Thursday, December 17, 2009

"Micky's Kittens" by Rimmie Leu

I had a kitten. Her name was Micky. She was cute and smart. She grew up very fast. Slowly, she found a handsome boyfriend. They were a happy young couple. I don't remember how many months later she got pregnant. When she felt her kittens were close to being born, she came between my legs while I was sleeping. I kicked her gently away because it tickled. Then I fell asleep. She came back again with her kittens. I felt them crawl in the middle of my legs. I let them stay comfortable between my legs, even though my legs and bed sheets was full of Micky's blood. I still slept until morning with them. I got up in the morning. Micky said "meow..meow". It meant, "Look, I have babies." I counted them, there were five. They were handsome/beautiful. I placed them in the corner of my bed on the blanket. I changed my stinky bed sheets and put them in the laundry basket. I went to the bathroom, took a shower and dressed up, walked to the kitchen, made a cup of tea, walked into the living room, sat down enjoying my tea when suddenly Micky came near me "meow..meow" She looked at my eyes. I stood up and walked straight to my bedroom. She followed behind, also she was very quiet. Surprised, she moved her kittens back on my bed. "That's fine, my dear," I said. We slept together as long as we liked. I love you so... much, Micky. Thanks for reading my true silly story. Have fun and a great day.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

"One Day With My Son" by Claudia Herrera

The Inimitable Sponge Bob, Square Pants

I'm going to tell you about one day with my son.

I usually wake up at 6:50. One day I woke up at 7:10 and I took a shower. I got dressed and after that I went to the kitchen because I had to prepare breakfast for my husband and my son. I began to say to my son while he was sleeping, "Roman, wake up!" But even after I repeated it several times, he still didn't hear me. He continued to sleep. So I decided to turn on the television, and I looked for his favorite channel. Fortunately, his favorite program was on: "Sponge Bob Square Pants". When Roman heard it, he opened his eyes. Then I dressed him. I put on his black shoes, and I put on his white shirt. He was ready to have his breakfast. Finally my husband and my son and I were ready to go to whatever the day's destiny was going to hold for us.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

"My Life Transition" by Aseel Abazid

Damascus, Syria

I was born in Syria. I have nice family. I have one sister and one brother. I lived in an apartment, and I had very nice neighbors. He was a nice boy. We were playing together, talking a lot in the hall way. Suddenly he decided to travel to the USA because his dad and his brother live there. He was thirteen years old when he moved to USA. I didn’t see him until he came back to visit his mother after six years. He visited my brother in our home. I talked to him just few sentences. I was very shy, and he was too. The next year he came to Syria to attend his brother’s wedding. He came with his family to visit my family. They talked to my parents about proposal and engagement. My parents in the beginning refused that idea. They told me I was too young and I’d just finished high school. Besides he was twenty, he hadn’t finished his studies. But after thinking for a long time, my parents agreed. The engagement period was four years. I studied chemistry for four years in the university. He studied computer science, and he started to work. We got married after I graduated. We have been married for one year, and we’re very happy.

"La Muerte" by Juan Lopez-Gutierrez

Dia de los Muertos

Death is the second step from birth to death. Do you think about the death some time in your in your life? If you do, you must be the happiest person in the world. Thinking of "la muerte" is the best way to live life. You learn how to be a loving parent, avoiding danger, and see the difference between right and wrong. In my opinion, we must be prepared for that transition, because nobody knows when or where it is coming. We have to learn how to walk hand in hand with death in this life. The day when we learn those steps, we will see the difference and we are going to say, “Welcome, death, any time.”

I’m Mexican and we have a special day on November Second. On that day, most of the people go to the cemetery. They take flowers to the loved ones who rest in peace. The living remember the dead, and the good times they once had together. Most of the time people talk to each other not realizing that the real conversation is with the soul.
The soul lives in or out of body and never dies and will be eternal in the minds of the ones who love us in life.

"Immigration: A Life Transition" by Mei Huang

A house in Oakland, California

I immigrated to the United States. When I came to San Francisco, the airplane flew down. I saw the beautiful city. After I arrived here, I lived on Jones Street. My older sister owned a laundromat on Jones Street. I went to the store, and I saw a person. I got scared and ran away. One day I saw a man. He brought his coat to wash. "One dollar," I said. The next time he saw me, "One dollar", One dollar," he said. He laughed. I smiled. After a few days, the man drove us to my relatives who lived in Oakland. When I saw that the homes in Oakland were very small, "EWWW," I yelled. But, when I went inside the house, I saw it was very nice.

"Things of Life" by Cecilia Pelayo

"The Risen Christ Appearing to Mary Magdalene" by Rembrandt

I was a single woman living out the United States. I had gone to school for a long time. I had been working in an American factory for four years. The economy of the USA affected us. The company closed and I had to look for another job.

I couldn’t find another job like the one I had before, but I had worked for a long time in my religious community. When I talked to the priest, he offered to me stay at the office and help in different things: as a secretary, as a religion teacher, as general assistant. I accepted for a small payment.

I had had a boyfriend, but not at that time. I met a Mexican-American man and we began going out. He had gotten a job there. He asked me to marry him, I accepted. Our families met them. We got married, and we came to live at USA.

I found myself in the biggest change of my life. I have been working for a livelihood, and so far, I've only had jobs with speakers of Spanish only. Although I’ve studied English, I haven’t felt very confident speaking it.

Actually, now that I’ve come back to school after some years, I’ve seen how the world has changed. Technology is going too fast and a lot of things are different than before, especially in computers. I feel that everything is possible.
I feel now that have risen in my life.

Friday, October 9, 2009

"My Dream" by Isania Carpio

"House" by Andrew Wyeth

When I was a child, I had a dream. My dream was to learn English, so when I came to this country, my first step was taking classes at City College. This took place in 2005. But I couldn't continue because I had to work very hard that year. One day a friend of mine who can speak English very well told me something that I've never forgotten, "If you want to learn English as well as me, go to school every day of the week." And that exactly what I did. At the present I can't speak accurately, but I can communicate with a lot of people from other countries, and that is great for me. I hope someday can speak English to understand everything about life in this country. That is still my dream.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

"Life's Transition" by Rosie Romero

Hi my name is Rosie. I was born in a small town in Honduras. The town wasn't crowded, it was clean and safe. So all of the children in the town played together outside. I lived in a really big house with my parents, my brothers, and my sister. I was the youngest of the family back then. We had a small ranch, but it was in a different town. Our ranch was really close to this beautiful celestial river. We would go to the ranch every weekend. I loved it with all my heart! We also had a coffee farm, so we were always busy. We had to work very hard, I always remember it. It was a lot of fun for my brothers and I because we would fool around during work time.

