Nov. 16, 2016
You know you’ve had a great time when you find a purse full of M&Ms, a bunch of fun selfies on your phone and your shoes on top of your jewelry box the next morning. Not to mention, your muscles are sore from some wild, and probably not very graceful, dancing. Last Friday I joined my big, crazy, diverse family and celebrated my nephew’s wedding in grand style. Patrick is a fantastic young man, who will probably discover a cure for cancer someday. His new wife, Ushashi, is just as brilliant. I couldn’t be happier for the two of them and to welcome her into the family.
The wedding was a beautiful event – blending not just families but cultures from different sides of the world. Ushashi’s parents traveled to Michigan from India. Her sister flew in from Germany. Friends from both sides came from across the country. My daughter came from New York. Cocktail dresses blended with vibrant saris. Guests danced in Bollywood style and the "Cha Cha Slide." Young, old, all colors, all shapes, gay, straight, varied religions and backgrounds – this is my family. This is my tribe. This is whom I love. With all the hate in the world these days, it was a welcome relief to be surrounded by so much love.
I’ll admit, not all family gatherings work out so wonderfully. There’s been a fair share of disagreements – even arguments throughout the years – but in the end, the love is what matters. I think everyone was grateful for a chance to just have fun with each other.
Fun is exactly what a bunch of MSU College of Education student volunteers aim to give some special children every summer at Camp Kesem, a weeklong summer camp for children whose parents have been affected by cancer. For those families facing serious illness, fun can be hard to come by so the camp experience is a wonderful way to let kids be kids.
The Spartan family knows the importance of giving back. MSU alumni donate gifts so that current students can afford to volunteer. Savannah Fannon, a kinesiology major, says, “Being able to know that an alum supports you, somebody that you've never met before, is in support of you and your future goals is the most reassuring thing.” Check out the great video in the STUDENT VIEW: The gift of giving back: Camp Kesem, to learn more about the camp and these dedicated Spartan students.
Next week, I’m headed to NYC to have some fun with my kid. Since she’s not able to get home for Thanksgiving, we’ll celebrate New York style. There’s something magical about the Big Apple during the holiday season. I can’t wait to go to the parade, roam the city, look at store displays, meander through multiple outdoor holiday markets and eat some incredible food. We did the same last year, including actually going into the flagship Macy’s store on Black Friday. It was pretty crazy, but I can check that off my bucket list.
Despite the crowds of people out shopping that day, Cyber Monday sales have actually surpassed Black Friday sales. Anjana Susarla of MSU’s Broad College of Business, is an expert in big data analytics. Check out the FACULTY VOICE: The big data behind Cyber Monday, to learn more about data scientists’ findings about this big retail day.
I’m sure I’ll buy a fair amount of presents this year. Though while my daughter was home we talked about the best presents being the time we have together. It’s not the great deal or perfect sweater that I’m ultimately thankful for, but for being part of many families. My immediate family is my world. Being a part of my extended family is a wild ride I’m glad I’m on. Being part of the Spartan family means being a part of a philosophy that we will change the world together. Be grateful. Be thankful. Spartans Will.
Photo by Derrick L. Turner