heads – bathing fully-clothed with no privacy. I tried not to stare, didn’t want them to feel self-conscious, but Salvadorans are famous starers and I was probably the only one on the highway trying to watch without being obvious about it.

The laundry now heavy and wet, was put back into large plastic tubs, balanced on sturdy heads, and walked home, who knows how far, to be hung to dry.

…Something to remember next time taking a walk around my quiet suburban neighborhood seems too difficult.

Where is the Latino Cosby Show?

As I’ve mentioned before, I Love Lucy is something my entire family loves and it is one of the rare shows I watch on a near daily basis. Some may think I started watching I Love Lucy because it’s about a Latino married to a gringa but I’ve been watching it since I was a little girl, which makes me wonder if it had some hand in the destiny I pursued.

After I got married, I Love Lucy took on new meaning to me, and it was one of the first shows I introduced Carlos to. Surprisingly, he never saw it in El Salvador, although they had a dubbed version of everything from Friends, Saved By the Bell, and Golden Girls to Smurfs, Beverly Hills 90210, Dukes of Hazzard and MacGyver.

As I watch this show with my boys, sometimes I forget that our sons are growing up in a household similar to the one on the screen – similar to the one “Little Ricky” grew up in – bicultural, bilingual, Spanish-speaking father and an Anglo mother. It doesn’t matter how often I watch and re-watch I Love Lucy, I never quite get over how completely ahead of their time they were. It’s strange to me that my boys can’t fully relate to any characters on today’s TV shows, yet they can relate to I Love Lucy which aired in the 1950′s.

Where are today’s bicultural, bilingual, Spanglish speaking characters? There definitely aren’t enough. I’ll admit that children’s programming has come a long way and Latinos are well-represented in cartoons, but my boys aren’t exactly Dora the Explorer’s target audience anymore. Mun2 and Tr3s, likewise, have done an amazing job with bilingual shows like RPM Miami and Quiero Mi Boda, but the themes are much too mature for adolescents. Where is the programming for the modern familia Latina? Where is the show that will do for Latinos what The Cosby Show did for blacks? Where are the sitcoms for families like us, or are we supposed to be content with re-runs of The George Lopez show?

Until then, I Love Lucy makes us feel that we are normal, at least as much as a bicultural, bilingual household can be.

T-Pain Microphone – Giveaway!

Okay, if you don’t listen to hip-hop/rap/popular music, you might not know who T-Pain is – so let me introduce you.

This is a photo I took of T-Pain and Pitbull on the red carpet at the 2011 Latin Billboard Awards in Miami

T-Pain is an American hip-hop artist who developed a unique sound and style by consistently using and thus popularizing “auto tuning.” Auto-tuning is basically an audio process which corrects pitch. Auto-tune has taken a lot of criticism from musicians and music fans alike because when abused, it can make even a talentless average-sounding pop singer sound good. While that’s totally true, I think it has its place in the industry.

Here’s T-Pain singing with our favorite naughty Cubano, Pitbull, so you can hear the “T-Pain effect”:

As T-Pain grew in popularity so did auto-tuning. In response to that interest, T-Pain first created an i-phone app that let’s you play with the effect. If you don’t have an i-phone – no worries. Now T-Pain has also created an auto-tune microphone.

K-Mart is selling the microphone and featuring it as one of their “Fab 15 toys” for the holidays with Modern Family actor, Rico Rodriguez.

My boys and I got to play with this toy the past few days, (much to Carlos’s annoyance.) I’m actually impressed with the features. You can record with it, (3 minutes of recording time), and then upload it to the internet via a USB hidden in the bottom of the microphone. The microphone also has a headphone jack, MP3 input and 3 original beats to play around with. Chécalo:

Think it looks fun? You’re in luck – I am giving away one I Am T-Pain™ Mic! Check out the giveaway below!

GIVEAWAY DETAILS

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THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED. CONGRATS TO OUR WINNER: Denisse!
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Prize description: “Experience the pop culture phenomenon of the T-Pain Effect™ with the I Am T-Pain™ Mic. Transform your voice into T-Pain’s style of singing with a press of a button. Sing to your favorite tracks, freestyle over exclusive beats, and upload beats from your computer to the mic. Record, save and share online with friends.” Approximate value: $39.99.

How to Enter:

Just leave a comment below telling me what song you’d want to sing into the microphone! (It doesn’t have to be a T-Pain song!) (Please read official rules below.)