My favorite season was summer because we would go to the ranch and swim in the river everyday, even after school ended! So after that I became a teenager. I went to college, and there I met this handsome young man which after a few years became my daughter's father.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

"My Actual Life in The USA" by Cecilia Palacios

I am going to write about my experiences living in this country.  I have been living here for almost eight years. I came here with my husband and my five year old daughter with the idea to work for one or two years and then all of us return to my country.  Soon I started at work here. I really enjoyed my job. I liked my job because I was in Customer Service and I enjoyed the contact with the people. At that time, my husband got a job too, and my little daughter started school. Gradually, we adapted to the ways of this country.  My little daughter started to speak English very fast, and she was happy because she had a good home with Mom and Dad.  Now, my family has grown. I have three wonderful kids which are my entire life. Now, my work is to take care of them. But I feel the responsibility to educate myself and to be the best person I can each day. I come to Mission Campus every day because I want to learn. I want to be a good example for them. I want to go to their schools and understand everything their teachers have to say. I don’t want to have an interpreter. I want to speak English fluently and clearly. Every day I pray to God to be a good Mom and to guide my children on the right path. I wish some day they will feel proud of me. I want to be an inspiration for them, so that they can move forward. I hope that they will become wise adults and some day they can go to college and reach their goals. I know they can do it, and I want to be there for them.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Diana Mahecha's Story

I was born on a farm in my country, Colombia. At the age of 6 years I started school. I had to walk about two hours from home to school. After school, I went back to do my homework and, after that, I fed the chickens and pigs. Sometimes I had time to play with my younger siblings, but any time that was left was used to help my mom with the house work. I used to play on weekends with my brother around the house, and we both enjoyed climbing the mango and orange trees to eat the fruit. We had a wonderful time enjoying the countryside. One day my father decided to move to the capital in search of better opportunities and a better future for us, and we stayed at home with my Mom.

After a short time, she decided to move to my grandparents' house, to keep them company as they were a little sick and could not do farm work. Two years after, my father returned from the capital to take us with him. When we reached the great city. All of it surprised me since most of what I saw was new. The city had huge buildings and many people. Also it had a lot of cars. That's where I finished my middle school, and soon after my father died. I was fourteen years old and my siblings were younger. It was a very difficult time for us. My mother did not have a job. She had depended on my father. Also we didn’t own a house so we had to pay rent. I had already decided to look for a job to help my mom and my siblings. I got a job at a supermarket where I had the opportunity to finish my studies at night and support my family for 5 years. I graduated from high school at age of eighteen. Two years later, I got another job in a chocolate factory. It was my last job before coming to the United States. I met my present husband through a friend. My husband provided the opportunity coming to this country and have a better future for me and my family. Coming to this country has been a great experience of a lifetime, full of new challenges. I'm studying English at City College where I’ve been learning a lot. Here I've met people from around the world, who have different cultures and languages.

I'm not at all bored with my story and I feel that my life thus far has had a bit of change and adventure.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Puente Grande, by Salvador Vargas

I’m from Mexico. I was born in a little town in Jalisco, Mexico. It’s called Puente Grande. Its name comes from a bridge that was built there in 1716 by Spanish people with an estimate of 700 pesos of gold. It has four towers, two in each side. Below each tower there’s writing of the information about who sent the money for its construction. That information is very difficult to read now because it has disappeared through time. Its writing isn’t very clear. Each tower has a statue with the image of Spanish people on top. This bridge has a length between 80 - 90 meters. It has only one way. There used to be one of the most beautiful rivers of Mexico under the bridge. It was called “Rio Lerma Santiago.” I remember when I was a child, all my friends and I swam all weekend. Also many people went there to wash their clothes in it.

When I left my hometown 10 years ago, this river deteriorated. I say that because its water wasn’t as clean as it used to be before and it became polluted. I’m going to show you one picture of how it looked 10 years ago. This is very shameful!

I don’t understand why some governments don’t give special attention our natural resources and inheritance. It’s very important to take care of them.

I’m going to tell you about one legend that the elderly people tell about who built this bridge too. The legend tells that: A man knew a beautiful girl on the other side of the river. Both fell in love and they started to meet each other every day and had beautiful nights.

But the problem was that he had to swim across the river every day to see her. He was very upset because his clothes got wet all the time and he couldn’t build a canoe because he had been very poor his whole life.

One night he was thinking about how to resolve his problem when suddenly a man ridding a beautiful black horse appeared in front of him, and asked.

"You know who I am?" The man said, "No, who are you?" The rider answered. "I’m the devil, and I can help you. I can build a bridge for you in one day if you want, but I have one condition. You should give me your soul. Do you want to accept my offer?"
The man answered, "Okay, I’m going to accept your offer, but I have another condition for you. You must finish it before a rooster sings. Do you accept my offer too?"
The devil answered, "Well, I will."

It was going to be the midnight when the devil started to build the bridge.

The legend says that the man was scared to death because the rooster hadn’t sung yet, and the devil was going to put the last rock over the bridge when suddenly a rooster started to sing and the devil couldn’t put the rock in it. The man was very happy because he had won two things. A bridge, and his soul again. He had beaten the devil.

My Mud Crab Experience, by Rima Darmianto

I’m from Sulawesi in Indonesia. I was born in an small village called Kulisusu. When I was little girl, I liked to play in the mud under the mangrove trees in the ocean. Almost every single day I went with my friends. We were looking for clam and shrimp when I was pinched by mud crab. Owww!! It was terrible. The claws hung onto my thumb. I screamed. It hurt, really hurt. Finally, my friend came to remove them. Then we walked home, I held my right thumb because it was bleeding. When I got home my mother said, "I'm sorry about it, you have to learn how to catch them without getting pinched." (Thanks a lot, Mom!!) After this experience, I knew exactly how to catch mud crab and MORE as well. They're very strong and also dangerous. I'm so glad even though it hurt, but I had so much fun with my friends. So if you plan a trip to mangrove trees, let me know. I'd love to join you. Thanks for reading my story. Have a great day.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

"My Dream Interpretations" by Nicolas A. Guevara

"The Persistence of Memory" - Salvador Dali

For many years, I have had this kind of dream, almost the same, with little variation over time:

I was in trench warfare, like World War One. But, at the same moment, I saw leaves falling from the branches, dancing in the air, and swimming beautifully. Also, I could hear water running from a stream nearby. These sounds made my body less tense and put me in a better mood. I saw all the plants, animals, the air, the water, and the earth connected and linked together with me. I dug with my bare hands through one of the walls of the trench and found chains of gold. These chains were connected, one with the other. I started to think of who might have hidden this gold and how long it might have been there, hidden behind the walls of this trench. Just then, I started to get nervous about this treasure and my whole body shook.

This dream always came when some bad news occurred in my life. About nine years ago, when I had this dream for the first time, my mother passed away. Then, when the dream came again, I was just saying goodbye for ever to a woman with whom I had had a nice friendship and a deep romantic relationship. The third time this dream happened, about two years ago, my sister passed away. This year, I had the same dream when I lost my daytime job.

