It is weird how time changes us and I am not talking about aging damage here. I was reading “The Help” yesterday in my bed before going to sleep, fighting my sleepy self and trying to get over as many pages as I can. The language of the book didn’t help either. I don’t like it. It feels weird and I have much difficulties understanding that an “at” is an “at” when it is written missing a “t”! In-spite that, I still intend to read it all, even-though it didn’t hooked me yet. Maybe it has to do with a recommendation of a friend who said that this book is amazing, along with the fact that it has been a best seller in the past months and was made into a movie.
The minute I put the book down, it hit me how much I enjoy reading novels now in comparison to my old school days. Back then, language was even a bigger barrier to me but it was not the only reason I hated that part of the English curriculum. I guess that at that age I failed to see the beauty words alone can carry. I failed to see the art of putting words next to each other to form a story of another imaginary world that carries many of the emotions I face in my daily life in those few lines.
In class, we used to do a simultaneous readings. One in turn to read several paragraphs with stops in between for a short explanation by the teacher, or a question from her to generate a discussion about the issue presented in that part. I always shied of participating in these discussions as it wasn’t my thing. I focused more in trying to keep track of which line they stopped at so that I can pick up from there if my turn to read comes next and save myself the humiliation. Well, I kind of enjoyed the moments of hearing my voice read for I thought that I was fairly good at it and thus it would be a fair enough participation from my side in the class.
At home, usually a day before the exam, it was the time to get my father involved! He had to re-explain what was really happening in those lines because there was no way in hell that I would understand it myself with those weird words that has utterly no meaning to me! I hated it, not just because his explanation would only do little help, but also because the efforts I had to put memorizing those weird vocabulary would do little help when the exam paper arrives to my desk. That was a nightmare! It is still is now remembering a 13 pages English mid-term exam at school. I didn’t mind the “fill in the blank” part, I didn’t mind the grammar part, and I didn’t mind the “choose from a set of answers” part as well. I mostly feared the parts where I had to write! (weird as that sounds now!) I hated those questions that requested an explanation of few lines to answer. Those damn spaces with black stripes were usually left blank in my paper or filled with some few unmeaning words. How in the hell would I explain for instance why Catherine marries Edgar Linton instead of Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights! or what were Charles Darnay motives returning to France in A Tale of Two Cities?!
Those are real classics! Amazing novels that are a must read. The fact that they picked such novels to teach us at schools just shows the strength of education I was privileged with. Unfortunately, it meant nothing to me at that time. I failed to understand the enthusiasm of the teacher, I failed to understand the importance of those novels, and I failed to grab the potential benefits they carry.
Math was my thing! I loved numbers and equations. Mathematical formulas felt good. Ready to engage me and ready to satisfy my needs for accomplishment. Math exams were my play grounds, little to study for, fast to finish, and easy to get full marks! I loved the times where my teacher used to correct the papers on the spot for those who finishes first, and I loved the impressed look on her face when she gives me a full mark and a bat on shoulder!
Back then, I used to think that Math is all what I need for my future and that languages are not that important in my future professional life. Physics was something I admired and intended to pursue back then.
Fast forward.. and twenty years later.. things that defined the person I thought I was turned upside down! I guess that it has to do with an open mind attitude that I try to follow where I slowly approaches things that I dismissed before. I constantly review things that I reject and don’t mind, at my own convenience, seeing it in a different light.
Words have slowly showed me their beauty and numbers have slowly disappeared from my life. That satisfactory feeling of solving a formula got replaced with a euphoria triggered by the meaning of a line that comes to my mind when a set of words fall into place.
Writing and reading are my new math and physics. Unlike formulas, they come with strong emotions! Love them!