Official Rules: No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years of age or older to enter. You must be able to provide a U.S. address for prize shipment. Your name and address will only be shared with the company in charge of prize fulfillment. Please no P.O. Boxes. One entry per household. Make sure that you enter a valid E-mail address in the E-mail address field so you can be contacted if you win. Winner will be selected at random. Winner has 48 hours to respond. After 48 hours, a new winner will be selected at random. Giveaway entries are being accepted between October 17th, 2011 through October 25th, 2011. Entries received after October 25th, 2011 at 11:59 pm, will not be considered. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. If you win, by accepting the prize, you are agreeing that Latinaish.com assumes no liability for damages of any kind. By entering your name below you are agreeing to these Official Rules. Void where prohibited by law.

Disclosure: I received this product for review purposes. No other compensation was given. As always, all opinions are my own.

New Here?

If you’re new here, mucho gusto. Encantada. (Nice to meet you.)

I thought this FAQ might be a good way to get acquainted. These are answers to questions people often E-mail me upon discovering Latinaish.com, as well as some links to related posts. (Click the questions for the answers.)

LATINAISH.com FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Who are you?

What does Latinaish mean?

Why did you refer to yourself as “Señora López” when you first started this blog?

Why did you go public?

So, your suegra… She lives with you for reals?

Do you have any mother-in-law advice?

How did you and Carlos meet?

Where is your husband from?

Have you been to El Salvador?

If your husband is Salvadoran, why do you use Mexican slang/talk about Mexico?

So, are Latin men really possessive and jealous?

Is an inter-racial/inter-cultural marriage difficult?

My husband is undocumented. Do you have any immigration advice?

What are some of the things I’ll find on Latinaish.com?

What events have you been invited to as a blogger?

What do you do outside of blogging?

Does Carlos have a blog?

Any advice for raising bilingual kids?

What does your Spanish sound like?

Who are you?

My name is Tracy López. I am an Anglo-American, (also known as Caucasian, gringa or white as Wonder bread.) I was born and raised in the suburbs outside of Washington DC. My childhood was fairly typical, if not ideal.

I have always had an unexplained attraction to Latino culture, (and really all cultures fascinate me.) If you believe in reincarnation, maybe I was Latina in a former life. ¿Quién sabe?

One day I met Carlos who had immigrated to the area from El Salvador. He didn’t speak English back then and my Spanish wasn’t as good as it is now, but we figured out other ways to “communicate.” (There’s no talking when you’re busy besando!)

Well, too much besando leads to things. Tú sabes lo que estoy diciendo! We were young, we were foolish, we got married. More than 15 years later, here we are with two sons, (and a dog named Chico.)

(If you’re interested you can learn a little more about me in an interview I did for New Latina.)

What does Latinaish mean?

Latinaish (pronounced lat-teen-uh-ish) means to be somewhat similar to a female of Latin American or Spanish-speaking descent. It’s a word I made up to describe my ethnicity and the ethnicity of anyone else who doesn’t have roots in Latin America but lives within the culture.

Synonyms: Gringa Latina, Alma Latina, Latina de Corazón, Honorary Latina, Adopted Latina.



Why did you refer to yourself as “Señora López” when you first started this blog?

Back then I was under the ridiculous impression that I could remain anonymous. The point of remaining anonymous was because I frequently used my blog as an outlet to deal with my live-in mother-in-law problems. My “suegra” (that’s Spanish for “mother-in-law”), lived with us. Putting a humorous spin on the clash of cultures that occurred regularly in our household helped me survive. Although my suegra stories were truthful and never malicious – I really didn’t want to stir up more trouble. Worried that an English-speaking in-law would find my blog and rat me out, I decided to keep it anonymous. Of course, that didn’t last long.

Why did you go public?

One day, months after starting the blog, I received an invitation to the Qué Rica Vida event in Miami.

When I returned from Miami, I blogged about it of course – and my new amigas who I met at the event, now knowing my real first name, used it in blog comments. I could have easily edited them out to preserve my anonymity – but I knew it was a losing battle. Anonymity on the internet is an illusion anyway, and better that I faced that truth. I started to use my full name, Tracy López, instead of referring to myself as the mysterious “Señora López.” – I also started to use my husband’s name, Carlos.

As for our two boys, I still try to avoid using their names, simply because middle school is hard enough without your friends finding hilarious stories, photos and videos about you on your mother’s blog. And Suegra, she’s still Suegra and always will be. I’ve never posted a single photo showing her face, nor have I ever used her name. I respect her privacy.

