Sunday, October 28, 2012

Goodbyes bring change and change brings goodbyes.

Change is hard. Change ir really hard and it can hurt. There are so many things that have changed in my life the last five-six years, picking just one to write about is practically impossible.

The changes people experience can be small, like changing cars and getting used to driving a sedan after years of driving a SUV; this is minimal change and you get used to it quickly. Changing jobs, for the most part, is difficult- your brain, skills and habits were programmed one way, now thay have to serve a different purpose. With practice it becomes a new habit, routine and a new program in your head, a new software is installed and you keep going.

I am an avid fan of change. I love and thrive at the thrill of the new, of what's to come next and all it will bring. I have changed jobs, changed addresses (too many and I am sooo done!- for now- insert wink here), even changed the way I am around people. I don't think I have changed who I am, but I do believe that with time and life experience, I have changed certain little behavior patterns for the sake of having a better relationship; relationship with my family, my son, my friends. I reach out more often, I plan family visits, I include them in my life. I look up and say thank you.  As independent as I was taught to be, a huge lesson I have learned is that you can't do everything alone. I thought I did and proudly, yet exhausted, wore the crown of Mom of the Decade, because I did it all by myself. What a crock! Been there, done that and I could write a whole book about that, but for now I realize that I have had to change little bits of me in order to be better. Even change some of the environment around me because it simply was not healthy, as comfortable as it was. These are good changes, good little mantras to say, especially when it comes to making them part of a daily, intentional commitment in order to be a better daughter, mother, niece, cousin, friend, colleague, community member.

However, there are those times when change brings goodbyes. We say goodbye in different ways. We say bye even when we know and believe we will see the person, or the place we visited, again. Yes, I am that silly sentimental that said goodbye to Disney World, to the Statue of Liberty, to Old San Juan, and every time I drive on I-75 on my way to the airport and turn towards campus, I see the blue dome of the chapel and say bye, see you soon. I say bye to places, things. Why? Because I believe in them, that's all. Saying good bye to a person when you don't know when you will see them again can hurt, though. I have had to say goodbye to many, many people in my soon to be thirty eight (38, yikes!) years in this world.  When I was twelve I had to say goodbye to my mother and while I didn't quite understand everythng that was happening, I understood death to be that final goodbye; the one that is suppose to hurt like no other hurt, in your heart, body and soul. Yet, because it was a good bye brought to us by death,  it was dare I say, easier to face. Not the death of your mother at twelve years old, but the goodbye itself. It was final, not dragged out. There was closure, eventhough I had no idea what closure was.

When a final goodbye comes under circumstance that only change brings, makes it hard to swallow because of a routine established which we were so used to. It hurts when you must say goodbye to a good friend, a fun co-worker that leaves the office, a high school friend you still are close to, a spouse or partner, a way of living. Goodbyes bring change in talk, chat, text, email, and how often you do it. The daily good mornigns on your way to get coffee are not there. The evening call and daily recap of the day's drama does not come. The deep, thought provocking conversations about issues in poverty and education, higher ed and raising money so students can have access to the amazing education we provide, only left to memory.

So why blog about this? Simply because I have had to live some of these good byes and the change they bring, recently. This change is not the thrilling, exciting one I welcome and embrace. This one hurts. It hurts because of the little things we will miss. The routine is broken and it's hard to get used to a new one. And while this and so many thoughts fill my head with memories, conversations and questions, the voice, (yes, God, I know it's you) tells me to be patient, to again, take one day at a time and to never forget that with time all the hurting will go away. Even years ago, I am reminded that the hurt of embracing a new life went away after time helped me embrace it.

Time heals, I do know that for a fact. After years of blaming myself for making decisions that were not true to who I was and what I wanted, time (and a little Julia Roberts in "Eat, Pray, Love") helped me find forgiveness. The forgiveness in myself, first, for not speaking up, for not being honest and riskier in taking leaps of faith according to ME and not others. Time has indeed, helped heal.

Everything happens for a reason, and perhaps that reason is not clear at this moment, but for many of us, who have had to change jobs, addresses, behaviors, routines and say many goodbyes to dearest friends and family, we must not lose faith and believe. I believe and will continue to embrace change, no matter how much it hurts. Why? Because I have to. There's only one life to live and amidts all the trials and challenges, the pain and goodbyes, there is also all the joy, love and "new days" that come with it.

