#7: First Contact

It’s really hard to pinpoint the memory of my first experience with a PC or the Internet. I can think of a time when I was in 3rd grade where I would go over to my friend’s house and watch her play on her PC. We weren’t allowed to be on it for long. This trend continued, where I would be in contact with PCs through friends but we had limited amounts of time that we could be on it.

The internet was slow and so were the graphics but it was the most fascinating thing.

It wasn’t until fifth grade that we got an old desktop computer. It was big and clunky with no Internet access. I could only play Minesweeper or the pinball machine game or try and entertain myself with Microsoft paint. I didn’t spend too much time on it.

It wasn’t until sixth grade that my family bought a laptop which was nice for its time. It had a webcam and DVD player. Initially, I still didn’t have internet access but soon my begging paid off and my parents got WiFi.

Once able to connect to the Internet, I was amazed. I was able to watch YouTube videos and access hundreds of games. To my parents’ chagrin,  I went from being a heavy TV watcher to a heavy Internet user – a perfect example of displacement theory. Since the laptop was portable, I was able to stay up late at night and read or watch movies.

My parents had gotten the laptop so that I could use it in middle school for projects and homework. Having internet access at home truly helped. I didn’t have to walk to the library anymore or pay to print. I was able to do it all at home.

The Internet and PC have definitely made my life easier. Once we purchased smart TVs, I was able to access Netflix and Twitter on my TV. My parent’s decided to “satellite shave” and cut back on our Dish package. They even fancied the idea of cancelling our TV package altogether but the cons outweighed the pros so we kept our subscription.

We have talked in class about sports being a major benefit to TV service providers. This was a major factor when we debated whether or not to cancel our subscription. My dad wanted to be able to watch soccer and boxing in real time. My mom wanted to be able to watch the news when it aired. So we slimmed down our bundle instead and kept Internet.

Since then, the Internet has diversified my entertainment options. It’s impossible to really communicate the full scope of the Internet’s impact on my life. For one, it has made communication much easier with people from different countries. I can talk to my family from Mexico way easier than in the past. My parents also cut the international talk option from our phone plan as WhatsApp lets you text and call through the Internet. (An example of the theory of relative constancy, we pay for internet using the money we saved by cutting international talk.)  We are better able to share memories and keep in touch which is really important to us.

In summary, the PC and Internet have really improved my lifestyle. However, it has also been a test of my self-control since it is very easy to procrastinate with all the information and entertainment at our hands. It’s hard to remember life before computers and the internet and it’s even harder to think about them going away in the future. These are here to stay for certain but how we use and regulate them will continue to change.

 

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Event Review: Dia de los Muertos

Today, the Latin American Hispanic Student Organization and Student Activities Board finally had all their hard work pay off.

The Red Barn looked lively and colorful with all the decorations in place. There was a face painting and sugar skull decorating station, a live band, and lots of food. A good thirty minutes before the official start time, a line was already forming out the door.

Once the event began, it was a nonstop line of people. I was helping serve food and did not see a break until two hours in. El Nopal catered the event with fajitas, rice, beans, chips, and salsa. LAHSO also provided pan de muerto, a sweet bread roll traditionally made in Mexico.

The altar was beautifully put together and allowed for people to write the names of lost loved ones. I appreciated the social justice theme added and thought it was a powerful addition to the altar.

The event also had a short presentation about the history of Dia de los Muertos and its significance in Latin America.

Kentucky All Stars provided a variety of upbeat Spanish music throughout the night. Although, not exclusively Mexican music, they definitely made it fun. A fantastic addition to this year’s event was Mexico Lindo, a Mexican dance group consisting of women who dance to traditional Mexican music.

UofL alumni Luis Arduz also added to the event with a salsa dance lesson that people of all backgrounds could enjoy.

It was great to see all kinds of people at the event. Everyone got to get a taste of the holiday as well as exposure to Mexican culture.

All in all, Dia de los Muertos got a good representation at the University of Louisville. Well over a hundred students were able to enjoy music, food, and get a glimpse of another culture.

The event was definitely another success for LAHSO and hopefully they will continue the momentum with next semester’s big event – Carnaval.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mexican Food is the F*cking Best

Honestly, I thank the heavens every day for Mexican food. I love it. You love it. We all love it. Everybody loves it.

Mexican food is so vast and diverse that I doubt I have even scratched the surface in my nineteen years. Thanks to our Indigenous and European roots, we have tons of combinations that make for a delicious array.

So, if you haven’t been exposed to anything past Qdoba and Chipotle – not authentic Mexican food but still pretty good nonetheless- check out the list that I have compiled.

  1. Aguas Frescas5beba196a8595e29d85fcb354d1023f8

    Okay, so this isn’t necessarily food. But you should definitely try agua fresca before you die. There are endless flavors of refreshing natural fruit juice.

    My favorites: Horchata and basically everything else because they are delicious.

