Sunday, September 23, 2012

LBC 2012 Day 5 - Romney or Obama?

(Let me preface this whole challenge by saying that I know that I am late….but this is me catching up)

This is a scary time for the United States of America. There is such a political divide that things are getting messier as we get closer to November. It is very apparent that we are in a pivotal point, like 4 years ago, as to what direction we will be going in. We have our current President that has put policies in place that his current opponent has vowed to repeal when he gets into office.

This has alway been an easy choice for me. There is no way I will ever vote for Mitt Romney. I am pretty much against anything he proposes or talks about. Here is a man who allowed universal healthcare to happen in Massachusetts (he was governor at the time) and now opposes it. Romney made himself look foolish at the Olympics with his idiotic comments and he selected a running-mate that has no foreign policy experience.

Let me also just state that Mitt believes that 47% of the country do not pay taxes. According to him, "these" people are always looking for a government handout (i.e. welfare, unemployment). But, when you examine that statement, take into consideration that as the CEO of Bane Capital, thousands of people were laid off. Wouldn't that mean that some of that 47% were given those handouts because of him?

When I think about Barak Obama, I think about a man who has been the calming influence after the Bush years. I also see a president that has tried to do as best he could while a Republican Congress has tried to hand cuff him at every turn. I do love the fact that he was the first US President to get Universal Healthcare passed. While he has done other things like expanding Medicare, supporting gay marriage, and expanding Pell Grants, his biggest accomplishment is Universal Health Care. I am not a person who needs government assisted Health Care, but I know that there were millions of people who were uncovered before this bill was signed.

Yet, there are many Black and Latino people who felt that Obama could do more and to those people I will say that this political system is not designed for all of us to everything we want. I believe that 8 years will be better that 4.

For those that wonder what Obama had done over this term should chick this.

Friday, September 21, 2012

LBC 2012 Day 4 - Latino Blog I recommend: @TheJadedNYer

(Let me preface this whole challenge by saying that I know that I am late….but this is me catching up)

I don't recommend blogs often and I know that I should probably get into the habit of that. I do have a long list of blogs on the left side of your screen that I already recommend, but I do feel that this blog is one of the few that really stand out.

There are very few people who keep it real in the blogging diaspora. There also very few who can write in such away that you can hear their voice (I 've never heard her actual voice so I just imagine what it would sound like). I will also say that written sarcasm is hard to master, but The Jaded NYer does it very well.

I am not just saying all this because she is a Mets fan (but it helped her cause), I think that Raquel has stepped up her game this year. She has a brand new website, which is awesome. Her web persona with her blog, twitter, and website is something that I admire because I want to do something similar. She has a book that I promised her I would buy (I am getting there) and knowing her writing style, I am quite sure it will be a very good read.

I would also encourage you to read her first published story: Grey Matter.

I consider her blog to be the consummate New York City journey as told through the lense of a Latina. I feel that she is on the cusp of something great and I cannot wait to read her adventures. As always, please take time to look through her writings and support her.

LBC 2012 Day 3 - Rice and Beans, Favorite Cuisine

(Let me preface this whole challenge by saying that I know that I am late….but this is me catching up)

It is no secret that I love rice and beans. I grew up with it and its something that I will eat until I am told by a doctor that I need to stop. I do know that this is a very starchy staple to my diet but, the thing is, I'm just not that meat and potatoes type of guy. I cannot imagine not eat rice and beans.

With that being said, my favorite cuisine has got to be Caribbean. To be even more specific, Puerto Rican and Dominican. The two cooking styles are very similar with few differences. I know that I can go to either type of restaurant and eat something that I am craving. Of course, much of that has to do with the aforementioned… Rice and Beans.

I suppose I never really tasted that many different cuisines. I have had Mexican, Ecuadorian, Peruvian, and Columbian which have different dishes that are awesome. I have also been fortunate enough to have each of these cuisines made from home (not my home…but people who I know).

That is not to say I am not going to crave ceviche from Ecuador or Peru. Most of the authentic foods have a taste and a flavor that are unforgettable. I just consider my favorite cuisine to be a piece of home. That is the one thing that I missed when I lived in Syracuse for the first few years. There was never a place that served my type of food until Las Delicias opened.

