I Am From . . .

This poem is the result of two experiences I had this week.

On Monday I tutored a woman for the GRE. She is 55, White, and from middle America. She is very nervous about her test. A while into our session, she said to me, "You are very calming. Where are you from?" I wasn't really sure how to take that. Was she assuming that I was from some exotic Asian land and was bringing the inherent calming effects of my supposed culture? Or was she just asking a question? I still don't know. My answer is in the last line of this poem.

Then last night in class we actually had to write "I am from" poems. It was kind-of odd that this came up after my experience on Monday. We wrote them together, and we didn't have a whole lot of time. But after last night, I felt moved to write my own "I am from" poem.

I don't know that it's complete. I don't think it will ever really be complete. But here's what I came up with.

I am from . . .

. . . a sugar cane farmer on a far away island
. . . an owner of a fleet of fishing boards on the Pacific Ocean
. . . a man who died in an unknown village in China
. . . a devout member of a Catholic parish in Spain
. . . families torn apart by a war
. . . grandparents who dreamed of more for their children
. . . parents who saw education as a golden ticket
. . . someone who could see opportunities on distant shores

I am from . . .

. . . a preacher at a tent meeting on that same far away island
. . . a colporteur who sold books door to door
. . . a group of young believers who longed for the return of their savior
. . . a pastor who preached grace without extending it to others
. . . church members who threw me away when I was deemed no longer useful
. . . a God who loves unconditionally

I am from . . .

. . . a collective of teachers—Mrs. Croak to Dr. Lalas—who imparted me with their knowledge—and lack of knowledge
. . . a science teacher who played H-O-R-S-E with me during P.E. rather than traumatize me with team sports
. . . a vice-principal who saw potential rather than mediocrity
. . . a professor who asked, “What was it like growing up gifted?” (to which I replied, “I was?”)

I am from . . .

. . . people in a city that places youth and beauty above all else
. . . aunts, uncles, cousins, second- and third- cousins, once-, twice-, thrice-removed, who arrived one after the other
. . . a family that must answer the question, “May I speak with Dr. Repique?” with “Which one?”

I am from . . .

. . . hundreds of students, who gave me more than they could possibly know
. . . groups of dedicated teachers and students who shared their hearts on Kairos and Emmaus
. . . principals, vice-principals, and department chairs for whom potential donor dollars were worth more than people
. . . colleagues—devoted and not---who inspire me with uncountable reasons to walk into a classroom

I am from . . .

. . . an unexpected friend who challenged me to be better than I was
. . . another friend who knew how to use my gifts without making me feel used
. . . new classmates and professors who are teaching me to become a superhero for educational justice

Where am I from?

I am from . . .

. . . here


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I write about whatever...life, education, diabetes, family, pets, church, God, and whatever else comes to mind.

    Some Things That Make Me Happy

    (1) learning
    (2) family
    (3) barney
    (4) food
    (5) school
    (6) music
    (7) adoption
    (8) Doctor Who
    (9) worship
    (10) baking
    (11) reading
    (12) Quantum Leap
    (13) chocolate Irish cream cheesecake
    (14) scrapbooking
    (15) cake decorating
    (16) Star Trek
    (17) Craig Ferguson
    (18) British TV
    (19) gooey butter cake
    (20) crunchy onions
    (21) traveling

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