Angie Baquedano

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Angie Baquedano is the Assistant Lifestyle Editor at Niner Times. She is close to completing her Creative Writing major and Journalism Minor as an Undergraduate and hopes to one day work for The National Geographic Society. When Angie isn’t swamped with homework or working her CNA job she can be found traveling, reviewing restaurants for Charlotte Food Adventures or taking up new hobbies such as painting with oil pastels (It changes depending on what inspires her that week).

Humans of UNC Charlotte

Photo by Angie Baquedano
Photo by Angie Baquedano

“I started off with photography in high school, but I never imagined it could take me anywhere. I always thought I would follow a Pre-Med track in college and someday be a great doctor. Lately, I’ve found myself questioning that plan. I think cooking might have been my first love, but photography comes in as a close second. I admit completely that I am a picture hoarder—the delete button is the bane of my existence no matter how potentially embarrassing the picture may be. I refuse to erase my ‘middle school days’ pictures no matter how terrible they are. I also tend to carry my camera with me everywhere and even when it’s just my phone, I pride myself in my out of this world IPhone shots. I take every image very seriously. I don’t think people truly understand the significance of pictures. It’s a memory captured forever, never to change even if the people in it do. It doesn’t lie. It isn’t fake unless you choose it to be. It’s not what you see, it’s what the picture makes you feel, nor does it ever need to be explained or justified. It just is. You don’t actually know the meaning behind those memories until pictures are all you have left. The little things you may have forgotten are all there, patiently waiting to be remembered.”

-Maria Saenz

Humans of UNC Charlotte: Roland Williams

Photo by Angie Baquadano
Photo by Angie Baquedano

“My dad passed away when I was twelve, He was and still is a huge influence in my life. He loved nature and poetry, so I made poems for him for every season. I am currently double majoring in Biology and Japanese so for the Second Annual Multi-Language Poetry Slam I decided to read my tribute to him, my father, a haiku that I read in Japanese. I won’t say much more about it because everyone interprets things in their own way, and I like giving people the chance to comprehend my poetry in whichever way it speaks to them initially. I present my fall haiku:

A beautiful tree
I sat and watched the last leaf
Never to return.”

-Roland Williams

Second annual Multi-Language Poetry Slam

Photo by Maria Saenz
Photo by Maria Saenz

Haikus eloquently recited in Japanese, Portuguese poems translated into English and raps about Bonsai Trees. These were all courtesy of the second annual Multi-Language Poetry Slam and its participants. Beginning promptly at 7 p.m. in the Cone Center After Hours on Oct. 22, the Multi-Language Poetry Slam brought laughter, tears, fierce snaps and a whole lot of talent. Students of all ages, races and cultural backgrounds piled in, grabbing cookies and tea from the snack table that was graciously provided by the organizers of this wonderful event.

According to sponsor Professor Lorena Degallido, last year’s first Multi-Language Poetry Slam was a bit different than this year. This year they decided to add a panel of judges rather than having the students vote for winners. The poetry slam was kicked off with a cheerful hello and a run-through of the night’s schedule that consisted of seven poems, 10 haikus in Japanese and seven more poems to close.

Caylie Chambers was the first student to perform. Her poem was titled, “Childhood is Over.” While short, it was a hilariously accurate original poem about college, written and recited in English. Next up was Patrice Wilson who read her poem in Spanish and Portuguese. This was interesting because she would read one line in Spanish and the other in Portuguese. She continued to do this throughout the piece while the translation was provided on the screen behind her.

After Wilson, the audience welcomed Ray Hicks on stage. She read a poem in English that was originally a rap. She was not planning on performing this year until a professor asked her and she came to the conclusion that she wrote a lot and people should hear her work. Hicks’ rap turned poem, “Nebari,” which is named after the visible roots of a bonsai tree, won her “Most Original Poem” by the end of the night.

After Hicks, Nathan Dew rose to the stage and performed his poem, “Even Happiness Scares Me Now,” in Japanese. The translation was provided on the screen behind him as it was with the other students. What made this piece so incredibly remarkable was not the change of language, but the writer. It was this student’s way of moving on stage, the way the words rolled off his tongue and the way that he got on the stage and talked to the audience as if all 40 or more people were his close friends. He began by explaining that the poem was about being sick, not emotionally or mentally sick, but being physically sick. Dew described the far too familiar feeling of sickness to the crowd, reminding them of the aches and pains along with the incessant need to lie in bed. He sealed the deal with a line that read, “Like the body remembers pain, so the heart remembers pain.”

