I love the synonyms for the word grow: develop, multiply, swell, enlarge, expand, extend, raise, cultivate, produce....
This word describes what has been happening within me over the recent months. I have grown in several ways and am feeling a sense of clarity in the process. I'm starting to feel a little more settled into myself, which feels so good and I hope to continue this way.
As I don't have much time to write (as we are packing and leaving for Costa Rica tonight!), I will list out some of these great changes and experiences:
Growth in Appreciation: On July 31st, we had a big family party for Granny turning 100 years old. I feel so incredibly blessed to have this lady in my life- she is a role model, and as everyone says an inspiration (almost every card she got said that word). At the party, it was wonderful to be with family members near and far and to be with family friends, and others who knew Granny from some social group or another. I enjoyed talking with friends of Granny because they often said how she influenced them or touched their lives; really makes me appreciate this stunning lady. This party reminded me of how important it is to extend oneself to others. Granny is always about others first, something I want to be better at. After the big party, there was a fun family picnic that allowed us all to relax, play games, and enjoy each other's company.
On August 1st, 2011, Granny officially turned 100. So amazing :) I think I found out one of Granny's "secrets to longevity" this past weekend... My cousin had some questions from her students to ask Granny and one of them was about stress management. Granny had this to say, "I think I've had an easy life compared to people who live [location where she does]...I've had food, clothes etc..." Then she proceeded to say, "No sense in worrying because things will happen the way they should!" and "Do the best you can, hope for the best." Now, those are words of wisdom.
Growth in Commitment: Yes, that is the big 'C' word! haha This is something that I have fought with for a long, long, long time until recently. I won't give many details, but I will say that I am dating someone and have been for a good part of this year. He came into my life unexpectedly, somewhat ironically, and yet all at the right time. Sometimes life doesn't give you what you want, but exactly what you NEED. It took quite a few conversations with my cousins and a close friend to get me to see that blessing. I feel grateful for their perspectives and not allowing me to run away. This is a very good change and I feel whole. That's the best way to put it... And best of all, my heart feels at home.
Growth in Education: This summer I took 3 courses and finished them within a month and a half (yes, that is why I was absent in blogging for most of July...not that anyone notices... haha). I took two online classes for my ESOL endorsement- policy and literacy. The other class was a general educational technology course. Anyway, I actually felt challenged in my thinking about ESL education, in the policy course. We had to read a few chapters per discussion question out of this book called, Advocating for English Learners: Selected Essays (2008) by James Crawford (yes and I actually had to read- could not get by with scanning!). The book strongly advocates for bilingual education and English Plus. English Plus promotes proficiency in English and opportunities for everyone to learn other languages. Until reading this book, I hadn't given much thought to the type of education that ELLs receive and even how they are treated in our country. I mean, I've had some knowledge but not really thought about it. I've had many of my misconceptions cleared up and am now more understanding of these learners. Think this line sums it up, "While language learned in the classroom is valued in this country, a language learned learned by growing up in a minority community is likely to be considered a liability, not an asset" (p. 122).
Growth in Traveling Experiences: I could put 'growth in understanding cultures' too. This is very much connected with my ESOL courses... As I have mentioned a few times, Mom and I traveling to Costa Rica with our family friend. We are so excited to visit her country! I am a little nervous as my Spanish is horrendous, I have lost so much vocabulary since high school. However, I am sure it will be okay. I will know how it feels for my future ELL students, which will be incredibly valuable. I am excited too, to see the culture of Costa Rica. Since we will be traveling with our friend we will be very much immersed in it. I have a greater sense of what culture is - there is so much depth, way beyond the usual: clothing, holiday celebrations etc...
Well, that is all I have time to write about now, but I think this describes some good things going on in my life. I probably will not be able to write on here until I return. So I will be taking notes of things to share!