Liliana Karen Vaamonde – Mommy, thank you for always being there asking to see my photographs, brainstorming ways I can explore the world, and sending me articles. Your infinite kindness and care and sense of justice shapes how I see everything, and I am constantly in awe of you. You taught me the importance of herencia y familia, and these stories would be bare without you. I love you with my whole heart.
Richard David Pretsfelder – I love you so much, Dad. Even though I don’t always express this in my feminist rants, I feel so proud to be your leg-jittering, fast-talking, hyperactive daughter—inherited pieces of the amazing man you are. Thank you for pushing me to pay attention to detail and to step out of my own head. You have taught me hard work, sacrifices for those you love, and empathy. Also, thank you for all the chocolate chip cookies.
Eric Carlos Pretsfelder – Little brobro, I hope you don’t cringe while reading these acknowledgments or any of these stories. Thank you for being my partner in crime, for reminding me to relax and be present, and for sharing your music, movies, and energy with me. For someone who drives me so crazy, you keep me sane. You are one of the most generous people I know, and your ability to see the good in everyone inspires me. I will always be here to pester you with unsolicited or solicited advice. I love you.
Thank you Nancy, Peter, and Loren Granetz/Pretsfelder for your warmth, humor, and voices. New York isn’t New York without you. Judaism isn’t Judaism without you. Grandma’s capon on any holiday is nothing without you. Nancy, thank you for saying I’m a gorgeous model niece and for being so damn fun and telling me to suck the marrow out of life. Peter, you are the wittiest person I know, and I have stolen your lines across my writing.
Thank you Andrés Luis Vaamonde for reading these chapters and for sharing your own with me. You are brilliant, and I am so proud to be your prima. Danielle Isabella Vaamonde– thank you for your stories, your laugh, and your sense of adventure. You are lovable, caring, hard-working, and incredible. Tío Carlos, thank you for lending me your camera for all these years. I will never forget crying at your children’s Bar and Bat Mitzvahs at how beautiful your movies were. Jackie, you are a queen. Thank you for your wisdom, patience, and sense of humor.
I love you all, and I carry your love with me.
Amherst English friends and roommates (and many more I don’t have room for here):
Anri Chomentowska – Rizz, darling, sharing the past four years with you has been an an honor. You move me beyond words with your poise, glowing kindness, frisbee skills, love, and patience. You have made this year a comfort, and your warmth radiates. Thank you for making any space a home. You’re a goddess.
Sarah Teichman – Sarah, my talented, independent, passionate pseudo-sister. Thank you for laughing and crying with me and for still being my friend when I’m laughing while you’re crying. Over the past four years, you’ve consistently amazed me with your strength, bravery, perseverance, and honesty.
Katherine Stanton – Thank you for all of the journeys we’ve taken these past four years. There is no one I would rather write with, live with, or run with. You are so smart and understanding and make everyone around you more thoughtful. I’m going to miss unpacking our various crises together so much next year, but I’m so excited that my dearest friend is going to be the next Great American Novelist or anything else you put your mind to.
Samantha O’Brien – Sami, mi gemela, when I was adrift and lonely, our friendship gave me solace. Thank you for your late night conversations, for telling me to live with passion, all the while understanding my deepest neuroses. You love fiercely and make your friends feel less alone. See you in la matria whether it be South America or the tristate area.
Alisa Bajramovic – I am so lucky to know someone who can do it all while keeping it real. You are so hardworking, honest, caring, hilarious, and magnetic. You constantly amaze me with how much time you make for your friends and how thoughtful you are in your love for others. Thank you for listening and being so, so wise even when I’m at my worst. Love you so much.
Amber Boykins – I am so thankful that I was randomly placed on the top floor of Appleton down the hall from my best friend. You are a compassionate, strong, loyal, and sharp as a tack reina. Thank you for pushing me to do better, for questioning everything with your inimitable wit, for sending me incredible writing along with Aries memes. You have a huge heart, and I love you. I cannot wait for the first edition of Vanda and Louise.
Spencer Quong – You have the most beautiful, poignant voice, and you attentive warmth emanates from your written and spoken words into your friendships. Thank you for being the greatest editor, for sharing your crises with me and listening to mine, and for always sharing incredible examples of craft, patience, and dedication in your work. You are loving and lovable.
Lauren Tuiskula – Lauren, it’s been a beautiful journey through Digital Humanities with you. Thank you for showing me the way, for your sarcasm at just the right moments, for your emotional and digital knowledge, and for editing anything from my text messages to my hyperlinks. You are an empathetic, brilliant, and amazing friend. In online speech- ILY!
Andrew Smith– You are one of the smartest and realest at Amherst College, and I’m so glad I’ve gotten to know you better from Appleton to geeking out over DH. You are a visionary, and I always love our conversations and admire how you strive to create artistic and intellectual spaces on this campus and beyond. Thank you so, so much for being my digital savior with this project.
To some English Professors:
Thank you Professor Christoff for making me feel like something was okay my freshman semester and for introducing me to writing that builds boundless, messy, and open worlds. Thank you Amity Gaige for having faith in my voice and for teaching me how to lie and play in my writing. Thank you Professor Cobham-Sander for your laugh, patience, and introduction to the world of DH. Thank you Justin Cammy for showing me the rich, cacaphonous memory of our people. Thank you Professor Sanborn for supporting me when I write and think in ways that don’t follow a straight line.
And, finally, thank you so much for everything Professor Brooks. You have changed the way I imagine storytelling. Thank you for telling the incessant editor in my brain to shut up, for pushing me to go crazy (in moderation) in my work, and for believing in my characters. You are a thoughtful, caring, and creative professor, and I’m so happy you were my thesis advisor.