thanksgiving break went better than expected. I'm feeling engaged with new ideas of home. I got to observe the scripts, strengths, and dysfunctions of several immediate families in Omaha, including my own. I found it extremely educational and inspiring to listen to my parents, grandparents, siblings, and cousins talk to one another with my project in mind. It was often cringe-worthy, but usually entertaining too. I'm trying to process my distanced relationship with home in writing. I'll post it on here as soon as I feel happy with what I have to say about it. It felt like the things that distracted me from getting work done over break were actually chalk full of meaningful content for the show. The trip sparked my interest in food for the show. I enjoyed thinking about my family's relationship to food. Call Your Mom members were asked to write on a prompt about politics, family, and food over the break.
The most complex food related thing that happened, happened when my parent's cleaning lady, Olga, came over to our house. She brought her daughter Pamela and some tradition flan for us to take to our family's thanksgiving. We decided not to bring it in the end, to avoid those tough political conversations. That might have been a huge mistake on our part. Pamela is a senior in high school. She was recently granted acceptance at the University of Nebraska, but she doesn't know if she will be able to attend because 1. she is an illegal immigrant (though she has been living in the US for 16 years, speaks perfect english, and could easily pass any test given to her) 2. she doesn't qualify for scholarship. Pamela is so intelligent and driven. She sat with us for two hours translating our nonsense for her mom and chuckling as we attempted broken, poorly conjugated Spanish. She attends a magnet school and has received multiple 5's on AP tests. She is clearly qualified, if not overqualified, for a next step in her education. I'm not sure I've ever met a senior in high school more ready for college. It disgusts me that our country makes it so difficult for someone as smart her to move forward. My mom contacted her immigration lawyer friend. We researched to find scholarships that are open to dreamers. We made plans to have a party with both of our families in December. Olga and Pamela are going to make enchiladas. Our family will make latkes (for Hanukkah) or some other traditional Jewish dish. I think it will be a nice collective step forward, to think outside our comfort zones. I hope we can do something with/for them that will make this scary time a little nicer.