Monday, June 30, 2008

Adiós Uncle Bob

My simple but heartfelt tribute to my Tio Beto, who passed away this morning. It's in Spanish, as this is the language of many of my fondest memories.

Acaban de avisarme que mi tío se nos fué de este mundo. Mi tío estuvo enfermo yá por largo tiempo y pasó ratos demasiados difíciles. Hace años que no lo veo, pero siempre fué parte de mis más gratos recuerdos de las vacaciones en Bolivia que pasé cuando era niña.

Aquí intento recordar…

Uncle Bob
dormía solo en un cuartito
la cama pegada a un estante lleno de libros
de techo a piso
subí a desearle buenas noches
mi tío yá estaba acostado
con las pijamas de flanela y una bufanda
las frazadas cubriéndolo hasta el pecho
los lentes puestos
estaba leyendo un libro
la barba me raspaba
cuando me acerqué a besarlo
olía a mentholato y te con limón
y mi tío decía “hasta mañana, mi hijita.”
El próximo día
lo veíamos llegar de la calle,
a la hora del almuerzo
con la camisa verde suave
su color preferido,
las gafas de sol,
el periódico, el pan,
y silbando una canción de Paul Anka.

Que duermas con los angelitos …

What do teachers do all summer?

Teachers across the country are on summer break. For many, it is very well-deserved time off. Many teachers, however, must work second jobs through the summer, as these months are often salary-less and can be very stressful. Some of us also take this time to reacquaint ourselves with our own families, who often sit at the sidelines during testing, report cards, parent-teacher conferences, and the numerous other demands of this profession.

Teacher bashers often begrudge us the “free” summer, but what they don’t know is that many teachers are still quite busy during this time. Many go to professional development workshops. Some are planning ahead, examining new materials that will be used in the next school year. Others are catching up on the “latest” in education, via Internet sites and professional publications.

Very often, these summer activities reinvigorate us for the next school year. We look forward to trying new strategies and activities. I know I always use the summer as a time to reflect on my craft, and on how I can improve my practice.

Here is a list of summer reads for teachers of English Language Learners. It's on the website ColorinColorado - a wonderful resource for parents and educators of ELLs. I hope my blogging teacher friends will check it out and share it with their colleagues as well.

This summer, I'll be reading Strategies That Work: Teaching Comprehension to Enhance Understanding by Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis. I also need to come up with a new lesson plan template, where I'll be able to show how I'm differentiating my lessons. I also plan to go to many movies with my son, catch up on doctor's appointments, explore some nature trails, go to Outer Banks NC with the whole family, sleep late, read good books, and enjoy my backyard pool. (Hey, I deserve it.)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Excellence Required

Years ago, when I was an undergraduate, my roommate and I were talking about what we would do when we finished school. I recall being somewhat disappointed in her, when she said "I'll have kids, then I'll maybe try teaching. That's easy enough. Go in at eight, leave at three. Read, write, do some math. I mean, how hard can it be?"

I was rather reserved back then, and didn't tell her how I felt. If I had the chance now, I'd tell her that because of attitudes like hers, many elementary school-aged children are being cheated.

The National Council on Teacher Quality has released a study stating that Teachers Are Not Properly Prepared to Teach Math. They also point out that teacher-ed programs are not being discriminating enough when accepting participants. Anyone who wants to teach can enter a program, consequently shaping the success of hundreds of students.

Too many college students look at teaching as the easy alternative, as something to fall back on, as the least energy-consuming job. They breeze through teacher-ed programs, creating the required thematic units, writing the customary papers on "their philosophy of teaching", and taking the easiest courses to "prepare" them to teach math, science, writing, and reading.

Many folks I know are guided by the scripts in the teacher's manual. (My brother once said they were "married" to the teacher's guides.) Especially where math is concerned, few people delve into, or care to understand more deeply what they are expected to teach. I know colleagues who skip over decimals, or measurement, or probability. Furthermore, a consequence of No Child Left Behind has been a growing number of desperate teachers plowing through curriculum at such a fast rate that students are denied adequate time to master skills and concepts.

Teaching is a science and a calling. We must return this profession to a pedestal, encourage the best effort, and require excellence. When studies such as the NCTQ's come out, I cringe because I know who and what they're referring to. Some folks are in the wrong place, doing it the wrong way, and doing it for the wrong reasons.

