I will carry you here in my heart. You’ll remind me that come what may, I know the way

Alter Project: Honoring my Grandfather, Jose


            My alter is for my grandfather from my mother’s side, Jose. I decided to do it to honor my grandfather this year because he just recently passed away earlier this year inJanuary. Never had I made an alter honoring someone I knew. The year before, I made my alter honoring Frida so this year was completely different for me. This year was completely special for me. My grandfather was everything to me. He was my best friend, and my number one fan. We had such a close bond since I was little. My mom always tells me stories about how he loved being around me when I was a baby and I have so many pictures of us napping together when I was a baby.

My Grandfather was born April 22, 1929 in a small town in Mexico called Tanhuato. He was born during La Guerra de los Cristeros. He had to be baptized in secret because it was not permitted since it was during La Guerra de los Cristeros. He had 6 siblings, and he was the oldest of them all. He had to work as a young child because his father got sick of a deadly fever, although he did not die. He became the man of the house when his father got sick and had to work in order to provide food on the table for his family as well as pay for his father’s medicine. He was always a hardworking man. My grandfather meet my grandmother on a Sunday while he was strolling around his town. They dated for 4 months before getting married, my grandfather was 22 and my grandmother was 19 years old. They stayed in Mexico, where they raised 8 kids. While living in Mexico my grandfather became a butcher of his own store and became successful enough to where they could afford to hire help around the house. My mom always tells us how they would have maids and my grandfather would end up doing their work for them so that they could sit down and play cards with my grandmother and the kids. My grandfather had a big heart and he wouldn’t mind doing things such as that.

My grandfather was basically like my other dad, we called him Papa Jose which translates to dad and his name. When my parents got married and had me and my sister they weren’t very financially stable and my mom tells us how my grandpa would always come over and give her money so that she could buy us things and how he would always take us out to buy ice cream and go play at the park. My grandfather was the one who helped us migrate to the United States. Him and my grandmother had moved to the states brining my aunts, and cousins but my family decided to stay behind. After my dad’s job started cutting hours my parents decided it was time that we moved to the states in order to have a better life and more opportunities, and my grandfather was the one who helped us. I remember being a scared four-year-old leaving everything I knew behind but when my grandfather picked us up from the airport I knew I was home. Later my grandfather helped my mother gain citizenship and then my mother was able to help the rest of us gain citizenship. With the outcome of the recent election it makes me thankful that my grandfather was able to help us with our citizenship because if my mother would have never gained citizenship none of us would have, making it much harder on us. It also makes me reflect on the film Which Way Home that we watched, and how hard it is to migrate. My grandfather helped us so much and I am so grateful for that. I admire my grandpa so much; he was a strong hard working man who always provided for his family. When I was about 15 my grandparents moved in with us which was awesome for me because it meant I got to spend more time with my grandpa. We were like two peas in a pod, we liked the same things. We both loved food! I remember him making me the best carne con chili in the world and he would make it for me all the time since he knew it was my favorite. We would sit in front of the TV watching documentaries about animals. Now that he’s gone, whenever I find a cool animal documentary I get sad that he’s not around to watch it with me. My grandpa loved kids, I think that’s why he always loved being around all his grandkids. He was lucky enough to live to see his great grandkids. He unfortunately passed away before my sister had her first baby. He was able to see an ultrasound of Minerva and he was so excited and would say how she was going to be so cute. Minerva reminds us so much of Papa Jose, he always slept with his hands up over his head and Minerva does the same thing. She always smiles when she’s asleep and we always say that she’s smiling because Papa Jose is in her dreams. He had a drawer in his room with candy and he would always call me over and give me a candy and a hug. Just recently I was having a bad day and was really nervous because I was starting a new job, while I was digging through my purse on my way to work I found a lollipop which was his favorite candy, you could always find him eating one, it made me feel as if he was with me and that was his sign telling me that everything would be okay. He was always encouraging and knew that I would make something of myself. I would stay up late studying and he would always tell me to go to bed because I was already smart. I will be graduating in May and know that he is proud of me for everything I’ve overcome to get to where I am today. When he moved to Chicago, back with my uncle’s I was sad because it meant we were going to spend less time together. He would call me every day just to ask me what I was going to eat that day, now that he’s gone I miss that and I always think of him when my mom makes good food thinking he would have loved a bite. I regret not talking to him more, although we would talk all the time on the phone, I sometimes would tell my mom I couldn’t talk to him because I was busy with homework or other things and now I think back and wish I would have taken 5 minutes just to say hi and tell him I love him. I think about him every single day and talk to him every day. I ask him to watch over us and that I hope he’s not in pain anymore and that he’s happy. I always pray that he’s our guardian angel who looks after all of us, epically all the kids in the family. I miss him so much and I get scared all the time that I will eventually forget him one day, I hope I don’t. I want to be able to grow up and talk to my kids about how awesome my grandfather was and the incredible bond we had. Throughout the semester, we learn a lot about how men were dominate and women were more submissive, for example the family portraits in Next of Kin that had the father in the center and the mother turning away. As well as learning about machismo, my grandfather did not perpetuate machismo ideologies in our family. My grandfather praised all of the women in his life, he treated all of us like queens and as his equal. He would do more work to make sure that we all had a good life but respected my grandmother for example when she decided she wanted to work as well. Next of Kin mentions this notion that “wives and daughters were perceived as passive and totally accepting of the husbands or father’s authority and the man was characterized by his machismo or dominance over women” (Rodriguez 23). I find that interesting because the gender dynamics in my family have always been about respecting each other and that you could do anything you wanted regardless of your gender. I think my family has been very open minded and dismisses gender roles because of my Grandfather.