I don't consider myself a pessimist at all, but always this dream is accompanied by an event that brings an emotion of great sadness. For other people, this same dream might indicate a state of well being or happiness brought on by the "good life".

When I think about how my dreams predict the future, I remember Joseph from the Bible, the favorite son of Jacob. Because he was the favorite, his brothers were jealous and tried to get rid of him. Joseph ended up in Egypt where he became known as a dream interpreter. He read the Pharoah's dream and predicted seven years of good crops followed by seven years of famine. Because he was a great dream interpreter, he became very powerful and important in Egypt. I think everyone has the potential to see something coming in their dreams, like Joseph.

My personal dream interpretations aside, only God knows what is happening in our sleep. Just wait until after you dream something to see what you are going to deal with in reality.

Friday, July 24, 2009

"Your Own Home" by Maria Piva

Migration comes from ancient times. If you ask why people come to this country, you will find a lot of reasons. This is a country of immigrants since the pilgrims arrived, and then started the immigrations from the other countries, particularly Latin American people.

In my case, San Francisco is the first city I lived in since I left my country. Then I went again to my country trying to find myself and got my degree, got married and went to New York City. My son was born there, but I think New York is a crazy city, the people are running always and I don't like that kind of living, so, I returned to my country with my five month old baby.

Last year, my son and I went to Plainfield, New Jersey for a couple of months. This is a nice and pretty city. It was summer time, and it was really hot like my country. It's wonderful to see so many animals and flowers everywhere. You can get to New York City when you want because it's pretty close. We went to New York many times, and I felt it was as crazy as it had been fifteen years earlier. My son couldn't believe he was in the same city where he was born. It was amazing for him, especially when we visited the World Trade Center. He knew everything about September 11, 2001, and I had told him he was there when he was one month old, when we traveled from New York, to Elizabeth, New Jersey. He enjoyed this visit and took photos of everything. He was fascinated with the New York's view from the Empire State Building, but like me, he doesn't want to live there. To be honest, I thought I would never visit New York City again. But, I have learned something, you never can say “never”. Then, we visited Greenwich, Connecticut. It's a precious city because like New Jersey, you can enjoy nature.

Right now, I am again in the same place. San Francisco is a beautiful city. I love the morning fog, the rainy days, the beauty of the places, and the friendly people. But I don't think I belong here because I miss my country and my home a lot. I love nature and quiet places, not crowded cities.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

"My Girlfriend Michelle and Me", by Simon E. Vidal

Michelle is the best woman that I have known in my life. She is very beautiful and very smart. I love to talk with her because she knows a lot of politics and social themes. And also she dances very well. She likes salsa, merengue, and reggueton. She’s going to be a lawyer, and I know that she will be very talented in her job. We have had a relationship of approximately 3 years, and we are very happy. She loves the outdoors and cooking, just like me, and if we have time, we go to the beach and walk on the sand. Unfortunately, she is in my country (Chile) because she needs to finish her undergraduate studies. I hope that in July she can come to San Francisco because I miss her a lot. I am very sure that she is going to like this city very much because it is very similar to Chile. We talk every day by skype, but nothing is comparable to having the people that you want close to you. I know that she is the person for me, and I am pretty sure that nobody is like her.

Monday, April 27, 2009

"A Special Friendship" by Maria Valle Merino

As time goes by, you have the opportunity to think about the friends you have in your life. People say that you can count them in one hand, and that’s a truth. When you find a real friend, try to keep that person for the rest of your life. My mother said that when I was a little girl, I liked to talk with everyone, no matter who it was, an animal or a person. I had love for everybody, and I talked too much. Right now, I choose my friends, but still I like to talk. By now, I have learned to listen more and to talk when it is necessary only.

As you grow up, you realize that there are a few people who came into your life and stayed with you always. When days are good or bad, it’s nice to have good feelings about them. No matter if they are living close to you or far away, you have them inside your heart.

I have a few very good friends in my life. I remember them and they remember me. I still keep them. But now, I have a special friend who entered my life almost sixteen years ago. He is my son, Aaron. He is the most important person in my life. We spent hours of good talking, and we like the same things. We enjoy the same kind of music. He is a mature teenager. I think it is because he doesn’t have a sister or a brother, and he has developed a strong relationship with me. He gives me advice when I do something wrong and listens to me when he has done wrong things. I understand he is not perfect. Nothing in this world is perfect. I think that we come to this world to learn how to grow up and do the things the best we can, and try to be a better people, inside and out. Pretty soon he is going to be and adult, and I hope one day, he remembers me, his mother, like a special friend in his life.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

"The Unconditional Partner" by Diego Valdez

The Unconditional Partner

Music is unconditionally there forever, anytime I want it, any time I need it, any time it needs me, I am going to die for it.

I fell in love in 2000 after the first party in Monterrey, Mexico. The town of Skizzo was the window towards the other side of this universe. I was hooked by the vibrant atmosphere that loud, fine music and unhappy people release when they are fused after midnight. Even though everybody knows we were unhappy, we tried to reach the real happiness at least for that night, no talking much, no posing, no pretending, no synchronized dances, and we did it. The results, only smiles and a real feeling of dancing were there.
This music is the simplest availability. I don’t have to take it out for dinner, I don’t have to be listen to it I don’t need to say anything to it, It will never get old, and it is always in a perfect mood, and the best thing: it never will make me feel bad. The only one thing that I have to do is press the play button. When I realized all that, I couldn’t even believe that it was happening, and why that was happening, and I still don’t understand, how this music was created, not only my music, I am talking about all kinds and styles of music. Everybody agrees this is the XXI century, and the human species has been here for 6000 thousand years, and I don’t think that it has been enough time for humans to catch up to these levels of musical refinement. I think it is too much for these days, I think the music has evolved very much.
I was a former member massman of a band, and we were playing Molotov, Control Machete and Caifanes, and these experience helped me to recognize how difficult and complicated is playing an instrument, a lot hours of practice if it is only a hobby, but when I am talking about an “artist”, I know that there are too many years of study and spiritual refinement, and then I look at the instrument, and the I can’t believe how the human created, instruments that play music, that play that great music, that play energy, that play life.
Now we only press play in an mp 3 player,
That’s it!
A Prisoner of this Universe.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

"Two Cousins, Two Brothers" by Juan Lopez-Gutierrez

Two cousins, two brothers:

That will be the name of my story. First let me tell you, we grew up in the same town, two houses apart. We shared so many things when we were kids. Every morning we went to school together, had lunch together, sat in the same classroom, and had the same teachers. It was so much fun being together.

