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YayaZ

United States

I've grown up my entire life as a global nomad. Due to this, writing has become the outlet I use to express my thoughts and experiences.

Message to Readers

Dear fellow writers,
I would love to hear what you think about this piece. Please feel free to give me pointers on my word choice, sentence structure, and the sequence in which I present my ideas. Thank you.

Through Four-Year-Old Eyes

October 4, 2018

In and out, in and out, the rhythmic breathing of people sleeping close to one another was a taste familiar to my ears. My eyes opened to greet the early morning sunlight that filtered through the glass window. I was not in a bunk bed with other children while the musty odor of urine hovered about me, nor was I on the cold floor of a hut huddled among my siblings; no, I was somewhere else entirely.
 
A deep sadness of understanding dawned within me, even as confusion eclipsed my mental comprehension of my exact whereabouts. All my heart knew was that my homeland of Ethiopia was far away and that my baby sister, who was sprawled on the opposite side of the bed, was all I had as a remembrance of my people.
 
Through my four-year-old eyes, I could make out two other sleeping figures: “Mommy,” I knew to be the name of the woman and “Daddy” was the name of the man. What deep, meaningful connotation these names would eventually hold would be etched in the future, but as the present enfolded, they were both strangers to me. The noticeable pale whiteness of their skin fascinated me, as it was in stark contrast to the dark shade of my skin tone. However, today I find that I have become color blind, no longer taking mental note of that difference between us.
 
It was Daddy, who awoke first, and it was he who decided to take me on an early morning walk down to the diner as the others slept. I can still feel the heat of the restaurant and picture the circular shape of the thing Daddy called a “bagel” and the yellow mush he called “eggs.” In retrospect, it was not the food that I remember the most, but rather the glow of joy that radiated from Daddy’s eyes and smile each time he looked at me.
 
Later, on our walk back to the old island cottage, Daddy put me on his shoulder, allowing me the luxury of being able to view the wonders of my new world from a different angle. He pointed to different objects along the way, saying the word aloud in English and then giving me the time necessary to repeat it myself. I remember at one point, looking up into the branches of a tree and noticing a single ray of sun shining through a dangling leaf. I could make out the delicate roads of its veins while the sun emphasized the leaf’s vibrant green by giving it a golden filigree. As though he’d somehow felt the meanderings of my thoughts, Daddy pointed upwards and said “leaf,” which I in turn repeated over and over and over.
 
Over and over. The repetition of learning is an instinctual human behavior that has given humanity the ability not only to survive, but also to thrive in a new environment. When I first came to America, everything was new—from the language, to the people, to the food. Most of all, the foreign but fascinating natural environment I found myself in. The early years of my adoption were some of the happiest of my life. Though sadness over leaving my homeland was ever present, the laughter and joy of new discoveries never abandoned me.

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1 Comment
  • JCWriter

    This is beautiful!


    12 months ago