Issue 3 Diversity Fall 2018
Brooklyn Lodz Seattle Seoul Sevilla Sidi Ifni Stockholm Zanzibar
Letter from the Editor Humans: each face, language, culture, cuisine, hobby, and musical genre that we identify with as individuals makes us different from any another person on this planet. But, sometimes it can be difficult to fully appreciate all these differences. We see them as something that separates us, and so we resort to judging others and become restricted by our own preconceived ideas. Brick by brick, we trap ourselves within an unyielding and intolerant mindset that prevents us from fully understanding this important fact:
Our differences are what make us human.
Guac was created with this in mind. Our team wants to facilitate a dialogue that will connect people who are hiding behind the walls they’ve built. Our hope is that within the pages of our magazine, readers will find inspiration to question their own preconceptions about the world and those who inhabit it. In the end, we hope that our new articles and photos, fresh from the pens and cameras of our very talented group of writers and photographers, will start you on a journey of discovery and appreciation for the unique. I am excited to share with you Guac’s latest issue – Diversity. We decided to leave the meaning of “diversity” open to our writers’ own interpretations, the result being an issue that brings a wealth of ideas together. In it, you can hear the voices of the LGBTQ community in Brooklyn, discover the hidden secrets of Zanzibar and explore a collegetown full of fascinating young minds in faraway Seoul. As editorin-chief, I am truly proud to say that this issue goes beyond the realm of our earlier publications in capturing a myriad of perspectives. In addition to our print issue, I invite you to check out our website and our publications on Medium, where we have more excellent content, thanks to the dedication of our staff. I sincerely hope you will keep an open mind while reading our publication, and that as a result, you can share my enthusiasm for the true beauty this world has to offer.
Zeyu Hu Editor-in-Chief 2
Table of Contents
Letter from the Editor
A Home for Whom?
Summer in Seattle
“Lost” in Stockholm
Hidden Pockets of Mystery
Serendipity Rides on a Donkey
For an Extraordinary Life
The Meaning of “Negro”
Sidi Ifni, Morocco
A Home for Whom? WORDS
Daniel Bromberg PLACE
Hosting some of the largest pride parades and landmarks essential to LGBTQ+ history, New York City is often considered the center for LGBTQ+ culture. The cobblestones outlining the Stonewall Inn trace through the West Village and lead towards Queens, the Bronx, and Brooklyn. Past the LGBT flag infested Park Slope and Prospect Heights, however, lies South Brooklyn. Divided along Prospect Park, North and South Brooklyn exemplify the strict contrast between immigrant communities and the more affluent inhabitants of New York. I easily notice how buildings shrink and roads expand as I drive further South, but I cannot help feeling more at home as I approach the dilapidated center of New York City’s robust Russian community. Visitors are often surprised when they realize how different Brighton Beach is
a pastry and browsing for books, I usually walk down to the boardwalk, where sand and ocean encroach onto the lively shorefront. The famous Volna and Tatiana restaurants sit adjacently on the waterfront, hosting lunches, banquets, and daily celebrations. Brighton Beach can properly be described as the epitomic center for Russian life in New York City—a community of constant feasting, drinking, and laughing. But not all members of the Russian community share this view. While Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin legalized homosexual and transgender activity across the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), Joseph Stalin’s later leadership reimposed the criminalization of homosexuality with penalties of hard labor. Stalin’s and Khrushchev’s regimes effectively pushed a narrative conflating homosexuality with the decadent bourgeois ruling class. In 1984, secret police belonging to the USSR’s notorious KGB
from the communities just a few miles north. The above-ground subway provides a shadowy comfort for those seeking to enjoy the many shops Brighton has to offer. While Russian language proficiency may be needed to bargain for more elusive treats, the majority of the wares are open to most. Pre-war apartment buildings, now converted to store-fronts, line the cracked sidewalks and bustling roads. Russian Babushki (grandmothers) tighten their shawls and extend their hands, beckoning hungry souls to approach and browse their wide selection of Pirozhki (fried buns filled with meat, potatoes and cheese, to name a few). Snuggled between these eateries sit portals back to the mother country in the form of clothing stores and bookstores. Entering the St-Petersburg bookstore transports its visitor into a Soviet-era wonderland, where as a child I would indulge in translated Harry Potter novels and Pushkin poetry books. After getting 6
shut down efforts to organize the first official gay rights organization in the Soviet Union. Further, a 1989 poll reported that homosexuals were the most hated group in Russian society. Exposed to state propaganda, Soviet citizens largely internalized homophobic ideas, before bringing those mentalities to New York City, home to one of the largest LGBTQ+ populations in the world.
Children of Soviet immigrants, exposed to the robust LGBTQ+ culture present in New York City have adopted ideals diametrically opposed to those of their families. Many identifying as LGBTQ+ have an especially difficult experience, sitting at the intersection between culture, family, and self-identity. No longer willing to sit back idly and quietly suffer oppression within their own community, 7
Many identifying as LGBTQ+ have an especially difficult experience, sitting at the intersection between culture, family, and self-identity.
Snegurachka and other figures from Russian folklore on the Brighton Beach boardwalk.
community forever. Miles north, from Prospect Park to Hell’s Kitchen, LGBTQ+ individuals and allies stood in solidarity, uniting all of New York City under an aura of inclusion and acceptance — if only for a brief moment.
