I am so grateful for him. Why I've been so lucky to have someone like him in my life, as my husband & best friend...I DON'T KNOW! I've always felt that I don't deserve him. He's waaaaay too good for me. I know I have been greatly blessed.
This picture was taken about 4 years ago in Vegas, but I still love it. I can't wait 'til this semester is over and we can go on another little get-a-way. That's the only thing keeping me going right now. Travis is my light at the end of the tunnel. Cheesy, but completely true.
Before determining your opinion of me, please read this entire post. :) I have posted an email I sent to my German professor last week. She had some very forced opinions last week that triggered my fire, as you'll quickly learn.
So here it is. I have changed my Professors name, out of respect (since this isn't a private blog).
I am writing in regards to today's class lecture. Jace gave a presentation on the German Education System. I have been feeling, and other students have confirmed my feelings, that you are not having this information presented to teach us about the culture of Germany. Rather, we are being presented one-sided information, only to prove how Germany is greater then America. This comparing is not brought up by your students. It is brought up consistently by you.
You claim your constant comparing of Germany to America is "opinion" only, yet you get defensive when any of your students express their patriotic opinions. I guess my American education has kept me ignorant. I had no idea the Professor of the class was the only one allowed to share their "opinion". Today you forcefully compared, excuse me - shared your opinion - about America's Education system, politics, and how "stupid" it is that 21 year old are still trying to figure out what they want to do for the rest of their lives, while living off their parents income and being supported in school by tax payers. Again, you ended your ongoing mockery with, "This is my opinion. Don't take it personal".
First off, I am 26 years old and I'm still going to school. I decided what I want to do with the rest of my life just 2 years ago, at the age of 24. So, to say I didn't take your degrading lecture personal would be a complete lie. I have tried to respect you as my German professor, but it seems you cannot respect me as your American student. If you would like to share opinions with the expectation of no offense being taken, I'll gladly share mine, with the same courteous expectations.
Opinion 1: You've over stepped your boundaries as a GERMAN TEACHER. I didn't take this class to listen to you bash on the country I am PROUD to be from. I came to learn about and gain appreciation for your home country. You are employed at UVU to teach German. You are not here to tell your students EVERYTHING you feel is "stupid" about America (students over the age of 21, American education system, politics, etc). You are over stepping your boundaries. Completely.
Opinion 2: You're constant bashing of America makes a mockery of my brothers and sisters (and their families) who sacrifice their time, sanity, and their LIVES for America. When sitting in your class, the constant projection, from you, is that patriotism it is pathetic and uncalled for. I feel you look down on those who value their American country. I am proud to be American. I am proud of my country. I feel we are successful in many ways. There are many reasons to look at America as an example. We do a lot right. We also step up to the plate when other countries are in need. Please do not tell me, through degradation, that patriotism is something to be ashamed of. I would appreciate it if you could respect what so many families and individuals sacrifice for the country you currently reside in. Please don't make light of it. Our soldiers deserve YOUR respect as well as mine. If you can't respect, please learn to tolerate. They are fighting for you as much as they're fighting for me. You may not like America, but you live here and benefit from the service of those in the military. I'll thank you in advance.
Opinion 3: There may be a lot wrong with America. Likewise, I'm pretty sure Germany is not the Utopia you claim it is. I can appreciate and value your culture - and do so respectfully. I took this class because I do. Is it too much to ask that you respect mine (or as mentioned above, tolerate it, if respect is too much to ask)?
Opinion 4: We, meaning America, didn't ask you to come here. We're not begging you to stay either. I'm not saying I don't want you here. What I'm saying is you are so against America - and verbal about it - why don't you do us all a favor. Either get over it or leave. You don't deserve to be miserable. Likewise, neither do we.
Opinion 5: I would encourage you to remember my working and paying taxes supports you and your family through your monthly salary. You stated in class today that we, the students, are being supported educationally, by tax payers. I pay my own tuition EVERY semester. I also pay for my own books, supplies, and anything/everything associated with my education. With tax payers in mind, please remember most of your students work and pay taxes. If this is the case, they are paying for their education. Please don't lecture me about where my tax money goes and who it supports. I will kindly do the same for you.
