Dawn Wink: Dewdrops

Landscape, Language, Teaching, Wildness, Beauty, Imagination


Woven Into Every Stitch

Dr. Joan Wink

‘Tis the season for graduations of all kinds and in all places! As graduation season approached, I remembered something that Mom had said to me earlier in the year.

“Hunny, we want to give you doctoral regalia for your graduation,” Mom told me when I completed my PhD. There was no urgency amidst the pandemic and no graduation ceremonies.

As the ceremonies began again, Mom continued to use her regalia for the various commencement addresses she gave as she served on the South Dakota Board of Regents (BOR).

When she offered to gift me regalia again, we knew that she would be stepping down from the BOR.

“Mom, you know what I would really love, if you are not going to be using then anymore? I’d love to wear your regalia.”

The next thing I knew the original box and receipt (only my mom) arrived.

Wearing Mom’s regalia

As I lifted the regalia out of the box, I thought of the history, memories, and roots enfolded within and threaded throughout. “My regalia was a gift to myself, ” Mom told me. “I didn’t walk for graduation for either of my Master’s at the University of Arizona (not counting the one that she walked away from in Wyoming), nor for my PhD at Texas A&M. I didn’t buy them for my first several years as a professor. I wore what the university loaned to us. It wasn’t until I achieved tenure that I allowed myself. When I bought the regalia, they meant so much to me. They were my gift to myself.”

Interwoven within these threads are years and years of teaching full-time and parenting, while completing two (three with the Wyoming) Master’s and a PhD on ranches and in towns in several states. When I unzipped the garment bag to feel the fabric, it wasn’t just cloth that I felt. I felt the years of Mom’s growing up where education for women, much less a PhD, was so far down on the spectrum of priorities that it barely registered. These threads were woven from Mom’s coursework done at the kitchen table or tiny counter desk in the early morning or late evening hours while teaching, parenting, and ranching.

Arriving in a pickup

The cobalt blue of the doctoral stripes signify a PhD. I think of the cobalt blue of tiles of our kitchen on the Cascabel ranch in Arizona. Tiles from Mexico of cobalt blue and canary yellow created the counters and backdrop under the cupboards throughout our kitchen. It was simply stunning. Memories of that time make this color combination one of my favorites to this day. Wearing these colors represent not only a PhD for me, but also the memories of my childhood on that ranch, in that kitchen. I added texture to these threads through my own PhD and life journey, again so interwoven with working full-time, parenting, and the ranch.

I brought the regalia to Santa Fe Community College graduation hanging in the back of our pickup. Not the first time these have arrived to the ceremony in the back of a pickup! It felt only right.

Unos mariachis led all out after the ceremony’s completion.

Outside, we gathered with graduates of our Spanish-language Early Childhood program, whose extraordinary life stories never cease to leave me humbled and inspired.

The threads of this regalia now hold the incredible stories of women and men who came to the United States from throughout Latin America to create better lives for themselves and their families. Graduates from Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala, and many more Latin American countries walked the stage. Karina Tovar worked for years in our custodial staff, before entering the program to receive her degree for her career as a bilingual teacher. The message on her mortar board says it all:

Por mi familia

For my family

Woven into every stitch.

Karina Tovar

For my family


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Story, Lilyology, Scholarly Personal Narrative, and Magic at AERA 2023

Sometimes the stars align to create magic and this was one of those times. When I discovered Lilyology, created by Dr. Nerida Blair, the ideas resonated with my spirit across the ocean and miles from Australia. The more I learned, the more I loved. Little did I ever dare hope that Nerida and I might present together one day. Add Mom, Dr. Joan Wink, to the presentation and the magic expands. Nerida, Mom, and I presented on Scholarly Personal Narrative (SPN), Lilyology, and Story at the American Education Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL  this week. The title of our presentation, “Education Research Through Indigenous Frameworks, Story, and Scholarly Personal Narrative in Pursuit of Multiple Truths.”

Chicago airport

Nerida was born in the Kulin Nation and lives and connects most to Darkinjung Country on the Central Coast of New South Wales. Her father’s Country is Wullil Wullil Country central Queensland. Nerida’s journey to the conference began from her home in Terrigal Country in New South Wales. Mom headed out from the ranch in South Dakota and I from Santa Fe, New Mexico. Mom and I found each other in the airport and headed into Chicago and the conference.

The morning that Nerida, Mom, and I sat talking about our presentation, I found myself in disbelief and awe to be sharing this moment with these two phenomenal women.

Joan Wink, Nerida Blair, me

Decolonizing Research: Indigenous Storywork as Methodology, 2019

When my dissertation chair said to me, “Dawn, I was looking through methods books at a conference and told myself that I had no business doing so, since I have shelves of methods books already at home, one particular book captured my attention. I hoped it and read about something called ‘Lilyology,’ and thought of you.” I felt an instant spark of energy. “I have no idea what that is,” I said. “But, I love it.”

