Video games, Literature, Military History, Journalism, Photography, Movies
April 13, 2017
This semester, I’ve been taking a Spanish class called “Spanish in the Community.” Its main objective is to increase students’ knowledge of the Spanish language, as well as teach us more about the Latino community here in Richmond. A huge part of this means volunteering somewhere once a week. (On Tuesdays, I help out with the Higher Achievement program at Thomas C. Boushall Middle School in South Side — but more on that later.)
Each Spanish in the Community section focuses around a different theme, and mine is food. We’ve covered a huge amount of topics throughout the semester, from the Native American, European, and African origins of many traditional Latin foods to the unfortunate stories of the immigrant migrant farmers who pick so many of our crops for piddling pay.
For a recent assignment, a few classmates and I went out to dinner with our professor. The restaurant’s out on West Broad Street and is called El Jardín Latino, or The Latin Garden in English. (Hence my title here.) El Jardín a pretty nice place. It doubles as a convenience store and sells a plethora of products I imagine are more difficult to come by this far north. It’s sort of like a cross between a CVS and a Latin Ruby Tuesday’s if that makes a lick of sense.
Our job was to observe the restaurant, see the ways Spanish was used there, and basically what sort of establishment it was. This we all did. But of course, we simply had to squeeze in dinner, along with a tres leches cake for dessert. And it was all on the University’s dime.
I opted to have breakfast for dinner and ordered huevos rancheros. Here’s what they looked like halfway through their demolition, when I remembered that a photo might make a nice addition to this post:
Had a fun time at El Jardín. When you’ve got free food, a nice atmosphere, and people with whom to converse in a different language, how can there be a downside?
And yes, it has occurred to me that this is an About Me and I've neglected to tell you much about me. So I'm from Chesapeake, Virginia, a place just south of Norfolk that's large enough to be a county but isn't because reasons. There's not much to do in Chesapeake other than going for a dip in the Great Dismal Swamp (ill-advised) or head to a neigboring town to hit the beach, and I think that's part of the reason I spent most of my earlier childhood holed up in my room reading books or playing Playstation.
I branched out in my high school years, though, and I've developed affinites for genealogy, running, film, and photography. I am not a man of many talents, though among them include the remarkable power to turn my thumb all the way backwards, the ablility to tell you almost everything you'd ever want to know about the Star Wars Expanded Universe (which unfortunately has been declared non-canon, thanks to J.J. Abrams), and the astonishing skill to cook Minute Rice in 58 seconds. My playlist includes mostly oldies, and my favorite movies all came out before I was born. So you might say I'm a bit of a hipster. I've even got my own snazzy red Polaroid camera, which is practically a license to hipster in this day and age, right?
So, yeah, that's me. In conclusion, read on! Hope you enjoy my blog posts!
Why UR?I'm not a very decisive person. During my senior year of high school, I envied the kids who were certain straight from the get-go where they wanted to go to college. I had applied to several great schools that I thought could offer me a great education, but I had trouble picking which one was the best fit for me. I constantly held debates against myself, weighing the pros and the cons of each school in my head and occasionally and occasionally audibly voicing my concerns a la Gollum: "How about this one?" "No, no, too big. And too far away. Going back and forth to home could prove to be a real bummer." "Good point, but look at their alumni network! They could hook you up with a job fresh out of graduation!" "Ah, true, but check out these student reviews online. You really want to go to a place with this reputation?" "Do you believe everything you read in those reviews?" "Of course I do. They can't put anything on the internet that isn't true." And so on and so on. I still hadn't made a decision by mid-April, so the jury was still out on where I was going just two weeks before the deadline. Pressure from my parents and peers to choose just kept piling on heavier and heavier. Around this time I went to a Richmond Scholars visit, which afforded prospective students who'd been offered scholarships from the University the chance to get a glimpse of life as a student here. The visit was really what sealed the deal for me. The beautiful campus was a joy to explore even in the surprisingly sweltering spring heat. I had the opportunity to sit in on a class, which wasn't very big. Richmond's small class sizes allow for intimate discussions as opposed to drawling lectures and make it rather easy to develop close relationships with professors. I've found that most of them encourage you to meet with them in their spare time, something that might be more difficult to do at a larger institution. While at the Scholars visit, I talked with my host for hours. He gave me a bare bones, down-to-earth explanation of what he thought of Richmond. And I know it's a total cliche, but there's one thing he told me that I really think rings true here at Richmond and life in general: It can be a great and rewarding experience, but only if you put in the effort to make it one. Bottom line, I think Richmond gives students the resources needed to make their college years more than worthwhile, moreso than any other school I checked out. We've got top-notch academics to satisfy any hungry mind, we've got a plethora of extracurriculars to enjoy, tons of chances to broaden our horizons (literally and figuratively), and of course, we've got the chow at D-Hall. All that's really what made me want to spend the next four years of my life here.