Let's spread the word about this profession. It is not easy. You are required to think, a lot. You should know why multiplication is magical. You have to know what is going on in the rest of the country, and around the world. You need to read. You must hold yourself and your students to the highest expectations.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Pajarito negro


A glossy, black bird flew in to the door three weeks ago.
I heard the thump, imagined the cry
when its tiny neck broke
I discovered it on the front step by the screen door,
its small, curved chest heaving in and out
breathing fast breaths
poor thing was scared, in pain
I couldn’t do anything of course,
just scoop it up with a shovel and
gently slide him off and under a bush,
where I have been looking every day
to watch how Earth takes back
what is hers
the gradual disintegration of life, fascinating
the science of decomposition, intriguing
all that remains now are feathers
and delicate bones
of the bird
whose cousins still sing in the morning.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Go forward, young super heroes

Tomorrow is the last day of school. It's a half-day and I'm ordering pizza so I'll know you've eaten. We'll have our own awards ceremony and I'll let you raid the supply closet for "stuff" you'll need to keep you busy this summer. I'll invite you to take a book to keep, and then I'll let you in on my secret, special power (a seed I planted back on the 1st day of school.)

I have a satiny black and red cape I made several years ago. I lined the inside with pictures of book covers. You see, I'm BOOK WOMAN. When I see a child who is lost, lonely, or bored, I throw him a book. Our last activity as a class will be to create super-heroes. Who are you? And what are your special powers? I'll tell you, my class, that sometimes, we can just imagine...

In your report cards, I'm including a letter. It goes like this:

Mi querido alumno,

Es el ultimo día de clases, y yá nó nos veremos. Pero quiero que lleves contigo todos los bonitos recuerdos de nuestra clase, de los amigos, las lecciones, los cuentos, y los gratos momentos que pasamos juntos.

Te ruego que leas muchos libros, y que pongas todo tu esfuerzo en los estudios. Yá sabes que la escuela te llevará lejos. Lucha por hacer algo especial en tu vida, por ayudar a los demás, y por llevar a nuestra gente adelante.

Recuerda siempre a la maestra que te quiere mucho. Te deseo lo mejor de la vida.


My dear student,

It's the last day of school, and we will no longer see each other. Take with you the pleasant memories of our class, the friends, the lessons, the stories, and the good times we spent together.

I urge you to read many books, and to put all of your effort in your studies. You already know that school will take you far. Work toward doing something special with your life, toward helping others, and toward taking our people forward.

Always remember the teacher who loves you. I wish you the best in life.

The last day of school is bittersweet. Part of me is relieved, joyous, giddy, excited about sleeping in and chilling out, and looking forward to spending quality time with my son. The other part of me is sad, worried, but hopeful. Being a teacher is helping and loving kids that are not your own, then letting them go and hoping they will find their special powers.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Cuando vuelvas, tenemos que hablar...

Me haces falta y no sé cómo
decírtelo cara a cara porque
cada vez que me acerco
tu piensas que es para otra cosa
cuando solo quisiera hablar

ahora me arrepiento no haberme acercado
más, aunque hubieras sido medio
torpe al escucharme
eres un hombre

esta mañana no hubo quién
me haga café
no hubo ese aroma
a recién duchado
no huelo tu colonia
cuando me acuesto, no puedo dormir en tu lado
dejo que el gato se acomode ahí
en tu almohada
agarro una camiseta que dejaste tirada
y la tengo cerca, para asegurarme en la noche

este tu viajecito anual me gusta por poder
hacer lo que me de la gana
este tu viajecito anual me incomoda por traer
una dósis de lo que sería vivir sin tí

no podrás leer esto
en tantos años juntos, todavía te cuesta mi idioma
pero cuando regreses,
me entenderás muy bien.

Sometimes they let you down

Yesterday, as soon as I got to work, I received a call from the main office, asking me to prepare work for one of my students. The boy was being held there because he had brought certain items to school. I collected my class from the playground, where they immediately started to tell me that their classmate had worn a black ski mask on the bus, and was pointing a play gun at teachers and kids as they pulled up to the school.

I put together a packet of left-over writing and math sheets, took my kids to art, then walked over to the office to hand the work to the VP. She showed me a photo of the "items" (a photo they were required to take) which included a ski mask with cut-outs for eyes and mouth, black gloves, and a gun that was so real-looking my heart just dropped. (Note: the photo you see to the right is an image I found on Google, not my student.)