Now that I am back in NYC, I am looking forward to expand my palette a little but I have a good feeling I will always prefer the food I grew up with...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

LBC 2012 Day 2 – Dominican Republic! (Latin American Island I been to)

(Let me preface this whole challenge by saying that I know that I am late….but this is me catching up)

It has been a while since I have traveled anywhere and my last trip was the Dominican Republic and I have to say, I miss it. The last time I was there was because of a wedding and it was one of the best trips I have taken as an adult.

The city I went to was La Romana and while it was resort that I stayed at, I will never forget how beautiful it's beaches were. I fondly remember how green the trees were and how the island just radiated with a sense of culture and passion that you just do not see this side of Washington Heights.

With all the beauty that I did see, I am also not absent to reality of the other things that I didn't see. Clearly, being in a resort makes my views a little biased because that means I did not get to see where the real people live. On the bus ride from the airport to the resort (45 minutes), I did see the real streets of DR and they reminded me of Puerto Rico.

Despite that numerous ads of tourism, we should never forget that the real people that live in these places are trying to survive, which makes me wonder about the numerous amounts of staff that I met. Were they truly happy to work there? While I am not entirely sure about that, what I am sure about is the people that I do meet from the Dominican Republic here in New York. There is a love of that place that is hard to match.

I am glad that I saw why it is they love that place. It is very beautiful and I cannot wait to return.

LBC 2012 Day 1 – What I love most about being Latino in America.

(Let me preface this whole challenge by saying that I know that I am late….but this is me catching up)

Being Latino in America is not easy these days. It is not just a social identity, it is also a political one. It seems that everyone wants to know how we are going to vote, but there will enough time for that in a later post. What I love the most about being Latino in this country is that we are all so different and yet we can all identify with the many of the same things regardless of country of origin.

There is a sense of community that is hard to describe. While not everything is perfect considering the treatment Afro Latinos, the sense of culture is all the same. I enjoy learning about history of Latin America because I find that each country is unique and yet there is a sense of connection when it comes to the indigenous populations and the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade.

It is that history that connects all of us as citizens of the United States. There are so many of us now that we can effectively elect a president. However, there is still so much to do in terms of immigration reform, which seems to effect us more than any other group that comes to this country looking for citizenship.

Lastly, it is that sense of connection that has allowed me to have such a great connection with the students at Syracuse University. Despite our numbers, there are still not many Latinos in the field of Higher Education which made me stand out and allow for me to help many of them through their college careers.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

All Good Things...

Now that I am back in New York City, I can now think back to this last few weeks with fond memories. I can also relax this week since I do not start at Barnard College until Monday. More importantly, I can look at the future and think about what is coming up for me.

I will, once again, reiterate that I will miss Syracuse University and everyone that I have come in contact there. I'm sure the students don't think I will miss them all that much, but I will. The feeling of me ending this chapter of my life felt very familiar. While I made a similar change in life 11 years ago in leaving NYC, this familiarity came from a different place. I would have to go back to May of 1994 to feel a certain way, and at the risk of sounding even more like a nerd, I am talking about the last episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

This was a show that I was very fond of. My dad and I really got into it when I was in High School and leading into college. Star Trek: TNG was on the air for 7 years and it was one of those shows that I couldn't imagine ending. But, on that fateful night, May 23rd, the show came to an end. It left me wondering, what is next? However, the very theme of this show was centered around where this cast has been and the possibilities of where it could go in the future leaving the door opening to anything with one question looming: can humanity evolve?

Which brings me to my ultimate point for leaving Syracuse. The title of that episode was called "All Good Things…" The main villain Q simply states, as he is judging humanity that "All good things must come to an End." Ultimately when it seems that all is lost, humanity proves their evolution is possible. This remains one of my favorite episodes of TNG which always leaves me nostalgic when I see it because I believe they never should have left television.

Now back to reality. The fact of the matter is that all good things do come to an end. I have known for awhile that it was time to move on because I feel that I went through an evolution of sorts when I was employed at Syracuse University. My life was changing and so were my priorities. The things I was doing 11 years ago are not the things that I do now. The whole nature of maturing and living life dictates for some of us that we need to move on to different things. Sure, my future may end up with me crossing paths with my alma mater again and its students and alumni but that is something that we will just have to wait and see.