Opinion 6: Germany's Education system is not the solution to America's Educational woes - as you feel. Germany's government is involved in merely every personal decision made with an individual's life (that is how you present it, anyway). The German government decides who is smart and who is not. Then the German government decides where each individual belongs. The "smart people" are surrounded by "smart people" while the "lowest denominator individuals" (as you referred to them) are surrounded by the same people with the same title. You also stated in class that once students are placed in a certain educational bracket they rarely advance. To me, that's mediocrity in practice. Where's the hope and belief in an individual's potential? In America we have the right and freedom to decide what we want to do with our lives and when we would like to do it. America's people and government feel confident individuals can make these decisions without the assistance of the government in their living rooms and at their kitchen tables.
Opinion 7: Germany is completely competent to make well-thought-out, good decisions. In paraphrasing, you said in class today that you do not understand how Germany feels America can do things right. But you mentioned that Germany is copying America in some regards. You used the example of a bachelor degree (German colleges now offer Bachelor Degree's). Ms. Smith, when a government, especially one you believe so loyally in, makes a decision that would benefit Germany, whether it be from American-influence or other, give them the benefit of doubt. Please don't waste my time telling me how aweful our education system is, only to tell us that Germany is "copying" us. Side step your pride and acknowledge that America has set an example. Clearly we have, as Germany is following our lead.
Opinion 8: Parents involvement in their children's education
My intent is not to attack you as a person. I am merely attacking the situation. This needs to stop and it needs to stop now. With that, I am demanding an apology to the class be issued immediately.
As you can see my letter wasn't complete - and it also has some typo's and problems with sentence structure/grammar. I was planning on reviewing and correcting everything before submitting the email, but accidentally hit SEND instead of SAVE! So, my Professor received my thoughts in entirety. And completely raw.
Since I wasn't done with my 8th and final opinion I wrote a second email finishing my thoughts. Here it is:
Opinion 8: It is healthy for parents to be actively involved in their child's education. You stated in class today that you felt it is a complete waste to require parents to be involved with their child's education. You stated that in Germany parents are highly discouraged from helping their child. This is not the ideal situation. In my opinion, lack of parental involvement presents the opportunity for the child to question the love and concern their parents have in regard to their educational success. I believe through helping the child with their homework healthy, trusting relationship are created between the parents and child and allows parents to know what is being taught at their child's school. In today's culture some topics are of deep concern. Is it too much to ask a parent take time to help their child? You also boldly stated that when parents help their children with their science projects it only "shows off" what the parents can do. You said, "This doesn't help the child succeed at all." Growing up in Germany rather then the United States, I don't know how you can say such things and expect me to swallow it as a valid statement.
You had also stated that in Germany children can start their education as early as three months old. While I am happy for the working mother who is able to go back to work three months after giving birth (and as you pointed out, have "their child taken care of for free"), this is not the most beneficial situation. I feel the relationship between a child and parent is vital to the future success of that child. There have been studies done proving how influential the parent/child interaction is, specifically involving the child's education. If you would like further information on these reports I would be more then happy to do a 15 minute class presentation on my findings, I will even go as far as providing copies of the work I am referencing for you and each student in class.
I am grateful for my country. I am grateful for the freedoms offered to all who reside here.
I will not apologize for my heritage.
I will not apologize for being American.
cc: President of UVU Director of Linguistics
Moral of the story? I dunno. I'm still trying to figure it out. Just don't force your opinions on others without giving equal opportunity for them to share their opinions. I'm so sick and tired of people nodding their heads and agreeing because it's easy. I don't care if I piss people off. I mean, I care but I don't. I'm not going to "grin and bare it" any more.
I will say, surprisingly, this has a happy ending. I met with my professor (one on one) and was able to gain a better understanding of her and she was able to gain a better understanding of me. I told her I had chosen not to forward my email (and her responses) to the President of UVU & the Director of Linguistics after her apology was issued.
