My Brothers

My brothers often ask me what was the best day of my life; they smile sweetly waiting for me to say the day they were born. Really I’d have to say one of the best days of my life was before that-the day I found out they’d be coming to join me. I had been an only child long enough, 8 years. When I was told I’d finally have siblings, I rolled around laughing and crying, There are few times I’ve ever done that in my life-maybe that was the only time .

I remember when I was asked what I wanted the baby to be I always said a girl, of course. Really I probably just wanted a live doll I could dress up. When I found out it was a boy I was delighted, a bit scared for it was something so different as to what I was, a complete mystery. Then I found out they were twins there’d be two, and my life changed again completely it’s like the gates of heaven were wide open. I knew God was giving me two because I had to wait so long. To me this was God keeping his promise ten fold.

You see, I don’t think I ever genuinely felt jealous of them, or the attention they got. Instead I’d stand over their cribs watching their angelic faces smile as they slept. I held them close and smelled their baby smell drinking it all in. Perhaps that was the first time I fell in love.

Through life despite age differences, we’ve been a close family, weathering hard times. Dad has no idea what he’s missing, or maybe he does.

I’ve learned so much from them and laughed from their funny ways only they could come up with. I grew to love their stuffed animals and socks they so deeply cared for and played with, especially Kitty, the purple bunny who I sewed together countless times.

I taught them to make funny faces, and whispered jokes in their ears in random places. Looked at them with that look where all you do afterwards is laugh in complete understanding, and I’ve made them my accomplices for gifts and other such secrets. We’ve sung and danced to Bollywood films, laughed, jammed to our favorite songs, gone to the library so many times the librarians know us, I taught them to write their names and to speak basic French.

I’ve learned from the strength they’ve shown as they’ve dealt with things I never had to deal with at their age, they’ve made me see so many blessings in life, and have served as a reason to try to keep being a better person.

As cliché as it sounds, they’ve taught me a lot about life and about being a mother. Because I’ve watched them grow up I feel like a mom in a way. They’ve taught me an unconditional love I had never known, a pride you feel when they succeed, a pain you feel when they are sad.

 I’m proud of their determination, and how much they love God and try to honor Him. They are such wonderful kids. When I look at them I see a bit of myself maybe. That innocence, faith and humor. That belief that you can be who you want to be, learn what you want to learn, that nothing is impossible. I know they love me very much, their admiration they are bad at hiding. I just want them to know that I love them so much more, and that my admiration for them goes past the stars. I thank them for everything they’ve taught me, and for letting me experience even if it’s a small bit of the love God has for His children.

Happy Birthday Luis and Sammy.

Love never fails

Love “beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:7

“Love never fails”

Love, every person seems to have their own definition or interpretation of this word. It’s interesting to think that perhaps we could have never existed yet here we are, being. We are privileged enough to live, to be, to love. My philosophy about life is that it is all about the people and love. God’s love for humanity, our love for each other- relationships, serving, helping. Without that, life is nothing.

 Love is something so incomprehensible and powerful at times. There’s a story that I love by O’Henry that depicts pure love. His story takes place in the 1900’s in Paris, where a young mother is sad and desperate because her daughter had been diagnosed with Tuberculosis. It was basically a death sentence. The doctors told the mother that if the young girl kept her spirits up, it may help her survive the winter. The mother tried to get her school teacher to give her private lessons but the teacher refused.

 Day after day, the girl looked weaker and sadder. The girl one day told her mother that she had been observing a vine outside of her window. Because it was winter the leaves were falling off. The girl concluded that when the last leaf fell, she would die. The vine was a symbol of her life.

One day the mother saw the girl looking up at one of the apartment balconies where a young artist was painting the Paris skyline. The mother was so excited to see her daughter’s spirits lifted that she went and spoke to the young artist offering to pay him for private art lessons for her daughter. The young man decided to help this desperate mother free of charge.

He taught the girl many things. One day he noticed she was sad and he asked her what the matter was and she explained the vine. It had only three leaves left. He laughed a bit and told her that it was a silly association, but she remained gravely serious. The young artist told the girl that his work was going to be exposed in America and that he’d be gone for a while but she had to live so he could come back and teach her more things. She melancholically told him that she probably would not be alive by the time he returned.

When the young artist left, all the leaves had fallen except one. No matter what happened, rain, or shine that leaf clung tightly to the vine. The mother and daughter were amazed. Spring came and the young artist returned. He notified the girl to go up to his apartment to get new brushes and paints he had bought her. The young girl was healthy and vibrant. When the girl made it up to his apartment she looked out the window and noticed that beside the vine, there was a leaf painted on a brick. Her leaf. Her friend, the young painter, had painted her heroic leaf.

