The Garden of Diversity: How “The Flowers” helped me understand my own experience. The words immortalized in Alice Walker’s short story “The Flowers” resonated with me in a profound manner. Myop’s adventure from the property that her family shares to the woods is one that she has embarked upon many times before. This time even though she doesn’t realize it, everything will be different. Walker’s character may not understand the consequences that come with the encounter with the lynched black man, the thought that crosses my mind while reading this is that although she has no idea of what awaits her in the future, of the cruelty and injustice that unfortunately runs rampant in today’s society, she can still find a place to be proud and hopeful of who she is.
About four years ago I arrived at Logan airport, Boston Massachusetts. Once the plane landed I felt excited to explore a new country that looked beautiful from the planes window, but I was also confused because everything was different from home and I had no idea where to go. Although I thought that was the hard part, there was way more obstacles coming my way such as language and culture among others which I had to learn fast. Being in a foreign country and without its main language can be pretty though.
I wouldn't be the person I am today without the experiences and where I come from. It all started from where I was born. I was born in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti on January 22nd 1995. Haiti is located in the Caribbean, and there we speak two languages fluently, Creole and French. All my family from both my mother’s and my father's side we all come from Haiti.
It was difficult getting to where I am currently with trying to understand who I was? And who I am? Why I was going through what I was going through? How to understand and interpret what felt almost alien. It wasn’t until after getting into the University of South Carolina as a Biology major that I knew that that wasn’t what I was meant to be doing.
When reading the essay by Richard Rodriguez entitled “Public and Private Language,” I couldn’t help but feel the exact same why he did. For about four years I did not tell any of my family members I had learned Spanish; I didn’t want to be the translator. That is what Rodriguez is to his family because he knew English. Being a child if divorce I have two families, my mothers and my fathers, they both grew up in different places, my mother grew up in Texas, United States, and my father grew up in Montreal, Canada. With this said there was a lot of things different about them, the one that stands out to me is the language expertise.
Slowly, dreadfully, I tried to buy time by making a scene on the my first day of kindergarten. For 30 minutes, I grabbed onto my mom’s blouse until the teacher separated us; the action that created a barrier between society and me. Usually, my days preceded with sleeping in, and then spending the rest of it at my grandparents’ house, instead I was now glued to a chair, where everyone was watching me with judgemental eyes. As my American teacher introduced me to the class, I felt everyone’s eyes upon me; I knew minimal English because the main language spoken at home was vietnamese and my preschool consisted of chinese speaking teachers.
As years passed, my English got better and my work experience contributed to my mental, personal, emotional and professional growth. Today, I don’t have to repeat what I say and it is ironic that I feel more American than Colombia; especially after I got my U.S citizenship and after I married my U.S Navy Corpsman. It has been almost 12 years on my life in this country and I still feel like I don’t really belong anywhere. Identity is that aspect of your life that is been affected and hard to clarify when you move from one country to another, especially if is during the youth. 4 months I ago, I visited my motherland, I felt home, but my people didn’t see me the same way; family and friends noticed a different accent on me; as we had conversations, I noticed that I needed some of English words to express myself better, I did not feel complicated identified with my Colombian friends’ opinions or some of their views, I did not remember what my favorite mall or restaurant was in Colombia; after that trip, I felt like I lost my original identity while I was in the States.
“We’re staying at a hotel this week, girls.” As I heard the words sorely coming out of my father, I was hit with the reality of where I lived and the situation the city faced. Six men had been shot countless times across the street from my house. A bloody and holey reminder was left, and up to the residents to clean up. The city was Juarez, Mexico; at some point, the most unsafe city in the world.
During the summer of 2015, at the Chicago Google office—to my utter embarrassment—I began to cry. I was surrounded by a group of girls who were actresses, social media interns, star-athletes, club presidents, and some who had been on every single continent. The farthest I have ever traveled was Arkansas. This made me feel out of place, to say the least, and so I found myself facing a severe case of “impostor syndrome”. As I stood there, with tears streaked down my face, I began to take stock of my life.
Linguistic Ethnography Everything that I know from the magnificent and beautiful language of English, I owe it all to the biggest person I know and love, my mom. I was born in a traditional puerto rican family. Which meant that all my family only knew Spanish with the minimum abilities in the English language. To be precise only my mother and a few of my cousins were the ones that could defense them self in English.
To be born in the United States yet raised by my Haitian parents in Haiti means to be born in an unknown world, simply described as the knowledge of life, confidence, and respect, all engraved in the mindset of anyone who allows it. Being raised in the Haitian culture made me realize that life is not hard unless it is interpreted to be. In order to understand the vernacular and daily life of a Haitian man or woman, one must know the history behind the perils. Gaining its independence in 1804, Haiti was trampled upon by both the French and the Spanish until Haitian soldiers fought back to rid themselves of their colonizers. From this statement, it is imperative for one to realize that the life of any Haitian begins with a fight, not necessarily