Work Ethic: How getting fired helped me understand my own potential

That summer I was determined to find a job. A real one. I had already had a taste of making my own money and even though the earnings my heart had determined would be mine were not exactly destined for frivolous spending money, they were in fact leading to a mild case of obsession on my part. Every business we visited or saw from a distance, whether by foot or otherwise, would send my imagination racing into how cool it would be to work there. How nice it would be to have a uniform to wear. I would imagine myself walking in the door of that establishment, making my way to the back where the customers couldn’t see me, punching my time card in, and then after a week or two, driving to the bank to deposit my check. En esos días I couldn’t imagine doing anything else more productive.

Who cared if I wasn’t 16 yet and couldn’t actually work legally in the state of Texas yet? I didn’t. And that hadn’t stopped me from working before.

Now granted, selling faux perfumes to family members and spending Saturdays and Sundays outside of local grocery stores offering the Houston Post to anyone who would look my way did not constitute much earnings, but it was more than I had in those days, and that was more than enough. Todo lo que vale, cuesta. En esta vida hay que trabajar para salir adelante. Those words I constantly repeated to myself, so how could I not begin planning for my future now.

My parents worked. My sisters worked. Everyone I knew who was old enough to work did. It was my rite of passage, and it was mine for the taking. I wanted to prove to the world that I was growing up and not a child anymore. Hell, if I could find an employer who would give me the chance and pay me $4.25 an hour to trabajar decentemente my life would be made. I would be accomplished and happy at 14.

Work Ethic: How getting fired helped me understand my own potential

Only no one ever did want to give me that chance. Every time it seemed I was about to land that “dream” job there it was, that two digit number, two years shy of 16, that would make employers tell me things like “oh, sorry… you’re not old enough to work here,” “come back in two years,” or any other lame excuse to get me out the door. What made me even angrier in those days was that I did not look 14. I was a stocky boy – okay, more than a little stocky… estaba bien grodito, and I could easily pass for 16 or 17, I thought. But there it was. No matter how many times I rode my bicycle up and down the streets, filling out one application after another, the result was always the same.

Por eso me decidi un buen día that this taco joint over by the freeway was going to be the place I would work. Everyday I would call and ask to speak to the manager. At first it was to actually speak to him and tell him that I had filled out an application and that I was really interested, but after he turned me down in usual fashion I began calling only to find out if he was actually there. If he would come to the phone on the other end I would hang up and ride my bicycle over there immediately. Most of the time by the time I would get there the other employees in the front, who after a couple of times already knew who I was and what I was there for, would just tell me he wasn’t there before I could even ask. Then they’d smirk at each other and pretend I wasn’t there.

No matter, my perseverancia would convince him eventually, I would tell myself. At least that’s the way it worked in the telenovelas. When the lovesick good guy in those stories would refuse to take no for an answer from his kindhearted, albeit confused, love interest that would give me more hope. No matter how many times he was rejected, time always had a way of giving him what he wanted, and eventually he and the beautiful leading lady would be smacking lips atop a church alter in the presence of all who had witnessed their long struggle to be together. Whatever it took, me and this taco joint were going to end up in each other’s lives, at least for a little while too.

And so it came to be, finally one day when the manager had no choice but to see me because I had shown up unannounced and refused to take his rejection for an answer. “No, it’s okay you can pay me cash.” “I have worked before even though I am not 16.” “I have no problem at all washing dishes.” “Yes, I can close… I can sweep too.” And so the poor guy just broke down and said “okay, go ahead and get started on the dishes.”

I was ecstatic. I had done it! My relentless efforts had finally paid off. Those telenovela life lessons were true. Perseverancia really did pay off!

I couldn’t wash those dishes fast enough, I was so excited. Finally, after so many days and nights of dreaming about earning a living, this taco joint was going to put money in my pockets. Enough to bring a little home and help with the family expenses. What else could a boy this determined want?

Only a few minutes later, the owner called me over and reneged on his offer. Despite having given me his word, he changed his mind and asked me to leave that taco joint that only less than an hour earlier had made me the happiest boy in the world.

I couldn’t fight back the tears as I slowly rode my bike back home. All I could think was how disillusioned and embarrassed I was. I was pathetic, I imagined in my own head. How could I not ride down the side of the road with my head down in shame?

