Thursday, August 30, 2007

questions these kids ask

Yesterday was Katrina's 2nd anniversary. I know most of you must be sick of hearing about it by now, since that's all they talked about yesterday. But you know, it's only appropriate.

So here's my Katrina story.

The hurricane happened just days before I left for Spain for the Fulbright. When I got there, the US Ambassador talked to us about the hurricane, and what questions Spaniards might have for us and what we should say. Basically, he said that we can say whatever we want, but to keep in mind that we are "cultural ambassadors" of the US in Spain, and should think about what we were going to represent... blah blah blah.

Then came my first day of school as a teaching assistant. I think it was a week after Katrina. One of the first things I was asked to do was to start off in the Geography and History class. The teacher of that subject asked me if I could answer any questions the students might have about the hurricane. I couldn't say no, so I agreed to do it. It started off with questions like, what made it so bad, what caused it to flood like that, how many people were affected, etc etc.

Then, one small boy (the same boy who had asked me the day before if there were a lot of bitches in California - he meant beaches), raised his hand and asked me this questions: "Why are all the people drowning on TV, Black?"

I knew a question like that was bound to come up. I tried to answer it by regurgitating some article I had read about the low-income community that lived near the levy, and how they were the only ones who could afford living in an area that was below sea level. But ultimately, I had to say that I didn't know for sure, but that racism and discrimination exists in the US, and people who were underprivileged are the ones that were harmed the most.

The boy was satisfied with my answer, but I wasn't. I almost wanted to make it simple and Kanye West-it, but you know, that wouldn't have worked. But that's the image that we as Americans got, and even more so around the world. The only positive thing that I could think of was knowing the fact that this kid was questioning something that obviously was not right.

When I was in Sevilla, I had another encounter with a child that made me slightly speechless and unable to answer the question he had asked. The child was my host brother, who had just turned 12. Sweet kid; he was one of the people I hung out with the most. One day, we were looking through books together, and he showed me one of those "Children of the World" books, where it pictured all kids of all color holding hands, standing on top of the Earth. Nice illustration, I guess, but the kids pictured were the most stereotypical images of what "children of the world" looked like. The Black kid was dark dark dark with tribal clothes, big eyes, and round thick lips, the Latin kid was brown with a sombrero, the White kid was pinkish with blue eyes, and the Asian kid was literally yellow, with slanted eyes and bucked tooth. My host brother looked at the picture, and then held out his arm next to mine, comparing the color of our skins. He then asked, "You and I are the same color. You're tanned just like me. Why do they make you yellow in this book?" I had no answer. I said, I don't know, and hugged him. It made me like him even more.

Kids say the darnest things sometimes, but kids do have the bravery and innocence to openly question about things we may not notice. I have high hopes for these two kids and what they might question in the future. I always remember them when I feel like I should be more inquisitive about the world.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Crazy Month

It's been slightly non-stop for the past couple of weekends. Visit from my old roommate from college, reunion with another old friend, and this weekend is the Tofu Festival. On top of that, my previous sleeping problem is on the verge of becoming full blown insomnia (although it's not the falling asleep part that I have a problem with - in fact, my current roommate claims that I also have narcoleptic tendencies). With my consecutive scheduled events, I feel as though I am only surviving because I'm hanging on to the last ounces of youth left in my spirit.

My sleeping thing is really becoming crazy. Basically, I nearly collapse every night around 10PM, and I collapse on my bed if I'm lucky. My roommate has found me on the floor, on the couch, on the foot of the couch... you name it. Then, I wake up once at 1-2AM, again around 4AM, and then finally, I just get tired of it and get up at 6:30. Needless to say, I haven't been late to work lately, but it's taking a bit of a toll on my overall energy level.

But on to better things in life. Carmen, my college roommate, came to visit for a whirlwind weekend here in LA. The weekend was VERY LA. Disneyland, Coffee Bean, sunshine, fresh produce, and lots and lots of driving and traffic. I have to say, because of my commute to Gardena (which I secretly despise), I've gotten a lot better at driving. It's all relative to my original skill, though, so I fear it's not at any level of expertise in comparison to how a normal person should drive.

I've also become incredibly obsessed with the Foodnetwork show, Ace of Cakes. It is literally the only show I watch. ( I use the word "literally" correctly, so I truthfully am exclusive to this show.) Thank the All Mighty for DVR.

I know, what a shitty, boring ass update. I guess I'll end this by saying COME TO THE TOFU FESTIVAL THIS WEEKEND!! It's in Little Tokyo on San Pedro St. between 1st and 3rd. Come for the community, and watch me yell at the crowd.

Photo recap of Carmenpalooza:

What would Carmenpalooza look like without paparazzi photos? Nothing! There would be no Carmenpalooza!

I was going to say that once this month ends, things will go back to normal. But no. I just realized that the next two months are going to be Wedding Months, where I will be attending 3 weddings and several wedding related events... And did I tell you that I might start my grad school apps? Who knows if I will be able to do that...

PEAACE the fork out. Leave me some love to let me know you're alive. Or email me. Or Facebook me (I'm pretty Facebook exclusive, as opposed to Myspace).

bye yo.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Purikura aka Sticker Pictures

Something to look at while you sip on your morning coffee. Yes, there are that many. Yes, there are more. Yes... we are a bit insane for spending that much $$ on sticker pictures, but blame it on Naoko.

It's a bit dark, but I don't have a scanner.