Sunday, August 15, 2010

MEChA Summer Reflections

As this summer comes to a close, I would like to invite MEChA and friends to reflect on experiences we've had this summer. In particular, I encourage you to write about how these events have changed you, and how that may affect the perspective you take on issues and events pertinent to MEChA in the coming year. Run with it MEChA... this can be whatever you make it.

The first part of my summer I went on a 5 week trip to Argentina, to take the Latin Poetry and Theatre course in Buenos Aires offered by Yale. Then I came back, and took summer classes back at school. Now I'm at home: New Paltz, NY (This beautiful area with an awesome mountain range and forests on one side, and orchards and fields & a small college and hippie/liberal town on the other).

My trip to Argentina was transformative, mainly in the sense that I became comfortable with who I am, and was able to open myself up to the world so much more because of that. You see, I've been in a perpetual identity-crisis for the past 2 years. I think I finally found the answers I was looking for. The journey was a long and complicated one, so that story can be reserved for another day... but what I will share is the conclusion I came to and how that affects my views and involvement with MEChA.

Question: Who/What am I?
Answer: Mestiza
Explanation: Alright, so do you guys know how Anzaldua says that the Chicano is caught between two worlds, in a borderlands of sorts (as far as identity is concerned)? I kind of find myself doubly so, if that's possible (maybe it's possible in some weird "Inception" sort of way... like a dream inside a dream, jaja). I say this because I can identify with the Chicano struggle of trying to find yourself within the American culture all around you and the Mexican roots that seem distant but run deep. Yet I'm also in ANOTHER borderlands. You see, my dad is Mexican. Straight from Veracruz Mexican. As in, has all his family there, we all visit during the summer and for Christmas, he upholds traditions like Día de Los Muertos, and cooks delicious comida mexicana. My mom is Eastern European (and there's a rich culture there too, with traditional foods, a language, beliefs, and all that). That's why I'm so güera. Anyway, I'll spare you the huge story (as I said before) and just talk about my discovery. My discovery is that I identify more as a Mexicana. Not Chicana. Not Europea. Not Gringa. Yo soy mexicana. Aunque niegan que soy una... lo importante es lo que siento en el alma.

Y pienso que tengo alma mexicana. I say this because the person who I'm closest to in this world is my abuelita. I'm named for her too. We wear the same necklace (she got me a mini of hers when I was a little girl)... which is a buho that she says is for wisdom... but which also just makes me think of her and gives me strength. I'm connected to her by my name and by my spirit too. I love cooking bright and pallet wowing foods, and learned the basics from her. I love listening to all kinds of Latin music... but defer back to rancheras as the core comfort. I love forming and preserving amistades... and I think that's one of the most important things in this world. I love dancing bachatas and salsas, reggaeton and whatever else I can learn. I try to be warm and calm, and to keep a positive outlook. I think I have a Latina soul. Speaking spanish since I was young, my connection with my abuelita, all the visits to my family's pueblito in Mexico, preserving customs here in the US, all the times I went back to study and to volunteer.... I guess that all affected me.

Going to Argentina made me come to this conclusion. The reasons for this are also a long story that I'll save for another time. I'll just say that Argentina was absolutely amazing. The class was great, and I had an awesome home-stay where all these young international people lived. I made lots of friends from all over the world. In addition to the class experience and spending time with cool Yalies, I embarked on a full fledged adventure through the streets of Buenos Aires and beyond- learning about the culture, food, way of life.... all of this came, of course, through meeting amazing friends along the way.

All of this will affect my involvement and view on MEChA in a couple of ways. 1) I'm going to dive into cultural events that I love (like take more charge of Día de Los Muertos and try to lead more Mexican traditional celebrations). 2)I'm going to be more vocal about ideas I have for events we can do that relate to my experiences and interests- be it those related to art, literature, psychology, or traditional Mexican customs. Ok, that was a huge thought... but it was good getting it out there. Hope this blog can be a good space for sharing and growing as a group.

~Anna Flores-Amper~


  1. Ohh Anna, I can't wait to see the events this energy leads to! I'm glad Argentina was so great for you and wanna hear all about it when you get back!

  2. Your issue with identity made me think about the same issue as well, especially after reading Gloria Anzaldúa. Glad you had fun!

  3. It was a very thoughtful trip!!! Im going to one of the furnished apartments in Buenos Aires,Argentina. Im going for 3 month there, in a trip like yours! My dad is from BA, and I´ve never been This trip will be very exciting for me!!

  4. Thanks Alex and Ely :). & I hope you have/had a great time in Argentina, Victoria! ( I say had too, in case you already went... this is a pretty late response on my part- my bad).