My Hero

Rachel Gomez, age 15
My hero is my dad. He is somewhat tall and has short black hair. My dad and I like to cook, play basketball and create art. He helps me by motivating me to try new things. One of the things I like about him is that even though I annoy him sometimes he is always there to help me. He makes me feel special by giving me money and letting me do stuff with my friends. He likes to watch TV, mostly soccer. I look up to him because he teaches me how to be a respectful person and tells me how life really is, which prepares me for when I go out in the real world. My dad is a chef and he likes his job. My favorite memories of him are when he teaches me how to cook.

Sami Cerna age 15
My hero is Anahi (Mia); she’s Mexican and a professional singer. She has light brown hair, blue eyes, and a light completion. Anahi and I have many things in common; like we both love to sing, we like to act, and we love the color pink! She helps me because her songs help me when I’m feeling sad, mad, and happy. They calm me down. I like her because she is a really good singer. She makes me feel special because I can relate to her songs, even though I’ve never met her. I think she is unique because she dresses the way she wants to and acts the way she wants, not caring what people say. Her hobbies are shopping, dancing, singing, acting, and modeling. Her favorite things are: Disney characters like Tinker Bell, her favorite music is pop. I look up to her because she is a very strong woman. She was anorexic but she knew she had to fight it and she did. Her job is a singer, actress, and model.

By Katrina Garza, age 15
My hero would have to be my mom, because she has such a generous heart. She will give and give till she has nothing left. And even then she will still give somebody the shirt off of her back if need be. She is a pretty chill person to hang out with. She is like me pretty much except a little shorter. She teaches me the things I need to know and things I don’t know yet. I love hanging out with my mama and even though we can get on each other’s nerves she still my mama and will love me till the earth stops spinning. I can always count on her to be there for me no matter what time of day it is or what it’s I’ve done. My mama will text me while I’m in class and I have to watch out for the teacher so I don’t get caught. I remember one time she told me to be careful and watch out where I was going and what happens? She ends up stubbing her toe. It was really funny. I love my mama and I wrote this so she could go to work and brag about her kid writes papers about her. Just kidding, I will always love my mama for being her.

February 2011

Pasadena, TX

I grew up in Pasadena, a city on the outskirts of Houston. My childhood memories make my hometown so special to me. Pasadena is where I had friends and family within walking distance, and I first learned how to drive on its streets.
There is a majority of Hispanics who live in Pasadena, so people share similar values and traditions, such as making tamales for Christmas. The urban setting is more active than a country setting, and you find people walking the streets to the grocery store, to the apartments, or wherever else they need to be. There are street vendors at many corners, selling juicy watermelons or beautiful flowers, and strip malls where you can find good bargains. My favorite restaurants are those that serve fresh-made food, not fast food. La Hacienda, or “my mom’s friend’s restaurant” as me and my three sisters like to call it, has great food at a low price. Nearby, you can satisfy your sweet tooth at El Nopal Bakery. This panaderia and pasteleria has it all: pastries, cookies, frozen ice cream bars, tres leches cake, churros, flan, capirotada (a bread pudding). The huge cake for the quinceñeria of each girl in the family, I had no brothers, came from El Nopal.
The best things to do in my hometown are going out to restaurants, shopping, or visiting places in Downtown Houston. The Metrorail will take you where you want to go, when you figure out the how the transportation system works. There are plenty of events to go to, whether it’s a volunteer activity, concert, or sports game. I have seen the Houston Dynamo play soccer and frequently go to the Toyota Center basketball court to cheer on my favorite sports team, the Houston Rockets.

You can find fun things to do inside the city as well. Neighborhood Network is a huge event for the community. People can meet, eat, and have fun. And kids can have a great time at the petting zoo, train rides, and a bunch of games including a life-size chess board. There is a rodeo on the Pasadena Fairgrounds, the Strawberry Parade, and the Christmas Lighting in front of city hall.

The weather is hot and humid, because it is so close to the gulf coast. People usually go to the beach in Galveston or visit Moody Gardens during vacations. Visitors should take a trip to the San Jacinto Monument, the world’s tallest war memorial at 570 feet high and a 220-ton, 34-foot high star on top. The monument is part of the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site, located along the Houston Ship Channel. This historic landmark honors those who fought for Texas’ Independence and the Texas lone star on top commemorates the site of the Battle of San Jacinto, an important battle during the Texas Revolution. There is a museum at the base of the monument, a nice park and huge lake where people can relax, and a battleship tour available for visitors.

Pasadena High School, the school I attended, also has a lot of hometown history behind it. It is 50 years old and has seen big storms, renovations, and much school spirit also known as “eagle pride.” Some alumni became world war veterans, who are still honored in special school events.

I lived in Pasadena for almost 18 years and have moved since then. Although my family and I live 30 minutes away, I still feel like I am part of Pasadena. Who you are with and how your time is spent is a big part of your life experience. Any place can be special as long as you try to make it fun!

I still go back to Pasadena occasionally, when I want great Mexican food or some delectable donuts.

