International Wonders

Hello on a Friday evening,

I had the opportunity to see the punk musical American Idiot this evening on campus. It was quite astounding. The music and the vocals were outstanding, but the choreography was simply stunning to me. The energy and the set were infectious and the Mitrani Center was sold out I believe. It was a great production and the prices are so reasonable for the quality of what is being offered. I need to do more to support it than I have. Before hand, I had dinner at a newer restaurant in town called “Seasons”. This is the second time I have been there. The menu is quite nice and the preparation is among the best in the area. Prices are a bit pricey for Bloomsburg, but reasonable for what you are receiving. Tonight I went there before the musical. It was a very nice dinner. Because it is a BYOB, I took the only bottle of Miraflores Petit Sirah (2004) I have in my cellar. It was a triple gold medal wine at the Orange Country Fair. I think it is the only triple goal Miraflores has had there. They have had many medal winning wines, but I think that was their first big one. The wine was decanted and it opened up very nicely. Had a very silky, but full-bodied texture. The taste was subtle with some notes of almost a black cherry. It had a great finish. I do not think it would have lasted much longer, however. The decanting was certainly the right decision. 

It was a busy, but productive week this week. The program revision is in. I have to work on the revision to Bible as Literature a bit more because of the General Education requirements and grading and writing has been much of the rule of the day. Monday and Tuesday I am doing student conferences for my Foundations students again. I am hoping this will help them. I have actually been quite pleased generally with their work. Some of the peer reviews are the best I think I have seen in my 5 years here at Bloom. Likewise, while there are some issues with citation, which I do not find surprising, the papers in general, once again, are strong. I want to have all the grades in by Monday. This past week I was actually in my office until after 1:00 a.m. twice, but it was productive.

This past week I have been fortunate to have conversations about ones’ perceptions of Americans. This has been enlightening to me. The last time I really thought about this was when I was in the service. It was when I was in the Marines that I felt a bit embarrassed to be an American, and before you accuse me of not being patriotic, hear me out. When I was in other countries that had another language, there was little attempt by those of us in the service to use their language even though we were in their country. I remember being uncomfortable with that. More than the language issue was the arrogance of some of my fellow Marines. There was a condescension that made local people unhappy and, appropriately so, because it was disrespectful. It was then and the meeting of a family back in my hometown that had spent the year in Germany that made me want to learn another language. Now I want to learn at least two more. I want to become fluent in Spanish. I have a former student who lives in Spain for whom, to this day, I have the greatest admiration. Then there is Fernando out in Placerville and many of the workers out there. It would also be fun to speak Spanish with Marco. Then there are the students here that are bilingual and bring such an amazing understanding of this culture we call the United States. 

I have been fortunate to listen to their perspective of Americans. I have also listened to a student from China this semester. We take our lifestyle for granted and much like English is the lingua franca of much of the world (which is an entirely different blog entry) we think much the same of our culture. Again, while I am profoundly patriotic because of my time in the United States Marines, I am also open minded enough to realize that many other places have a much longer historical presence than we do. For instance, my Chinese student spoke about a culture of 2,500 years. That is amazing. It is also impressive. I was researching some of the Carribean this evening and their history goes back to the 7th century with Indian people. We all too often disregard the various indigent people that were here long before the “white” people were. Again, we can learn so much from merely listening and observing other cultures. The importance of attempting to learn their language cannot be underestimated. Language is one of the most importance elements of one’s culture, of their identity. It is my goal to be at least competent in Spanish by the fall. 

This past week I have done a lot of thinking about how much more amazing so many students are than I was at that age. I was pretty clueless as I look back at things. I thought I had it pretty well figured out. Honestly, that is certainly not that case. I do think I began to figure it out when I started my time at Dana, but I still wandered and struggled. My junior year at University of Iowa was important, but I still struggled. Most of it was because of my own insecurities and believing that I still could do better than I was. I think I got a 4.0 at Iowa, but I still felt that there were so many around me who were much more together than I was. I have been forced (more accurately prompted) to reflect on my existence again. I think that is a good thing, but it can be both a blessing and a curse. Because of my predisposition to think I can always do better, I have a propensity for seeing things in a more negative light than I probably should. Even though I can write this,  demonstrating a forward-thinking and and introspective side to me ( I do think it is a sort of rebellion if you will), I find it hard to overcome. 

While I do believe my time here has been the best five years of my life (both personally and professionally), I am reminded of what I wrote in a paper once “I have this sense of melancholy that can serve to undermine my progress” (A River Runs Through It -an unpublished paper). Sin embargo, los dos mencionados en blog más temprano han proporcionado un sentido de alegría. Jordan me hace sonreír y reírse, y aún considerar y considerar que elegante él es… y que bueno él realmente es. Melissa me hace mirarme francamente e introspectivamente, y mientras puede ser desconcertante, por último, es probablemente provechoso. La capacidad intuitiva profunda y asombrosa que ella posee es ciertamente atípica. Juntos ellos han proporcionado un sentido de objetivo por el cual estoy agradecido.They have also pulled me out of what is generally a later winter sadness, a sort of seasonal affect issue. 

Well, it is midnight and I am still writing, but I want to be up early as there is a lot on my plate. I am performing a wedding tomorrow for a former student. The two of them so love each other and while they will struggle with managing like most newlyweds, they too are amazingly capable for being the age they are. I might be one of those weddings that I will look back and say, I am glad I was there on that day. Otherwise the weekend will consist of grading, managing documents, and trying to get my next set of ducks in a row. Discipline and working steadily.

Gracias por lectura.

Dr. Martin

One thought on “International Wonders

  1. Mitrani Hall sadly didn’t sell out, although we did had the majority of the seats full. I am glad that you enjoyed the show.
    I wish I spoke another language. I did take three years of French in high school, as well as one semester of German at college; however, I do not remember how to say much at all. I regret not ‘using it’ enough to remember it.

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