Every day is indeed a gift and while change and goodbyes suck, yes, they do at times, things can only get better, right? I do hope so. With each new day comes an empty, clear canvas waiting to be splattered with colorful paint. Mistakes will be made, but at the end of the day a work of art is displayed. Life is a journey, not a destination and many, many things change and bring more goodbyes, but also bring hellos and opportunities... That is what we (I) will live for.

Both light and shadow are the dance of love- Rumi.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Inspired by the Friar

This reflection was written after my September 23 visit to St. Monica-St. George Parish, in Cincinnati. It added fuel to the fire in my heart to act, to do, not just to be.

It was a beautiful, crisp and sunny Sunday morning and after we said goodbye to our alumni leaders who were in town for a busy, but fun weekend on campus, I still had to figure out how to juggle the many things yet to be done. Some things were checked off my list, some things not. I was OK with that. The last item on my daily agenda was an hour drive to Cincinnati to hear Richard Rohr, the Franciscan friar, who is known to be outspoken and often controversial on his liberal views of the Church and especially, Catholicisim.

Exhausted from meetings and late nights, I found the energy to get in the car and drive down to St. Monica-St, George Parish, in University Heights, close to the Univ of Cincinnati campus. On my way down I see the new "Hug Me Jesus" statue, on the grounds of Solid Rock Church, in Monroe and I couldn't help but smile. It reminded me of my many early mornings and late nights driving on I-75 to visit Cincinnati area high schools. I would wave at "Touch Down Jesus" and bid him good morning, good evening, see you tomorrow, and the occasional, "seriously?" Chuckle! I have to say, Hug Me J is better proportioned than Big J. Those of you who have seen it know what I mean.

Made it to St. Monica's and was greeted by a very nice man who showed me the way to the side door. As I walked in, the church was practically packed. It was 7:15 p.m. The presentation was to start at 7:30 p.m. Richard Rohr was to be honored by Franciscans Networks for his contribution to the church and his life of service as a Franciscan. Fr. John Quigley welcomed everyone, invited us to stand and pray and introduced the award.
Fr. John spoke of knowing Richard for 50 years, having met him when they were both in school, and later part of the same community. He also began his remarks saying that "well, if the Franciscans don't honor Richard, we can't think of any other Catholic group who will"- the crowd roared in laughter. I thought, my, he is that controversial. Love it.

I am the first to admit not knowing much about Richard Rohr prior to last night. A dear friend would forward me Richard's daily reflections from time to time, especially when the words spoke to our mission to educate the poor, to be better people of faith, to really look at things from a different perspective. Isn't that what we should be about, we both would often ask...

Richard recieved a beautiful wood cut piece of the face of John The Baptist, by Fr. John Quigley, himself. He then took the podium and spoke for a good half hour. It felt like time stood still. His energy and good humor were contagious. He was grateful and humbled. His comments were more of a summary of his life's experiences, plus anecdotes from his ministries in Cincinnati, now New Mexico (his current home) and even Centerville, Ohio at St. Leonard's. More than anything, he spoke of how he has gotten into trouble for preaching in a, shall we say, liberal, rebellious way. He stated "it's not being rebellious when all I am doing is teaching the Gospel in a way that is relevant to people now, not 50 years ago." He admitted to being and having a very conservative point of view years ago, but that life, experiences and prayer, even contemplative prayer, has lead him to an alternative consciousness, an alternative orthodox view of our faith and spirituality." Richard told stories of how the bishop would call his provincial every so often regarding complaints, to what his provincials have stood by him and said "all he is saying is that we need to build the house for the poor instead of preaching about being kind to the poor." Get out and do something! Stop talking and start doing. That is what I kept hearing over and over again in my head. We, our faith, our religion is not meant to just be "churchianity, but christianity", he continued...

I am not doing service to his words, having only a small piece of paper with notes scribbled on to use, so for that, I apologize. In addition to what I already shared, I will also remember his reference to our society being so dualistic, that everything must be "win/lose". Why can't it be win/win?! "The Gospel is a win/win, not win/lose..." The Gospel is in our lives for the sake of transformation; the words, the message are meant to be transformative"- The essence of Christianity, the message of the Gospel is a gift. We need to be open to recieve that gift, treasure it, be grateful and then give it away, share it with those who perhaps need it the most. We must do, act, not just listen. But if we do listen, may the the message and even the messenger be relevant to our ears, because, as Richard said, "the message, even the messenger, is not necessarily what transforms, but it is the reciever who is transformed". The reciever is who is tranformed by the message and at times the messenger to change what needs to be changed, to do what needs to be done. Whatever "that" is of course, can be interpreted differently for each of us.