Now, these years later, I sat having coffee and talking ideas and life with Nerida and Mom. I would speak about Scholarly Personal Narrative and how Lilyology came into my life. Nerida would share about Country and Lilyology. Mom would a deeply personal story that I heard for the first time.

Magic does happen.


Nerida shared wisdom about Country.”Acknowledgement of Country is an important act of connection and connecting. It is an act of relatedness to Country. An act of ensuring relatedness to each other,” (Blair, 2015, p. xxii).

The connective spiderweb that brought us together across oceans, miles, years, and life.


Mom shared a deeply personal story that I had never heard. “I haver never written about this before, but one of the problems of growing up mother-less is that you have no stories. The reason that I love this photo so much is that it makes me wonder: Who put those curls in my hair? Who bought that dress? Where was I going?”

She began with the heart of why story matters and carried us deep into broader theoretical and life connections.

This was a profoundly moving experience for this daughter of the mother-less little girl in the photo. Mom shares this story and presentation here.

A woman at in the front row and drew and wrote throughout the presentation. When we spoke with her after, Mom asked if we might see what she’d drawn. Infinite gratitude to Dr. Ingrid Anderson of Portland State University for sharing her drawing with us. This incredible piece flowed throughout our sharing of ideas. The more I sink into what Dr. Anderson created here, the deeper the experience of all. Sheer creativity and beauty!

We celebrated our life paths converging, our presentation, and our time together with a gorgeous Spanish/Catalán meal. Sheer gratitude for all. As Nerida would say, “Too deadly!”













I write this in the early morning magic hours and hear the twirl of a hummingbird outside the window, encouraging me to head out for my run. Oh, how I love that sound! I could write and write and write about the magic and wonder and depth of this experience. To share my time with these two extraordinary women was a lifetime gift. I shall leave it here. I hope that the feeling and energy will shine through.

Magic happens.

Nerida Blair, me, Joan Wink





Pedagogy Tree and Academic Families Come to Life – TESOL 2023

Poppies, Oregon Convention Center, Portland, OR

Just home from TESOL 2023 in Portland and wanted to share some of the ideas, community, and magic of the time together.  I wrote of last year’s international convention as layers of language, ideas, and love. Those layers deepened with this year’s conference and took on new roots and branches.

Off to present!

Mom presented her ideas of Academic Family Trees. Pedagogy trees include and extend far beyond academia. We all have one whatever our life path. Academic families refer to the relationships created within our personal and professional learning communities, and like all families, are quite complex.

A pedagogy tree, as conveyed here by one of her former students, illustrates the ideas, people, books, and events that influence our experiences of learning. Each of our trees draws nourishment from the roots of our foundational experiences, reading, learning, talking, and understandings. As we live and grow, new branches form, extend, leaf, and blossom.

The tree continues to grow throughout our lives.

Ann Ebe, Mary Soto, Yvonne Freeman, David Freeman, me, Mom, Shelley Taylor

This year’s TESOL embodied a dynamic, living academic family tree. Our intergenerational presentation intertwined along such organic, natural lines. I affectionately came to call our group “The TESOL Rock Stars and Their Tagalong Children.” David Freeman graciously referred to the Tagalongs as “Shooting Stars.” Thanks, David!

The four families had a sense of what the other would present, but how all interwove together as we each presented was not planned and came together with such synchronicity that they felt like the unfolding of an integrated whole of our shared roots. Mom began with the academic family tree and I continued with with my ideas on weaving wildness, beauty, and imagination into language, teaching, and life. Yvonne and David Freeman, along with their daughters, Ann Ebe and Mary Soto, illustrated the narrative arc of life experiences with a looping spiral connecting the ideas throughout the years and the mutual enrichment of their individual and collaborative work. Shelley Taylor brought her own rich academic family tree to life and highlighted how these experiences dip and weave throughout the persona and professional, formal and informal. Sonia Nieto and Alicia López spoke to their shared love of writing and writing together.

With Burak Aydin

The branches of my own academic family tree came to literal life at the presentation and throughout the conference.  During the presentation, I looked out to see the faces of different branches of my own academic family. Each face you see in these photos represents a treasured branch, some long-established and others emergent.

With Dilawer Khan and Mom

Other branches sprang to life through newer connections I was meeting in person for the rest time. An incredible new branch this year was to meet some of my colleagues that I have only known online. This was the first time to meet in person Burak Aydin, attending the conference from Turkey. Here’s to our future collaborations!

Dilawer Khan, visiting the conference from Pakistan, was a participant in a course I taught focused on integrating critical thinking and culture into English foreign language teaching. Dilawar gifted Mom and I both with a Saraiki Ajrak. Dilawer wrote to me that a, “Saraiki ajrak is a traditional block-printed fabric that is native to the Saraiki region of Pakistan, which includes parts of Punjab, Sindh, and Balochistan provinces. It is a type of ajrak, which is a shawl-like garment. Saraiki ajrak is not just a piece of clothing, but it is also a cultural symbol for the people of the Saraiki region.It is often given as a gift to honor guests or as a sign of respect.” Blessings to cherish.

