Saturday, November 8, 2008

Queria crear un blog nuevo porque siento que ando en una metamorfosis constante y prefiero empezar de cero a hacer una mezcolanza de capas incoherentes que terminan formando algo muy guachafo....pero opte por lo guachafo porque me dio flojera crear otro.

Ahora solo quiero escribir como hablo....que fluyan las palabras, sin editar, sin hacer esto algo muy tedioso de leer, sin copiar y pegar trabajos de universidad o poemas de hace 3 anios, sin hacer trampa....(se acaba de meter mi distraccion al MSN)

En fin, es raro como ando en una introspeccion constante y sigo sin conocerme. Me amo, me odio, me aburro....quiero dejar de escribir porque a quien le va a interesar esto :S

Mejor sigo otro dia....

pd - Gracias Andrea, por alzarme el animo xq asi me animaste a escribir....solo que parece q otra vez bajaron :S

Sunday, March 2, 2008



So far, interning at Univisión Noticias 41 has been a great professional experience. My duties as an intern for “41 A Tu Lado”, a section of the newscast in which Univisión Noticias 41 helps Hispanic-Americans solve diverse personal problems, involves listening to viewers’ calls - an average of 300 voicemails a day, - calling them back asking for details on their issues, choosing a story that sounds legitimate and fit for the newscast, researching legal actions that we can take to solve their issues, going out to the viewers’ homes to shoot the interviews, and culminating the process by shooting the informative part of the segment which presents a solution to their particular problem.

The viewers’ problems are diverse. One of the main issues involves immigration: a typical case is that in which a client pays an average of $8,000 for a lawyer to help them stabilize their immigration status. Time goes by and the client asks for a receipt to confirm their papers are in process; the lawyer then proceeds to deliberately tell the client that he/she won’t help them and will only steal their money; if the client insists on getting their money back, the lawyer tells them he/she will call immigration services and they will be deported: this is when the viewer calls us for help.

Another issue I hear often is that of unpaid labor. This usually happens with illegal immigrants who work in construction or cleaning services and lack contracts with their employers. Most employers owe the illegal workers an average of $6,000 when they call us for help. Another constant issue is that of racial discrimination which is apparently present in the workforce, school system, and on the streets. Sometimes this presents more serious cases in which the caller states that they have been physically and verbally abused by the police for being Hispanic. It is interesting to hear the problems present in the Latino community of the tri-state area and although it is frustrating that due to lack of time or resources I can’t help all callers, it is extremely rewarding when possible.

Besides working on the calls, I have had the opportunity to write for the Univisión Noticias 41 website, learn from the editors, producers, reporters, cameramen, and all the employers at Univisión Noticias 41 who treat interns with a friendly attitude and are willing to share their knowledge. Interns at Univisión Noticias 41 are considered part of the family and are given the same treatment as any other employee, which includes expectations to do our job right.

On the February 2008 sweeps, Univisión Noticias 41 held first and second place on the 6PM and 11PM ratings for local newscasts, having higher ratings than networks such as ABC, CBS, and NBC despite the language issue. These results give me pride of being part of this team and help me see a future for me in the Hispanic-American media.

My experience at Univisión Noticias 41 has been very different than that at WCBS-2 News, where I interned during the fall 2008 semester. The employees, the process, the approach, the audience, the issues treated, the language, the newscasts’ segments, the drive, and every other ingredient present in any news station have all been new experiences for me at Univisión Noticias 41, for I cannot compare it to my previous practice at WCBS-2 News. I ascribe this to the cultural differences and the consideration or importance interns are given at Univisión Noticias 41.

A Guide to Score the Latino Vote

A Guide to Score the Latino Vote

by Natalia García

In an effort to earn the Latino vote, candidates have been addressing the issues that concern the Latino community strongly through the media. These issues are varied and differ in their priority from those of the rest of the American population. The roles of class, race, and gender affect the decisions of some voters within the Hispanic-American community but these factors should not be of major concern, for there are more important issues that the candidates should address in order to score the Latino vote.

