Monday, October 29, 2007

ScEd 353 - Cultural Identity Report

Hey kids! Who said homework couldn't be fun? The following blog is actually a homework assignment for my multicultural ed class with the fabulous Dr. Ramona Cutri. For those random friends who actually read this lonely page, the assignment is (and I quote): "Create a 'conceptual webbing' of the various cultural, biological, economical and contextual factors that have influenced your identity, shaped your values, and influenced your learning. Place your name in the center of the web." The name in the center of the web part gets complicated a bit because this is a blog, and unavoidably linear. Oh well, here goes anyway. I think I'll start with "the basics" and move into more complex areas of the web that is me. :)

Hilary Watkins
Race (Color? I'm confused about this term now...): White/Caucasian/Anglo...?
Gender: Female
Heritage: Predominantly English, Welsh, Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish.
Birthday: May 13, 1987
Birthplace: Summit, NJ
Hometown: New Canaan, CT
Current location: Provo, UT
Family's current location: Alpine, UT
Place in family: Oldest of five girls; no brothers!
Financial situation: Born to a poor couple who acquired quite a bit of money through hard work and smart investing; now I've come full circle as a financially independent poor college student.
Education: Student at Brigham Young University; BA in English Teaching with a minor in TESOL K-12.
Political affiliation: Somewhere between the Republican and Democratic parties.
Religious affiliation: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Favorite foods: Sushi, dark chocolate, Diet Coke with lime, Indian food, grilled cheese, anything minty, ice cream, and good pizza. Being raised in the east, I'm a food snob.
Favorite colors: Green, blue, and brown (the colors of the outdoors). We are a walking family; we love Sunday strolls, and we like to spend time up American Fork Canyon.
Favorite holiday: Christmas. So many wonderful memories and traditions.
Things I love: Traveling (we have visited three continents as a family), music (I studied piano for 10 years and competed in New York), reading (my mother always read to us growing up), admiring the mountains and clouds (the move to Utah has opened up nature to me), playing with kittens at the pet store (I miss my pug Sammy at home), typing (I know this is crazy, but it's actually quite therapeutic, and I transcribed missionary journals for work for seven months), digging in the garden (my mom loves to garden), swimming (we have a pool), watching movies (a weekly roommate activity).
Things I hate: Forgetting things at home (which I do all the time, and which bothers my dad), sleeplessness (picked up from my dad), not liking any of the food in my apartment (again, food snobbery), people who brag about expensive clothing (we were raised with the understanding that material things are the last things we should be worrying about in this world), blindly conservative/liberal people (my parents have raised me to be a "free thinker" and to challenge norms).
Most life-changing experience: Living in Ecuador last summer for three months, working in orphanages and hospitals, and picking up as much Spanish as possible.
Life goals: To be a wife and mother (although I cannot guarantee the caliber of either), to have a positive influence in the lives of those around me, and to see more of the world and to understand what I can do to help improve it.

This is starting to look like one of those obnoxious "About Me" forwarded emails that we all used to be obsessed with in middle school. Hopefully this does the job for this assignment...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Mom, I have a headache in my belly.

I used to tell my mom this when I was sick. And right now, it bears repeating.

What I ate after 4:20 today:
1. Approximately 1/2 cup Reduced Fat Cheez-its
2. 2 apple cinnamon rice cakes
3. 1 cup of milk
4. 1 slice of cheddar cheese
5. 1 cup of edamame

Then I booked it up the hill to work. When I got there, I craved chocolate and bought some Junior Mints in the break room. This proved unnecessary, as my co-worker Kimberly bought a jumbo bag of Reece's Pieces. So at least I didn't down the mints. But I ate a lot of Reece's Pieces. And that didn't feel so good. And so I sipped some water and tried to sit still, moaning gently... On the inside...

Quite unfortunately, tonight was the L. Tom Perry Special Collections 50th Anniversary Gala Event! complete with carrot cake and ice water. Of course I had a piece of cake, with way too much buttery cream cheesy icing.