LGBTQ+ identifying Soviet émigrés of a younger generation created Brighton Beach Pride. First taking place in 2017, Brighton Beach Pride aimed to break the silence in the Soviet immigrant community and bring the presence of LGBTQ+ individuals into the consciousness of its inhabitants. Bright Pride flags inundated the boardwalk and the space of its usual inhabitants, the elderly immigrants and beach-goers. Pridegoers trekked down the wooden planks, armed with signs in Cyrillic refuting hate and exclusion. No longer could exclusively Russian-speakers ignore the presence of LGBTQ+ individuals in their community. Proud LGBT Soviets, ready to come out of the shadows, marched. Some were dressed in their ordinary attire, while others downed gowns meant to resemble those of characters in Russian folklore. Men dressed as Snegurochka (The Snow Maiden) attracted the gaze of the unsuspecting community. The 2017 Pride Parade interrupted the waterside view afforded to the patrons of Tatyana and Volna. Nonetheless, the aura of solidarity protected those in the space against the exclusionary shouts and glares made by homophobic community members. Together, by taking a stand against hatred and exclusion, Soviet LGBTQ+ identifying individuals reclaimed their culture, their space, and their birthright to both culture and sexuality, irrevocably changing the dynamic of the insular Brighton Beach
Daniel Bromberg is from Brooklyn, NY. His favorite city is New York City as he values the diversity of cultures, perspectives, and great foods inhabiting every neighborhood of the sprawling city. 9
A herd of goats graze on the mountainside near the summit of Mount Boutmezguida in the Anti-Atlas mountains outside Sidi Ifni
Dana Slayton PLACE
Sidi Ifni, Morocco
Serendipity Rides on a Donkey 11
southwestern Morocco lie far outside the scope of most treks and travels through the country, nearly thirteen hours away from my home in Rabat. They run almost directly into the Atlantic Ocean in the west and shield the country from the Sahara in the east. From the top of Mount Boutmezguida, you can see the beginnings of sand dunes in the far distance behind you and the white-crashing waves ahead. The steep hike up the mountain felt like ascending the moon, with soft red dirt eventually yielding to abandoned terraces where the cacti stretched out their spiny arms to overtake the once-tilled land. At the tree line near the last tiny village on the way to the summit, even the sturdy cacti surrendered
Over the course of a day-long hiking project, the small donkey who had been accompanying me, affectionately nicknamed Porsche, consistently outperformed every one of his human counterparts. While we scrambled for footing for hours along trails peppered with only loose gravel and the occasional shrub, Porsche simply trudged onward unassumingly, quietly and considerably less perturbed by the length and difficulty of our ascent up Mount Boutmezguida on a warm afternoon in January. Considering that the extent of my climbing experience could easily be encompassed by my two-mile walk to school, it was safe to say Porsche became my inspiration that day. The Anti-Atlas mountains in 12
The steep hike up the mountain feels like ascending the moon, with soft red dirt eventually yielding to abandoned terraces where the cacti have outdone themselves in stretching out their spiny arms to overtake the once-tilled land.
determined a donkey in motion would tend to stay in motion, but a donkey at rest, much to my chagrin, would tend to stay at rest. “Yallah, ya Porsche,” I tried in Arabic. Let’s go, Porsche. “Aafak, yallah,” I ventured again. Please go. “Siiri, ya habiba dyali,” I urged her. Go on, babe. I expanded my arsenal of terms of endearment with every new attempt to get her moving. Despairing that my inspirational caravan porter had decided so inconveniently to desist from her task so near to the summit, I was startled by the approach of a boy no more than eight from behind me. He had followed us along the trail up from the last village we had
to sandstone. The final part of our climb, the steepest part in which I really and truly drew all of my strength from the rhythm of Porsche’s steady, certain footsteps, was almost quiet. The rocks did not echo with the sound of another human voice for a long time. It felt very much like walking in between worlds. I might have missed the child approaching my little donkey caravan, so lost was I in the wild and beautiful moon landscape on all sides of me, had it not been for Porsche’s sudden decision to halt. It seemed that even my trustiest companion had become tired of moving. When I reached her — she had stopped a few paces ahead of me — I began the arduous task of overcoming the laws of nature that 13
Previous spread, clockwise: Rocky mountain landscapes define most of Ait Baamrane territory, the Amazigh tribal group that inhabits the area around Mount Boutmezguida and Sidi Ifni. In the distance of this picture, you can see the Sahara beginning; the faithful Porsche, photo by Sarah KilbargerStumpff; the author pictured with the faithful Porsche; a local man takes a break in this side street in Sidi Ifni’s blue-and-white, extraordinarily colorcoordinated colonial quarter.
passed without incident. When the shadows started to lengthen and our group had piled back rather precariously into the trunk of the van that had taken us to the base of the mountain, we waved goodbye to Porsche and her handlers, heading back to the nearby coastal town of Sidi Ifni for the best night’s sleep of our lives. The red cliffs and argan trees gave way to the whitewashed walls of artdeco buildings, reminders of the town’s halfcentury stint as a busy Spanish port even as the residents ambled about the streets wearing full melhfa, the hallmark garment of Amazigh people in southern Morocco. Porsche and her stubborn refusal to move, like so many other instances during my time living in Morocco, was an inconvenience at first glance which ended serendipitously. As human beings, we are used to constant motion. It comforts us, so we have to stand still, to stop moving for a moment, to listen, in order to realize what we have been missing. Sometimes, all it takes is a voice. Sometimes, it’s a mountain. And other times, the most extraordinary moments — the most important adventures — come carried on the back of a donkey.
passed, and he was chattering loud enough to break the settled silence that filled the air in the high mountains. I didn’t understand a word he was saying. He approached Porsche and me, clearly addressing us directly, and likely attempting to advise me on how best to encourage my donkey, yet his speech bounced off my untrained ears without so much as a word of comprehension. When my guide reached our small, strange, stopped cadre, the boy was clearly relieved. A soft-spoken and knowledgeable woman from the area around Boutmezguida, she conversed comfortably with the child for a few minutes until, satisfied, the boy went on his way. Turning to Porsche, she smiled and chuckled at my feeble attempts to make her move. “This is an Amazigh donkey,” she explained. “The boy was trying to tell you how to make her go.” It struck me as quite an impressive failure on my part that I had not so much as considered this possibility. Living in Morocco, especially in a large, cosmopolitan city like Rabat, it was so easy to forget that every facet of life could change in the bled, the countryside. “What do I say to her?” “Arra,” my guide answered. “It means go in Tamazight.” “Arra,” I repeated to Porsche, who, being an Amazigh donkey and all, responded immediately to the command once I repeated it in her mother tongue. The rest of our ascent
Dana Slayton is originally from Richmond, Virginia. While she proudly agrees with the classification of her hometown as “The Paris of the South,” her heart belongs to Marrakech, Morocco. It is her favorite city in the world because of its constant bustle, exuberant spirit, and rockin’ music scene. 14
Glancing up the valley near Boutmezguida, argan trees and cacti cling to bare rock as far as the eye can see.