The future is bright I am just glad that I made some awesome memories and friends along the way.

"Let's see what's out there." - Capt. Jean-Luc Picard

Friday, September 14, 2012

The 30 Day Latino Blog Challenge 2012

As you know amongst my many adventures, I helped form the Afro Latino Justice League called The Latingr@s Project. Recently we decided to reintroduce this event that I created a few years ago. I think enough time has passed to start a new.

We are happy to bring back The 30 Day Latino Blog Challenge. 30 days, 30 blogs, 1 message to celebrate Latino Heritage Month. We challenge oursleves and any Latino blogger to write everyday for the next 30 days. The rules are simple. The blog must be at least 2 paragraphs on the selected topic, although there are 2 entries for poetry. The blog can be written in anyway chosen.

Latino/Hispanic Heritage Month is from September 15 - October 15. So this challenge will begin tomorrow. Have FUN and Good Luck! Below are the topics:

Day 1 – What I love most about being Latino in America.
Day 2 – What Latin American Country/Island have I been to
Day 3 – Favorite Latin Cuisine
Day 4 - What Latino Blog I recommend
Day 5 - Romney or Obama?
Day 6 - Immigration: For or Against?
Day 7 -  Post a picture about your culture and explain its significance
Day 8 -  What Latino Stereotype do I hate the most
Day 9 -  My Feelings on Arizona
Day  10 – Afro Latinos/Latinas in the Media

Day 11 – Religion
Day 12 – Latino Politics – What affects you?
Day 13 – What Do I know about indigenous culture (i.e.Tainos)
Day 14 - Favorite Latino Musician
Day 15 – Latinos in the Film Industry
Day 16 – Latino Art
Day 17 – Si No Puede Hablar Español, No Se Pone Latino.  Verdad?
Day 18 – A Poem (original or quoted)
Day 19 – Latinos, Police, and Prisons. What Say You/Que Te Dices?
Day 20 – Latino Superheros

Day 21 - Post an Image that Represents (Afro)Latinidad and explain why
Day 22 – Blogueros y Blogeras - Are Latinos on the ‘Nets Relevant?
Day 23 – Hispanic or Latino..What do you prefer?
Day 24 – Should USA lift the embargo on Cuba?
Day 25 - Post a picture about your familia and explain its significance
Day 26 – Favorite Latino Actor or Actress
Day 27 – Favorite Latino Author
Day 28 – Are Latinos Queer?
Day 29 – Are Latinos Black?
Day 30 – What I learned in the last 30 days..

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Farewell @SyracuseSCPS Speech

Here is the transcript from my speech earlier today. Video to follow later:

Everything happens for a reason. I believe that I have a connection with everyone in this room. In one way or another you, have all been a part of my success over the last 11 years. Whether you have been a friend, a mentor, a mentee, a supervisor, an employee, or just here for the food, I feel that I have shared a connection with every one of you. I have built relationships here that will last me for a long time.

Up until this morning I was not sure if I should prepare remarks or just wing it, but I finally came to the conclusion that I should write my thoughts down so I do not forget what I truly want to say. It has also not escaped me that for the first time in 11 years I can say pretty say much whatever I want and not have to explain my actions to Bridget later. (smile)

Most of you know that I moved up here after the events of 9/11. I came up here feeling a sense of purpose because when I left Syracuse in 1998, I ended up bouncing around job to job without really having that sense of purpose. The only thing I knew when I was first hired was that I missed working in the Schine Student Center. It was the best job I had when I was a student. Now I am going back home with a career and attainable goals that SU has developed.

Clearly, you all can go without the history lesson but I started working here when I was a freshman in 1992. I was the only freshman, in fact, working at the info desk at the time and I worked there for 4 years. I worked all the time to the point where all my friends (including Casey) used to tell me that one day I will end up running this place. Eek!

So here I am….all those years later leaving a place that I have come to love. I have come to admire and respect so many of you (excluding Dave Pennock) that this day is filled with mixed emotions. I look at the staff that I have been working with and I realize that I have a unique relationship with each one of them.

