Random thoughts from an animal-loving French prof / mom of three on things she finds beautiful, funny, sad, or strange.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Things we (shouldn't) take for granted

The other night, my middle daughter was invited to an awards ceremony at UC, aka my workplace since 2001. We didn't think twice about it until the announcer started listing the participating schools. We realized that many families drove an hour, even two, to a place we see so often that well, we've stopped actually seeing it. As we walked to our car, parked in a nearby lot that only an "insider" would know, I commented that I hadn't realized this would be such a big deal. My daughter replied something like, "that's because it's Cumberland. It's just always here."

Two days later, our conversation still won't let me go. When did my privileged place in the world become so...I don't know...ordinary? I know that's probably just the dual effect of habit and of time, but still, that doesn't make it okay.
I mean, look at it. This is an American college campus, which are among some of the prettiest spots I've ever seen (and I've seen an awful lot). That this one is full of red brick buildings –a personal favorite– and located in the beautiful Appalachian mountains is the icing on an already delectable cake.

Besides, being here means I get to work with a lot of incredible people. My administration supports me, my colleagues sustain me, my students motivate me to get out of bed each and every day. No, it's not perfect (we all have our dark places), and yes, this Francophile with a Yankee attitude has days where she probably creates more problems than she solves, but hey, that's all part of the adventure.

The best part, though, is that I am getting away with an epic scam. I love languages, especially French. I love to read. I love to write. And by some miracle (okay, a miracle plus a PhD...), I have stumbled into a profession where people will actually put me in a room full of books and pay me do all three. There's even a coffeemaker, for crying out loud! Do I do it perfectly? No. I don't always even do it very well, or at least not as well as I'd like. But I come at it with energy and passion and a constant desire to improve. The result? I feel like I've won the lottery, only better. Unlike plain, cold, hard cash, this the kind of thing that stays with you forever.

So here's to our blessings and our loves. May we never take them for granted again.

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