Saturday, October 22, 2011

new tastes yummmm

This week has been the week of some new things that were actually pretty delicious. The girl that I am working with, teaching her how to read, and I decided to take a little field trip. We had been talking all week about different food in the area, what were her favorites and so on. So, Thursday when I picked her up she directed me to a little place around where she lives, which is in the Hispanic area of "Back of the Yards." That is where we got these little goodies. I  forgot what they are actually called though... (I know I'm a genius) The one on the left is like a yogurt parfait... but different! The yogurt is much lighter and thinner than yogurt. Mixed in is a whole bunch of different fruits; strawberries, bananas, guava, papaya and then some granola. Then we got these other things, (on the right) They are everywhere. Whenever you look at a street side vendor in our area you always see these pin wheel things. Traditionally you add lemon juice and chili. I don't really know how to describe them other than they are NOT good for you, and they are delicious.

I have learned that we have to throw in some fun things. Teaching someone older how to read is hard enough. There are times that both her and I get frustrated with each other. But, adding in a little fun and letting her teach me something (food and there Spanish sayings) helps out a lot. It has helped keep the two of us on an equal playing ground. (This coming week is.... taco week!!! I cannot wait.)

Here are a few things I have come in contact with this week that I have become even more aware of. Racism (I was dumb enough to think that in the 21st century there wasn't very much racism anymore) stupid me... its everywhere.... just in a different form. I was talking to an African American PO (probation officer) and a fellow co-worker (she is Hispanic). It is safe to say that I am the minority in my work, neighborhood environment. There is so much crime, drugs and gang violence ect in the area I work in. Talking specifically with these two people they expressed their feelings and insights. Black; its not a race, its a color. African American peoples identify themselves as so many different things, same with Hispanic--lesson 1. There are lighter and darker complexions that as a white person we may see but we never associate it with any kind of meaning--lesson 2. (ex. a darker Hispanic means they are from Mexico, which means more traditional/lower class) My Hispanic co-worker expressed how people treat her differently in the area when I am with her, because I am white. Its like, people are more careful.... if that makes any sense. (ex. if something were to happen to me, the cops would be on it in a matter of seconds..... not my observation, just what I have been told) lesson 3--There is corruption in the police system. Its like there is a rank of who is important, highest to lowest. How sad is that? lesson 4-- I have never thought about any of this.... from the two I was talking with replied, "there is no reason that you would don't see it and you never will because of your color" (this was said not in a mean way, just matter of factly...) wow. (eeee talking about this makes me feel like I am walking on glass, I don't want what I write to come out wrong! So, if it sounds bad.... call me, I'll explain better on the phone).

I went to juvi this week and kind of got smacked in the face by my physical appearance. I walked in, no big deal, wearing jeans flats and a nice cardigan and plaid headband. I didn't think anything of it. One of the girls looked me up and down and told me I looked like a white, rich girl who her mommy and daddy spoil and buy me everything I want. ouch. My rebound was that I had paid for everything that I was wearing and somehow spun it into a lesson. Teaching her that with my hard work, going through college with a part time job at a clothing store paid off..... she bought it. But the fact of the matter was that, that was the last thing I wanted one of those kids to look at me and see. Truth: what I told her is 100% true. But... I'm not there to look all superior and uppity. I am there because I want to be. I'm not there to preach, just there to talk. Some of them get it....but....some just see me as she saw me, and that sucks.

As this week has ended, I look forward to see whatever happens in the coming week. I have learned to never plan anything, just go with it. I have also learned I am quick on my toes (surprised the heck out of me). Who knows who will walk through the door, who I will meet, what kid will come in with an open wound (yes, that 2 and a half years of nursing school paid off... I had a patient the other day... nursing friends how do you feel about super glue stitches... Lord knows he can't/won't go get actual stitches....) I am optimistic.... what else can I be?


  1. You are who you are because of your experiences along the way. This is just one more step along the way. Absorb it and learn from it. You might be the new, naive, white girl...but that might just be the thing that starts up a conversation where you can learn where someone is really coming from, and you can help them to see where they can go. Stay's a good place to be.

  2. Bonnie would sure like to know if people are reading her blog.....if you are having trouble leaving a comment, I think I finally figured it out, and before I forget again....Set up your account. you have to sign in to leave a comment. UNCHECK the "Stay signed in" box, and go from there. Hope it helps

  3. I want yummy food this weekend - keep an eye out for me! Be sure to keep mixing in the fun with the work and keep experiencing all the awesome that Chicago has to offer...On another note, don't worry about being the new white girl, that's part of who you are and what you need to be before you can experience, learn, and move forward.

  4. BonBon-ColCol just shared your blog with me and I'm excited to read it! These are great lessons that you can only learn through experiences like this. I know the outfit thing was hard, but also remember to stay true to yourself. By dressing yourself nicely, you're representing professionalism and teaching these kids to take care of themselves as well.