Naomi Shihab Nye beautiful message

The Reading the World Conference at the University of San Francisco this past weekend was as always an extraordinary experience.
While I enjoyed every speaker, I would like to comment on a moment that was very significantly to me personally.
The great poet Naomi Shihab Nye as usual did not read a speak, but wove her talk around stories and poems, by her and other poets. Every word was meaningful, but what I want to share with you is a particular story.
Naomi told how when as a young woman she moved to San Antonio and was getting to know the city she was intrigued by a newspaper article which mentioned that a particular family had donated their mansion, filled with art, to become a museum.
She invited a friend to go visit the museum, and was delighted when upon arriving to the street she recognized the house she had seen in the newspaper. So, she parked the car in their parking lot, entered the house and began admiring each painting. The friend decided to go upstairs while Naomi enjoyed the living room, thinking of how pleasant it was to see these paintings in situ, without even a label interrupting the decor.
After a moment there was a gentleman next to her asking her what was she doing. She was surprised by the question and said she was enjoying the museum. The gentleman pointed out to her that the museum was two blocks down the street. So, when she asked what then was this place, he answered with a smile: We thought it was our home.
She called her friend from upstairs, and left filled with embarrassment, while a number of people sitting in the parlor looked at them.
She never told anyone of such blunder.
Years later, after a poetry reading a young woman approached her and asked her if indeed she was the person who once had entered a private home thinking it was a museum. All her feelings of inadequacy returned, but then the woman surprised her by saying: “I have wanted to thank you all my life. I was the teenager on that parlor. And up to then I had never appreciated the place I lived in, but when you mistook it by a museum, I realized that my parents indeed had good taste and hand made an effort to create this beautiful home, and my relationship towards them changed… because of you.
Naomi’s message with this story was how extraordinary it is that life will give us the opportunity to free ourselves of something from the past that had bothered us.
For me the message took even a higher meaning. It made me think again of the movie Atonement that I mentioned on an earlier posting. And I felt the invitation to not wait for life to come with a magical gift but to begin to create the actions that could somehow contribute to make up for past errors.
All my best wishes to anyone who reads this.

Films not to miss Across the Universe

Unfortunately I do not have as much time to post messages as I would like, but I want to recommend Across the Universe.
The musical has been created starting from many of the Beattles songs and allowing the songs to suggest the story and the character development.
There are very whimsical scenes, great acting, good photography, and I particularly enjoyed the additional material ( I rented the two disks edition, with a disk fully devoted to the film development) . The director has made this film, not merely for the enjoyment of the music, but to remind the viewers that there was a time when people believe that change could be brought about if we demand it and stood up for our convictions. As a film director she is amazing: able to act out the different characters, to inspire in a setting filled with joy and fun, and to allow the creativity of the moment and all those involved to evolve.
A true example of what in spiritual terms is called “being in the present” –full of the awareness of the present moment in order that it can expand.

Recent films

As a film lover I would like to recommend two worthwhile films.
LA VIE EN ROSE is the very beautiful rendition of Edith Piaf’ life. Her dramatically tragic life has been rendered with art and compassion and a superb performance!
ATONEMENT was for me all I can ask in a film. Magnificent photography that speaks without the needs of words, showing in subtle but unequivocal ways the feelings and emotions of the characters. I love films that offer memorable scenes. In this film the moment in which he touches the water of the fountain when she steps out of it, becomes a perfect statement of his feelings. The sequence when both of the main characters are preparing to encounter each other is a series of magnificent photographs, slowly telling a story in images.
The casting is extraordinary, to find three actresses that could so convincingly portray the same character in three periods of her life, is a feat in itself.
And, last but not least, the plot is not only sound but thought provoking. It invites reflection on all the wrong we may have done in our lives, whether in full awareness or not and wakens up that strong desire to undo any wrong doing and make right that which should always have been. A very fulfilling experience.
All best wishes to all readers.

Hopes for a more responsible year

Once again we are ready to meet at a NABE (National Association for Bilingual Education) Conference, this time in Tampa Florida.
We look forward to the hope and inspiration that is always provided by meeting with educators willing to be creative beyond all mandated restrictions because they believe in students’ abilities to learn.
I know that I will feel supported and understood, respected and appreciated, during this meeting, but above all I know my hope will be renewed.
It is wonderful that NABE does not only provide the opportunity to meet good friends, but in my case also meeting with several family members, since I have relatives in Florida.
A great joy all in all!
After the conference I will be sharing some of my thoughts.
My gratitude to all who have remained steadfast through the years in the struggle to support all children’s linguistic rights and to those who have been joining in this effort each new year.
To all my best wishes, Alma Flor

A visit to Micronesia

Isabel Campoy and Alma Flor Ada in Guam, Micronesia presenting at an International TESOL [Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages] Conference.

We were sponsored by Harcourt School Publishers with whom we have published many educational materials.

We were welcome very warmly, with the characteristic Micronesian hospitality.

It was Isabel’s first time in Micronesia. For me it was a return, after many years, since I in the seventies I had the opportunity to teach a summer course at the University of Guam.

We were able to visit Palau and had unforgetable experiences swimming among schools of fish that allowed us to become one with them in the water. Palau is one of the most beautiful places we have ever visited, with the hundreds of mushroom shape islands surfacing from crystal clear waters.

If you like to scuba dive, to snorkel, or merely to swim, give yourself the treat of a life time and visit Palau, and on the way stop in Guam and enjoy the richness of the Chamorro culture and its wonderful people.

Welcome to dialogue

Welcome everyone!
One of the many classifications of people today is whether we are “native” or “immigrants” to the technological world.
Unquestionably I’m an immigrant!
Having being an immigrant in a couple of other circumstances, I hope those pevious experiences will help me navegate between these two horizons –the natural to me, of paper and pen, and the incredibly surprising and promising world of technology. Fortunately they both share that most important element of my being: WORDS!
Hoping to hear from you and looking forward our dialogue.