FDOM Class Summary

Hello Finals week! A bitter sweet end to another awesome semester at Texas State. Keep reading if you’d like to read my completed class summary.

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When first being assigned this project at the beginning of the semester I wasn’t looking forward to keeping up with a blog and promoting it for the public. It was hard to make myself get started and it took me up until the deadline to finally decide what I was going to focus on. After the initial excitement of making my WordPress I dreaded having to announce and promote my blog on my social media. The idea of having to make a deadline always stresses me out but after the first couple of posts writing each one has become more of a stress reliever instead. I also learned that putting my school work out for everyone to see isn’t going to kill me. It actually has made me want to produce my best work and given me even more motivation after hearing what other people have to say.

  • Which tools were effective?

In regards to WordPress I think that the widgets helped to present a clean looking page that was easy for the readers to navigate. Facebook seemed to be my best way to draw in viewers.

  • Which tools weren’t?

All the tools I used within my WordPress required, or not, seemed to be effective. When using social media Twitter didn’t seem to be an effective promoter for my blog.

  • What would you want to improve or include within the blog?

As I’m still a learning blogger I feel like there’s plenty of room for improvement. I would like to spend more time on the layout and design of my blog. Including other people to focus on different cultures and their experiences instead would be a goal.

  • In what ways could the experience benefit you in the future?

Not wanting to embarrass myself made me care more about this project. It has made me want to do my best work all around as if I would have to promote everything I do.

  • Discuss how you might implement these tools professionally in the future, in a job or an entrepreneurial endeavor.

Blogging could be a great way to advertise myself and my career, and is could be an effective networking tool.

  • Which was your most popular week, and how many views and visitors did you get that week?

September 21-27 was my most popular week. This is starting the Sunday after I started my blog which is why I believe it received so many views.

  • Which was your most popular post of the year? How many views did it get? Why do you think it was the most popular?

“A Day in the Life of… ” was my most popular post so far. The post has had 62 views, it was posted after my blog review of The Mix which is what I think brought in more readers.

  • In all of the Site Stats data, was anything surprising to you?

Since I have started the blog I have kept an eye on the stats so besides having more people visit overall nothing was abnormal.

  • Do you have any Twitter, Facebook or other social media stats you want to share?

Facebook was my best advertiser, I have had 418 viewers referred from FB, versus only 10 from Twitter.

While I’m not too sure what I’ll do with my blog as of right now, I have really enjoyed the whole experience.

-Thank you!

 

Learning a New Language

If you have been keeping up with my blog you by now know that I have been taking American Sign Language. Some of  you may have seen my previous post with my quick video interview with one of my friends and classmates River. While the interview was a required assignment for my FDOM class it wasn’t originally intended for my blog. Besides being persuaded with some extra credit points for using the video it didn’t make much sense not to use the opportunity for the subject of my next post.

Last year while registering for the 2015 Spring semester I was given the choice of what language course I would be taking to fulfill the requirements of my degree plan. Before looking at what my options were I had already made the decision that I would not be taking Spanish. While taking Spanish classes would most certainly be valuable, I wanted to take advantage of being able to take something else.

I was excited that Texas State offered at least 10 different classes, but I also knew that being at the University level whatever language I chose I would really need to dedicate myself to. I was surprised to see American Sign Language listed and have always been curious about the language; it also would come in handy if I decided to flop back to my original major, Communication Disorders, so I decided to go for it!

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Outside the Ground Floor Theater in Austin after our first CFO.
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Group picture from our most recent CFO.

Fall Festivities

The fall season is and always has been one of my favorites. The changing weather reminds me of many different memories I’ve made over the years in this season specifically. In the months coming there is a lot to be planned for and anticipated.

