Two weeks ago, in a communications class, I led the discussion about Society and Politics. I spent twenty hours to prepare for one hour in front of the class- reading, looking for the most up to date and accurate, information, struggling with google slides, putting YouTube clips inside google slides, putting anything other than youtube clips inside google slides- get the picture?

I was intimidated by the material. In light of recent events, everything in the textbook seemed outdated or irrelevant. At the end of the class, the professor asked how anyone could feel hope in light of current events. The world has become a dark place. The bad guys are winning, our population is under a constant state of attack we aren’t even aware of, and, realistically, it appears =it might be virtually impossible to overturn or overcome current events.

I answered his question by saying that although I agreed with everything he just said, I am able to find optimism in the course of my job and day to day life. I work with students, non profit organizations, and older people trying to find a way to become relevant in today’s world. I need to find hope, because the people I work with need me to believe there is a point to what they are doing or plan to do.

Quite a few of the people I work with are international, many are undocumented. The majority of these people are coming to Quincy College, a two year college, after they have completed their doctorate, or master’s degree in their own country. Dentists hoping to become dental assistants, doctors registering for the Certified Nurse Assistant program. Last week, I worked with an economist from Nigeria to find the resources to study for the TEAS so she can enter our LPN program.

I stand by what I said about needing to feel hope so I can offer my optimism, like a pen or an apple, to these people when they step into my office.

Last week, I had to lead the class in a conversation about the Global Media. Half way through the chapter, I realized I need to do so much more.

I had always thought ]when I welcomed a woman from Haiti, leaning over the table to listen to her words through her accent, and answering her questions, clearly, with the program sheet between us, as a visual guide- that was doing the right thing. Calling upstairs to see when the next TEAS preparatory class began,  also the right thing. Personally showing her the campus, introducing her to the Dean of Nursing, directing her to the most sympathetic staff member in our Financial Aid office, I felt like a rock star.

Welcoming people from other countries and helping them adjust to the area, navigate their way through job searches, higher education, even helping them help their own children make the transition, is important. But wouldn’t I be so much more effective if I knew something, anything, about the world these people are coming from?

Since Wednesday, I’ve made a priority to spend about twenty minutes looking outside of Western sources for the news. Columbia, France, Brazil, Canada,, Africa, Egypt, Qatar- the world is huge. I thought catching up on ‘Game of Thrones’ was going to be a process.I

I don’t know anything about ransomware, triple talaq, the recent rescue in Italy or spread of cholera in Yeman.

 

I consider myself an ambassador for higher education in the United States and I know little or nothing about where these people’s stories began.

Since then, I search out the international news mid-day. Over coffee, it’s too much. Before bed, I would never,sleep. Middle of my work day, I take a few minutes over lunch to seek out global news, not just from my half of the equator.  After reading a story like ‘There is no justice for the poor in Brazil’  or ‘Pentagon wants to boost US troop numbers in Afghanistan’, my ongoing issues with the copier machine seem a little less dire.

It’s sad, often, the state of the world, but it’s also enlightening, to feel like I’m becoming, bit by bit, more aware of what is actually happening in the whole world- the whole world. I’m aware and beginning to understand different points of view. I’ve had the opportunity to glimpse at a different landscape, politically, emotionally, socially, and   outside my own window. (Honestly, it’s been a week. I know enough to know I’m going to be without a clue for a while.)

I’m never going to have time to catch up on Game of Thrones.

Advertisements

Fishing

February 12, 2013

I’s been about a week since my last post on WordPress. I wrote about my fear of developing Alzheimer’s disease; my father died from complications of early onset Alzheimer’s when I was in my 20’s. It was dark, intensely personal, (too much so, according to my mom) and lacking in  humor, attempted or other wise.

About three days ago,  I realized it was getting to be that time. I try to update my blog about once a week; .(I really hate the word blog, and “blogging” sounds like something dirty people do in the back rooms of convenience marts or shoe stores). I really wanted to write something light, to balance out the melancholy reflections last time out.

So I started looking for something to write about. First up, and the obvious choice, was the blizzard, “Nemo”, “Snowmaggedon”, “The Storm that was Badder than the one in 1978″… I live just outside of Boston, about two feet of white powdery stuff fell on Milton. I considered devoting a few paragraphs to shoveling. This is all I got- Shoveling is hard work, and no matter what is on your feet, your socks get wet. I was going to write about the joy of having a few days home with the kids. They spent a lot of time complaining about not being able to go sledding, and asking for more hot chocolate. When I made them hot chocolate- the homemade kind, fancy dark chocolate mixed with brown sugar, honey, a pinch of salt and vanilla- they’d fish out the marshmallows and leave the half drank cocoa on any available surface. Where, more than once, they knocked the mug over. It’s fun to mop up cocoa in wet socks. Definitely couldn’t fill a few paragraphs of the joy of being stranded at home with two clumsy, culinary challenged, ungrateful children. Even if my favorite bliss is being wedged in the middle of their solid, sweet little bodies while we argue about who gets the remote.

So I crossed the blizzard of my list of suitable subjects for this time out I started  scrutinizing  everything I did for potential material. Looking for a pair of sweat pants… A piece about cleaning the closet! Rubbing Sophie the Most Wondrous of the Canines? A rambling ode to the joy of loving a dog. Making sloppy joes? What about a stab at the comedy that the sauce is called Manwich? Girls like sloppy joes too. This girl likes sloppy joes a little too much. As a matter a fact, how about something about what happens when I’ve been stuck at home to long and it’s hard to zipper up my favorite pair of jeans. Everybody wants to read about somebody else getting not able to squeeze into pants.. Except I don’t want to write about that. It’s not too personal, it’s just embarrassing.

So instead of publishing an essay about snowstorms, or puppies or the need to not eat too many sandwiches, I just wrote about what I am choosing not to write about. At this time.

If I don’t think of something by next week, I might revisit the singular joys and pitfalls of  cleaning the closet.