With Austin Odour

A complete surprise when colleague and course participant, Austine Odour, attending the conference from Kenya, connected and we were able to meet in person for the first time. Incredible to imagine that what began several years ago and in distinct countries around the world would come together. What a lesson that we never know what ripples we cast and how they may come to life, the magic that may unfold.

Oh, what beautiful branches, all!

We closed our presentation with thoughts on how we hoped our experiences might contribute or inspire others. Mary Soto shared that while our experiences are those of parents and children, she hoped others would take away the sense of inspiration sparked through our collaboration and lifting others up. I shared that it had taken me a long, long time to find my own voice within the TESOL community. I hoped that what people would take from my experience is stay true to their own knowings, even when they don’t seem to fit, and eventually you will find your way to what you’re meant to bring into this world.

Mom and I had our annual TESOL birthday slumber party. Mom’s birthday is March 20th and mine is the 28th. TESOL always falls sometime around our birthdays. We celebrate together in whatever city the conference is held that year, packing gifts, balloons, pretty napkins, and other cards and treasures.










Treasured branches and roots on my academic family tree.

With Mary Scholl and Suzan Kobashigawa

Sandra Mercuri and Andrés Ramírez


With Victor Arízabalo










This has me thinking of drawing/painting my own academic family tree. I haven’t yet done that and now look forward to reaching for my watercolors to see what emerges. Already my mind is thinking of the roots of those who influenced me in those early years, of all I read and how blessed I’ve been with the relationships and mentoring along the way. What I love is how the tree continues to grow, expand, lift, and extend in often unexpected ways. The fun is in the element of adventure!

I think I’ll reach for my watercolors today and begin to paint my tree…

Frida Kahlo came to TESOL, as well. Dear Mary visited her house, La Casa Azul, and brought me these treasures. Seems only appropriate that Frida, so foundational in my own pedagogy tree, would join us.


TESOL Convention 2023—Intergenerational Highlights and Conversations about Our Lives in TESOL

Off to the International TESOL Convention 2023 in Portland, Oregon next week! I look forward to seeing some of you there! I am thrilled to share in the panel Intergenerational Highlights and Conversations about Our Lives in TESOL with Mom (Joan Wink), Yvonne Freeman, David Freeman, Ann Ebe, Mary Soto, Sonia Nieto, Alicia López, and Shelley Taylor on Wednesday, March 22, 10-11:15am, OCC, D136. This idea has been percolating for several years and we decided that this was the year to bring to fruition. Last year’s TESOL in Pittsburgh was filled with layers of ideas, language, and love.

This intergenerational panel of professionals within multilingual education highlights panel members’ experiences within academia and publishing, the distinctive path each has taken within the field, and the unique dynamics of sharing a profession with one’s parent/child. Panel members reflect a spectrum, with each bringing their own lens of understanding.

Dr. Joan Wink

Dr. Yvonne Freeman

Dr. David Freeman

Dr. Shelley Taylor

Dr. Sonia Nieto






Dr. Dawn Wink

Dr. Ann Ebe

Dr. Mary Soto


Alicia López







This session will be divided into two sections:

  1. Each educator shares research, pedagogy, and ideas of multilingual education.
  2. The second half of the presentation will be an engaged conversation of their professional and personal intertwined lives. Topics will include what drew each member to the field of multilingual education, graduate school experiences, teaching and professional experiences throughout their careers, and stories around the unique dynamics of sharing a professional field with family.

The intention of this panel is to share experiences and lessons from lifetimes in education from a variety of perspectives and generations. This will be a time of reflection, stories, laughter, wisdom, and probably more than a few surprises.

Dr. Joan Wink is a professor emerita of California State University/Stanislaus. Throughout her career she has focused on languages, literacy, and learning in pluralistic contexts. Author of Critical Pedagogy, Visions of Vygotsky (with LeAnn Putney), and Teaching Passionately: What’s Love Got To Do With It? (with Dawn Wink.) Her latest work focuses on Academic Family Trees.

Dr. Yvonne (Bonnie) Freeman is a professor emerita of Bilingual Education at the University of Texas Río Grande Valley. She has published books and articles on biliteracy, literacy for multilinguals, children’s and adolescent literature, ESL methods, second language acquisition, and linguistics. She has presented nationally and internationally on these topics.

Dr. David Freeman is a professor emeritus at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. He has written books and articles on teaching ESL methods, second language acquisition, teaching reading and writing to emergent bilinguals, and linguistics. He has presented on these topics nationally and internationally.

Dr. Sonia Nieto is a member of the National Academy of Education, Nieto is Professor Emerita of Language, Literacy, and Culture, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. The recipient of 9 honorary doctorates, she has written or edited 13 books including a memoir, Brooklyn Dreams: My Life in Public Education (2016), and a co-authored book with her daughter, Alicia López Nieto, Teaching, A Life’s Work: A Mother/Daughter Dialogue (2019).