They were waiting on the police, the superintendent, the parents, and some sort of juvenile detective. I did not see the boy all day, and later found out that, after the meeting with the parents, the mother signed him out. (So much for in-school suspension.) I also heard that the dad said this was nothing more than "a kid thing."

There's much more to this, I assure you. It has been a tough year for this boy - a refusal to do any work, lack of interest, unsupportive and neglectful parents, discipline issues, and a very low self-image. I referred him to the Child Study Team, and all he got was some tutoring. This boy is lost, and I thought I had done my best to find him.

What if, he had pointed that "toy" and a cop had mistaken it for a real weapon?

There are just two more days of school left. The VP told me he would be back to school on Monday. I don't know how I feel about that. Should he be allowed to be with me and the other kids? Should there be more of a consequence? Is this a big deal or not?

On starting over, adjusting, and keeping on...

After reading a farewell from The Angry Educator I considered that I too, might have to be careful what I say. Angry deleted one very cool blog because of the possibility of folks misreading, misunderstanding, mishandling what had been written. Lucky for us, Angry has found another spot, and will hopefully continue to write the same kind of honest, thought-provoking stuff that attracted many of us in the first place.

So, I started changing my blog around. I removed my picture, put it back, removed it, put it back. I reworded things here and there, and changed the look of the blog. I definitely don't want to delete my work, as Angry felt inclined to do. I couldn't bear it.

I want to be able to say and write as I please, think the way I think. Although this blog was to be a place for my personal explorations of bilingualism, creative writing, and being Latina, I have also shared some thoughts on teaching. Whether I'm wrong or "write", what a shame it would be to stop expressing myself as I've been doing. I am sure I will cross the line of "acceptable" and "safe" on occasion, but isn't that what we urge our students to do? And if by chance, I'm discovered by the "wrong" person, I'll learn how to handle it.

So, this blog is looking different. I thought I needed to be a mystery, just in case. After giving it some more thought, I just want to be. I am a Latina teacher-writer. And that picture? That's ME.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Four more days

I am totally inundated. I still have 4th marking period assessments to correct, data sheets to complete, recommendations to write up, standardized test scores to examine and save to a spreadsheet, and cumulative folders to check and sign off on. All of this has to be done by Friday.

Report cards are due to the office on Friday as well.

Not fair. Two of my preps have already been taken from me this week! One was this morning, when I had to meet with the Child Study Team regarding one of my students. My grade level team had to meet yesterday morning with the principal to discuss the STATE TEST SCORES, which left us all somewhat stressed out. And tomorrow, during my prep, a representative from the new science program will be at school to give us a walk-through of the new materials.

For those who don't work in schools, a "prep" is a daily work period, allocated by contract to a teacher. The prep is used for lesson planning, marking papers, making copies, contacting and meeting with parents, record-keeping, grade-level articulation, and acquiring materials for class. You get to use the ladies room too!

Of course, this daily period (in my case, 45 minutes) is neither enough nor realistic. I end up working through my lunch, and bringing home a very, heavy bag, filled with paperwork. It's my life as a teacher. This 15-minute "break" I just spent posting tonight is my small "me-time" and a way of letting folks out there know that, for many of us, the last days of school are very trying. And the days that come after, are very well-deserved.

Back to work I go - caramba!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

For my father

Pápi
¿recuerdas cuando me llevaste al trabajo
para enseñarme a tus colegas y a tus alumnos?
Me hiciste leer el periódico en voz alta
para que queden asombrados,
pero creo que tú fuiste el que quedó más sorprendido
al ver que tu pequeña hija tenía algo especial
algo de posibilidad
y desde ese momento que ví en tus ojos el orgullo
me dediqué a esforzarme a ser algo
aspirar a más
quise siempre verme de esa manera, iluminada
en tus ojos
todo port tí
papito de mi corazón.

Pápi - gracias por todo...

Doing it all - Mi marido lo hace todo

I've won the lottery.

