I have often tried to encourage my children to read. They are boys. They clamber on furniture, roll on rugs, tear into their surroundings secure in the knowledge that the new dawn will have reined in the chaos, cleared the debris they scatter wherever it may fall, with fresh ground for play. I want them to be still for a bit. Sit down, I want to say to them. Sit down and get acquainted with the passing thought, the laughter before it leaves the throat, the sigh before it escapes your lips. Having learned the art of sitting still, you can move.
Ninety years of living reduced to this: the slow counting of breaths followed by the Himalayan trek from bed to bidet to dimly observe the color of pee, the lethargic, sometimes movement of bowels, the hasty swipe with a baby wipe. And here we go again.
Although there were first ladies before her, Dolley Madison was the woman chosen to give the role of the First Lady of the White House, the prestige the title enjoys today. A widow, who at the age of twenty-five that had already experienced the ravage death leaves behind within her own family with the loss of her husband and her youngest son, this woman would set up the ceremonial and social protocol in the newly built White House in Washington D.C.
Regardless of whether it is a sudden sickness, fever, or an accident, a disability forces a person to face a new reality. No longer the same, he or she has to tackle the impediments that bind and overcome the barriers that appear on his or her horizon. A person in such a situation is labeled disabled.
This is not an article about the world situation. That the situation in the world is bad, one only has to read in the newspapers, or to look at television, or to scrounge through the Internet. Some things are tragically wrong in our societies; communication techniques have failed among the different cultures, and understanding or agreement among the countries is practically zilch. So, this article writer does not intend to rain down hell, fire, and brimstone about what every country is doing wrong. Judgment will come but not from me.
Living in Europe and being able to travel to most of the European countries, or anywhere else in the world has its advantages, but there are times when being an international citizen causes an unrest deep within that makes an expatriate hunger to return to the old Southern landmarks.
To live abroad will change your ways of perceiving things. You become an ExPat, a new person just as the patriarch, Abraham. ExPat is not a meltdown. He or she does not submerge him or herself into a different society and lose their personality. Becoming an ExPat is not some kind of fusion process where you amalgamate into a new culture; it is a cohesion process that moves the ExPat into the periphery of objectivity as it strengthens the experiences acquired.
Past predicts Future: For over 20 years of my life in the US, always answering “Ukraine” when asked where I came from, I’d heard, “Aah, Russia!” The home to 45.4 million people, Ukraine was little known—until bloodshed on the Maidan Square in Kyiv and continuing mayhem provoked by expert Putin-esque instigators brought it into headlines. The media opinions, however, often understate the situation, thus hurting all-American understanding—and standing—in this strategically important European country.
If you write a book about something that is little known, you have to be prepared for questions. Some will be silly and trivial, some will be deeper: but there will be questions. I wrote about Iran. Immediately I learned that many Americans know little about that country and its culture. Many of the questions I have been asked have been about the women of Iran. They seem so different from the women of America, so different and so very hard to comprehend.
The U.S. faces an increasing shortage in the STEM workforce: employment in STEM occupations is expected to grow 17 percent by 2018, while the number of college graduates in STEM fields continues to decline. In 2009, just 18 percent of bachelor’s degrees awarded were in STEM fields, down from 24 percent two decades ago. Even more alarming: the gender and racial gap within the STEM workforce continues to widen. While women comprise 49% of the college-educated workforce, only 14% of engineers are women and just 27% are working in computer science and math positions. Similar disparities exist for Hispanic and African American workers, who account for only six percent of STEM workers. Recently it has come to light that the number of girls that are majoring in Computer Science has drastically dropped in the past 15 years.