The items I included in my alter for my grandfather, Papa Jose, are candles, photographs, fruit, a picture of Jesus Christ, flowers, water, soda, candy, pan de muerto, salt, el marachie de calaveria, una calvarita de deulce, tres leches, and a few skeleton decorations. The candles signify light, so that he has light on his journey. The photographs signify his presence and the memories I have of him. The picture of Jesus Christ represents our faith and the faith that he’s in heaven looking after us. The flowers, cempasuchil, signify the flower of the dead. The scent of the flower is supposed to help lead them to the alter. Water is put out so he can drink water if he’s thirsty from his journey back to earth. I added soda, pan de muerto, fruit and tres leches so he can have something to eat, the soda because he loved soda and tres leches because he also loved it. I added the candy because he had the biggest sweet tooth ever, like I mentioned before he had a stash full of candy. The rest of the things on his alter such as la calaverite de deluce I used as decoration so that it could be bright.

My grandfather was the head of the family, anyone who meet him knew that he was the one that looked after all of us. He was the man that taught everyone how to do things, he was the person you would go to if you needed help. For example, he taught us how to garden so that we can grow our own vegetables. My grandfather did not perpetuate tradition gender roles, he would do things that would be considered women’s work, such as garden and cook and clean. He taught us that everyone had to learn to do everything. I remember he would always tell the men in our family to learn to cook because one day they were going to be hungry and I always thought it was funny. My grandfather could do everything and would always do it perfectly. We always make fun of my dad when he tries to do things and we always “oh Papa Jose would have done this in 2 seconds” or “you’re not doing it right; too bad Papa Jose isn’t here to do it. My grandfather was the patriarch of the family. He taught us values and morals, he set the rules on how we should behave. He had 8 children, 21 grandchildren, and 17 great grandchildren and loved every one of us and spent time with each of us to teach us something, give us words of wisdom, and tell us his great stories, he had good scary stories. My grandfather set the bar high for every man, all the women in my family compare men to him. I know that I wanted to end up with a man like him, sweet, hardworking, loving, kind, strong, and intelligent. Although he was a “macho man” for being strong, he never treated the girls and boys differently like one would assume, when he was teaching the boys how to tie knots he would make sure the girls would be there as well. When he was teaching us, girls how to make food he would bring in the boys as well. He treated us all as his equals. This semester we learned about gender roles that Chicanas played in terms of El Movemento and how most of the time they had to be the ones staying at home cooking, cleaning, making sure her kids and husband were being taken care of. Chicanas had to put their own goals and dreams aside to take care of her family. Today society still perpetuates these gender roles that women need to find a husband and become a care giver to her family. My Grandfather wanted more for all of us girls in the family, he was always so happy when one of us decided to attend college instead of getting married with our high school sweethearts. I’m reminded by all the times he would tell me to focus on school, and get a good job rather than rushing to get married and having kids.