According to the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute a total of 9.3 million Latinos are expected to vote this November which constitutes a 20 to 25 percent of the population. The National Latino Opinion Leaders Survey on the 2008 Presidential Election conducted by the National Institute for Latino Policy (NiLP) has shown that Latino leaders find Hillary Clinton ahead with a 79 percent against a 17 percent for Sen. Barack Obama and a minor 4% for other candidates. Having Latin America an old-fashioned patriarchal culture it is hard to believe that Sen. Hillary Clinton is leading the Latino vote, although it would be just as hard to have Sen. Barack Obama leading the vote due to the controversies that often arise between Latinos and African Americans. Some Latinos like 66 year-old Sonya Lunden wouldn’t vote for Obama because they think that “Obama is too young and pro-black”; although others differ, like 22 year old Mexican-American Cindy Barrera who has been waiting to become a citizen for over 18 years - “I would vote for Obama just because I would want to see someone other than a white person in power.” Colombian Carolina Félix, 25, thinks that “the candidate’s race does not matter, although it does matter to others.” The truth is that Latinos are comfortable with what they know - “Bill did a good job, and Hillary has experience” - said Alvaro Vásquez, 25, a supporter of Sen. Hillary Clinton, who as many others is aware of the economic boom during Bill Clinton’s presidency. Despite their efforts, most Latinos don’t know much about the rest of the candidates due to their recent appearance in the public eye or their lack of publicity.

“I am a democrat, so I will vote on those grounds,” stated future voter William Tipacti, 36, who is part of the major 59 percent of the 9.3 million Latino voters who call themselves democrats. However, there seems to be an issue that motivates Latino voters to oversee the party their prospective candidate belongs to, the color of their, or their gender. Andrea García, a first time voter who emigrated from Peru 8 years ago doesn’t feel that way - “I am a democrat - said the 26 year old - but I would vote for McCain because I like his ideas for an immigration reform.” Candidate John McCain thinks there is a need to recognize the “importance of building strong allies in México and Latin America” who share the same beliefs and live under the same ideas Americans do, “recognize the importance of a flexible labor market…recognize the importance of assimilation of our immigrant population,” and overall, “recognize that America will always be the ‘shining city upon a hill,’ a beacon of hope and opportunity for those seeking a better life built on hard work and optimism.”

The idea of a beneficial immigration reform is at the peak of the Latino concerns during this election. “Immigration is important,” Mr. Tipacti said, “someone who supports deportation does not get my vote”. Indeed, Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, along with Republican John McCain have agreed in that there should be an immigration reform that avoids deportation and instead benefits the current migrants without affecting the American economy negatively. Yubilán Ottermann, a 32 year-old Chilean musician thinks that “every crime-free immigrant who has been [in the United States] for at least 10 years should be automatically granted citizenship”. The top candidates have agreed in that they should keep families together and provide citizenships for the role-model immigrants who work hard, pay taxes, and respect the law. The candidates have also recognized a need for reinforcement in our borders and workplace in order to remove the factors that promote illegal immigration being one of these factors the assimilation of English as the country’s official language which all candidates have voted for.

The main issues that move us such as immigration, education, economy, and discrimination have been carefully addressed by each one of the candidates, being their ideas and reforms very similar to one another’s in that they all present an improvement for the Latino community. It is now for us Latinos to decide on which ideas we find more genuine and to inform ourselves about which candidate appeals to us the most. Furthermore, we can be satisfied in knowing that as Latino-immigrants, we still keep the beauty of our culture, which lies in that we are individuals that genuinely care for one another and particularly recognize the importance of family; we think of our community as a group which is why we are passionately concerned about the issue of immigration, whether it affects us directly or not. As 25 year old voter Alvaro Vasquez says, “This is what this country is about - equal opportunity for everyone.” We want our hard-working Latino brothers and sisters to have the same rights any other hard-working American has in order to stop the abuse towards the undocumented immigrants in the workplace and in order to achieve the dignity we deserve, for it is that abuse we were running away from and that dignity we were searching for when we left everything we knew behind and stepped on this land.

Colombian-American voter Gina Alvarado, 35, speaks for us when she says that “We need change, change is good.” As Latinos, we are playing a crucial role in the future of this country for the importance given to our vote in the upcoming elections. We are being given the chance to change history. This change can help us achieve the desired recognition we have been waiting for; it can represent an improvement in our role within the American society and help us unite for future causes that will benefit us. Now that we have the chance to be heard, now that we have recognized our problems and have been attributed the opportunity to take the first step for the prosperity of our community, we shouldn’t let this opportunity pass us by, for it doesn’t come often. We should go out, speak for those who can’t, and let our voices be heard.