The time passed by and we grew up. He left the town when he was nine years old, and we did not see each other for so many years. One day, I think it was the best day of my life, the telephone rang and I answered it. It was him on the other end of the line and being very happy. Then we made plans to come to U.S.A.. I left my university, my friends, and so many things I loved at that time. When we came to this country, the things were very hard because of the language. And we lived in San Diego for two years. Then I moved to Chicago, and he stayed in San Diego. We didn’t see each other for five years. At that time, when he stayed in San Diego, he got to know this girl and got married. They have three girls and one boy. At that time I didn’t know he was an alcoholic . He was attending A.A. He had a lot of help from his wife. Afterwards, I left Chicago to live in San Francisco. Now we see each other more often because I like to drive to San Diego to visit them. And he has been twenty six years out of alcoholism. I admire him when he tells me he is going to a conferences to some states of Mexico talking about alcoholism.

We aren’t kids any more. My cousin and his wife are a very happy couple. Two of the girls got married. And now he is the grandfather of two beautiful girls. I have two daughters. We are in our 60’s and have been very happy people, making plans to go back to Mexico, like when we were kids.

"My Special Friend" by Cecilia Pelayo

When I was a child I had a lot of friends in our neighborhood, but especially one who I could feel confident and talk with about all kinds of things at home, at school, and anywhere. Since then, long time ago, she has listened to what I tell her, shares with me what’s happening in her life, sends cards, letters, gifts, announcements of accomplishments, and statements of wishes and hopes; more than I do. We used to sit outside her house by night and talk for a long while, until my mom told me to go to bed at 10 P.M. Most of thees nights I braided her long hair to comfort her dream sleeping time. When she finished her elementary school, I thought our friendship would finish soon. It didn’t happen.

In our family, we had the opportunity to purchase a new house and we changed our address. It was a difficult time for me, my life was on fire: it was my adolescence. Then my special friend and I started to communicate by letter and cards. After that we tried to meet together at hers or my home.

She used to work as a secretary and study English in the beginning. After, high school and Psychology at the University; I really don’t know how she did it, she always worked full time. When she attempted to get a job as a professional individual, she couldn’t find it. This was during the U.S. Economical depression affecting Mexico. Then she thought of coming to the U.S.A. and to get a better life, and she did it.

I admire her because of her exceedingly good attitude. She didn’t have her father since she was a little child. Her mother worked as a seamstress to make ends meet, and she was the baby in her family.

Our communication followed mostly by writing. She got married, and time seemed longer than before. I felt very worthwhile when she understood the my situation, being a student without working, because my parents didn’t permit it. She sent me a card with a money order. When she got back to Mexico, we always met and talked for hours and hours, drinking, and eating something.

Now I live in San Francisco, she lives in Colorado with her husband and two children. They came to visit us already. I don’t know their house but I hope to visit them some day. Our communication by phone or by writing is still there.

Now, she has an Education Degree and is working as Elementary School Teacher. She has worked at the Church community where she teaches religion and plays the guitar. She hasn’t forgotten our friendship. I always remember her and along the distance. We walk the life together.

I still have a lot to learn from her and that is what I have been trying to do.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Kim My Vuong, "My Friend Lien"

Everyone in the world must have a friend. You may have a lot of friends, or you might have only one.

I only have one friend. When I was in high school in my country, I met a friend. Her name is Lien.

She is my closest friend. She and I never argued because she is a very nice person. She speaks very softly.

I often came to her house, and we cooked together.
If we had time, we‘d make a dinner party.

We talked about our life in high school. Later I left my country, and we have never seen each other again.

Sometimes I wrote to her a letter. Now I send an e-mail to her because it’s faster than sending a letter by mail.

I came to The United States and I have met a lot of friends, but I will never forget Lien.

Elisenda Pasto, "To Yan"

Once upon a time, so time ago, I was working in a small village next to the beach. I was working with a non-profit organization taking care of sea turtles in the Caribbean Ocean. That place was amazing, like a fantastic island where I met curious people. I remember Yan, a Czech young man that was travelling around the world. He worked as a travel guide, that’s why he travels a lot.

One day, I was sitting on the beach just looking at the beauty of the sea and thinking my own thoughts. Suddenly, I heard some noise and I turned to that direction and I saw a young man with a boat and a fishing rod. That guy was Yan.
He approached me and asked to sit with me, if that was okay. “Yes, I’m glad to have company,” I said. We were in silence for a while, both looking at the soft waves and watching the sunset. Before the sun went to the other side of the world, we prepared a little fire to cook the fishes that Yan had caught. Despite the fact that the fishes were small, they tasted really delicious.
We were talking of different things, how we arrived to that far-off, isolated and beautiful place, about the magnificence of the sea turtles and their need of conservation. Then, we found out that both of us liked stories, and Yan was a really amazing storyteller. He told me different kinds of stories some about his country, and other stories about legends and heroes. But I remember one was about an Asian poet.

A long time ago, in somewhere in the middle of China, there was a poet. He lived in a humble cabin with only one room. The bed was on one side, and on the other side, a table with only one chair situated next to the window, and a kitchen. The poet was thinking about his recent dreams and writing them down on a piece of paper. The poet dreamed that he was a butterfly, but the thought occurred to him, what if he were a butterfly dreaming that he was a poet? One day, the poet disappeared. No one in the village knew where he was gone, they only found a piece of paper in his table with a sentence and a drawing of a butterfly.

When Yan finished telling the story, it was dark and we could see a millions of stars in the sky. We stood up and Yan walked with me to my room. “Good night and sweet dreams, Eli” he said before continued on his way to his room.

Djenane Saint Juste from Haiti, "My Friend, Mr. 'J'"

The word "friend" means a lot of things to me. Unfortunately, some people use this word for everyone, for whatever reason. Having a friendship with someone is a big responsibility you have to deal with, because you have to be available for your friend in different kinds of situations. Mr. “J” is my friend, and I can provide several reasons to prove that there is friendship between the two of us.

First, some people think a good friendship needs several years together to build some habits. But in my point of view, it is not really necessary to spend a lot of time with someone to discover what kind of personality this person has. For example, I met Mr. “J” in December 2008 at a dinner with another friend of mine. The first time we talked, he was a little bit shy, and I acted like a silly girl with him. After few conversations with him, I saw that all the shyness I had imagined before disappeared, and nobody could stop him from talking. Moreover he has an amazing imagination and creativity, and you never feel bored talking with him. From December until now, I discovered that Mr. “J” had the most beautiful personality I ever saw. He is extremely intelligent, respectful, a good speaker, but also good listener. He is always here when I need him, and he likes to make fun of me and make me laugh a lot. He has a perceptive sense for good art, and we both have the same interest in this area. He doesn’t like to dance or go to parties, and sometimes he just disappears like a ghost to think about poetry.

Even though during his ghost time he can pass weeks without talking with me, I can feel his love and friendship around me. We are like magnets acting together. In a few months, we built a strong friendship together. Lots of people that I've known for years never impacted me the same way. So I can affirm MR”J” is my friend.

