Last Day and the First of Many

  

Hello from Puerto Plata,

Yesterday ending up being a day of unexpected occurrences. José and I took the car back and we ended up with a tour of the resort we spent the year before visiting called Lifestyle. It was not quite the way we expected the weekend to end, but Jose Melissa and I were treated you’re quite the couple days. Between having a chef fix breakfast, our own pool, and a barbecue being cooked for us, it was quite the couple days. The long story short is that we now own a four bedroom villa with our own swimming pool and the opportunity to spend much more time in the Dominican Republic. My visit to the republic this time is much different than a year ago. Well last year I was more naïve and wide-eyed, this year I had a sense of purpose and the foundation on which to base my experience. While my language skills as far as speaking were not necessarily much better my comprehension and reading skills were certainly at a different level. That also made the experience much different. 

Going to the island with Melissa and her father was also a different experience from last year. I remember writing about the expression on Jose’s face and the emotion that I saw or experienced as he saw his homeland for the first time in a couple decades. It was almost as long for Melissa since she had last visited, not quite 20 years. But this time she was not a preschooler she was a college graduate and the person who quite understands who she is. This visit allowed her to have the opportunity to understand from where she comes. To consider her identity, both as a Hispanic and a Dominican. We have the opportunity one day to speak about that and she noted that her visit to La Vega and the opportunity to meet relatives, some for the first time, was significant. This was one of the things that I specifically hoped might happen for her. I know this because for the most part I do not have that opportunity with my own family even though they would be in this country. We have the opportunity to once again to stop and eat and visit with the people we met a year ago at El Cocinero. They were is amazing, beautiful, and wonderful as last year. Their graciousness their hard work and their kindness are unmatched. I’m so glad we decided to do what we did and then I will have the opportunity to return to this amazing island hopefully many times in the future. I must admit I was so stunned and frightened by the driving habits of the locals, to whom I refer to as loco. I honestly believe that would be my one fear should I ever decide to move and spend significant time in the DR. There are no words to describe how they drive. Imagine ants  scurrying out of an art hole, on steroids. The last two days in the Dominican Republic were unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. As I have noted many times I grew up in a blue-collar family and my father worked tirelessly, at times seven days a week. To be waited on and have breakfast fixed for me or barbecue created and my own swimming pool, was not something I amaretto imagined. Yet that was what happened to us. As I finished my last day there when I realized was it was the first day of what was to come. Something be on my wildest dreams; certainly something beyond any expectation that I had when I returned the previous week.

A week is passed, I started this blog and I managed to finish it and lose it. So it is now the last night of my summer vacation. Classes begin tomorrow in the past week has been meetings, preparation, and yes, some anticipation. I have worked on syllabi,course delivery tools, and other chores necessary to be prepared for yet another year. When I realized in the past week is that I passed the threshold, A threshold of time. I have now spent more time in Bloomsburg that I have spent in any one place since I graduated from high school 42 years ago. Up until this last week that place had been Menomonie. Now is Pennsylvania. I’ve known over the past months with the passing of Lydia that my focus would change in that Pennsylvania would become my home. As I continue to work on the house and the yard I know that the routes I have here are now strong. That is not to say that my Menomonie friends are no longer important; in fact nothing could be further from the truth. But professionally this hasbeen the best years of my life. I have amazing colleagues. I’m surrounded by terrific people. I have developed wonderful friendships. And I am blessed by one of the most amazing jobs I could ever hope to have. I have been treated with dignity and respect and I believe I have created a strong sense of who I am and what I have to offer. One of my colleagues said to me the other day that I had a reputation as being a generous and kind person. I could ask for nothing more. The other thing I’m realizing is that I could never have imagined at the age of 60 that my life would be so blessed. I’m still wondering how I got to this age and where all the time has gone.

This evening I was in a meeting with a member of the first year students, members of the business LLC. They spoke about their own fears and their anticipation about the week to come.  I found their comments to be insightful, honest, and therefore hopeful. As I prepare for my own classes tomorrow I will see some students that I’ve had in the past. I will see some of the students fromthe summer, and they will have already changed.  I will have new students both freshmen and upperclassman and we will learn from each other. That is perhaps one of the most amazing aspects of having the opportunity to be in a classroom. There is always learning from anyone and everyone. My own goals for the year are to continue to improve my teaching, to be better at what I do.  I have some significant things that I hope to accomplish and I have the time offered to do those things. It will be important to get them done and to do them well. From the time I was a little boy I have always looked forward to a new school year. This past summer I was referred to as the old white guy (El hombre viejo blanco). It is no longer middle-age I’m just old. I guess according to age for something that might be true, but I don’t really feel old. In spite of all the things that I’ve done and had to go through I feel OK. In fact I feel pretty darn good. I’m not sure what I expected I would be like at 60 or what I would be doing. However, I do know this: I did not expect to be single, childless, a college professor, or living in East. So I guess that means I pretty much had no idea that my life would turn out this way. What did I expect? I’m not sure I know. When I do know is it’s been quite a ride and I have been richly blessed. 

In spite of the many things I’ve had to endure, or things that have happened or those things that many lseem to believe to be even unfair, I do not feel slighted or do I feel unfairly tested. I have merely have life that has never been boring or expected. I have had challenges, but have also been also been provided options. It is for that reason as much as any that I have no complaints. It is for that reason I only see the end of something as the opportunity for something else. I am not a complainer for thost part. I am generally optimistically. 

Well I know I did not get everything back in, but I plan an early more so I will close for the night. I wish all of who who are following , whether recently or for a while good things. Thanks for reading.

Dr. Martin

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