Long Waited Conclusion

I returned from my Adventures in Mexico and began a new school year the very next day. Unfortunately, this meant that a lot of words were left unshared and the blog itself has lacked an adequate conclusion. Here it is already intersession break, and my group of fourth graders are working on their own blog responses to the book The City Of Ember. I thought it would be a good time to write one last final post.

I am so thankful to Fund For Teachers for providing me with the ability to have an adventure of a life time. I feel that i came away from this experience stronger and more self confident. I am ready to take on the world! I find that i look at the studnets in my school in a whole new life, and understand their struggles and their confusion a little more. I wonder too, if some of our immigrant families miss home, and if the American Dream is all that it promised to be for them.

Javier told us a story of a man in Mexico, sitting in his hammock, playing his guitar and surrounded by family. The table was set with the days fishing catch and everyones stomachs were full. An American passed by and remarked on the man and his small fishing boat. He wanted to know why this man did not expand his business. Why catch only enough fish to feed your family? Why not catch enough that you can sell to others? Build a fleet! Make a profit? Save for the future so that you can retire at an old age and live without having to worry about anything. Without having to work so hard. The man looked around at his family, and back at the American, saying "why would i want to do this when i am already living the life that i dream of?".

He also pointed out, that in America, being poor means that you might not have a safe place to sleep. You might not have food. You might starve to death. In Puerto, the world was a vastly diferent place. Most everyone was what I would consider "poor". But in Puerto, being poor did not mean that you would starve. Having no electricity in many places, there were no utilities to be "cut off". Food grows directly from the ground and from the trees and almost jumps right out of the ocean and onto your plate. In Puerto, you can get by on a little money. Life is not so fast paced, and despite all previous misconceptions, i ended up feeling completely safe within this little town.

I miss my summer in Puerto. I miss the people and the food, the smiles and the slow paced rythem of life. I miss the kids and thier unquenchable thirst for education. Their laughs.

As a society, we view this life style as underprivilaged. Poverty. Don't these people want something better for themselves? I know all of Mexico isn't the same as the little corner that i lived in, but i came away with a bit of envy for a culture that is able to be so self sufficient with natural resources and so little assistance from the "outside" world. At the end of a stressful day, when my oversized classroom was out of control, i was yelled at by a parent who didn't feel that they are getting everything that they are entitled to, i was late to my second job because the bus was late picking up one of my students, the fact that i have to have that second job just to make all the bills.... to PAY for the electricity, cable, internet, cell phone.....
I often think of the fact that i could live for half a year easily, and in relative comfort, on what i make in a month here.

Do i appreciate everything i have here in America? Yes... of course! I just also feel that as Americans, we take so much for granted. Sometimes "progress" manages to become so important that you forget what is really important in life; enjoying it.

I would love to become less materialistic. To want less, need less, desire less..... but find that i have fallen right back into my past patterns and habits. Buying, spending, consuming, working long hours, living day to day just to make it to the next day.

The days that i love the most are the ones that i stop and enjoy.

My goal, is to find a perfect balence.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Angela, i am Ashanti Branch a high school mathematics teacher in Oakland, Ca and I am planning a trip to Latin America for a Language immersion program with Fund For Teachers (well I am going to apply) and I was looking for some advice since you have successfully completed a trip.

    It was great to read your blog, thank you for making that available and for inspiring others to get out and see more of the world.

    Thank you for your support.

    You can email me at everforwardclub@gmail.com

    Thank you,

    - Ashanti Branch