Papa Jean

I can not remember how he died; Papa Jean. All I knew was that he was very sick and old. I remember him lying on the hospital bed, which he insisted on moving into the magnificent living room because he didn’t want to be alone. The living room, with the huge chandelier, filled with family pictures, which we were hesitant to enter, and always tried peeking into. Papa Jean, the hospital bed, in the living room, filled with the smell of tangerines and medicine; always looking out the window, wishing he was somewhere else.

I remember how much he loved oysters, the ones my family told him to stop eating because they were too salty for his weak heart. He died because he ate too much salt which affected his cardiac insufficiency, or at least that’s what I’ve been told. The foods he couldn’t eat were too many and too much, and when he was eating those oysters, he didn’t know what they were doing to him. He didn’t know he would end up in the hospital bed, in the living room, slowly dying.

Papa Jean, who would sit in his armchair in the billiard room, watching rugby matches, because he didn’t like soccer. The box T.V, which was soon replaced after he left us. Papa Jean, who would drive his old red Jeep into the woods, prepared to hunt, and maintain the forest. Papa Jean, who would read books, books, and more books, died. He died in the hospital and was then brought back to his house, to receive his final goodbyes. Papa Jean who was placed in a coffin, in the middle of the church, surrounded by thousands of flowers and three candles, which the three of his grandchildren had to lit up, is now in a better place, which my 4-year-old self didn’t seem to understand. And now, my 13-year-old self still wonders and wishes to have known Papa Jean, who isn’t really my Papa, better.



Designing My Magazine Cover

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To create my Magazine Cover, I had to follow many steps. First, I chose a logo to represent our magazine; The Panamanian Observer. I started of by making a sketch on a paper, so I could elaborate ideas, and have a clear design to follow before creating the real cover. Because my magazine cover had to include things such as guidelines, a main cover line, bar codes, cover lines and flashes, I made sure to add all of these aspects to my sketch.

Once it had the full sketch and idea of what I wanted my magazine cover to look like I started by creating the main cover line, which had to be intriguing to capture the viewer’s attention. I also put lots of thought into the cover lines to really give the viewer an idea of what to expect in the magazine.

After finishing the informative part of the magazine cover, I moved on the the presentation part. For this, I decided to create a logo for our class magazine called The Panamanian Observer. I came up with the idea to draw an eye which would be surrounded by the title of the magazine. I then took a screenshot and uploaded it to my electronic version of the magazine cover. I also put some thought into the colours I was going to use for my magazine cover, and decided to go with the two main colours of the Panama flag (blue and red).

A magazine cover should always look appealing to the viewer’s eye, and give them an idea what to expect inside. They should always include guidelines, a main cover line, cover lines, barcodes and flashes to make them look realistic and let the viewer know about the magazine without giving out all of the information. In conclusion, I think I was on task for this assignment and followed all of the steps given. Next time, I would like making my magazine cover look even more realistic and professional.

Diary Entry

Dear Diary,

Today was my first job. I put on the navy blue dress which made me look older, and had to lie about my age. After eating lunch in one of the bathroom stalls, I went to sit on the bench in the coatroom. A few minutes later, an older Oriental man came and we started talking about how I was just starting, and how I could sit with him during lunch. “What a cordial man.” I thought to myself; he was a nice man, or at least that’s what I thought. Then, he asked if I knew what day it was and he said it was his birthday, and asked for a birthday kiss. Because he had definitely gained my trust by then, I didn’t see what was wrong in giving the sweet old men a birthday kiss. But when my lips were about to touch his cheek, he instantly pressed my face against his lips, and wouldn’t let go. I thought the kiss was innocent, but I had no idea I would have been assaulted by the men. After the men let go off my face, I was speechless, shocked, horrified, and full of regret. I only thought about leaving, and getting away. I felt so resentful about what had happened, and immediately regretted ever agreeing to kiss the old man on the cheek in the first place. I am scared, resentful, confused and guilty, to finally see what it really means to be older. I have seen the reality of society, how men really see us, young ladies. How dressing up, and lying about my age will only make people think I am actually older. I am becoming a woman, and I now see how most of us women are powerless here on Mango Street.