Dr. Shelley K. Taylor Professor, teaches in the graduate TESOL/Applied Linguistics program at the University of Western Ontario and has conducted research on multilingual language education and language policy in Canada, Denmark, Greenland, and Nepal; as well as on plurilingualism in TESOL, EMI in the Nordic context, Nepali-Bhutanese refugee children in Canada, and postsecondary youth refugees’ language and literacy development. She is President-elect of TESOL (until this Friday!).

Dr. Dawn Wink is writer and educator whose work explores the wildness, beauty, and imagination of language, culture, and place. Wink is author of Meadowlark, Teaching Passionately: What’s Love Got To Do With It? (with Joan Wink), and “Wild Waters: Landscapes of Language,” and “Language, culture, and land: Lenses of lilies.”

Dr. Ann Ebe began her work as a bilingual elementary school teacher, reading specialist and administrator. Currently, she is the Coordinator of Childhood Education Programs at Hunter College in New York City. She has worked in schools in California, Arizona, Hong Kong and Mexico. Her primary research interests include exploring the reading process of bilingual students, translanguaging, and the use of culturally relevant texts to support literacy development.

Dr. Mary Soto is an assistant professor in the Teacher Education Department at California State University East Bay in Hayward, California. She works with teacher candidates as well as teachers working toward their master’s degree. Her research interests include using authentic texts and project based learning to teach emergent bilinguals and long-term English learners and is author of “A Self-Study of Teacher Educator Practice: Strategies and Activities to Use with Authentic Texts.”

Alicia López, PhDc is an ELL teacher at Amherst Regional Middle School. Her 26 years in the classroom span 2 states and 3 subjects (French, Spanish, ESL). She is also a doctoral student in the TESI program, and a lecturer in the ESL Licensure program in the Professional and Graduate Education program at Mount Holyoke College.  Alicia is the co-author with Sonia Nieto of the book Teaching: A Life’s Work, a mother-daughter dialogue (Teacher’s College Press). She reflects on teaching on her blog, Maestra Teacher.


I will also be participating with the Leadership Pathways in TESOL as a member of the TESOL Nominating Committee. I was over-the-moon to be elected to serve on this committee this year. That gathering takes place on Thursday, March 23, 10:30 – 11:15am, Hyatt, Willamette 8.


If you are at TESOL in Portland, I’d love to see you!

And I’m still chasing the sunrise…





Language, Ecology, and Story—Follow the Energy

Waterlily, Dawn Wink

These past few weeks for me have been lessons in how we never know which seeds we plant may flourish. This unfolding is as true in our professional lives as the personal. Yet again, stories/writing as seedbombs.

A gift to the spirit has been that since the writing of “Where did you learn Spanish?,” I reconnected with dear friends from that time, low these 38 years that have passed since I lived in Chihuahua. Sparkles and smoke flew from WhatsApp as we left messages and sent photos to one another!

What a gift to hear people I last heard when we were 17-years-old and to now recognize their voices. There is a special place in my heart held only for this time and these people that sighed and smiled.

To receive photos now and see the 17-year-olds that I knew within each face is such a gift. I think of the chapters of life lived and now shared—a true life treasure to reconnect. And as my friend said of the style of the 80’s, “Ay, los pelos y los cintos!” (Oh, the hair and the belts!)

She conveys the essence of the 80’s beautifully. One of my daughter’s friends wrote me, “Your hair is iconic.” I laughed out loud. Well, that’s a gentle word for it.

In another lesson of how we never know what will unfold or open if we follow the energy, I had a piece published in Language and Ecology

“Artistic expressions of language, ecology, and story: Language and landscape as explored through watercolor.”

I begin, “This creative work began with no intention of publication, but rather my own attempt to deepen my understanding around ideas vital to my research. The watercolors displayed here are a reflection of a private journey to make meaning for myself.”

This reminds me to trust when we feel that flow of good energy and follow where it may lead. Following the energy led me to writing the piece about learning Spanish and reconnecting with friends from that time.

The days have been unusually dark here in Santa Fe. Inspired by a friend, I bought yellow tulips to bring cheer to our home and hearts. Spontaneously, I held them up against the cobalt blue wall (inspired by Frida Kahlo) for a photo and shared. I did not realize that I shared on the eve of the one-year anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine.

Follow the energy.



Wildness, Beauty, and Imagination of Language within Translanguaging

(Sound begins at around 21 seconds and Mom joined us!)

There are words, ideas, and phrases that make my heart happy just to hear. Some of of these include the wildness, beauty, and imagination of language, translanguaging, and transdisciplinary. My heart simply sings when I hear or read these words! I loved time shared talking about these ideas with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Association of Language Teachers (KSAALT) TESOL . as part of their keynote speaker series. The above video shares the presentation and our time together. Thank you ever so much to Fayyaz Malik and Fatmah Azam Ali for inviting me to share this time and ideas.

Here are some of the ideas shared. A friend just told me, “You lost me at translanguaging,” to which I replied, “#youhadmeathelloandlostmeattranslanguaging.” I hope the video and the presentation will turn translanguaging, wildness, beauty, and imagination into a “Hello.”

