Refugees: some photos and words to close the 2015-2016 academic year

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The 2015-2016 academic year is ending and it is time to think a little bit about what I have learned (what we have learned) about our “words” this year.  This year my students gave me the word “gender” and, truth be told, I continue learning about what the word means for others and I still don’t have it clear.  I have enjoyed pondering its meaning, though, and I recently remembered something I read in The New York Times about languages and gender.  The article explains how people with languages whose words are gendered often assign stereotypically male or female attributes to the objects that the words name

(http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/29/magazine/29language-t.html).  Additionally, I saw in Spain the use of “x” in an attempt to make plural adjectives and nouns neutral (for examples I saw a poster expressing Spanish support of refugees with refugees spelled: refugiadxs instead of refugiados).  I also recently found out that an ex-student of mine just finished a study looking at how the Spanish language is changing through a (controversial) effort to make the language more inclusive.  It will be interesting to see what happens in the future.

And, what else?  Well, I continue appreciating the imagination of my husband, my children, my other relatives, my friends (writers and non-writers), and my students.  The inspire me to explore my own creativity and to express myself through words and images.  I am very grateful to know so many imaginative and creative people.

Power:  I have seen the power of serious illnesses to shake a community and a family.  I have also seen the power of the same illnesses to unite others and move them to action and acts of kindness.  Additionally, I have seen the continued power of words to harm and to heal.

Love:  I have cried seeing love end in pain and I have admired other loves that have continued on and survived the ups and downs that life puts in our path.

Finally, I have celebrated friendships near and far.  I have enjoyed observing the friendships among my students and I have shared all sorts of moments with my own friends and I love them every day more.  They enrich my life.

I hope to write a bit this summer and maybe share some more of my photos.  I am also excited to report that I have a super group of new students who will be publishing their work in the 2016-2017 academic year!

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