Summer in Seattle WORDS
Celine Choo PLACE
city’s nooks and crannies. It was unlike any city I’d been to before. My housemate and I, who were both there for a summer internship, had found housing in the University of Washington (UW) area, and thus spent the summer living with six other UW students. The day I arrived on the plane to the city, my subletter gave us a tour of the campus, which was my first taste of the city. We went to the “Harry Potter library” (I guess every campus needs to have one alleged “Harry Potter library” — see: E.B.White in Uris Library), we walked through the Red Square, which, when populated with students, looked almost like a town square in a European city, and eventually arrived at Rainier Vista. At the vista, I immediately felt jealous of the students — every day they had access to an amazing view of Rainier, decorated with trees on the side and a fountain right under it. Everything from the exterior architecture to the interior
Before you visit a city for the first time, it isn’t really a place more so than it is a concept. It’s an accumulation of google searches, travel articles, videos of the scenery, word of mouth stories of the exciting adventures, the great food, the ‘you have to go here’. It’s everything you’ve seen of it in the movies, all of the biggest landmarks you’ve heard about. But once in the retrospective, it becomes a set of memories: a smell, a taste, a playlist, a car ride, an inside joke or two (or ten). No place, once visited for long enough, stays as just a place. It becomes stitched into the fabric of time. To me, Seattle is a combination of three months, several rental cars, about fifty songs, and ten friends. It was the freedom of every weekend, the King County Sound Transit system (the 255 line and each of the quirky bus drivers), the food, the parks, the hikes. I was there for an internship at Google, but during all of the off-work hours I spent time exploring the 16
design of the buildings to the outdoor areas looked beautiful. I found myself noting, “I’ll study here next time” and then quickly realized I wasn’t enrolled at this institution. It was on this first day that I realized immediately that Seattle is probably the greenest city I’ve been to. Between the hilly streets, there are pockets and patches of trees, mini-parks, and rows of bushes. On my walk home from work every day, I would pass by a street close to UW’s frat row that looked too beautiful to be true. In the evening light, it looked like one of those picturesque shots in a movie set in Boston: between two blocks of colorful houses, the street was divided by a stretch of grass lined symmetrically with trees and little stone blocks. Images like these formed my entire memory of the place. I could tell that the university cares very much about the beautiful environment in which it was built. Aside from the Rainier Vista, one of my favorite parts of the campus is the area near the Husky Stadium, where they also have the Recreation/Aquatic Center. The center offers very affordable hourly prices for renting canoes, kayaks, and rowboats. When split between a couple of friends, it’s practically free and definitely worth checking out. I remember it was during one of our last weekends that my friends and I rented a four person canoe for an hour and waded around Lake Union, playing music on one of our slightly crude phone speakers and admiring the beautiful view around us. There is also a small, under-advertised area called the Marsh Trails, a set of paths along the border of that same lake. I only thought about going to this place because the beautiful lily pads in the water caught my eye as I crossed the bridge one morning before work. A couple of weeks later, I found time to visit the area — one of the few places I visited that someone hadn’t recommended. But as I walked through it, I realized that even the underrated places
in the city were beautiful; the trails felt like a magical wonderland, from the lily pads to the rickety boardwalks to the tiny detours. It felt like a meditation walk, a siloed part of the world that seemed to float in peace, isolated from the worries of its neighbors. But of course no Seattle street beats the beauty of Washington’s hiking trails. One of the major things that I did, especially in the first half of the summer, was go on hikes in the areas southeast of Seattle. As someone who hadn’t gone hiking before this summer, I dove into a pretty intense hike the first weekend I arrived. My intern friends and I rented a couple of cars and embarked on an adventure to a trail called Snow Lake. Little did we know that it had such a name because most of the trail was covered in more than a foot of snow during the earlier months of the summer. Upon arriving, we quickly learned this for ourselves as we hiked nearly half of the trail on all fours, clutching the snow to keep us from sliding down the sloped terrain. Nevertheless, we persisted and made it to a significant milestone, where I had my first breathtaking view of nature. Most weekends afterwards we found new trails to follow. By far one of the most beautiful hikes that summer was at Mount Rainier, the tallest mountain in the continental US. The mountain itself takes at least some training and a couple of days to hike to the top. Though we heard 19
and little areas to relax. Gas Works Park was one of my favorites. Half of the park looks like an abandoned steampunk movie set and the other half a picturesque field with a great cityscape view. Those familiar with San Francisco would probably describe it as the Dolores Park of Seattle (imagine the hill, the bubbles that someone is always blowing, the smell of weed, music playing on nondescript speakers somewhere in the park). I remember sitting on the hill on my second to last week there, zoning out and staring at the flickering lights of the city on the other side of the lake. Sitting there long enough made me want to stay there forever. A picnic blanket, a notebook, a couple of drinks, a handful of close friends, a sunset, staring at the boats making little water capes behind them as they waded through the lake. It was the kind of view you’d want to see while lying down after a long day. At one point, we decided we wanted to
many good reviews of this experience, we didn’t have the time and dedication to scale the actual mountain and so we went on the Skyline trail. It was still totally worth it. We woke up early, packed ham and turkey sandwiches with white bread and a slice of cheese into ziploc bags (Later we learned we miscalculated the sandwich to hungry person ratio and had to share a couple, but it’s those mishaps that make a journey memorable, right?), brought a bunch of fig and granola bars, threw enough water bottles into our backpacks to weigh us down, and embarked on a day trip to Rainier. Every once in a while we would hit a very picturesque area where people gathered around to admire the view and take pictures. At one point, we even reached a snowy hill where people were sliding down a small portion of it, using a trash bag and passing it on to the next person. On days we didn’t want to exert too much energy, we found our way to great parks 20
No place, once visited for long enough, stays as just a place. It becomes sitched into the fabric of time.
