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MIT student blogger Ahmed H. '12

A Latino Christmas by Ahmed H. '12

An introducción to Next House's newest student group.

Yesterday was a big day for the news media, what with the automotive bailout drama, Obama appointments, riots in Greece, and hackers installing Linux on a potato. But last night in Next House, a very different kind of heraldry was underway.

This story begins on November 24, when a group of Latino students paraded through the halls of the dorm playing accordion and singing various indeterminate tunes. Next House traditionally being one of the more conservative halls on campus, people started asking questions about the spontaneous parade. The next day Roberto ’12, who has since given himself the nickname “el Che“, sent the following to the dorm email list:

“Apparently a lot of people are curious/furious about the parade yesterday, so actually we were celebrating the ‘national latino appreciation day’, which since yesterday is declared to be celebrated every year in the night of the 24th of November…(remember remember the 24th of November) it is designed to raise Latino pride in Next House and was designed by the executive committee of the Next Association of Latinos Giving Intense Satisfaccion (N.A.L.G.I.S)(3rd Floor Elevator Suite).
btw the latino association does not appreciate someone describing a Latino pride celebration as ‘people acting weird’.”

I laughed out loud when I read it, and knowing that more stress-breaking hilarity would ensue I asked to join.* Since I already posses a Spanish nickname (a must-have for recognition as a member) I was immediately accepted as a full comrade of NALGIS with all rights and responsibilities thereof.

Fast forward to last night. NALGIS (whose name has been changed since creation) leadership had sent out songs to learn and had bought Santa hats and candies. It was time for a second parade, more organized, bigger than before, and with preselected music. Ron ’12 had learned all the Christmas carols on trumpet and I learned some of them on harmonica. We met at about 10:00pm to practice, which ended up just being introductions because it was the first time we had met as a group. On the strike of 11:00, with no rehearsal under our belts, we decided it was time to get the show on the road. We started our off-key parade throughout every wing of every floor of Next House, singing such classics as Feliz Navidad (of course), Silent Night, Jingle Bells, O Christmas Tree, and We Wish You a Merry Christmas. After all the stair climbing, walking, awkward stares, and singing, we weren’t tired, so we did it all again, every wing of every floor, this time singing The ’12 Days of Christmas, passing out candy along the way. Looking back, little of the parade had to do with Latino culture, but I don’t think NALGIS was ever more than an excuse to have fun.

I’ll let the pictures [mostly] speak for themselves. An awesome way to end the semester.

Outside NALGIS world headquarters.

Before starting. Photo credit: Caesar ’12.

Before starting. Credit: Caesar.

Olay ’09 and Will ’11 leading the m√∂tley cr√ºe.

Serenading a special someone.

Roberto “el Che” ’12 trying to instruct his subjects between songs. Credit: Caesar.

Roberto “el Che” ’12 instructing his subjects between songs. Credit: Will ’11.

We saw this face many times on many people that night.

Meredith ’12, Will ’11, and Steve ’12.

My film camera a.k.a. the reason why this is my first post with pictures actually taken by me.

In other news, I still have no idea what is going on with the weather. Two days ago it was 15F and sunny, and parts of the Charles had frozen over; today it is 60F and drizzling, and the river has thawed. It is December. In Boston.


Also, it snowed in Houston. It was 60F here. Yeah. I give up. Credit: My friend Avneesh, UofH ’12.
*Apparently I am a mix of about five different nationalities. Prefrosh have sent me messages with “As a fellow Irani…” or “…because I too am Indian” or “Since your name is Arab…” Well, no one has been correct so far, and I want to confuse you even more, so I will let this entry stand on its own without any mention of whether or not I am part Latino.

**Update: Next’s House Director Marc Lo has officially thanked us for putting on the parade!

Dear N.A.L.G.I.S.,

Thank you for spreading the holiday cheer last night and bringing even more spirit to Next House!