Lima (The End)

A little after two weeks, during the second week of March, I was enrolled in an American public high school. I had to go through my first fight against stereotypes to make my way into eleventh grade because my counselor guessed I was only fit for ninth or tenth grade without proper testing. After proving him wrong and frustratingly threatening my parents about going back to Perú if such a thing happened to me, I started school as a second term junior. Coming from a Peruvian private Catholic school, I was excited to experience something new because I love challenges. I was expecting to see a crowd of Kevin Arnold's, Winnie Cooper's, Zack Morris' and Kelso's walking down the halls and hopefully I would not be the female version of Fez in this story (not when I did not want to be anyway). But television deceived me because I never saw a "Screech" Powers being bullied by thirty-year-old looking high school students. However, I did have the opportunity to hang out with people who belonged to different subcultures that I had only seen on television; I was experimenting new things because I had always been part of the same little powerful school clique and the rest of the people in Perú were just sheep. But, in America, I hopped from one clique to the other, exploring and learning as much as I could. Every clique had its own ideas about the other and their own advice about who to talk to and who not to talk to, warning me to watch my reputation. One of the moments I remember the most is when one of my new friends who belonged to what I will sadly call the popular clique or, more accurately, the promiscuous clique, told me that her ultimate goal in life was to be like Britney Spears. What these people did not know is that they all had a little something in common: smoking reefer every day, which I did not object to; they were engaging in the same activities, talking about the same things, and yet they felt too good to mingle with each other. My high school boasted about being a great public school, priding on its diversity and its absolute lack of crime. I was not sure of what this meant until I started watching the news and realized all the discrimination and crime happening in American high schools and how students carried guns.

Having the need to speak English perfectly, make new friends, make up work the rest of my classmates had done for the first term of the year, running from one class to the other, and getting used to the weather were challenges. I did not want to be just a face in the crowd; I wanted to be outstanding in every way: I did not want to lose myself, lose that person I had been forming for the past sixteen and a half years of my life. College came later and more challenges arose; overcome obstacles that made me grow as a person and made me stronger opened my eyes to reality, buried some dreams and brought up others. Life hit as it is, unveiled truths that brought disappointment or joy, I realized I was just a number and not a name like I had been all my life and this is one of the reasons why I wanted to move to America, so that people would let me be and mind their own business, because everyone knows your name in the classist city of Lima; it is the gossip kingdom...but grass is always greener on the other side.

I have always thought I can be or do anything because I have high confidence in myself due to received compliments and recognized achievements. Unfortunately, unspoken reminders of society, innuendos, and a constant comparison of realities try to bring me down each day, and each day is a battle of assurance, of reminding myself who I really am. Stereotypes, racism, and ignorance are the obstacles I have to overcome now as an adult, in order not to forget who I am. Luckily, I have met wonderful people that I can call friends with a clear idea of the world and an interest in asking instead of assuming. Sadly, some friends, professors, strangers, or colleagues have brought me down with impertinent comments, and even though I try to ignore them it is impossible to do so. However, they help me learn how to deal with people who have different ideas than my own and help me be more understanding; but overall, after 3 and a half years of adapting to a new culture, I can say I am proud of myself for achieving the things I have and manage to be as happy as I have always been despite the problems presented on the way. I ascribe this to my persistence and hard work.

Lima (Parte 3)

I gave a last look around my big, empty house. Downstairs, the clamor of my family vibrated through the house as usual. Along with their voices, I heard my footsteps echoing, bouncing from one wall to the other, approaching those rooms full of memories and sounds. I did not have time to realize what was happening; I was too busy to get sad, too busy to give everyone around me the attention they expected.

As I was going downstairs, where all the fuss was, I looked back and realized I was already missing that room heat that had kept me comfortable and warm for almost all my life. The sound was now the uncomfortable silence of realization. I looked at my grandparents, then at the ground. My hands started sweating; my eyes got watery; I stopped breathing. I hugged my grandparents trying to be positive, trying to replace those negatives thoughts and expressions with an “I’ll see you soon, I love you” and a smile. My grandparents are strong figures in my life; they inculcated in me the rules of social etiquette and elegance so that, wherever I would go, I would represent the family name as it deserved. I had always secretly admired their accomplishments and had always been proud of carrying their prestigious last name and family history in Peruvian politics, however, I had not acknowledged this until this precise moment in which I took them and their teachings in my heart as I left them with their ungrateful hips and legs at an empty house. The rest of my family and I were heading to the airport now.