For me, the summer was one of diversity because it exposed me to new experiences I hadn’t had before. Whether it was our discussions about our backgrounds, experiences, political views, or even music tastes (we each queued songs onto the car’s speakers, which ranged from Bollywood music to Chinese ballads to alternative rock to indie funk), we were all accepting of each other and the differences we had. It was through so many shared journeys that I was able to experience a variety of places and people.
have a bonfire. A couple of quick searches told us that Golden Gardens, a place in the western area of Seattle, would be our best bet. On a Saturday, a couple of us woke up early to go to the beach to claim a pit (because there was a limited supply, it was known that the pits ran out quickly on the weekends). We bought a couple of huge Subway sandwiches, brought a couple of drinks and snacks, claimed the spot by throwing down our stuff, then ran into the water to enjoy the ocean (or really, dare each other into dunking into the freezing cold water. By chance we met another group of interns that also worked at our company, so we grouped together and blasted music, played generic beach games, barbecued hot dogs, talked, and made s’mores until the sun went down. It felt like one of those movie scenes with a crackling fire and a bunch of young people talking about uncertainty and their fragile identities.
Celine Choo is from Holmdel, New Jersey. Her favorite city is either Seattle or San Francisco (she needs more time to decide). 21
“Lost” in Stockholm WORDS
Kevin Jiang PLACE
the Golden Hall (which is decorated with over 18 million mosaic pieces of glass and gold). My next destination, the Royal Palace, was equally mesmerizing. The tremendous palace, built in the 1700s and painted pastel brown and yellow on the outside, holds more than 1,400 rooms. Even without a guided tour, the Palace still offers an irresistible chance for a taste of royal life. Two unique features of the palace which differentiate it from other grand palaces in Europe are the exhibition dedicated to royalty’s ceremonial outfits and a chamber furnished in 70s styles. Both share insight into the life and duties of the modern royal family. One good thing about sightseeing in Stockholm is that a lot of the famous architecture and historical sights reside near one another within the city. Coming out from the backdoor of the Royal Palace, I was directly facing Gamla Stan, the medieval old town. Ochre-colored houses sit close to one another
There are three amazing things about Stockholm: its history, people, and cuisine. It is the capital of Sweden, a Scandinavian nation with centuries of heritage and thousands of coastal islands and inland lakes. Connected by more than 50 bridges and built on 14 islands, Stockholm houses 2.3 million people in its metropolitan area. It was settled during the Stone Age and was founded as a city in 1252. When I got the chance to visit, fueled with excitement and curiosity, I ventured on without knowing what was waiting for me. My first stop, the Stockholm City Hall, is the building of the Municipal Council for the city. Famous for its grand ceremonial halls and unique pieces of art, City Hall is most well-known for hosting the Nobel Prize banquet each year. The guided tour is a must, and be sure to check out the Blue Hall (which is actually red), the Prince’s Gallery (with the mural pointed by Sweden’s Prince Eugen), and 23
while busy restaurants, cafes, boutiques, and souvenir shops occupy the aged, cobblestone streets. Just as I ventured into Gamla Stan, jet lag suddenly hit me. Unable to keep my eyes open and my body properly functioning, I needed a good, strong coffee americano to continue my journey. And that was when the “accident” took place. “Can you pass me my wallet in the bag?” “Yeah, sure. Just one second. But wait... where is my bag?” “What do you mean, ‘where is your bag?’ You put it right under the table.” “It’s not there anymore…” After resting a bit in a small café in Gamla Stan, while going through the photos I had taken throughout the day, my mom and I noticed that our bag, which I had left under the table, had disappeared. Yep, that’s right, I lost the entire backpack on the first day of travelling.
Deprived of wallets, travel documents, sunscreen, sunglasses, and basically everything needed for travelling, we were left with the one credit card that I had kept in my pocket. Though upset at the situation, I was nevertheless surprised and comforted by the warmth of the locals. After hearing about what happened, the owner of the café ran out to comfort my mom and communicate with the local police. As I was running around the medieval alleys, circulating back and forth between fountains, statues, and small churches, looking into trash cans to see if our travel documents were at least thrown out, two shop owners sitting along the streets joined my search and started digging through the trash cans as well. However, our effort was futile in the end. Frustrated and tired, we wandered aimlessly from Gamla Stan to the city’s central port. It was already around 6 PM, but the 26
sunshine showed no trace of dimming, and it cast a golden tint over the entire cityscape. With an average height of five stories and a unified yellow-orange color theme, the buildings, which were mostly constructed in the 17th century, resembled each other in architectural style. Between the buildings, cobblestone paths ran across the city plane while locals immersed themselves in thoughts and conversations alongside the river. Suddenly, upon spotting a group of people dressed in suits and gowns congregating in front of a tour boat, we decided to find out what was happening. One of the crew members explained that this was a weekly cruise tour that served fresh shrimp and seafood platters but also required a reservation at least one month in advance. Disappointed and ready to leave, we were once again surprised by â€œfate.â€? Another crew member who overheard our conversation
called us back and told us that one couple had canceled their reservation last-minute due to an emergency, and that we could hop on if we wanted. Without a second of hesitation, my mom and I advanced. After boarding the ship, we were welcomed by an ivory tablecloth, crystal wine glasses, and a sweet floral aroma in the air. The waiters soon seated us along the window and displayed the menu, which included shrimp scampi, salmon, and champagne. It was around 8 PM when the cruise sailed out of the port and started roaming gracefully through the islands during golden hours. Surrounded by fresh seafood, sunset, and nature, the lost bag was already out of my mind. From the reflective river, to the cottages hidden in nature, to the modern luxury apartments, everything seemed like an impressionist painting under the violetblue infused sky. 28
Ever since I came back, I have been wondering what was so mesmerizing about Stockholm. What made me want to revisit again and again, even after my little â€œaccidentâ€?? The answer is clear to me now, as I am recalling the memories and images in my mind: itâ€™s the infinite possibilities one can encounter in this magical city.
