Saturday, January 2, 2010
A Micro Memory
When I was 7, my mom, my sister and I moved to the United States from Venezuela. I didn't speak English, so at school, I had a teacher's aid and a language specialist work with me regularly to teach me the new language.
One day, the teacher's aid took me to a room in the school I had never seen before. It had little round lunch tables and a soda machine, and there were only teachers there.
The aide flashed some photo cards at me. I remember one had a little girl in a phone booth. She pointed at it.
"Telefom," I said
"Telephone," she corrected.
"Telefon," I repeated.
"Good," she said.
She looked around the room and pointed at a small wood-paneled television on a counter. I had this one in the bag since the word in English was also a lot like the word in Spanish.
"Televizon," I said.
"No," she said.
I jolted. Maybe she didn't hear me right.
"Televizon," I repeated.
"No," she said.
I searched for synonyms.
"Teh vee?" I offered.
"No." She smiled.
I tried different versions. "Televizon? Televishon?"
She smiled even bigger and pulled on a handle on the the front of the TV screen. It was empty inside! My jaw dropped. Why was the television empty???
She was amused. I bet just then I was the cutest little immigrant child she had ever seen.
"Microwave," she said, but it meant nothing to me. I had never seen one. I scrunched my eyebrows. She said something about putting food inside then pushed some buttons and made it beep.
I told my parents about the weird TV later that day. I remember them laughing, but I don't remember understanding what the purpose of the microwave was. It was some time later before I really understood that one puts food inside the empty TV, and the food gets hot.
Funny thing, it was only about 4 years ago when I finally owned a microwave. And now, I don't even own a television.
Poor little Venezuelan girl.