So, your suegra… She lives with you for reals?

She did, for a good decade, but as of now, Suegra no longer lives with us. Contrary to popular belief, I’m not jumping for joy. I’m not going to lie, I never wanted her to live with us in the first place, but I had come to an almost Zen-like acceptance of the situation – at least when Suegra wasn’t causing problems.

I really don’t want to go into too much detail. I will just say that in Latin American culture, it is very much taboo to criticize a mother. Mothers are seen as almost saintly and incapable of doing wrong. This belief causes many individuals to suffer in silence, even when a mother’s incorrect behavior crosses the line into psychological or emotional abuse. Speaking up and calling a mother’s behavior “abusive” is seen as something sinful. (Remember, the mother can do no wrong!) This issue needs to be talked about so that the dysfunction isn’t passed onto the next generation.

So, if you’re looking for Suegra stories, you will have to check the archives.

Do you have any mother-in-law advice?

Yup. I wrote an article on New Latina called Dealing with a Difficult Suegra, an article for Mamiverse called 3 Ways to Get Revenge on Your Suegra and an article for Voxxi called 3 Steps To a Civil Relationship With Your Suegra. Hope these help you out. Good luck.

How did you and Carlos meet?

That would require a 5 part series… Luckily, I already wrote it.

Where is your husband from?

El Salvador – (Te amo pulgarcito!)

Have you been to El Salvador?

Twice. Once in 1999, and again in 2011.

All posts having to do with El Salvador, guanacos, and Salvadoran culture, can be found in the “Salvadoreños” category.

If your husband is Salvadoran, why do you use Mexican slang/talk about Mexico?

My husband would like to know the answer to this, too. I’ll tell you what I tell him all the time:

Besides a crush on Cuban, “Ricky Ricardo” – the majority of my exposure to Latin American culture, traditions, holidays, music, food, Spanish slang – was all Mexican. (As is the case for most Americans.)

Mexican culture is simply the dominant Latin American culture in most parts of the United States, and I fell in love with Mexico before I could even point out El Salvador on a map.

This doesn’t sit well with some Salvadorans, (because although a lot of people don’t like to talk about it, Mexicans and Salvadorans often have issues with each other.)

All I can say is that there’s enough room in my heart for everyone. I will say “Puchica” and “Pinche.” I will eat pupusas and Valentina hot sauce. I will cheer for “El Tri” and “La Selecta.” (When the U.S. plays though, all bets are off.) I don’t discriminate, hermanos. I understand that there are issues between you guys, but leave me out of it. I love you both.

So, are Latin men really possessive and jealous?

Depends on the guy. Carlos is. That’s actually something I liked about him when we were novios, so I can’t complain. Of course, I grew up and now this issue is one of the difficult ones we struggle with in our marriage.

Is an inter-racial/inter-cultural marriage difficult?

I’m going to give you the honest truth because if you get married with some naive idea in your head, you won’t make it.

The truth: Marriage in general is difficult. Add in a language barrier, societal pressures, the occasional racist/ignorant comment from family or strangers, possibly different belief systems, and frequent culture clashes and you’ve got a lot on your plate to deal with. It isn’t always pretty and it isn’t for the faint of heart.

Those who are good candidates for such a marriage should be good listeners, compassionate, curious, patient, not easily discouraged, determined to make things work no matter what, ready to compromise, and have a good sense of humor. I will promise you this – you will never get bored of each other, there will always be new things to discover about each other, there will be a lot of passion, and you will learn a lot.

I don’t think everyone can handle it, but as for me, I’d do it all over again.

My husband is undocumented. Do you have any immigration advice?

Regardless of whether you’re legally married here in the United States and/or have children together, your husband/wife/partner could be detained and/or deported at any time if they entered the country illegally or overstayed.

Unfortunately, immigration law has changed since my husband and I married. My advice is to consult an immigration attorney as soon as possible. They are best equipped to guide and advise you. I know it isn’t cheap, but I do not recommend trying to do the paperwork yourself or relying on random internet advice. My heart goes out to you.

What are some of the things I’ll find on Latinaish.com?