Jorge Bucay asks, “Are we capable of loving like this? Are we capable of painting leaves on bricks to inspire and comfort those who we love, even if they are far?” 36 (translated from Spanish)

 I think we all must find this true meaning of love and make it ours. We need to love like this. How can we love with love so great? There is only one way. We must go to the source of love, He who is love, He who loved us first.

God’s great love took Him to give up His only son for us. Jesus died on Calvary because of love.

No matter what you are going through in life, whether it’s rain or shine remember: “For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Je’sus our Lord.” Romans 8:38,39

God has given us this power to love. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” We are to reflect His love with others.

I pray that, “Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,” may come to know, “the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with the fullness of God. Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto Him be the glory in the church by Christ Je’sus throughout all the ages, world without end. Amen.” Ephesians 3:17-21

Jeux d’enfants

Jeux d’enfants
Children’s Games

By: Gabriela Yareliz Gonzalez

Quand est-ce que Cyrano sortira de son ombre,
When will Cyrano step out,

Sortir de son ombre au-dessous du balcon;
step out of the shadows beneath the balcony;

Des litanies des mensonges et d’émotion pure c’est sa lumière unique.
A litany of lies and pure emotion his only light.

C’est un jeu qu’ils ont toujours joue-
It is a game they have always played-

un jeu qu’elle a peur que c’etait joue a cause de peur.
a game she fears was played out of fear.

Le coeur etait apporte au plus haut pic,
The heart taken up to the highest peak,

Apres baissé donc elle pourrait sortir intacte
then dropped so she could walk out unharmed

Le fait de faner au milieu des tessons de coeur
Fading in the midst of shards of heart.

cap ou pas cap-
A constant dare, are you game-

un euphorie constante. Est-ce que ca finisse?
A constant euphoria. Does it end?

Quand tu crois que ca finisse tu realise que c’est pas vrai.
When you think it does you realize it hasn’t.

Ca a etait pousse dans un chambre.
It has been pushed into a room.

La vie se deballe et le jeu est toujours la,
Life unravels on and the game is still there,

Personne en parle dehors.
No one speaks outside of it.

Est-ce que la honnêteté est jamais portee?
Honesty, is it ever reached?

L’ete semble etre eternel,
Summer seems to be eternal,

les choses sont deja passe de sa maturité.
things are past their ripeness.

Les nuits noires, plein de la pluie,
Dark nights, filled with rain,

Les etoiles servissent des lumieres.
stars serve as lights.

Ce qu’a commence avec innocence,
What started out so innocently,

will it end?

Malheureusement, ce semble que le reve ne finisse pas jusqu’a-
Unfortunately, it seems the dream never ends until-

cap ou pas cap?
Dare, are you game?

Quelqu’un doit parler dehors le jeu- ca nous a apporte plus loin.
Someone must speak outside this-it has taken us too far.

jeu finit?
Game over?

“No, wait… Where was I? The problem is, that… even if you said, “I love it,” I wouldn’t believe you. Julien, I no longer know when you’re playing or not. I’m lost. Wait, I’m not finished. Tell me you love me. Tell me, because if I tell you first, I’m afraid you’ll think it’s a game. Save me… I beg of you”-Sophie Kowalski

A Week of Dodging and Trying to Find People

By: Gabriela Yareliz Gonzalez

    It’s been a week of trying to gain composure, learning to avoid people, staying awake to study for tests and walking up to people to interrogate them as sources.

     From the beginning of the week, Student Government campaigners were all over the place trying to talk to people, four at a time, as others were trying to get to class. I mastered a look, where in the end, only rare, brave ones walked up to me.

     After learning to dodge the ubiquitous flyer dispensers and intimidate them with icy glances, I had two exams this week and a paper to work on. What this means is I haven’t gotten any sleep.

     Also this week, I participated in an alcohol focus group where I ended up getting free pizza and a gift card to the UF Bookstore. This was all part of a plan because I really wanted a book from the bookstore, so I figured that participating would get me that much closer to my desired book. It did and my Arabic book should be arriving next week.

     Though I had inexplicable joy because I’m finally getting my desired book, I have been too tired this week to truly feel the excitement build. I harassed people at Krishna lunch and at the hub to be my sources for my credit card story for MMC 2100.

     The people I used as sources were really nice, though clueless. One of them was Bulgarian and I kept calling him Paul and that was not his name. Plamen is his name.

      I learned a lot about interviewing, like how to introduce myself properly, for example. The people I approached were really great about the interviews and merciful.

     I got a new issue of the New Yorker, some law view books from FSU and Duke, so all in all my week hasn’t been all too shabby.

     The Express mini spring catalog inserted into Feb. 25, 2010 Alligator made me think of beaches and spring break. I have Lab today as the sun rises and the world sleeps. Really all I want to do is sleep and speak “Arabia” in my dreams.

[As posted on for my class blog]

What is There to Read?


