SYW: On Public Speaking, Caves, Unexpected Outcomes & Gratitude


How comfortable are you speaking in front of large groups of people?
I used to be petrified by speaking in front of a group of any size. I had to take a speech class when I was working toward my master’s degree in teaching, in which I not only had to give prepared speeches in front of my classmates (which were very rushed), but I also had to videotape myself giving a speech and analyze it! Arghh! BUT…it worked! The next semester I took a lit class with the same instructor and I wasn’t shy or scared at all! Needless to say, teaching involves a lot of speaking in front of large groups of people (albeit little people!). I also gave a lecture at a bilingual eduction conference with two colleagues as well as had to prepare and speak about relevant topics occasionally at teacher meetings. So now I’m pretty comfortable, but I guess it would also depend on the audience.

What would be the best thing you could reasonably expect to find in a cave?
Pretty stalactites and stalacmites and other cool formations that result from water dripping into the cave. I enjoy taking cave tours! One cave we visited out west actually had a hotel room down there that you could rent, and another had a lunch café and theatre seats! But I still prefer the natural formations of the cave!

What did you think was going to be amazing but turned out to be horrible?

I’d rather answer the reverse: what I thought would be horrible and turned out to be amazing! That would be eggplant, which I thought I hated, but when I had to eat it at a family’s house in Egypt in order to be polite, I found it to be amazing!!

OK, I thought of one thing. Without getting into too many personal details, my extended family took a vacation in Puerto Rico over New Year’s 1990/91. Parts of it were amazing – I enjoyed all the places we visited, but it was my first husband, who went on the trip even though he wasn’t expected to (we were on the verge of a divorce) that made some parts of the trip very unpleasant, to the point that my 5-year-old son was afraid of going into the condo we were staying in. But something good came out of it: I sat next to one of my sisters on the plane coming back and she got me to thinking about how I (and my son) were being treated, and two weeks later I hired a divorce lawyer.

What’s the silliest thing you’ve observed someone get upset about?
The people who protested about the extended lockdown because they wanted to get haircuts! They called their respective governors “fascist” for not “opening” their states up faster. Plus they went outside with signs in very close proximity to each other and most without masks. Really, a governor is fascist for trying to protect the people of her/his state from a potentially fatal virus? I’ll call it silly but I really could use much stronger words for it!


Please feel free to share something that gave you an uplifted spirit during this past week.  (Optional)
It was my birthday last Tuesday (June 2) and I got several phone calls from residents here as well as lots of cards! On Friday, a friend of mine brought over a pot of flowers, which was really nice, because the one I’d bought and had hanging all died for some reason and it was embarrassing to have a totally wilted pot of flowers in front of the house! I am also grateful for all the flowers I’m seeing everywhere on campus!

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