Sincerely,  Esperanza

Ending Violence Against Women


In what way does the incident help define the coming-of-age theme?

The incident helps define coming of age in different ways. We can see how sexuality is not as innocent as in the previous vignettes, where they are talking through it with rhymes and games, but it is taking place in reality. We can see how Esperanza came back to her childish ways by being shy by hiding in the closet and eating in one of the bathroom stalls.

-This is an example of the sexual double standard of society.

-The time she came home all wet because Tito had pushed her in the water hydrant was the first example of flirting Esperanza admits to.

-Esperanza was not sure if she could sit down, so she imitated others around her, to do the same. This an example of coming of age because when you are growing up, you often depend on imitating others, as a way of learning.


I am From Poem


Based on the Poem Where I’m From by George Ella Lyon

George Ella Lyon Poem



I am from snow boots

From snowstorms and ski slopes

I am from the roughcast walls, (white, rough, unpleasant to touch)

I am from bad grass, Tulips, and the backyard Cedar, which seemed to never stop growing.

I’m from the baked goods on Sunday mornings, and freckles on the cheeks

From Patricia and Pascal

I’m from two-three kisses on the cheek and family dinners

From “hug it out” and “don’t eat yellow snow”

I’m from Easter celebration, and the carols I hear every Christmas at church

I’m from Switzerland and Maman Paul, cheese Fondue, and “Moelleux au Chocolat”

From the hundreds of kilometers, my grandfather rode on a bike from the countryside, to bring goods to Paris during war and the 4 stitches I got from slipping in the shower because of my terrible fear of water.

The boxes and photo albums, filled with family pictures, under the television shelf, from which I remember or learn new stories whenever I take the time to look through them.

I come from these moments

From the lessons, I experienced or learned through others.


Yellow Cadillac

The mysterious Cadillac robbery has been solved. Yesterday, a young Puerto-Rican adolescent from Mango Street has been caught, after riding his siblings and family members around the neighborhood in the stolen Cadillac. After realizing he was being followed by police officers, he immediately stopped the vehicle to let family members come out. Then, he rapidly took off, trying to avoid the police officers. Once reaching a corner, the young man crashed into a lamppost, in the attempt of making a left-hand turn. No serious injuries occurred to the teenager, on the other hand, the front of the Yellow Cadillac was gravely damaged. The juvenile was then handcuffed and waved goodbye at, by his younger siblings, as he then took off in the police car.

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The Yellow Cadillac, removed from the crash site, while police officers arrest the young Puerto- Rican adolescent.

Questioning my own Bias:

Young Man Arrestedd by Police.

Today, a young Puerto Rican man was driving a Yellow Cadillac on Mango Street. After spending his afternoon driving relatives and underaged little sisters around the neighborhood, police cars were beginning to follow the Cadillac he was driving. Once the young man realized he was being followed, he stopped the vehicle, to let his relatives and little sisters out of the car. Then, he rapidly took off with the vehicle, attempting to avoid the police cars. Once reaching a corner, the young man crashed into a lamppost, in the attempt of making a left-hand corner. The young man was not seriously injured in any way, except for a few bruises and a bloody lip, but the front of the car was badly damaged. As soon as he got out of the car, the young Puerto Rican man was handcuffed, and taken away in the police car.

Letter to Cathy

Dear Cathy,                                                                                               May 5, 2017


You were my first friend in the neighborhood, or at least my friend “until next Tuesday” because that is when you moved away because the neighborhood “is getting bad”; something you said when my family moved into the neighborhood. Away from people like me. The other day, when I was listening to you complain about our neighbors, it seemed like you had no particular interest or sympathy in how I would feel, listening to you talk negatively about the neighborhood.

