1. If polyester were edible, we could have solved world hunger with the amount of it in today’s festivities!
2. With the amount of polyester and lace involved in my dress, why did I still have to bare my stomach to the public for the first time since 2002??
3. Being a celebrity is so easy! You just sit there and smile a lot. And do whatever the yelling mob of teachers tells you to do: “sit there!”.. “wave!”… “parade!”…”dance!”
4. This is not what I imagined cultural integration to be like, but someone told me today that I’ve integrated better than previous gringos.
5. Apparently when the guys who sit in the park by my house yell, “bye, my queen!” they are not referring to my actual queenship. They mean, “hey sexy lady!” and I should not respond by curtseying as I walk by to class.
6. You can get points for how much the crowd loves you–so invite all your friends and tell them to bring air horns.
7. I’m going to write a “Gringa’s Guide to Carnaval Duties” to help the next one avoid some of my mishaps and confusion. Chapter One: Finding Dresses Before the Night Before the Ceremony. Chapter Two: Invest in Strong Makeup Remover or Paint Thinner.
8. I have the most talented, cultured, charismatic and energetic students!! They continue to amaze me not only with their traditional, cultural dance skills but also with their creativity and the amount of personality that shows when they’re right in the middle of a carefully rehearsed, complicated dance sequence and you can tell they’re enjoying themselves!
9. I want these little girls and young women to know that they are valued for so much more than their costumes or ability to “serrucho”; they are beautiful because they embrace their cultural roots, they invest their precious energy in making beautiful presentations, they are a wealth of talent and because they are my students!
10. Finally, as a progressive, modern woman, I have a lot of thoughts and feelings on being involved in a beauty pageant. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog on “Beauty Cultures: North and South America.” (I’ll name it something cooler later.)