Ryan, who is not here because the state of Massachusetts has extradited him to return to Boston for jury duty, just joined this lovely band of misfits and we bonded the other day. He is getting the my furniture (including the bed) thus ensuring my legacy of never getting enough sleep and coming into work after 9am every day.

My relationship with Becky was always a great one. She used to watch Rocky for me and I appreciated that so much. I have enjoyed our conversations about life and will miss how sensible you can be. I guess I really do not have a joke for you but I am glad you made here on time. (smile)
Jen (sigh), I will miss the looks she gives me during the difficult times. When we are in staff meeting and I have to play my usual devil’s advocate role. I will miss the hair color changes and the simple question of “Why are you leaving here me with these people?”

I will miss Henoc and his singing. He has truly been a fantastic Graduate Assistant and I encourage all of you who don’t know him to get to know him. His charm and politeness will win anyone over…until he plays Adele for 14th time in an hour. I will miss you buddy. 

Dave Pennock. What can I say about him? 

Moving on, Joe Goings! I have nicknamed him, Jolo. He and I have one of those relationships where we joke on just about everything…except the Chicago Bears. I enjoy his presence because not only does he laugh at all my jokes…he thinks every idea is worth doing! Gotta love that.

Dave Pennock should feel lucky I mentioned his name for the 3rd and last time. He is an A-type personality who believes everything is black and white. The only gray he sees are the Yankees’ road uniforms. I will miss joking on you and with you. I will miss that your face gets so red (particularly your neck) when you are embarrassed. But seriously, we have always known how to just talk about things like baseball and sports to break the mood of a stressful day. But the most important thing I want to say is…Can I have my Inception blu ray back? I mean MY LAST DAY IS TOMORROW.

I met Scott Casanova in 1997. He had long flowing hair like a wookie. He has been a true friend when I needed one. He is my personal Boba Fett. Scott has driven all the way to Hancock, NY to get me when I had a car accident. He has helped me change a tire and fished out my parking card when it fell in between the stick shift in my car. He is the best white friend a person like me can have. I knew with him in the car, I will never get pulled over. I will truly miss Scott although he told me that once Monday comes around everything becomes my fault…

I left  Meghan a little bit later on this list because I want her to get all her tears out the way first. I can sit here and joke about her all day but she has truly been my right hand. She has seen me at my best and my worst and vice versa but I truly believe in her and in her abilities. I will miss you so very much and I have one word of advice: FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PLEASE STOP DROPPING YOUR PHONES IN SEWERS.

Casey is my brother from another mother. I met in 1992 in summer institute (which is now Summer Start). We took writing 105 together and sat next to each other. That is where a 20 year friendship was born. It was Casey that called me back in 2001 to tell me I should apply for the Facility Supervisor position. I don’t have to say goodbye to you because A) I have the keys to your house, 2) We have a Values Academy presentation to plan and C) True friends never say good bye. That is why you are getting the obesity chair in my office…

Finally Bridget, this woman is the reason why I am the professional I am today. She has always allowed me to spread my wings and has given me the room to learn from my mistakes. I have no jokes for her because the staff will make sure to do that enough already. We have been through rough times and been the shoulders we needed to cry on but if there is one thing that has defined my relationship with her and how real she has been with me. It is something she said to me in 1993 when I was just promoted to the info desk manager, she looked at me said… “You need to make sure that when you hire students to work at the desk, that they are a reflection of the students who walk through our doors” I have always stayed true to that and made sure I was just as honest with my students. I love you, appreciate you, and will miss you.

Before I finish, l want to say that I miss my students and my student employees more than I will ever be willing to admit. They will be with me in my heart and let’s just face it, most of them live in New York and will probably take my open door policy way too seriously. I will miss Student Activities and FASA.  I will miss Debbie and her fabulous suits and Eddie with his fabulous shoes or was it the other way around? I want so say Thank You to Sylvia for really being positive and giving me great advice and I want to thank Colleen for just being Colleen. I also to paraphrase Dr. D (whom I will also miss) by sayin… “I am taking my magazine…and going home…”

For those I do not mention. This isn’t a goodbye…this a cya later. 

Thank you.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Saying Goodbye to an Old Friend

As I write this, I look down and see an empty floor. For the last few years I have had Rocky by my side. He has been the one living thing that has witnessed just about everything that has happened to me in the 21st Century. Now, Rocky is the last real sacrifice I have made before I leave Syracuse. He will stay here with the ex-wife to live out the rest of his days.

