Sunday, August 23, 2015

I Trust You'll Treat her Well!

Dear World:

I bequeath to you today one little a crispy dress...with two blue eyes...and a happy laugh that ripples all day long.. and a flash of light strawberry-blond hair that bounces in the sun when she runs.

I trust you'll treat her well.

She's slipping out of the backyard of my heart this morning...and skipping off down the street to her first day of school. And never again will she be completely mine.

Prim and proud she'll wave her young and independent hand this morning and say "Goodbye" and walk with little lady steps to the schoolhouse.

Now she'll learn to stand in lines...and wait by the alphabet for her name to be called. She'll learn to tune her ears for the sounds of school-bells...and deadlines...and she'll learn to giggle...and gossip...and look at the ceiling in a disinterested way when the little boy 'cross the aisle sticks out his tongue at her. And now she'll learn to be jealous. And now she'll learn how it is to feel hurt inside. And now she'll learn how not to cry.

No longer will she have time to sit on the front porch on a summer day and watch an ant scurry across the crack in the sidewalk. Nor will she have time to pop out of bed with the dawn and kiss lilac blooms in the morning dew. No, now she'll worry about those important grades and which dress to wear and whose best friends is whose. And the magic of books and learning will replace the magic of her blocks and dolls. And now she'll find new heroes.

For five full years now I've been her sage and Santa Claus and pal and playmate and mother and friend. Now she'll learn to share her worship with her teachers ...which is only right. But no longer will I be the smartest woman in the whole world. Today when that school bell rings for the first time...she'll learn what it means to be a member of the group...with all its privileges and its disadvantages too.
She'll learn in time that proper young ladies do not laugh out loud...or kiss dogs...or keep frogs in pickle jars in bedrooms...or even watch ants scurry across cracks in sidewalks in the summer.

Today she'll learn for the first time that all who smile at her are not her friends. And I'll stand on the front porch and watch her start out on the long, lonely journey to becoming a woman.

So, world, I bequeath to you today one little a crispy dress...with two blue eyes...and a flash of light strawberry blonde hair that bounces in the sunlight when she runs.

I trust you'll treat her well.

Author: Victor Buono

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Escape to Timeless Elegance and Exquisite Fine Dining

Nestled at the foot of the rolling Catoctin Mountains in Central Maryland there is a 24-acre Mansion and estate buildings built in 1844. Antrim 1844 is a wonderful getaway for all occasions!
We began dinner by the fireplace with hand-passed hors d'oeuvres, a remarkable selection of entrees, and a Panache of desserts by the award winning Executive Chef Spencer Wolff

We chose a bottle of wine from the award-winning wine cellar containing over 20,000 bottles representing 2,900 selections of renowned and undiscovered selections from famed wine regions around the world! Yes! You can say we are multi-culture! 
We went back to our room to find a delicate rose and chocolates on the pillow. 
Hors d'oeuvres to wet your appetite!

We woke up to a tray of fresh fruits, homemade muffins, and a hot drink outside our door. This prepared us for the hearty homemade country breakfast with fresh squeezed orange juice waiting for us at the Smokehouse.
Try this beet and goat cheese salad!
I could wake up to this every morning!

If you want to experience food, wine, culture, and meet new people, this Bed & Breakfast is the place to be!

Our favorite room is the LOFT!

Antrim 1844

Meet the Award-Winning Executive Chef: Spencer Wolff

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Bloom Where You Are Planted

Plants adapt to the environment by modifying their leaves, stem and roots. Desert plants such as the cactus modify their leaves into thorns to prevent loss of moisture through transpiration. Plants such as the lotus grow in water, have modified stems with pores and have short roots.

Plants growing in dry, arid regions have long tap roots that allow them to search deep underground for moisture. In very cold regions, the leaves of plants are needle-shaped. Plants that grow in tropical rainforests have broad leaves to allow more transpiration to take place, as the humidity levels are very high. Plants grow deep roots to adapt to their environment.

What would happen if you took a rooted plant and replanted it into a foreign soil?

In many ways people are like plants. The longer people stay and live in one place they grow deep roots. They live with or near their families and extended families. They have jobs, activities, and hobbies. They meet friends at school, on the job, and at social gatherings. The longer they live in the same environment; their roots grow longer and stronger. They become deeply rooted into their culture.

What would happen if you took a person deeply rooted into their home country, language and culture and replanted him/her into a foreign culture?

According to Wikipedia, Culture Shock is the personal disorientation a person may feel when experiencing an unfamiliar way of life due to immigration or a visit to a new country, a move between social environments, or simply travel to another type of life. One of the most common causes of culture shock involves individuals in a foreign environment. Culture shock can be described as consisting of at least one of four distinct phases: Honeymoon, Frustration, Adjustment, and Mastery.

The most common problems include: information overload, language barrier, generation gap, technology gap, skill interdependence, formulation dependency, homesickness (cultural), infinite regress (homesickness), boredom (job dependency), response ability (cultural skill set) There is no true way to entirely prevent culture shock, as individuals in any society are personally affected by cultural contrasts differently.

My students were excited on their first day of 4th grade in a new school, in a new country! They just smiled and nodded their heads. They were eager to read, write or shall I say copy from the board and from their “assigned buddy” that sat next to them.

Weeks passed and the excitement slowly dissipated. They became agitated, withdrawn and isolated themselves from classroom activities, recess and lunch.

During science they observed graphic organizers of plants adapting to their environment. During their ESOL time I drew these pictures:

 I began my lesson.

“We are like plants!”
I drew a picture of a sunflower with deep roots. I had a World Map and the students showed me their home countries. I asked what they liked about their native countries. I recorded their responses on the roots of the flower. Next, I drew the 2nd picture.
“This happy sunflower was taken from his soil and repotted to a new soil. How is the sunflower feeling? Happy or sad?”

The students’ facial expressions showed me that they were quickly making personal connections.

“How can we make this sunflower adapt to his new environment?” One student, replied, “Water!”

“What will the water do to the plant? The roots?”

Another student shouted out, “Plant grow! Root!

“Yes! Plants need water to grow roots! How are we like plants? What can help grow roots? How can we adapt to our new environment here at school?”

As I allowed the students to think I extended the root below the plant and wrote the word, “Learn English.”

The students were becoming more engaged as they thought of one to three word phrases. I recorded their responses.

Months later the students became more involved in their daily school activities. Some of the students were playing soccer, Girls on the Run, and learning to play a string instrument for the school band. The students began to bloom where they were planted!