Last night, I was the reciever. I listened and was tranformed. No, I did not have a mystical epyphany, but what I experienced was more of a supportive, encouraging reminder of feelings, hopes and wants that lived inside me for a very long time. Many of those feelings, hopes and dreams are as practical as scheduling a class, finishing a book, but are also as deep rooted as being a better mother to my son, especially in challenging times and following professional dreams that seemed far-reached. I have been slowly waking up, but I am now awake, aware. Last night's message from Richard was, dare I say, perfect..."You have permission to trust YOUR own experience, to trust YOUR inner experience" To me that means that it is God talking to me, guiding me. Last night I felt the hug, the pad on the back and encouraging "you will be fine, you can do this, now go do it" from God or from all my guardian angels in heaven.

Thank you Richard Rohr, for the courage to be a man of God with the faith and confidence to not settle for status quo and for helping us wake up, stay awake and listen... Now that we have listened, it's time do DO!

Monday, October 22, 2012


Oblivious: lacking remembrance, memory, or mindful attention; lacking active conscious knowledge or awareness. Thank you Webster.! I wanted to make sure I accurately defined the word that has been, both in my mind, but also captured feelings I collected. Here are samples of memories and experiences, both personal and from others.

This is certainly the word of the day. It is a word that summarizes how certain human species act, speak or treat others with complete, shameless, mind-boggling cluelessness and DISRESPECT for the aftermath or consequences that follow.

A student has taken all the courses necessary and he considers himself an "expert" in a subject. Years have gone by and he is constantly regarded as such and appreciated for his expertise, appreciation for the subject-matter and even asked to help with special projects. What happens with time is that the student, no-longer a student in age, but certainly in thirst of new knowledge that compliments and nourishes what he already knows, offers his same expertise, support. Even that same knowledge that was so well developed with time and resources at his fingertips, he wants to share. Unfortunately, for some reason, people he works with, even his own teachers, begin saying "NO" whenever he offers insight, suggestions, new ideas.

The "NO" is not the main issue. Actually, he is used to it, for he has lived through quite a few "no's" that only too often he wrestles with the question: "Am I the fool for believing in making a difference or for trying over and over again knowing I will get the same response?" Putting the "NO" and the question of whether or not to keep trying aside (because he knows in his heart he will keep on keeping on!) what is even more ridiculously insane is how the NOs (as we will call them) indeed say no and act so oblivious to the fact that the way they have shared this "no" has come across as condescending, disrespectful and even mean. And OMG, they still act like nothing happened. Back to the definition for the sake of having a good reference; mindful attention- NOT, lack conscious awareness- YES!... mindful attention and awareness is lacking when unfortunately, we say something, do something and don't realize how careless and insensitive we can be and waltz away cool as a cucumber soaking in a bath of gloat. Gross...

When it gets personal is when it really p....s you off! One time someone lied to my face and he knew that I knew that he was lying and acted like nothing. It ended up messing up a project for work and still to the day, he has not owned it, apologized for it. He pompously acts oblivious to what happened and how it has affected the work environment.

Another student once shared with me that her boyfriend used her. He used her emotionally, physically, spiritually. She was so enthralled with the relationship. She lived for this guy. He dragged her along and she went with it-most of it emotionally. She rearranged her entire life around him, he knew it and took advantage of the situation. It was all too convenient for him. Years later, in her attempts to be level-headed adult and maintain a friendship, he is clueless, oblivious to how deeply he hurt her. He not once, after all these years, owned his role during and in what came after the relationship ended. He would seek her out and be friendly, emailing, calling once in awhile,  acting like nothing happened. They had friends in common and went to the same college, so it was hard to completely walk away. Until now. Once more, in an email exchange, she waited for one caring word, one "how are you, really?, I am sorry I hurt you" but only the usual nothing came from him, just chit chat and chatter. Oblivious, he was, is, my young apprentice. Sorry he will be if he doesn't realize what he is doing, or should I say, what he hasn't done.