The meaning of friend for the majority is being together and having fun: going to parties, drinking, or shopping. But when you are sad, mad, in difficulties, or having troubles, those friends are never available for you. Hopefully in my friendship with Mr. “J” our relationship is totally different. I applied for a scholarship to the University of Riverside, and one of the requirements they asked me for is to pass the TOEFL test with a score of at least 80 points. I had only one month to take the test and my English was horrible at this moment. I was afraid of not being able to prepare myself on time and afraid that I would fail the test. As if by magic, my friend Mr. “J” proposed to help me without any benefit. He started coming several evenings after work to help me study. Sometimes he was tired, angry or without money to put gas in his car, but he always came to support me. He motivates me and encourages me in my studies. He makes my learning process come easily and with humor. He makes me feel that I can win this fight against the test and obtain a good score. Sometimes we have to study until 2:00 am in the morning and after that he has to drive more than 45 minutes to go to his house, but he never seems upset about that. The day before the test he brought me to the station where I was to catch the train to Fresno, He hugged me and told me: “You're gone a make it like a "Soldadita" (little soldier)”. And I made it. Four weeks later, I received my TOEFL score: 81 points.

Mr. “J” is my friend, not only because we built in a few months a stronger relationship based in respect, communication and the same interest in art, but also because he is the only person I could ask for help when I needed it and whatever trouble I have to deal with I know he always going to be here to listen to me and support me. I’m happy to have him as a friend, and I will try my best to contribute with love, patience and cooperation to make our friendship even better.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

"Calamari A La Catalana" by Eli Pasto

“Calamari a la Catalana” is one of the typical meals in my region of Spain.
I miss a lot this typical meal of my little county, Catalonia (in Spain).

When I got up on Saturday morning, I felt as though it were spring in my little Catalonia. I felt the strong sun that brings heat and I reminisced about a day with some friends cooking “Calamai a la Catalana” (Squid cooked in the Catalan style).

I used to go with my friends to San Carles de la Ràpita. One of them had a house on the beach. She called it “El Chalet”, and her boyfriend was a really good cook.

Some of us went to the market and we bought one kilo of squids, onion, garlic, some tomatoes, and the salesman gave us some fresh parsley. We came back to El Chalet, in our way of talking and laughing at nonsensical things and feeling happy. When we arrived at the house, some of my friends were in bathing suits ready to swim into the sea, and others were waiting for us to start cooking.

So, our good cook started to prepare the Calamari a la Catalana. He was the chef and the others the assistents.

First you need to clean the squid very well and cut it in slices. Then you cut the onion in little pieces and carve 2 cloves of garlics and add the parsley. With the tomato you make a sauce (if you want you can grate the fresh tomato) or buy some tomato sauce.

In a pan with olive oil, you mix all the ingredients: the sliced, the onion, the carved garlic and parsley, the tomato sauce, and a pinch of salt, and white pepper. If you like, you can add some cinnamon (not so much) and a glass of white wine. Then you cover the pan and let cook on low heat. You sometimes have to stir the pan. When the liquid is almost gone (it is better with a little bit of sauce) it's ready to eat...Enjoy the meal!!!

I remember that we enjoyed it a lot, all together with some wine in the yard watching the sea and the warm sun in our wet backs, because all of us enjoyed the delicious Calamari a la Catalana, unless, of course, our good cook decided to go swimming into the sea instead of cooking for us.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Arturo Mocino, "I Need Happiness"

Photo of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman

I’m blue because Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán was included in Forbes’s list of the millionaires in the world. The economic magazine calculated his fortune at one million dollars and put it in 701 sites. I’m sick and angry about this news. Something smelled bad when Forbes published this fact. Something smells bad, too, when Felipe Calderon, president of Mexico, said “Mexico is winning the war against drug cartels”. Who believes him? I do not. I have tried to forget this announcement in Forbes, but it’s terrible. It's bad news!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Abdel Largaespada's Dog, "Max"

Good day, all you readers. The story that I’m going to tell you is about “Max”, my dog. He has a rare story. He has 2 fathers and 1 mother. Max was born on February 14, 2006. One of his fathers is a cute, white Boxer named “Ton Ton” (in Spanish that means “silly”). The other father is a mix of Rottweiler, Doberman, and Mutt. The mother is a brown, pure bred Boxer. Max is always funny. He likes to play with balls, with empty soda plastic bottles, and my shoes. Nobody liked Max when I brought him home because he was a male and we always had a female dogs, but a few months later, everybody loved Max. Something that I haven’t told you yet about Max, is when he comes in the house, he pees on everything, and that is another reason why my mom wants to sell him. Every day in the afternoon, I take Max to walk in the nice park that's near my house. One day, he fell in love with a little Cocker Spaniel, but she didn’t like him, because for her, he was too BIG . Anyway, Max is still in love with her, and he will be waiting for her all his life. Now Max is 5 years old, and he still pees on everything. I don’t know what to do with him, because now, that makes me get mad! Oh Max! why do you do that? Well, dear readers, thank you for your attention and for your interest in my doggy Max. Some day, I’ll tell you about the puppies that I hate, Guinea Pigs!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Salvador Vargas, "English is the Best Way to Communicate in the USA"

I want to explain how important it is to speak English for all the foreigners that do not speak this language in this country. Every single person that lives in the U.S.A. must speak English in order to be successful in this country. I'm going to share a bad experience with everyone about what happened to me 14 years ago because I didn't know how to communicate in English at that time. I'm about to tell the most embarrassing story of my life. One day I was hungry, so I went to McDonald's to buy lunch. But the problem was how to order my food in English. So I tried to make my order in English, but I couldn't pronounce it correctly. Then some customers and employees began laughing at me. I was very shy because I'd never been in such a hard situation before in my life. Now I am attending English classes to improve my skills. Also, I have a good teacher. His name is John Robinson. He's friendly and very patient with all his students. In addition he's very intelligent. He teaches English very well. I want to be an English teacher like him.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Aura Pineda, "Serious Problems"

Hi, my name is Aura. I am an ESL student at City College of San Francisco. I have been living and working in the Bay Area for many years. Because of the economic situation that we are living through at this moment, all of the families are dealing with serious problems. Day by day, we are learning about how many people are losing jobs. After many years of working in the same place, I received notification that I have been laid off. I never expected to lose my job. Now I do not know what I can do. I have many things to worry about at this moment. I feel confused. Getting a new job is very hard because of the situation we are in. How long will it take to accept the reality? I don’t know. Every day I hear from the news that thousands of people are still looking for jobs. In conclusion, I feel sad and worried. I only hope for the best a soon as possible.

Arturo Mocino "The Soundtrack of My Life"

When my Dad and my Mom fell in love, the population in Mexico was 50 million people. I didn’t exist yet, and Fidel Castro, sipping his rum and puffing his cigars, enjoyed power in Cuba. It was 1968, and the world was crazy. People shouted and cried with The Beatles and the Olympic Games, but, in the streets in Paris, Prague, and in my beloved Mexico City, students protested for many changes in the society and the world. In the middle the turmoil, my parents, just married, were traveling and enjoying their honeymoon in El Bajio, a zone in the north west of Mexico between the states of Guanajuato and Jalisco.