After Dew’s spectacular performance, Spanish student Isabel Zelman-Parnell stepped up and matched Dew with an equally brilliant piece titled, “Soy Española” that won her “Best Poem in a Language Other than English.” Happiness practically radiated out of Zelman-Parnell and the poem was relatable and at times comical. She spoke about the support she received from her family and friends in the transition from Spain to the United States. She recited “The Love of My Family (Of Blood and of Laughter).” Could it have been more beautifully put? After Zelman, Parnell, someone clearly forgot to pass around the tissues or warn anyone just how real and raw the last poem before the haikus would be. Lauren Bosley’s poem, “Twenty-Two Years in The Making” told her story of the bitter feeling of hopelessness that college brought about. The poem was touching and almost too painfully honest.

Next, the show moved on to 10 students who recited original haikus in Japanese. Some were funny, a lot of them were fall themed and others had deep meanings hidden within three short verses. Roland Williams, the second to last performer, especially stuck out with his fall poem about his deceased father. Williams did not come out and tell the audience that his father had passed away–he simply explained that he had written poems for his father for every season, and that evening he would share his fall poem. After careful analyzation of the haiku and a few questions after the event, it was clear that his father had indeed passed away. The poem read was one of four written by Williams for his poetry and nature-loving father. On and off stage, Williams proved to be a wonderfully intelligent, friendly person. Thank you, Roland, for sharing with everyone a piece of you and your father.

Before the judging, seven more students came on stage and performed. Jana White read a poem titled, “Mi Amor.” While the title was in Spanish, the poem was recited in English, which gave it a very nice touch. After White, students were graced with Shotaro Fuse’s rap in Japanese. He got the crowd going with a timed clap to create a beat and immediately began. Although absolutely no one who didn’t already speak Japanese understood a word he was saying other than the few hilarious and well placed English curse words, the audience clearly loved him.

To end the night, Svanny Wong recited her original poem, “Cuando Llegues Amor,” a heart-crushing love poem that stole the show and won her “Best Performance.” After Wong, the judges gathered to make their decisions, and a student kept the crowd entertained with her clarinet. Finally, the performers were awarded, and the event came to a close. Congratulations and thank you for the entertainment to all those who performed and organized the event. It is events like this that bring students and communities together and it sure feels good to be a Charlotte 49er.

If you are a poetry writer out there, you can also check out Sanskrit, UNC Charlotte’s award winning literary arts magazine. They are accepting submissions until November 6, 2015.

Fall travel destination: Stone Mountain, Ga.

Photo by Angie Baquedano
Photo by Angie Baquedano

Breathe in—breathe out. Do you smell that? That particular smell, that pumpkin spice, apple pie, “I can’t wait for Thanksgiving” smell. Fall is finally upon us ladies and gents! This is by far my favorite season and, for anyone who knows me, this comes as the ultimate shock since I did most of my growing up in the beautiful city of Wilmington as a Wrightsville Beach Local. Summer should be my favorite season, right? Nope! Fall is where it’s at— sure you cannot exactly spend the day swimming your worries away at the beach during this time but that is what nature gave us mountains for!

Before I moved to Wilmington, I lived in the beautiful state of Georgia, about thirty minutes away from the beautiful and now a top-hiking destination of Stone Mountain Park. As a child I practically lived hiking up the world’s largest exposed granite monolith, Stone Mountain. About two weekends ago when fall was beginning to set in, I traveled back home, and you better believe my GPS was set straight to Stone Mountain.

The park is three and a half-hours away from campus, which me this is nothing since Wilmington is the same except in the opposite direction. I urge everyone to pack his or her bags, wake up early and kick off that Carolina Tar for some good old Georgia clay. Fall is the perfect time to adventure out to Stone Mountain, especially with their annual Pumpkin Festival! Fall weather is perfect for hiking and there just so happens that Stone Mountain has five hiking trails throughout the park and a walk-up trail to the top. I is a mile long and entirely doable. The five other trails have their unique traits— for example, there is the Songbird Habitat trail that is excellent for bird-watching as the name suggests.