Of all the jobs I’ve had and not had, to this day, that is the one that has impacted me the most. I learned a lot about myself on that bike ride home. I learned that telenovela scripts were simply that. Telenovela scripts made for the perfect world of television. I learned that sometimes, no matter how bad we want something to happen, we can’t force it to take place. I learned that the best of intentions can lead to the most painful heartache. I learned that despite the incredible will inside me to just break down and quit, I kept peddling slow and steady until I made it back home. I learned eventually that experiences like these would only make me stronger, and that perseverance indeed, would remain one of my most characterizing traits.

I have had many jobs since then, and many right after that experience too. With each one I have learned to trust myself more and to value and understand my own strengths and weaknesses. Probably the most important lesson I’ve learned along the way is that work does not define me. It is a constant in my battle to salir adelante, but it is no longer the definition of my own success. I measure that instead against my own happiness.

Kind of a crappy End of Year recap

It’s hard to write one of these end of year posts without getting all melodramatic. En serio. This year I wasn’t even going to write one because you know everyone is telling us that we SHOULD write one to recap our year. Then I thought, well what the hell, y si me da la gana escribir uno, ¿qué? And so here I am.

I don’t know. It’s been a weird year for me, to say the least.

In year’s past I’ve reveled in the opportunity to delve into my opinions, to share them with the world, to – forgive the cynicism here – “enlighten” others with what I have learned so far in my own life. Me ha llegado la inspiración y yo le he respondido. Pero este año nomas como que no. 

Kind of a crappy End of Year recap

By all accounts 2014 has been good to me. I’ve landed a new chamba. I’m doing what I love. Things are relatively in a good place overall. This year has also probably been the year I’ve spent the most time working on myself. You know, learning to let things go, making conscious decisions about work-life balance, trying to accept and repeat over and over to myself and others que las cosas van a pasar como tienen que pasar. I know, it even sounds silly sometimes to say it out loud. That very simple phrase – that things are going to happen the way they are supposed to happen – however, has proven to be quite comforting to me this past year.

I can’t always change the things I don’t like. I can’t control everything. I can’t always be right. No matter how convincing the voices in my head are. I can’t always believe everything I’m told. I can’t be so cynical. And by extension, I can’t walk around imparting wisdom on the world when I myself am very much still learning along the way. Shit, there’s a lot of stuff I still need to learn. I know it.

No sé. This is kind of a crappy way to end the year, I know. You all deserve better. I know that too, jajaja! But one of the things I’m trying to work on too is just being straight up about where I am and how I am doing at any given moment. It’s always easier just to brush feelings aside or pretend like everything is okay. When you do that for a living so to speak, it becomes almost second nature too. Although probably not the wisest move all of the time.

Uuu, chingao… there I go giving advice again! I can’t control myself sometimes!

What I do know is that there a few things I’d like to aim for in the new year. Quiero estar más saludable. I don’t want to be 150 pounds again, but somewhere in between that and where I am currently would be good. I want to reinvigorate the energy and passion I have inside me for projects that I really care about. Quiero hacerle unos arreglos a la casa. We need to get a freaking shed already! A few other things for the house here and there would be nice too. Quiero realizar algunos planes that are very near and dear to my heart and that I wouldn’t dare put on blast for the moment. I’d like to take a nice and long family vacation. Etc., etc., etc. You can imagine the rest of the stuff on my list.

Pero también tengo esa mala costumbre de pensar que lo peor puede pasar siempre. You know, the tell me your plans so I can laugh in your face mentality. I’m freaking paranoid about that.

Which is also why this is probably as good a place as any to bring this end of year recap to an end… pun intended. Who the hell knows what tomorrow or next year will bring. Here’s to hoping that whatever it is we’re strong enough to handle it and make it through another year.  May good things await us all en el 2015. ¡Ayá nos vemos!

Product Review: Spicy Mexican Chips by Bimbo

They came in four flavors: Jalapeño, Diabla, Habanero and Fuego. Of course, we had to try all of them when we found out they were made by Mexico’s Bimbo Bakeries. We found these chips at our local HEB in Texas.

We were not compensated or sponsored in any way for this post. 

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First Look: The Gloria Trevi Story

Well, according to media reports Mexican super star Gloria Trevi is not very happy with the forthcoming biopic film about her life. If you’ll recall, Trevi, once considered the Mexican Madonna, spent several years of her life in Brazilian prisons after accusations against her and her manager, Sergio Andrade, claimed the pair had subjected young female members of their entourage to sexual abuse and corruption.

Trevi was eventually acquitted in Mexico, but not before having her reputation almost completely destroyed.

Today, the songstress has once again successfully revived her career, albeit with a much more tame on-stage persona compared to her once raunchy and carefree performances. In fact, those performances garnered the Mexican entertainer an ultra loyal fan base that even despite the accusations against her, in many cases, never faltered.