The ideas are fully explored during the presentation in the video.

We used to think that languages were separate within the brain, that they existed as solitudes, side-by-side (Cummins, 2019).

Any bilingual or multilingual person will tell you that languages intertwine together and are not separate at all, much like the roots of the banyan tree. The interwoven and dynamic nature reflects the complexity of bilingualism (Garcia, 2008).

I love how Varela describes “the loopiness of the thing,” and García applies to language as a network that “cannot be separate one part of life from another, one named language from another.”

We explore translanguaging from the perspective of minority language speakers.

What is the difference between interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary? Interdisciplinary is like a braid where distinct fields work together, but remain distinct. Transdisciplinary is like a braid made of sari strips woven together where they weave, fuse, and meld together to create a new whole.

I delve into language and ecolinguistics through the lenses of wildness, beauty, and imagination. These are other ideas and words that simply make my heart sing!

We explored Scholarly Personal Narrative and Lilyology and how all applies to teaching and life.


I loved how writer and journalist Michelle Ciani (Letters from Rome) expressed her experience with these ideas:

I’ve been able to put words to a life-long experience as a bilingual/bicultural human, and have to say that my favorite keyword from your presentation today is “wild”. In my current context, both professional and personal, it deeply resonates.
Here’s to wildness, beauty, imagination, and translanguaging in all of our lives!



  • Baker, C., & Wright, W.E. (2017). Foundations of bilingual education and bilingualism(6th ed.).
    Multilingual Matters Ltd.
  • Cummins, J. (2017). Teaching for transfer in multilingual school contexts. In García, O. et al.
    (Eds.), Bilingual and Multilingual Education, Encyclopedia of Language and Education,
    Springer International Publishing AG, 103–116.
  • Cummins, J. (2006). Language, power, and pedagogy: Bilingual children in the crossfire.
    Multilingual Matters Ltd.
  • García, O., & Wei, L. (2014), Translanguaging: Language, Bilingualism and Education,
    Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Garcia, O. (2014). Translanguaging as normal bilingual discourse. In Hesson, S., Seltzer, K., &
    Woodley, H.H. Translanguaging in curriculum and instruction: A CUNY-NYSIEB guide for
    CUNY Graduate Center.
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    Weirich, A. (Eds.). Éducation plurilingue et pratiques langagières: Hommage à Christine
    Hélot (pp.39–56). Peter Lang.
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    English Writing of Japanese Students in the US. In Conteh, J. and Meier, G. (Eds)
    The Multilingual Turn in Languages Education: Benefits for Individuals and Societies.
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    Education, Encyclopedia of Language and Education. 
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    practices for English language learners
    , (2nd ed.). Teachers College Press.
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    A CUNY-NYSIEB guide for educators
    . CUNY Graduate Center.
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    bilingual pedagogies in a Hong Kong science classroom. Language and Education, 20(4), 287–305.
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    bilinguals. Applied Linguistics Review10(4). 625–651; doi.org/10.1515/applirev-2018-0020
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    . Oxford University Press.


“Where did you learn Spanish?”

First Day of School, Instituto La Salle

“Where did you learn Spanish, Dawn?”

This question pops up often. I was asked again recently, which had me looking for the photo album that I made the year I lived in Chihuahua, Chihuahua, Mexico. The stickiness of the album pages long since dried and disappeared and the photos now slide out from under the clear film that covers them. I hadn’t looked at those photos in years and memories came tumbling back.

I knew that I wanted to be a foreign exchange student when I was 13 years old. It took me two years to convince my parents to allow me to go. I was so surprised when decades later a dear friend from high school said to me, “Oh, I thought that you parents made you go.” The time and energy it took to convince them! When they at last agreed, my mom said, “There is too much water between Arizona and Europe. You can go to Mexico.” I will be eternally grateful for this decision. I cannot imagine how different the scope and trajectory of my life would have been if I didn’t speak Spanish.

Mi hermana mexicana, Tere

These were my growing up years of books, braids, and riding on our ranch in southeastern Arizona. My dad raised Brangus cattle and during that time, there was a lot of collaboration between Brangus breeders in northern Mexico and the US. My parents had many colleagues and friends in the ranching communities of Chihuahua and put out the word that I wanted to be an exchange student.

The sister of one of these ranching friends had a daughter who wanted to come to study in the United States. The two families swapped daughters for a year. Teresa (Tere) came to live on the ranch with my family and became my hermana Mexicana. I went to live with her family in Chihuahua and became her hermana Americana.

Don Benito, la Señora Miriam, and Angélica (far right)


I was 16-years-old when I arrived in Chihuahua to live with the family of Benito and Miriam Martínez. Don Benito came from Spain originally and la Señora Miriam Creel de Martinez came from a family with deep roots in Chihuahua. Their daughter, Angélica, lived at home and did all she could to make me feel welcome.