Spanish, Spanglish, language in general, botas picudas, Bubu Lubus, Espinoza Paz, El Salvador, Caliche, slang, horchata, La Virgen de Guadalupe, fictional Mexican cowboys, Michael Jackson songs sung with a Mexican accent, Spanish language music in general, good books, donkey libraries, buses, street dogs, films and documentaries, fútbol, Chicharito, travel, bilingual TV shows, flip flops, typography, recipes, folk art, Latin American food, piropos, ordinary people who do extraordinary things, y más.

What events have you been invited to as a blogger?

Since Qué Rica Vida, I’ve been invited to the Latin Billboard Awards and Telemundo Studios. I’ve attended a Gold Cup game, a Grito celebration with the Mexican Embassy, Independence Day with the Embassy of El Salvador in DC, and a Top Bloguera Conference at the White House. My younger son was invited to walk national soccer players on field, I have interviewed Chilean Miner Edison Peña’s translator, the only female fútbol announcer in the world, and several other interesting individuals.

All have been amazing moments in my life that I’ll never forget – and all have taught me one thing – Follow your passion. If I hadn’t been writing about the things I loved, (Latin food, Latin music, Spanish language TV, fútbol, Latin American cultures and traditions), I wouldn’t have been invited. So, as much as possible, do what you love.

What do you do outside of blogging?

I’m a novelist, still seeking an agent for various multicultural fiction and YA novels.

I’m a freelance writer who has contributed to various other blogs, websites and print publications. (Publishing credits/clips and writing samples, here.)

I am currently a contributing writer to latinamom.me and Latina Bloggers Connect. I am also the Features Writer and Editorial Coordinator at SpanglishBaby.

Does Carlos have a blog?

Yes, he does. It’s called A Salvadoran in Gringolandia, but he doesn’t update it often. (He’s too busy working and watching Chavito del 8.)

Any advice for raising bilingual kids?

The very best source for information on raising a bilingual child can be found at SpanglishBaby.com, but I do have a few tips of my own. Here are a few posts, but my main piece of advice:

Speak Spanish to your child as early as possible, as often as possible, and be consistent.

Things won’t always go the way you expect. It can be frustrating and they might rebel. Stay strong. It’s the greatest gift you can give them. They’ll thank you later. Also, it’s never too late to start.

Raising Bilingual Niños: Tip #1
Raising Bilingual Niños: Tip #2
Raising Bilingual Niños: Tip #3
Raising Bilingual Niños: Tip #4
Raising Bilingual Niños: Tip #5

By the way, each summer I do something here on Latinaish called “El Verano de Español” (Spanish Summer.) … Basically it’s a challenge to other parents out there to start speaking to their children only in Spanish while their child is on summer vacation from school.

This is how I got a jump start into speaking Spanish to my kids almost full time, now even during the school year. You’re welcome to participate, but of course, you don’t have to wait until school lets out to give it a try. You could start with just weekends, or one day of the week. How about an hour each day? … It’s difficult at first – Believe me, I remember – but I promise it gets easier. (Plus, a lot of hilarious things happen when kids learn a second language. It’s worth it for the laughs alone.)

Also – if you blog, check out Spanish Friday if you want to practice your own Spanish.

What does your Spanish sound like?

I’m not really sure. I’ve always wished I could be a native Spanish speaker for a day so I could hear my own accent. Why don’t you listen and you tell me?

Video: My 1st video speaking Spanish
Video: A little story
Video: Carlos and I being silly
Video: Rapping in Spanish
Video: Rapping in Spanish again

Belleza en Grande

Telemundo is beginning a special series aimed at plus-sized women to air during their show “Al Rojo Vivo.” The series, “Belleza en Grande” seeks to promote acceptance of all body shapes and sizes while providing helpful fashion advice.

Spanish-language television isn’t exactly known for promoting acceptance of anything but perfect bodies, (and English-language television isn’t much better), so I’m really pleased to see Telemundo taking this step in the right direction.

For more information on the series, including when to tune in, check out the press release:

MIAMI – July 8 2011– Telemundo’s “Al Rojo Vivo” will air “Belleza en Grande,” a series of special reports starting Monday, July 11 at 5pm ET/ 4C. María Celeste Arrarás, will present a sneak preview of this series during her appearance on NBC’s “Today Show” on Saturday, July 9, as part of the ongoing collaboration between the two networks.

Conducted by fashion expert Quique Usales, “Belleza en Grande” celebrates female beauty in all shapes and sizes. Changing the belief that fashion is designed only for skinny women, Maria Celeste, along with Quique, will present daily reports that will transform the way people see the plus-size woman.

