Stringing my Life Together: Purishpa takini, takishpa purini.

Follow me on my new blog!
2012/04/09, 00:33
Filed under: Uncategorized

Hi everyone! So in the interest of better organizing myself and beginning with a fresh start, I’m transitioning to a new blog that will cover my professional pursuits related to ethnomusicology. For now, I will be blogging about my fieldwork in Ecuador. Periodically, I will update this blog (jesvalsilva) but it will function as more of a personal blog from now on.

That being said, for the next several months, be sure to read about my adventures here:



B.A.D. Sushi and more travels ahead
2010/08/20, 00:29
Filed under: Uncategorized

As usual, it is the eve before another transcontinental, 4hr+ flight, and it does not look like I will be sleeping. I am pretty much all moved into my new apartment, though the mountain of a task of unpacking will be patiently awaiting my return later in September. Just a little more cleaning in the old apartment, packing for NY, and then hopefully a couple hours of shuteye.

I know I promised pictures from Ecuador, but since I’ve been a bit pressed for time, I thought I would mention my wonderful lunch from today.

My hunger pains came quite early as I was doing last minute cleaning and hauling laundry and other odds and ends to my new apartment down the street. I decided that sushi seemed like the perfect light lunch and headed down to Santa Monica Blvd. to try this new sushi place, B.A.D. Sushi, that opened while I was away in Ecuador.

11:20am I was at the door, but it was locked! Whoops, lunch service began at 11:30. Just as I was about to walk away, one of the staff came out and unlocked the door. Man am I so glad she did.

Living near Sawtelle, there are oodles of Japanese-themed restaurants, though I have mixed feelings of the two sushi bars that are on my block.

En Sushi has decent prices for happy hour and is good if you want to feel like you’re having a night on the town. You know, dress up a bit, and have a few cocktails or glasses of sake to go with your wonderful sushi.

California Sushi Roll is better than what you’d buy at Vons, but I really don’t recommend it. It’s not that much cheaper than places like En Sushi. The rolls are too big and you HAVE to take two bites, making it a difficult and sloppy meal, not to mention the rolls I have been served there have almost always been loose and falling apart. I also feel like the ingredients aren’t quite as fresh, which can be pretty traumatic when eating raw fish.

B.A.D. Sushi, however, was fantastic! I took an Eel+Avocado roll with two sashimi avocado pieces to go.
Service was a little slow, but it was definitely due to them not being quite set-up yet. In the meantime, I was served a tall glass of ice water (at 11:30am it was already getting to be pretty toasty, so much appreciated).

The roll was put together carefully and when I got home the rice still had that hint of warmth that is so great and you can only get with the freshest of sushi. The eel was delicious, slightly crispy, and the avocado creamy.

All in all, a wonderful lunch, and I can’t wait to hit this place up again when I get back from NY.

Plaza de Ponchos – Hatun Rwana Katuna-pampapi
2010/07/10, 10:27
Filed under: Uncategorized

Just checking in, finally! The days here have been pretty busy with classes, a little sight seeing, lots of Sanjuanito music learning, and soccer! When I get a moment to use the internet, it´s every few days and just for 15 minutes here or there. Unfortunately, most of my time today was used up filling out school-related information that is necessary, but tedious.

So far, some highlights have been:
– my host family, eating, chatting, and playing music with them
– dancing, singing, eating, and drinking all night when I got here to finish the last day of the Sanjuan festival (San Pedro, also known as the Dia de las mujeres or Warmikunapak punlla/raymi). I also went to see the Warmikunapak Punlla in Cotacachi.
– Soccer…Both watching Spain kick major ass and also playing some soccer with the host family. It´s been an adjustment running at an altitude of 2500 meters (I think but don´t quote me on that). It is, however, fantastic to have Imbabura in the distance behind one goal and Cotacachi on the other.
– Getting to meet up with Luz (my Kichwa professor at school)
– The food 🙂

I will try to post some pictures and elaborate a bit on a day that I haven´t gone overtime to take care of boring school stuff 😉
Take care, Ashtakashkaman…

More travels and new horizons
2010/06/14, 07:31
Filed under: Music, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , ,

Ah, the quarter and academic school year have finally come to an end. Since the protest, life has been hectic; I performed in multiple mariachi, jiagnan sizhu (Chinese silk and bamboo music), and bluegrass performances. The rest of the time was spent sitting in front of the computer working on my thesis and final papers, writing and editing ad nauseam. Many a night have I spent, staring at the computer with glazed eyes after not having left the confines of my apartment for the last day or two.

However, in the midst of all of that, I did have a fabulous spring break trip back to Spain. Sierra and I hit two soccer games (Valencia vs. Almería, and Atlético Madrid vs. Athletic Bilbao), three Mediterranean beaches, four cities, four fútbol stadiums, and pounds of café con leche, jamón serrano, and chocolate in just a mere 9 days! The best part, by far, was meeting up with old friends from my study abroad days four years ago. I was even able to show up and surprise most of them who had no idea that I was even coming! Sierra and I also stumbled across some new friends who stayed in the hostels with us.