Kevin Jiang is a sophomore majoring in History of Art and Economics from Shanghai, China. Outside of school, he is passionate about fashion, photography, and karaoke. His favorite cities are Copenhagen and Florence because of their rich artistic culture and unique aesthetic values, demonstrated by the people, fashion, interior design, and architecture there. 29
The Meaning of “Negro”
Joshua Jordan PLACE
black culture has come to embody not only its traumatic history and continued strife, but also universal joy and pride that just about anybody can understand, especially young black children. My transition to young adulthood was defined by my coming of age while black culture came of age (again). This is all to say that I love, celebrate, and understand my blackness as much as I can, even when it isn’t easy. Blackness is a journey, one that asks you to overcome personal and external obstacles to feel pride and bliss, and I take one step every day towards achieving contentment with myself. Moreover, I’ve learned to embrace every corner of my person, synthesizing my blackness with all of my identities to better understand myself, and building my empathy for identities that I cannot understand. Up until nine months ago,
When I was younger, my dad used to call other black people “negro.” It was a term of endearment, like a nickname for a friend, that reclaimed and softened another n-word that African-Americans have heard in less friendly circumstances. My dad would call my sister and I “negroes,” and it would make me feel strange. Being exposed to my mother’s Guyanese culture, my hometown’s white American culture, and being an unaware kid complicated the journey to understanding my blackness. What did it mean to be “negro”? As I grew up, I realized that blackness in America is a special thing. Right now, in contemporary American culture, blackness is multidimensional and amorphous, growing between and through the very tensions that it causes. From Beyoncé and Black Panther to #BlackLivesMatter and Colin Kaepernick, 32
Left: Plaza de España in early February, deserted despite it being 60 degrees Middle: An empty plaza in the morning before cafes open, lined by orange trees Right: A corner of a typical sevillano plaza, painted in the colors of the Spanish flag
hair product to maintain my curls? Fortunately, I was blessed with a marvelous, generous, incredible host family that took me in like their own hijo. Local cuisine was unlike anything that I’ve eaten before (tapas and sangria, anybody?), and yes, I did find hair products, which I still use to this day, even if they burn my scalp a little bit. Eventually I was comfortable in my new home, but I also found myself rediscovering what it meant to be black. I discovered what it meant to be a black American through discovering what it meant to be African in Spain. In Spanish, “negro” means black, like ink, the night sky, or my skin. “Negro” is used the same way in Spanish as it is by my dad, but there was something different. Before living in Sevilla, I expected racial dynamics distinct from those that I experienced while living in
I was confident, open to learning more, and happy to be a “negro.” Then I went to Spain. I didn’t go to Spain for a cute spring break holiday or a quick winter program romp — homeboy was in Spain for a solid six months. In January, I began a semester abroad in Sevilla as a student in an immersive program that required me to live with a host family, take classes at the local university, volunteer with a service organization, and complete a research project, all while learning and speaking Spanish. It was the first time that I had flown on a plane alone, my first time visiting Europe, and my first time in a different time zone than my family. On top of adapting to one million changes, I was suddenly thrown into la cultura sevillana, which I knew nothing about. How would my host family treat me? What is the food culture like? Where can I buy 33
spoke with a Nigerian woman, who confessed to me that it was the African community that supported her family more than sevillano immigrant services. It was in this moment that I understood. Sevilla was where she lived, but it wasn’t her home - her community was her home, a commonality that resonated with me, reminding me of the importance of community in American black culture. No matter where I am or what I go through, I can almost always rely on my community of black and brown friends that can relate to my experience and help me overcome obstacles. Even though this woman and I shared little, we connected on the common thread of community - one that just might unite everyone. Since that moment, Afro-Spaniard blackness didn’t seem so far away. Our differences don’t divide us, but rather unite us, so long as we remain open to learning from each other. I still don’t fully understand the Afro-Spaniard experience, since it’s one that I’ve only witnessed and experienced as a guest in Sevilla, but I will always try to empathize through our common connections - we must learn through our racial difference, gender and sex difference, religious difference, and more. I thought that I understood blackness, but I only understood my experience of American blackness. American blackness is just as unique as Spanish blackness - there isn’t one universal story, but a collage of experiences that display the richness and diversity of blackness. In other words, we are all “negro.”