My Papa Jose will always be my favorite person, and I will always love him. I hope to make him proud every day and live a life that would make him happy. I am very glad that I was able to do this project to honor him. This was a great way to keep his memory alive as well as for me to let out some feelings I had since his death. It was a therapeutic assignment.  I love you Papa Jose and I’ll be seeing you.

Blaxican food truck

With everything going on in the world the last couple of weeks i wanted to keep it light hearted. Since we were talking about the topic of being bi-racial, specifically Blaxican. it made me think of food, and how great it must be to live with someone who can make really great mexican food and also make really great soul food and my mouth watered. imagine having gumbo one night and the next some carne con chili, i’m so about that! i started looking online and found a food truck that does just that, and its called “Blaxican Food Truck”. Its a food truck who’s concept is mexican soul food. The owner of the food truck describes the as he was trying to think of a name he remembered a slang term “Blaxican” that his friend would call him growing up in LA. I think the food truck is a great example of cultural fusion, and is really clever. I hope the food truck is a successes, and definitely something i would love to try.



Finding Your Roots

This week focused race and identity. I was particularly drawn to “The Pioneers: Sandra Cisneros” video. Even though it was relatively short, I was like fascinated with the video because my last name is also Cisneros. It made me think, that somehow we could be, or how cool it would be if we were connected (that would be so awesome!).I even had to show it to my mom. As I was reading the Eva Longoria article before the clip, and seeing how proud she is of her heritage and how she has so much knowledge about her ancestors, similar to that of Sandra Cisneros knowing about her ancestors it made me really jealous, because I unfortunately dont. I’ve heard a few stories about who my great grandparents were but that’s as far back as i have knowledge from. I think it’s important to know where you came from and i would be so interested in knowing more about my ancestors. I have always wanted to do the ancestory.com or the 23 and me where it tells your genetic makeup, but being a broke college student doesnt really allow me to do that. I’m hoping one day i will be able to know more about my ancestors, i believe it would really help me even know more about myself.

My question for you all is do any of you know about your ancestral background, if so do you have any cool stories about who your ancestors where, or anything cool they did?

Do you think it’s important to know your roots?


Gender Roles


The Rain God” by Arturo Islas brings up the notion of gender roles through the character of Miguel Chico. Miguel is seen as an outsider because he is not married. We see gender roles when they talk about how he was not allowed to play with dolls because his father wanted him to grow up to be a man. While searching online for topics relating to gender roles, I found the Article “JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT’S PORN ADDICTION FLICK “DON JON” CHALLENGES GENDER ROLES” by Kerensa Cadenas. This article discusses the film Don Jon and how it showcases gender roles. In the film Don is seen as a macho man who works out all day and picks up on girls all night. After falling in love, his girlfriend starts disapproving of his lifestyle, in one scene she gets angry with him when he tries to buy cleaning products for his home, stating that it was embarrassing for a man to be cleaning his own home. The article and film both gone on to discussing how gender roles prevent us from really connecting with others on an individual level.



La Loca

The character I most fascinating in the book So Far From God was that of La Loca. I found her interesting because she was different than the others. I thought it was interesting that she didn’t like being around human but rather animals,I think a lot of us could relate to some aspect of this, i know for myself sometimes i would just rather be around my cat than to go out with friends. I also really enjoyed the aspect about her and that she pushed boundaries of being the traditional Chicana, unlike her mother. I found it funny when they mention shes allergic to people, because I always say things like that, when i dont feel like being around others, maybe thats why i was so drawn to her character because i found relate to so many aspects of her life.


What character do you feel you identified yourself with most, and why?

