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At the End of a Long Drive

Shreesh and Neena Taskar

We didn't make the decision, the decision made us. On October 20th, 2007, we left our comfortable city of San Francisco to follow a simple algorithm - go North till the road ends then turn around and then go as far South. In between those two points was the stage, the timeline, the space, where we made things happen and things happened to us.

The past is fleeting and the stories, the sights and the feelings are perishable. One sees what one wants to see, and perhaps we are not capable of more. We saw that people are kind and helpful even if they were not materially rich. Some we could understand even though we didn't speak the same language, the motivations of others were incomprehensible even though we did. In the end fragments remain - the smell of roasting chocolate, a flock of snow Ptarmigians on snow, the creaking of the rainforest, the rough feathers of penguins, and the intoxication of Curanto.

So these are our stories. Every time you visit the site you will see a random post below. Each starts with Lo que pasa es que...

Frank Gagliardi

Professor Frank Gagliardi
lecturing to his students

The process of getting an education in Automotive Technology is described. The personalities and travails thereof. A discussion of why the class is endangered. (Map this!)

The biggest and scariest unknown on this trip was automotive technology since neither Neena nor I had the slightest inkling, the briefest hint, the most minuscule crumb of knowledge about cars. We took a twofold approach – automotive classes at the City College of San Francisco and the purchase of a ‘project’ car for our ‘lab’.

Professor Gagliardi is one of those rare teachers with the power to inspire. I don’t know how many teachers I had in college and even though I graduated from one of the top Computer Science programs in the nation but not one, not a single one was as inspiring as Frank Gagliardi. Teaching students is a talent and professors with research prowess at big-name universities do not always make good teachers – indeed some only give classes begrudgingly since they would rather be in the lab working one some obscure project that will likely be irrelevant to most everyone. The formula at my University was classes taught by professors who would rather not teach and students who would rather not learn.

The class that Frank teaches can almost be regarded as community service. For the most part the students in his class are there to improve themselves and for some a major car repair would keep them from making the monthly rent. Then there is Neena & I who are working towards a dream, a retired civil engineer named Henry who likes to keep himself sharp, and life-long learners Smitty and Elizabeth. It is the best example of people raising themselves up through education and letting the community help them without any hand-out. Republicans should love this class – this is what the party is about or claims to be about.


Frank Gagliardi Neena Taskar Elizabeth & Smitty Birthday!


Why is it that at the end of every nature program there is a statement like ‘But this fragile ecosystem is in danger of…’ This story is no different as all things near and dear to me today, the class is threatened. The college seems to be embarrassed with this basic class that teaches so much to those who willingly learn. After being named one of the top ten community colleges in the nation it seems to no longer want to offer a class that serves the community. This semester the class was almost canceled and only through Frank’s strenuous efforts was it kept open. Why does he keep fighting for us? He’s of retirement age and could easily do without the headaches and stress. Could it be that for reasons of his own Frank Gagliardi enjoys teaching the class as much as we enjoy learning from him?