He spends the day doing laundry
several loads of his son’s jeans and t-shirts
and his own work clothes
littering the laundry room floor
in between loads he opens up the pool
filling it with more water
checking the chemicals
skimming out fallen leaves
he also manages to pack a suitcase for himself and the boy
for a trip they’ve planned down south
selecting just enough pairs of underwear and shorts to get them through
he’ll do a load of wash down there if he has to
(he’s bought an extra bottle of detergent)
humming U2 and Johnny Cash as he walks
up and down the stairs
inside and outside
inside again to make a pot of coffee
washing, drying, folding
he fills baskets with fresh clothes
showers and makes love to his wife
then prepares a man’s dinner
of grilled burgers, sausage, macaroni and cheese
green beans and stewed tomatoes
(an attempt to get the boy to eat vegetables)
She cleans up, does the dishes
while he inspects the fridge for things he’ll need to pick up
at the grocery store
where he’ll go at night
after the boy goes to bed
after his woman writes him a list.

While he's away, she'll think about how damn lucky she is.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Real Teachers Don't Wear Medals

While catching up on the news in education, I came across this article in The News & Observer out of North Carolina.

Students do better if their teachers have certification
“A report from the National Research Council found that students taught by teachers who received national board certification make greater gains on tests than students taught by teachers without such certification.”

While I honor and respect teachers who are genuine in the pursuit of such certification, I disagree with the generalization that these are the better teachers.

When National Board Certification was first introduced in my district several years ago, many folks jumped at the opportunity to get another “title” and another stipend. Once folks got a grasp of the work that was involved though, many dropped out of the game, leaving a small group to forge ahead in the “quest” to be a better practitioner. These individuals, I am sure, were motivated by several things – the stipend, the title, the glory, and perhaps a sincere desire to become a better teacher. I don’t know. What I saw was more of a false notion that being National Board Certified would bring you the respect that you did not already have.

I admit I almost joined them. My brother, also a teacher at the time, set my head straight as we talked about the pros and cons of this program. We both decided against it. I was also discouraged by the estimated $2500 it would cost in registration, materials, fees, and testing, not to mention the time it would potentially take me away from the classroom.

I was struck by the immediate super-stardom that these individuals enjoyed. They were coddled, and treated with such consideration. Their schedules were adjusted so that they might have opportunities to “get the work done”. They had to video-tape themselves in action, so we manipulated classroom settings and student groups so the videos would come out just right.

Personally, I became disgusted at the whole thing as I watched folks put on very impressive shows. They were talking as if they had been “enlightened”. They were rushing around, getting everyone involved in the frenzied effort to complete all the specific, detailed pieces of their submissions. Many of us were asked to write recommendations on behalf of them. Personally, knowing what I knew, I had a lump in my throat as I wrote two of these letters of support.

What a scam. Now, of the individuals I still come into contact with, I can only say that maybe one is a master of the fine art of teaching. The others are either faking it or doing nothing at all. They are less than mediocre. I give myself permission to say so, because I firmly believe in this profession and the urgency for teachers to be effective.

Actually, my students have made even greater gains, regardless of my not having National Board Certification. I have not worked the system, I have not sat on my ass, and I have not put on an act. I have worked very, very hard for my kids. I’ve held high expectations. I’ve been tough, but I’ve also been the person my kids could depend on. I have been present and I have been real.

As far as I’m concerned, in many cases, this extra certification is nothing more than a medal that you don’t really earn. You have to buy it. And from where I’m standing, it doesn’t mean a damn thing.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Who will fix this?

The mother of one of my students is on my mind tonight. Last time I saw her was in April for Parent/Teacher conferences. She sat quietly as I told her how awesome her daughter was and that she should be proud of such an excellent and hard-working student. This young lady will go very far, I am sure of it.

I noticed the mother was holding herself, arms crossed, covering her chest. She seemed in pain. I asked if she was all right, and she told me she had been to two mammograms to check on several "bumps" that had appeared on her breasts in the last two years. I asked her to keep me posted. She called me four weeks ago, happy to tell me the latest films indicated everything was OK.

This past week, my student "K" confided to me that something was happening with her mother and if I would talk with her. Something weird had happened with "the results", some kind of mistake, and that her mother was in more pain. So I got in touch with the mother today, and found out she has been mislead, misinformed, and mistreated by whoever is dealing with her case. The doctor who has been seeing her for the past two years would check her, examine the bumps, and tell her to come back in four months. Recently, this MD ordered a mammogram, and then another accompanied by ultrasound (obviously seeing there was possible cause for concern.) She has also had a few needle biopsies. After supposedly analyzing the results, he informed the patient that there was no cause for alarm. He never gave her a diagnosis, just said not to worry.

