Friday, June 29, 2007

Politics...No, Just Sweet Memories

I’m not one to get involved in public political debates. I know what I believe in (I’m no fence sitter), but I prefer not to get into public battles about political issues. So, by no means do I intend this to be a politically themed entry. But we all know that illegal immigration has been front and center in the political arena the last few days. And, in reality, illegal immigration affects every one of us in our daily lives.

All this talk about illegal immigration has really got me thinking about where I stand on the issue. Instead of thinking…this is what the government needs to do, or this is how I would solve the problem…I got to thinking about a time in my life just a few years ago.

I was a volunteer at a local literacy center. In the beginning, I helped elementary age students with their reading. I really enjoyed helping the kids and seeing the progress they made in their abilities. Soon after I began volunteering, a couple came to the literacy center wanting to better their English skills. A husband and wife, both in their mid-50s, had come to America from Columbia. Amidst death threats, losing their land, and forsaking their country, they came to America seeking safety and a better life. This couple knew English, but their ability was limited.

The literacy center director knew I was an English major and asked me to help this couple with their English skills. Talk about a humbling task! But I took on the challenge. As our lessons progressed, I learned about this couple. They were both born and raised in Columbia. They owned a beautiful piece of farm land and enjoyed their life. Soon, because of political and religious unrest, this couple was targeted by mobs. Their lives were in danger and they were forced to leave their homeland. Whenever the husband would talk about this time in their lives, he became teary eyed and sad. They found their way to America…and found their way to safety.

What amazed me about this couple was their resiliency. Neither one of them let their unfortunate circumstances bring them down. They were determined to make a better life for themselves and to make something of their situation in America. The husband was a mortgage lender and he knew improving his English would help him advance his career. They both studied so hard and had the strongest desire to better themselves. I was in awe every time we met. They literally inspired me to be a better person, to not take my “easy” life for granted, and to appreciate the wonderful freedoms that I enjoy in this country.

I remember one particular day vividly. I used to go to the literacy center after working at my full-time job. Often, I was tired and just wanted to go home and sleep. But I knew this couple was counting on me. This day, I had a rough time at work. It was just one of those terrible days where you wished you could go home and start new. I was in a foul mood. I ended up being a few minutes late to the literacy center. As I walked into the room, there were my students, with huge smiles on their faces. But what attracted my attention the most was a beautiful vase of roses. They had brought these roses for me. The sweetest note was attached about how much they loved me and how much they appreciated what I was doing to help them. I was so humbled that they took the time to thank me for the small efforts I took to help them. Here was a couple that had been stripped of everything familiar to them, and they were offering me words of hope. To this day, that memory lives in my mind. When I have a rough day, I think of those roses and remember the feelings I had sitting at that little table in the library.

Every time the immigration debate comes up, I think of this couple. Whenever I find myself judging harshly or complaining about some silly thing, their faces come in to my mind. I’ve since lost track of both of them, but the short time we spent together in the library changed me forever.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

My dream

I really want to open a flower shop. My lifelong dream is to open a little flower shop and make the world a better place one lily at a time.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Apparently, I like to make lists. Who knew? You learn something new everyday.

Why I Could Use a Man in My Life

Most of the time, I'm perfectly content with my single status. But there are certain times when a man would come in handy.

1. Cleaning brake dust off my wheels. It would save my hands from looking like a mechanic and maybe, just maybe, the brake dust might actually be gone instead of sitting on my wheels in a swirling mess.

2. Taking out the garbage. I absolutely HATE taking out the garbage. I will literally balance the garbage on top of the garbage when the can is full.

3. Spiders. This one needs no explanation.

4. Bringing in groceries. Living on the 3rd floor makes bringing in the groceries a real chore.

5. Unclogging drains. Yes, the hair that is clogging the shower drain does happen to be my hair, but does that mean I also have to unclog it? I think not.

Then again, maybe I can just hire these tasks done.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

New York City

My friends are traveling to New York City today. Right about now, they are probably somewhere over the Midwest. I love NYC! Every time I visit, I think I leave a little part of myself there. So, in honor of my friends visiting, I decided to make a list of the things I love the most about the Big Apple.

Smells: I love the smell of the city! From the hot dog stands of a street vendor to exhaust from hundreds of taxis, there's just something about the way NYC smells.

Energy: People everywhere, bright lights, office buildings reaching up to the sky. The speed of subways, the excited cell phone conversations. Tourists, busienss executives, locals, theater goers...there's always something going on in the city. The energy gives new life to my soul!

History: From the Statue of Liberty to Ground Zero...NYC is full of history. I always have a heightened sense of patriotism, freedom, and pride when in the City.

Food: I'm salivating just thinking about the cheesecake, baklava, black and white cookies, paninis...I'm hungry.

Sights: There's nothing quite like the top of the Empire State Building at night. From this vantage point, you can see taxi tail lights lined up, city streets, the Statue of Liberty, New Jersey...just miles and miles of uninterrupted scenery. So peaceful, so serene.

I wish I were with my friends on this trip. But since I'm stuck in my office being a grown up, I guess I'll just have to be content with the memories.

Friday, June 1, 2007

What I've Learned from Jane Austen

I love Jane Austen. I think she is a fantastic writer and was far ahead of her time. She definitely knew how to tell a story and I don't know any girl around who can resist the charms of Mr. Darcy. Therefore, this post is dedicated to Jane Austen.

What I've Learned from Jane Austen:

1. Everyone has a story. Whether you're an individual or a business, you've got a story to tell. Tell your story and tell it proudly.

2. It's alright to be yourself. Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice teaches us that you need to be true to yourself. She never was less than who she was. Even when Darcy had broken her heart and wounded her pride, Elizabeth was Elizabeth. She never settled for less.

3. Love is patient. When you love someone, you have to be patient. You need to be patient with their shortcomings and patient with their stubborness. George Knightley was patient with Emma...shouldn't we all be that patient with the ones we love?

4. Family is everything. When Marianne's heart was broken in Sense and Sensibility, her sisters were the ones who stood by her. They supported her and lifted her through the hard times. The world may fail us, but our family will always be there for us.

5. Sometimes, stubborness delays happiness. Look at Elizabeth and Darcy. They both loved each other, yet each was too stubborn to admit wrongs. Their love was delayed far too long than it should have been because neither would admit that the other was the perfect match for them. Luckily for Lizzy and Darcy, their love conquered all in the end.

I think I need to go read some Jane Austen now....

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a little bit sassy...