Languishing through my walking closet museum

Main Gallery

Boots, not recollection when last exhibited. Almost forgot these existed.

Fancy summer shoes, all acquired for the collection “Summer 2019.”


Dresses, Blouses, Jackets…All still. Reminders of momentums when these were displayed.

Down Gallery

Pants, unassessed since March 2020; some will be heading to other collections, at other museums.

Season Gallery

Luggage, empty, in good condition.

Extraño la vida antes de la Pandemia.

Three things I learned about SUNY Oneonta.

Talk to incoming class fall 2021.

Good evening, I am Maria Cristina Montoya and I teach in the Foreign Languages and Literatures department since the new millennium started.

Allow me to recreate for you the three most important things I have learned about Oneonta:


We are a community that cares, helps each other, collaborates, recovers, and starts again.

I learned this in the classroom:

a) by observing my students diverse learning styles.

b) with my colleagues who collaborated to switch gears and teach fully online within a one week time frame.

c) with the entire institution by powering multiple TEAMS of us to plan, to act, to recover and to start again.


We are all about traditions.

Let me give you my three favorite traditions :

a) Before pandemic times, every fall, first day of classes we had an opening brunch in the middle of the quad. All students, faculty and employees ate and chatted together. It was exciting to see everyone back and eager to learn and to experience.  It was really like a college carnival.  I wish for that to happen again, after pandemic, when we all may eat together in a large group.

b) Ice cream for freshmen after passing through the pillars.  It signifies their entrance into the four years of a “roller coaster ride” of their undergraduate education where they discover a lot of themselves, grow and become critical thinkers with coherent arguments to state their positions about themselves in the world.  During the motivational clapping as they walk down to the quad, they all look like toddlers to me. This year I will have one of my own in the crowd, an Oneonta Native.

c) Champagne for seniors as they pass the pillars on their way out into the “real world”.  This happens every graduation eve, and I do not miss the opportunity to celebrate with a drink to my graduates. I also collect the fancy champagne glasses that are given to keep.  I cry and clap on that day, all of them are my own.


On April 4th, year 2000, during my job interview, I learned that Oneonta was the place I wanted to grow.

And “Ay Dios” if I have grown:

a) I grew a family, counting six members now, and an immigrant adopted dog from Colombia.

b) I grew a career in higher education:

  • I learned to engage my students.
  • I learned to challenge them to be creative and critical thinkers.
  • I learned to guide them to be successful and passionate in all they do.
  • I learned to master ideas, to propose and create fun applied learning experiences for my students, for example:
  • Collaborative Online International learning, connecting my classroom to another classroom in the world.
  • Faculty led-off courses abroad with students and faculty colleagues. I have done five of them and the adrenaline that runs through my blood during these experiences is hard to describe, I am mesmerized when I see their eyes upon discoveries.
  • International faculty partnerships to enhance and diversify our teaching practice.
  • Community outreach through the Multicultural Community Center, where students volunteer hours to serve local, national, and international communities by teaching languages and assisting children with any academic need.  More importantly now, during pandemic when we are all learning online.
  • Creativity in research and digital innovative projects owned by students and networked with Oneonta alumni, such as the “Living Bilingual Blog”.

There are a lot more examples that each faculty at Oneonta offers to engage our students.

And lastly,

c) I aged happily going to work.  I must be thankful of my privilege.  I am a lucky human being who loves to wake up every dawn, at 4am, to work.  It is true, so if you are a student in my class, and sleep with your phone ON besides you bed, I will wake you up before the sun, with my daily announcements or reminders.

There are three things I learned about SUNY Oneonta:

1. We are a community.

2. We value traditions.

3. It is the place where I chose to grow.


Proud to be a naturalized U.S. Citizen.

Today, January 20, 2021, was full of symbolism, pride, and hope. Twenty-five years ago, I had sworn to the flag of the United States of America to respect and contribute to this country, my second home. Back then I felt obligated, committed, and compromised by the possibility of opportunity; however, my heart was still nostalgic for the land south that raised my consciousness, still did not see me mature.

I have matured surrounded by good people, honest and loyal U.S. Americans. As an immigrant, and outsider, I only noticed division of the union and the principles that thread this democratic project in recent years. I feared discrimination and the social nightmare that most of us escaped when we decided to cross the border. I even suffered through the idea I had to leave again; I am too old for another exile journey.  But today, after a day of symbolism, and a final happy episode, I feel immense gratitude by having earned a piece of land in the north, with water, a family, and surrounded by good people, “hombres y mujeres de bien.”

Today, I am a positive mind, and this pandemic is just a “shake” to our hearts that show us, humans, how fragile, yet resilient when need to survive. Today, I finally understand my oath to the U.S. American Flag.

Mi horario en tiempos de pandemia

Siempre, antes y ahora, me despierto a las cuatro de la madrugada.

My Schedule in Pandemic Times

Módulo 3 OER Espaňol 1 y 2 “Chévere”

Tomo seis tazas de café para despertarme.

Saco a caminar el perro.

Trabajo mañanas extendidas.

Mi familia y yo pasamos todo el día en casa.

Estamos cambiando.

Module 3 OER Spanish 1 and 2 “Cool”

My schedule in pandemic times

Always, before, and now, begins at the four-dawn hour.

I drink six cups of coffee to wake up.

I walk the dog.

I work extended mornings.

We are changing. My students have become pretty pictures or two letters on a screen monitor, maybe I should start calling them “Eme – Erre” “”Te – Ele” and they will remember the Spanish alphabet.  One month into a happy first day semester fall 2020. A world burning outside, unbalance inside, surviving and staying sane.

It shall pass, and we’ll understand.

Life keeps happening…mi primer girasol en la vida.

Where did I leave off?

Oh, yes, I was taking hikes with Shiro, my dog, up the South-side hill. This quarantine activity stopped right after we almost got EATEN by a Coyote in the middle of the day. However, that story is too long and dramatic to record it for Pandemic History.  We escaped unhurt yet traumatized, and I ended up loving my dog even more.

Shiro walking Southside

I continued walking South-side drive up and down, taught my regular summer courses, and tried to disconnect from reality. This is easy for some of us that live on the mountain. In July I felt nostalgic for my classroom. It has been the longest summer break at home with my family. Listened to U.S. news through the lens of Colombian news and did not want to think.

Like our students, two days before deadline, I am not totally ready, but see the light. 

The light of a computer screen and multiple faces, pictures, or initials. One part of me feels excited for what is ahead, a new way of teaching and learning; other part of me feels worried and misses student contact. I drove by a live campus two days ago, calmer, organized, and full of young minds.

I guess I am ready for my online full-planned experience, just need to pick up my office.

See you in TEAMS.