Ranging from how to pick the right underwear, how to dress for the office, and how to select the basic pieces for a wardrobe, to how to choose the perfect lingerie for seduction as well as the right hairstyle to accentuate her best features, this series will not only offer beauty and fashion tips to women who are not a size zero, but will also give them the tools -and the inspiration- to have the right attitude to look beautiful, whatever their size.

Viewers will be able to see these and other special reports on http://www.Telemundo.com/alrojovivo.

What do you think?

Mexicans vs. Salvadorans

mexico-versus-el-salvador

Last week the United States lost to Mexico in the final Gold Cup game. My husband and I were both rooting for the U.S. team. We had even bet money – which was my unfortunate idea. Carlos has Mexican co-workers who give him a hard time for being the only Salvadoran amongst them – so I thought this would be a good way to get a little revenge and make some cash at the same time… well, it would have been if our team had won – instead, it lead to us being $40 poorer and some marital discord.

You see, while I was disappointed by the loss, Carlos, a Salvadoran by birth, was more than disappointed – he was angry, and it wasn’t about the money – it was about the Mexicans teasing him, the Mexicans who had beat our team, and, apparently, the entire country of Mexico itself.

When I told him to calm down he said, “You don’t understand! You don’t know how they are! I’m going to have to put up with that shit all day!”

“Don’t let it get to you,” I advised. “They just want to see you get upset. If you pretend it doesn’t bother you, they’ll stop,” I told him, repeating the same advice my mother had given me a million times when my sister’s teasing had gotten on my nerves as a kid.

“You don’t know how it is,” Carlos said. At that moment, his cellphone buzzed with a text message. Carlos cursed then held the screen to my face. “See?!”

The text message was from a Mexican co-worker. It read:

Ey pupusa, ganó México. Mañana tienes que llevar el dinero! jajajajaja!

I tried not to smile because Carlos was obviously really upset, but even their nickname for him, (“pupusa”) – I found funny, cute, and totally harmless. It was just guys being guys – but Carlos didn’t see it that way.

The thing is, I know Carlos doesn’t hate Mexicans. We have Mexican friends – people he really likes very much. He listens to Mexican music right along with me, without complaint, (usually), and likes Mexican food. When I cook Salvadoran dishes he puts Valentina hot sauce on it, (authentic Salvadoran food is not traditionally spicy, but Carlos likes everything picante.) He loves Pedro Infante, Cantinflas, El Chavo del Ocho, India Maria. As a proud Salvadoran, he even confessed that he knows a few bars of the Himno Nacional Mexicano and sang it for me! (Although he only learned it so he could pass as Mexican if stopped while immigrating through Mexico on his way to the United States.)

Even while I try to convince Carlos that he really does love Mexicans after all, I know animosity between Mexicans and Salvadorans isn’t imaginary – it’s real, and there are real reasons for it. If you ask a Mexican or Salvadoran why they don’t like each other, they may give you one of the following reasons, or they may offer no compelling reason at all. Here is what I found – (The content below is quoted from various sources. Sources are included. Latinaish.com does not necessarily agree with or endorse the opinions below.)

IMMIGRATION

“El problema con los mexicanos es [que] quieren tener de menos a los salvadoreños y centroamericanos, nos subestiman… cual crees [que] es el mayor desafio para un salvadoreño o centroamericano al emigrar a USA, es el temor a ser asesinado, secuestrado, mutilado o violado por mexicanos, se aprobechan de los emigrantes centroamericanos cuando ellos tambien tienen la misma necesidad de nosotros de emigrar hacia USA…” – Salvadoreño, Yahoo Answers

