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Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Micro Memory

Me, about a year after enlightenment

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.


Heather said...

until we had saige and i learned that having a microwave would make warming up bottles so much easier (shh dont tell) we didnt have one either, they are big bulky and ugly... and i would love to see what would happen if we got rid of our tv. Oh there would be tears at the smith house.... CUTE CUTE PICTURE!!!

Sheree said...

I love that picture! You are so cute! Our microwave broke for a few weeks and it was definitely a pain to heat up leftovers, but it was kina empowering to know that I COULD get by without it.

In Russia, no one has one. Everything gets reheated on the stove. It takes a few minutes longer, but is probably better tasting.

Kristen said...

Your next chapter can be on YOUR baby girl's sad childhood. At least your parents had an excuse. =o)