Tag Archives: Aaron

Kids Need a Mexican for a Class Project

My kids have been attending a Spanish immersion school since they were in kindergarten. They’re big 8th graders now, about to move into high school, where the “immersion” part of school will change, so that they’re essentially only doing a single foreign language AP class. So they’re “graduating” from the immersion portion of the program.

For their final project they have to interview a native Mexican, who speaks Spanish. It’s just a crazy project for so many reasons. A Mexican? We live in Seattle. The photo above is an aerial map of Seattle. Red dots represent where all the white people live. Orange dots represent Hispanics. Where are we going to find a Mexican?

Plus, the assignment is just so ethnically specific. Meanwhile, Seattle is so liberal and progressive people tend to discount ethnic/racial differences, so this is putting ethnicity squarely into focus in ways I haven’t really thought about, and that make me feel somewhat uncomfortable.

“Hey. You Mexican?”

Why not just task them with interviewing someone who doesn’t speak English? They’re in a Spanish immersion class, so it’s hard to imagine they’re going to interview a Russian or a Texan or something.

We tried to coordinate a Skype interview with family friends from Mexico who we haven’t seen in years, but the logistics and technical challenges were too great to overcome. We have all sorts of ethnic friends, but no Mexicans. It was very frustrating. Finally, end of semester approaching, they loosened the requirements to any Spanish speaking culture, which opened up the door to my son’s in-laws, who are from Cuba and Costa Rica. Hooray for in-laws!

My kids interviewed Tim’s mother-in-law, who was kind enough to stay up late and chat with Aaron and Kennedy, who both got a HUGE case of the shy-kids, and proceeded to chat for about an entire two minutes. As it turns out, that was enough. Interview accomplished.

So. Major kudos to my daughter, Carry, who took a huge part coordinating the effort, despite a full-time load at university and two little ninas of her own to care for. Thank you Carry! And big thanks to your mother, Miriam, for taking Aaron and Kennedy and their school project seriously.

We really love you guys!

Will be interesting to see what the interviews look like. Not just Aaron and Kennedy’s, but the entire class. We were not the only ones that had a hard time. I know of at least one family who went to a Mexican restaurant and interviewed one of the wait staff. The assignment required the students to get pictures of the people they interviewed, and when the cameras came out, the restaurant staff all got a little antsy. Does that just seem — I don’t know — incredibly awkward?

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8-16-2009 158, originally uploaded by tim_elhajj.

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Semper Paratus

12-16-2005 010

Timmy’s first year in the Coast Guard he was stationed at Port Seattle.

Last week Kennedy called me at work to ask if I knew any veterans. I reminded her about Timmy and my own tour of duty some thirty years ago. How quickly they forget. The fifth grade class was doing a Veteran’s Day celebration and each child was to announce their relationship to a veteran at an assembly of the entire student body. Kennedy was unimpressed with my peace time enlistment. God only knows what she believes Timmy is up to in the Coast Guard.

She ended up annoucing her nanny, Tanya who served in the Gulf with (I believe) the National Guard. Tanya was a life saver who helped us care for the kids when they were toddlers.

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Aaron decided to announce me, despite the peace during my tenure in the Navy. I was very proud. I am also proud of Timmy who continues to keep our coasts safe.

Here are more pictures of Port Seattle.

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Raising Good Citizens

07-05-2005 (264)

The kids were obsessed with last night’s vote.

They started watching the election results after they got home from their after school activities. It was early evening and the results were just coming in. When they heard McCain was up somewhere on the East Coast, there was much wailing.

“Oh, no!” Kennedy cried.

“How can this be,” Aaron wanted to know.

Holly told them to relax. She explained how early it was and got them ready for what we thought would be a long night of returns. Pretty soon Kennedy was aping CNN, talking like a pundit. Aaron was doing delegate math. I got home from work around 8pm. No sooner had I walked in the door, Holly called out “Obama wins!”

And there was much celebration!

I enjoyed the McCain concession speech. I had to scold Aaron for shooting the TV with his nerf dart gun while McCain was speaking. The kids brushed teeth and we all watched Obama’s victory speech.

I like it that we all enjoyed such a momentous occasion together. We never did that sort of thing when I was a boy and that was during one of America’s most tumultuous decades: Nixon, Vietnam, Civil Rights, and Women’s liberation. Not to mention all the Arab/Israeli conflicts.

I remember watching the Olympics with my Dad and brothers and Jim McKay’s plaintive voice saying, “They’re all gone.”

I said, “Dad, the Arabs.” I knew we were Arab on his side.

I don’t remember what he said. I imagine he was trying to deal with the news himself. I just always seemed to want to know more than my parents were willing to tell me. Now I realize sometimes that’s no fault of the parents.

But last night was all kinds of great. All the political questions were easily answered by Dad and Mom. It’s always good when your man wins.

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Drama in the Deep End

Aaron and Kennedy are playing water polo this year. Above is Aaron getting pulled as Kennedy guards the goal at the deep end.

Watch what happens.

The opposing team takes a shot and Kennedy propellers (this is what they call moving your feet to gain elevation in water polo) herself up to block. Aaron watches with mild concern.

water polo

The block is good. Aaron exults.

water polo

Kennedy acts like there was never any doubt, but I know she loves hearing her brother cheer for her.


water polo

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Pavilion love

Holly has a new post up at her site. It’s a cute story about Aaron. Everyone go look all at once and crash her server!

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In Celebration of Weapons of Mass Destruction

5-3-2008 011

Aaron has a knack for hitting the ball. He’s so good, his nickname is A-bomb. He made it into the Little League All Stars this year, so earlier this month, we deocrated all our cars for the big tournament. Recently I’ve been getting strange looks at stop lights.

On my driver’s side rear window, I drew a little mushroom cloud and wrote, “GO A-BOMB!”

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The Love Shark

When Aaron was five, he drew the image that appears in my new header for Father’s day. I have always loved it. The gang over at Qt3—especially Coca Cola Zero and Fugitive—helped me turn it into a nice looking banner. Thanks guys!

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Lightning Strikes Four Times: Aaron Gets Two More Unassisted Double Plays

Aaron is cleaning up this year. In yesterday’s last game of the regular season, he got another unassisted double play. I reported on his first and second unassisted double plays and he got one a third one I hadn’t reported for a grand total of four.

One thing is certain: He doesn’t get his superior athleticism from me.

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Web Gems Galore!

Aaron got another unassisted doubleplay last week. Woo!

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