On June 29, 2012, I'll be leaving South Korea for a 7-week stay in the United States of America.
I haven't been to the United states in two years.- and recently, I have been thinking more and more about what that means. What has changed? How have I changed -What does my future hold? How will my time in America unfold?
Though I am not certain of many things, I AM certain of this: It will be a trip of a lifetime.
--and that's what truly matters.
I will interact with family. I will taste the food, listen ro the music, feel the sun, and hear the voices that I grew up m. The pecans, the peaches, football, and barbecue of Texas are all things I look forward to experiencing.
I'm currently working on an autobiographical piece, I would like to leave you with this short excerpt of a forthcoming book entitled: ghettoGEEKIN': My Life in Rhyme.
ghettoGEEKIN': My Life in Rhyme
When a person actually gets away from the glow of bright city lights, one can begin to see the stars. Given a bit of information and a little practice, you can spot constellations. I located Orion's belt and the big dipper with case that night. That night. That night I leaned my head against the cool glass of the backseat window and fought through hunger and putthese constellations together. "The sky is bigger in Texas." I would have to wait twenty years to understand the EXACTmeaning of that statement. I just know the sky looked good that night. It was big, black, and bold. The stars hung and shined as if electricity was running through them. For the most part the sky was still; minus a plane's red light flashing as it moved across a cold black see littered with stars.
The sky's stillness was quite different from the energy in my stomach. I was hungry. My stomach pained me. Every since I was young, I have been a person whose entire attitude and disposition goes sour if hunger visits and I can't remedy it. was on the downside of my foul mood at this point and time. My brother and sister occupied the backseat with me. I'm sure they shared my hunger pains, but they always seemed better at coping that I did. I always envied them for that. Between trading looks at each other, looking at the stars, we would look toward the front seat at the back of our parents'heads.
Mama & Daddy. Our refuge. Our strength. When it wasn't alright, the three of us could never tell. Even when you were too frustrated or scared to believe they could do it, they somehow made you relax and believe in spite of. When I look hack on it, I'm even more awed by they Power to do this. And thisnight of hunger was no different, after sharing muffled conversations and coded eye glances at each other, Mama turned around and looked at me. I didn't feel like pretending I was fine. I didn't have the strength to do so; and my Post-hungerattitude was still lingering. She pulled me to the front seat and told me a story. It's a story that I'll never forget, and may be it's because she invited me to shred in telling it.
"Eric. I know you hungry... but me and Daddy are working on that right now."
"Yes M'am," I said-wanting her to know just how mad I was about the situation.
"Now, you tell me what you wanna eat, and I promise, by this time tomorrow morning we are going to get it."
"I want a ChickenLeg, Mama."
And then my Mama did something that I will never forget as long as I live. She proceeded to take her voice and her words, and describe thar chicken leg to me. I saw the layer of golden crust pop open and a billow of steam rushed from beneath it into the open air. The warm steam unfolded and slowly rose up from a glistening, moist piece of hot meat. The drumstic looked succulent. It was decorated with beads of sweat. Too hot to bite into, I had to blow on the leg repeteadlyuntil it cooled. Her words made me full. I was eating that leg... and before you know I was asleep.
That morning I realized instead of feasting on thar chicken leg, I had feasted un Mania's words-and now neither her or Daddy could he found. We were in the car-my brother, sister, and I-and we shuffled around the backseat using each other to wake up to see what the day held. Mama and Daddy gut in the car with brand new attitudes. This attitude immediately made it to the backseat without a single word being transferred. "Let's go get some chicken, Carl," and with that sentence, she looked back ac me and smiled.
We were movers very nomadic, in nature, I don't remember living in one place for too long. Our life had a certain rhythm. That rhythm was illustrated through movement - movement of residence. This used to frustrate me at an early age; during my primary school years. Primarily because at this age you are learning to form social relationships, and I soon had to learn how to break these bonds and move to the next school, and form relationships with new people. Make new friends, I guess after a couple of those experiences, I learned to develop qualities in my personality char would allow me make friends easily. But, long-term commitment and long-term friendship was nut important, so I really had to develop that side of my communication or friendship "arsenal." So, I guess out of self-protection, I created ways in which to be social enough to function in new places with as much ease as possible. But, I never really learned early how to work through problems, differences, with others on a deeper level... because chances are, I wouldn't even see them next year.
But, I'd like to discuss what life was like BEFORE primary school. Before having to learn co develop relationships with others, I can remember being excited about the new and exciting adventures that life held. We operated a "Dry Cleaners"for a short time during my youth. I believe this was before I started formal schooling. It was in Waxahachie, Texas. Wewould park our car in the rear entrance of the office complex, and we would enter our "store" through the service entrance. After moving through our "living room/bed room," we would open the curtains up to the counter and the customer space. It was a quaint little shop. it had the typical large windows in the front with a glass door. It was situated in the middle of this particular row of businesses... and though, I remember very little customer traffic for our cleaners, in retrospect, I must say it wasn't because of location. As far as small towns go, we probably had a pretty good location.
We operated this dry cleaners because we needed a place to live. Living was our primary means fur this space. So, that'swhat we did we lived. As a high school English teacher, by profession, my mother would have us in "school" throughout the day. We would ger up in the morning and read aloud, wewould have lunch and Play outside in the back. After "recess" we world come back inside, and work on multiplication tables, and recite from passages from the Bible:
Mama: "Ecclesiastes Chapter 3; Verses 1-8."
Us: " Ecclesiastes, Chapter 3: Verses 1-8."
Mama: "To every thing there is a season, and a nine forevery purpose under the heaven:"
Us: Repeat after Mama.
Mania: "A time to be born, and a time to die;"
Us: Repeat airer Mama.
Mama: "A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;"
Us: Repeat after Maim.
Mama: "A time to kill, and a time to heal."
Us: Repeat after Mama.
Mama: "A time to break down, and a time to build up;'
Us: Repeat after Mama.
Mama: "A time to weep, and a time to laugh;"
Us: Repeat after Mama.
Mama: "A time to mourn, and a time co dance."
Us: "A time to... mourn, and a... time... a time... uhhh..."
Mama: "To DANCE. To DANCE. Let's take it from the top."
We would recite Bible scriptures and poetry until Mama was satisfied with our memorization, Pronunciation, and performances as a group, and solo. She loved the Arts; especiallythings concerning Orality. As a result, we picked up un it, too.
That's a excerpt from ghettoGEEKlN': My Lift in Rhyme.
Have GREAT Summer!
By Prof. eRic Durham
Dept. of English Language and Literature
GOODDOCTOR'S LETTER -
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