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 RĂ pita. 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.