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2003-07-06 - 9:27 p.m.

I took the puppy to my parents' house and they spoiled him terribly. He just ate it up. He behaved really well, though. I can't get over what a good dog he is. I can't believe someone gave him to the Humane Society. My dad said he'd be a good Obedience Trials dog because he's smart and he minds. I'll settle for him obeying enough that I can keep him safe around traffic, other dogs, etc.

I was watching a show on the Animal Planet and this lady said she had gotten this dog that had been dropped off at the pound because the owners had had him for 15 years and, now that he was old, they couldn't care for him anymore. It boggles my mind! I mean, perhaps there were extenuating circumstances, but how can you give up a faithful pet of 15 years --- especially to the pound!

Last night Vero couldn't sleep so she said she watched 2 or 3 hours of the animal cops show on Animal Planet. Some of those shows are insidiously addictive like that.

I watched CSI but couldn't really get into it. Now the real ("real") Law and Order is on --- where they show a real case. I can't stand that one. It is way too painful. I don't want to see the parents of a 14 year old rape/torture/murder victim testify. I don't want to see all that real agony. I think it's obscene that the American taste for reality TV has brought us to the point where we accept a show like that as normal television. I mean, I know those people agreed to be on the show, but in their situation I would hate to have strangers intruding on my life like that. I don't know. I guess I can never really imagine what it feels like to be in their position ...

Ana mentioned in my guestbook my comments on kids feeling bereft because of the jarring experience of moving to another country. I've never been through the experience myself, but I guess I have learned to empathize by getting to know the kids, some of their parents, and also friends of mine who have had the experience. I have several friends whose parents moved to the United States and, even years later, you can tell that sometimes they feel ... excluded ... or perhaps "distant" is a better word. Vero's mom sometimes seems cut off from the larger society. She understands English and, I think, speaks it very well, but she doesn't feel comfortable in English-only situations. Therefore, she tends to live in a circumscribed world of family, church, and neighborhood. A lot of my students, also, have been through the shock of moving to the US and you can tell that it has totally changed their lives, even their personalities.

You know, sometimes, that a kid is by nature very outgoing and bold, but that in the English-language school system he or she is reserved and shy. And these are kids who are surrounded by peers who speak Spanish! A few years ago I had a student who had immigrated from the Philipines and he only felt comfortable speaking with his twin sister. He didn't want to communicate with anyone else. My second year I had a 1st year student who also had muscular dystrophy (which was progressing very rapidly). He had never even attended a regular school before, so he was doubly removed from the experience of the rest of the kids.

We also have a lot of migrant students who never spend enough time in a place to form deep attachments to friends or neighborhoods. I feel very bad for them, because they are forced by economic necessity to miss out on a structure for their lives.

This last year I had a student who had been in the US for more than three years (so he had to test), but he still didn't feel comfortable in English. Everything in his life (family, work, church) except for school was in Spanish ... and he wanted to move back to Mexico. He got to the point where he didn't even want to try anymore. And as frustrated as I got with him, I always felt compassion ... because I would imagine myself trying to get by like he was doing.

He went back to Mexico. Hopefully, he will find happiness there.



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