Beyond The Guacamole

A series of writings.

Personal mantra.

Candy Ode: Swedish Fish

A lifeless sea creature that packs a punch.

Making its niche the roof of my mouth.

Obnoxiously sticking between my teeth.

Clusters of fish swimming down my esophagus.

Its shape slowly deteriorating from the speed of my teeth.

Expanding through its gummy texture.

The taste of cherries dancing on my tongue.

A stain of fruity delight has left its mark

leaving me wanting more.

Knowing the discomfort it causes

I repeat the cycle.

Ode to Snapple

It is appealing visually and internally.

The meticulous wrapper hugs the baby pink substance within.

It is enclosed in a glass bottle that insinuates caution.

The real danger is not the bottle,

But the fear of losing what is within.

Artificially made, but tastes like the hard work of a tribe.

Images of grape stompers crushing strawberries override a factory setting.

It is Sweet, but sour with a mixture of assorted fruits.

Kiwi Strawberry Snapple is a staple in my diet, as well as a trademark to my character.

Ode to NY street food

The smell of roasted peanuts intertwines with our oxygen.

Shortly after follows the smoke of a perfectly boiled hot dog.

A glass window showcases the scarce variety of beverages.

In the distance a halal cart prepares its first Jairo of the day.

Caressed by tinfoil, and kissed by a drop of white sauce.

An Italian Ice cart is wheeled down the sidewalk.

Cherry, Mango, Coconut, Rainbow, but no Blueberry.

My Reaction to John Jay’s “Seeing Rape”

I was under the impression that the play “Seeing Rape” would be a morbid play since rape is a heavy topic, but mainly because I thought the performances would showcase it in a live action manor, which could have been potentially triggering for some people. The first scene opens with 4 students engaging in casual dialogue filled with witty remarks about today’s use of social media as a dating platform. This showcased that social media dating may seem all fun and games until someone finds themselves in a position where a stranger can take advantage of them. Choosing to open the show with a scene filled with comedic undertones definitely helped ease the initial tension in the air. At first I did not know whether to laugh or stay quiet because a play associated with the word “rape” should not be associated with laughter, but the beginning just consisted of light hearted banter. I appreciated the gradual shift in severity because it would have been uncomfortable for everyone if a bold statement was made straight off the bat.

The scene “The girl” was a powerful monologue performed by a daughter as sentiment to her mother. She describes how her mother acted as a bystander while her sister was being raped by the father. This scene served as a stark reminder of the harsh reality of rape. Events such as this occur all the time within households. It was very prominent back in the day, as I have heard many stories from elders who have experienced similar situations. Being raped by a family member is probably the most complex form of rape because victims fear being the cause of a divided family, which is why many internalize their trauma. In this case, the mother knew her daughter was being raped, but instead of causing a divide between mother and father, it caused a divide between both of her daughters. Vocalizing rape is a difficult task, but this play demonstrates how one can confess and grow from it. One of the more common forms of rape is shown in the scene “Colorful Markers”, it depicts the typical college party seen, with a tired, but very real narrative about how female college students get taken advantage of on such occasions.

It is saddening that this is a story that students are used to hearing, it’s like rape has become institutionalized in colleges. It should not be normal to consistently hear stories about how students are being raped.

The show covers an array of subtopics within rape, there are scenes that induce anger, but then there are scenes that juxtapose that anger with personal growth. It can be easy to allow the stigma of rape to be oppressing, but the scene “Jubilee” shows how one can take harbored resentment and evolve. I would have to say that this was my favorite scene, in my opinion, they ironically saved the best for last. The playwright did an exquisite job at piecing together this monologue, every simile, metaphor, and other uses of figurative language translated the literal message effectively. The culmination of the actress’ emotion, with the magnitude of the words written by the author; made the audience go wild, it really resonated.

The most heart wrenching moment surprisingly occurred after the play. A lot of people did not stick around for the “question and answer” portion of the show, but I did, and I was able to hear a student give a testament regarding his personal experience with rape. This was something that the show was missing: a scenario in which a male experienced rape. Males are just as susceptible to rape as females, yet the show mainly focused on female gender roles. This is an issue that hovers under the raider because prevention programs are advertised more towards females.

The poster for the production.

“Sweat, sweat, sweat! Work and sweat, cry and sweat, pray and sweat!”: the words of a tormented woman in Zora Neale Hurston’s “Sweat”

In Zora Neale Hurston’s 1926 short story “Sweat”, a hardworking washwoman named Delia is taken for granted and tormented by her husband Sykes. Delia works endlessly to sustain the roof over their heads while dealing with her husband’s mental and physical abuse, as well as his infidelity. Despite his efforts to undermine her value, she perseveres because she refuses to leave behind everything she has worked so hard for. Through her strength, sweat, and faith Delia is able to rise above her husbands torment, and ultimately realize her self worth.

