Friday, May 16, 2008

Postcards from the Green (Card) II

It's been two and a half months since I posted Juan Miguel's first postcard on his journey-to-the-Green-Card in Austin. Here's the second installment. As a prologue, I should comment that, despite Juan Miguel notes in his account "there has been no life-changing events" during his time in Texas, the whole experience he's been through since January is one of the most fascinating and desirable life-changing events anyone can experience. And he can tell nonetheless. We're very proud of his accomplishments, especially the fact that, living now on East Austin, he hasn't given in yet to the impulse of getting a pit bull for himself.

Thanks to John Miguel (as my son Guillermo calls him) for his second entrega. Look forward to reading more.

Getting lost is not a waste of time

It has been almost four months since I left Mexico, my home and my way of life. A lot has happened [since then] but there has been no life-changing events [so far], no epiphanies and no, I haven’t found god. So the question is, What have I found? Well, I think I’ve found a little bit about myself and whole lot more about the American culture.

I’ll tell you what I’ve been up to. I’m still tutoring [High School] kids in Math and it has been a positive experience, but I do have to say the Public Education [in Texas] is just not working. Teachers and kids are so concerned about passing the TAKS [Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills] that they actually forget about learning and, most importantly, [they forget] about thinking of using common sense, [an element] that I truly think it is essential for preparing kids for the world. There are people that are trying to change that, so that lets some hope shine through and I definitely would like to continue tutoring once I go back [to Mexico].

Juan Miguel's idea of a Real Beach

A little bit after the last post, Spring Break came and I went with a friend that I knew from a camp and her friends to Galveston. We went for a little bit less than a week. [I enjoyed] nice company [but] not so nice weather. What people here in the States call beaches are not. Beaches are not cold, they don’t have wind 24 hours a day. Beaches are at least 80° F at all times. Oh yeah, and the ocean is warm and will not put your body in hypothermia. Hey, but that’s just me. But I won’t lie, I had a good time and it was [a] nice way of having a little bit of my usual life back.

Shortly after that I was once again encouraged by a power duo [Antonio & Valentina, that is] to do a bit more with my time. So, I went to UT and looked into some classes I might be interested in and managed to get into one class. Classes here, being that is a public university, have a lot of students (about 120 of them) in the classroom, which is a big change 'cause the mayor I am doing is pretty small (about 20 students). So, as you see, the change is a bit radical but nevertheless I do enjoy the class. The teacher is a 50-something English man who is pretty entertaining (he makes awful jokes but, hey, at least he tries). He is pretty good at teaching Calculus, which is never an easy subject, and people seem to understand, so he must be doing something right. UT campus is pretty cool and really big and the students don’t seem that much different from mine.

On my green card search... Well, I just got my prints and pictures taken for the papers, so apparently everything is going relatively smoothly. In about a month my temporary work permit should arrive and after that, [I] will become a productive member of society (well, just a bit; I don’t plan on overdoing it). On a side note [that has nothing to do with this paragraph --blog master's note], I would like to congratulate the blog master for his fellowship [you're welcome Juan Miguel, but you still owe me those tacos al pastor you promised over the phone -- blog master's note].

About a month ago, I moved out from the blog master and his wife’s house (for which I am eternally grateful [tacos al pastor always come in handy to show eternal gratitude, John Miguel --blog master's note not to be taken seriously, please]) and moved into [one] room in East Austin. For those of you not familiar with Austin the East is the ghetto part of the city (well, as ghetto as Austin can actually be). The owner of the house is a 30-something man who is the definition of a bachelor. That is not a bad thing, but he is a bit messy and, well, after being in the chlorine house for a bit over two months, it is hard to see dirty dishes and un-swept floors, but all in all it’s a good place [to live]. The other roommate is a 28-year old female musician; she moved from Vegas and is pretty cool.

Looking for John Miguel? Try 9120 N. I-35, better known as Taquería Rodríguez. Ask for 'El Güerito Chilango'.

One of the things I most miss about my home is the food (as any Mexican will), but I am happy to say that I found a temporary fix here called Taquería Rodriguez. Their tacos al pastor, I will not lie to you, are not as good as many places back in Mexico, but they are better than others, so even if I would have found them in Mexico, I would probably pay them a visit once in a while. Since they are here, I go a bit more. Even with this, I am still in the search for the perfect spot for Mexican food (that’s a search that I think will never end.)

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