When books become shallow and unworthy of time.

By: Gabriela Yareliz Gonzalez

      So I was reading in the October 19, 2009 New Yorker Magazine, the article/essay by Rebecca Mead about Alloy Entertainment books. Today I was at a bookstore browsing around. I sadly walked out with only a LSAT prep book but when I went to the young adult section there was nothing worth anyone’s time.

    I remember when the Gossip Girl series came out by von Ziegesar. I read the first 4 I think until I realized as Rebecca Mead states in the New Yorker  that it was life “seen through the lense of excessive wealth and absent morality” (65).

   Today I glanced at the Young Adult shelves and saw black covers, mostly with dead looking young women, pale people, and titles like “frost bite” (roll of the eyes). Since when has blood been so exciting, and vampires so adored? Since when are books about mean girls and cliques so cute? Are authors really honored when they receive mail from idiotic and hypnotised girls talking like shallow book characters they created? Don’t they realize they are helping create a generation of stupid girls that will be only interested in the frivolous and departing from anything seeming intelligent?

   Von Zeigesar herself stated she was concerned that her books were loved by girls who didn’t like to read, she stated she wanted girls who liked to read to like her books as well (70 The New Yorker). Of course girls who like to read won’t be ardent fans, not if they have taste- Girls who like to read, usually like to read because they like to learn, they like to see life reflected through different perspectives, and they don’t find that in fantasies and stories about shallow people.

   Perhaps this is just a super-vent of my part, but there is a true frustration in me.

   It’s frustrating that  in the young adult realm have people stopped thinking. Does no one care if the book carries a good message these days? Something constructive, enlightening and purposeful-looking at the shelves it seems no one cares.

The Things That Don’t Change at Christmas Time

So they were giving out free Origin of Species books at Turlington Plaza (right in the middle of the University of Florida campus) and Prof. Sinan Ciddi says: “This is great, I mean you can give this to someone you hate for Christmas and it was free, and you’ll look really smart”.

     Christmas time is wonderful. It is a time of meditation, a time of giving and thanksgiving as well. Christmas is a time of relaxing  (we academic slaves finally get a break). My friend Mohammad (pre-med major) says, “Sleeping is a luxury and is so overrated”. It’s a time to read books, brace yourself for the next semester, and if you don’t live at home, do laundry and eat Mommy’s food.

         I can recall in past years as a child sitting under the Christmas tree, my back hurting because I was laying on the Christmas train tracks, and I would look up into the tree at a swirl of Christmas lights. Christmas Eve was hard to bear, and opening presents was always fun. My parents always managed to surprise me and make the day incredible.  This was back in the day, when boom boxes were cool, CD’s made you seem more grown up, American Girl Dolls and outfits for them were my dream and books. Those were the best gifts.

      Sometimes the President had a Christmas party (I recall Clinton did once, Alicia Keys was there) and it was broadcast or the Arthur (yes, the ardvark) Christmas Special.
         We’d go to family’s house to eat, maybe the grandparents’ house and then maybe my grandma would force feed me cod fish and then more presents! Doris (my grandmother) always made a banquet and special deserts. We’d go by my great aunt’s house, and eat again and I’d admire their overloaded Christmas tree always abundant in silver tinsel and colorful ornaments.
         As you get older the gifts tend to get smaller but more expensive and in a way Christmas loses it’s magic and becomes just a spiritual experience and memorial. A time of nostalgia (if you aren’t entirely shallow).Giving really becomes the big thing and you stress, shop and worry, searching for the perfect gifts for those you love.

       Somethings never change, like eating good food like “pasteles”, receiving a box from Puerto Rico full of gifts, and watching the traditional Banco Popular Video imported from Puerto Rico as well.It’s nice to see how in a world of so much pain, deceit and sorrow, one can still experience joy and love. Seeing a puppy or child’s excitement with a gift, family, seeing a big smile, seeing a sparkling tree that glimmers with lights of hope-this is what never changes and this is what is priceless.

Princess vs. Feminist

Which one should win out?

By: Gabriela Yareliz Gonzalez

I once heard a story about newlyweds, a man who said he’d get the living room packed up and moved and she wouldn’t have to move a finger. The next day came and he got tied up in something and asked for her help moving coffee table before the movers came. His wife refused. She said he had told her she wouldn’t have to move a finger and she seemed distressed at the thought that he’d break his “word”.

The story made me sick, her reaction deeply irritated me- I mean what was wrong with that woman? In my opinion any sane woman would have bent over and helped her husband move the table. You see in my eyes there are two types of women: the Princess and the Feminist; the one who sits around, the one who does it all, the dependant one and the independent one. Which one is better and why? Could you be both?

Today’s society is broken in two opinions, often times we see the woman on television, the TV wife, who is the brain of the household, yet strangely dependent on her what they make to be inutile husband. Then there’s the woman who studies say today is not getting married and pursuing a career.