Hurston opens the story with an image of Delia “squatted in the kitchen floor beside the great pile of clothes, sorting them into small heaps according to color, and humming a song in a mournful key, but wondering through it all where Sykes, her husband, had gone with her horse and buckboard “ (Hurston, 1). She then follows with an image of a “long” and “ limp” bullwhip that slithers to the ground after falling on Delia’s shoulders (1). Right away Hurston is able to portray the nature of Delia and Sykes relationship, and foreshadow the presence of a snake through her description of the bullwhip. Delia is unhappy, but continues working diligently while her husband is out cheating on her, he then comes home and further amuses himself by taunting her. One day he decides to take things a bit further by purposely bringing a snake into the house. He figured that this would be the last straw for Delia, that he could finally instill enough fear in her to leave, but she remained an impenetrable force throughout the story.

As a washwoman, Delia spends most of her time immersed in her work. It is able to distract her from the complications of her marriage. She goes about her business in a very orderly manor, and it seems to irritate Sykes. He could not stand the site of her folding the clothes of white people, he would tell her to “Keep them white folks’ clothes outa dis house” (1). It is an understandable remark given the fact that colored people were being oppressed by white people during this time, but it seems like he also hated seeing Delia be self sufficient because that is what empowers her. He has no respect for her hark work, he kicks her clothes to the side, steps on them, and threatens her to not give any lip about it or else he will put his fist upside her “head to boot” (2).

Everyone but Sykes notices how hard Delia works. She always delivers her clothes on Saturdays no matter what the weather condition is, and the village men commend her work ethic every time she passes through. They know that the fruits of her labor have taken a toll on her appearance, but they also know that it more so Sykes’ physical abuse that has amplified it to the point where she does not look like a “Pritty lil trick” (3) anymore. They discuss their distaste for Sykes, and his cheating ways. One of the village men call his mistress Bertha a “big black greasy Mogul”(3), and concludes that he only wants her because she is fat. Over the course of their fifteen year marriage, Sykes had always longed for flesh, and spent Delia’s hard earned money on his cheating escapades with various women (Hurd, 2). After slaving in the blazing heat to get her delivery runs done, she witnesses an encounter between Sykes and Bertha. She watches her husband as he reminds his mistress that “This was his town and she could have it if she wanted to (5).

While Delia was laying in bed she reflected upon her marriage, and what could be salvaged from it:

Too late now to hope for love, even if it were not Bertha it would be someone else. This case differed from the others only in that she was bolder than the others. Too late for everything except her little home. She had built it for her old days, and planted one by one the trees and flowers there. It was lovely to her, lovely. (3)

The only thing she can truly take away from this marriage is the house that she had worked so hard for, and that was enough for her to stay even though her love for Sykes had been long gone. At this point all she could do was have faith that “whatever goes over the Devil’s back, is got to come under his belly” (3). Meaning that hopefully karma will catch up with Sykes for all he has put her through.

Delia’s faith allowed her to be strong while constantly being battered, and it also saved her life. She reverts from her “meekness” (2) and begins to stand up for herself. It started off with finding the courage to threaten Sykes with an iron skillet, it then escalated to the point where she watched him die without any inclination to save him. When Sykes first brings the snake over, her immediate reaction was to call out “oh, Jesus, have mussy” out of fear. She begged Sykes to take the snake out of their home, but he was confident that the snake would harm him so he kept it around. He possibly could have wanted it to hurt her because he deliberately destroyed the snake’s pen and planted it in Delia’s hamper (Hurd, 3). Instead Delia was saved by the mercy of god in the sense that the snake had chosen to strike Sykes instead. He had called out “ Mah Gawd fum Heben” while he was dying, but he was far to evil of a man for his prayers to be answered by god. Like Delia had hoped, Sykes received the karma that he deserved.

It is questionable as to why Delia chose to stay with Sykes for such a long time, and take any action to retaliate after he had first started beating her two months into their marriage. According to Catherine Carter “Delia’s goodness is embodied in her obedience to God’s command; she is serving her sentence” (Carter, 9). Delia attended church regularly and would always carry out her sacraments, it is plausible that she could not leave her Husband because it goes against her religious morals, and her devotion to god outweighed the abuse. This is why she relied on her faith because she could not personally do anything to remove Sykes from the house, “She was able to build a spiritual earthworks against her husband. His shells could no longer reach her” (3), and that is helped her coupe with the situation.