The first months were a swirl of new experiences, new friends, excitement, homesickness, and really not understanding much of anything that was said. I remember coming home from school every day with my head pounding. I attended Instituto La Salle. Students immediately welcomed me, invited me to their homes and parties, and did all they could to make me feel welcome. I think of this often when I hear how immigrant kids are often treated in the US.

My new friends were kind as I stumbled through Spanish and laughed with (mostly) me as I made mistake after mistake, including asking my new friend, who was eating a chocolate covered marshmallow on a stick, “¿Cómo está tu pedo de monja?” I’ll never forget her stopping mid-bite, looking at me, and laughing, “¿Qué?” I had learned that marshmallow in Spanish was pedo de monja, literally “fart of a nun.” Turns out, that is absolutely not the word for marshmallow in Chihuahua. That’s the day I learned the word bonbon and it’s stayed with me ever since.

By Christmas I could understand the gist of things and say enough to convey the main idea of what I wanted to say. I learned to only use Usted with anyone older than me or in a position of respect. It still sounds like fingernails on the chalkboard when I hear people use the informal with people who deserve Usted.

Angélica and Mama Lila

I learned very soon to always use Usted with Mama Lila, Señora Miriam’s mother. She was a grand lady in a grand house in a beautiful area of Chihuahua. We drove through a canopy of trees to drive up the winding driveway to her home. I can still remember the smell of her perfume, the soft paper-thin texture of her cheek when I kissed her in greeting. An elegant staircase wove up and around the wall to the balcony bedroom doors above. Sun steamed in through the kitchen windows at her home, sometimes dappled by leaves.


Libradita and Raramurí woman

Libradita cooked and cared for all of us within our home. Oh, what I would give to be able to go back in time and watch as she made flan! I was so taken with the Raramurí (Tarahumara) women and girls of the mountains surrounding Chihuahua. Their many layered skirts moved as they walked, sprayed around them when they sat. Our class took a field trip up into the mountains for a weekend not long after I arrived. I hardly understood a word of anything said around me. What I remember was the incredible generosity how my classmates treated me, how bitterly cold it was at night in the mountains, and the two young Raramurí girls who came with babies on their backs.

This was years and years before I began to learn of Linguistic Human Rights (LHRs), the marginalization of languages and people, and the impact on the world. I know that when I began to learn of LHRs, these two girls came to my mind.












I turned 17-years-old in March of that year and my friends celebrated with a cake. I look at this photo now and wonder where these now women and about their lives. Oh, and mi querida amiga, Manena. Oh, did we laugh! And, we loved to go get frozen yogurt at Zum Zum. I always added mango and coconut to mine.

17th birthday

Manena Alzaga








Lupita took me to the market and showed me what to look for in the fruit, how to choose the vegetables. I still hear her voice, her laughter.


My classmates, Instituto La Salle











I’ve had many other chapters in Spanish of my life. All builds on my life and experiences in Chihuahua. When I went to study in Spain, I learned that my Spanish was filled with Mexican expressions and vocabulary. In Costa Rica, I learned that my accent sounds Mexican.

When I began to learn about second language acquisition, I scrolled back through my memories and experiences and the theories found fertile and familiar places to land.

I wonder now that I listen to so many audiolibros narrated by Spaniards, Argentines, Mexicans, and Chileans what impact this has on my Spanish.

I will always grateful for this time—the experiences, friendships, inspirations, and love that have come from when I was 16-years-old and experiencing all. I feel the world would be an infinitely kinder place if all could experienced living and learning in another language, another culture. I imagine the empathy this might create if those who know experience the dominance of their own language could experience life through the lens of other languages and cultures.

A shared language opens worlds and windows of connections and relationships.

I am forever grateful.


Don Benito y Señora Miriam

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KSAALT-TESOL Keynote – Methods, Language Acquisition, and Engaged Story-work

In this virtual presentation, I’ll take research and ideas that I’ve worked with previously and expand into opportunities for language acquisition within English Language Teaching (ELT), advocating engaged story-work as an integral element of research.
Thank you ever so much Fayyaz Malik for this invitation. I look forward to our shared time exploring these ideas.
“It is a moment of pride for Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Association of Language Teachers (KSAALT)TESOL to announce the opening of registration for the second session of the Keynote Speaker Series.
Here’s the link to register for the webinar:
Day: Saturday 21st January, 2023
Time: 7 PM Riyadh Time (9 AM Santa Fe Time, MST)
Platform: Zoom (Registration link is given above)
Our next invited keynote speaker is Dr. Dawn Wink, Santa Fe Community College, USA.
Dr. Dawn Wink PhD, is an educator and writer whose work explores the beauties and challenges of multilingualism, TESOL, ecolinguistics, and pedagogy. Dr. Wink is Director of the Department of Teacher Education at Santa Fe Community College.
The purpose of this presentation is to enable participants to have new understandings of translanguaging;
In that regard, she will explore the wildness, beauty, and imagination of language.
She will delve into the methodological frameworks of Scholarly Personal Narrative and Lilyology; which is grounded in ‘story’ and provides expanded opportunities for language acquisition within ELT, advocating engaged story-work as an integral element of research.
Later, she will explain specific steps of practice, procedure and ideas on how language teachers can apply translanguaging and interdisciplinary practices with relevance and meaning to their own research and/or classrooms of students of all ages and language levels.”