24 responses to “A Latino Christmas”

  1. Anne says:

    What’s amazing about our group though is that you don’t have to be Latino to join. You can just love Latino culture (which I do, and I’m Asian… =) haha)

  2. Anne says:


    I am not Susana. =) Just a friendly reminder that all Asians do not look alike, no matter how close our names are.

  3. Roberto '12 says:

    @ karen: yes, we are actually both the same person, I know it is unbelievable that so much genius can fit inside one head but its true, plus if you want to try real pupusas, you know were to find me…

    @ the general MIT public: N.A.L.G.I.S. membership is open to anyone who has a deep appreciation of latino culture (obviously this includes you karen). Just stop by the 3rd floor elevator suite and try to come up with a cool spanish middle name. alternately send me an email to [email protected] and i’ll add you to the official nalgis membership and you’ll be informed of every NALGIS event. Also join the facebook group (I cannot divulge the name in this post but just go to my profile Roberto J Melendez, and the group will be there)

    to future-MIT community: we hope you consider to join NALGIS when you come to MIT, definitely add me or Ahmed in facebook so you can be in the official fb group. NALGIS will try to hold a CPW event because I know that NALGIS will be the defining factor of you guys choosing us over Caltech and Harvard…

    se despide,

    Roberto ”el che” Mel√©ndez

    “Viva la Latinizaci√≥n!”

  4. Alex says:

    You guys need some puertorican people… I’d be more than happy to show you how Christmas is celebrated in Puerto Rico… All you have to do is tell MIT to accept me and next christmas it’s not going to be a parade… It’s gonna be a “parranda” with the guiro and maracas, plenas and palitos… Plus the food is awesome!!! We eat the yummiest food for Xmas and it’s all Creole… oh and we don’t drink eggnong we drink coquito… its like eggnog but with cocunut… really yummy.

  5. Zeke '12 says:

    The Latin Lover has caught someone’s eye!!! That’s our Bobby.

  6. Sasha says:

    I thought you were Pakistani?


  7. Zeke '12 says:

    Roberto, the only thing that would make you more stylin’ and profilin’ would be a pair of fuzzy West Virginia crocs just like mine.

  8. Jessica says:

    @ latinlover:
    Thea, is that you?

  9. ronaldo says:

    no it’s not pero i know who it is!!

  10. karen says:

    if this is the same roberto ’12 from next house (you never know….there may be two!) that arranged for next dining to have pupusas, then i think i may be secretly in love with him.

    although now that it’s posted on the internet for see, i guess it’s not a secret anymore. shoot.

  11. Anonymous says:

    It looks like you even tried to blur the altered letter in the first photo.

  12. Ahmed says:

    Anonymous, yes I did, because the group’s original acronym spelled out a blue term in Spanish.

  13. Anon says:

    So are you Pakistani?
    …Oh, wait.

  14. Vivi says:

    I was wondering who the brave souls were that dared venture into Far West =)

  15. cubanito says:

    The parade was awesome! We definitely need to have more NALGIS events during the year. We should start making hispanic food and giving it out (mostly so that I can have some cause there isn’t a variety of hispanic food at all in Boston).

    Viva NALGIS!

  16. Anonymous says:

    you’re probably one of the following:
    lebanese, syrian, iranian, jordanian

  17. Anonymous says:

    The MIT website states that humanities APs (ex. English, US History, Economics, etc.) only count for elective credit. I guess this means they don’t fulfill GIRs? What is the point of elective credits? Please elaborate! Thank you!

  18. Brandon says:

    EA Applicants!
    I updated the site to include a few new goodies.
    Check it out, I think you’ll like it.

  19. Panda says:

    Dear Ahmed. You are not weird, believe me. Everybody has equal rights!
    ps I suppose you are from Egyrt

  20. Anonymous says:

    @ Ahmed,

    Can you please advise what you did in the waiting period when you were deferred? Will be of great help.

    Thank you,