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Essays & Longform

Sweet Mexican Education

Published on Glimpse. “Dulce, dulce, dulce, dulce,” sings my two-year-old son as I stroller him over cobblestones. Yes, “candy” is one of the first Spanish words he has learned since moving to Mexico. It turns out that Morelia, this highland city of rain-pocked stone, is to dulces and children what Jalisco …

Up Ilamatepec

In El Salvador, this will really happen: Seeping earth. Bitter rainwater. A yellow-green pool turns coffee brown. Incandescent rocks as big as cars hurtle through the air. I had come to El Salvador to understand the world, and I had climbed Ilamatepec to understand El Salvador. But even standing so close to the steaming marrow of the earth, it is hard to know what one is seeing.

Adopting Guatemalan

PUBLISHED IN GUERNICA. Each Sunday the avenue that wends its way between the two whitewashed churches of Chichicastenango, Guatemala, becomes a maze of pole-and-plastic-tarp shops hung with brilliant tapestries, embroidered blouses, kaleidoscopic quilts. Within the haze of palo santo smoke, which wafts out of the larger of the two churches, are …


Published in Sycamore Review. It was confusing. I didn’t want to do the wrong thing, but I didn’t know what the right thing was. My instincts railed against a system that would have me call a gray-haired grandmother my “muchacha,” but what did I know? The etymology of “maid” in …