Cuentos, Escuela


I moved in to the dorms on August 3, 1998, well before the start of fall quarter. I’d been admitted to a summer bridge program for “disadvantaged” students. The experience was great and really helped me have a strong transition to college, but it wasn’t easy at first.

The Monday morning I moved in, Danny drove me to campus. He brought along Lori and Adrian to help. I don’t remember why my parents didn’t go, but it was probably related to work and the fact that few days later they’d be on campus for the 1-day parent orientation. Still, they weren’t missed at the moment. The siblings were more than enough help.

Once I’d checked in and received my key, we took my stuff up to my room on the third floor of the north wing. The floor was already busy with other students and their parents moving in.

I don’t remember if Lily had already arrived at the room. The details aren’t scribbled in my old journal. I do know she was in the room before we finished moving and the siblings left. Lily was one of several students from Garfield HS in the program. She left to lunch with some other students from her high school.

The siblings stuck around a little while, but soon they had to leave. I walked them out. They hugged me and wished me luck.

When I returned to my room, all that waited for me were a few boxes ready to unpack. I sat on the bet, a bit overwhelmed and feeling lonelier than ever. And I cried.


Every summer for the past 4 years I’ve gone back to dorms about once a week to meet incoming freshmen for work. I was up there this morning, admiring how “the hill” — the residence hall area — has changed. After my meeting, I walked over to the shiny, new Bruin Café and had a drink. I pulled out the Adrian Tomine book Sean lent me and got to reading.

Except for the newness of sitting in the Bruin Café, sitting by myself at table didn’t feel strange. I wasn’t embarrassed or terrified of it as I was on my first day at UCLA. I didn’t know anyone and didn’t want to eat at a table alone. Rather than go hungry, I bought a sandwich from the convenience store on the hill and ate in my room.

I still feel alone sometimes, far from my family, but I’m more comfortable with it. I’ve become quite independent and there are times when I relish in those quiet moments.

But there are still times when I want nothing more than to be back in Hacienda Heights with the parents and siblings. Invariably, those are the times when I get bad/sad news and just need a hug.


Man, this is baseball. You gotta stop thinking.

“I could have swore you wrote this,” Sean said in an IM (even though he’s in Westwood Village and I’m on campus).

“I didn’t,” but I’ve written something very similar (the advantages of blogging for nearly 10 years). I fished around the archives of my current and old blog and found the post. It’s still relevant.

Oh yes. Sean passes the test. Of course he does.

yeah, yeah, i love the sandlot [04.18.05]

Last fall I accompanied my best guy friend, Eligio, to the movies. I can’t remember what we watched, but for some reason I think it was related to sports. Anyway, I mentioned that I loved baseball movies and The Sandlot was my favorite. And then Eligio dropped a bomb on me. He confessed that he had never seen the film.

I said something along the lines of, “You’re killing me, Eligio! What?! We’ve been friends how long? How come I never knew this about you?!”

From that point on, our friendship has been different and even a little strained.

It might have not surprised me if Eligio was not as much of a baseball fan as me. We have a lot in common and I just assumed that he always caught on to the frequent references I make to The Sandlot in everyday dialogue. But he hadn’t.

When the film was released in 1993, I immediately loved it. Rather, I loved Benny “the Jet” Rodriguez (Mike Vitar). Yeah-yeah, I was swooning every single time Benny’s beautiful face and intense green eyes filled the screen.

It didn’t hurt that the film was focused on one of my favorite subjects, baseball, that there was plenty of witty dialogue, and that Benny was the star of the film.

If you ask me what my all-time favorite film is, I will always respond with The Sandlot. There are other films I enjoy that are more profound, artistic, and (let’s face it) mature. However, these are films I’ve liked for a much shorter time.

I’ve watched The Sandlot dozens of times in the last twelve years and still have not outgrown the humor and silly gags. If you watch it with me, you might even get annoyed because I have the habit of quoting nearly every line.

I currently do a Sandlot test of most people I meet. I quote a few lines and see if he/she catch the reference. If he/she doesn’t, I know we’re not soulmates nor is he/she a potential best friend. Yeah yeah, it is that serious.

A few of my favorite lines [The Sandlot script]:

  • Benny: Anyone who wants to be a can’t-hack-it pantywaist who wears their mama’s bra, raise your hand.
  • Benny: Man, this is baseball. You gotta stop thinking.
  • Benny: I bet you get straight A’s and shit.
    Smalls: No, I got a B once, but it should have been an A…
  • Squints: If you’da been thinkin you wouldn’t ‘a thought that.
  • Squints: It’s about time Benny, my clothes are goin’ outta style.
  • The Babe: Heroes get remembered, but legends never die. Follow your heart, kid, and you’ll never go wrong.
  • Ham: Hey, Smalls, you wanna s’more?
    Smalls: I haven’t had anything.
    Ham: No, do you wanna s’more?
    Smalls: How can I have some more of nothing?
    Ham: You’re killing me Smalls!
  • Ham: This pop isn’t workin’, Benny! I’m bakin’ like a toasted cheeser! It’s so hot here!
  • Smalls (adult): Even my own mom, a grown-up girl, knew who Babe Ruth was.
  • Ham: You play ball like a girl!
  • Squints: Come on, Benny. Man. The kid is a L, 7, WEENIE!
    Yeah Yeah: Yeah-yeah, a real square
    Squints: Oscar Meyer even, foot-long, a Dodger Dog!
  • Mr. Mertle: Baseball was life! And I was good at it… real good.
  • Squints: forever!
  • Mom: You’ll always be just an egghead with an attitude like that.

Photo credit: Sean