I'd like to think I was conceived when they visited Chapala’s Lake. Mom always told me she remembered this beautiful and quiet site. When she was pregnant with me, the soundtrack of my life began. All times, when I listened to “El son de la negra” (Negra’s son) I imagined my father and my mother kissing and enjoying themselves with this song as a background, in the personal movie in my life. Then, when I was a kid and was learning the first letters, they put all songs of Francisco Gabilondo Soler, a famous songwriter in Mexico: “El chorrito” (Little water), “La patita” (Little duck girl), “La marcha de las letras” (Letter’s parade) and my favorite: “El rat’on vaquero” (Cowboy mouse).

My father always sang Javier Solis’s songs, and his favorite song was “Sombras nada m’as” (Shadows…). My mother prefered Consuelito Velazquez. When she cooked or when she was happy she sang “Besame mucho” (Kiss me much). Of course, these songs are part of my personal sound track because I missed my parents when I listened to these songs.

I consider some songs are stronger than others. Every time in your life has a particular music. When you fall in love, when you are happy, when you are young, when you have a new job, some song always exists as a background.

My first girl friend had a song: “De musica ligera” by Soda Stereo. My last job was “Desaparecido” by Manu Chao. San Francisco is “I Only Happy When It Rains” by Garbage, for the many and cruel rainy days in the season. Robinson’s class is “Viva la vida” by Cold Play for the thesaurus of language. Mexico city is “Chilanga banda” by Caf’e Tacuba and Mexico is, and forever and ever, “Mexico lindo y querido” by Jorge Negrete.

This is my personal sound track because, sometimes, the life is like a movie and, always, the music is the best company for the bad or good times.

Now, Obama is president of US, Fidel Castro continues to enjoy the honey of power in Cuba with his brother Raul, and i pod is the king, and many people walk involved in a musical world. But I ask myself: What kind of music are they listening to? What is their personal sound track? Is it short, is it long? What about you?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Day of The Dead, A Mexican Tradition

My name is Judith Garcia. I have lived in San Francisco for 20 years. The first day I arrived in San Francisco was Halloween night. The Castro District was celebrating with an amazing Halloween party. I was a very excited that night because in my country, this type of party is not unusual for this day, this time of year. In my country, Mexico, on November 1st and 2nd, we always celebrate The Day of the Dead. But it is very different from Halloween. On The Day of The Dead, people usually go to the cemetery and leave flowers, candles, and some food for the deceased. This food is the kind of food he or she liked in life. Some people say this practice is silly, but it has been our special holiday from ancient history, since the time when the Aztecs ruled Mexico.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Diego Ruiz Valdez, "Electronically Charged"


Diego is writing! So, you'd better read this!

I am 30 years old, and I was born in Mexico city on August 16, 1979. I am the oldest of two guys. My sister is 25, married, and is about to have a baby in the next few months. I studied at a little elementary school in my neighborhood. The next 6 years, I was in a Catholic school in Mexico D.F. After the big earthquake in 1985, my parents decided to move to Purepero, Michoacán. Then, I studied the next six years of my elementary school in government schools. I attended the Instituto Tecnologico de Morelia. I enrolled there in order to get a degree in Business Administration, but the first passion in my life trapped me, the drunkenness, etc.

My parents got divorced in 1997. Since that time I really have begun to grow. I‘ve been clean since 2000. At that time, I started my own business “Bloquera de Purepero.” That business consisted of making prefabricated concrete. At the same time, I found a new love in my life that really made me stronger than ever, and I am talking about The Electronic Music and its world scene. I discovered this topic in my first electronic party in Monterey, Nuevo Leon. Immediately, during the next 6 months, I organized the first "rave" party in my home town in Michoacan. In 2005, my little business was in the highest size of its history with 4 employees and with sales in the surrounding villages. The local electronic scene was doing very well. I started a radio show and our listeners were composed of 3 nearby cities, and some privileges were given for being a member of the ruling political party. But this big love took me further than I could think “Ibiza”… During the radio show “DANCE ESSENCE, diffusion electro-festiva” I realized that there are a deep and a strong electronic activity in that Balearic island, and I thought that that is the perfect place in which to die.

Now I am here in “the states” (U.S.A.) enjoying of its culture, in the vibrant city of San Francisco in California, a beautiful city. I'm growing in a new life as an English foreign speaker, being educated in a magnificent place: City College of San Francisco. I would say that if THE LANGUAGE LAB of City College didn’t exist, the dream of my life would be a lot more difficult to achieve. Thanks to the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, thanks to the wonderful and friendly people of that magical city, my dream is getting closer and closer every god damned day.

Music is my unconditional partner

Music is unconditionally there forever, anytime I want it, any time I need it, any time it needs me, I am going to die for it.

I fell in love in 2000 after the first party in Monterrey, Mexico. The town of Skizzo was the window towards the other side of this universe. I was hooked by the vibrant atmosphere that loud, fine music and unhappy people release when they are fused after midnight. Even though everybody knows we were unhappy, we tried to reach the real happiness at least for that night, no talking much, no posing, no pretending, no synchronized dances, and we did it. The results, only smiles and a real feeling of dancing were there.

This music is the simplest availability. I don’t have to take it out for dinner, I don’t have to be listen to it I don’t need to say anything to it, It will never get old, and it is always in a perfect mood, and the best thing: it never will make me feel bad. The only one thing that I have to do is press the play button. When I realized all that, I couldn’t even believe that it was happening, and why that was happening, and I still don’t understand, how this music was created, not only my music, I am talking about all kinds and styles of music. Everybody agrees this is the XXI century, and the human species has been here for 6000 thousand years, and I don’t think that it has been enough time for humans to catch up to these levels of musical refinement. I think it is too much for these days, I think the music has evolved very much.

I was a former member massman of a band, and we were playing Molotov, Control Machete and Caifanes, and these experience helped me to recognize how difficult and complicated is playing an instrument, a lot hours of practice if it is only a hobby, but when I am talking about an “artist”, I know that there are too many years of study and spiritual refinement, and then I look at the instrument, and the I can’t believe how the human created, instruments that play music, that play that great music, that play energy, that play life.

Now we only press "play" in an mp 3 player,

That’s it!

A Prisoner of this Universe.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Aura Pineda's Airport Problem

In July of 2001, I took a trip to my country with my kids. We visited our family and celebrated my daughter's second birthday with them. I had already had our reservations when I went to the agency to get our tickets. The agent didn't tell me we had to show up at the airport the night before we left. When we arrived at the airport, the airline agent told us that our flight had already left. After the airline agent told me this, I was very angry at him. I asked him what I should do. He told me to come the following day. After that, I called my relatives and told them we had to reschedule the party until we arrive.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Arturo Mocino

Here is another great article from our own literary, film,
and art critic, Arturo Mocino.