“Yo vivo al norte de méxico y el otro día viendo las noticias comentabamos mi mamá y yo como era posible la discriminación de razas sobre todo al sur del país con los salvadoreños ó guatemaltecos que cruzan la frontera, siendo que el presiedente de méxico va cada rato a USA a pedir que no traten mal a sus indocumentados, yo viví en USA una temporada y ví como en USA no los tratan tan mal como dicen los de la “migra” a los mexicanos indocumentados, y me pregunto yo ¿con que cara los méxicanos tratan mal a los salvadoreños ó guatemaltecos que cruzan la frontera?, vi en una entrevista al presidente de guatemala diciendo que había ido con el presidente de mexico para pedir por sus indocumentados y le comentó este que el acababa de llegar de USA por lo mismo y cuando llegó de ahi tenía una llamada del presindente de belice para lo mismo y cuando llego a su pais el presidente de guatemala le esperaba una llamada del presidente de el salvador y era para pedirle por sus indocumentados. Imaginate dijo todos estamos abogando por lo mismo….y me dio una pena ajena con la gente del sur de mi país enterarme que los tratan tan mal y que todavía se quejen que en USA los tratan mal con que cara piden respeto si no repetan… todavía recuerdo un día que llegarona ala casa unos salvadoreños pidiendo comida eran una pareja con dos niños como llegaron hasta sonora solo dios sabe, les dimos todo lo que pudimos y les dimos la bendición cuando se fueron. No todos odian a los salvadoreños aqui hay gente que es del salvador viviendo y los tratamos muy bien saben porque? porque al norte no se vive como al sur del pais, es triste pero cierto.” – Mexicana/Yahoo Answers

HISTORY

“Shortly after Central America gained its independence from Spain in 1821, Mexico tried to swallow the region into its burgeoning empire. The fiercest opposition? El Salvador. Eventually, republic-minded Mexicans stopped their country’s ambitions and allowed El Salvador and the other Central American provinces to create the United Provinces of Central America. That lasted into the 1830s, by which time Mexico was too busy dealing with another imperial power to care much about recouping its former holdings. And if you know anything about Mexico, it’s que we don’t take thefts of our lands lightly.” – Gustavo Arellano/Ask A Mexican

GANGS

“The Mara Salvatrucha gang originated in Los Angeles, set up in the 1980s by Salvadoran immigrants in the city’s Pico-Union neighborhood who immigrated to the United States after the Central American civil wars of the 1980s…Originally, the gang’s main purpose was to protect Salvadoran immigrants from other, more established gangs of Los Angeles, who were predominantly composed of Mexicans and African-Americans.” – Wikipedia

JEALOUSY: TPS (TEMPORARY PROTECTED STATUS)

El Salvador became a “temporary protected status” (TPS) country in 2001, following two earthquakes that killed 1,000 people and destroyed more than 200,000 homes.

After intense lobbying by the Salvadoran government, the TPS was just extended for another 12 months. That means Salvadorans who were living in the United States in 2001 – many of them illegally – can stay and work for another year. TPS comes up for renewal or termination every 12 to 18 months.

TPS is designed to aid countries reeling from a natural disaster, civil war or other destabilizing situation.

…Some of the seven TPS-designated countries get extensions though their disasters happened long ago. Christopher Bentley of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services says “assessments” and “studies” help decide whether to extend TPS and whether holders can return safely home.

Jose Romero, a 31-year-old Charlotte construction worker [now] earns three times what he did in his native El Salvador.

He got TPS five years ago after living in the U.S. illegally for five years.

Romero told his fellow construction workers, most of them Mexican, about his TPS. They were happy for him, but jealous.

“They’re never going to give us anything,” he said the Mexicans told him.

- Article by Tim Funk and Danica Coto / McClatchy Newspapers

RESENTMENT: CULTURAL DOMINANCE AND TRYING TO FIT IN

“Juan Carlos Rivera knew that if he wanted to get a dishwashing job at the MacArthur Park hamburger stand, he would have to pretend to be Mexican. But the thought of lying made the Salvadoran anxious.

He paced outside the restaurant, worried that his melodic Spanish accent, his use of the Central American vos, instead of the Mexican tu, would give him away.

…In his best Mexican Spanish, the Salvadoran asked: ¿Tienen trabajo? (Do you have work?)

When asked where he was born, he swallowed his pride and answered: Puebla, Mexico.

The job was his. For three days, Rivera scrubbed plates in conspicuous silence. He knew the Mexican cooks were onto him. Especially the one from Puebla.

…Juan Carlos Rivera struggled to keep up his ruse even when the suspicious cook began to quiz him on popular Pueblan food, including Puebla’s specialty, the cemita.

“How do you like it?” the cook asked.

“With pineapple,” Rivera said. Little did he know that what Salvadorans knew as caramelized sweet bread, Pueblans knew as a meat and avocado sandwich.

“I knew you weren’t Mexican,” the cook said smugly before running off to tell the manager.

- Article by Esmeralda Bermudez/Los Angeles Times

__

“It’s always Mexico, Mexico, Mexico,” said Jorge Mendoza, a 42-year-old painter, one of a group of Salvadoran men who gathered recently at MacArthur Park. “I turn on the radio and all I hear is Mexican music. If I want to watch a soccer game, I have to watch a Mexican team play.”

