Mar 21, 2008
On Latin American Things
Posted in: Life & Culture
Omigooooooooosh (Yes, goosh) it's spring break!
And by spring break, I mean that I'm not attending the last two classes I have today, because I'm leaving for Mexico in a few hours and I have yet to pack and blog and come on - it's not like I'd be able to focus with the sky so blue. That pre-break twitch is impossible to escape, fidgeting all through classes, time goes more and more slowly, the lecturer seems to have been talking for 40 minutes when it's only been 4-
yeah, there was really no hope for me. instead, i will blog randomly yet again to tell you all about The Month of March. Not that it's over. But it's pretty much over. Kind of.
I don't know about y'all, but these were the longest three weeks of my LIFE.
Okay, so, I'm not going to talk about the fact that was was busy because I think you've seen enough "I'M HOSED" entries and really, the last thing you want to hear about and I want to write about on the Friday before spring break is homework.
Instead, I'm going to talk about the absolutely fantastic things about this month - namely, the fact that it was Mes Latino, or Hispanic Heritage Month.
Now, there's a lot of controversy surrounding minority programs and special months dedicated to certain heritages and if you want to talk about that, I have an email address, and its kfig at mit dot edu. Let's try to keep that discussion off the blogs though, or at least my blog, for now, and focus on the positive:
In three weeks, there were 29 activities. 29. Most of them involving free food of some sort. And if you attend ten, you are entered in a raffle to get a free 32GB ipod touch.
Yeah. I know. Wow. If that's not an incentive to going, I don't know what is. I made it to eleven events, and I'm thinking that there won't be too many people who managed to make it to that many, so I think I have a decent chance. But then, it's a raffle, so there's really no way of knowing, and since I never win anything, I'm trying not to get my hopes up.
So anyway, a list of some of the events they had:
• The Society of Mexican American Engineers and Scientists (MAES) Make Your Own Burrito Night.
• A joint movie night sponsored by MIT ASO and the LCC.
• A SHPE movie night
• A Teatro Latino Performance
• Latino Karaoke
• Cena Latinoamericana: A dinner for MIT students to talk with MIT Spanish literature/culture professors.
• Festival de las Americas: There were booths set up representing many different parts and countries of Latin America. There was TONS of free food and it was pretty informative.
• An MAES movie night
• A LUChA meeting
• Te Para Tres
• A Multi-Cultural Conference held at the beautiful Endicott House.
I don’t know if you guys know this, but I am of El Salvadoran heritage. Born and raised in the states, but I still love pupusas and fried yucca with a passion, and I speak Spanish at home. Though I can’t say I truly identify 100% with any culture, because I find it a bit limiting, there are definitely several aspects of my life heavily influenced by my culture.
It was strange to come to MIT and not have there be Hispanic people everywhere. I kind of took it for granted at home. You know what? I actually thought since everyone is making such a big deal about immigration, that Latino presence must be very prominent in all of the US.
And then, I get here to MIT, and people’s only exposure to any sort of South American food is Taco Bell. It’s really, really weird.
It used to be a little skeptical about these things, but it actually turned out to be really important to me to have such a great network of cultural groups available. Unfortunately, there are no El Salvadoran student groups (yet…), but I definitely think anyone who is worried about leaving a certain culture behind shouldn’t be afraid – there are definitely options available.
That’s not to say that MIT is a haven of cultural sensitivity, equality and diversity (there are two female Latina professors. Two), but there are definitely many opportunities to push it in that direction. That’s another topic for another day, though. For now, I’ll just say that the Multi-Cultural Conference I attended with Laura was definitely a worthwhile experience and gave me a lot to think about.
Now, last things last – I should finish up, because like I said, I’m about to leave for MEXICO.
MEXICO!! (In case you didn’t get it the first, or second time I said it)
Ahhhhh I’m so excited.
Oh wait. What am I doing there?
So this year LUChA started an international community service initiative, and I’m going with six other students to volunteer at an orphanage and cancer centers in Mexico City. Of course, we’ll be sightseeing as well. This is not the typical MIT-invent-something-really-cool-and-implement-it-international-service-project that are often funded by the Public Service Center, but I think it will be a very good kick-off to many LUChA trips in years too come.
I, unfortunately, did not have as much time to dedicate as my six team-members to dedicate to this project. I’m also trying to work on a Youth Activism Camp in the Phillipines for May, a relatively young but so far very productive student initiative to get more fruits and veggies readily available on campus, I’m president of Amnesty, and there’s CPW of course….and this summer I am participating in Bike and Build!
Yeah, I’m biking from Florida to California for the affordable housing cause. I’ll say more in another entry (this is getting long), but for now it would be AMAZING if you could donate for me. I have to raise $4000 by June. Just go to www.bikeandbuild.org, click donate and choose “Karen Figueroa” as your rider. I would REALLY appreciate it.
ANYWAY. I got kind of sidetracked! Trip to Mexico! Not as much time committed to it as I would have liked! *Freshman Syndrome! But I’m excited!
If anyone has any questions or doubts about any cultural issues at MIT, feel free to email me. But I probably won’t respond for a week or so. Because I’ll be in…where was it again? Oh yeah! Mexico!
*Freshman Syndrome is the inability to correctly gauge the amount of things you can take on without spontaneously combusting or something. I always take on wayyyy too much. But I can’t help it! I don’t know if I’ll ever be cured. Life is too short to not do everything! Ahhhh