However, this week, she received a call from the MD's office, and was told the films had been mixed up and that she had been given the wrong results! She has been advised to reschedule another appointment and will have to undergo more tests. And now, she is in even more pain, more of these bumps have appeared, and she is beside herself with worry.

I am angry about what appears to me to be carelessness on the part of the professionals in this case. Am I assuming too much when I consider that possibly, she is not receiving aggressive assistance because she speaks only a little English? Is it because she is a resident (legal) and not yet a U.S. citizen? Is it because she is perceived as poor or low income? The woman has health insurance through her spouse so that ought not to be the problem. Is someone afraid of the cost of helping this woman?

When I had my scare eight years ago, I was checked, referred, mammo'd, biopsied, and underwent surgery in a matter of a month. A few months later I was doing radiation and that was that. I am still here because I was taken care of swiftly. I am lucky to be a teacher, with a steady income, and very good medical insurance. Unfortunately, this is not the case for everyone.

If things go poorly, it will be my student who will pay dearly for this situation - not the doctor, and not the insurance company. What happens now? Do I stay out of it? Do I try to guide the mother in the right direction? Or do I just listen and support?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Cada mes lo mismo

A sudden jab, a stab, an ache
definitely not her appendix.
But it hurts on that side, again.
She’s not paying much attention
as she slowly spirals
into melancholy and memories
triggered by sappy old songs and
intense feelings about missing out
and never again feeling “that feeling”.
Mirror madness -
disgusted with her body, face, hair.
Kitchen hatred -
the persistent coffee stain on the counter top,
the seven layers of white paint on cabinets,
the spots in the stainless steel sink.
Pathetic – her house cleaning.
Another twist, a pang,
incessant questions and neediness
from her child.
Spanish curse words under her breath.
She tries not to scold, yell, or show she’s nasty today.
She swallows two pills, washing them down with coffee,
they work faster like that,
shuts her eyes and listens...
to every possible song to further make her feel depressed.
She’s getting worse.
Moaning, whimpering, biting her bottom lip.
“I’m just hungry” she says.
She wants something,
really needs something.
“Like a burger?” (He thinks he knows.)
No, he doesn't even know, doesn't get it.
“Just take me out – now – before I freak,” she pleads.
Fifteen minute drive, fresh air, salvation
and a chocolate ice cream cone.
Yes. That was it.
In the morning, a faint pinkish stain,
that was why.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

My count down begins...

Including tomorrow Monday, there are 12 more school days to go. After reading several teachers' blogs from across the country, I've discovered many have already started their summer break, or will finish school this week. Lucky!

The forecast is for 99. We've scheduled our egg-drop competition for tomorrow. I wonder if we'll see eggs fry on the sidewalk. The 4th gr class trip, a couple of assemblies, and MORE TESTING will make the week fly by I'm sure.

Happy summer to my teacher friends across the land! I'll be joining you soon...

Servidores

The servers whisper to each other
as they scurry to every table
and squint worried eyes while
scrutinizing each and every ice-tea glass,
raising them to eye-level,
or kneeling to better see,
searching for something.
“Has someone lost a tooth?”
I joke, offending a woman who happens to hear.
“Or a contact lens?”
I add, to get a rise out of her.
She is not amused.
The concerned crew just smiles and
continues their search.
As they chat and call out to each other
I envy their camaraderie
and wanting to join them
comment in the language that will let me in –
“No se preocupen – no pasa nada”
annoying the lady with the napkin
properly spread across her lap.
She winces
and calls out exaggeratedly
“You should be speaking English to them!”

Barely distracted by the remark,
Martina raises up the sought after glass,
Gonzalo rushes to examine
the slightest hairline crack along the edge,
and Javier takes it to the kitchen,
tossing it in the trash.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Sudando la gota gorda

It’s the beginning of a heat wave in Jersey. I dread it. I hate feeling warm. I hate sweating even more. I’m making mental note of items in my closet that will allow me to be comfortable and look half way decent at work.

My sister (who knows me well) assured me the air is up and working, so no worries when we go to her house this afternoon for my nephew’s b-day. (Because if I know I will be required to sit on someone’s deck in the humidity, getting sucked on by mosquitoes, with that horrible trickle of sweat running down by back… I’ll think up ANY excuse not to go. ) My mom and dad just had central-air installed last year. (How did they live without it?) Prior to that, I avoided their home the entire summer. And my husband has scored mega points today for getting up early to install two window units in the house. (He knows me even better – I am the biggest bitch when it’s hot and muggy.)