Happy New Year 2023 and Deep Gratitude—Year in Review

As I enter the New Year writing my gratitudes in the early morning hours of darkness, sanctuary, and solitude, I think of you and this community. I am so deeply grateful to and for each of you reading this. I am profoundly grateful for our connection across the miles, years, landscapes, and seas. We came into each other’s lives through a spectrum of experiences. You, your presence, and your incredible spirit enrich my life and world in exponential ways. Thank you and thank you for sharing your life path with me. I read and cherish every comment. I always hope to respond to each. Sometimes other things in life pull me away. You taking the time to write and connect lands in my heart. I know how rich and full all of our lives! I thought I’d create this piece with all of the Dewdrops pieces from 2022. I reread all of your comments. What marvelous gifts of spirit and heart—such a reflection of you.

Wishing you and yours a wonderful new year! The chapter of of this New Year is ours to write.

Much love and deep gratitude,


Stories of Language, Landscape, Wildness, Beauty, Imagination I sit in the early morning time of sanctuary and solitude, candlelight and coffee, darkness and dreams. My journal fills with an ever-growing list of Dewdrops pieces that to write—all swirling around language, landscape, wildness, beauty, and imagination; the most recent trip to the ranch; Lilyology; Scholarly Personal Narrative; translanguaging; beauty; books; family; and so very many other musings and bits of beauty.

The past few months have been a time of many presentations, writing, and sharing of ideas. My passion for all things language, landscape, wildness, beauty, and imagination continues to grow. I spoke recently about these ideas and stories…

TESOL Convention—Layers of Ideas, Friendship, and Love I hope to share the spirit of the time, as well as some ideas that I took away. TESOL has been a big part of my life for many, many years and in multiple ways. I believe my first TESOL was in Salt Lake City, 2002. Throughout the intervening years, TESOL serves as a foundational stone in my own professional understandings about all-things-multiple-language-acquisition. Ever since my first meeting with the Bilingual-Multilingual Education that segued from the meeting to salsa dancing in New York City, I knew I met my people. Professional colleagues became dear friends.

Creative Processes—Follow the Spark I always love learning about others’ creative processes in all forms. I learn, I study, I weave some of those elements into my own. I find creative processes makes my heart smile and my spirit soar. I share some of my own creative processes here in hopes of contributing to all of us who love these. My own processes take multiple forms with some common threads. They almost always begin with that energy spark of an idea that can happen anywhere and at anytime. Yes, it can be while I’m writing in my journal, often they happen when I’m running, and they are also equally as bound to happen while in the grocery store looking for my favorite tea.

Running Deeper Into Language We know that language is not learned, it is acquired through relevant and meaningful use. As I listen to the narrative, I focus on the story, as well as the pronunciation and cadence. Initially, I let myself look up three unfamiliar words in one run. To look up more would’ve made my runs take too long before the work day. So, for approximately 1 – 1.5 hours a day, I listen to gorgeous, oral Spanish. The voice of the narrator mades a difference. I’ve listened to listen to a sample first, so it’s a narrator that I like. Now, I have some real favorites. I have listened to books from Spain, Mexico, Chile, and Argentina. Thus far, the narrators come from the country of origin, so speak with the particular rhythm and pronunciation of each country. I love this.

Wink Ranch — Photo Journal 2022 Mom and I made a quick dash to the ranch together on her way back from Tucson. We headed out early for the drive to the ranch. The sun peeked over the horizon just as we crested the hills around Las Vegas, New Mexico. Daddy called a little later and asked, “Am I speaking with Thelma or Louise?”  Up through the mountains of New Mexico, over the plains of southern Colorado, and up to the sagebrush valleys of Wyoming, we drove. We in the Southwest have enjoyed amazing rains this summer, which has helped our drought-scorched country immensely. New Mexico hasn’t had our traditional summer monsoon rains, nor the heavy snows of winter for the past few years. The Rio Grande River is nearly dry. Here, some photos of our time, both of the land and the ranch and the bits of beauty around the ranch house that I love.

Language, Culture, and Land: Lenses of Lilies in Langscape Magazine At a pond’s edge, a woman muses about waterlilies as metaphors for mother-tongue languages and their power to anchor story, wisdom, and heritage.

Waterlilies hold a special place in my heart. I did not grow up with them, though. I grew up on a remote ranch amid the sand, rocks, cacti, and dry beauty of the Sonoran Desert in the southwestern United States. I love the intense heat, the plants that thrive on periods of drought interspersed with torrential rains, and the vast open horizons that cup the wide basin of the desert…Little did I ever imagine that those read-about and imagined waterlilies would have a profound impact on both my professional and my personal life. More…

Running on the Ranch: The Road Less Traveled I love running on the ranch. There isn’t always time to run when on the ranch, but I always hope that there will be and arrive with my running tights, shoes, and gear. I am used to and love the expansive views and horizons of my high desert running trails around around in Santa Fe. The prairie of the western South Dakota plains holds a whole different kind of space. Surrounded by sheer prairie, there is a sense of running under the great blue bowl of the sky above.

