#belikefrida Hispanic Heritage Month

This year, at my school, we are celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month in style. Our slogan (catchphrase) for the month, which we are celebrating during all of October, is “Be Like Frida”.  To be honest, at first, the kids had NO CLUE what we were talking about and they just made fun of Frida for being a weird artist with a unibrow and mustache.  Standard.

Hispanic Heritage Month

#belikefrida

But then, something magical started to happen as we talked about her to our students, they fell in love!  Frida represents a lot of GREAT, INSPIRING and all-together awesome ideas that young people living in 2013 can really relate to.  She stood up for the people in her country without rights, she had a unique style, she rebelled against the norm in almost every way possible, she broke the rules, she challenged peoples’ ideas, and she represented feminine beauty in a whole new light.  Any teachers out there who want to share our AWESOME Power Point presentation, email me!

I have been researching and studying Frida now for a couple of weeks, and now all I want to do is visit her beautiful town, Coyoacán, Mexico and see her amazing home, La Casa Azul.  #traveldaydreams

Also, check out these related links:

La Casa Azul, in NYC 

Frida, the movie! (note: awesome!) 

Frida, the kids book (my little one loves it and my students do too!)

Coyoacan Mexico travel guide

Great Latino Book Club 

 

 

A double perspective on the world…

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This past weekend, we were able to celebrate the wedding of my “cousin” with family on my husband’s Cuban side. The entire event was amazing; we were able to spend such good, quality time with people who we don’t always get to see as often as we’d like. Everything was so much fun…babies everywhere, kids giggling, teenagers sneaking little sips of champagne during toasts, older people dancing salsa like they were still teenagers themselves…it was perfect!

As I stood and talked to one of the women at the rehearsal dinner, I realized something that I have always heard about being bilingual…I have “double perspective”.

I was chatting away with Cuban ladies about diapers and infants and toddlers and what I did for a living without even thinking that I was standing there (a foot taller than nearly everyone in the room and MUCH blonder) speaking Spanish. Only 15 years ago, I hadn’t spoken a word of Spanish and I had not traveled out of the US yet…but here I was, yammering (and gossiping) away with the best of the “cubanas”!

Being bilingual, they say, is like living a double life. Not the kind where you feel sneaky or uncomfortable, the kind of life where things feel exponentially “doubled”. Thanks, to my Cuban “familia” for including a giant gringa!

Now, I remember why I teach Spanish to those stubborn teenagers! :).

Happy Tuesday.
M

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The softer side of “ms. P”…

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I reminded my students of the quote above today and they seemed to enjoy it so I decided to share it with you. There is such truth in these words.

Related side-note: Also, how funny are teenagers? Just in general, they are ridiculously awesome and equally ridiculous. Today a kid said to me in class, “you’ve got a baby…are you old enough for a baby?” (note: the art of the backhanded compliment is alive and well in our youth.) Thanks guys. But then, seconds later I heard a girl mutter to a friend, “I like her better now.”

Was it the baby that won her over? Perhaps. Most likely.
Maybe me just acknowledging being a human? Probably not.
One may never know. Ah, the mystery of adolescence. Each year I take two steps closer to figuring it out and three steps back. :)

Back-to-school, baby!

Life design 101… (aka “jumping ship”!)

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This week has been my first at a new teaching job. It’s been a true breath of fresh air and an inspiration in every sense of the word. Side note: need some inspiration? Check out children inspire design and the shine project.

Ok, back to my story… I had been VERY nervous about basically “jumping ship” with a major life decision this past spring when I, indeed, jumped ship. Change scares the bejesus out of me sometimes and I felt like I had finally lost it this July when it hit me that I was leaving a job I love, with coworkers I adore, and students who made me realize that I had indeed chosen a vocation (ps- its genetic! My grandma and aunts are teachers, thanks a lot, guys!) and not just a job.

But, there’s this little face I needed to see more of…so, I did it. Love will make you do the darnedest things! I switched a hellish commute for a short one so that I could snuggle a bit more and spend non-commuting time with my favorite pigtail-wearing giggle-monster. I traded the Babysitter literally sent down from heaven (contact me if you need someone near DC because this woman is truly amazing…) for a (gasp!) stranger. It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make, but…it’s feeling good.

So, I leave you with this little story and no results. But maybe someone else out there who’s about to splash into the water after jumping will feel a bit of solidarity.

Enjoy!

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Posters all courtesy of Pinterest. Look me up…I’m Megan Elizabeth!

“It’s the end of the world as we know it…”

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It’s that time of year again! The final countdown! Pardon my overuse of the exclamation mark! REM’s song frantically plays in my head as I frenetically run around in circles…

Really though, this full-time teacher-mama can hardly stand herself. Why, you may ask, am I so excited!? Tomorrow is that blissful day known to teachers as “the end”.

While I will miss the kids that I teach and their fabulous and hilarious antics…(for example, the obsession with drawing me on the board each day to document my outfit and hairstyle choice in 3rd period Spanish…)

…I am ready to take it SLOW. I yearn to do NADA. All that needs to happen is a little walk each day, an occasional splash in the pool and a snuggle with my girl whenever I want to.