I cannot help but feel sad about this even though I know that I am doing the right thing. He will be much happier in Syracuse where there is more grass and trees. The chances are extremely high that he will be more spoiled than ever and I am ok with that. It was just heart breaking to say good bye to him. It is going to be weird to wake up every morning and not have to walk him. I am grateful that my days here are numbered because him not greeting me everyday when I open the door to my bedroom will be difficult.

Rocky is a reminder of where I have been. He was a puppy sleeping on my chest when I was going through my unemployment period in 2000. I remember the walks from Soundview to Castle Hill, in which, we crossed through the mall on White Plains Road in the Bronx. I also remember hugging him hard after I came home from 9/11.

He had such great resilience to survive that first drive to Syracuse. Rocky hates the snow but loved to dig his face in it. I remember how he loved the other dog, Rusty, and how sad he was when he died. Rocky has seen me at my worst during the divorce and he is seen me at my best when I sold the house. He could tell my moods and always found away to make me feel better. I repaid him by nursing him back to health when he was sick.

I have watched him grow old and lose his eye sight. Rocky is like an old man now with his old man ways. You have to carry him downstairs because he is afraid to fall. I almost do not remember life without having to cater to him. Yet, I would not have it any other way because I truly love that dog.

Saying goodbye was something I had to prepare for. He was originally supposed to come back home with me. But, things happen and situations change. Rocky will be in a better place and will still be loved. I will miss him more than than he will know. This is truly my last sacrifice. I feel know that I am coming back with nothing but the clothes on my back (and the comic books, dvds, PS3, and TV in the Car)...

Thursday, September 6, 2012

10 Days

This is just crazy. I am excited to be starting a new chapter. I am sad to say the goodbyes that I know I have to say. I am scared to see what happens after all this done. I love the fact that everything is changing.

Mixed emotions is something that I am feeling at the moment. Everything that I have been fighting for is finally coming to fruition and I all I am thinking about is just closing the book on this place. I feel like I am living the last few episodes of a long running sitcom that has been on the air for 11 years. I get that familiar feeling when Cheers closed or when Theo graduated from college in the Cosby Show. You want to cry but that wouldn't be right because (even though it is a show) you know that life goes on.

In 10 days I will be home and I'm not really sure that people really understand what that means. I have been like a prodigal son in may ways. I left NYC with the idea that I would never come back. Being in my mid 20's trying to make it was difficult and I left because I couldn't succeed in my hometown. I had this delusion that I would stay in Syracuse and live the American Dream. There was always that pull for me to return home even though the relationship with my mother became worse before it ever got better. For all my failures at love and life, I achieved greater successes at many of the same things

Now, I coming back home with things being so different. My life is not the same as when I left. I feel smarter and wiser because I learned from past mistakes. I've learned how to forgive and I've learned how to sacrifice. Most importantly, I have learned how to love. I've grown to love myself and appreciate the world around me. I do love Syracuse and I will truly miss everyone that I have had so much contact with.

Before I started taking the things off my walls in my office, I kept thinking about the many students who have seen my office for what I hope it was…a place to feel welcome. The Puerto Rican flag, being the first thing that many students see, represents my commitment to all students about being proud of what I am and never being afraid to show it. I had to take pictures of it for prosperity. If I am lucky, I will have a similar set up at Barnard College.

As joyous as I can be about leaving, sometimes moving means making hard decisions. In many ways I want to start a new life or "volume" when I get back home. I find myself getting rid of things here and there and selling other stuff. However, the most difficult decision is to leave my dog, Rocky, here with my ex-wife. He does belong to her too and I know this is the right decision for him. He is getting older and needs a person who will love him and care for him in ways that I may not be able to. Out of all the things I have had to do during this transition, I will tell you, this is the hardest. It almost breaks my heart to have to say goodbye to Rocky…

But, like everything else, I will deal with that moment when it happens. My students mean the world to me as well and I hope they know that. I am just glad that everyone has been understanding that this is not really a goodbye, not this small world of email and Facebook. I will treat this more as a "see ya later."


Related Posts with Thumbnails