When I went back home two weeks ago, I opted for the mile walk up path, and I have got to say the hike was absolutely worth it. It was a bit cloudy on the day that I went but on a clear, haze-free day you can see sixty miles out from the top. It’s stunning, not too crowded, but not too empty which is nice for safety reasons and just personal enjoyment. There is also the Summit Skyride at the top of the mountain, which is just a tram that can take you down or bring you up, for those not too fond of conjuring up a sweat.

If fishing is your calling, look no more. What’s a gorgeous mountain without an enormous lake to match it? There you can spend from six in the morning to midnight catching bass, our notorious catfishes and many others. Heed my warning— the catfish may not be a Georgia local, but it sure puts up a fight like one. Wear your life jacket you are in for a ride.

There is an endless amount of things to do at Stone Mountain Park. You can check out the museum where you will learn fun facts such as that the Centennial Summer Olympics were held at the park in July of 1996. You can also go through the gift shops at both the top and bottom of the mountain, ride the train around the mountain, play on the eighteen-hole golf course, or even just bask in the sunshine while breathing in the refreshing Georgia air.

Also surrounding the park is the historic Stone Mountain Village, a cute little town next to the mountain in which people live at. Here you will find the best fudge, vintage items and smoothies you’ll ever come across. I cannot express how wonderful of an experience it is to visit Stone Mountain. And for you avid Instagrammers –-I got a killer picture at the summit.

Also make sure to stick around for the fabulous laser light show, which is an Atlanta tradition and it’s FREE. The show begins at 8:30 p.m. and it has been completely revamped with fire effects. I have not been able to check out the updated version, but I hear it’s breathtaking and this will be going on until the end of October.

Stone Mountain is a Georgia Gem that should never be overlooked. If you’re wanting a weekend getaway but don’t know where to go, please take my advice—pack up a sweater, some good hiking shoes, a cup of apple cider and venture on into peach territory. I promise you will not regret it.

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Under a War-Torn Sky’ by L.M. Elliott

Photo by Angie Baquedano
Photo by Angie Baquedano

 I was asked to read “Under a War-Torn Sky” in high school by my English teacher. I wasn’t particularly excited because the font was somewhat small and it consisted of 284 pages. By the time I was a fourth of the way through the book I was trapped. The story is set during World War II. The protagonist is Henry Forester, a nineteen-year-old Air Force pilot from Virginia. Henry has wanted nothing but to fly since he was a child. He is always building airplanes and learning everything that there is to know about the sky and the clouds. Now he is the best and youngest pilot in his squadron.

In the Air Force, a tour of duty consists of twenty-five missions. If you survive all of them you are permitted to go home. Henry is on his fifteenth tour, which is known as the “make-or-break flight” because it is the average amount of missions of most Air Force bombers have before coming to their ultimate end. To start off the book L.M. Elliot, the heart crushing author of this incredible novel, provides a direct foreshadow of Henry’s future through a nightmare Henry arises from on the morning of his fifteenth mission. I thought this was a unique way to connect us to the main character. By starting off the story with Henry’s nightmare, Elliot makes the reader believe that this is happening. When Henry wakes, so do the readers.

At the beginning of the story, it seems like the big dilemma will be the crash–which we all clearly see coming– but surprisingly, the story extends further than what we expect. When Henry’s plane crashes, he finds himself wounded, hungry and without a shard of hope left in him. He wanders west from his crash site hoping that it will lead him home. He walks until he finds civilization in a French province that has been repeatedly invaded by the Germans, to his complete and utter luck, a school teacher that is part of the French resistance comes across him.

From this point on the story begins to roll forward. The French resistance has given themselves the dangerous task of hiding and aiding Americans. Henry is passed down from person to person, home to home, in an attempt to get him safely back into the United States. Women, men and children risk their lives helping Henry. Unfortunately, some are caught and terminated. After many perilous situations, the novel takes a turn for the worse and Henry is caught. Does he escape? Does he make it back home? Does he come to his ultimate demise after everything he’s survived thus far? You’ll simply have to read the book to find out.