The best Coen's movies

By Arturo Mocino

Have you seen "No Country for Old Men"? "The Big Lebowski?" "Burning After Reading?" Well, don't wait any longer because these movies are amazing and very funny, especially "The Big Lebowski", my favorite. These movies were made by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen. Joel and Ethan are brothers and Jews and filmmakers, and, of course, readers. "No Country for Old Men" is inspired by a Cormac McCarthy"s novel. Last year this movie received three Oscars: Best director, Best adapted screenplay and supporting actor. The story is simple: Sugar, a Mexican killer played by Javier Barden, had a mission: to recover stolen money. Barden is a silent assassin, very professional and bloody. He crosses the border and finds the money in a little town in Texas. Nobody stops him. Well, it's not true, but you need to see it because I hate to tell the film's ending.

"Burning After Reading" is very different from "No Country for Old Men." It's a movie about spy games. Brad Pitt, George Cloney and John Malkovich fight for top secrets and dark menaces. It's a parody of all fears of American administrations. Again, I can't tell you the end but I promise, it's very ridiculous.

"The Big Lebowski" was filmed around 1998 in Los Angeles. When I lived there a couple years ago, I discovered Coen's movies. This movie is full of jokes because it sketches the madness of LA: passion for bowling, for marijuana, for fighting over nothing, for living unemployed. I recommend you see this movie. Have a good day. See you later alligator!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sonia Izaquirre's Strange Allergy


Hi, teacher I hope when you read this story, you will like it.

My name is Sonia Izaguirre. I've been living in San Francisco for 5 years. I live with my mother and brothers. There is a funny and true story about the apartment we live in.

It was August 2008 when my body started to have some kind of allergy. I didn't know how I got it because I had never have an allergy in my life. Then, I went to the doctor to see what I had. He didn't know and he gave me some medicine. He made an appointment to see the specialist, a dermotologist, who could tell me what kind of allergy I had. Since that time, I have that problem all night. Finally, I went to see the specialist. What a surprise!!! It wasn't an allergy in my body, it was the famous bedbug. The specialist explained to me where they are and how they came to the house. After I saw the doctor, I got home and I explained it to my mom, and you know, teacher, what she did? She threw out my bed. That night, I slept on the floor. She didn't wait for a different solution. So what could I do? She was upset. This story is true, and that's why we have to check everything over before we buy a new furniture.

Alma Elias

Hello. My name is Alma Elias. I was born in El Salvador and grew up in that country. I studied Business Administration in the university . I worked as an auditor in Sherwin Williams Company. I moved to this country when I got married in October 2001. Right now, I have two kids: a boy and a daughter. Mark is six years. He is in first grade. And my daughter Hannaiz is four years old. She is in pre-school. They make my life very happy. In this country, I never worked because I had to take care of my kids. Now, I need to learn English and then I'll get a good job. Well, I work at home every day. I have to clean, cook, and do the laundry. The last seven years have been very hard for me, because my life has been completely different. I pray to God that my life can change when I get job. My husband works as a painter.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Martha Perez

I am Martha Perez. I am from Mexico. I have been here for 12 years. I am very happy in your class because you have lots of patience, and you motivate us every day so that we can learn. I do not know how to use a computer, that’s why I haven't done my homework. You told us to do it on the computer. Also I have more classes, and I want to learn the GED. I work a few days a week. I clean two houses and take care of one kid. I have two kids of my own. One is ten years old, and the other one is eleven years old. They are going to school.

Fidel Garcia

Left to Right: Martha Barrios, John Robinson, Fidel Garcia, Rosie Romero

Hi, Mr. Robinson.

I hope you're OK. This is my short story. If my grammar is bad, please let me know because I need to practice my writing more.

My name is Fidel Garcia. I'm from Mexico. Now I live in San Francisco, CA. I'm married, and I have two daughters. My first language is Spanish. When I came to the USA, I had a big problem with language because my English was very poor. Then, I started to study English for a few weeks because I had to learn how to communicate with other people. Nowadays, many things are different. Now, I can speak a little, but I need to improve my speaking. I've been learning English with my teachers. I hope I'm going to learn how to speak and write in English well.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Maria Rosario

Hi, my name is Maria Rosario

I am from Mexico. I was born in Puebla. In 2001, I decided to come to San Francisco on vacation, and I started to come to Mission Campus. Two years later I met my husband in the same campus, while I was learning English. We decided to go out on a date. We had so much fun together because we spent most of our time learning from each other. So that's when we decided to get married, and later our son was born. He is a handsome young baby. He is almost 3 years old, and he is very smart. He is the reason that inspires me to improve my English. Now I'm in level 7/8. It is kind of hard sometimes, but I know that it is for my own good, and that I can count on my friends to help me out sometimes. Mr. Robinson, my teacher, is really nice, and he tries to make us learn as much as possible!! I'm trying my best to improve my English because I want my family to be proud of me. I want my family to always stay together to never fall apart. I love my family the most.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Elisenda Pastó

The Strange Story of My Left Foot

A Surrealist Tale

Yesterday, my left foot decided to take one day off. When I woke up, I felt something strange at the end of my leg. And I saw that my left foot was gone. “He didn't even consider writing me a note!”. I had a lot of things to do. “What I could do now?” I was thinking how to do all my stuff without my left foot. I decided to go to work as always, walking. My work is near where I live. When I arrived at my office, I was so tired because I was jumping all the way until I got to the office. When my boss saw me, he ordered me to leave for home. I got back to my house really really exhaaaaaaaauuuuuuusted.

So, I thought that I needed to get used to my new body, or to do something about it. So, I started to make a model of a new left foot with flour and water. I've never been a good artist, but I did my best. I baked my new left foot, and I was ready to run..ahem..or better not.

At that moment, I was starving and I went to that restaurant, just on the corner. When I tried to put on my shoes, I realized that I made the foot too big! In spite of that, I put on a thick sock and I went to the restaurant. I went out to the street, but someone was hosing it off, and my sock wasn't thick enough to stop the moisture. My new left foot was wet and withered. So, I came back at home starving and angry with my left foot. But I had a BIG surprise when I saw my beloved first left foot waiting for me in the front door. Since then my life took on a new significance. Now, I take more care of my entire body. You never know when some part of it will decide to take a day off.

Sandra Rocha

My name is Sandra Rocha. I am from Goiania, Brazil.
I have lived in San Francisco with my family for almost two years. I love this city! In this country, there isn't a better place to live. My favorite season is summer because the weather is warm and sunny. I feel so happy on sunny days. It reminds me my country.

To have a better life here, I need to learn English. City College, gives us this opportunity for free, with excellent teachers. So, I am here to enjoy it. I began with level 2, and now I am in level 5 to 8. I like to study English, and I am learning Spanish too. I like to read and to listen, but I am not a good speaker. I want to speak more. I am going to concentrate in this problem.