So now the edamame, the rice cakes, and the skim milk (Team Healthy) are warring, somewhat unsuccessfully, against the cheese, the Cheez-its, the Reece's Pieces, and the carrot cake (Team Junkola). The carrot cake could have been healthy, but it succumbed to the cheesy creamy icing, and converted to the Dark Side. Or at least the winning side. Uck.

So much for yoga last night. Is it weird that I still want Chinese take-out right now?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The many sounds of Gummibears.

A discussion with two of my roommates about the olden days of Disney afternoon cartoons brought many mixed memories to the surface. This is a collection of trivia, with the Gummibear grande finale.

Fact: In DuckTales, Uncle Scrooge is raising Huey, Dewey, and Louie because their guardian, Uncle Donald, joined the navy. Yeah, I know. But who isn't above a little subliminal messaging?

Fact: InTaleSpin, the she-bear who buys out Baloo's freight business is named Rebecca Cunningham. I grew up with a Rebecca Cunningham.

Fact: This is boring. Now to the good stuff.

Check out these bad boys. First, the original Gummibears theme. Second, the a cappella version, hailing from Brown University. And finally, the Swedish techno remix.

In conclusion, homework is overrated.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Addicted to Connectivity

Well, our internet connection is down. It's been pretty lame all week, but after running some diagnosis tests over the phone with the frazzled Comcast lady today, our modem was pronounced dead. The brand new modem that TPM (our management group) finally bought us after living without our own modem for the whole summer and part of this semester. And pirating the mysterious "linksys" open network has proved less than successful, although the signal is unfrequented enough tonight for me to write this post. Roar, I just hate when things don't work. I didn't have anything desperately needing my attention online tonight, but I panic when I don't have an internet connection when I'm expecting to have one.

I know it's pathetic, but I get that way when I leave my cell phone at home, too. Just knowing that I'm supposed to be connected to the technological world but I'm not freaks me out. How bothersome. My thoughts turn to Thoreau in the woods. Simplify, simplify, simplify...

Of course, Thoreau only pulled off the whole Walden thing because Emerson and some existentialist buddies gave him land and helped him build his house and made sure he didn't starve. So civilization is somewhat necessary. It's just too bad that our civilization comes with so many screens, plugs, and flashing lights.

Can I just say, I love eating brownies and singing along to Regina Spektor with my roommate in our living room at 11:30 on a Sunday night, long after our responsible roommates have gone to bed. Shout out to ya, Sim.

Friday, October 12, 2007

According to Billy Crystal...

...women and men can never be friends. My roommate and I watched When Harry Met Sally a few weeks ago. Besides having some riotously hysterical moments, it harped on the idea that men and women can never engage in a nonromantic relationship. Harry and Sally, though friends for the better part of the second half of the movie, eventually get together. So point proven, I guess.

Gosh darn it, why can't we all just be friends? I'm so sick of the anxiety of a relationship. I'm just happy to be alone. Not emotionally alone, I need and love my friends. Just unattached. Not worried about keeping someone else happy for once. Just me. I love my friends, but I also like the fact that I just don't get stuck on my friends like I get stuck on dates/boyfriends. My friends and I can all go our separate ways, and I know that in six weeks, four months, or two years, it'll still be like old times.

And so I fight. Eat it, Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan and Carey Fischer. Men and women can "just" be friends, so help me.

Friday, October 5, 2007

My date with the Rocky Mountain Express Cloggers.

I forgot to write about my Clogger. Not like he clogs things up. He clogs. Like Irish dancing, but not. You can swing your arms around and such.

So I introduced myself to this tiny little kid who sits by my desk, and asked him how his work was coming. The seventh graders are working on a project in which they design their own worlds, complete with cultural norms, family norms, etc. So I've seen places called Eyeland (how punny), ESPN World, Marclar (Southpark reference, I'm sad that I know this), Heavenland, JimmyWorld, you get the idea. Well, this tiny little wisp of a boy shows me his brochure for his world. It's name? Rocky Mountain Express Cloggers Island World.