At the airport, the people I loved the most surrounded me; it was both the happiest and saddest moment of my life. I did not want to admit how nervous I was. I thought about the days in the schoolyard as I admired my friends: twelve girls I had shared five years of my life with, five guys that were always there for me. My girlfriends and I had blindly supported each other for a long time; we had shared all sorts of things: from chewed unflavored gum, to boys, to obscure and embarrassing secrets; we had cried on each other's shoulders plenty of times, talked about our dreams, and held up each other's hair after long nights of underage drinking; we had lied, fought, and rioted for each other: we had an unspoken pact of sticking together forever. Unfortunately, we grew up and hit reality. My mother's hard work got her a job that gave us the opportunity to move to America and, in search of bigger things we could not accomplish in Perú, we did so. Later that year, four of my friends moved out of that third world country that had kept us happy through our entire lives. I finally said goodbye to my soul mates in a sea of teenage-girl desperation and confusion and a false teenage-boy indifference who tried to cover their sadness by giving me sexual advice for my life in America. Seventeen different people, seventeen stories, seventeen experiences; seventeen rivers all coming to me: I was drowning and so were they.

Time to say goodbye to my family. They were giving me their Saturday night, their tears and hearts, their wise advice, their luck and hope along with their support. Two caring aunts who were there for me unconditionally, two uncles who enjoy bullying every member of the family for the sole purpose of making fun of unbearable truths, provoking loud laughters at family gatherings because our masochistic beings enjoy their so-called heavy jokes and stupidity. Six cousins around my age who had been my friends, confidants, and my healthy, sober type of fun (well, most times anyway, particularly during our short years of innocence). My older sister crying in her accompanied solitude for the departure of the last member of her immediate family; anticipating being left alone for she did not have the desire of giving up the privileged life Perú had spoiled her with. Giving each one of them a last hug and kiss, and waving as I walked away with tears rolling down my cheeks, was my way of telling them I would miss them every day from that time on. I entered a cabin full of unknown souls and faces. All those overwhelming memories in my head, sobs, blurry vision, strangers staring with compassion but not understanding the reason for a group of people being so emotional about the departure of one of the world's sextillion souls, had me dizzy. After twenty minutes of flying, my cheeks and eyes were still burning. I felt I was on a transition of falling asleep without dreaming, somewhere where darkness shines if you want it to. I arrived 7 hours later and by then I was ready to put my sadness behind and begin to adventure in this successful world of money I had seen in the movies where happiness, parties, beautiful people, diversity, and most of all, freedom reigned.

Lima (Parte 2)

"Come with me to the grocery stand, ya? C'mon, c'mon! let's go!" Carmen whispered and demanded as she entered my room, interrupting my Barbie and Ken kiss by pulling me off the floor.

I loved to spend time with her and listen to her outer space stories:

"We finally built a ceiling for my room," she said proudly as I tied my shoes,

"How cool!" I said smiling back while reaching for her hand.

Pretending to be familiar with her particular happiness was not a hard task for seven-year-old me; I had been taught to fear slipping impertinent comments out of my mouth at a very young age.

"Hurry up!" she said, going down the stairs.

My sisters were not home yet. I took my older sister's bicycle hoping she wouldn't find out. I thought her colorful and shiny bike was the coolest thing around - I would probably look just like my sister riding it.

Carmen helped me get on the bike: "Look Nati!" - she whispered as she pointed someone out - "That maid is such a flirt! Every time I see her she's all giggles with a different guard." I looked in awe: trying to figure out what a flirt was turned out to be easy.

"Look Mamen!" - I said - "There's Julio, the car washer you said is a 'pain in the - "

"Shhhh! - she interrupted with her contagious laughter - don't ever repeat the things I tell you!"

"Do you want chocolate?" she said with a suspicious smile.

"Yes!" I begged.

"Ok, but don't tell your mom we spent her money on that," she cautioned.