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Unfortunately I had to come back to reality in Los Angeles. I finished my M.A. paper just a few weeks ago and as of yesterday, graduated with an M.A. in ethnomusicology! It wasn’t until later in the evening, when I was celebrating with friends over Salvadoran tamales, hotdogs, and strawberries that I realized how special it was that I am the first person in my immediate family who has graduated with a masters. Glad I am making the family proud 🙂

Looking forward, my summer travels will send me to the land of sanjuanitos and the Inti Raymi, where I will study Kichwa in Otavalo, Ecuador. Although the Andes and the summer abroad seem so far away, I have moments when my nerves and excitement remind me that I will board a plane headed to South America in just a few weeks. I’m nervous about the home stay, since the family I stayed with in Spain was less than friendly. The idea of eating kuy freaks me out because I’ve always had cute furry rodents for pets, and when I tried to watch the Bizarre Foods episode about roasted kuy, I began sobbing and had to change the channel, even though normally, I am open about trying new foods. In Mexico, I have eaten menudo, tacos de tripa (tripe tacos) and patitas (pigs feet) without a single wince! Tune in later to find out if I build up the courage to try it!

In general, though, I am feeling positive and am highly anticipating this trip. Ever since I was in high school I have been listening to sanjuanitos and have dreamt about going to South America one day. Where I grew up in central New York (state that is!), there are barely any mountains, just rolling, green hills and flat land. The mountains in Los Angeles never cease to place me in a stupor of amazement. I quickly got over the ubiquitous palm trees out here, but every day I see the mountains I can’t stop staring at them, studying all of their fine details, like someone would for a Picasso painting. I can only imagine the awesomeness of the Andes mountains. This trip is also important to me because I will be working on developing fluency in a third language! Here’s to hoping that I will be functional in spoken Kichwa by the time I come back! I haven’t decided on how many languages I want to try to be fluent in, but I know I will be one step closer to reaching one of my lifetime goals of being multilingual!

In the interest of using as little English or Spanish as possible (myself and the members of the Kichwa class have perfected the art of Spankichwinglish), I plan to at least try to write most of my posts in Kichwa. Don’t worry though, I will include pictures whenever possible! 🙂

Kutin punchakamanmi mashikuna! Kikinkunaka sumak sumak intipachata, puriykunatapashmi charipaychik!

(Until next time everyone! Have a wonderful summer and safe travels!)

Hiatus, Protests and Spain
2010/03/05, 08:55
Filed under: Uncategorized

Sorry for the long hiatus…though I have to admit, this will probably continue until April. The last several months have been action packed and there’s lots to write about, except I need to wait until I’m done with these final papers.

Then it’s spring break travels with my friend Sierra, and we’re going to Spain. I can’t wait, because it has been four years since I was last there!! Right now, that is the light at the end of my tunnel, keeping me excited to get the work done for this quarter.

In other news, I had a grand old time participating and playing music in the education protests today. I really hope this movement gains momentum and becomes the next major Civil Rights movement in this country. We sure as hell need one.

I was here, on the left!

PS: If you ever make your own college…never use the quarter system. Oh, and learn how to fund it properly. Thank you.

Nikon D40
2009/06/03, 07:17
Filed under: Fieldwork, Research, Uncategorized | Tags:

Hello again after quite some time!!

Many things have occurred since the last time I wrote…including many performances (one at Royce Hall with the mariachi group!), a trip to the east coast for the Sweetgrass conference, being harassed by both the Mounties and Homeland Security…and a crap load of work.

Though tonight, I caved and finally bought a Nikon D40 that I will use for my fieldwork this summer. I got it for a good deal, but I still feel a little shocked from dropping some $$$. I just couldn’t find what I wanted on eBay that would end at a time when I could bid competitively, so I went the refurbished route. Should be here soon…Thank you Ken Rockwell, Adorama Camera, and most of all, my friend Beto for giving me advice over and over again 🙂

Ah, next up, a camera bag, strap, and something to record music with! Handing in my revised IRB forms tomorrow…hopefully for the last time…

In 8 days, I will have more freedom…4 more papers to go and a final.

Nikon D40

Nikon D40

Three things I learned in the last 24 hours…
2009/04/21, 02:50
Filed under: Uncategorized

Although I’ve lived here for almost 8 months, there are times when I still feel like a clueless Nor’Easterner living in a land of palm trees…

1) In Los Angeles, you cannot purchase a transfer between a Metro city bus and another Metro city bus. Transfers are only valid for a transfer between a Metro city bus and a Municipal bus (Culver City, Santa Monica, etc.), DESPITE the fact that you can have both agency and interagency transfers with other bus lines (Culver City bus has free transfers between other CC buses and $0.25 transfers to Metro/other Municipal lines, Santa Monica Big Blue Bus has a $0.50 transfer between other SMBBBuses, Metro buses, Culver City buses, etc.) THIS IS QUITE POSSIBLY ONE OF THE MOST COUNTER-INTUITIVE, ASININE THINGS I have encountered in my life. I have traveled public transportation in New York City, Austin TX, Syracuse NY, Madrid, Paris, Berlin, Leipzig, Fuessen, Vienna, Salzburg, Venice, Rome, Mexico City, Leon Mexico, and Guanajuato Mexico…none of which ever came close to this type of a circus that L.A. public transit can be…I want to smack whoever came up with the NO AGENCY TRANSFERS BS.

2) Vending machines that are left outdoors in Los Angeles are problematic on a hot day (98 degree day). Don’t get a chocolate candy bar from them. I’ve never had this problem before because no one in their right mind has vending machines outdoors in the north east.

3) Whoever sat at the table outside next to the vending machines before me clearly had the same issue, but was a jerk and didn’t wipe up their mess. My OCD complex of snatching and hanging onto napkins and toilet paper for times like this paid off. [By the way, the far stall in the girl’s bathroom in the basement of Shoenberg Music Building has run out of toilet paper].

Okay, off to work on my paper about Marx’s <u>18th Brumaire</u>…