Today, yours truly experienced the lovely, bitter taste of the oblivious from a friend, or so I thought...
I called to say hello and check in with a friend I haven't seen in a while. We were close, very close. My friend goes "any news? So, what'cha got for me?" It's in the tone, carajo! Sorry to disappoint, but I got nothing for you other than hello, HOW are YOU and hope you are well? That's all... Coqui.... coqui.....coqui.   That's crickets.... crickets.... .crickets to all you non-Ricans. Apparently I needed a list of things to report back as a reason to call...  Seriously? I don't know, I was mad. Like I need a reason to call up a friend. Clueless! Yes, voice, I hear ya... some people are just like that, I guess. UGH. I think I just heard the voice say: child, please, just smile and walk away; kill'em with kindness, you'll go far and have less wrinkles!

OK, maybe I am just making a big deal about something small, maybe I shouldn't care. Maybe I shouldn't engage in conversations and completely walk away from those who act oblivious to me. However, speaking for someone who up to now only cared toooo much about what others think, say and believe about me, I have learned to pick my battles. I have learned to be much more aware of the way I do things, speak to others, make decisions. I am not perfect, no one is, but I will at least attempt to achieve perfect awareness so oblivious I become NOT! :)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

License plates and basketball!

Admiring fall colors that are in full bloom, the yellows, reds, oranges and browns, in contrast to a beautiful crisp, blue sky, I asked "is it really October 20 God, and why do sometimes days go so slow and other times, fly by?" I smile; no hesitation or worry or longing for an answer. I simply, peacefully, smile.

The smile comes as I pull up to campus and right away notice the different license plates on cars parked on the street and driving around. Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Missouri, Maryland, New York, Ohio, New Jersey, Missouri, Illinois, Ohio... You get the picture. It's family weekend and I made plans to celebrate it with my cuz, the college junior!

Maria Angelica, don't panic! ;)

The last thing I want to is embarrass her, since she will be reading this, so I will mainly share about the chosen title of this entry: license plates and basketball...

License plates on cars fill the lot at the basketball arena. The big football game started later that afternoon, but we were there to see the basketball teams for practice drills and games! We are a basketball school, no matter what other people say, and basketball games are full of energy, community, family and warmth. It literally, emotionally and for some, spiritually, gets us through the winter. There are families from all over. I attempt to imagine what their stories are. How long have mom and dad been together? Is that real mom or step dad? How many siblings stayed home because they had other commitments? Are they alumni? Did that family drive the six hours from St. Louis and stopped in Terre Haute, IN for a stretch, some gas and of course, a Starbucks? I smile. I hope they enjoy their time together, their kid's experience and their collective experiences as a family.

God, thanks, really. Some times we may not say thank you enough, but you granted both of us, cousin and I, with the gift of an incredible family. The word "incredible'' is very loaded, as it represents with bold awe and admiration the complexity of what family is. Throughout the day we told stories, we laughed and witnessing how many grandparents were visiting grand kids, couldn't help but tell Abuela stories. I remembered, how several years ago, co-workers and I were at a student's graduation party and we all did jello shots with the grad's grandmother!!  Hysterical!  Tootie (Maria Angelica) and I looked at each other and said "Abuela would have done that! And she would have LIKED  it!" "iAy, que rico, si es gelatina, dulcesita, dame otro!" LOL

I zone in on family, of course, because it's Family Weekend and what could be more important that family? Not many things, but I am sure it depends who you ask. Those of us who are blessed to be born into one are raised and taught how to do this, how to do that. We are taught, for the most part, how to be. At some point in our lives we realize we are who we are, individuals, with our own independent thoughts and needs and wants, even if it took us into our 30s to speak up and stand for ourselves. However, we are still part of a collective nucleus, our family. I can speak for one that will finally go home for Christmas after two years? The whys don't matter anymore. The point is I am going and it's about damn time.

 Again, God, today is about thank you. Thank you for letting us take the best of our families and sharing it with the world. Thank you for the challenges of our families, for like many others, we are not perfect, but we learn and get better with time, through our loyalty, respect and unconditional love for each other.