La Vida Es Bella


It was hard for me to pick what pictures I should include in my photo collage since I am lucky enough to have so many beautiful moments captured on camera. I will begin by describing the pictures on my collage in relation to who’s in the picture. The first picture is a photograph of myself and my favorite hockey player, Anze Kopitar. The second picture going down is a photo of me and my only sister, Mariel, posing with the Stanley Cup which for those of you who don’t know, the Stanley Cup is the championship trophy awarded in the NHL presented to the team who wins in the playoffs. The third picture down is a photograph of my father, my sister, and myself in our hockey jerseys. The next row includes a picture of my boyfriend and myself, a picture of me and my best friends at the SlutWalk, and the last picture in the row is a picture of my family, my sister, father, myself, and my mother at my sister’s graduation. The last row is a picture of my grandfather and myself when I was a three years old. The next picture is a photograph of my nieces, my niece Sasha who is 3 years old, and my niece Minerva who is 3 months old. The last picture in my collage is a photograph taken when I was 5 years old that includes my sister, and my cousins, Pamela, Sergio and Eduardo.

As you can tell by looking at the first row going down, and as I mentioned in my bio at the beginning of class we are a family that is super into hockey. It’s something that not only bonds me and my sister, but also my dad. Unfortunately, my mother hated going to Staples Center, where the Los Angeles Kings play, but we do watch it at home as a family when were unable to go. I love that it’s the one thing we can do together, we usually go to a game every weekend during the season when everyone’s off work or if not you can catch us gathered around the TV cheering on our team. Its’ really nice to have something that we can all do together and that we can all talk about, I just went to a preseason game last night and it was nice coming home and my parents asking me about who won, who scored, how many fights there was, it’s fun to come home and have my family interested in something that I am super interested in. I know some of my friends who aren’t into sports say that they were not allowed to watch sports as young girls because it was for boys and they had to go play with their dolls. I feel lucky that my parents never told us that and that they allowed us to watch sports as young girls. I decided to include the picture of myself and my favorite Anze Kopiter as well because it just feels like home when I’m at the games, I always call it my church, because it’s the place I feel most at peace. About 6 years ago I was going through a really hard time and was really depressed, and my sister dragged me out of bed to go to a hockey game when all I wanted to do was die… Literally, it was a really low point in my life and her dragging me out of bed and taking me to a game really picked up my spirts and helped me get out of this weird funk I had been in for a few months. I always give credit to my hockey team for helping me get out of a really bad depression. The next photo in my collage is the one of me and my boyfriend, I included that because he’s been my rock for the last two years he has supported me through all the ups and downs. He is so supportive when it comes to all my goals and dreams, he’s been helping me with a short film I’m trying to get finished which is really nice because I know he believes in my dreams. I do notice the differences between us though culturally, we come from a different background, him being white. Our families are completely different, his parents never really cared about what he was doing after he turned 18 and he has to take care of himself, as for my family I’m 25 and my parents still help me and let me live at home. At his home he comes home and has to cook and clean for himself while I come home and have a nice cooked meal from my mom waiting for me. Also my family Is really close to one another and his isn’t and I always tell him how I think it’s so weird because I’m always with my family. I’ve also unfortunately experienced a lot of racism with his family especially his father. His father, who is a Donald Trump supporter has told me that he would deport me and send me back on the “big green bus” even though I’m a US citizen. Our worlds are just so different. The middle picture in the second row is a picture of me and my girlfriends at the SlutWalk last year. The SlutWalk is an event started to end rape culture. I am extremely passionate about ending rape culture, and it’s so great to share this with my friends. It’s such a great event where I am able to tell my story and listen to hundreds of other stories from other women like myself and also to come together with women who share the same drive for bringing an end to rape culture. The rest of the pictures in my collage are of my family. I included the one of my grandfather and myself because he was my best friend, he supported me through everything and was my biggest fan. He was so loving and kind. He unfortunately passed away in January and it’s still hard for me to deal with every day. He was a huge feminist who believed I could accomplish everything and he would always tell me focus on myself and not worry about boys. I try harder every day to be a good person and to make sure I accomplish my dreams so that I can make him proud. The picture of my sister graduating represent the importance of education in my family. my parents never went to college so they remind us every day how import it is for us to pursuit higher education. My mom always tells me that no one can ever take my education away, and that it will help make my life easier. My mom was unable to finish high school so I think part of my pursuit of higher education is for her, I love coming home and telling her about everything I’ve been learning in all my classes. As for my sister, she is my role model, she is an engineer who works so hard. I want to get my degree and also go to Grad school and make them all proud. The pictures of my nieces represents my future. I love those two little girls more than anything in this world and everything I do is for them. I want to graduate and get a good job so that I can spoil them. I want to be someone they can look up too. I want to be someone they can come to when they have troubles. I want to protect them from the world, I think that’s why it’s so important for me to be a voice to end rape culture because I don’t ever want them to be slut shammed or catcalled, or raped. I included the last picture with my cousins and sister because ever since we were kids, we have always been super close and I think it’s because of how we were raised. As Next of Kin mentions the importance of the family. All my aunts and mom would get us together as much as possible and we even lived together for a while when we were really poor. We all have a really close bond and always have each other’s backs and I can only hope that the next generation of kids will also be this close. I do laugh at the picture because it shows gender roles, in the picture I’m the bride getting married to my cousin, Sergio. I find it funny that we were playing wedding, I was five years old what did I know about marriage. I do remember we were allowed to play anything we wanted, we use to always play power rangers and no I wasn’t the pink power ranger, I was the blue one. I also remember my boy’s cousins playing Barbie’s with us, they would get their G. I Joes instead of the Kens and play with us, which I think is cool because I’ve also heard stories where boys aren’t allowed to play with the girls. I think my family has instilled a lot of hard work, drive, and also the drive to push traditional gender roles and I’m thankful for that.