  2. Tinga de pollotostadasdetingadepollo.jpg

    Tinga is basically a tostada with chicken in chipotle sauce, lettuce, crema, and cheese. There are many variations to it. 10/10

  3. Tamalesdownload.jpg

    A staple in any self-respecting Mexican family during the holidays, tamales are hard to describe. They’re made with masa and usually chicken but there are multiple variations to this as well. You can top them with crema and cheese and everything will seem right in the world. There are sweet tamales too which can be desserts so definitely try those as well.

  4. Elotesimages.jpg

    Elotes preparados are bomb af. Seriously, they are God’s gift. They’re basically corn on the cob with mayonnaise, grated cotija cheese, and chili powder. They have a hint of lime too. They’re popular street food in Mexico and in some lucky states. (Kentucky is not one)

  5. Panimages (2).jpg

    You have not lived until you’ve tried Mexican bread. It’s perfect for any time of the day. There are way too many kinds to list out but a concha or a borracho is a good place to start. It’s a perfect treat to pair with hot chocolate.

  6. Atoleimages (1).jpg

    Speaking of the perfect thing to pair pan with, atole is a must. It’s hard to describe because it is a corn and masa based beverage. The chocolate variation is called champurrado which is a little like a richer, creamier hot chocolate.

  7. Sope5f0351214d179d1b2e5f0fe254162948.jpg

    Sopes are kind of like huge, thick tortillas with beans, vegetables, and meat on top. You can top them to your liking and they’re super filling. 10/10

  8. Empanadasmasa-para-empanadas.jpg

    A lot of restaurants have these in their non-dessert form, but rarely do they have the sweet empanadas. The closest counterpart that I can think of are turnovers, but empanadas are 1000x better. They can have all kinds of sweet fillings like strawberries, peaches, blueberries, chocolate, or even rice pudding.

  9. Chocoflan

    chocoflan-960x623.jpgSo you might have seen flan before, but this variation is one of the best. Basically it’s flan on top of chocolate cake. Perfect for any occasion.

  10. Bionico

    images (3).jpgA bionico is Jalisco’s gift to the world. It’s common to find it in “fruterias” or like juice bars/dessert shops. It’s fruit salad in condensed milk and yogurt topped with granola, almonds, walnuts, and raisins depending on your taste. It will make you feel healthy yet satisfy dessert cravings.

This list doesn’t even begin to cover all that encompasses Mexican food. But it’s a primer at least for those who want to know more. I encourage you to try any of these if you have the chance – just remember that any Americanized version won’t ever live up to the real thing.

Rethinking Mexico: Cuernavaca, Morelos

When I traveled to Mexico this summer, I went with a mission. I went to visit family and friends but I also went to make a point to the people I left in the States.

I wanted to make a point especially to my American friends – those that imagined Mexico as a desert filled with ponchos and sombreros. This image is true to some extent, but that doesn’t even scratch the surface of Mexico’s beauty.

I have been travelling to Mexico since I was a year old but not consistently. It had been four years since I had last been to Mexico and I was eager to go again.

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My pic of a street in downtown Cuernavaca

Most of my family is in Cuernavaca, Morelos. It is about two hours from Mexico City. It’s known as the “Ciudad de la eterna primavera” or “the city of eternal Spring.”

Indeed, the weather was beautiful almost the entire month that I was there. The average temperature is around 72°F. It very rarely rains during the day so it’s almost never humid.

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Freshly picked coconut and mango

One of the things I love the most about Mexico is the abundance of fresh produce. Almost everything is fresh – fruit, vegetables, herbs, even meat. You can find these things in the colonía.

Downtown, the centro, Cuernavaca is gorgeous. It holds historic sites next to modern buildings. The palace of Hernán Cortés is one such site that serves as a reminder of Spanish rule but is now a museum.

The downtown area is filled with beautiful streets full of vendors. There are dozens of places to eat, drink, buy, socialize, dance, and just have fun. Performers will be on almost every corner.

Another place that you can visit is Jardín Borda which is the grounds of Emperor Maximilian I’s summer home where he lived with his wife Carlota. The cost of entry is very cheap and you can tour for as long as you like.

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One of the many fountains in Jardin Borda.

Whatever your tastes, you are likely to find something enjoyable somewhere in Cuernavaca.

Throughout my time, I was updating Snapchat and Instagram so that my friends would see the beauty of Mexico as I did.

Cuernavaca is a place you should definitely visit if you have the chance. The people are friendly, the views are amazing, and the food is delicious.

Even now, I still have barely scratched the surface of Mexico’s wonders. I love Mexico and I want to continue to explore it as much as I can.

I encourage people to rethink Mexico. I know my friends have changed views as a result of my adventure and I hope to reach more people. Mexico is much, much more than a desert with sombreros. It is a diverse country with a beautiful culture and breathtaking scenery.

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Me in front of a cathedral downtown.