Saturday, October 20, 2007

Wednesday Morning

(I wrote this on April 25th, the day after my Comprehensive exams. I was really excited at passing the exams and the weird day that I had gone through. An oldie...DaVinci)

Wednesday morning.

So I'm sure some of you have begun to wonder where I have been in the last few months. I'll tell you that these last few months have been some of the most stressful, most pressure filled months of my life. Even with all of this constant pressure, whether of a social or scholastic theme, I managed to come out unscathed. I wont bore you with all the details, but I hope at least you remember that two years ago I decided to begin my doctorate degree in U.S. Latino and Latin American Literature. Wednesday, today, was the culmination of all these studies, the conclusion to four written exams over the period of two weeks. Wednesday was the oral defense of my written exams.

The day began with 80% precipitation in Houston, a certain omen indeed... I decided to not pay too much attention to the torrential downpour outside while I did some last minute reviewing of articles, outlines, hand-written scribbles, pnemonic devices, acronyms, and etc. I was going to wear a suit to my oral defense but I decided not to because it was not going to be favorable option, due to the weather outside. I wore my jeans and a nice black polo I recently bought, also my UT watch my sister gave me and my italian shoes "Bongiorno boys!"

I went to Taco Cabana this morning and I took my notes with me to read on the way there (at the stop lights), the storm was certainly approaching the Southwestern corner of the city, I could see the clouds rolling in, like that scene in "Independence Day" when the alien craft ships approach the cities. I had a couple of movies from Blockbuster I hadn't returned so I did that too, and when I got out to drop them off I felt these huge, quarter size glops of water coming down. I swear they were like big ass drops hitting me and my car, I ran inside, rolled up the windows and the storm gathered strength and made everything super dark and very wet. I'm very big into signals so I was freaking out at the storm.

Somehow though, I remembered that my mom told me that the day I was born, there was a huge, huge storm in Matamoros, and how it was so cold. A birth is good news right, even during a storm... Also, my 22nd birthday I was really excited to go out with all my friends, but that was the year that there was another torrential downpour of apocalyptic proportions in Austin. Only my close friends, Jesse, Brad, Matt, Eliza and a couple of others came out and braved it, running up and down Sixth street, very wet and even more drunk. That made me realize at some of the "false" friendships I had in college and how it is very true you can only count your true friends on one hand, in my case, two hands :)

So I thought of those two things and realized maybe it wasn't all that bad...

I decided to go to school right away before it got worse, but before I left, my lovely girlfriend Anesha had written me a supportive email and it definitely made me feel better to go out into the typhoon outside. I drove with my notes on my lap and when I got to the university, I found an awesome parking spot in the parking lot I wanted. Nice...

I had a miniature umbrella, I swear these things must be made illegal, they can't possibly cover anything but my head and shoulders. My pant legs were all wet from the near horizontal streams of water coming down. I will say that I am proud of my mini-umbrella for not folding up and over. I saw so many people with those huge umbrellas, the ones that look like they could be stuck in the sand on a beach somewhere. Nice, but useless because the wind would flip them up and the person underneath would get all wet immediately. So I won't talk shit about my little umbrella.

When I got to Agnes Arnold hall, I was very nervous and my heart was pounding really hard. Thankfully, Ana María and Craig were there and they filled me up with their knowledge through an osmosis transfer. As soon as I hugged them, I took their knowledge in with me and used it in the exams. (suckas!) Also, I went up to the sixth floor to hang out with Luziris and Ana María and they were very supportive, AND.... as I was going up on the elevator, there was this little mexican woman that was towing along her 5 gallon bucket full of tamales. She called me "maestro" and asked if I wanted to buy tamales. Who was I to explain to her that as a Liberal Arts major I'm almost always broke. I just said "No gracias, la próxima"

I think she felt I was worried, so she asked what was going on, I told her about my exams and I swear she gave me a "bendición" right there in the elevator!!! It was awesome, she was just going on and on about "la fuerza de Dios, y que Dios me bendiga" and on and on. It felt so good.

I took the exams about 40 minutes later and although my heart was pounding really hard, I felt strangely calm. Sociolinguistics was first and Dr. Gutiérrez asked me about "simplificación del verbo temporal en el pasado" It was amazing, I just told him exactly what I had remembered and we chatted a little and he said ok, next professor. It was literally like 10 minutes, I was totally amazed at how quickly it went...

Then came Dr. Bencomo and her question on "Violence on Latin American Narrative" that one took way more time, but she was very gracious. Although I forgot a couple of things, she helped me out reminding me of a few things and then I picked right up what I forgot.

The other Dr. Gutiérrez asked me questions about Peninsular Literature, we concetrated on Federico García Lorca and his "Viaje a la luna". I messed up by saying he was a surrealist, when in class he drilled and drilled into us that he wasn't. He uses those techniques but the good doctor's opinion was that he wasn't a surrealist. He was also very gracious.

Finally, Dr. Kanellos didn't ask me anything, he said my written response was fine and that he knew that I knew the material. So now questions from him! Awesome. He also said, "The conozco mosco" hehe...

Since Dr. Kanellos was the chair of my committe, he asked me to stand outside while they deliberated. It took about 10 minutes, then Dr. Kanellos came out with a huge smile on his face and told me congratulations, Mr. ABD. (All But Dissertation). It was a huge weight off my shoulders.

The last two years have been crazy, full of experiences I will never, ever forget. All of you that this email gets to are part of this and I thank you from the bottom of my heart, all the support has been amazing. I will thank each of you personally when I see you next.

Again, thanks for everything. Now my dissertation awaits. I begin researching this summer for that. Oh and if you know of any jobs then let me know! Thanks!

Peace out,


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