the U.S., but after I arrived, I learned more than I ever could have anticipated. Sevilla is the southernmost major city in Spain, baking under the sweltering sun near the tip of the Iberian peninsula, a stone’s throw away from northern Africa and an inviting refuge for African immigrants trying to enter Europe. Hence, even in a predominantly white city, there were many African and Afro-Spaniard peoples living alongside other sevillanos, although often in very different realities. In particular, African immigrants living in Sevilla have to contend with classism that stunts their social mobility, a lack of resources and opportunity to improve their circumstances, and racism and xenophobia that threaten their lives. Black Americans share these experiences, but in completely different ways. I wanted to learn about the experience of these people, so I decided to research the relationship between immigrant service organizations and African communities in Sevilla, and I gained insight beyond my expectations. For my research, I investigated statistical correlations, reviewed studies, interviewed immigrant service groups, and most importantly, spoke with local community members about their experiences as African immigrants living in Spain. Whether it was my barber or a local grocer, I was eager to learn about why they came to Spain, what was keeping them there, and what they believed the future held for them. Honestly, I had trouble grasping these disparate stories, since they were so different from my own experience and those of the black Americans that I internalized. There was a certain camaraderie between us and we tried to empathize, but it was obvious that the world I was coming from was very different from the one that they knew, complicated by geopolitical particulars, socioeconomic status, and countless layers of identity that threatened to distance us until we couldn’t relate at all. For one of my last interviews, I
Joshua Jordan is a senior studying Government and minoring in Education, with hopes to focus on engaging youth in civil action and education policy. Originally from Poughkeepsie, NY, he is passionate about empowering young kids to become the leaders of tomorrow. 35
Young S(e)ouls WORDS
Madeline Reed PLACE
Seoul, South Korea
You can’t see all of Seoul in a day, or even a week. Unfortunately, I came to this realization at the end of my week-and-a-half visit to Seoul. It is an enormous city, packed with convenience stores, quirky Instagram-worthy cafes, and bars upon bars. Divided into various “-gus,” or districts, each “gu” caters to a variety of aesthetic and a unique experience. Think of the “gus” as New York City’s boroughs but with even more distinct local cultures. Connected by extensive subway and bus lines, one can easily frequent seven different Seouls in one day. The Mapo-gu neighborhood of Seoul is a college student’s utopia. Mapo-gu is home to the majority of Seoul’s universities. Near the heart of the action, an all-boys university sits across the street from an all-girls university. The proximity of the colleges means that Mapo-gu is essentially a collegetown with the population density and amenities of an urban area, including ample restaurants, parks, and
convenience and grocery stores. When creating a list of must-see places in Seoul, Mapo-gu is an obvious choice because it offers a taste of Korea’s nightlife and drinking culture. The opportunity to try local beers and “soju” in an authentic environment was essential for me. Most nights, rambunctious college students pack the streets, busily flowing into every available space. Bars and clubs blast ear-deafening music to those queuing outside. Those who are not yet intoxicated shop at hundreds of stalls and stores catered towards Seoul’s hip, urban crowd. Many shops sell Balenciaga and Supreme knock-offs. A-Land, Korea’s top-tier version of Urban Outfitters, is always busy. Buyers compare prices between rinky-dink cell phone accessory stalls, looking to save an extra “won”. The number of couples are overwhelming and, the selfie sticks even more so. It is as if those in Mapo-gu want to document every aspect of their night. Pictures 37
performances, settling on a young man playing acoustic guitar. His voice was charming enough to draw a small crowd from the throngs of people moving down the street. Noticing me, he pointed and said something in Korean. I awkwardly laughed, discomfort and confusion evident by my body language. A girl next to me piped up and said, “He wants to know if you’re American.” “Yes, I am!” Then he began to sing a song by Ne-Yo to me. Afterwards he motioned me over, using someone else from the audience to translate. We talked about where we were from and what types of music we knew from each other’s country. After exchanging Instagrams, I went to find my mother. Scrolling through his feed later, I wondered what he thought of mine. Throughout my trips in other “gus” of Seoul, my dark complexion and 5’11” frame invited open stares from “ahjussis,” or older men. I stuck out like a sore thumb in my crumpled, sweaty clothing. In Mapo-gu I felt like less of
are rapidly uploaded, friends are Facetimed, and couples argue over what filters to use. This vibrant area of Seoul was something out of a dream for a college student from a relatively rural American school whose shopping options were limited to TJ Maxx and Walmart. I felt myself sucked into the dizzying energy with which I was all too familiar as a young adult. Friday night among college students is chalked up to something almost religious, with weekend nights designated for the total release of pent-up reserves of energy, and escapt from sobriety, and reserves. Yet, as much as I felt a part of this college crowd, our differences were apparent. I mulled over this feeling of unlikeness while exploring side streets and stalls in Mapogu. Eventually, I came upon a particular street in Mapo-gu famous for street performers, primarily kids in their early twenties covering songs and dances by Korean pop groups. One night, I wandered past various types of
I felt myself as one apart. My â€œothernessâ€? was not so much about my nationality, ethnicity, or gender, but rather, my dayto-day appearance.
carry cosmetic compacts and blotting papers, and motorized hand fans are essential. Young people around the world have to shoulder different responsibilities, social weights, and stressors depending on their roles in society. What makes young people similar is our aptitude for group events and our eagerness to experience the world through inconsequential activities. There was no moment that dawned on me that, “Hey, these kids are exactly like me.” But as I looked around at the spirited young adults who could not wait to drink, I was excited and comforted by the feeling I had a lot in common with them, desipt being from a faraway place.
an outsider. Somehow, my similarity in age to the people around me helped me feel more connected to Seoulites. But still, I felt myself as one apart. My “otherness” was not so much about my nationality, ethnicity, or gender, but rather, my day-to-day appearance. From what I observed, Koreans’ reputation for being beautiful is well-founded. University students sported fashions that put trendy New Yorkers to shame. The importance of shopping as a social event in Seoul is indisputable. Retail space and store fronts are everywhere. Personal hygiene norms, dress expectations, and conduct are elevated in Seoul. I find the common misconception of Koreans as vain to be overplayed. Rather, in my view, Seoulites have a respectable social norm to look one’s best at all times. In America, presentability is a relatively unstressed value. In Korea, it’s the opposite. Looking around, almost every person on the subway is freshening up. Girls walk through the streets with hair curlers, boys and girls alike
