What are you grateful for this week? Has anything been particularly difficult this week? I would say I'm just being a student in general is really difficult right now because mentally I'm checked out, but I can't be because we still have assignments and stuff due. I still have to teach my class tomorrow, and then I still have conversation hours. So I'm not really done until the last possible minute on Wednesday. But mentally I'm just not -- checked -- I'm just not here anymore. I want to be done. I'm ready for the semester to be over. It's been really really draining the past couple months. But in the same light, I am so extremely grateful that I've been able to stay busy and to still pursue the thing that I love, which is teaching Spanish and Linguistics. And I'm just really grateful for the opportunity to be with my family because if I had been at school or if things had sort of been whatever type of normal or if the university hadn't canceled classes and I was looking to come home for Thanksgiving, I wouldn't necessarily be able to do that by not putting my parents -- with not putting my parents at risk. So I'm extremely grateful, that I am home that we are all -- that we are all healthy, that we will be able to spend Thanksgiving together.
We had been in our apartment building in Boston, we just moved to Lansing. But, when we were still in our apartment we moved in right before Christmas last year and I put in -- we had a like a mantle and a fake little fireplace -- It didn't work, but it looked pretty. And I put in some hooks for stockings for myself and my spouse and our cats, we had three little hooks up there. And when the pandemic started in March, mid-march, basically by the point that we started collecting multiple face masks. We used those hooks to store our face masks. And so it's been kind of a almost Christmas stocking feel on our fireplace for the past nine months. And I was running into the question of what are we going to do with Christmas decorations? Where we going to put our stockings? Cause we need, we still need a place to put our masks. But that question actually is gonna end up being pretty moot because we just moved. So we no longer have our stocking hook-masks set up in place.
I'm in the sixth grade. So, I'm hoping to skip a grade but socially I'm a kindergartener, true fact. So I probably won't cuz, actually second thoughts, I don't want to skip a grade because I have friends and if I skipped a grade, I would be in a whole different school than them because I'd have to go to the middle school building. So that sucks. I do have a best friend and we love playing gaga ball. During gaga ball we’re like frenemies and then we're best friends and we stay up till midnight watching Pitch Perfect. Oh my gosh. It's like. So I do have a best friend, but during gaga ball, like we just love playing gaga ball, sometimes she even has to get me to do it and I love it.
The most thoughtful gift I've ever received. Well, this is recently within the past month or so one of my grandson's has decided to start, he's very a very talented kid and I don't take any credit for that, but he's decided to start oil painting. Anyway, so he started painting and he's you know, he's new at it of course, but his first oil painting he's done colors and watercolors and that kind of stuff before, he's done drawings numerous drawings. Very good at drawing very very good at art. His first watercolor, his first rather his first oil painting. I took him to get a haircut because he needed a haircut and as I was bringing him back home from getting his hair cut he says, "well wait here, I have something for you." So he comes out with a brown paper bag and inside this brown paper bag, was his very first oil painting that he's done. And I was so incredibly touched I cannot begin to tell you. He signed it and dated it and -- because who knows where this kids gonna go, I mean he's gonna go far if he you know applies himself. But anyway, I was so incredibly touched that he created this and his very first oil painting he decided to give to grandpa. So that was the most thoughtful gift I've ever received and I do still have it, It's prominently displayed in my living room, of course and will be until the day I die. So, I was pretty touched by that.
I think Thanksgiving plans are very tentative. I have my parents in their seventies who are hoping to drive up, they don't want to fly, but and that's the only people we're gonna have, but we haven't seen them since the kids started back in person school. So I’m really hoping to see them they live in Pennsylvania and I guess just depends plans all seemed so tentative but, we are really hoping to see them for Thanksgiving and we for the second year in a row are hoping to invite another family from our area who is also very careful and kind of a bubble except for school. We did this last year and it was just really fun. We decorated cookies and -- hadn't really -- it was like a nice Thanksgiving tradition for the kids to do together, but we're hoping to enjoy the time and my mom is a retired art teacher. So she said she even has an art project for the kids to do together a little Christmas preparation. So we're really looking forward to Thanksgiving and hoping to gather together as normal.
What do you think the difference is between sneakers and tennis shoes? I think the difference would be, one of them is more for running or playing tennis which is tennis shoes, running shoes, whatever you call them. Sneakers are kind of just for fun. There's someone in my class that has, during cross-country season, he would wear like two different ones to school and I'm pretty sure that he'd probably -- that he wore during the school day or like and during cross-country. So the ones that he wore to school he'd probably classify as sneakers. The ones that he wore at cross-country practice, he'd probably classify as tennis shoes or running shoes or if there's a different name people call them. That's just my opinion on the difference between sneakers and tennis shoes. When I think of sneakers, I think of some comfy shoes that I can just where all day long, versus some hardcore running shoes that are more made for you to run in and be active in. But I think you could do the same with sneakers, you could probably run in sneakers and it's fine if you wear running shoes to school. So, I don't really think -- it's that important of a difference but someone might think it's important and that's kind of what I'm thinking.
Today I will be interviewing my brother, who is nineteen years old and will be voting for the first time in a presidential election. So, what does voting mean to you, through your perspective? Well, I've always viewed voting as a method for a normal person to have a say in their democracy. Growing up in elementary school, we learned about different types of government, like democracy. And I always figured that self-government would probably be the best. But then I learned about something called a Democratic Republic, which is you kind of vote for people who do, you know, the voting for you. Right? So you still have a say and it's still technically like a democracy and I feel like it's really just a good way for any person to have their voice heard, so they can, you know, they can have somebody speak for them as well. How do you feel? I agree. I think voting is one way a person can get a say in their government and it really helps us as a country to know what our people want. Yeah of course. The whole point of government is to help with the needs of the people, you know, do what the people want it to do. And I think yeah, voting, like it just tells the government. What do the people want? How do we make them happy? Well, I agree with that but also it's a little bit more. The government isn't there to keep people happy, in my opinion. You know, I feel like the government is there to take care of, you know, the basic things the common defense, you know, building roads, building parks. Yeah, that's what I mean by happy like providing for those basic things and doing a good job in that.
What do you think would be some good ways to show education -- show better education for students? One of the things that I think is critical and that I'm working on, which will, which has an indirect impact on education is trying to increase the diversity in our faculty. As you know that we can clearly identify with people who look like us or who dress like us. So, we are working towards diversification of faculty, where we want to bring in more underrepresented faculty members on board. So that our students, the cohort of students that we have in college today can relate to them and know that what they are dreaming for will actually be true someday if they keep working hard.
An article in last Sunday's New York Times, on the year of the blur, talks about how social isolation has compromised our emotional condition and our sense of time. The author of this editorial in the New York Times, his name is Alex Williams, argues that we need social interaction in order to do two things. First of all, social interactions give us typical markers that help us define important events that set up milestones in our lives. And secondly, social interaction helps us to maintain a sense of ourselves. As a sociologist, I could not agree more with Alex William's editorial. There was a famous sociology theorist by the name of George Horton Cooley who developed the concept of the looking-glass self and this concept has been very important in a subfield of sociology called social psychology. The notion of the looking-glass self is that we look at other people, we interact with other people and we come to understand how they view us. In other words, other people in our lives are like looking glasses -- looking mirrors -- looking glasses and we see ourselves as they see us. And we incorporate our understandings of what other people tell us about ourselves, into our own self-identity. I can certainly understand how the social isolation that so many of us have experienced over a long time since the global pandemic was declared in mid-march can affect our sense of self.