I’m sooooooo thankful my school is air-conditioned. So it’s not so bad, as long as we don’t have a fire drill and have to bolt out of the building, down the street, and stand in the heat until someone remembers to call us back in. Of course, the kids are sent outside for recess. They come back in afterwards all cranky, smelly, and red-faced.

I must say, I was quite proud of myself yesterday at school. It was Field Day, 85, and muggy. I wore my staff shirt, capris, sneakers (YES, we were allowed on this day to wear them!) and I was OK as long as the kids didn’t beg me to play a game. When I got moving a bit though, I felt the sweat starting at the back of my neck. By the end of the day, my long brown hair was a damp, frizzy mess. But the kids loved seeing their maestra acting like a kid.

Come to think of it, it was fun. Sweaty, but fun.

Podemos Con Obama

Saw this cool video floating around out there... wanted to share.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Paperwork and kites

I feel as if though I’ve been hit by a truck. Everything aches, but I’m not sick (at least I don’t think I’m sick.) I am incredibly tired and my feet hurt. When I get home after school I just want to sit and do nothing. I am drained and I am not being the mom I should be. I’m blessed to have a spouse who more than helps out. In fact, he does most of the mom stuff while I do SCHOOL WORK!!!!!!!!!!

It’s the last month of school folks! And instead of winding down, we are building up to a frenzied last few weeks of crazy schedules, assemblies, end-of-year testing, class projects, a class trip, field day, and PAPERWORK, PAPERWORK, PAPERWORK! It’s an exhausting time of year, though many folks tend to think a teacher’s life is easy. Well, you don’t even know…

I love teaching. It’s the most fulfilling and intense work you could ever hope to do. BUT, the bosses ask for more and more each day. Everything is due at the same time. They expect us to keep teaching until the last day, although they ask for forms, data, results, reports, lists – and they want everything right away! When are we supposed to do all of this?

On a positive note, my students presented the results of two projects today. One was based on KITES, the other on BODY LANGUAGE. I was very pleased with most of their work, especially the poetry-writing portions. My students, who came to me in September with poor writing skills and very little English, have come a long way. I get choked up…

“The First Time I Saw a Kite” by Bryann

I saw something
all up in the air
in the clouds.
It covered the sun,
little pigeons followed it.
It flew in the air around the trees.
I was amazed.
I thought it was an eagle
I thought it was trying to
say something to me
like “Come fly with me”.
I wished to go up in the sky
and fly
with my friend.


OK. Now I feel better. If only all I had to do was teach...

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Code of Conduct

No robes” me dijeron –
entonces me sacaba monedas del velador de papi,
chicles de la cartera de mami,
y descubrí cómo abrir, sin llave, la caja donde
quardaban las galletas y los chocolates.
Disimuladamente,
me saqué un pintalabios de mi tía,
un perfume, una puntabola,
una foto, un pan.
Era una ladrona.

No mientas” me pidieron –
inventaba cuentos para poder
encontrarme con mi chico a escondidas.
Diseñé la manera de hablar por largas horas en el teléfono,
en la oscuridad, medianoche
cuando mis padres pensaban que estaba durmiendo.
Estaba planeando la próxima escapada.
Les aseguraba que estaba practicando piano,
cuando en realidad estaba en el patio de la escuela,
fumando con las chicas.
Era una mentirosa.

No seas ociosa” me aconsejaron –
me dormía los sábados y los domingos hasta las 12,
no tendía mi cama,
dejaba las tareas para ultimo minuto,
no practicaba el piano,
tenía mi cuarto desordenado,
y perdía el tiempo haciendo estupideces.
Era una floja.

Ahora, tengo mis propias cosas, puedo comprar lo que me de la gana.
No hay por qué robar.
Tengo un marido, hacemos lo que queremos.
No hay por qué mentir.
Trabajo fuertes y largas horas.
Me merezco de vez en cuando una siesta y dejar los deberes para más tarde.

Ahora, a mi hijo, repito la frase
Ama sua, ama llulla, ama qhella,
que las use para navegar una vida
en la cual la gravedad y las acciones
se ven diferentes al recordarlas.


("Ama Sua, ama llulla, ama qhella" is the Inca moral code that says "do not steal, do not lie, do not be lazy".)