Halloween has ALWAYS been a big deal in my family. My Mom is The Halloween Queen, and has had our whole family active in celebrating Halloween. Ever since I can remember we have all dressed up and participated in trick-or-treating or whatever festivities going on. My Mom herself enjoys putting on haunted houses for our community back at home for fundraising using her production name Dawn of the Dead. I have also hosted a few Halloween parties at our house, gathering our family and friends in costume to eat together while trick-or-treaters pass.

My family gathered at My Abuela's house in costume
My family gathered at My Abuela’s house in costume

Dia de los Muertos, All Saint’s day quickly follows the Hallows’ Eve celebrations. While many people may confuse the two celebrations, they are different. While Halloween is based off of the idea to ward off any spirits that may be amuck, Dia de los Muertos is to celebrate and remember those who have departed. Although my family doesn’t personally practice the rituals for this holiday, it is is still acknowledged. Through out the years we have some what integrated the celebrations in our own ways. One example would be choosing to paint our faces like the calaveras, the colorful and detailed skulls you often seen associated with Dia de los Muertos, for Halloween.

My parents dressed in traditional Mexican clothing with painted calavera masks
My parents dressed in traditional Mexican clothing with painted calavera masks

Despite not participating fully in Dia de los Muertos in previous years I have become more interested in the celebration. In the recent year I have lost two family members who had played a very important role in my life growing up, and until currently. These events have made me want to learn more about the celebration so that I can honor my loved ones myself through one of the amazing hispanic traditions that has been passed down. Possibly engaging my family to integrate the two holidays even more significantly.

Quinceanera

While I was home this past weekend I over heard talk of some cake testing that would be going on and was immediately intrigued. Before even asking what it was for I was all in to sample however many cakes needed to be tasted. It wasn’t until after agreeing to attend that I began to run through the list of occasions a cake testing would be necessary for. I quickly remembered while being told, my younger twins cousin’s Quinceanera planning is now in full force!!

Although I didn’t forget that the celebration is around the corner, I was surprised to see how much work is going on in preparation. I should have known better that this celebration is going to be some serious business. My mom has been gathering decorations since the beginning of the year, and I can remember hearing plans already being made as soon as Arrianna and Allyssa turned 14. For those of you who don’t already know what a quince is, I’ll give you the basic run down.

Allyssa  and Arrianna with their younger sister Alexa on the First Communion
Allyssa and Arrianna with their younger sister Alexa on the First Communion

A quinceanera is a young hispanic woman’s coming of age party that takes place on their fifteenth birthday. The day is usually started with a mass in the Church celebrating the passage of of the birthday girls. Following the services is a comida, where all family and friends are invited to come together and share. After dinner (this is where the cake comes in :P) the girls are given various gifts to mark their coming of age and desserts are served. Usually started by the young women being honored along with her damas and chambelanes the dancing begins!

My girls all grown up
My girls all grown up

The celebration of a quince can be compared to that of a sweet sixteen and a wedding. There is a lot of work that goes into the planning and a lot of help that is required from the family to have a successful day. Although I have had my turns at being a dama in friend’s quince’s I never had my own “real” quince. Despite that I did have a party for my 15th and was given “my last doll” which is apart of the gifts to signify a young woman’s coming of age. I cannot remember the last time a quince has taken place in my own family, making this birthday for my beautiful cousins a very exciting and happening event for the family as a whole.

A picture with my pinata at my "quince."
A picture with my pinata at my “quince.”

A Day in the Life of…

It’s a busy Sunday morning at work; the start of our lunch rush is beginning to trickle in. I approach table 3 with my usual greeting, “Hi, how are ya’ll doing?… Good, My name is Andrea and I’ll be taking care of you today!” Before I can begin my next sentence, my customer has responded with, “Good so tu hablas Espanol!” and continues in Spanish. I then explain that I don’t speak Spanish and receive the woman’s order again, this time in English. Table 5 has informed me, after learning my last name, that I am not saying my first name correctly. Table 12 calls me over and asks, “habla espanol?” I noticeably cringe and respond, “poquito…” and then try my hardest to help. After over hearing the situation, the next table over asks, “You don’t know Spanish? Aren’t you Mexican??” I mention my Abuela’s menudo to table 15 and they gasp, “ay mi hija, you’re Hispanic??” Table 17 has now learned the astonishing news that I don’t speak Spanish, “Oh what a shame, it is too bad you’re not bilingual, that’s valuable, you should have learned.”

