Today’s letter is for my all time favorite professor. I had a lot of flexibility in who I chose for my professors and I pretty much only took two – aside from professors I took while studying abroad – and Dr. Mendizábal was one of them. He was also the director of the study abroad program to Valladolid, Spain where I studied for a semester.
He’s since retired from teaching at Indiana University of Pennsylvania where I completed my undergraduate degree. It’s too bad too, because he was the best! My only regret is that sometimes I may have fallen asleep in his classes – not because they were boring or uninteresting, but he taught some early morning classes and I may have stayed up a bit too late on a few rare occasions!
Hopefully my Spanish is still good enough that I don’t embarrass myself.
(Translated from Spanish)
I hope this letter finds you well and that you’ve had an enjoyable summer.
A few days ago I was reflecting on who have been the role models in my life and I thought about you. Without a doubt you were my favorite professor. Literature never interested me much, but as a result of your classes I gained an appreciation for it – especially the great writers from Spain and Latin America: Fernando de Rojas, Francisco de Quevedo, Cervantes, Zorrilla, Jiménez, Unamuno, Darío, Vargas Llosa, Pomba, Allende, Fuentes and obviously García Márquez.
I think my favorite class of yours was Short Stories – not because there were so few pages to read, but because of the mastery required to create such profound works in so few words fascinates me.
I never heard you speak a negative word about anyone inside or outside of the classroom. It’s a characteristic that I greatly admire and strive to incorporate more in my own life. I admire you very much and wanted you to know that even 20 years after taking your classes, I think about you often.
Warm regards for you and your wife,
P.S. A few months back I reconnected with my host family from Valladolid: Domi and Manuel Sánchez. They are all doing well.