Sunday, August 24, 2014

Two Giant Mural-Sized Works of Art

Here are two giant works of art that one of my father's good friends--Maria Isabel van Sunder--has been storing for years in her garage. Both of these are massive, 20 feet wide I believe. The top one is of a famous Portuguese explorer (sorry, I don't recall the name right now) and the bottom one is a street in Graciosa.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Speech for my Mom's Retirement

My mother is retiring after an amazing 46 years of teaching, 38 of which were at Anne Darling where my father also taught. Below is the speech that I delivered last week at her retirement party. My father I'm sure is very proud of what she has accomplished.


A huge thank you to Nova Alianca for accommodating us on such short notice, the staff and amazing chef deserve a big round of applause.

I would also like to extend a warm thank you to everyone for coming, especially on a Monday night! Thank you all for being an important part of my mom’s life, and helping her make it to where she is today.

Now, a fun fact about my mom. She actually came to the US as a Franciscan nun knowing almost no English. How many of you knew she was a nun at one point? Show of hands? So this is news to a lot of you.

She has devoted almost her entire life to teaching. First, she taught at Five Wounds right across the street for 6 years. Then she taught at St. Mary’s for 2 years. After that, she found her home at Anne Darling, where she has taught for the past 38 years. That’s a very long time. Folks, that is a grand total of 46 years of teaching.

To put this in perspective, when she started teaching there were no computers smaller than a truck, you couldn’t Google anything because there was no internet, color TVs were just starting to become popular, and the president of the United States was Lyndon B. Johnson. That’s how long she’s been teaching.

In order to do anything for that long you have to love what you do. In fact, one teaching job was not enough for her. She has also contributed to the Portuguese community by teaching after-school Portuguese classes for 15 years at a variety of locations, all while still teaching at Anne Darling.

She also has an incredible work ethic, often going into class on Saturdays and Sundays to prepare for the coming week. Even a full hip replacement surgery did not keep her from going back to work this year.

She could have retired a decade ago, but kept on going because she loved her job and she is great at it. I’m sure she’s lost count of how many former students came up to her as adults, requesting that she be the teacher for their children (and in some rare cases grandchildren).

My mom’s love for kids also extended outside of the classroom. I remember when I was a teenager and she decided to become a foster mother.  Keep in mind that at this point my father had passed away, and she was a single mom working full-time. In total, she has devoted 17 years of her life to foster care, housing as many as 6 foster children at one time.  Over those years she has taken care of almost 100 different kids, and many have said it was the best home they ever stayed in and still keep in touch.

In a nutshell, my mom has devoted her entire life to serving others and making the world a better place… first as a nun and then as a teacher.

Now what is she going to do with all of this extra free time after retirement?  I know that my mom likes to stay busy, so I’m don’t think she will just kick back and relax.  I’ll throw this out there.  Mom, you can feel free to volunteer as a babysitter for my future kids anytime.  We wouldn’t want you to get bored or anything.  And just a quick note that these are hypothetical kids, there are no other major announcements taking place tonight.

I know you guys are looking forward to dessert, so I’ll wrap things up and say this...  I could not have asked for a better mom and am so incredibly proud to see her achieve this milestone. I’m also sure that all of those that could not be here today like my father, her parents, and many others are smiling down, and agreeing with me when I say it is a very well deserved retirement. Congratulations and I Love You.

Friday, January 3, 2014

20 Years

It has now been 20 years since my father passed away. The world would be a much better place if he were still here. He was a kind, patient, and caring person that I will always look up to and draw inspiration from. I'm sure he is still watching over those that he loved, and I especially hope he'll pull some strings up there to make sure my mom's hip replacement surgery goes smoothly next week.

On many occasions I can't help but to think about how much he would have enjoyed being alive today. Like myself, he really enjoyed technology and I am reminded of him every time a new gadget, a faster computer, or a better camera is released. I think he would be blown away by smartphones, the Internet, HDTVs, modern cars, and all of the other things that exist today and we take for granted.

Dad, we miss you and wish you were here.