After using my mother's money to sinfully buy a chocolate bar for myself and multiple snacks for her at a nearby bodega, we continued our journey to the market.

The grocery stand was busy. I was staring at the customers surrounding it; maybe they thought I was cool for riding that bike.

My maid kept looking back to check on me. "Stick by me," she advised. "Give me two kilos of potatoes," - she commanded as I got off my sister's bicycle and stood next to it.

"My bike!" I screamed.

I took off running after a man in a light blue shirt with blue prints who had dared to jump onto my sister's bicycle and pedal away. I couldn't think of anything scarier than my sister's reaction when finding her bicycle missing.

"Nati NO!" Carmen yelled in desperation as I held on to the bicycle's back seat.

"It is MY bike!" I told the thief without regretting the lie as he dragged me down the street.

"Fuck, let go!" the thief said pedaling with difficulty as he turned his head back to look at me.

"No I won't, it's my bike, not yours!" I claimed, holding on to the back seat as tight as I could.

I remember hearing the women at the grocery stand murmuring and Carmen crying my name along with the screeching of my light-up sneakers burning against the sidewalk.

After what seemed to be a very long 3-block ride, I saw a police officer one block ahead.

"You know what, here is your bike," the thief said, and in a split second he faded off the face of earth.

I got on my bicycle and pedaled back to where Carmen was. I could tell from afar that she was crying, waiting for me with open arms and heart as I came back alive.

"What's wrong?" - I asked - "I got my bike back! There’s no reason to cry."

It was a silent walk back home. I could not understand why she was still crying. "It's ok! Really!" I said nervously trying to console her. I remember the sadness I felt at the time, but it all turned into laughter when I got back home to my whole family and told them about my heroic deed.

We were all gathered to celebrate my aunt’s birthday: my grandfather, a story-teller, loving, passionate, and smart; my grandmother, very caring, giving, realistic, strong, and stubborn: everything must be done her way; my unconventional uncle Felipe, whose dark humor revealed that he never met anything sacred, something that pissed off most of the adults in my family for not being able to talk to him about serious matters but that secretly cheered everyone up during stressful times. His daughter Begoña, ten years older than I, an artist, very real and humble, smiling her way through life; she would soon leave Perú to pursue her career in México; his son Felipe, four years older than I, handsome, very deep and honest; and his daughter Tara, my age, with whom I always had fun doing everything and anything: building forts, pretending to be ninjas or soccer players…thinking we could fly; my uncle Miguel, a lawyer and a martial arts master whose favorite game is to twist your wrist until you cry. He brought a cake especially designed for us that said “Go to hell!” which basically sums up his attitude towards life, but we all thought it was really funny because we knew he didn’t mean it…well, sort of. His sons Gabriel, my age, and Sebastian, five years younger, both very smart, funny, and ambitious.

My very fun aunt Monica, a pre-school teacher, and her daughters Valeria, my age, and Pamela, six years younger, who I consider more than an aunt and cousins for having shared many tears and smiles. My aunt Veronica, the artist, a very lively woman much in touch with spirituality who pays great attention to detail; and her daughter Stephanie, my age, born in the United States but very fond of her roots, one of the kindest persons I know; my aunt Sandra, the youngest, very generous, fun, and a big fan of caffeine. Let’s not forget about the most important one of all: my mother, sarcastic, giving, caring, helpful, and loving; my sister Andrea, six years older than I, my friend and support, very capable and strong; and my sister Alejandra, three and a half years older than I, a sweet friend, understanding, patient, giving, sensible, and a little OCD.

This is my family: two grandparents, two older sisters, eight cousins, two uncles, and three aunts. My family gatherings feel like a contest where my grandparents are the judges: whoever speaks louder wins, everyone wants to be heard. There are no boundaries, it’s like we are all the same age, but we treat each other with love and therefore, with respect. I would much rather spend time with them than with my friends, I have never seen a family like mine, it’s wonderful, and today I am leaving them behind.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Lima (Parte 1)

I wake up to the humid and bone-stabbing winter in my cozy bed. I don’t have to check the weather to figure out what to wear; we have two definite temperatures - hot and cold - and no precipitation except for quiet winter drizzles that go unnoticed.