So, why license plates and basketball?  Simple. They have been instruments to make memories. Now in my mind and in my heart I can say my cousin and I celebrated Family Weekend as a family! We cheered, laughed, counted at least ten Illinois plates in the Milano's parking lot. There must have been a special, I thought! Basketball, same thing. We remembered games two years ago and were saddened by the once I missed last year. We (Ok, I) pretended to know more about the technique of the game than I really do, but we did it together, and we laughed! I guess if there's a point I am to make, is to remind myself to make memories... as many as I possibly can. They will be with me forever!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Trans, trans, trans...

Today's convo with the Guy Upstairs was more of a collection of memories I tried to categorize in my head. I remembered an inspiring lecture/presentation by a liberal Franciscan friar (which I will blog about later on-it's really good!!), traveling through Europe on a bus with 263 people after college and strategic planning for a social media fundraising campaign. Needless to say, I picked another, more relevant to the topic of the day at work: how do we tell our story as a quality institution of higher learning.

A few weeks ago I sat in the, let's say, 10th row, of the auditorium where staff members on campus gathered for a meeting for updates from the administration.

WAIT, stuck!!! Where am I going with this?? It 's too early for writer's block, c'mon! Ok, I do want to write about what I experienced at this meeting because it was too good NOT to share, especially for those of us out there, education geeks (and proud of it!!!) who have chosen to live their/our lives in educational settings... especially when we actually, wholeheartedly, believe in this stuff. Really, we do. Working in education can also be frustrating and draining, but I can speak for friends that live it every day. Man, it IS worth it. And more than anything, we, idealists and optimists (sarcastic and witty, at times!) think we can change the world... one kid, young adult, parent, teacher, at a time...  Now, I can take this entry and go into a very different direction, but I will stick to my initial idea...

One of our administrators, who is both loved and respected as a scholar in mind and heart, plus teaching and service, couldn't have said it best. He began telling a story of transaction, transmission and transformation. I said, huh?? He started just like that: "I am going to tell you a story of transaction, transmission and transformation."  Of course everyone gave him a deer in headlights look. Seriously?  Where is he going with this?  Ok, let's give him a chance, I really like this guy. He has been a mentor, colleague and caring "dad-like" figure, always respecting me and my work and really, truly, caring.

Joe said, among many other things, "our work, what we do in this university community, a community of learners, scholars and servant-leaders, is offer transactions." He continued saying that when we invite students to be part of this community we make a transaction with them. We offer to educate them with our resources, both physical and theoretical and they show up, listen and take it in. The transaction between us and them is made. Then comes transmission. Now what, Joe? Where are you taking this? "Once students are IN and our transaction is complete, the transmission begins." I am hooked!  This transmission that is taking place is the learning, the living, the crying, the laughing, the supportive presence and virtual hug. The pat on the back when things don't go well, the life that people, students, faculty and staff, experience here. It is like magic and at times, impossible to explain. A transmission of emotions, of knowledge being questioned, challenged, while developing minds that compliment the heart and attempt, although difficult at times (ha! I know!) to balance, to find that imperfect compliment.

Tell me more!!

After the transaction has led to transmission then the tranformation happens. Initially, it's the students that are tranformed. They are transformed by the initial introduction to an educational environment thrilled to welcome them as they are, to meet where intellectually, emotionally and spiritually they are, and that's ok. Through classroom experience, embedded into curricula that embraces learning outside the norms of four walls and a smartboard, our community is tranformed by being present. I remember hearing an older proff once telling me that at times it did not matter if you were the first one to speak up, what mattered is that you were there, you were present. Even the adults are seduced by the magic that happens when they walk down the path from a building that might look old and musty, but whispers lectures by great ones, to the steps of a newer one that oozes opportuntiy, new energy, new knowledge. I am transformed.

Many of us are in awe of what we just witnessed. If you weren't there, I am certainly not doing justice to his words and inspiration, so use your imagination. It was indeed magic.

Joe says... "well, and with all these transactions, transmissions and transformations that take place on this campus, we clearly see the word that connects all three is trans"- but do me a favor, he continued. "take out trans. What do you have left?" BRAVO Joe! If you take out trans you have
mission, action and formation!  Genius!  Our mission as educators empowers and inspires us to action, which leads to formation. We are then formed to be better teachers, engineers, doctors, accountants, people. We are formed to then be sent forth and form others to be better human beings.

