Based on the vignette: Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark, by Sandra Cisneros

        Your primo Camilo had an accident, Mama says one afternoon in the studio. Se murio, and then just like that, even though trying to look strong begins to cry, my brave Mama cries. I am not used to seeing Mama cry, so I just hug her and hope it will make her feel better.

        I know we will have to honor his death, that there will be a special ceremony just for him, all of my aunts and uncles will be there, all carrying flowers to arrange over his grave because this is how they show appreciation and respect to the dead in this country.

       Because I am the middle child, my mother has told me second, but now it is my responsibility to explain my sister. I will have to explain why Mama is so sad and somber. I will have to tell her to be quiet the rest of the day.

       My Mama, her long hair and long jeans, who begins to cook dinner in the afternoon, who holds her hair with giant clips, drinks her aguapanela, and calls us to eat dinner, today is standing besides me, hugging me.

       And I think if my own cousin died how would I feel. I hug my Mama in my arms. I hug and hug and hug her.

Original vignette: Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark


Dear Diary – Esperanza

Dear Diary,

              Today I had my first day of work, I was really excited at first, but then after some hours of hard work all of that excitement vanished and what I could only feel was fear. I work at Peter Pan Photo Finishers packing negatives with prints in envelopes,  it was really easy but after some time tiring. I looked at everyone and only sat when they did. I took them as an example to fit in.  Then lunch time began. I was really scared to eat alone with all of these strangers, so I ate quickly in one of the washroom stalls, and then returned early to work. I continued to work until break time, I didn’t know what to do or where to go so I just went to the coatroom because there was a bench there.

              Later that day, at the time for the night shift/mid shift an older oriental man said hello. We continued to talk for a while, he kindly offered me his friendship and a spot besides him next lunchtime. It made me feel better. Then he he told me it was his birthday and as a present he wanted me to give him a kiss. I don’t know how I was so foolish, I should’ve known better for what happened that day when we tried on those nice high heels and a bum wanted Rachel to kiss him. I was brainless, naive. I fell under his trap and once I was about to kiss him on the cheek, he grabbed me hardly and kissed me right in the mouth. He didn’t let go. I was scared something else would happen rather than that kiss, that he would rape me, what could I do, I was just a girl, small and vulnerable. Fortunately nothing else happened.

Yours truly,


Reading related to sexual abuse on children


Where I am From Poem

Based on the poem from: George Ella Lyon

I am from books

From organized shelves and bubble wrap

I am from the brightest room

(Peaceful, secure, the breeze was what could only be heard)

I am from the snapdragon flower

Full of strength, growing every day with courage

I’m from the dinner table and big feet

From Hernan Giraldo and Margarita Mutis

I’m from the family sundays and Christmas family reunions

From “You are the eldest, you are supposed to be more responsible” and “You must take care of your sister”

I’m from the He sacrificed for us, and was hanged from a cross for the forgiveness of all sins

I am from Colombia

Lemons and cherries

From the parachute lesson my mother refused to complete during my grandfather’s military training

The tumultuous time my father had when he moved from Medellin to Bogota with his siblings.

On a TV table in my apartment are three photo albums, all filled with different faces and moments which have shaped our identity and kept us together through all this time.


Mystery Solved, Teenager Steals The Yellow Cadillac

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The yellow Cadillac before being crashed in Mango St.


This afternoon a Puerto Rican teenager from Mango Street stole and crashed a yellow Cadillac. After having stolen the automobile, he was seen again driving around in Mango Street with some cousins, sisters, and friends. When the young man heard the police sirens, he dropped everyone off and sped up, unable to manage the corner in such high speeds, the juvenile crashed the Cadillac into a lamp post where he came out without any serious wounds. In the other hand, the Cadillac’s front part was gravely damaged. The juvenile was handcuffed and taken to the Police station in a police cruiser. As they passed through Mango Street they saw his cousins, sisters, and friends waving at him as he was taken away.


By: Juliana Giraldo


Questioning my own bias:

Puerto Rican Male Crashes Yellow Cadillac in Mango Street

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The yellow Cadillac before being crashed in Mango St.

This afternoon a Puerto Rican male drove away from police and crashed a yellow Cadillac. After reaching Mango Street he was seen again driving with some cousins, sisters, and friends. When he heard the police sirens, he dropped everyone off and sped up, unable to manage the corner in such high speeds, he crashed the Cadillac into a lamp post where he came out without any serious wounds. In the other hand, the Cadillac’s front part was gravely damaged. The Puerto Rican male was handcuffed and taken to the Police station in a police cruiser. As they passed through Mango Street they saw his cousins, sisters, and friends waving at him as he was taken away.

By: Juliana Giraldo

Designing My Magazine Cover

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While creating my magazine cover I took into account contrast, consistency, layout and comprehensibility. I made sure that my cover wasn’t too full of unnecessary stuff that took out valuable space, everything in my magazine cover has a purpose, my background, colors, cover lines, main cover line, flashes, and heading.

