Slice of Life 22 of 31

Teaching Reflection

I love being a teacher. I’m not too keen on the alarm at 5:35am Mon-Fri, but once I get over that I remember I have a great job, and I get to share laughter with teenagers all day long. I enjoy what I do because it’s a service for our society, because of the joy I feel when I get to laugh throughout my day and talk about stuff I love and know. I love to share how much I can love a book with my students, and how I will cry at the end of certain books every.single.time. I know the kids appreciate me for everything I am and for everything I’m not.

I teach mainly because I wanted to make my parents proud, I wanted to work with words instead of numbers, as well as work in a field of good service to society, and finally because working with children is a lot of fun. The kids are always drawn to the bright side of things, if left to their own devices they will find play and proceed to enjoy playing. Kids are great to be around, and we get to laugh in my classroom every single day.

To be honest, not paying some kind of service to my society wouldn’t sit right with me – living my life without helping those less fortunate than me seems erroneous. Not that I’m incredibly wealthy or anything, but I had a great childhood and I was loved and cared for and still am – some kids I teach have nothing, and I feel I have to give them my love, laughter, and positivity. I’m grateful to do this job – I get a sense of peace from the profession, especially when I teach through my heart and not through my ego. During graduation I cry a whole bunch – seeing the ones who almost didn’t make it walk across that stage is incredibly moving.

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Slice of Life 21 of 31

Traveling Thursdays

I’ve taken 6 major road trips in the United States – major in the sense they involved visiting more than 5 states.  My total for road trips in the U.S is 12 – the other 6 are road trips under 1,000 miles.  Last week I wrote about my first major American road trip on an 18 wheeler semi!  This week I’m going to write about a summer road trip that lasted 3 months.  It was the summer of 2006, I turned 29 that year, and I was a college junior taking summer online classes to become a senior for the fall semester.  My online classes allowed me to travel for 3 months in the summer and still graduate in the following spring.

I was dating a guy who was a chef.  He made his own business – a traveling food vendor for all kinds of events.  He was of Italian descent so he specialized in American Italian food from pasta dishes, to meatball subs.  This guy also happened to love live music, and lo and behold so do I, so in the summer of 2006 we traveled around the U.S serving food at live music festivals!  ShineFest was our first stop in North Carolina, then came a series of events like street fairs, and bead shows in Wisconsin, where we stayed for 6 weeks.  During this time I went to Chicago and got to know the city a little bit as we were staying in Burlington.  It was a great summer – so much fun – it was fantastic!  Please don’t stereotype me just because I went to some music festivals in 2006! That was 11 years ago, and 4.5 years before I became a  teacher.   Also please note that I don’t go to music shows or festivals of any kind anymore – it Has been 7 years  since I saw any live music.

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Slice of Life 19 of 31

Tomatoes

I first started growing tomatoes three years ago when I came back to Florida from an extended stay in New Mexico. By mistake I planted 6 baby tomato plants in one big pot and they turned into a ginormous tomato plant! I named him Tommy and we ate his fruit for many months. As he was my first tomato plant I tried to keep him alive after his yield had turned, so I nurtured him for an entire year.

Eventually I had to say goodbye to Tommy, and stopped growing tomatoes in the hot season – as tomatoes grow in temperatures ranging from 70-80 F degrees. If it’s too cold or too hot tomato plants will not produce fruit. They are also annuals in the fact that their fruit is gross after a year – but technically a tomato plant will live for many years, which means really they’re perennials.

This year, as mentioned last week, I bought my tomato plants from the high school where I work. This weekend I planted the remaining tomatoes in a huge pot with a gigantic tomato cage that looks like a radio tower! The two plants looked lost in such a huge pot, so on Monday I bought two more tomato plants from school and planted them in the big pot too. Now I have 6 tomato plants growing for this year and I can’t wait to eat their sweet fruit!

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Slice of Life 18 of 31

Mince Pies

Yesterday (Sunday) I got to attend a huge family dinner created by mum baking quiches, pasties, cherry pie, apple pie, mince pie, roasted chickens, and constructed salads. The dinner was for my dad’s best friend and his wife, who arrived from Liverpool yesterday.  They bought the house next door to my parents, so they will be starting to visit more often. I haven’t seen them for 3 years, it was lovely to sit and eat a wonderful dinner and catch up.

During dinner mum sat next to me, and halfway through she leaned in and whispered: “I also baked a small mince pie.” My eyes grew wide and I sucked my breath in loudly and replied: “Ooooo thank you!” Mince pie is a British dessert and is a winter season treat, so I felt very lucky to taste such a dish in spring. I love mince pies so much that I want to eat them all year round, not just winter.

Mince pie is not meat. It is a cured dried fruit mixture (almost like a jelly) that my mum opens up and pours in brandy. She seeps the fruit mixture in brandy for several months before baking with it, and o my! I love it so much. One of the loveliest things about mince pies is that they come with folklore – it is said that for however many mince pies you bake and donate to friends is how many months of good luck you’ll receive in the coming year. I think the sentiment is true because if you give you also receive.

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Slice of Life 17 of 31

I wrote this poem after I read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, then spoke to my parents who lived through bombings by the German Luftwaffe. My father’s family house was bombed completely, and they had to move to a different city temporarily during WWII. I have never found a title for this piece, so I leave it Untitled. I use anaphora in this poem too.

Untitled 2008

Because I never lived through it

Never heard the sirens

Nor saw the spiders under the

stairs, I can see how they were

innocent like us, and hated the

father and knew his lies.

Because I never ran for shelter

during school or dinner or

midnight rendezvouses, I can

feel their horror matched to ours,

and know some had hearts 
enlarged
to hide just a handful 
of Jews.

Because I never starved on

rations for years after

never struggled to buy eggs

or flour, I can understand they

were rationed too, and children

played despite the mires.

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Slice of Life 16 of 31

Today’s poem is an example of Prose Poetry.

In Memoriam, L23

To most that haven’t lived there it is a broken, rough, rundown sort of a place. I would stare at the ruined buildings from an old war and think, are they the reason my parents left? There are graves in the rough, rundown city that mean something to us, and every now and then we would drive to the graves in the broken city. Seemed like hours spent in daddy’s car to get to what looked like a forgotten patch off the high street in the district of Crosby. St. Luke’s Church Cemetary, L23.

And flowers were brought as my sister and I skipped in our matching mary-janes, holding hands. We would hop and glide to the back wall and find them, lying there, waiting for someone to remember. Minutes were spent cleaning and maintaining, and I would read and read and read. I would follow the names, most had two, then tried to find the oldest date, or the youngest death. But mostly I re-read their names and their years on the one that was ours.

They left behind a son and five daughters, grandchildren, and siblings. Only two of the daughters remain in the city, the rest left, like us. In the end, we moved too far away to stop by those graves that mean something to us, and I would like to think the living that remain still visit, as we who are not can no longer bring flowers.

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