White Feminism

In this weeks reading, Queer Aztlan by Cherrie Morage, she mentions the racism she experienced in the women’s movement. I was really glad that she mentioned that because i think its something that is rarely brought up. We see a glimpse of the racism of the women’s movement in the film Iron Jawed Angels, but we hardly talk about the discrimination that goes on/went on. In the article Trouble with White Feminism by Jessie Daniels, it talks about how WOC are often silenced in the women’s movements. Although there are plenty of evidence of feminist writing from WOC, black, latina and indigenous women the voices we often hear most are that of white women, such as in the suffrage movement the narrative we hear most from is that of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton who are considered to be “quintessential feminists.” What i really like about this article is that it calls out racism in the women’s movements, when i took women’s studies we learned about how racist the women in the suffragette movement were. This article mentions that white women could not bare for black men to have the vote before them because they felt they were superior. Stanton herself was not shy of voicing her opinion that they deserved the vote before black men. Now that i know how racist they were i do not consider these women idols or anyone that i look up too. I think its important to teach this in class so that people really know who these women were. Even in the newer movements racism is still a part of it. I see it everyday on blogs i follow. For example neglecting certain women, for example with immigration, i 100% believe that immigration is a feminist issue and it is often neglected by white feminist.


Decoding The Food And Drink On A Day Of The Dead Alter


The article “Decoding The Food And Drink On A Day Of The Dead Alter”, gives a brief history on the origins of this holiday. They begin by explaining that its rooted from the Aztecs who believed one should not grieve the lost of a loved one but rather celebrate their lives once a year when their spirits make their way back to earth. The article then explains that everything on an alter has meaning, such as sugar skulls who represent the vitality of life, and decorated tissue paper which is meant to represent the fragility of life. This article made me so hungry, I love Pan De Muerto so much! This article also made me really happy because i love the traditions of my culture, Dia De Los Muertos is one of my favorite holidays. For myself the holiday is special and important, one of my jobs is a sales associate at Pier one Imports and around this time we sell Dia de los Muertos decorations and it sometimes bothers me when i see people buying them for halloween decorations because its not meant for halloween and i find myself getting really defensive sometimes. Does anyone else feel that way? Like when i see the sugar skull costumes, used as halloween costumes i’m like really?  Every year my family and I make a beautiful Alter in our home. This is the first year that its going to be really special for me though, I lost my grandfather earlier this year and he was my best friend, so I’m really excited to be able to honor him this year for Dia De Los Muertos.