I look out my window and salute Lima la Gris, embracing its emblematic winter-grey tone. The sun shines on very rare occasions during the cold season and only to deceive us. Last time it shone, the earth quaked, causing the sea to devour the getaway homes of the wealthier European-descent families in the peninsula of Paracas and destroying the mediocre houses of the impoverished city of Pisco – where the epicenter was, just three hours away from the capital city of Lima.

What was a catastrophe to most was considered an oh-my-God-unbelievably-awesome experience in my social bubble - What were you doing on August 15th, 2007 at 6:41pm? – Some fortunate ones were vacationing in Miami, a few others fulfilling responsibilities at home, school, or work, but most were at the gym, playing sports or surfing at the exclusive beach club Regatas Lima, eating at a restaurant, reading subtitles in a movie theater, having a drink at a bar, or shopping at the trendiest malls for ridiculously high prices – all, most likely, in the hip and upscale district of Miraflores: a very cosmopolitan town where you can get anything from a $15.00 coffee in one of the nearby Starbucks, to a designer’s bag, to an STD from the gringo-friendly bricheras at Calle las Pizzas who seduce the innocent tourists in order to party for free or take advantage of their money in one way or another.

Some of the bricheras fall in love with the gringos though, maybe for their money, maybe because their beautiful whiteness is reachable, unlike that of the European-descent Peruvians who want nothing to do with these low-class mestizo girls –unless it’s a guys-night-out-let’s-get-really-wasted-and-fuck-these-girls-we-actually-want-to-fuck-sober-but-can’t-because-it’s-unacceptable-in-our-uptight-society – although they might also fall in love with the possibility of being rescued from their miserable lives. Whatever the case may be, gringos love it, so bricheras do no harm, except to most of that fifteen percent European-descent Peruvian population who watch horrified, particularly old conservative women who wonder how a handsome and young white man can hold hands with such a worthless, greasy girl.

But today is cold and the sun hasn’t shone, so it should be a good day. I put on a pair of jeans, an old shirt, a sweater, and my black Converse, and I look stunningly beautiful as I walk down the street where I grew up – or so have always said the perverted men out there –Mmm mamasita! Princesa! – I now respond with a - “Papasito! Principe!” - enjoying their confused reaction. I consider this a more entertaining response than the usual racial slur “Cholo de mierda!” most of my friends opt for.

The traffic light is on red but I still look at both sides of the street before crossing. Most drivers don’t mind the law, and the law doesn’t mind most drivers as long as, when pulled over, they are willing to cooperate with it by providing the crooked cops with a couple of dollars to ease their thirst with one of our “golden” national prides: the internationally known soda Inca Kola. I turn into Las Gaviotas, a street that leads to Avenida Aramburú, an avenue whose traffic lights are particularly attractive for hungry street-kids juggling and flying around the air in order to make some money by panhandling car to car, saving their cents and counting them carefully scared of their angry mothers waiting around the corner to collect their earnings. I passed a couple of news stands and a bunch of street merchants selling everything from bootleg DVDs for $1.00 to a variety of delicious nuts for $0.25 and I saw Julio, the car washer. Julio would ring the bell of my house every day around 2PM, pushing into it and letting go off of it slowly: - D-I-N-G, D-O-N-G -, all it took for us to know it was him carefully following Adela’s instructions, the angry cook at my house, who ordered him to ring the bell that way because, under her rules, only family members were allowed to push the button more than once. “Quién es?” - Adela would ask - “Julio!” - he would respond, while carrying the same dirty red bucket and cloth and wearing the same old stained khakis, bleached blue shirt and light blue hat with which I met him many years ago. I waved at him and continued my journey.

Five minutes later I arrived at the supermarket, characterized for its distinguished customer service. The security guard greeted me while biting his bottom lip and checking out my butt: “Buenos días señorita,” my response was just silent upset frown. As I entered the modern supermarket chain I felt calm again (maybe because of the classical music playing loudly through the speakers to cover up the sheep hubbub). The workers helped me find what I was looking for with a smile on their faces, always treating the customers kindly and nicely despite their fifty-dollar-per-month salary. After paying for what I got I left the supermarket hopping and whistling like a little kid which reminded me of when I was younger and the supermarket used to be a street market full of people and small stands. It was in this market where I first got mugged by a Lima thief: the type of thief that doesn’t really want to hurt you, the type of thief that steals because he is in desperate need of bringing food to his table.