Omaha, Nebraska, United States
Having already traveled half way around the world before I was enrolled into 1st Grade, I could say that my capacity to adapt has been privileged with extended opportunities for field testing. At five years of age, I crossed the equator carrying with me a brown corduroy jacket and a large red star composed of materials from the sea. In the he initial year of my american life, I watched (and ate some of) my first snowfall, learned to play Croquet with my Grandfather, and somehow managed to survive in a public school system despite knowing only 104 words in English- specifically, the numbers One thru One Hundred, along with "Plus, Minus, Times" and "Equals." Just as it was my mother who insisted I learn the mutiplication tables by 3 years of age, it was also her who decided to marry the man I know as my father, and relocate our life from ocean island living to suburban Virginia.
Elementary school is tough when you don't speak the same language as the institution, but as it turns out - knowledge is superficial when one fails to consider the variation and relevance of meaning. My favorite school picture was taken in kindergarten - a single group photo of my class alongside two Catholic School Nuns, our teachers, dressed in traditional robes. The formality in our school uniforms, the lack of individual portraits, and memories of prayer instead of the pledge of allegiance - presents a different aproach to accountability and ownership than anything I remember in the next 11 years of public school.