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Sustaining Traditions for Sustainability

CCA LiveE | Thursday May 5th, 2011 | 0 Comments

The following post is part of the course work for “Live Exchange” the foundational course on communication for The MBA Design Strategy Program at California College of the Arts. The rest of the posts are presented here.

By Jacqueline Cisneros

Moving to a new home or school can be quite challenging when you are an eight-year-old child. Fear of the unknown, making new friends, and basically starting over is a process. Even more challenging is when you find yourself moving to a new country where you don’t speak the native language, or move to a home that is far from what you are used to calling home. A place with a new culture, embodying traditions, different from ones you were raised in. This was my experience 22 years ago.

Although I was born in Redwood City, California, the first eight years of my life took place in a small town 45 minutes South of one of Mexico’s largest cities, Guadalajara. The town I grew up in is called Atoyac, which was a term used in the ancient Aztec language to describe “Place near the river”. It is in this town that I learned to speak my first words and in my first language, Español.  I have very fond memories of my childhood as a little girl who refused to wear jeans, primarily, because I didn’t like the rough texture of the cloth and also because I just simply adored dresses. I also remember how “free” I felt always playing outdoors with children from our block. Our creativity and imagination is all we used to instill fun in our lives. There were no devices like Nintendo, GameCube or Wii like there is today, and television was honestly the most boring place to sit in front of as Mexican “novelas” or soap operas always appeared to be on.

At age eight, my family and I moved back to the United States eventually settling in the Bay Area. I recall the experience being completely nerve raking primarily because 1). I didn’t speak English and 2.) I didn’t know anyone. Fortunately for me, I was able to befriend a little girl about my age named Iza in school. She was bilingual and taught me new words that helped me get by at least for the first few weeks. It’s amazing how 22 years later, I still remember every detail about her. Especially, the day she first approached me with a smile and asked, “Do you want to go to the monkey bars?” and me responding back with a complete blank, freaked out of my mind expression on my face. Shortly after, however, only a few months into living in the United States I was able to fully adopt the English language.

Transitioning into an American culture and adopting the English language was a process that took time, but once it did, it was a very welcomed novelty. As time passed, my family and I began to celebrate days like Halloween, Thanksgiving Day, and Easter, all while also continuing to observe important dates and events in the Mexican culture. Days like “Cinco de Mayo”, Our Lady of Guadalupe Day and Quinceañera celebrations.

In the DMBA program at CCA, I have learned a great deal about business, design and sustainability. Covering areas like managerial accounting, business model design, sustainability frameworks and LCA reports – just to mention a few. However, what blows me away is learning with and witnessing the dedication, passion, power and contribution a diverse group of students like ourselves have to make in the future.

By applying what we have learned and still have to learn, I have no doubt beautiful things will result. As I know from my own family history we keep traditions alive by sharing our stories and our experiences. In DMBA I have had the amazing opportunity to share stories and hear stories with people that many times have different traditions from my own. We at CCA celebrate diversity and by doing so we also help sustain many traditions.

As a mother of two beautiful little boys, ages 8 and 2, I look at my children and want to teach them what my mother once taught me, but also look forward to teaching them what my experiences have taught me as well.


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