A quick work selfie with friend/coworker Petey
A quick work selfie with friend/coworker Petey

Although I don’t believe that I have ever been a direct target of any racial slander or degradation, I come across meetings like those above often. All my life I have experienced different situations in which I’ve been faced with people’s stereotypes, biases, and assumptions. Working at a Mexican restaurant, I may be under different circumstances than if I worked somewhere else, but I have my fair share of these encounters outside work as well. I’ve been told that I don’t, “act Mexican at all!” Or I will have people in disbelief that I am half Mexican after learning that, “wait, you’re not just white??” And my favorite out of the bunch would have to be “Oh! That explains it..”

While even the worst of these experiences simply ended in awkward silence, for the most part they do not go by unnoticed. Besides being in a few situations where I felt I was being personally discriminated against, I usually try to laugh off the annoyances and correct the situation. Just because my name is Andrea, or because I look Hispanic does not mean I speak Spanish. My name is pronounced exactly how I pronounce it; it is, after all, MY name. Moreover, thank you, but I do not need an impromptu Spanish lesson any more than you need an impromptu social etiquette lesson. I’m not quite sure if I meet the measure of being a, “True Mexican” or not, but yes, I am Hispanic (Yo soy Chicana!) despite what anyone choses to assume or how someone thinks I should act. As it turns out, I AM bilingual, despite not knowing how to speak Spanish (eye roll). Besides the English I was raised speaking, I also know ASL (American Sign Language), which is similarly valuable, and it’s never too late to learn! (I made sure I informed table 17 of this as well.)

Finally, whatever may be meant by, “Oh! That explains it,” to the different people who have said it, you’re right. My cultural background has determined many of my personal experiences, but I make daily decisions that determine who I am and who I become. -ar

Blog Review: The Mix

Hello All!

Included in our assignment this time around we are expected to review a blog similar to ours in hopes to gain exposure and become active within the social media and blogging world! Since I’ve never been too interested in blogging before I had to do a little bit of searching before deciding. After looking through WordPress and reading blogs, on blogs, on blogs I came across THE MIX.

THE MIX, a Weekly Look at Mixed Ancestry is a weekly emag that is pretty self explanatory; a blog that welcomes those of mixed background to share their experiences and stories. When looking into the writer of the blog I was interested to see that the intended audience of the blog are also the writers, for the people, by the people! There is a call for all writers AND artist alike to contribute and submit their own stories through whichever way they wish – “Creativity is encouraged.” The emag publishes weekly and thanks to it’s open author style it is very diverse in it’s content.

The site itself is well put together, easy to navigate, and understand.  The substance of each posts seems to be unique in comparison to each other which had me scrolling and reading through their page non-stop! The idea of giving those with mixed ancestry a sense of community with a common place to share their work is awesome. This page helps to acknowledge that everyone has their own story that is just as unique as them, making up the multicultural blog. Make sure to stop by and check it out yourself or even subscribe!  -ar

My big boy Larry interrupting homework
My big boy Larry interrupting homework

Here & There

In my first blog post I had briefly spoke to my Mom about our family history. When asking about both my grandparents’ ancestry I was surprised to find that the roles of which I had long thought of my grandparents’ were reversed. My Ramirez family has been holding down the Fort for as long as anyone can remember, not as immigrants into the United States, as The Mattingly clan are the ones who came over on a boat. I guess I sort of shot myself in the foot with that assumption, and I should have known better! From early history till present day the pattern of the two sides of my family has continued.