Although she was a woman of god, she had no problem telling Sykes how she really felt about him towards the end of the story:

“Ah hates you, Sykes,” she said calmly. “Ah hates you tuh de same degree dat Ah useter love yuh. Ah done took an’ took till mah belly is full up tuh mah neck. Dat’s de reason Ah got mah letter fum de church an’ moved mah membership tuh Woodbridge — so Ah don’t haf tuh take no sacrament wid yuh. Ah don’t wantuh see yuh ‘roun’ me atall. Lay ‘roun’ wid dat ‘oman all yuh wants tuh, but gwan ‘way fum me an’ mah house. Ah hates yuh lak uh suck-egg dog.”

Delia finally lets out everything that she has been holding in and makes it known that she does not want anything to do with him. She has decided to fully invest herself in god by changing churches, so that she does not have perform sacraments with Sykes. In fact, he could just run off with his mistress for all her cares as long as he leaves the house.

“Sweat, sweat, sweat! Work and sweat, cry and sweat, pray and sweat!” (2), that is what Delia has been doing for the past fifteen years. Working endlessly to preserve her home, crying over her dysfunctional marriage, and praying for a way out. While watching her husband squirm from the wrath he unleashed, she had two choices, to save him, or use the opportunity as gateway to a fresh start. She chose the latter because she was done sweating over her marriage, she should not have had to waste her precious sweat on her underserving husband. In that moment she realized that she can provide herself with a much better life than he could have ever given her. She can now spend her mornings singing a song in a joyous key, and never settle for anything less.

References

Carter, Catherine. “The God in the snake, the devil in the Phallus: biblical revision and radical conservatism in Hurston’s ‘Sweat’.” The Mississippi Quarterly, vol. 67, no. 4, 2014, p. 605+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 14 Dec. 2016

Hurd, Myles Raymond. “What Goes Around Comes Around: Characterization, Climax, and Closure in Hurston’s ‘Sweat’.” Short Story Criticism, Eds. Thomas J. Schoenberg and Lawrence J. Trudeau, vol. 80, Gale, 2005. Literature Resource Center, Web. 14 Dec. 2016

Hurston, Zora Neale. “Sweat” 1926

Beyond The Guacamole

After working long hours all day my dad and I decided to seek refuge at a regular dining spot of his called Tequila Chito’s. It is a Mexican bar and grill located in Chelsea, Manhattan across the street from the School of Visual Arts. I have been there before, but I only had the guacamole which resonated with me for good reasons. Visiting a second time my senses were able to go beyond the guacamole and look at the place in its entirety.

Upon arrival we are greeted by a bright yellow exterior with a wide arched window reminiscent of the 19th century romantic era. A mix of red and green neon lighted letters float along the top of the entrance. It is clear that the architecture of the bar pays homage to the type of structures seen in Mexico. An inclined plane dressed with a red carpet paves the way into the restaurant. Clear curtains, like those seen when entering a meat locker at the grocery store, hang at the door. The curtains are an odd decorative choice, and require a bit of elbow grease to move out of the way.

Once my Dad and I made our way inside we were immediately seated by a personable waiter with menus. The lights were dim and the place was pretty vacant. A group of middle aged men were drinking a few rounds at the bar, and a few customers were scattered towards the front. The layout was in an “L” shape that consisted of a bar towards the left of the front entrance, 4 setter tables in the front, and 2 setter tables aligned down a corridor. Given the fact that the place was not packed we did not expect our waiter to sit us at a table that was all the way in the back next to the noisy kitchen. Not wanting to be a bother my dad and I took our seats. The waiter was able to sense our discomfort immediately and graciously relocated us to the front. A family of three was seated in front of us. Not sure which one of them annoyed me the most. Was it the daughter because she would not sit still in her seat and kept touching my chair? Was it the mother who failed to get her daughter under control? Or was it the father who spoke so loudly on his cell phone that it echoed.

Annoyed and starving I opened the menu up with no specific intentions on what to get. The menu did not make it any easier for me to decide given the fact that it was entirely in Spanish. This can be a problem for those who are non- native speakers, or have only had a semester of Spanish way back when. I then decided to go with what I knew of which was the guacamole dip with tortilla chips. I wanted empanadas’ because they are a staple in Mexican delicacy, but to my surprise they were not on the menu. I left the rest up to my Dad since this outing was on me. He decided to order a platter that consisted of different shrimp, chicken and steak appetizers. As for drinks my dad ordered one of their alcoholic beverages while I ordered a sprite because I am under age. They are very adamant about having proper ID, so this is not the place for youngsters who are trying to get away with drinking.

