A for Ace!

I think I did pretty well as a visiting lecturer yesterday at my alma mater. We originally planned for half an hour but the conversation carried on until the end of class time, which was  about 60 minutes. The students reacted well and asked quite a lot of questions. It was so much fun. 

At the end of my first mini-lecture, my professor asked me to speak to students in another class, Persuasion – my other favorite course back in the college heyday. It was a smaller class size, but the energy was no less robust compare to the previous class. 

Before we bid our goodbyes, Professor L told me that he was amazed at how good I have gotten with public speaking. I then asked him to give me a grade and he said, of course you get an A!

That’s all I needed for a feedback. 

I had long forgotten how euphoric it was for me standing in front of an audience and speaking of subjects that are dear to my heart. Being a stay-at-home mom has all the glory moments that highlight motherhood and its fulfillment, but boy, do I miss being in an academic environment. 

Professor L also encouraged me to think about teaching as an adjunct professor, as my Master’s degree qualifies me to teach college entrance level course. That also gave me a boost of confidence because I have been in a slump of professional inspiration. It was nice to receive great advice from someone that I deeply respect. 

O also said that I should take that into consideration and he supports me 100% if I were to take on that career route. I think it would be an exciting venture, something new for me to experience!

Being a guest speaker

two weeks ago while searching my alma mater’s website I stumbled upon my former faculty advisor’s introductory page. My first thought, oh yay, he is still there, and then onto looking at his photo I thought, it’s been almost 13 years since the last time we saw each other; he has aged! 

Then I emailed him. And a few days later he responded. In his email, he invited me to come and meet his students in the Intercultural Communication class. 

I used to do guest-speaking for him every semester from the year I was a senior until right before I left for graduate school in Boston. He was the one who encouraged me to do more public speaking, he trained me, gave me hardcore constructive feed back, took me to the local speech competition and watched me failed miserably at some and gained high points at other. He was actually the one who told me to take pride in my hyphenated cultural identity, and be proud of my English accent, both of which were giving me undulating difficulty while growing up. 

Over the years we bonded; he was the academic father figure that I greatly admire and owe gratitude. 

I am sure he will be proud upon knowing how many public speaking events that I have had and the sizes of audience who came to listen to what I have to share throughout my professional life. 

Anyway, this Friday I am meeting him and his students. I will do a mini-lecture about intercultural communication and diversity support for underrepresented groups of college students. He also asked me to talk a bit about building a multicultural family, which I think will be relevant and pique their interest. 

It’s been more than two years since I did something like this. Although I have load of experience, it’s still a nerve-racking venture each time I stand in front of an audience. 

Wish me luck!

A day off from cooking

To celebrate Mr. O’s success, he gave me a day off and away from the kitchen on Saturday. We took the boys out and let them chose what food they wanted to eat. PP chose Jason’s Deli because the place offers free corn muffins and ice cream. This kid is already thinking economically!

And yes, finally I got around to get them new haircut at Kids’ Hair. They seem to look a bit different, and grown-up, every time I had their hair cut. Peanut’s facial features are more defined without the unruly hair.

Nature in the city

This post has been in my draft box for days. We visited Westwood Hills Nature Center earlier this week. It is on the west side of downtown Minneapolis, about 10 minutes on highway West-394, and 15 minutes from where we live. It’s a short drive if there is no traffic, and once we got there, it was hard to imagine that three busy highways form a frame around the nature center.

Westwood Hills Nature Center is a 160-acre natural area featuring marsh, woods and restored prairie. The preserve is beautiful throughout the seasons and provides homes for many animals including deer, fox, mink and owls.

Source: Westwood Hills Nature Center’s website. Winter in Minnesota is brutal, but comes spring and summer, there are a lot of outdoor activities for families with young children. The boys are at the right age this year to begin this kind of exploration and adventures, so I try to bring them out to nature as much as possible. The boys are checking out wildlife animals that could be found in Minnesota. Top left: tree frog, bottom left: American toad, Right: Bull snake Fox Snake, Barred Owl, and a Hawk in the background. There were also Tiger Salamanders, and two different kind of turtles. However, the boys gravitated towards the Fox Snake which was slithering along the glass wall. PP knows that I have a phobia for snakes, and tried to protect me the entire time. Yup, I don’t like snakes, or millipedes, or anything that crawl/slither like that, just gross me out. There is a back story about how I developed this phobia, but might write about that some other time. Snack time: Chocolate-covered Pocky Sticks and Girl Scout cookies Peanut was crying because he stepped on bird drops. He kept wailing, “poop, I don’t want poop!” and refused to walk any further. Playtime with new friends.