I choose the picture in the background because it shows how Panama has evolutioned over time thanks to the contribution of these different ethnicities. The picture shows a black and white Panama a place were everything was divided in two, like the gold (high class) and silver roll (low class). Everything was a mess, the ground looked destroyed, it was a dark past, this image also gives credit to the different cultural groups and made them look valued due to their contribution to society.

I decided that my heading was going to be “Ethnicities in search of identity and Panamanian acceptance” because all of these ethnic groups had a though time assimilating into the Panamanian society, their culture and identity had to change in order to be accepted, because of this, many of them suffered a lot in Panama. As well, this heading had a strong relationship with collective identity and how these groups perceive themselves in relation to society.

My main cover line starts with a flash, I chose “exclusive” because I think it catches the attention of the public and makes it sound like you have to read it now, then it says, “The stories behind the different ethnicities that contributed to Panamanian society” I think this would catch a reader’s attention because you always hear a lot about many great constructions like the Panama canal, but you don’t hear much about who actually built it, the workers, and how they suffered throughout time.

I created my cover lines so that they sounded like a summary of the articles with a deeper since of identity, I think they are great and I would definitely want to read them because of the power they were given due to my selection words, I love them!

For my text I chose the colors black and white, this colors obviously contrast and make each other stand out which I think made the text readable and good looking. I also believe it made the cover look ancient which I believe is good because Panama has changed a lot since then, now it’s more diverse, it’s more colorful.

Someways I could improve for next time are choosing an image that looks more appealing to the public, because even though I chose the image for a reason it doesn’t really grab your attention in an instant, this could have taken away attention from my heading, and cover lines . I would also add a bar code.

Collective Identity: From Coolies to Economic Allies

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From Coolies to Economic Allies

Questions that were considered while writing this article:

  • When did the group arrive?
  • Why did they come?
  • How did they come?
  • Where are they located geographically on the isthmus?
  • How were they treated?
  • Why were they treated this way?
  • What were their living conditions?
  • What conflicts ensued?
  • How did they contribute to society?
  • How did they become part of the Panamanian society?
  • How are they viewed today?

Border Crossing Reflection


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My experience while reading Border Crossing was great, I was engaged immediately just after Cecy said “I was going on a trip by myself. Not that my parents knew.” While reading the entire book I felt amused, I thought the book was always entertaining because of it’s chapter pattern of flashback and then present, it was always kept it interesting.

The protagonist in Border Crossing is Cecilia Maryann Álvarez but everyone calls her Cecy. Cecy is a thirteen year old girl that has an American and Mexican heritage, this leads her to running away to Mexico to find answers about her cultural identity since her father refuses to give her enough information about her Mexican descent. Cecy believes that by running away to Mexico and learning more about her father’s past and linking it to her she will find herself and finally know were she belongs. I believe Cecy was really courageous by doing this but also pretty dumb. Yes, she was brave enough to run away to Mexico by herself, and I have never met someone with that courage, but even though I believe her actions were courageous everything after she crossed the border was uncertain, the answers she wanted to find, how she would communicate, where she would stay in Mexico, and how she was going to come back to The United States, many things could’ve gone wrong and this journey could have been life threatening. 

As I noticed in the book Cecy is more connected to her American family, she understands them and prefers being with them at the beginning of the book. She has a stronger bond with her mother and grandmother Maryann, she feels more comfortable talking to them since she is always at home with her mom, and grandma Maryann speaks English and is American styled. In the other hand, Cecy doesn’t have a strong relationship with her grandmother Nana and her father, she feels sort of uncomfortable talking to them and doesn’t feel confident asking them questions specially to her father which always eludes talking about his Mexican past, in addition, her grandmother Nana doesn’t speak English which makes it hard for them to communicate. The relationship between Cecy and her brother isn’t really described but it appears that it is pretty good and he is someone Cecy can talk to.


Throughout the book Cecy’s personality and idea of who she was changed drastically, she learned that she has the courage to do many things such as searching for her cultural identity, and being proud of who she is and where she comes from. She also learned that her role in the world is to be proud of who she is, a Chicana, because if she doesn’t who else will? As Tony said, “We’ve got to be proud of who we are. Stand up for ourselves, not hate ourselves.”

The plot of the story is engaging and is fast-paced, the author doesn’t spend too much time focusing on one topic but talks about it and then goes on into another one the next chapter. Something that surprised me was that Tony resulted being Cecy’s cousin, at first I thought they would fall in love, but at the end they discovered they were family. I found the plot of the story at first very predictable but at the end the story took an unexpected twist, even though Cecy learned more about her cultural identity she still didn’t find the answers to all of the questions she wanted to know which I found very interesting since I actually thought she was going to find them all and stay in Mexico for a longer time.