Madeline Reed is a junior in Industrial and Labor Relations, with a minor in East Asian Studies. Madeline is from Arlington, VA, and loves street food. Her favorite city will always be Washington, D.C., because of its amazing blend of nature and urban development. 41
For Extraordinary Life WORDS
Stephanie Roh PLACE
Lodz, Poland 42
you say that word? Wyjście. This word? Pociąg. I was fascinated that this language looked like gibberish to me, but made perfect sense to someone else. The first thing I noticed as we got out of the station was the massive Soviet-era Palace of Culture and Science, a defining figure in the Warsaw skyline. In contrast to this dull blocky structure, Adam took me to see all the new modern buildings that have been popping up everywhere in Poland. The Złote Tarasy is a hybrid mall-office space complete with a geometric glass façade resembling the way waves ripple and shine. The outside of the building was beautiful, but it was nothing compared to the inside. The skylights gave the space a surreal, utopian feel that reminded me of the “modern tropical” architecture of Singapore. Next, we got some grub at the Hala Koszyki, a revived industrial food hall that sells everything from Polish pierogies, German beers, and Indian curries, to Japanese sushi, Italian sausages, and Vietnamese bánh mi’s. I was mostly impressed by the beautiful typography and neon signs; it felt like I was at the trendiest spot in Brooklyn. When we left, Adam pointed out Złota 44, a residential skyscraper designed by renowned Polish-American architect Daniel Libeskind, who is famous for designing the One World Trade Center in New York City and the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. The
During my semester abroad in Copenhagen, I booked a trip to Łódź (pronounced like Wooch), a city in central Poland, to visit my friend Adam (who I hadn’t seen in 4 years)! We met at a UCLA summer program in 2014 and he was the first person from Poland that I had ever met. Since I knew a local and was close by, I decided that it was the perfect opportunity to visit. However, I was hesitant at first. Adam told me it is hard to get around Poland as a tourist because many people do not speak English. I also had a vision of Poland as a place stuck in the past with outdated architecture, infrastructure, and technology. I really didn’t know what to expect out of this 3-day trip—would my time here be awkward or boring? Whatever the outcome, I knew that it would be a unique experience. As soon as I got out of arrivals at Warsaw Airport, I spotted him—tall, slim, and blond. Nothing had changed! Instead of taking the train to Łódź, Adam said his family’s driver would drive us to his house. A family driver? This was some next-level traveling. From the car ride to watching Rick & Morty in his living room (dubbed in Polish of course), we had wonderful conservations catching up on everything we had missed in the past 4 years. On the first day, we went back to Warsaw to explore what Poland’s capital had to offer. As Adam was finding the right platform in the Łódź train station, I kept asking “How do
conversation flowed like a family reunion. Back at Adam’s house after a full day of exploring, I met Adam and Kacper’s dad—another warm, hospitable character. He insisted I treat his house like it was my home. The next day, Adam told me that I would have to hang out with Kacper for the day because he had a Saturday class. “Okay . . .,” I thought. I wasn’t sure what to expect this time. Moments later, Kacper showed up in swim trunks and a towel. “Have you ever heard of a polar plunge before?” My jaw dropped. It was only 45 degrees Fahrenheit! We drove 30 minutes to a suburb called Konstantynów Łódzki and parked next to a frozen pond. Kacper met up with his buddies and ran a 10K around the pond to warm up. While sitting on a bench perfectly amused, I watched a man in short swim trunks and a pom-pom beanie whacking at the ice with an axe to create a path for people. As time passed, about 50 people showed up in similar beanies
building features a 10,000-bottle wine cellar, a 25-meter swimming pool, a Finnish sauna, a private cinema, and a golf simulator. The last place on the agenda was the Gucci store in the Vitkac luxury mall. Adam had saved up enough money through modeling jobs to buy a $500 t-shirt that he’d been wanting for a while. Meanwhile, it was my first time in a Gucci store and I was flabbergasted by the sheer grandeur of the space. I was trying to play it cool when BAM! I tripped up the marble staircase in front of the poised shop keepers. Instead of rolling their eyes, they giggled and asked if I was okay. Picking up my dignity, I smiled and nodded. When we got back to Łódź, Adam introduced me to his older half-brother Kacper, who had driven up from southern Poland to visit his family for the weekend. Kacper is the type of person everyone gets along with— friendly, funny, and light-hearted. We went to a restaurant downtown for dinner, and the 45
I felt like I was accepted into this family for a little while and saw a whole other side of Poland that tourists donâ€™t get to see.
eggs, potatoes, coffee, and tea laid out on the table. “Hangover cure!” he jokingly proclaimed. Somewhere between all the laughs over how a small Asian girl can drink as much as tall Polish men, I realized how rewarding this trip had been. I felt like I was accepted into this family for a little while and saw a whole other side of Poland that usually tourists don’t get to see. I was astonished to see how modern and trendy Polish cities are when it comes to architecture, infrastructure, and technology. Even though Polish people love freezing their butts off in frozen ponds, they have the warmest hearts and hospitality. All my preconceived notions of Poland were rightly squashed.
and swimwear and started to wade into the icecold water. I couldn’t believe I was witnessing a polar plunge in the middle of suburban Poland with someone I had just met. When I thought things couldn’t get any stranger, Kacper drove me to meet his grandmother who lived in a high-rise apartment. Unsurprisingly, I couldn’t understand a single word that the sweet woman was trying to tell me, but I was flattered nonetheless. On the way back home, we stopped at a hole-in-thewall Polish restaurant and slurped up rosół, the Polish version of chicken noodle soup. At night, Kacper and Adam took me out to the main drag Piotrkowska Street to experience the nightlife. It was a night full of craft beers and way too much Polish vodka. I was introduced to so many people who were so friendly and curious to know why in the world I was in Łódź! We even sneaked into an 18-year-old’s lavish birthday party because Kacper knew the owner. You definitely don’t get this treatment as a typical tourist. In one of the bars, I asked what some writing on the wall meant—za życie niezwyczajne. Kacper replied, “For extraordinary life.” On the last day, Adam’s dad called everyone to breakfast before I headed to the airport. After hearing that I wanted to try Polish food, Adam’s dad went all out. There were sausages, pastries, marinated herring, bread,
Stephanie Roh from Weehawken, New Jersey and her favorite city is Copenhagen. She adores their design and architecture scene, fashion brands (Stine Goya!), sourdough bread, elderflower juice, and most of all cycling!
