English 1101

Interview with myself

Sitting on the backside of my father’s archaic car, a blue corolla 1985, a fresh breeze getting inside the window beat my childish face insistently. My dad challenged me one more time to read the street signboards on the way home. Sometimes I was right quickly with the satisfaction that I could already make my dad proud without having finished my first grade. Other times I felt embarrassed for not being able to decipher what, in my opinion, it was so easy for him to read. He was always by my side in my literacy process, although this was a somewhat overwhelming pressure level for my age.

I remember my teacher Oneyda, my tutor for many years, wrapping her hand around mine while holding a pencil writing. She used to tell me, “Don’t rush.”  I always asked, why for grown-up words slip out of their hands so effortless? Why wasn’t that easy for me? In my view, the words were a kind of spirit possessed by the hand of someone holding a pen. This was the kind of relationship I wanted to have with them—something magic. I didn’t want to make so much effort.

The Nacho was what made that magical moment arrive one day. It was the number one book of Dominican literacy. Each child had one. There was no place where I would not take it. My dad wanted it that way. I learned every lesson and repeated it until I mastered it. I always liked reading more than writing in my literacy process, so finishing was an important event for me. It was so satisfying being able to understand words and write them with my own hand.

In the years that followed, there was no book in my class that I did not read. I read them all. Math, history, art, religion, and all from my grade. However, it wasn’t until fourth grade that I read my first literary book. Our teacher had sent us to read and reflect on The Little Prince written by Antoine de Saint-Exupery with two classmates. Honestly, I was engrossed in the author’s metaphorical and symbolic writing, but many things did not make sense for my young age. What did it mean? Why this choice of characters? Why, if the little prince was a child and I was a child also, I did not understand him? And so, I stayed a long time.

I had my first approach to writing with a small diary that my mother gave me. With clumsy handwriting and far from being perfect, I documented everything that happened in my day, emphasizing the most important events. I used to write about my school, my friends, my family, and about any feelings a little person might have. My diary was an intimate and secret friend from whom I did not hide anything. He listened to me no matter my young age or the insignificant things I had to say.

When it came to my studies, my father was always a fundamental part of my success. If it hadn’t been for his dedication to me, I wouldn’t have achieved many things. He was the one who helped me and corrected my homework, always ready to teach me; he was aware of any mistake or misspelling in my writings. I was stressed by the fact that I was looking for his approval all the time. He expected perfection from me, and that was something I couldn’t give him. I think his effort was because we lived in a third-world country where the level of illiteracy was high, and there were low rates of schooling, of course, directly affecting the poverty rate in our surroundings. I know he wanted a brighter future for me.

Thanks to my father, I started studying English when I was fifteen; this without thinking that one day I would be living in the United States. Here I started a new literacy process from scratch that would change my life and open the doors to a new world.

Today my writing is not perfect in either of the two languages ​​that I have learned, but the imperfection is an opportunity to continue growing. As I read in Family Life by Sharma, Hemingway’s success was not based on the lack of errors in his writing but on the emotional truth behind them. Today I understand the persistence of my father when he instilled in me the importance of writing and reading. A person who can read and write will always have an advantage over those who do not.