The book is written by interlocking short stories it never goes chronologically, the book always follows a pattern that goes from past to present, present to past. I think the author chose to tell the story this way to leave in suspense and keep the reader interested in the book, as well, by writing it this way you understand more about how Cecy’s past relates to what is happening in the present and why she thinks and acts the way she does


Throughout the novel the author explores the main ideas of cultural identity, courage, heritage, pride, curiosity, self-perception, and stereotypes. Some themes the author communicates throughout the novel:

  • Lack of understanding on our cultural heritage can lead us to take drastic decisions because of our desperate need to know who we are and where we belong.
  • Self-perception can variate because of how people perceive themselves in relation to who is the in-group and who is the out-group.
  • Stereotypes prevent people from creating a positive relationship because of how people perceive themselves differently.


The passage that I found more profound in the novel was:


… I knew better than to just leave my stuff around some fountain in Mexico. “I can’t believe I was that stupid, that I trusted these people. I should have known better.” I put my head in my hands.

Tony stood up. He looked angry. “What do you mean with ‘these’ people?”

I closed my eyes. “You know what I mean, Tony. Don’t be stupid.” I couldn’t believe he was arguing with me at a time like this.

He yelled at me, “Who’s stupid? You are the one who just forgot you are one of ‘these’ people. So am I. So is your dad. Whoever stole your money was a jerk, but there are jerks everywhere. That doesn’t mean all Mexicans are jerks.”

“… but, Tony…” I started, He didn’t understand what I was saying. He was different. My dad was different. But the people who stole the money from me, well, they were the Mexicans I had always been warned about in television.

“No. I can’t believe you would judge somebody based on what they look like, or what language they speak, or where they live. You, after I’ve helped you out as much as I have. I am proud to be one of ‘these’ people.”

I look up at him again, He didn’t look angry anymore. He looked hurt. I felt a knot in my stomach when I realized what he said was true. “I’m sorry, Tony. I didn’t mean that.”

He sat down next to me again. “I know. But Cecy, jeez. I mean, there are enough white people who think we’re bad and lazy and dirty without us thinking it about ourselves. We’ve got to be proud of who we are. Stand up for ourselves, not hate ourselves.”

I looked at him. I was getting it. I wasn’t sure what I was getting yet. I had this feeling, like the feeling I got when I started to learn something…

I chose this passage because I thought it was very intense and true, and because after it Cecy started recognizing that she was Mexican too and how stereotyping wasn’t always a good idea.

In my perspective the ending of the book was really satisfying, Cecy changed drastically since the beginning of the book, from being embarrassed of having latin heritage she turned into someone wanting to learn Spanish and feeling proud of who she is and where she comes from, I liked how she felt at the end of the book it made me change my perception of her hugely.

If I could ask one question to the author about this book I would ask her if she ever had to suffer from bad treatment because of being Mexican when she was a kid, if so was that her inspiration to write about Cecy’s father’s mistreatment (in school) during his childhood?

I had never read a book from Maria Colleen Cruz but after reading Border Crossing I would definitely do so, the book was always interesting and engaging.


After reading this novel I definitely think it changed me a bit, I now understand that when we stereotype we are not just judging a group of people, we are judging individuals and taking them away opportunities even though they might be innocent, as well, when we stereotype we might also be preventing ourselves to create a good and long lasting relationship. I also learned and got a visual of how Mexicans might be treated or were treated in The United States, this makes me feel angry because of how people believe they are superior than others but actually we are all the same and are capable of reaching the same goals.


Our Lunch is Alive

One day, our good friend Sofia told us that she went to The Mythical Dragon restaurant, and ordered the delicacy of balut. She explained that the chick inside of her egg hatched, and started running around the restaurant. We thought that this was a figment of her imagination because she usually makes up stories about mythical creatures, including the one when she saw a unicorn.

We wanted to prove the authenticity of her story, so we decided to eat at The Mythical Dragon for lunch. We both ordered different delicacies. One of us ordered balut, and the other one of us ordered a suckling pig. We were starving, so once the plates arrived to our table, we were ready to devour them. However, when we took our fork and knife, both of our lunches jumped out of our plates and started running ungainly around the restaurant. They knocked into everything and made a mess.

Everybody started screaming and running out of the restaurant, and we were left in solitude with our food. Outside of the restaurant, everyone was shouting derogatory comments to the chef, about how he didn’t slaughter the animals before serving them. Meanwhile, we were creating what we thought was an astute plan, in order to catch the animals which scavenged for an exit. The plan consisted of using coats made out of bird plumage in order to dress up as chickens and attract the chick toward us. Nevertheless, once the chick and the pig saw us they ran away from us. They probably knew that we were their predators.

Since our initial plan didn’t work, we used our prior experience trying to catch my mouse with a pan, as our new plan. Although I was able to catch the chick, my friend didn’t have much luck. The pig was running wildly around the restaurant knocking down everything on it’s path. Her last resource was to throw herself on top of it, in order to stop it. I wanted to make sure that the pig would not escape, so I threw myself on top of my friend. The poor pig, was vulnerable to our weight and did not move.

We went outside with both animals, and wore victorious grins on our faces. Everybody clapped for us. We made the restaurant pay us back, and on our way home we went to tell Sofia about our experience at The Mythical Dragon. We admitted that her story was true. She said that all of her stories were true. The question now is, did she really saw a unicorn?