Hidden Pockets Of Mystery WORDS
Keelin Kelly PLACE
city, giving it the appearance of a package of Crayola crayons. Ancient stone buildings are packed tightly into the city, streets wedged into the crevices between them. Motorcycles zoom through the city, and you never quite get used to their incessant beeping as you flatten yourself against a wall to let them pass. You could get lost for days in Stone Town exploring every little shop tucked into the alleyways, every bit of life that makes the city so fascinating. You can observe life as it happens as little children run around at lunchtime, school girls pulling each other’s’ hijabs and little boys bouncing footballs off the stone walls. When the call to prayer sounds, you realize just how far away you are. One of the most interesting aspects of Zanzibar is how complex one small, seemingly inconspicuous group of islands can be. The island itself is an enigma. Stone Town breathes the air of Arabic and Asiatic influence. As you travel farther north on the island, you see
Narrow, winding streets framed by buildings reminiscent of a lost time. Lively night markets, bursting with culture, music, and exorbitance. Tranquil livestock resting on a pristine beach by the sea. Lush, dense jungle hugging rugged dirt roads. This is Zanzibar. As one of my favorite late travelers said, “Africa is a continent. It’s not a country.” Visiting Zanzibar, you see exactly why this distinction needs to be made. Located 25 to 50 kilometers off the coast of Tanzania, Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous archipelago with fascinations and traditions completely different from the mainland. Stepping out of the Dar es Salaam Airport, I soon found myself sitting on the deck of the Kilimanjaro 4, course set for Zanzibar with nothing but blue water ahead of me. As soon as I set foot ashore, I was swept up by a whirlwind of curiosity and enchantment. Immense shipping containers dot the coast of Stone Town, Zanzibar’s largest 49
barter! As we approached the northern section of the island, I began to see that tourism hadnâ€™t completely take over the area, as I could see familiar traces of Stone Town. A large dirt plot surrounded by houses served as a soccer field and a place for livestock to rest. Streets became bumpier and closer together as shacks confined their boundaries. Turning around a street corner, I got my first view of the pristine white beaches that bring tourists from all over the world for their waters. Soft waves kissed the sand as beachgoers and locals dotted the shore. Out on the water, fishermen hopped in and out of their dhous, traditional Zanzibar fishing boats, as they anchored them for the afternoon. The open ocean beyond those sparkling waters is a mystery to most of us but seems to be of no concern to the fisherman, who then start hauling in their afternoon catch. Most of all, Zanzibar is timeless. Whether you are on the shores of Nungwi gazing out at the wooden dhous, or exploring
the landscape transform around you. Lush vegetation surrounds dirt roads, and little hamlets in hues of pink, green, and blue pop up along the way. Cattle and goats are led along the streets, stopping traffic every now and then. I remember driving over a bridge and watching a young boy stand up to his hips in water as he slowly coaxed his ox into a stream. I was transfixed by the tranquility of island life. How different our lives must be, I thought, and yet here we are, in the same place at the time, each taking different paths on this island. Nungwi, the northern part of Zanzibar, may as well be a completely different island. Large resorts start popping up as you get closer to the northern tip, and Zanzibarâ€™s tourism industry begins to emerge. I managed to convince my taxi driver to let me take photos of the roadside vistas, and he begrudgingly slowed down, as he still was annoyed about letting me ride for 20 dollars instead of the usual 40. Sometimes it pays to know how to 50
Whether you are on the shores of Nungwi gazing out at the wooden dhous or exploring the streets of Stone Town, it could be 2018, or it could very well be 1918.
the streets of Stone Town, you feel enclosed in a place that escapes the confines of decades, and reduces your experience to the moment. Whether you’re walking down Mukunazini Street, jumping off the pier with the local boys, or having a sip of Kilimanjaro on a rooftop bar, Zanzibar offers pieces of so many extraordinary parts of the world. Boarding the ferry back to mainland Tanzania, I couldn’t help but feel that I had visited the Middle East, the Caribbean, Asia, and Africa all on one island. However, to say Zanzibar is a combination
of different places wouldn’t do it justice. It’s unique in so many ways of its own. It’s Zanzibar.
Keelin Kelly is from Marcellus, NY. Her favorite city is Shanghai, China because she thinks Shanghai has the most beautiful landscape and city planning, creating such unique spaces and sections of the city, not to mention the vibrant culture and incredible food scene. 53
About Guac Guac is an award-winning travel publication run by an interdisciplinary group of students at Cornell University. We aim celebrate cultural diversity and inspire communities to view the world with an open mind. AUG 2017
Let's start a travel magazine
Hidden Gems, Our First Issue For our first issue, we wanted to truly show the different level of diversity the world has to offer. This is why we chose the theme Hidden Gems. Written by friends who traveled to various interesting places, this issue exposes some of the worldâ€™s best kept secrets that is often overlooked by travelers.
ILLUSTRATIONS BY ERIC LEE
The headline news story was of President Trump's travel ban on predominantly Muslim nations. As international students, we wanted to value of diversity to be appreciated and known. This is why we started a travel magazine. To celebrate the beauty of the world and inspire people to go out and experience different cultures for themselves.
40 Students, 14 Countries
More than a magazine
After a semester, we grew into a publication of 40 students from 14 countries, representing 5 different continents. This is only the start, we are only getting bigger and more diverse!
Only after 8 months, Guac Magazine was awarded an honorary mention for the James A. Perkins Prize for Interracial & Intercultural Peace & Harmony. We believe we are the youngest club at Cornell to have ever been awarded with this honor.
We are embarking on a new and exciting journey to expand our impact beyond delivering high quality print magazines. We are creating a growing community where diverse voices can be heard and barriers will be broken.
Find us on guacmag.com, Medium Guac Magazine, Facebook Guac Magazine, Instagram @guacmag
The Team Directors
Yi Hsin Wei
Zeyu Hu Creative Director
Social Media Manager
Ethan Kahm Finance Director
Growth Marketing Analysts
Julia Zhu Mariana Seibold Christine Amenechi Paola Rios Madeline Reed Isabella Kong Malvika Dahiya Jose Covarrubias Natalie Monticello
Special Thanks AIESEC Cornell, International Student Union (ISU), Student Activities Funding Commission (SAFC), ALANA Intercultural Board, Department of Near Eastern Studies, Department of Romance Studies 55
Cover Photo by Ryoji Iwata Image Credits Page 17: Zhifei Zhou Page 30-31: Henrique Ferreira Page 41: StĂŠphan Valentin Page 42-43: Alexey Topolyanskiy
Guac is an award-winning travel publication run by an interdisciplinary group of students at Cornell University. This is our third edition a...
Published on Jan 16, 2020
Guac is an award-winning travel publication run by an interdisciplinary group of students at Cornell University. This is our third edition a...