Beauty, Ideas, and Connections: International Ecolinguistics Association Conference Graz, Austria

I have followed the work the International Ecolinguistics Association through the past years. I hoped to attend their conference one day, but life was rich and full of much else that needed tending. This year as the request for proposals for the conference went out, I decided cast my fate to the winds and submit a proposal to present at the upcoming conference at the University of Graz, Austria. I decided that if my proposal was accepted, I would figure out a way to attend. My proposal to present on “Ecolinguistics Through Wildness, Beauty, and Imagination—Transdisciplinary Research Through Scholarly Personal Narrative and Lilyology” was accepted.

Día de los Muertos—Altar as Landscape, Love Lives On Mom’s hope chest creates the foundation for the altar. As I placed each piece, I had to smile. When my Grandma Mary embroidered Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, when my Great-Grandma Grace ground the coffee before dawn in the sod hut on the ranch, never could they have imaged these pieces where they are now. The landscape of our altar reflects the landscape of my life. Yo soy fronterista. I am a woman of the borderlands, as used by Gloría Anzaldúa. My life is one of a fronterista, where worlds overlap: prairie and Southwest, rural and international, landscape literature and linguistic human rights. Here on the altar, prairie and farmland come together with the Southwest; German, Welsh, Irish, and English with Latino; Protestant with Catholic; past with present. The worlds, each with a distinct culture, come together to create the mosaic of the whole.

A Shared Cup of Christmas Tea We were all set to be on the ranch with Grammie, Bop Bop, and the Wisconsin Winks this Christmas, but the record setting cold hitting the Great Plains put an end to those plans. “We don’t want our family traveling in these conditions,” Mom and Dad let us know. And, they made that call even before the entire state of South Dakota closed all travel. Predicted temperatures of -70 including the wind chill factor anticipated for this week. The North Pole has nothing on the Wink Ranch!

A Wink family tradition for Christmas is to read the gorgeous book A Cup of Christmas Tea by Tom Hegg. While this is titled Christmas tea, the story holds for all traditions. This is a human story of roots, memories, and love. I thought that I’d read to you.





Beauty, Ideas, and Connections at the International Ecolinguistics Association Conference in Graz, Austria

Styria, Austria

©Yana Vermenich

I have followed the work the International Ecolinguistics Association through the past years. I hoped to attend their conference one day, but life was rich and full of much else that needed tending. This year as the request for proposals for the conference went out, I decided cast my fate to the winds and submit a proposal to present at the upcoming conference at the University of Graz, Austria.

I decided that if my proposal was accepted, I would figure out a way to attend. My proposal to present on “Ecolinguistics Through Wildness, Beauty, and Imagination—Transdisciplinary Research Through Scholarly Personal Narrative and Lilyology” was accepted.

The stars aligned and I followed.

The beauty of place, inspiration of ideas, spectrum of experiences, and connecting with others created a feast for all senses. One particular delight that surprised me was exploring the cobblestone streets of the city. I lived in Germany for a year and attended the University of Göttingen for one year while studying International Relations. I spent Christmas in Austria with dear friends. This was many years ago and I rarely have opportunities to speak German and have not been in Germany or Austria since. I didn’t anticipate the cascade of memories exploring the city would bring back and loved that feeling.









I arrived in Graz mid-afternoon on a gorgeous fall day and immediately headed out to explore. A landmark of Graz is the fortress with its iconic Clock Tower, first mentioned in the 13th century, perched on a hill overlooking the city. I headed in that general direction and happened upon the stone staircase zig-zagging up the cliff. Up, up, and up the staircase climbs. A runner passed me as he headed up the steps. And me without my running clothes! As I ascended the stone steps the cityscape unfolded and expanded, until at last I reached the top. I stood and drank in all.















@Yana Vermenich















One of the elements that I savored about the conference was how multigenerational and multinational the attendance and presentations—from prominent leading scholars of several decades, to those of us around my generation, to a whole younger band of emergent ecolinguists bringing new perspectives and lenses to these ideas. The generational span exchanging experiences and ideas created a vibrant, rich environment! The conference program is included at the end of this piece for you to explore.

Francesca Grasso, Lorenzo Buonvivere, Arianna Del Gaudio, Martina Russo, Me, Yana Vermenich

Arran Stibbe, Sune Steffensen, Me, Yana Vermenich, Allan Baggs, Linnea Hannell









©Martina Russo

Graz, Town Hall

















In addition to the ideas shared through presentations and conversations, our time included meeting with a representative within beautiful interior of the Town Hall.















We took an excursion to the mountains of the local wine region of Syria, where we looked out toward Slovenia.













Conversations and connections flowed throughout all. I pulled out my journal as I waited to board the plane home—so very much to write about.

Conference Program