Life is really worth living. But don’t let it get in the way of living. Sometimes I am amazed by what can be accomplished with a little common sense, a little patience, and a lot of perseverence. Some things should be so obvious, but I would like to examine them in more detail. We all need someone to point out the obvious to us from time to time. Sometimes you just have to reinvent the wheel for yourself! Can’t see the forest for the trees? Tired of all these cliches? Well, take a deep breath and relax! Now take a fresh look at life!
I often tell my students that my surname is as common as Smith or Jones. I have known so many Rodriguezes and only about half of them were related to me. I have often been confused for other Rodriguezes as well. Part of the reason may be that there aren’t as many surnames in Spanish-speaking countries as in the U.S. (But don’t quote me on that!) So Hispanics have to stretch out fewer surnames among more people. I also have a common first name. I just looked up David Rodriguez in the Chicago phone book and there are 22 of us listed in the directory! And that doesn’t even include the David Rodriguezes who are unlisted, don’t have a phone, have a cell phone, are minors, or reside in jail! I even argued with my wife against naming my oldest son David for that very reason. That’s why I wanted to name him José.
USA Today (May 11, 2006) states that the 5 most common surnames among U.S. home buyers are Smith, Johnson, Rodriguez, Brown, and Garcia. Why are there so many Rodriguezes buying homes? I’m not really sure. But you see, Rodriguez is the Spanish equivalent of Smith! Even the Rodriguezes are keeping up with the Joneses.
Perhaps an analysis of the etymology of Rodriguez will help explain the popularity of Rodriguez. The surname Rodriguez comes from the combination Rodrigo, the name of the last Visigoth king in Spain, and -ez. The suffix -ez comes from the Visigoth word meaning “son of.” Therefore, Rodriguez means “son of Rodrigo.” All those Spanish surnames that end in -ez actualy mean something. Gonzalez is son of Gonzalo, Lopez is son of Lope, etc. So, is it possible that someone with the surname of Rodriguez may actually be descended from the noble family of the last Visigoth king Rodrigo of Spain? If so, that means that I may actually have the blood of Spanish nobility coursing through my veins! But I seem to have lost the main point of all this!
¡Hola! I love teaching college Spanish! I have taught at several colleges in the Chicago area. I would like to help college students who need help learning Spanish–whether it’s to speak Spanish fluently or to merely pass the foreign language requirement. Hopefully, my teaching will also serve as a cultural exchange where students learn about some Hispanic issues and learn to differentiate them from the negative stereotypes.
However, current events have also stirred my emotions lately, so I will also comment on such cultural issues as the immigration debate, language differences, and xenophobia in the U.S., among other issues. Recent controversies have caused me to recall many incidents from my own life in the U.S. as the son of Mexican immigrants who came to the United States legally. I will explain all that later. As always, I have mixed feelings about immigration and occasionally suffer from identity crisis. I often wonder how Mexican I am. Or for that matter, how American I am.
I was at the immigration marches in Chicago while I was working as a police officer. And, yes, I did have mixed feelings during those marches. On March 10 and May 1, 2006, there were more Mexicans in Chicago than in Cancún. México has come to America! I don’t think most people were prepared to admit that there were that many Mexicans in the Midwest.