Summer, I love you.

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Meeting your best friend(s)…

Do you remember meeting your best friend(s)?  

I giggled as I thought of writing about this because some friends just magically appear in our lives, while we meet others in the funniest (and often times most awkward) situations throughout our lives.

Take, for example, my little brother.  He came home from his first day of 3 year old nursery school with a new best friend: “the boy in the orange shirt”.  Unfortunately, Benjamin (as we later came to know him) wore a different colored shirt the next day.  The story ended well with the kind teacher helping my brother find his “new best friend”.

I have an “eclectic” group of best friends.  They are awesome.  

Katie is my lifeguard buddy who I met in a pool.  Literally, while swimming in the pool, we said to one another (I remember it as clear as day!), “we are friends”.  That was the end of that.  How easy!  Our friendship has been easy (like having an awesome big sister that doesn’t judge and literally reads my mind telepathically) ever since.

Bethan is the first friend I made in high school.  I don’t remember exactly when it happened, but I do remember seeing her in a lot of my classes and one day striking up a conversation where we literally decided that we were not only best friends, but also sisters.  We decided that since we looked alike, we should be friends.  Period.  The antics began and they haven’t stopped many years later!

Megan is one of the friends that I don’t remember meeting very well.  She was in my homeroom freshman year and I remember loving and admiring her silliness from the beginning.  All of the sudden, I was telling people that we were friends, no questions asked.  That’s exactly how she is.  We are friends, no matter what.  No questions asked.

Katie (not to be confused with Katie above) and Mo (short for Maureen) were a two-for-one friendship deal.  I had classes with both of them and remember thinking “gosh, those girls are cool, I wonder if they would be my friends?”  (Note: This is awfully embarrassing to admit.)  Well, it worked out fabulously and we became a little gang of not just 3 friends (yes, they allowed other people into their force field of friendship!), but 5 (see the two characters above).  We are the type of friends that will go to the beach together as old ladies and sit together in the tide with our drink coozies and giggle until sunset.  I love these girls like sisters.

So, the question is…. How did you meet your best friend (s)?  Do you remember?

Happy Tuesday,

M

Best spring break ever? Yup.

This may go down in the charts as the best spring break ever! A whole day of relaxation has been quite successful and a trip to the park (x2) doesn’t hurt.

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Plans for our break include massive amounts of stroller-ing and swinging, trips to Starbucks, a picnic to feed some ducks, lunch out on the town…

My my, how you have changed spring break. I think I love it! :)

Enjoy the sunshine.
M

A “spectrum of goodness”…

Over coffee this morning, my friend (Mamicomio’s writer) and I discussed how our kids will probably turn out ok as long as we love them and give them the basics (structure, decent role models, etc.).  Too often, parents are anxious and paranoid about how their children will turn out, worrying that they are not providing enough of everything to make them “happy”.  In my short little time as a mom and my relatively longer time as a teacher, I have begun to think that kids will inevitably become something great, as long as they are loved, disciplined and given experiences (both positive and negative) to learn from.

Banksy quote, courtesy of Pinterest

Take, for example, my brother and I.  There are only two of us and we are total opposites in pretty much every way.  Yet, we are both relatively decent human beings, public servants, love our families and are kind to others on a regular basis.  (Thanks mom and dad for your patience as we both took “the road less traveled” to get to this point!)

We fall into what I am now labeling the “spectrum of goodness”.  As parents, we don’t have to try and “make” our kids into something.  We just guide them gently, teach them valuable life lessons like respect for others and themselves and add a dash of “hope for the best”.

quote courtesy of Pinterest

 

Bilinguals rejoice…(nerd moment)

The NY times loves to ego boost (thus, the readership).

This week, they are proving that those who know more than 1 language have an advantage over “monolinguals”.

Being bilingual helps people to problem solve and may even help in old age with the prevention of dementia…read more here in the article from the Sunday Times.

Ok, so now I just have to convince a room full of 28 adolescents that what the NY times says is “legit”.  Stay tuned.  :)

image courtesy of NY Times article

For more information on the joys and adventures of raising bilingual kids, read one of my favorite blogs, Spanglish Baby.

Kony 2012…it’s time to do something!

Kony 2012

courtesy of Invisible Children

This video about the lives of children soldiers in Uganda, Kony (the leader of the LRA in Uganda) and the drive we should all have to do something to help came out recently and has gone viral immediately.  The reason being, it is very well done and inspires the viewer to take some sort of action.

KONY 2012 from INVISIBLE CHILDREN on Vimeo.

After talking to a friend at work about it, I realized that we all want to do something to “save the world”, but are often overwhelmed because we feel too small or inadequate to make a tangible difference.  The Kony video challenges that feeling.  We are all capable of changing a small part of the world.  We just have to want to.

The best quotes for me from the film:

1. (as a new mom): “He didn’t choose where or when he was born, but because he is here, he matters”.

2. “Who are you to end a war?  I am telling you, who are you not to?”

If only we could all treat one another this way.  Every day.