Irvin Marquez

My Biography

I was born in El Salvador twenty years ago. I'm the oldest of three children and the friendliest, too! I grew up in a city with my grandmother and my grandfather. When I was young, I liked to go to buy an ice cream with my friends. I didn't like to iron my uniform and go to the dentist because I guess I was shy. I liked to play hide and seek with my cousins and friends. I didn't like tomato soup. As a matter of fact, I hated it, but I ate it anyway.

I went to school in my country for fourteen years. In El Salvador I finished high school, then I attended "Academia Europea". I was learning a little bit over there. I stopped going to the University because I came here to U.S. When I got here I went to adult school (CCSF). I can remember when I was a child I went to Honduras to visit my grandmother's sister. It wasn't a good trip because I had a terrible accident. I almost was going to be in a wheelchair because of that accident.

When I was 6 years old, my dear mother bought a cool bicycle. I learned how to ride it as soon as possible!

A couple of years later, my mother had to leave because she came here to be with her parents. I was very sad about that, but in spite of it, I had to face it. I couldn't do anything, I guess!

Now I live in Daly City, CA. I'm student. In my free time, I like to play soccer, basketball, tennis, FIFA09, Rock Band 2 etc. By the way I enjoy playing xbox360. It's amazing LoL (an acronym meaning "Laughing Out Loud.")

In the future I'd like to travel to London and watch a Chelsea game.
My sister says it's craziness, but I don't think so. I hope to get a driver's license.

I like my school, CCSF. I think it's one of the best places to learn English.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Maria Vargas Gives Advice

How can you make progress? This is a question for many people that try to learn English everyday. They want to improve English in their work, hospital, or any place where English is spoken. The answer is: to come to school and learn English or to take courses in order to prepare for a small career. Improving English takes different forms. Take control of your time, and organize your life. City College offers more career choices than many years ago. This school is better than it was many years ago. It offers more opportunities for academic or career preparation.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Arturo Mendoza Mociño Talks About Orhan Pamuk


I love to read because it is the best way to travel. With your imagination you can travel around the world, and you can break the laws of space and time. One reason more for reading in English or French or Spanish or Latin: it’s cheap and, in this country, free, because you can find interesting books in the public library, and you don’t have to pay money in order to take books out. When I read, I go to many countries, times, and I discover different cultures. For me, reading is very amazing and funny. It’s like breath. Now, I’m reading "Other Colors", a book of essays written by Orphan Pamuk, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2006. When I discovered Pamuk’s work I was 33 years old. I read his novel "My Name is Red " on a beach called Playa Paradiso, (Paradise Beach), in Guerrero, Mexico. With this novel I traveled to the Sixteenth Century to discover a murder of a painter who drew the Prophet Mohammed, a violation of the religion rules of the Muslims in Turkey. The story is beloved because the daughter of the painter, called Shekure, a beautiful widow with a beautiful name, I think, tries to find the killer like an ancient Sherlock Holmes. In "My Name is Red" Pamuk describes the times when the Muslims didn’t accept images of Mohammed and when they fought to conquer Spain and founded, years later, beautiful cities like Granada, Toledo, and Cordoba. I read "My Name is Red" in Spanish, and the story caught me for its descriptions of strange lives and habits. Yesterday I bought "Other Colors" to discover more about Pamuk’s world. He lives in Istambul, the ancient capital of the Ottoman Empire. I hope I enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed "My Name is Red" which was written when Pamuk was not a Nobel Prize winner yet.

Elisenda Pastó Considers The New President

About The New "Hope"

There is a new face in the political arena. The whole United States and the world have been waiting for that change, and supposedly now it is here. I want to think like most of the people, I guess, that the new president of The USA is going to change the way that things have gone. He has a big job in front of him about all these issues: economic, health, wars, environment, poverty, and so on.

In his speeches, he talks about peace, tolerance and respect for other countries, cultures, and religions, but he didn't say anything about the conflict in Palestine or another humanitarian crises around the world. I know that he is in his first days of his administration, and he is going to close Guantanamo, the biggest shame of these years for all of us, and that is a really good example that there are new directions and new compromises of this new government.

But, it's important to remember that the one of the counties that is always looking for wars is the United States. Anyone of us can see that in any war around the world, The USA is there, and not always as a humanitarian help, or as a neutral army. The latest presidents of that country started so many wars, and I think that one war is too many. I hope, like everybody, that this is going to change.

Obama has a lot of work to do, and it's necessary that all the amazing countries help him to do it, with patience, but struggling hard to get it. He is not God, he's just another human, and we must not forget that.

Another world is possible!!!! Yes, we can!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Maria Tomasa Bulux

Yesterday afternoon I went to pick up my daughter at her school. By the time I arrived at the school, Lisa had already come out. There were many things that helped me to arrive late, for example: I was far away from the school and the bus was late. By the time I got there, she was already outside, waiting and seated on a bench with her friend Valerie, so finally I picked her up.

We had to wait for the bus. Because it had already left, we had wait for a long time. By that time every bus was crowded. Before we took the next bus, we went to the store to buy some food for dinner. We bought some plantains, tomatoes, some fruit, bread, basil, and the most important thing: milk. Then we got on the bus that took us to our house.

Rosa Martin

When my sister married, I was late for her wedding.
She told me to be on time to the church and not to forget!!
I remember she said, the wedding is at 7:00 pm.

I said, "Okay, don't worry. I will be on time."
But when I tried to start my car, it didn't work.
I had to ride the bus.
I was to sad because by the time I arrived at 7:30, she had been married already.

She was so mad at me.
The good thing is, she forgave me, because we are sisters, and we love each other.

Kim My Vuong

Hi , Mr. Robinson ,

My name is Kim My Vuong . I have been your student for two years . You're a very nice teacher . I have never met a nicer one. I am from Vietnam . Our poor country had a war before 1975. My brothers escaped Vietnam for freedom . I came here in 2000. I was very sad because this country was very strange to me. But I have to learn English , so I go to Mission Campus. I began with Level 1, and now I am in level 7/ 8 and you are my teacher. When I ask you something, you always help me and answer my questions. Today I send you this letter to thank you .

Kim My Vuong .

Rosie Romero

Hi, my name is Rosie. I'm 30 years old, and I'm from Honduras. I came to this country 3 years ago. I started studying English at Downtown Campus in August 2007. I stayed there for 1 semester, then I started studying in Mission Campus in 2008. It's been a while, huh? I'm taking 2 classes: one is with Mr.Robinson. He is one of the coolest teachers. You learn really fast with him. The other class I have is with Mrs.Thomas. I was a little confused at first, but then I got the hang of it, put myself together and started to learn faster and faster. I guess I should be proud of myself. This is all about me. I'm not boring, am I?