"Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we..."
We loaded up in the off-white and poo-brown Ford Aerostar in the wee hours of the morning. My little sister called "First Serve" (as in "first come, first served") and chose the "way, way back". She laid down on top of the backpacks, groceries, ice chest and sleeping bags, snuggling her rump against the back of the "back seat" to look out the back window. We drove the seemingly endless eight hours to Anaheim trading off between the two sisters and little brother in the "way way back." And all through the journey, excitedly thinking about which Disney character we would see first, or which ride was the scariest, or how many churros we'd eat in the one day at Disneyland trip. The excitement, the ambition, the expectations, the full of wonder we were experiencing before even reaching the Grapevine.
I had expectations of this trip. I had high hopes of all the fun things we would see and do there. This little country girl wanted eveything to be fun and a perfect family adventure. In the book. "The Visual Connection" by Dr. Bobbe Baggio, Baggio states, "Expectations are what we imagine might be true or what we think is likely to happen...Most importantly, expectations have emotions or feelings attached to them."
Why this trip, though?
Because this trip is the epitome of my childhood and my family dynamics. What I didn't tell you, was how many times my mom had to "pull over" to yell or spank one of us. What I also didn't tell you, was that my dad's work was the reason we were able to travel to Disneyland in the first place. Oh? Did I forget to mention that we went to Soledad Prison for an hour or two prior to our journey (so my dad could interview an inmate)? Well...my dad went in. My siblings, mother, and I argued in the car and listend to Poco during long wait. I was fourteen. And all this happened on Easter Sunday weekend, 1993.
Why did I let you in on that little glimpse of my life? Because the expectations of going to Disneyland weren't quite happening the way we, kids, had expected.
Before reaching the hotel, we had to stop in L.A. somewhere and visit a dentist. Not for us, but for the piece of evidence in the ice chest we laid upon in the "way, way back." Oh, did you think that ice chest was for food? Sorry to disappoint. My siblings, mom and I, once again, were left waiting outside in the minivan for our second round of the Disney Battle Royale. That evening, my siblings were left in the care of my dad at the hotel, while my mom and I went shopping to make Easter baskets for us kids. I got a new swimsuit (mine was left at home), and the movie FernGully, along with a plethera of jelly beans and robin's eggs.
Baggio states, "The circumstances that situate an event or thought in reality are its context. Context is important to adult learning becauase it provides relevance, and relevance is what gives the information significance and importantce to the learner." If I had just said, "As a kid, I slept on evidence in a baby's homicide case", you probably would've thought that I was a few things. 1. Crazy. 2. A liar, or even 3. Raised by terrible humans. I was none of those. My parents were my biggest supporters growing up and had clear rules. My dad was a homicide investagator, and my mom was a stay-at-home mom who struggled to make dad's paychecks last, all while raising us three rowdy kids in a two bedroom single-wide trailer in a middle of nowhere trailer park.
Does this change your opinion of me? Or my upbringing? Is the new information helping you understand the context of my family's vacation?
In the S.I.T.E. Model, the sociocultural subcontext says that, "family, peers, role models, mentors, community, employer or enterprise all contribute to and influence the social and cultural context of the individual learner." This one particular vacation is being stated to my fellow classmates (and anyone else who may be reading this) as a way to discuss context. Other than family, and close friends, it never really came up. It isn't something that I'm necessarily proud of, but it happened. It's part of my context lens through which I see.
But here I am, on Father's Day, writing about how we were able to go to Disneyland because of something tragic (yes, the person was convicted). My father passed away two years ago last month. His memorial party was Father's Day weekend that year. So, it's a bit of a trigger. But, today is a day that I celebrate the wonderful husband I have who is an amazing father to our son and our three fur babies.
I will leave you with pictures of my dad and me in Disneyland over the years.
Sarah Magallano teaches 5th grade. She also coaches teachers on integrating art & engineering into their lesson plans.