February 2011

My Town Pasadena, TX

I grew up in Pasadena, a city on the outskirts of Houston. My childhood memories make my hometown so special to me. Pasadena is where I had friends and family within walking distance, and I first learned how to drive on its streets.
There is a majority of Hispanics who live in Pasadena, so people share similar values and traditions, such as making tamales for Christmas. The urban setting is more active than a country setting, and you find people walking the streets to the grocery store, to the apartments, or wherever else they need to be. There are street vendors at many corners, selling juicy watermelons or beautiful flowers, and strip malls where you can find good bargains. My favorite restaurants are those that serve fresh-made food, not fast food. La Hacienda, or “my mom’s friend’s restaurant” as me and my three sisters like to call it, has great food at a low price. Nearby, you can satisfy your sweet tooth at El Nopal Bakery. This panaderia and pasteleria has it all: pastries, cookies, frozen ice cream bars, tres leches cake, churros, flan, capirotada (a bread pudding). The huge cake for the quinceneria of each girl in the family, I had no brothers, came from El Nopal.
The best things to do in my hometown are going out to restaurants, shopping, or visiting places in Downtown Houston. The Metrorail will take you where you want to go, when you figure out the how the transportation system works. There are plenty of events to go to, whether it’s a volunteer activity, concert, or sports game. I have seen the Houston Dynamo play soccer and frequently go to the Toyota Center basketball court to cheer on my favorite sports team, the Houston Rockets.

You can find fun things to do inside the city as well. Neighborhood Network is a huge event for the community. People can meet, eat, and have fun. And kids can have a great time at the petting zoo, train rides, and a bunch of games including a life-size chess board. There is a rodeo on the Pasadena Fairgrounds, the Strawberry Parade, and the Christmas Lighting in front of city hall.

The weather is hot and humid, because it is so close to the gulf coast. People usually go to the beach in Galveston or visit Moody Gardens during vacations. Visitors should take a trip to the San Jacinto Monument, the world’s tallest war memorial at 570 feet high and a 220-ton, 34-foot high star on top. The monument is part of the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site, located along the Houston Ship Channel. This historic landmark honors those who fought for Texas’ Independence and the Texas lone star on top commemorates the site of the Battle of San Jacinto, an important battle during the Texas Revolution. There is a museum at the base of the monument, a nice park and huge lake where people can relax, and a battleship tour available for visitors.

Pasadena High School, the school I attended, also has a lot of hometown history behind it. It is 50 years old and has seen big storms, renovations, and much school spirit also known as “eagle pride.” Some alumni became world war veterans, who are still honored in special school events.

I lived in Pasadena for almost 18 years and have moved since then. Although my family and I live 30 minutes away, I still feel like I am part of Pasadena. Who you are with and how your time is spent is a big part of your life experience. Any place can be special as long as you try to make it fun!

I still go back to Pasadena occasionally, when I want great Mexican food or some delectable donuts.

 

By Stephanie Meza

The Sista Hood On the Mic Book Review

Latina writer E-Fierce has written a great book for all Latinitas interested in finding their voice in the poetry, music or just for themselves. Set in San Francisco (that’s where the “hella” phrase comes in – ask any SF Latinita about this excessively used description), poeta Mariposa is dealing with high school, a cheating father, her lonely mother and a love that seems to be going nowhere. Mariposa, or MC Patria as she is known in her circle of aspiring fellow hip hop heroines, is one of the few Puerto Riquenas at her school in the very Mexicano/Central Americano Mission District neighborhood in San Francisco, California. Mariposa is proud of her Puerto Rican heritage, but finds herself having to pick a label whether she is “Black” or “Latina,” when she feels both. Mariposa is a voice of reason with Filipina friend Liza, who is struggling with an abusive boyfriend. She is in love with fellow hip hop songwriter Ezekiel Matthews and begins a whirlwind friendship with Ezekiel’s sister Sadie that changes her perspective on life forever. Preparing for a school talent show, Mariposa realizes no man, friendship or other outside voice is going to bring her real happiness and finds a way to get this on her own. Sprinkled with great poetry and truly powerful lyrics, B-girls or just regular Latinitas everywhere can relate to, “The Sista Hood On the Mic” is a real story about a real Latina learning to look inside, rather out, for herself.

By Laurita

True Valentine Stories

Valentine’s Day, is known to be one of the most romantic holidays of the year. This may be true for some people, but for others it may seem like the end of the world. Valentine’s Day has been considered to be a holiday where public display of affection is permitted in public places. Couples everywhere spends hundreds of dollars buying gifts like chocolates, stuff animals, Hallmark cards, and jewelry. These images make for great commercials, but what really happens to chicas on this romantic holiday? Some Latinitas share their Valentine’s Day stories.

“We do not celebrate Valentine’s Day on the 14th, instead we celebrate it on the 15th or on the 16th,” said Tori. “We think that it is pretty dumb to celebrate our love one day and make a big deal out of it. Instead you should celebrate love every day,” said the young couple.”

Dating since their junior year in high school, the couple mentioned that they have started this tradition since they have been dating. “Celebrating Valentine’s Day a day later is also benefiting us financially. I mean think about it everything (prices) goes down from candy to stuff animals, you name it. It may be sound like we are cheap, but hey as a student, discounts are great” said the young couple.

