Posts Tagged "Faith"

Why I am Proud an Indian-American Won the Miss America Pageant

Posted by on Sep 16, 2013 in Family | 4 comments

It is so sad to see all of the racist comments about the newly crowned Miss America. The beautiful New York girl  is indeed an American. You would never guess looking at me that I am half Pakistani, but living in this racist world, I am proud an Indian-American Won the Miss USA Pageant. It took me a long time to accept who I was because the world is so mean and cruel and kids are more mean and more cruel. When my parents were separated for the final time, my grandmother told me to not tell anyone that my father was Pakistan. This came at the time during the Desert Storm War and given that our soldiers were fighting the Middle East and kids  of Indian heritage at school were being made fun of and a few of my friends who were Indian were hurt by their taunting words,  I kept quiet about my heritage, it was public knowledge, but I was half American, I guess that was ok too??  (I was already being made fun of for being overweight, why add more salt to my wounds?).  Yet I feel just as guilty for not stepping up. When I transferred high schools and started fresh my sophomore year, I remained quiet. My last name sounds Italian, so the guys thought I was this cute, new Italian girl, but it left my heart feeling empty that I felt so ashamed to openly share who I was part of and my heritage. If you want a quick lesson, there is no “J” in the Italian alphabet, the “J” sound is a “gg” sound and “ALI” is of middle-eastern decent and in Italian it is often “ELLI.”  Now you have it.   Yet, I even experienced racism in my own family. After my parents divorced I wrote several letters to my father who moved back to Pakistan, those letters were never responded too. I only learned 10 years later that they most likely were thrown away by my own grandfather, he didn’t like his grandkids much, because well, we were “white.” Yes talk about being stabbed on both sides, talk about feeling hated and alone. I didn’t like the fact I had put value on who I was based on not telling others where I was from. It bothered my heart as I yearned to feel accepted in school. It wasn’t until I went to college and told my roommate and sweetmates where my father was from and they were like, that is so cool! How neat you have such a unique background. I was like, “really?”  Wow, yeah, I am pretty cool and it was from that point on I began telling my background.  (Yes my other half is Italian and Greek, so I joke that I argue with myself a lot) at least I can have fun with it now.   It is so sad that racism is everywhere.  Quite frankly I don’t care if you are white, black, brown, pink, green or purple, when we can begin to remove the colors that shadows our skin, we find that each and all of us has a soul. That soul has feelings. They know what it is like to feel happiness, saddness, pain, doubt, sorrow, joy, hope and love. Yet, we find it so difficult to see those good things in all humans. Why do our hearts have to be so hard? These conflicts of hatred and insecurities squeezes our hearts  from feeling love and showing love, compassion, mercy and grace to all around us. We are too busy looking...

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Character vs. Knowledge: Where do I send my daughter for school?

Posted by on Apr 2, 2012 in Chicago Public Schools, Faith, Family, Parenting | 2 comments

Who would have thought the decision on where to send my daughter to kindergarten would be so difficult? I feel like I am scouting colleges or something. Last week Crain’s Chicago Business wrote an article about how slow home sales are forcing parents to find the right school in the city. For my husband and I, us leaving the city was never an issue, we decided long ago to raise our family in the city. But I’ll be honest, I have been quite ignorant about my where my daughter will be going to school. Thankfully I have friends that have kept me in the loop. Skinner West built a brand new school less than a mile from where my husband and I have been living for 1o years. It is a fantastic school and neighborhood moms rave about it. (Skinner has both classical and neighborhood programs, in which we qualify for neighborhood program). In December at my daughter’s PreK Christmas celebration, moms were telling me the deadline to apply to the magnet programs was that day. I freaked out, my husband was out of town for work and filled out the forms to get the postage stamped. I did not realize it was NOT test the kids. I was applying for the lottery. *sighs* But there is something I did not mention, I absolutely LOVE my daughter’s preschool and they are adding a new year each year. I have invested much of my time in volunteering at my daughter’s school, heading up the PVO (which some of you may know it as the PTO/PTA) and I feel part of a wonderful Christ-loving community. The director has been so instrumental in helping me with my son’s Sensory Processing Disorder. When I broke down and cried from being so overwhelmed, she prayed right there for me. I felt strength again. That is powerful. This is where I want my daughter (and eventually my son) to go. BUT…last week, we got our “acceptance” letter from the schools we had chosen. While denied the lottery for Skinner’s classical, she was accepted to both Andrew Jackson and Galileo, both within 2 miles from our condo. (yes, we have quite a few schools within a 2 mile radius) Again, both fantastic schools. The thing I really wanted to do was to tour the schools and get a feel for where my daughter may fit best (My heart already knows) . One school was super friendly, real nice to me and said to stop on in whenever, the other school was flat out snooty. And I was very, very disappointed and felt let down because this school is in my neighborhood. No excuses, no matter what your front line tells a story… Part of my problem is that I feel I am getting WAY to caught up in the academic part of where she goes, where my husband is more concerned about her character development. We are not on the same page right now, our taxes goes to a top 10 school which is free for us. Or we can pay for an excellent private school in which my college tuition costed me 16 years ago. It is not a decision to be taken lightly. There are pros and cons to all the schools, I won’t lie, each school excels academically. But the kindergarten homework rumors scare me in CPS. How many 5 year olds do you know that get 1.5-2 hours of homework each night? Yes, they do and some have already instilled a longer school day, which is a hot topic for our teachers...

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