Project Dissertation

I moved to this fabulous city three years ago mainly to; be near an airport for travel, be able to not trade my stilletos for trainers, and to finish my doctoral studies in four years. Yes, that pretty much sums up my priorities at 30. So now I am ABD with nine months to go and San Francisco is no easy city to ignore. Although, I would argue that each experience that deters my academic writing is really just needed inspiration. Welcome and I hope you enjoy...

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Location: San Francisco, California, United States

Bilingual, Bicultural, and Dual Citizen. J School B.A., M.A. in High Incidence Disabilities, & ABD in Education.

Friday, June 08, 2007

The Dress

Two hours at a mega-store with a 13 year old girl shopping for a graduation outfit:

What size do you wear? "I don't know." You look like a two or 3, maybe a 5? "3, I think."

Okay, what colors do you like? As I pick up a creme and brown pattern shirt dress with a full skirt and wide belt. "That is ugly." Okay, is it the color or the dress style?

"I like this." She holds up a plunging black halter dress of that very thin disposable material with pink blotches of shimmery gunk on it.

Lets hold on to that, I am not sure it is an appropriate daytime dress. She gave me a puzzled look- I smiled.

"How about red, I like this." It is a nice dress but dress-code rules apply no red, no blue. "Okay."

Do you like this? I hold up a silky v-cut dress with a pink and beige swirl pattern. "Maybe, it is too colorful." Did you have a favorite color? "Red." Right.

There it was a soft brown halter dress, no plunging neckline, straight across the back, drop waist and pleated skirt. I think, to myself be nonchalant, and hold up the dress, would you try this on. She tilts her head, "yes, add it to the rest."

Do you want to look at some coordinates, like skirts and tops? "No, I am done shopping."

We go through the dresses, she wants the black with pink, I want the brown halter. We easily leave the swirly silk dress aside. "I want this."

Well, that is an evening dress. "Why?" The material, the glittery-ness, more appropriate for an evening event- not really your day time graduation. Can you understand that? Holding my breath, "yes, I am not trying it on though." Then I am not able to buy it for you, we need to make sure it is not too low cut.

She walks into the dressing room with one brown dress. I am hoping I picked her size and shape correctly. Maybe some of my mami's super powers will be here with me. We still have the shoes and the accessories to is going to be a long morning- I know.

Does it fit. "Yes." Can I see it? She comes out, and I try to not be too surprised that it fits perfectly. Do you like it? "Yes." Great, do you have a strapless bra? "No." Okay, do you know your size? "Yes." No that can't be it. "I know my size."

Off we go, I try to explain that we should look for a convertible halter bra. She has no idea what I am talking about. I show her one in the wrong size. She finds pink and black ones. I tell her the dress is brown, it should be brown or beige. "Why" Well if it shows, it will stand out less.

Back to the fitting room. "It is too small." No, it can't be. "It is!" from the hall I explain how to adjust it before heading out to find one more. I come back, and there she is in the hall. "I fixed it like you said." It fit? Is it on? "Duh." Perfect lets go pick out shoes.

"Those are ugly, I like these." You are 13, those are too high. Are your toes done? "Yes." "How about these?" A small heeled sandal in brown, those are really nice. Will you try them on? "No." How will you know if they fit?!

Dios mio, this is more work than I remember. I decide to look for shoes for myself, retail therapy sounds like what I might need. "They fit."

Your toes are not done, huh? "No, I am going today." Who is taking you? "My therapist." What about your hair? "My Auntie."

Okay, let's get you a wrap. "I am not going to wear it." Can we just look? It might be chilly in the morning, you will need it for your shoulders.

I didn't see anything I liked. Until she held up a silky swirly beige and brown one. "Do you like this?" It is perfect. Do you like it? "That's why I am showing it to you." Okay. I completely forgot about earings. We were running out of time. School would be out and I was expected at a faculty luncheon.

We got in line and she said, "you are really annoying to shop with. You have an opinion about everything." Well at least you know what I am thinking. Thank you for compromising on the outfit with me, she smiled.

I paid we headed out the store, I really needed a cup of coffee I could smell it in the air, but we were out of time. "Thank you for bringing me shopping." Your welcome, thank you for letting me be annoying. "Its okay."


Graduation was perfect. The therapist never showed up but her toes were done. When I noticed she didn't have earrings on I felt a pang of guilt for forgetting them. She ws wearing her wrap, she seemed happy. The guardian that had kicked her out of her home showed up, in a shimmery evening dress to a 10am graduation.

Of the ten years in the field, these are some of the moments I will miss most.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

muy cute. I am sure all the students whose lives you passed through will remember you and those moments too.

12:25 PM  
Blogger Lorena said...

or at least they will have a cute outfit :)

5:07 PM  
Anonymous Tricia said...

Thanks for writing this.

4:19 AM  
Blogger Lorena said...

your welcome, made me a bit nostalgic , re-reading it.

3:39 PM  

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