“I am the great great grand cousin of the queen of France”, you said trying to make yourself seem superior to everyone in this neighborhood. Joe the “baby grabber”, is not “full of danger”, but friendly and playful. Those two girls who you said were “raggedy as rats” are my true friends now, yes I did “want to know them”. They have not simply become friends with me because they think I need a friend or try to use me because they have no one to talk to. They make me feel welcomed, and like a part of this neighborhood; something you never did. I’m sure Alicia had no particular interest in you before going to college and doesn’t talk to you because she knows the type of person you are.

You have cats, and cats, and cats. “Baby cats, big cats, skinny cats, sick cats. Cats on top of the refrigerator. Cats taking a walk on the dinner table.” Cats to keep you company, because you have nobody else. You pass your opportunities of creating friendships by judging everybody in this neighborhood, while you are not perfect either.    You thought I would be a good target to keep you company until you moved away. But that is not how friendship works.  And now, I, Esperanza, has decided to make my own friends; real ones.

Simply because we are Latinos, doesn’t mean we are bad people, doesn’t mean we don’t have feelings, and we don’t understand what you mean by “the neighborhood is getting bad”. But now, you only have your cats to keep you company, and have to “move a little farther north from Mango Street, a little farther away every time people like us keep on moving in.”


Your limited-time “friend”,



Collective Identity: The Coolies


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The Coolies


    • When did the group arrive?
    • Where are they located geographically on the isthmus?
    • How were they treated?
    • Why were they treated this way?
    • What were their living conditions?
    • What conflicts ensued?
    • How did they become part of the Panamanian society?
    • How are they viewed today?
    • Things to research and consider for your article:
      • 1.How does geography aid in the development of Panama?
      • 2.What is the importance of immigrants and migration in Panama in 19th century
      • 3.How has religion influenced Panamanian values?
      • 4.To what extent was Panama a land of opportunity, liberty, ordeal, and/or oppression? (Choose one)
      • 5.Discrimination and Rights of citizens

Border Crossing Review

Sign Warning of Illegal Immigrants Crossing Road

The plot of the story was interesting. The events that occurred throughout the book kept the reader engaged and curious about what was going to happen next, until the plot. The story plot had a strong structure, which kept the readers attention fro the exposition, until the denouement.

When I first started to read Border Crossing, I was engaged in the reading. It did take me a while to get into it and understand what the book was going to be based on because the book cover gave me a different idea. I was also anxious to find out the message of the book.

The two main characters of the book are John and Cecilia. Even though Cecilia was born in California, she has always been curious about her dad’s Mexican side of the family. She always felt like she was missing part of her individual identity, by not knowing about her dad’s cultural identity. Because she wanted to find the answers, Cesi decided to make a trip to Mexico, where she thought she could find the answers she was missing to complete her individual and cultural identity. The second main character in the book is John (Cesi’s dad). John is Mexican but has lived most of his life in the U.S. He moved to California because he and his family weren’t able to fit in in Mexico. Because of his past and bad experiences he had with his cultural identity, he did not want his kids to know about the Mexican culture, to protect them from having the same childhood as he had, so they wouldn’t go through the same.  His past has shaped his life, causing him to make different choices which he thought were right, such as moving to California, keeping his cultural identity away from his children, and always being ashamed of his collective and cultural identity.

Both Cecilia and John change throughout the book. At the end of the book, both of the found the answers that would complete their cultural and individual identity. Even though John was not necessarily trying to look for answers, he still learned a lot about himself with the help of his daughter. On the other hand, Cesi was looking for answers, and she did find them, by learning about her dad’s past and identity.

The time in the book’s structure usually shifts back & forth from the past to present. A change occurs in each chapter; from the past to present. The flashback tells the backstory of Cesi’s search for her identity, and how she ended up crossing borders to Mexico. Every flashback gives the reader a clear understanding of why Cesi did what she did, and how the past has shaped her life. However, this structure stops, once reaching Chapter 30. 

– What the author is trying to express is how when one does not know enough about themselves and who they are, it can cause them to go in the search for their identity until they have found the answers to their individual and cultural identity.