- Article by Esmeralda Bermudez/Los Angeles Times

PRIDE

“Salvadorans don’t hate Mexicans as much as Mexicans hate Salvadorans…This isn’t a generalization of all Mexicans, but many of them do this. Mexicans are the majority in most places where Salvadorans live, like San Fran, L.A., and Houston. In Long Island and Miami Salvadorans get along with the Ricans, Dominicans, and Cubans fine. The problem is that Mexicans always usually display an arrogance that rubs all Latinos the wrong way. Not the Argentine, snotty type arrogance. The fist pumping, I’m a Mexican! arrogance. They insult us b/c of our accents, and feel they are superior. They don’t understand our history but we have to understand theirs.” – Enrique/Topix.com

FÚTBOL

“Pues supuestamente todo fue por culpa de un partido de futbol. En las eliminatorias para un mundial El Salvador le gano a México y lo descalifico para llegar al mundial. Esa es una explicacion ya que El Salvador nunca a tenido un buen equipo y a los mexicanos les dolió que un equipo como El Salvador los descalificaran…si no me equivoco fue en 1976.” – Salvadoreño/Yahoo Answers

PUPUSAS vs. GORDITAS

(Okay, not seriously, but while we’re arguing, I thought I’d throw it in there for fun.)

(Thanks to Juan for letting me use his video here to bring a little levity to a heavy topic.)

WORDS OF WISDOM

“Esto no es mas que pelear por tonterias … todos somos humanos, somos de la misma especie y los único que nos hace “diferentes” es una simple ubicación geográfica …somos humanos no somos ni mas ni menos, todos iguales … me parece bastante inmaduro pelear solo porque vivimos en distintos lugares del mundo … por cierto soy salvadoreño y ya dejen de pelear por tonterias.” – Salvadoreño/Yahoo Answers

NOTE: As always, comments are welcome below, but comments containing violent threats or hate speech will not be published. (This message is for both Salvadorans and Mexicans equally.) Please feel free to share your thoughts or experiences on the topic in a thoughtful, intelligent manner that avoids name-calling or inflaming tensions. This post is not intended to stir up resentment but rather to point out the problems so they can be put aside.

Come chat with me + Surropa!

Those of you who have been reading my blog for awhile know how much I love Surropa.com. Aside from wearing their T-shirts, I’ve blogged about them and mention them on Twitter and Facebook once in awhile, too.

Short description of their company if you don’t know: Miami-based clothing company with shirts, (and other items), in English, Spanish and Spanglish – but always stylish and with a touch of Latin sabor. You can also design your own shirts through their store. I designed this one:

jijiji… like it?

Anyway, the guys at Surropa asked me if I’d moderate their first ever TuitCam Event. I was like, “Totally! … What’s a TuitCam Event?”

Well, as it turns out, TwitCam is a website that allows you to have a tweet chat while on webcam. So it will feel like we’re in our own little chat room but you use your Twitter account to tweet chat while watching and and listening to the live streaming video. We tested it out last week and it was so much fun.

Two of the guys at Surropa will be hosting (on camera): Marketing Director Esteban “El Chato” Montano and Creative Director Ernesto East… I know their professional titles sound all business-like, but these guys are hilarious. While we were testing out TwitCam they told me to ask a question so we could just get a feel of how it would be. Well, one of them was wearing a cowboy hat so I said, “I want to know if the one in the cowboy hat is wearing botas picudas!” … He held his foot up to the camera and he was wearing socks with chanclas!

So, I hope you’ll join us mañana, Wednesday May 25th, 2011 at 3 pm EST. Just follow me and/or Surropa on Twitter. Once the TwitCam Event begins, we will tweet the link so you can join us! Here are the details from Surropa.com’s blog:

“…ask any question you want, give us ideas for new designs and products or just tell us how our t-shirts have completely changed your lives. We’ll even take constructive criticism (please no hate tweets, we’re extremely sensitive).

By the way… We’ve asked our friend and blogger extraordinaire, Tracy Lopez from Latinaish.com to moderate…and to keep these two in line and entertaining. Come check it out, what do you have to lose? You might even get a special discount code for 25% off your next order.”

Disclosure: I have not been compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

Cellphone Fotos #2

My week in cellphone fotos:

A little carnival set up in a parking lot that we didn’t go to. I could smell the funnel cake tempting me, but I had a cart full of healthy groceries to take home.