Ramirez Family

   For as long as I or any of my cousins can remember my Abuelo and Abuela have lived in the same house. As the same goes for all my extended family, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. No matter how long it has been since a relative has visited from out of town, (not many from out of state) they know exactly where to find any of us once they’ve made it to Fort Stockton. Most of my cousins around my age and those with new families have made the decision to carry on this tradition, whether inadvertantly or not. Since our family has decided to root and grow in just one place it has given me an amazing sense of importance for family. EVERYONE is always there for EVERYTHING, and EVERYONE knows EVERYTHING. The convenience of living within minutes of each other gives us the opportunity to enjoy each others company and celebrate with each other. It also gives a sort of security knowing that you will always have someone there. This closeness has uniquely tied our family together for years giving an exclusive meaning to being home.

My Abuelo & Abuela with all all 4 of their kids celebrating my Fathers 60th Birthday
My Abuelo & Abuela with all all 4 of their kids celebrating my Fathers 60th Birthday
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1996 family celebration Abuela and all of the grandchildren at the time

Mattingly Family 

 While my Grandparents have been in the same house in Kentucky for as long as I can remember I know they have been all over the map. My mom’s family seems to reach out all across the US currently and some over seas!  Sending Christmas Cards takes a little extra care on this side to make sure that everyone’s addresses are up to date. Most of us have moved away from “home,” giving us an opportunity to appreciate becoming independent early on. While I don’t get to see all of my extended family as often as I would love to, it makes me cherish and look forward to the times that I do. We don’t get to celebrate much in person together but we do a pretty good job at staying connected through our Family FB group; and when we can get a group of us together there is just as much love as the last. The wide expansion of The Mattingly clan has given me the amazing opportunity to travel; always making for a new adventure, and has helped me to learn to enjoy every moment. -ar

Small group gathered to play a childhood game
Small group gathered to play a childhood game
Visiting my Grandparents in Kentucky
Visiting my Grandparents in Kentucky

“So, What are you?”

THE question.

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photo credit: imgflip.com

What am I…. Officially, I am classified as a Mexican American. My Dad is hispanic, and my Mom caucasian. Besides this basic knowledge I don’t know much more about where my family actually came from. I know I said I wasn’t going to trace back family trees, but where better to start than from the beginning? I decided to use my mom to get some basic information on the background of where both sides of my family originated.

Q: What is Grandma and Grandpa’s ancestry?

A: Your Grandma is Danish and German & Grandpa is English & some Scottish. Both from nomadic tribes and immigrant families.

Q: What is Abuelo and Abuela’s ancestry?

A: Both your Abuelo and Abuela’s families have lived here (Fort.Stockton), or in this area since forever. 

Q: Dad’s family didn’t come from Mexico?

A: They’ve been here FOREVER. Your Dad’s family has been living in Texas since before it even became apart of the United States. Although I’m not sure where, far along the line you have Native American blood in you as well. 

While I’ve asked questions like these before, it’s pretty crazy coming to realize how much more there is to my two “simple” halves. You can see how more than one culture has been integrated into my life just by the way I talk to my Mom. I have my Grandma and Grandpa, and I have my Abuelo and Abuela . While the two directly translate to each other, I have always distinguished between my two sets of Grandparents this way since I learned how to talk. I also find it very interesting and kind of ironic that my Mom’s family were immigrants, and not my Father’s.

And the answer is…

A MUTT. -If you don’t already know, a mutt breed is a varied type of dog, usually one that has been mixed several times, or has no exact known place of origin.- Although some may find the idea of being called a mutt offensive, in this case, I think it’s awesome! I don’t see myself as inferior to any other because I’m not a purebred and I hope that nobody else sees it that way either. I’m not JUST half this, and half that, but a mix of at least 6 different ethnicities! I believe that I am very privileged to have such a diverse ancestry. – ar

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My Family
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Ramirez Family photo credit : Jason Siegel Photography
Mattingly Family
Mattingly Family photo credit : Jason Siegel Photography