  • Discovery: Cesi discovers and learns about her cultural identity, and how it impacts her individual identity.
  • Escape: Cesi escapes her home, in search for answers.
  • Identity: Cesi learns and dealt with identity issues.
  • Prejudice:

An insightful and profound passage was when Aunt Delfina was telling Cesi about her Dad. The passage tells, and encapsulates and shapes the character (John). In this passage, a lot of information is being told about Cesi’s father, who he is, and what caused him to do what he did. Another passage that gives us an idea of what the book is going to be about, is when Nana tells John that he is not Mexican enough. “She thinks I am not Mexican enough.” This can give the reader an idea of what the book will be based on; John and Cesi trying to find their cultural identity.

The book ends when Cesi’s dad come to pick her up from Aunt Delfina’s house, and then takes her to the town where he grew up. He shows her around and Cesi has finally found the answers she had been searching for. Although I did like and enjoy the ending of the book, I still see some other possible endings that could work well with the story. If I could change the ending, I would want Cesi to find the answers on her own, because that is what she wanted since the beginning. Even though the beginning of her journey she was on her own, Tony then joined in, with Aunt Delfina, and her Dad ended up by answering her questions and doubts. Personally, I like this ending, because even though she did not find the answers on her own, both Cesi and her Dad ended up learning more about their cultural and individual identity.

If I could ask the author a question, I would ask her how she got inspired to write this book. I would like to know if she wrote this novel based on her experience finding her cultural identity, or if she has experienced similar one. If that is not the case, I would like to know how she found her identity. Knowing the story of how one found their identity can be inspiring to others so they can begin the search for their cultural and individual identity as well. I would also like to ask her if she has ever faced some problems, similar to Cesi’s trying to find her identity. 

This book has changed me in a way. The book was based on a girl who wanted to know more about her cultural identity. This has made me want to know more about my cultural and individual identity, and learn about who I am. Because the main character was around the same age as me, seeing what she does to learn about her identity has inspiring me to do the same. Maybe I will not have to cross borders to do so, I still want to learn everything about who I am. 

Where’s My Caviar?

Today, I had the weirdest experience. My mom took me to one of my favorite restaurants. The prior thing I did was order caviar as it was my favorite delicacy. As I was waiting for my food I saw an authentic Phoenix. All of this time I believed they were mythical creatures, as they have never been seen by the human eye. Not just was I amazed by its colorful and bright plumage, but also by the gracious and not ungainly way it moved towards me. While I was contemplating the creature, I inferred that it was scavenging for some food. Talking about food, my caviar had arrived. As everyone around me was focused on what they were doing, I couldn’t figure out why they weren’t amazed by the creature. Even though I was disappointed that they didn’t see it, I was still happy because if they would’ve seen it they would’ve slaughtered the poor thing.


I then came to the thought that I was just hungry, and that this was all just a figment from my imagination. As I was about to try my caviar, I realized my bowl was empty. When I turned to look beside me, I found the Phoenix with a few caviar eggs on his beak. Not only was I mad, but I felt like a vulnerable target for the Phoenix as it used its astute distractions to devour all of my caviar. I started making derogatory comments but it didn’t seem to affect it, until I blamed it of being a predator for stealing my caviar. When I did that it started, to what seemed to be, crying. I slowly approached it and started to pet it. Then my mother asked why I was petting the air. While I was answering my mom, the Phoenix started flying around. When I looked back at it, I caught it eating everyone’s food. I started screaming in order to warn everyone, but they all started laughing and making fun of me. My mom told me to sit down as she gave me a slice of bread, and as soon as I looked towards the Phoenix, it burst into flames.
I then told my mom everything and she told me I was just hallucinating because I was hungry. I could swear I had seen an authentic Phoenix, why wouldn’t she believe me? I was disappointed that the Phoenix had burst into flames as it meant I would never see him again and I would be left in solitude with my “hallucination”.

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