See? These are just some of the fruits we brought home from the grocery store. We also bought strawberries, blueberries, grapes, and many varieties of vegetables.

I also bought a new hot pink hoodie jacket. I used to shy away from bright colors but this shade of pink has been calling to me – I don’t know why. As you can see, I’m also wearing my RPM Miami shirt. Who else is watching with me?

Speaking of RPM Miami – Carlos pulled into a car dealership to look at a car, (even though we can’t afford one right now.) … I usually don’t get excited about cars but this one caught my eye. Lo quiero! … I can imagine myself driving this green Camaro in carreras like on the show. Jijiji… And if you want to see how vastly different Carlos and I are, go check out the car he wanted.

Link: What’s On Your Phone Tuesdays

Behind the Scenes of Telemundo Studios

Telemundo invited us into their studios to check out where they film some of their telenovelas.

The first set we visited was for a telenovela that is still in production called, “Mi Corazón Insiste.” The lead male actor is JenCarlos Canela. (I honestly thought he was only a singer, but apparently he’s an actor, too.)

Okay, here is another happy accident. (The first one was when my hair was styled like Paula del Monte’s in the poster behind me.) … Before I went to Miami, my friends at Surropa.com gifted me a T-shirt to wear for my trip. I chose one that said “Mi corazón” on it – partly because I loved the design and partly because I hoped to be wearing it if I met Espinoza. (He says “corazón” a lot in his songs. It’s like his “thing” …)

So anyway, I’m posing on the set of this telenovela and I say, “Which telenovela is being filmed here again?” and they tell me, “Mi Corazón Insiste.” – Muy raro, no?

Here are a couple photos of the set of Mi Corazón Insiste:


(This, we were told, is where a scene was just shot of a maid who was searching for something… Looks like it’s supposed to be an attic, don’t you think?)


(This is the fancy living room where I had my picture taken.)

Next we checked out where they keep props. It looked sort of like a well-organized thrift store. All the items on the shelves had bar codes and were catalogued – this is so they can be re-used. When they are setting up for a new telenovela they can see what they have in the catalog as far as lamps, for example, and choose one they already have, or make plans to go acquire one if they don’t already have something that fits what they’re looking for. (Wouldn’t “prop shopper” be an awesome job?)… My favorite fact I learned during the tour was that each year about 10% of the less popular props are donated to charity.

After props department, we visited the set of Aurora where they were rehearsing a scene for one of the final episodes. I wasn’t allowed to take photos or film, and we were supposed to be very quiet. It was difficult to be quiet for me though because one of the actors looked kind of funny due to his er… costume … I don’t think I’m allowed to give details… but a few of us were giggling and got shushed. Oops. I think that third graders on a field trip may have done a better job of being quiet than some of us blogueras. We were about 10 feet away from actor Eugenio Siller too which didn’t help some who were slightly smitten…(Good looking pero a mi me gustan los morenos.) The way they rehearse is really interesting. There was a woman there holding the script and she would feed each actor their lines. (Another cool job!)

(By the way, remind me to tell you what was so funny after the episode airs.)

Next we visited a room which I call “the editing room” because I don’t remember what it’s officially called.

Here is where they… edit…video?… I think he was putting together a promo for La Reina del Sur.

Last visit was to what I call the “music room” … again, because I don’t know what it’s really called. I do remember that this guy’s name is Joaquín and he is the one who adds music to the telenovelas. (Everyone say “Hello Joaquín!”) … Joaquín is also a musician, so when he can’t find exactly what he wants, he creates music on his own.

The question I asked Joaquín was, “Do you ever put suspenseful music in a telenovela at a point where nothing is really going to happen, just to mess with the audience?” — He said, “Yes. In Spanish, it’s called ‘suspenso falso’.” (English translation = False suspense – I’m sure even the non-bilingual peeps got that one, right? Gotta love cognates.)

Besides all this fun, Telemundo also took us to dinner. One night we went to a restaurant called “Cecconi’s” – which is much fancier than I’m used to. It was really beautiful, the waiters were attentive, the company couldn’t be beat, and (though I will seem very naca for saying this), the food was really good even if I didn’t know exactly what I was eating some of the time.

Disclosure: I went to Telemundo Studios and Cecconi’s at the invitation of Telemundo. The “Mi Corazón” shirt was gifted to me by Surropa.com. All opinions are my own.

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