"You clog?" I croon.

He tells me all about his dance company and the features of his little clogging mecca-world. I walk away, and out of the corner of my eye, I see these skinny little limbs working their magic under Clogger's desk. He is dancing up a storm, trying to steal sneaky glances at me. Oh, I see you Clogger. Immobile torso, yes, but those clunky skater shoes furiously wearing away the carpet underneath your seat.

I gave him a sweet little smile and said, "I see you clogging under there." He grinned and blushed. I think I'm the first girl he's ever impressed. He invited me to his dance recital. In December. If I remember I'll go cheer on my cute little Clogger. Seventh grade is the best!

In the next class of seventh graders, there's a student from Brasilia, Brazil. When I introduced myself on the first day of my time at this junior high school, one of the students asked me if I spoke any other languages. When I confessed to speaking some Spanish and Portuguese, they all cajoled me to say something in the latter. I said something to the effect of, "I don't speak Portuguese very well, but I do speak a little bit." Brasilia responded in Portuguese, and we exchanged three or four times. The class went wild. It's fun to snag their attention. I still haven't cracked my ninth graders, but the seventh graders have been pretty easy.

Anyway, Brasilia was spotlighted today, and talked about her desire to be an author by profession. She announced that she had already begun her first novel. When she was done, I jotted down a self-publication website on a post-it (, thank you Ben!) and "Good luck!" I quietly and quickly stuck it on her desk; I didn't say a peep, just turned around on the double. I did glance back though, and her face was priceless. Her head whipped around, and she was grinning. She's a very bright, very expressive girl. I see a lot of my seventh grade self in her. Eager, bursting with ideas, and all-too-easily obnoxious. People like Brasilia and me, we need allies. I love being a teacher because I get to be an intellectual, academic ally for kids like Brasilia. I don't know her well, but I have a feeling I will be receiving a copy of her self-published novel within the next year.

And randomly, things I learned I am bad at:

1. Tearing colored paper off the butcher rolls in the copy room.
2. Stapling said paper onto a bulletin board.
3. Reloading the stapler.
4. Handling fart jokes.
5. Handling sentences that run as follows: "So Marclar marclarred the marclar in the marclar, and Marclar marclarred Marclar back in the Marclar room."
6. Turning down flirty twelve year-olds.

I love education.

Thursday, October 4, 2007


I'm intrigued by a seventh-grader named Chugg.

I wish I were his mother. If my own kids have to look homely and sad, and there's a chance they will, I hope they look like Chugg.

Chugg is small and round. He wears sweatpants and striped or camo t-shirts. His hair is blond and sticks out at all the wrong angles. Chugg sports some glasses that magnify his eyes to comical proportions, and the ear pieces are dipped in rubber to help keep them on his head. He faithfully carries around one of the those fabric binders with a zipper. He's one of those pack rats whose binder is bursting at the seams. When "at ease," his mouth tends to hang open. His glasses are always sliding down his nose, so his head is always cocked back and to the side a little bit. He's irresistible!

At first I thought the teacher was calling him Chuck. During group work, I introduced myself to all the students, working my way around the room.

"You're Chuck, right?" I asked.

A squeak back: "Not Chuck, Chugg!"

I was hooked ever since. I didn't have his class today, but I ran into him in the hall. I asked him how he was doing. In typical Chugg fashion, he tilted his head back, squinted his eyes and pushed up his glasses, tugged a bit at his shirt and took a deep breath.

"I'm going to the main office, because... My locker is because..."

"Your locker is jammed?" I offered.

"No, because my coat, a part of my coat.... It's stuck like," and he waved his hands frantically up and down and then pursed his thumb and pointer finger together, "My coat is in the locker and I can't open it."

Last time I checked, that is what defines a jammed locker. Apparently my school-day terms are obsolete. Already. So that's Chugg.