Meet the Blogger

A language enthusiast

My name is Omar Pom. I am 40 years old — actually 39 but since I am so close to that nice round number, I round up instead of down  — and I am, among other things, a teacher. Spanish and French are my areas of specialization, but I enjoy learning new ones as well or deepening my understanding of the ones I already speak, write and read. My current job has me spending a lot of time in classrooms with secondary education students. I have lived and worked on Sint Maarten / Saint Martin ( depending on who your government is: Dutch and French respectively) for the past 8 years.
Born on Aruba, of Sint Maarten stock on my maternal side (African/European background) and Aruban ancestry on my paternal side (of native indian and, starting in 1767, European, African and Asian backgrounds).

At the Zaandam railway station in the Netherlands in April 2014

At that time, there were no job openings on Aruba and I felt a hunkering to visit the land I had heard so much about from my grandparents. It has been a pleasure to hone my teaching skills here in many ways: through good times, (really) bad times and the mundane moments of life that are worth pondering to extract hidden gems.

A book worm

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Border: Sint Maarten and Saint Martin

 

As child I was surrounded by reading material. I would enthusiastically speak about going to school even before I was able to do so. My first book ­–The Jungle Book – would go with me everywhere. My parents, though not highly educated, were dedicated to opening up mind to knowledge that they, through circumstances beyond their control, could not attain. As I grew up I would often be inspired by the many stories I read in school and at the library –e.g.  the Antillean versions of Aesop’s fables – to write the compositions required in elementary school. The teen years leading up to college were a time of discovery of the English, Dutch (European as well as Caribbean), Spanish, French and Papiamento literature; a time in which my mind was opened to the inspiration for life that these books provided. The background in world culture, history, sociology and art allowed for the cultivation of knowledge and skill that would serve me well as I entered the world of journalism and, subsequently, teaching.

A globetrotter

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Scottish soldiers in colonial Aruba during World War 2

Other than learning and teaching languages, I absolutely love traveling around the world when I am able to do so. It allows me to learn more about the world around me. and I have struck some pretty insightful conversations with random strangers in unexpected places and about myriad topics: from meeting a Catalan nationalist on an overnight train from Paris to Barcelona to speaking to locals on Montserrat about the constant threat of n eruption of the Soufrière volcano.

 

A gardening fan

To relax I enjoy nature. Hiking, jogging and walking– particularly through rolling hills — are my favorite pastimes. However, to truly relax, I need to have my hand deep in the earth, tending to all manner of plants and growing some of my own vegetables when possible. It provides for a nice counterbalance to the primarily intellectual or mental activities by which I make a living.

Physical activities do the mind and body some good

Besides these, I enjoy watching and playing some soccer, though, in all honesty, I am a better spectator than I am a player….. I have learned a few tricks and it is a good way to bond with students on a different level. They get to some me as a human being and not some stilted, aloof and one-dimensional classroom creature.I am by far a better volleyball player and would like to get back to some of the glory days of my youth when, despite my short stature, I was a pretty good volleyball team-mate.

Contemplation

My home altar

To keep on an even keel in the daily hoopla, I meditate and carve out some time for deep contemplation. I build on the legacy of many ancestors in the Christian faith and seek wisdom, inner peace and tangible expressions of such in the form of community gatherings and various types of service with those around me.

 

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