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Letters from Apizaco

ISBN: 9781521138458
Publisher: Independently published
Publication Date: 2017-04-26
Number of pages: 128
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  • Regular price $29.94

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“Letters from Apizaco” is the memoir of a boy-crazy seventeen-year old living in Mexico as a high school exchange student in 1976 as told through her letters home, journal entries and correspondence after returning to the U.S. It is the story of the kindness, sincerity and warmth of the Mexican people, especially Felipe and Evelia Gonzalez, so proud of their country, wanting to show it off to their new foreign daughter, Kim. Not everyone in Apizaco welcomed the presence of an American in their city. From an all-white community, north of Boston during the era of school desegregation, Kim would become the only white girl, often reminded of such by passersby staring and yelling out “Güera!” from their Volkswagon windows. She would discover that derogatory language referencing homosexuals and people of color were used on both sides of the border. After a brief adjustment period battling Moctezuma’s revenge, a sense of alienation and homesickness, Kim did not want the adventure of a lifetime to end and leave the Gonzalez family nor her inseparable friends, Norma and Felipe. She kept her crush on Felipe a secret from Norma, completely infatuated with him after hearing him sing and play guitar in the neighborhood chapel. A hopeless love triangle emerged once Felipe revealed his true feelings for Norma over a shared bottle of Mezcal. Apizaco is a small industrial city in the state of Tlaxcala, roughly one hundred miles southeast of Mexico City. At an altitude of 8,070 feet, it was founded for its location on the railroad between the capital and the Atlantic coast. The rooftop of a retired steam engine, La Maquinita, placed as a monument to steam locomotion at the entrance to the city, became one of many after school hangouts for Kim and her new Mexican friends and classmates. Unfortunately, attending high school in Mexico turned out to be a torture to be endured. Three years of Spanish instruction were hardly enough for an intelligent sounding conversation, much less academic success. Bored and lost, Kim copied meaningless notes off the board in Mexican History, Art History, Chemistry, Biology, Philosophy, Physics and Ethics, while entertaining herself, daydreaming, carving pro-USA slogans on her desk and passing notes to Norma and host sister, Mayu. Although a graduate in the top ten percent of her class at Triton Regional High School, Kim became a failure and behavior problem at El Instituto Fray Pedro de Gante. A lesson of compassion and empathy towards our non-English speaking immigrant children in the U.S can be learned from “Letters from Apizaco.”

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