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Natalie Moore... who am I, really?

  • The early years

    The early years
    I am the third of four children. I was born on Father's Day in 1983. I was born in upstate New York into an upper middle class suburb. It was a newly developing area situated on the historic Erie Canal. Lots of new families were moving to the same town and starting their families. There was a lot to keep up with, and many people worked hard to keep up and maintain appearances. A beautiful place based on good intentions. Any fans of the TV show Weeds knows, "little boxes on the hillside..."
  • Family Background

    Family Background
    My mother's side is Sicilian and that is the side that I feel more of a cultural connection with. I am the 3rd generation American born citizen. I love my Sicilian roots but my extended family has some unacknowledged cultural bias..."You should marry a nice Italian boy." My mother thought differently and so we were raised with a more accepting world view. She taught us to find the common ground with people. We grew up trying to find the ways we are alike, not what makes us different or better.
  • Family traditions

    Family traditions
    We spent a lot of time together as a family. Our family did the usual celebrations like Christmas and Thanksgiving. We also had a great Easter basket hunt every year (the only upside to wearing those ridiculous bonnets and matching dresses!). One or two times every year we would drive down to Hilton Head, South Carolina to the family timeshare and spend a week at the beach.
    By far, my most favorite family tradition was eating dinner together as a family every single night.
  • Mrs. Gardner and the phonics parade

    Mrs. Gardner and the phonics parade
    Early on I remember reading being a big part of my excitement with school. Mrs. Gardner, my 1st grade teacher, instilled a love of reading in me. We had a phonics parade through the school that year. I was the letter B and had sewn buttons all over my shirt.
    Another reading memory was that on weekends, she would send home Buddy Bear and we would read to him. On Monday, we could show a picture of us reading to him and share the books we read with him too. Great motivation for a 6 year old!
  • Upbringing- Where's Norman Rockwell??

    Upbringing- Where's Norman Rockwell??
    We were raised in a very active family. We went to public school and played sports in the town leagues. We regulalry attended mass and were activly involved in neighborhood functions. In all appearances, we were the ideal American family.
    One family value that defines us well is our ability to share. Being a member of a six person family really teaches you that the idea of ownership is not something you will experience often. We shared everything- clothing, toys, friends, time with parents, etc
  • Cheaters Never Win

    Cheaters Never Win
    One anecdotal story that has shaped me as a person happened in 3rd grade in Mr. Montanero's class. We has a multiplication quiz that I was unprepared for. I saw the multiplication facts posted on the bulletin board next to me. I am a terrible liar and I got caught cheating. My teacher told me that he was going to call my mother and that I was in BIG trouble. My conscience was eating me alive. Through big tears, I told my mom what happened at school. She said she was disappointed but appreciated
  • Cheaters Never Win Part II

    Cheaters Never Win Part II
    my honesty. She suggested that I type an apology to my teacher. I sat at the gigantic typewrite and pecked out an apology that read: "Dear Mr. Montanero, I am terribly sorry for cheating on my test. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me. From, Natalie Moore." When I handed the note to my teacher, he was impressed and I didn't have to go through with the evil punishment that he had planned for me. I learned about interity, honesty and forgiveness. Thanks Mom!
  • Christmas with Ida

    Christmas with Ida
    One of my earliest memories of realizing that there were people that were different from me was when my mom invited Ida, an African American co-worker, come over for Christmas dinner with us. Ida was a single woman and didn't have any family nearby. My mom invited her over to spend Christmas with us. She was a sweet woman and remained a close family friend through the years. Nothing important happened that night, but after that I think it raised my cultural and ethnic awareness.
  • The divorce-- a blessing in disguise

    The divorce-- a blessing in disguise
    My parents split up when I was 11. It was a bitter divorce. My parents weren't civil and my dad used the kids as ammo quite a bit. It was a big turning point for my family. As challenging as it was, we learned more then than ever before. We learned about real love. We learned to love unconditionally, flaws and all. My mom, brother, sisters and I are so close. I know who they are and I love them. Not because I have to but because I love who they are.
  • Mr. Balzano

    Mr. Balzano
    In 7th grade, I was promoted to accelerated math. Prior to that, I was always an average student. When I started in Mr. B's algebra class with all the "smart kids" I remember feeling completely out of my league. The course moved quickly, people used big words, and I was left scratching my head. After class, I told Mr. B that I wasn't cut out for the class. He encouraged me to stick with it. I spent the next two years, reviewing content with him during lunch and study hall. He was so dedicated.
  • The blended family

    The blended family
    My parents each remarried around this same time. My family went from 6 to 11. I had more bonus brothers and sisters than I knew what to do with. I am really proud of being a part of a blended family. As I said before, it makes you realize that you have to accept your family, warts and all. This expereince has taught us about persistence. It wasn't easy at times to be a family but we were all devoted to it and in the end, it has been well worth the struggle, and now I have more people to love!
  • Dreaming in Spanish?

    Dreaming in Spanish?
    In a high school Spanish class, we were discussing how people that are really fluent in another language can think and dream in that language. Until then, I never considered that possibility. The idea of beign able to do that sparked my interest in learning how to speak Spanish. From then on, I decided to learn to speak Spanish fluently. I spent the next 10 years studying Spanish. Now I am a bilingual teacher and the envy of my family because I'm the only one who can speak another language.
  • Costa Rica/ Panama

    Costa Rica/ Panama
    For my last semester in college, I studied abroad in Costa Rica. I lived with a family and attended classes at the University of Costa Rica. The country is beautiful (apart from San Jose) and the people are really wonderful. It was my first time being completely surrounded by a culture that was so different from my own. It was very isolating and exhausting at times. I can empathize with people who are new to the US. At times, it is scary and tiring being out of your comfort zone.
  • Teaching

    I feel like I found what I am meant to do in life. When I decided to move to Austin from Buffalo I had no direction. The only thing I new was I would be a bartender for the rest of my life if I didn't find something worthwhile. I love working with Spanish speaking kids. I love teaching. I love inspiring them in the same way that Mrs. Gardner and Mr. Balzano did. I love keeping them accountable like Mr. Montanero did. I love the challenge. I love the personal growth. I love all of it. <a href='h
  • Ohhhh, Mexico

    Ohhhh, Mexico
    I had an opportunity to travel to Mexico in the summer of 2008. Aside from friends, fun and an overall amazing time, I walked away with a love for Mexico. When we were travelling through Mexico, I noticed that people had such a strong cultural identity. The food was rich, the music was unique, the people were proud of their native roots. People welcomed us into their lives and I saw how remarkable a place can be when people are warm and welcoming. VIVA MEXICO!!
  • So who am I now?

    So who am I now?
    I just had my 27th birthday and completing this timeline has been quite a reflective experience! I would say that some words that describe me or my values are:
    hard work
    education (in any form)
    being Superwoman (like my mom)
    thinking globally
    treating people right
    finding common ground with people