Something Old, Something New

No, I’m not getting married – I just thought this was a cute title.

A lot can change in 18 months. A year and a half ago, my biggest decision was what to make for breakfast, and now I am trying to decide what on earth to do with the rest of my life and how to do it! A year and a half ago, I was just beginning the minor in writing. I was just beginning to explore my own writing style, why I write, and what I write about. Now, in my last semester of the writing minor and my last semester as a college student, I am confident in my writing, using it daily to express myself. One specific memory stands out to me from the time period I was enrolled in Writing 220.

I remember walking up the stairs to my apartment building at 611 Church street like I did every day after class. I always took the stairs up. The elevator was used when we didn’t want to run down the stairs in heels, or if we had friends over, because the staircase was locked. On this particular Wednesday, I ended class at 1 PM, and arrived home earlier than any of my six roommates. I rushed into my room – a double in the back of the apartment – plopped down my backpack and of course, changed quickly out of my jeans and into my sweatpants. Looking back on my decision to leave the door unlocked, I don’t know if this was a mistake on my part or an intentional doing considering we were not accustomed to locking the door during the day. I heard the door open and shouted “hello” thinking one of my roommates would respond. When there was no response, I walked around the apartment into the view of the door and saw an unfamiliar man staring back at me. He shouted “im gonna get you” and turned around immediately to exit my apartment. I called the police and my roommates, and an elevator code was installed later that week to insure this never happened again!

Needless to say, I learned my lesson. This incident may have played a role in the immense amount of anxiety I now have staying home alone, checking the door-lock four to five times each time I enter my house!

Fast forward ten months, and my memories have changed a great deal, along with my outlook on life and thus, my writing. This summer memory came to me quickly, as it was the most carefree feeling in the most unlikely of environments.

It was a warm night in late August, and I had been traveling through Asia with my family. After an incredible 8-course meal in Tokyo, we slipped into a taxi to bring us back to our hotel. Everything in Tokyo is significantly far away because the city is so spread out, and none of the taxi drivers speak more than a word or two of English. We hoped our driver knew how to get back to our hotel, considering the numerous transportation and communication issues we had run into throughout the last month. My dad was adjusting his seat and the driver tried to tell him, both in Japanese and using hand motions, to buckle up his seatbelt. Thinking that the driver was trying to explain to him how to adjust his seat, my dad responded “No thanks i’m ok.” I started laughing at my dad, which caused my mom to start laughing, and the cab driver started laughing at the sound of my moms high pitch laugh. Within seconds, all five of us were laughing hysterically, the driver wiping tears from his eyes every time the car stopped. Oddly enough, I was the only person in the car who knew why the laughter had started in the first place. My younger brother used this story to write one of his college essays (I was the editor) about the importance of appreciating other cultures and the universality of laughter.

I am attaching a video I took of this moment. You will hear my my mom’s, as well as the cab driver’s laughs.

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2 thoughts to “Something Old, Something New”

  1. That story about someone coming in to your apartment is terrifying! I don’t blame you for feeling anxious and checking the locks; I do the same thing sometimes, and I haven’t even experienced anything like what happened to you!

    That cab ride sounds hilarious and really interesting, especially because you’re studying linguistics and language across cultures. How much Japanese do you know? Did you find yourself communicating more in other ways (like laughter, body language, etc.) to get your point across? I’m pretty sure I’m going to Tokyo this summer, actually, but I don’t know any Japanese at all. I hope I come back with funny (and not scary) stories, too!

    Did you write a lot while you were there? It’s been a LONG time since I was in India, but while I was there I kept a journal, and I remember how strange the English language felt all of a sudden. I had to find new ways to describe things. It’s strange but kind of comforting to make sense of your experiences in another country by turning back to your own language.

    Anyway, more importantly: tell us more about this 8-course meal.

  2. Ahh, cute! That’s a sweet family moment to have caught on tape–and props to your brother, that must have been a great college essay. So between the home intrusion and now I think it’s safe to say you became much more aware of whether or not your front door was locked. Given the second “moment” when you’re navigating your way around Tokyo, would you say you’ve become more confident out in the world the way you’ve said you have become more confident in your writing? That would be a pretty cool parallel. I don’t know if it would ultimately be a stretch, but maybe there’s a lurking comparison to be made about that kind of confidence in navigation and proficiency in using language & linguistics to navigate…whatever you decide your project question to be?

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