While waiting for our food I could not help but notice how boring the restaurant itself was. I know there were not a lot of people there, but maybe if there was something to draw attention from that we would not have noticed. The music was faint to the ear and constantly transitioned from a catchy pop tune to an old slow jam. Just like how mixing candy with Mc

Donald’s is vomit enticing, so was that playlist. My dad had pointed out a TV next to bar that showcased music videos, he asked me if the music video was the one that corresponded to the song that was playing, and it did not. That irked me because it did not make sense to broadcast those irrelevant videos. Why not put sports on for the guys at the bar?

Our food arrived within 15 minutes, and was a medium sized dish. I remember the waiter kept emphasizing that the platter would be big like it was something to be intimidated by. Maybe she was saying that because it used up a lot of ingredients to make, so perhaps she wanted us to change our minds. Besides the shrimp, chicken, and steak the plate included chimichangas and cheese quesadillas. Also a variety of peppers took up a decent portion of the plate which I am pretty sure were only for decorative purposes. The plate was quite expensive and nothing on it made me feel euphoric. The shrimp was good, but I was disappointed in the authentic Mexican food such as the chimichangas and quesadillas. They taste like straight up cheese. The chicken was bland, and the steak was not dry, but it was nothing special.

There must have been a good reason as to why I failed to realize everything else that was going on within the restaurant, and there was — the guacamole. If there is any reason to come to this place it would be for that. A cook wheels on over our table with his metal cart filled with a plethora of ingredients. He starts off by asking if we want our guacamole mild or spicy and we respond with mild. Before our very eye he commences to make the guacamole by taking a generous amount of each ingredient. He mashes the ingredients up in a clay elephant bowl, and within a few minutes our guacamole was ready. A bit spicier than the last time I came, but that did not change how delicious it was. You can taste how fresh the ingredients are versus your processed grocery store bought guacamole. Having it freshly made does not compare to the mediocre at all.

When visiting Tequila Chito’s bar and grill I do not recommend going beyond the guacamole. It is the best thing on the menu as far as food goes. I suggest looking for authentic Mexican cuisine elsewhere. If you are looking for some amazing guacamole then it is a must to stop by Tequila Chito’s.

Forbidden Love

“I’m sorry but it’s me, not you”, that is exactly how it went — like a cheesy breakup line. It really was my fault because I just could not cling onto something that was bad for me any longer. I had to face reality and let my relationship with chocolate go. Well for the most part.

Chocolate is one of my favorite snacks ever, and making the decision to cut back to almost hardly consuming it has been exhausting. The problem is that chocolate breaks me out every single time I have it. I never really noticed it until my sophomore year of high school because that is when I started to get more acne than usual. I did not have a crater face or cystic acne, but a few tiny pimples did bruise my self confidence a little. Given the fact I have a fair complexion, everything shows up vividly on my skin, which I hate because I do not want my pimples accentuated. The more they started to appear the more they would leave behind dark marks on my face. I thought they would subside in due time, so I just kept eating my chocolate while waiting for time to magically heal them.

Senior year of high school is when I really tried to tone it down because that is when I started to wear makeup. It was not because of the acne that I started wearing makeup; it was because I just started to get into it at that point in my life. I knew that I had to give up chocolate because I could not simultaneously destroy my face with chocolate and makeup because that would just agitate my skin more. Little did I know how difficult that would be for a stubborn girl like me.

The holidays would start to roll around and chocolate is just one of those foods for every occasion. People always have chocolate handy and that was starting to get to me because I would have to decline delicious treats. Not only did I look unappreciative, but I was dying inside. If only Jennifer knew how badly I wanted her homemade brownies. Special occasions such as any type of party also fueled a fire within me, but not a good fire. Chocolate cake is a favorite amongst many people that I know, which is super unfortunate for me.

I find myself in situations that really test my willpower when it comes to chocolate. Come to think of it, chocolate graces the plate of many dining spots. At a restaurant there is typically not a wide variety of deserts. Chocolate and Vanilla are pretty much all you are going to see on a menu especially if desert is not the specialty. Vanilla does not break me out, but it is rather bland in taste. The Outback Steakhouse is one of my favorite restaurants to go to. They have this desert called “Thunder from Down under,” which is heaven on a plate. It is a chocolate brownie topped with vanilla ice cream, and drizzled with fudge. My mom and I always order it when we go there. How can you say no to that? Another favorite is the Hershey Pie from Burger King. I know it is not the ideal place for desert, but I promise it is amazing! McDonalds’ Oreo Mcflurry is also a great contender; it definitely satisfies my sweet tooth.

The “Thunder From Down Under” served at Outback Steakhouse.