I looked up and smiled. Hey, Friend, I got it! Tell you what, stick me with and help me stay true to the mission, take action so I can transform. This is pretty cool, I have to say. Cheesy, some of you may say, but I don't care. I have lived it... not easy to figure out, I will admit, but very cool.

In conclusion, yeah, I am writing in honor of education. I dedicate this post to all my fellow education geeks who live, breathe and love for this thing, this magic that happens when you can witness young minds ask questions, challenge authority (hehehe, that is a must sometimes!) and develop new knowledge. If we can also be there to guide and discern with them, well, that's just the icing on the cake!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Here we go...!


For a couple of years now I have toyed with the idea of bloggin, heck, for writing. I thought I was an OK writer, but never really felt confident enough to actually write something and let another person read, particularly, critique. A number of life experiences led me to write and after getting a very supportive "yes, you CAN write" by a former college professor, I penned my first reflection paper.
Fast-forward and today's first official blog post is a result of a long afternoon of challenging conversations with many, many, many people and a collection of recent memories that seem to clash in my head and create a perfect storm. Here it is... my lesson for the day, my conversation with God.
Seriously, God, seriously???
A million thoughts in my head and that voice, yes, that one, tells me, write it out. Well, where to start? Seriously, God, cut me some slack!
Now those reading this may wonder, what is she talking about? What now? Well, sorry to dissappoint, but it's not one thing, it's a plethora, a potpourri, a cluster "f..." of moments lived, experienced and heart felt emotions mixed in with rationalizing and attempts on decision making... LAAAAWWDD! How do we balance the heart and the head? How do we, I, find that "happy place" in which I can agree to disagree with my own thoughts, which will lead then (let's hope)_to making the right decision.  Well, I guess God has a sense of humor, a very sarcastic, dry and often bitter sense of humor. It must be humor, because some of these tests should make us laugh at the end, right? Shouldn't they? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?  
My current cause of disarray is relationships. Ah, the complexity of people, human beings, or as I'd like to call them at this moment, insane, self-centered, bodies of mass that are so deliciously appealing, pulling on your heart-strings and playing the ivory keys of your emotions to their heart's delight, just to turn around and cast you aside like this morning's paper and pretend they never read the pages of your soul of your, of your heart. And yet, you are so attracted to them you can't stand it; you can't stand to walk away, to say good-bye forever, to cast THEM aside and say I am done with you.  Why not, I ask myself? Seriousy, God? Why not? 
Perhaps the answer isn't in the "why not" but maybe the answer is... maybe... sometimes... later. For now, we learn from them. Huh??? Seriously? Why would I want to be in the same room with a person who doesn't care? Why should I work as hard as the co-worker who doesn't love what they do? Why should I be the one to carry the load? The voice, yes, that one again, says..."because they are dressed up as lessons." Lessons are suppose to be, dare I say, pleasant and while some of us were'nt in love with school and homework, aren't you suppose to feel better when you "learn a lesson? 
------Pause for dramatic effect---------- or should I say SLAP in the face in a very "Loretta-ish" (cue Moonstruck): SNAP OUT OF IT!
In conversations with some of those same self-centered, the world-revolves around me, insane people, that I admit to love and respect (most of the time!;)) I have to admit to occassionally learning a thing or two. From the mean person, I have learned to be kind; from the dishonest co-worker, I learned to tell the truth at all costs; from the confused, I have learned to pray for them and their confusion; from the loyal leader, I have learned perseverance and to lead with the heart; from the stern and often cold, I have learned to smile in his/her presence. From the shallow and empty, I have learned not to make things about me, but about what's best for the community. From many of these people and experiences, I have learned what not to do and how not to be... Breakthrough! 
Wow... If I could only remember this all day, every day. But it's not that simple, is it? So, what's the conclusion of this stream of consciousness, semi-confession without details, but full of underline passive-aggressive jabs? That no one said life was easy and people are not easy to figure out. Let me be the first to own that I can count with one hand those people who really know me. They may say I am "all of the above" -and that's ok. Lord, am I reaching that "age" where I am finally figuring things out??  Dammmmmm, it's about time. But, God, seriously? Are you there? I know you are. Just, if I may, let me ask for one more teenie-tiny thing to conclude this note. I ask, in thanksgiving, for the patience that I so need, but have been granted, in order to embrace these wonderfully, selfish and not-so-kind teachers in life. Because of them I am a better person..