However, let it be known, that was NOT an empty threat. I am not bullying. I am standing up for what I believe in. And I will do it again, if necessary. If she pushes it again, I'm taking action. But I'm giving her the benefit of doubt..I hope things continue progressing in a respectful way.
With all these emotions (not all sorrowful either), I have had the wonderful opportunity to spend time with my Grandmother this week. It's Spring break right now, so I have a little more time. Before I went back to school, Ashley & I would go up each week and visit her. We'd give her manicures and pedicures, have dinner, watch movies, talk...I have always cherished the relationship I have with my Grandmother. It's so special and unique.
Yesterday, while Ash & I were spending time with her, she had some testing done to see if a painful infection came back. My Grandmother had decided if the infection did come back, she would refuse treatment and receive Hospice services. The test results came back and sure enough. The infection has come back.
The doctors feel they can keep her pain-free and comfortable. The heart-breaking situation is what lies ahead. I don't want her to stay here and suffer infection, after infection, after infection, after infection. And I don't want to lose her either.
I know with all my heart what's best for her. I am happy for her to be with my Grandpa again. To see her parents & siblings. To see my Angel, Mercydez. She's so excited! I'm so excited for her! But I'm also heart broken. I know it's only a matter of time before I lose another close friend.
Life is hard. I'm going to do all I can while relying on my Faith. Relying on the knowledge that there IS a God, there IS life after death, and that families ARE eternal.
I have been doing a lot of thinking. Probably too much. But I thought I'd share my thoughts because they're doing no good staying in one place.
I have really been thinking about the power of kindness. Genuine kindness. I have been thinking about those who are suffering, which qualifies all of us as no one is exempt from the trials, tribulations, and temptations this life offers. It always seems there are those who have bigger trials. Always.
I still hurt. I still miss my baby. I think I will always hurt. I know I will always miss her. It's painful. And yet in my hurt and sorrow I am able to move forward, always remembering. I know you know this because I always seem to relate everything in my life to Mercydez. I guess it's because she is that significant in my life. She literally changed me. How could I not think of her in everything?!
Last night I had some "scars", if you will, re-opened. I read the blog of a sweet family going through the trial and deep sorrow of having a chronically ill child. I laid on my bed and cried. Harder then I have in a few months. It's not fun re-opening wounds. But I know there is knowledge and peace in re-visiting the vulnerability, the feeling of no control, the ache and literal pain of watching. This blog was hard to read. How I want to SAVE THIS FAMILY. I want to help their little girl, Layla Grace. I want to take her suffering from her and take it upon myself.
I also have a precious friend, my sweet, priceless Grandmother, who is suffering a lot of pain right now. My cousin, Sheila, wrote on her facebook status last night, "Watched over my sick little ninety-year-old grandmother tonight while my parents went out. There is nothing harder than watching someone you love very dearly suffer in noble silence. There is also nothing more inspiring than watching someone who can smile at you through the pain--and mean it."
I used to think disappointment was the worst feeling in the world. I have come to learn disappointment doesn't come close to watching someone suffer.
But with that thought in mind, I want you to think with me. Are we really helpless towards those who are suffering? Are our hands really tied? Is there NOTHING we can do to help with the suffering?
My answer to those three questions is a big fat N.O. There is something we can do. Our hands aren't tied. There is something we can do to help with the pain. Wanna know what it is?
Genuinely love them. Genuinely serve them. Anyone, even someone suffering, can SMELL "superficial" as it walks through the door. AND! Anyone, even someone suffering, can smell "genuine".
I am still learning people are the way they are for a reason. That angry person you just walked by is angry for a reason. That insecure woman in the office or classroom is insecure for a reason. That annoying, self-centered acquaintance is annoying and self-centered for a reason! No one is exempt from "life". Lets love them. Let's give them the benefit of doubt. Let's give them a chance. They need it.
There are many suffering in "noble silence". I sincerely challenge you to find one of them each day and offer genuine kindness. Smile. Hug. Offer loving words. You may honestly be the reason that person is able to smile and mean it.
If it is you who is suffering in "noble silence"...mmmmmm. You are loved and cared about. I can sincerely say you are loved.