NJWP-Week One

Today marks the end of week one of the New Jersey Writing Institute. We have two left, and I already feel a pang of sadness that it will be over soon.

Some people would ask why. They would claim that I’m giving up a lot of my summer. Time to sit by a pool or on the beach. Movie time I won’t get back. Sunny afternoons clacking away at Barnes and Noble keeping a slightly sweetened black iced tea and outrageous oatmeal cookie close by.

The truth, it’s all worth it. In just this first week, I have learned so much, been validated in regard to my teaching and writing, and inspired on so many levels.

I want to shrink Mona and Janice to tuck them away in my pen/pencil pouch so that I can pull them out in the middle. The period of time “that defines what kind of teachers we really are.”

Sure, I have my notes to go back to and the textbook is mine, but it just isn’t the same. It’s the comradery and voice of reason from the people who teach the process that makes this Institute what it is.

I wish I could require all of our teachers to attend. I know that this would change some of their mentality and in turn, provide our kids with the education they deserve. 


Los Mojaditos: A Portrait

I love this photograph because it is probably the only one with all of my siblings. On the left in the white undershirt and jeans is my brother Filly. Next to him in the white jeans is Silvia, the oldest of our sisters. Next to her is Richy, the oldest of our brothers. On the bottom from left to right are Jorge, me, and Gabi.

I can’t remember if this photograph was taken at our house on Rita street or the previous house. All I know is that we’d been in the country a couple of years and we were all still illegal.

Thinking back at how things were, I wonder how we did it. How did my mom do it to feed all of us, clothe us, and keep a roof over our head. I didn’t know how hard it was for my oldest sister who had been forced to move when she had already started her own life in Juarez. I didn’t know how bad school was for Gabi and Jorge.

There are a few memories in there of fights between my parents and the fear of perhaps my mom not coming home one day because she’s been deported. However, for the most part, I was a really happy kid. I had some books, a record player, a Tatiana LP recording of Osito Panda, a Cri-Cri LP, and playing outside with our neighbors or my siblings was the best thing ever, especially if we took a trip to the park.