Nonetheless, this film, which reportedly received Andrade’s guidance and counsel, is set to be released in 2015, and once again is reviving a very dark part of Trevi’s career.

A part that according to many reports the singer would very much like to leave in the past.

In case you have not seen the trailers yet, here are the first two released by the studio that produced this film.

Will you watch GLORIA?

Why Mom Lost It This Christmas

After reading Crafty Chica’s hilarious flying-Christmas-tree story, I had to share my own account of how I managed to become the hysterical woman locked out of her own home this Christmas.

This happened very recently and is very much freshly-engraved forever in my memory now.

We are in the midst of holiday break around here. That just means the kids have two weeks off from school, and as for Edgar, this means he has time to spare and he uses most of it to sleep. You’ll understand why that’s significant in a moment.

Why Mom Lost It This Christmas

So here we go, this is my embarrassing story.

At the moment, we only have one working car. Every morning Juan drops me off at my mom’s house so I can use her car to make small commutes throughout the day as I need to. This past Tuesday was no different. The only difference was that Edgar was fast asleep in the house too. Before we left that morning I lightly tapped him on the shoulder and told him I would be right back. He nodded and just asked that I not take too long. I assured him I would not since I was only picking up the car from his grandmother’s house two blocks away.

Juan dropped me off. I went inside, greeted my mother, picked up the car keys, and went on my merry way back home. I hadn’t taken my house keys with me because I figured I wouldn’t need them since Edgar was inside. I knew he was asleep, but I figured he would wake up to come open the door for me.

There I was, knocking on the door, a couple of light taps at first, and then a few harder knocks since no one was coming to let me in. Still no response. I began banging on the door a little bit harder. I only had one hand available at the moment since I was holding the plate of cookies I had taken from Juan in my other hand, but I was still banging the door pretty hard. Still no response.

At this point I start to panic. My heart is at my throat now!

“Why is he not answering?”

“Something must be wrong!”

Now I’m just kicking the door, watching the front wall of my wooden house vibrate as I kick harder and harder. I’m also calling him on his phone and still nothing.

“There is no way… how is he not hearing this!?”

I hurry to the side of the house and start knocking on the window of the bedroom where I left him. I think I’m knocking, but I must have been pounding the window. SMASH! Glass bounces back onto my feet and I notice the top layer of the double glass window is now shattered. Still NOTHING.

I’m in full panic mode now.

“Something has to be wrong!”

I rush to the back door, pick up the shovel sitting next to the wall, and start jamming it between the door and the wall to get it open. All the while I’m now screaming his name just in case he is scared and awake inside now. I figure if he didn’t hear me kicking the door and breaking the glass on the window, he has to hear me going at the back door with a shovel. At this point he must be dialing 911, hiding under a bed, right? STILL NOTHING!!

I manage to pop the door open and run to where I know he should be.

There he is… lying down exactly as I left him.

And then, this final thought creeps into my mind.

“Oh, please be ok…”

I grab the cover swing it off his body and yell, “EDGAR!!”

He responds, wiping away the sleep from his face… “huh?”

Relieved, I just begin to lose it now.

“How are you not hearing all of this noise!?”

“Edgar what is wrong with you!?”

“Did you not hear the glass break!?”

“Oh my God!! How did you not hear all of this!?”

By now, I’ve just scared the poor sleeping boy who even at this moment is still not fully awake.

I try and compose myself and with the little dignity I have left I send him off to take a shower because that’s the only thing I can possibly think of to do at that very moment.

I can still feel the wrath of shame that came over me for having yelled at the poor boy who was only trying to enjoy his holiday vacation.

I think it’s safe to say I won’t be leaving the house without my keys anymore.

Go Goya!

Congrats on donating 20,000 pounds of food to San Antonio’s Catholic Charities this week! That’s a lot of frijoles! Well, actually, I’m sure they donated more than just beans. Regardless, we thought it was something worth saying ¡Ajua! to in acknowledgement.

According to reports, the food was donated the Our Lady of Guadalupe Community Center and Food Pantry on Tuesday, December 23rd. Catholic Charities supports food pantries and emergency food programs throughout the San Antonio region. In fact, the faith based organization claims to serve more than 143,00 people each year.

Goya, in case you’re not familiar, manufactures more than 2,200 food products from the Caribbean, Mexico, Spain, Central and South America. Frijoles, of course, are among their bestsellers!

Go Goya

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