Another couple began their relationship the day before Valentine’s Day.

Lucia and Carlos said, “We did not do anything together for Valentine’s Day, instead we celebrate it with our family and close friends. I mean what’s the point celebrating this day together if we haven’t been together for more than 24 hours.” The couple also mentioned that it was better to celebrate it with their family and friends because it gave an opportunity for them to enjoy their company.

“I think we did okay not spending that day together. We realized that it has become more of ‘Who can spend more’ rather than enjoying each other’s company,” said Carlos. The couple has tried to spend whatever chance they get to spend together and are very happy where their relationship is going.

It may seem that Valentine’s Day, is all about love. Unfortunately, that is not entirely true. This holiday can also turn out to be the worst holiday for others.

A couple who was dating for almost a year had decided to end their relationship on the day of Valentine’s Day. “It was so hard for me to move on. I thought our relationship was going good. I mean yeah we had our arguments but what couple doesn’t have those days,” said Vannessa.

Vannessa had said that she is slowly moving on and putting the past behind her. “I want to prove to everyone, especially myself, that it is possible to move on after a long relationship and as a Hispanic woman, I was always taught to be strong and not let man ruin me. That is exactly what I am going to do,” said Vannessa.

This holiday means different things for everyone. “Love comes to us differently and also gives different outcomes to us. It is up to us how we make the most of it,” shared Vannessa.

By Claudia Oliva

Gift Ideas Under $20

J-Lo’s love may not cost a thing, but on Valentine’s Day love can be pricey. Whether you are shopping for a friend, family member or a sweetheart, don’t worry love doesn’t have to be expensive this year.

A photo can capture unforgettable moments spent with a loved one. Share a special moment with anyone on Valentine’s Day with a photo gift. You can print your favorite photo and frame it. Walgreens and Wal-Mart are a few of many other stores that sell customized photo gifts like posters, clothing, and even home accessories. Find gifts at Walgreens under $10 and some can be shipped overnight for additional cost. Walmart.com also offers customized gifts guaranteed to arrive before Valentine’s Day.

Nothing says “I love you,” more than a specially customized gift. It’s a thoughtful gesture for any loved one. Things Remembered offers a variety of customized gifts from jewelry to beer mugs.

Engrave almost anything at Things Remembered with a special Valentine’s Day message with many items under $20. For creativity and additional inspiration,www.thingsremembered.com has a section to help find the right message.

Music is a perfect way to express romance and emotion this Valentine’s Day. Express your feelings through song by downloading iTunes and burn a personalized CD, or buy one of the iTunes store Valentine’s Day albums for only $7.99. There are also love songs available starting at $0.69 each.

At the iTunes store, there’s an entire section with apps, movies and audio books dedicated entirely to Valentine’s Day. Learn to say “I love you,” in 50 different languages with the “iLove You in 50+ Languages!” app for only $0.99. Send voice messages with the “Voice Valentine’s: Professional e-cards with Sound” app available for $1.99. The great thing about iTunes is that they’re available to download or send at anytime.

There’s no going wrong with a classic gift of flowers on Valentine’s Day. At Proflowers.com there are beautiful bouquet combination under $20 guaranteed for delivery on Valentine’s Day. You can also find carnations in your local flower shop.

By Helen Rodriguez

Discovering My Cultura

When I was ten, I can remember one late Christmas mass where we always have a tradition to light the candles when Jesus is born. We had just said a special prayer, and when I turned my mother’s candle was lit, but mine was not. She passed hers down and lit mine.  

My culture was passed down onto me by my mom. A big part of my culture is my religion. We are Catholics. I go to mass every week and my mom is always the one to take me. When our family grew, we didn’t have too much time to go anymore. So she enrolled me into a Catholic school when I was four. I went to mass every Wednesday. It wasn’t the same as going with my mom, but it was still great being able to go.

My grandmother said food is the most important part of any culture. My mother teaches me how to cook. She told me the stories of her mother cooking a feast every Sunday. We’d always eat with family. We ate tacos, rice and refried beans. We all stuffed ourselves into the kitchen and eat there. We’d always sit and laugh about things me and my sisters did when we were little. I first learned how to cook tacos, salsa, and homemade tortillas. I was horrible at cooking, but my mother was proud I made an effort.

It’s also important to my family that I learn Spanish. I take a class at my high school. If I need help, mom is there. My whole family is a part of teaching me my culture, but my mom has always been the most encouraging one.

One year, I went to Mexico for my tia’s wedding. I saw girls dancing. Also, my tia Raquel made a feast. Then, my mother and I had a talk about her life in Mexico. I realized that it was similar to the way she raised me. For example, she had Sunday dinners with her mom, and she’d go to mass, and she was really close to her family too. I knew then that my mom passed down everything to me. My mom and the beliefs she has passed on to me have all influenced me today. I believe in God. I believe family is the most important thing you have. I love my family, and I love the culture they have passed on to me.

By Alexandra Rivera

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