Focusing on the Spanish exam

You probably have a few questions for me and so I feel obliged to explain my long absence from my blog. No matter what explanation I give or what excuses I enumerate, nothing will seem to justify me absence. Except, perhaps, only to me.

I mainly write for myself, and mainly for therapeutic reasons. I could tell you about how I was so busy last semester because I take teaching Spanish seriously. And how I spent a lot of time preparing for a Spanish composition class that I was teaching for the very first time. That meant I didn’t have any handouts that I love to hand out to students. Then, I had to spend a lot of time grading all those compositions!

Plus, I must also add that I was Assistant Coordinator for the Spanish Basic Language Program at UIC. Doesn’t that job title sound impressive? That impressive title permitted me to work many more hours per semester than I had anticipated. Oh, joy! That was time I was forced to spend away from the Internet! Whenever I did have free time, I no longer had the energy to write a blog entry. But now I’m on summer vacation. And I plan to make time to write as many blog entries as possible this summer. I won’t promise to post an entry each and every day, as I once boldly promised as a New Year’s resolution a couple years back. I try to forget about that unfulfilled resolution, but a couple readers constantly remind me. You know who you are.

Happy New Year

El Ángel de la Victoria

I want to wish everyone a belated Happy New Year! ¡Próspero Año Nuevo! I was too busy to write this post on New Year’s Day because I celebrated in Mexico City. This was the only the second time I celebrated New Year’s Eve in Mexico. The first time was way back in 1965, but all I really remember is breaking a piñata with my cousins. I do remember this New Year’s Eve, however.

We started with a few drinks on an empty stomach because dinner wasn’t served until after midnight! We watched celebrations from other cities on TV. When the countdown to the New Year started, we were all ready with a glass of apple cider, a glass of water, and twelve grapes. The tradition of eating twelve grapes began in 1909 in Spain and is now also followed in Mexico, Chile, and Argentina–Chile and Argentina eat raisins instead. No one is sure why we eat twelve grapes, but speculation is that it’s one for each month of the year or one for each toll of the bell at midnight. At the stroke of midnight, we ate the grapes to bring us good luck throughout the year. (I learned these interesting tidbits of information while watching TV before our New Year’s Eve celebration!) We had a toast with the glass of cider. Then we threw out the glass of water in the yard. The water represents the tears we will avoid throughout the rest of the year. Everyone danced in yard–including me, but not very well. Everyone took turns walking around the yard rolling a suitcase behind them. This was done with the hopes that they get to travel somewhere exotic on vacation during the next year.

I make no New Year’s resolutions this year since I never manage to keep them for very long anyway.

New Year’s Day

Coins in a fountain in Toluca

Well, I didn’t do much of anything today to start out the new year on the foot. But I haven’t broken any New Year’s resolutions either. Of course, the whole trick is not to make any resolutions at all. Last year, I said that I would write a Blog entry each and every day of the year. Well, gentle reader, if you’ve been reading all along, you noticed some exceptionally long gaps between blog entries. Sometimes I get too involved with my life that I forget about everything else. So this year, I won’t promise anything, but now that I have adjusted to retirement, I will write more regularly. And I will work on my website some more. I really have to organize it and put some actual content in there.

I promise not to make any more New Year's resolution. I promise!

My New Year’s resolution

M.C. Escher in my brother Jerry's bathroom.

Eureka! I was looking deeply and thoughtfully into my soul since the start of 2007 and I have found my New Year’s resolution. I have finally decided that my New Year’s resolution will be to write a blog entry for each and every day of 2007. Yep, that’s right. I will write 365 blog entries for 2007. I will write one daily, all year long. What’s that you say? Oh, I know that it’s already January 14 and this is only the first entry. Okay, I was busy with the start of the New Year. Do you think it’s easy knowing that I have to write a blog entry each and every day? I’m only human; I feel the pressure and buckle under it. However, I have figured out what I need to do. I have to read less and write more. I can pass the whole day reading and reading, in order to avoid writing anything. I have convinced myself that reading is a good way to warm up my brain so that I start writing. The only problem is that no matter what I read, I always discover at least three other texts that I ABSOLUTELY MUST READ! So, Gentle Reader, that is why I wrote my first 2007 blog entry just today. But you do have to admit that I do have lofty goals! I do resolve to write more entries this year than last. Watch. You’ll see! 

¡Feliz Año Nuevo!