Three years ago today, I let my friends Jo-Lynne and Sarah talk me into spending even more time on the computer. Doing this thing called "Blogging."
I didn't really know what I was doing. Like the new girl starting school in the middle of the year. I had some thoughts that had been percolating in my mind for awhile. Months. Years. Thoughts I wanted to get out. Set out.
I'm an architect, and my college professors will tell you I AM NO WRITER. Not only that, I always felt a bit handicapped by being raised in a family in which I was the only fluent speaker of English.
I was just shy of 7 when I moved to Long Island, NY. My brothers were 13, 12 and almost 11. My mom and dad, arriving in a new country as adults, would never master the English language. And, as it turned out, neither would my brothers. They would never catch on to why it was "I'm going to school," but "I'm going to the hospital." They would always carry a Korean accent and never internalize the subtleties of the new language, and yet, through lack of use, lose most of their Korean, too. Rock and a hard spot. Coming or going. Here nor there.
I would slide into the slithery mystery of English and slip right into it like a new pair of pajamas. I shed my Korean accent without looking back; without knowing that I had lost something.
I often share the story of my first trip to the public library. It was a one room, wooden building, dusty and with that faint smell of old charcoal. It was the librarian who first said those magic words, "Nancy Drew." What could my mom or dad tell me about American books? Nothing. What could they do to help me with my English? to expand my vocabulary? They couldn't read to me, nor would they know what to read. My brothers had their own difficulties adjusting to a new culture.
When it was time to prepare for college, my SAT scores reflected my home life: 95th percentile in Math and a 50th percentile in Verbal. I heard Korean parents say their children should stay away from fields like Law that require a mastery of language; that they were handicapped because of their immigrant families. It's an essentially Korean way of thinking - to put people in boxes, fence themselves in.
Through blogging, here's what I found out. Somehow, while studying vocabulary for the SATs, reading voraciously, writing business letters over and over again, somewhere along the way, I must have figured out how to write. My best friend said I should write more. I scoffed, given my background, my Korean fence. She scoffed right back at me, giving me that quintessentially American,"You can do anything" speech. It's an essentially American way of thinking - to see the vastness of the land and sky and know you can do anything.
Three years ago, I started with a little word: CAN.
And now, three years later, I see that I can write. I can! I think.
Thanks to all my friends, who have stuck with me and supported me.