Hello. Is anybody there. It’s me… José or MusicalPoetry if you’ve been here long enough.
I have been completely MIA. I have been gone out of the face of this Earth. For quite a while now. The last post saying “I am here!” was in 2015. What has happened since June 10, 2015? A lot.
Since my last post, where I was all excited about finishing my Masters in Music from WIU, I was in the looking for a career in the Midwest. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened yet. For the last 3 years, I have been teaching in the Des Moines metro area as a Spanish teacher in an IB (International Baccalaureate) School. In this position, I have created from the ground up a Spanish program for an MYP (Middle Years Program). The how I did and what I did will be another post!
As a middle school teacher, I’ve added a bunch of catchphrases (hashtags) to my life. One of them is #mistruggleesreal and it has been a struggle. I have been juggling this idea of where my career was going to take me, to the musician I want to be, the conductor I always imaged I would be, the educator I thought I would be. Most importantly, what I thought I would be after college.
Some of it has been completely real, I finished a masters in music. I have completed 2 degrees in music. I have focused on cultural aspects of Latin America since 1945 to the present. Some of it has been a complete flop. How do I connect music and poetry now that I don’t have a class to get these ideas? How do I begin to connect these ideas of culture, music, and choral conducting in a meaningful and practical way? After starting to teach Spanish at the middle school level for native and non-native Spanish speakers; how do I connect culture, language acquisition, and music in a practical way that students (and me) would enjoy, is practical, and is meaningful?
I believe that’s the direction this blog is going to go. I will still post “musical poetry” entries because I believe that it would be a powerful tool for my native speakers to navigate through our culture. My Hispanic students are already completely submerged in Hispanic music. Maybe not the music of my preference, but it is music that is meaningful to them! The challenge for me is how I can take these ideas, their music, our culture, and mesh it into one.
Hello! Are you still there? I just finished my Masters in Choral Conducting at Western Illinois University. This semester (the year in general) has been non-stop, but the good this is I crossed the finish line. Who would have thought that I would actually finish a Masters Degree in music AND focus said masters degree in the relationship between literature, culture and music?!
I’m really excited for what the future holds. I am (re)re-editing my last paper, which hopefully will be published soon. Also, I’m starting a job in Des Moines, Iowa as a teacher in the area.
A lot is happening, but I can assure you will continue to hear from me!
As the birds fly home for winter, so do I.
They cherish the moment in where they go and flee from the cold, for a brief moment, but remember why they flew out in the first place. The thing is, Puerto Rico- where I live, lies in the perfect spot in the Caribbean. It has perfect sunsets, copious amounts of beautiful beaches, colorful people, in short as many locals call it in social media #paradise. The problem does not lie in the beautiful, geographic aspect of the island, no; the problem lies in its economical stress and little job opportunities creating an unstable environment, where the happiest island on Earth is tormented by metal illness, poverty, and constant forced exile.
When I was in my undergrad, I went to the InterAmerican University Metro campus, where an alumni gave a conference about musical therapy. While I was toying with the idea of applying once more to graduate school to further my musical studies, one thing stuck to me about his keynote presentation. “Sadly, we (all of you who are sitting and are close to my age) are the generation of lost dreams and forced exile.” In this economy, which it worldwide, everybody in their “prime” (age group 21-35) are leaving Puerto Rico. Why? Because we cannot find a job. Cost of living is high, and if you find yourself lucky, the first job opportunity are offered is… a cashier in a fast food establishment. Not saying that this is not a stable income or unworthy employment, but I am talking individuals with Doctoral degrees, Masters degrees, doctors, lawyers, teachers are either at these types of jobs or homeless. I’ve read before that “the island of enchantment”, as we call our country, is one of the most educated places in the world, while simultaneously have these individuals flee from our island, myself included, to find better opportunities. Area of Choice? The United States.
It is in the United States where, compared to Puerto Rico, one can do the same job, but twice as much than in PR. While the grass is always greener on the other side, families are forced to find jobs in the US for they want to have a better life. The sad aspect of this is what we leave behind. A rich culture that we have to try to carry with us alongside our traditions. Friends and families, as in my case go somewhere alone where nobody knows you and start from scratch. Essentially, a life. And go to uncharted lands and start anew. Most people fail and have to go back and try to make amends, but most of us. We thrive. We make most of the situation and fight for what we want, but as nature intends we fly home for winter. Even if it’s for a small window of time, we fly home, visit where we come from and know that our sacrifices will not be in vain. That our sacrifices makes us stronger, and it’s there where we are unique. It is there where we are resilient. And in resilience, there is power.
Wow. It’s been a long time since I’ve updated. That’s what Graduate School does to you. You’re constantly, as a professor calls it, in crisis management mode. Between writing papers, constant research, reading articles, music ensembles, and office hours you can lose track of time. This happens to an extreme if you add constant Netflix adventures.
It is because of my long leave of absence that I will share with you a haiku from a second year graduate student.
sadly in despair
work is not done
and just for fun, let’s have another one!
so much to read
is it break already?
Wandering through the foggy woodland
breathing the musty sods
twilight is upon us
skulking through murky, moldy dunes
A bridge is upon us,
filled by webs and fueled by decay
summoned by the dark, looming loch
Walking through the unstable path,
fixed upon the scrutiny of the unknown
-the fae beckons-
as you slowly gather up the storm
Walk, and walk you must
through the darkness you shall pass
until the shire comes at last
until your truth unfolds
until the embers dim to you
Collapse the mirrors of your soul
walk through the valley and inhale…
Recite the numbers in your head
walk through the pastures, but wait…
A wind flurry is stirring ahead
feel nature at its best
recite the numbers out loud
– one, two, three- I’ve found
a gust of wind caressing my skin
as the valley closes and I, breath
At the edge you’ll find
wind billowing, stirring, and whirling
If you step off,
the wind will embrace you,
inhibitions will falter and
The first thing I do is find out where I’m going.
My boyfriend is watching the in-flight movie but I’ve got the airline magazine in my hands, scanning and re-scanning the maps at the back. For some reason, the location of Puerto Rico does not want to stick in my mind. Near Cuba? South of Florida? Geography and globes and maps lure me—I want to know the world—so the fact that Puerto Rico is still an unknown feels itchy. All I know is that Hunter S. Thompson wrote Rum Diary after living in San Juan for a time. And anything for which my only reference point is Hunter S. Thompson surely needs more studying.
As we cruise at 37,000 feet, I try to guess the flight pattern from Dallas to San Juan. We must be flying along the coastlines of Louisiana and Mississippi, then down across the Gulf and over…
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The wind, as time, does not pause
nor the sky
or the stars
As summer falls to autumn
For future remembrance
think not of what challenges come your way,
in the pebbles in your path
in the troubles of the past
Think of the victories, and
ponder on the possibilities
the gamble of your play
contemplate on the adventures, and
lessons that’ll come your way
Anticipate the success,
the possible loss
For future remembrance
A friend of mine wrote this. I love it!
Have you ever noticed that birds enjoy the morning? They sing as the run rises and fly about catching worms and other small insects they can take back to their nest to feed their young. Even on my morning runs, they are flying about from one place to another, grabbing food or twigs to add to their nest. Many birds like to chirp as the sun rises, just like a rooster. In a way, it is a nice way to help wake you up for early morning chores or duties.
Some birds like to get started before the sun rises. At what time does this occur? Between 4:00am-4:30am of course! Every morning, Henry (that is what I have chosen to name this bird), sits outside my apartment and chirps. While most birds stay in one place, Henry likes to be an adventurer. He flys from one window ledge to the…
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