Throughout the book, many French words are used and a direct translation of what they mean is not given. I find that it adds character to the text, but I would have enjoyed the book more if the author would have included a footnote explaining what each word meant. Nonetheless, it’s a wonderful read, providing further evidence that even through the worst of times in human history good things still happen. These people who kindly, selflessly and recklessly risked their lives for a complete stranger give me hope.

4.50/5.00

Humans of UNC Charlotte: Audrey Burgman

Photo by Angie Baquedana
Photo by Angie Baquedana

“I really love art, I like to try to find the hidden meaning in everything. I feel like that easily applies to life, there is always something to interpret and assess. My favorite artist is Salvador Dali, I have a book about him and I’ve read it about six times. He inspires me and gets me thinking. I love that everyone sees something different in a painting or a piece of art, no one can truly perceive it exactly the way you do as an individual. Life would be boring if everybody looked at everything in the exact same way, and it reminds me that not everyone is going to react to situations in the same way. Which helps to keep me grounded. Be yourself, because everyone else is taken. “

Foodie Friday: Revolution Ale House’s Ravioli

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Photo by Angie Baquedano.

Have you ever gone out to eat with your friends not very hungry, so you order an entrée you know you won’t finish? When I do this, the leftovers sit in my fridge for two weeks, and the thirteen dollars I spent go straight to the trash.

Here is a solution that will save you money: order an appetizer. I recommend Revolution Ale House for all of your appetizer needs. It’s located on North Davidson Street in the cool and artsy district of Charlotte, also known as NODA. It’s right outside the city, four to five minutes away from Amelie’s, the delicious twenty-four hour French bakery. At Revolution Ale House, you will find that your foodie dreams have come true. Two words, toasted ravioli. I ordered this the last time I went to this restaurant, along with the most delightful homemade chip bowl and ravioli squares. The ravioli is stuffed with four cheeses, then breaded and fried. It is also topped with parmesan cheese, or parmigiano reggiano if you would like to get fancy. Pomodoro is served on the side to dip your ravioli in. My taste buds were singing with delight. So if you’re ever around NODA, check out Revolution Ale House.

Foodie Friday: Tacos At Cabo Fish Tacos

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Carne asada and lemon shrimp tacos with a side of rice and beans. Photo by Angie Baquedano.

Sometimes it can be extremely hard to find a good Americanized taco restaurant. People tend to just go to authentic Mexican restaurants if they want a taco. It’s a Hispanic dish so it makes sense and usually I am not a fan of Tex-Mex eateries, but I’ve come to find that Cabo Fish Taco is the exception. Prepare your taste buds to explode. Cabo Fish Taco was recently featured in a food network presentation, and if that doesn’t tell you that it must be delicious, I hope I can convince you of it here.

The restaurant has two locations: one being here at N.C., in our lovely city of Charlotte, and the other is in Virginia. There is a wide selection of fish tacos (all delicious, scouts honor), but there are also decadent pickings for those who do not enjoy anything from the sea. Expect a long line on weekends, but a well worth the wait meal. If parking is a little iffy, I recommend parking by the YMCA where it’s free, but make sure not to park inside of the YMCA itself. There are signs everywhere clearly stating that they tow, do not take these signs as taunts or a joke they enforce those signs I assure you.

For my meal I ordered two tacos. They were served with my choice of sides that ranged from rice and beans to a fresh fruit cup. Me being the person that I am, of course I got both. The rice and beans complimented the meal and the fresh fruit cup subbed in for a nice, fresh after dinner dessert. I recommend that everyone does this- you won’t regret it. The tacos are filled with your choice of protein which can be many things, such as carne asada or lemon grilled shrimp. As you might have guessed, I got both. Cabo Fish Taco allows you to mix and match your tacos and then tops them off with cabbage, diced tomatoes, avocado, cheese and an outrageously delicious white cilantro sauce.

Overall, Cabo Fish Taco is a wonderful spot to grab good and not very expensive food with friends and because of its location it makes for a great spot to eat right before heading into the hustle and the bustle of the city. If you ever come across a Cabo Fish Taco, take it from me that you will be in heaven.

Cabo Fish Tacos is located in the notorious arts district of Charlotte, N.C. at the corner of North Davidson and East 35th Street.