There’s the woman who always has expectations and the one ready to make do with whatever comes. There’s the insecure, jealous and manipulative woman and then there’s the confident, outspoken, and feisty woman. Neither sounds good does it…however we can each probably identify with one.

The Princess:

–  A woman’s need for man is not wrong, we were created this way, yet she tends to drain the male figure, she is expectant and needy.

– If something difficult like changing a tire comes her way some day, she can’t do it, and has no interest to.

– She is not someone you want to face adversity with, she’ll probably just complain

– She is very feminine and can be traditional

The Feminist:

-She can devalue masculinity because she feels she is self-sufficient

-She pursues what she wants, she is driven and determined

-She’d rather do things herself and get something done.

-Can be daring, and test limits.

                I believe it’s important to be a mixture of both, not someone oppressed but not outrageously liberated. Good things come in balance-which is hard to obtain, but is worth the effort. I also believe men play a big part in what women are becoming. If they are feeding into what society dictates that they are, animalistic, lazy and dumb, there are going to be women unwilling to submit to that . With men leaving homes, and abandoning wives, women must step up to the plate and survive. A woman’s independence can hurt a male’s masculinity, which is where the feminist mind set becomes a problem; because women do need men (the same is true the other way around).  A strong woman is a marvelous thing yet she should know she has her place. Being driven is important but a woman has a greater mission-to have a family and care for it. Women should learn to do things that are needs, but be willing to accept the help when offered.

                This balance comes wrapped into a one woman-

  The Virtuous:

-she is trustworthy and honoring of her husband and male figures

-efficient and driven

-caring and wise


                This woman is one who is priceless and is the woman described in Proverbs 31. She is virtuous and is efficient and caring in all of her ways. She strives, she is dependent, and is wise. She is the woman who understands where she stands in comparison to the man in her life (and serves as a contrast and compliment), and as he leads she follows and helps.

                So that is what we must be, we must tap into the inner princess yet also be strong enough to survive. We must be honorable women and live up to the word, and most importantly forget what society says we are or should be and be ourselves in the place God intended us to hold.

Battles of Control

The tricks we try and how they can fail.

By: Gabriela Yareliz Gonzalez

        This past Christmas season, I was in terror at the thought of the mall. It wasn’t the overload of people or the uncertainty of certain purchases; it was the group of aggressive sale merchants that linger between stores sometimes stalking you into the Anne Taylor store just so they can rub their special lotion on your hands. I’ve seen them argue with older women about how these elderly women didn’t buy their products and they insist the older women tell them which ones as if these women are liars and have to prove something so they won’t be further harassed. I’ve also seen them try to negotiate deals no matter what amount of money you have on you- it’s like Israel sent a shipment of good looking annoying people to go to every mall in America and sell their products in the hallway booths.

                So how do you get by these aggressive Israeli merchants when they’ll grab you by the hand and talk to you until you no longer know how you ended up there? Well I’ve discovered that the cell phone trick always works. When you walk by, call someone in your network (so it’s free), perfect time to get back in touch with old friends, or flip your phone open and act like you are texting (if you don’t have texting). If you are on your phone they don’t bother you.

        Someone once told me that the cell phone trick wasn’t that great because it was giving them “control”. He suggested (based on how he handles situations of social awkwardness) that one should walk by and look them straight in the eye, even if they think you’ll stop and walk past them. If they say anything say a curt “no” and walk away. This is the way you show you are in control. I myself would rather avoid any sort of misunderstanding or awkwardness (especially if you frequent the mall often and must face these people regularly). Either way, how you handle this battle of control is up to you.

        I knew I had lost all control the minute I was sitting in a chair in the middle of the mall getting my hair straightened by a good looking simpatico Israeli guy who was talking to me about the features of the beauty wonder while avoiding conversation about pricing. Sometimes we win, sometimes we fail. I mean, getting my hair straightened was better than getting two nails filed on my hand and having them be shiny for two weeks (previous trauma from nail booth). Either way, if you aren’t going to buy anything, make eye contact or don’t make eye contact, whip out your cell phone or keep it in your pocket-just walk away.


Cold and wet early one morning,
when one walked it was
through mists and fog,
the wind,compassionless.
A blustering autumn day.
Walking past old brick buildings,
decored with iron railings and dim lamp posts that flicker
if one looked,
one would realize one was standing in the midst of an end-
Golden wet leaves quivered on invisible strings to
their pathetic little tree branches,
pine needles carpeted the grass
who awaits to turn yellow and dry.
Everything is falling into a deep sleep. Dying.
Everything must die, it must go through the pain,
it must let go, it must fall…and still it radiates beauty.

So winter can disguise the death, and prepare a new beginning.

-Gabriela Yareliz Gonzalez