Short Argument: Gentrification

Everyone knows how strongly I feel about gentrification. I wrote my inquiry paper on it, gave a speech about it, and presented a board about it at the first year student showcase. It is a concept that is prevalent in our society and people still struggle with identifying what it is. There are many definitions to the word gentrification but it is basically when anything modern trumps the traditional. This is an issue dear to my heart since I live in affordable housing there is always that scare in the back of my mind that I may be forced to relocate in the near future. The wealthy are taking over and expanding their empires, so there is always a thirst for prime real estate, and I am sitting on a goldmine. The middle class is also deeply affected because they are in this limbo where they do not meet the requirements for affordable housing, but are not wealthy enough to live comfortably. There are just a lot of problems that stem from the changes gentrification brings about. Independent businesses are going out of business, eviction rates go up, homelessness increases, government funds start to deplete to solve these issues, and neighborhoods become divided by newcomers. Is it really worth having all these fancy stores and buildings at the expense of others? It is just the cycle of life to cultivate the greatest civilization to just later have it collapse. We are going to be our greatest demise.

Writing Process

My writing process is quite unique and has become ritualistic. I cannot start an essay without an outline of all of my ideas. As soon as I am given a topic for a paper I just start writing everything that I am thinking of on a little notebook. It has to be a small notebook because I like the way it sits in my hand, and how it fits on the side of my desk. The outline is a complete jumble of words that occupy every corner of the page; from that point I am able to select which ideas I want to use and make a list of what order I will be discussing them in. It is really important to me to have a sequential order to my writing: It makes an essay cohesive, easier to read, and keeps the reader’s attention.

The weirdest part of my writing process would be the fact that I like to wear headphones while I write, but I do not listen to music. I just leave the headphones on to act as a blockade from the outside world. In my mind, headphones serve as a way to condense my thoughts so that I am able to focus on what I am writing about. Turning on the music is not an option because it is way too distracting for a person like me. I sing along to everything, and I find it interesting that some people can concentrate with Drake on full blast. Since music does not comfort me, I seek refuge through food. I always need to have a snack on my bedside table. I am a small girl, but I consume large amounts of food.

A Sample Cover Letter

I noticed your ad online and I would like to apply for the sales associate/cashier position. Whenever my passion for fashion gets the best of me I always find myself wandering into Zara. Not only does the store provide good quality clothing at an affordable price, but it also conforms to the latest trends while still maintaining a tight bond with its customers. It would be a great opportunity to work under a company such as Zara because of the infectious success it promotes, and the learning experience it will provide me with. I have previously worked in the childcare business, and it has instilled a vast amount of patience within me along with great interpersonal skills. Being able to problem solve and maintain high energy levels were key aspects of the job especially when dealing with impressionable 3 year olds. I can apply these skills among many more towards this sales associate/cashier position and hopefully further cultivate them under your company. Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Victoria Perez

Would I hire myself?

Let’s say that I did not write my cover letter for the Sales Associate/Cashier position at Zara, but that I was an employer reading it. The letter hits so many nails on the head that employers are seeking. They want the applicant to recognize the aspects of the company that are unique without being overly cheesy. In the letter it is translated that the applicant knows a thing or two about company indicating that they did their research on the company. Complementary and professional language is woven throughout the cover letter. On top of that the combination of different vocabulary makes the letter stronger and exciting to read.

A little bit of everything is addressed throughout the letter. What makes the company special, why the applicant would like to work there, the previous experience the person had that led them to this point, and how the person can use their skills within the company. The only downfall to the letter would be the grammar. If the letter were for a more serious position then that would be more of an issue. I say this because I have a friend who got a job at Uniqlo with a resume that had so many spelling errors on it. She was able to do really well in the in-person interviews which overshadowed her resume. It is still important to have a proper resume because in most cases your writing is the first impression that leads to an in-person interview. Although I did not have to submit a cover letter, I actually acquired a job at Zara as a Sales Associates prior to this assignment. I did not have a cover letter when I applied for the position, so I wanted to write what I would have said to Zara in a cover letter; to see if my peers would find it up to par. I had received positive feedback, which made me feel confident in writing future cover letters.

My commentary on a classmate’s cover letter

His name is really spelled with a “K”.

………………………………………………………………………………………

I like how you keep reiterating that you are an ambitious individual because that is what employers are seeking. You use some key vocabulary words throughout the letter that emphasize how much of a perfect fit you are for the position. Something that would have made the letter even stronger would have been if you included an example of what makes YOU so ambitious. You want to differentiate yourself from the rest of the applicants. But be careful, saying that you sometimes have to assume your coworkers roles can be looked at as you being unable to communicate with your team to resolve issues; rather than being viewed as ambitious.