So last time I wrote a post without adding a short piece to it, with the promise I’d post one before year’s end. Here I am keeping that promise. As usual, scroll down for the story. It’s an experimental piece; the first and only time I’ve tried writing from the second person point of view. That’s right, the ”you”-pov. I must be insane. Enjoy. (It’s called Imagine, hence the title.)
First off, it’s Kim Taehyung’s birthday! That might not mean anything to you but I personally am glad he’s out there being happy, celebrating with the people he loves. I hope he knows how much he means to all the people he’s made happy over the years.
This post will hop from topic to topic pretty randomly, as I just want to let everything out that’s stuck inside of me, so if it seems unhinged, sorry. You can just skip this bit and go straight to the short piece.
Yesterday they showed a segment on TV of the important people that died this year. I hadn’t heard of most of those yet it greatly saddened me. So many people died this year. The problem with this kind of thing is all the people that died in anonimity. They didn’t even mention all the famous people that died, and there were already so many. The hundreds of thousands of others that died this year are kind of skimmed over, whether they died ‘peacefully’ in their sleep or were brutally killed in a suicide bombing. I just hope other people saw this segment too and thought ”if this is just about the famous people who died, think about all the regular people who aren’t showed”. Makes you feel really tiny.
Btw, speaking of feeling tiny, have you guys seen that little video thingy illustrating how deep humans have dug so far and how long it would take to get to the center of the earth? It was really cool, though humbling, and I recommend watching it. It’s only a minute long at most.
Other cool things I watched include the drama The Bride of Habaek (I always say Haebak), which has a pretty shitty description so I’m glad I decided to watch it anyway. It’s not at all what I imagined it to be. Other great stuff to watch: IRIS, Tunnel (the drama, not the film), Witch’s Court (seriously, if you don’t watch anything else for the rest of your life, watch this one), and Loving Vincent (the film about Van Gogh’s death, excellently executed. The film, not the person..).
Book-wise this year was pretty bad, not because there were few good books that came out but because I hardly read at all and the things I did read were kind of disappointing. The only books that didn’t disappoint were the ones by Harlan Coben and the final installment of the Banned and the Banished series by James Clement. The middle of that book was a bit slow but the ending more than makes up for it.
The greatest disappointment was Camus’ Stranger/Outsider. The only reason I finished that book was because I was on a plane with nothing else to do and reading anything was better than imagining all the different ways in which the plane could crash and kill us. It’s not even that the main character was unrelatable; it’s just that the writing style was so boring and blegh. Very disappointed. It’s probably a minority that feels this way, but still. Read it if you want, I just won’t be re-reading it.
Speaking of disappointments, let’s talk Kruidvat’s Colors To Play wash out hair dye. The bottle says ”best effect on bleached and naturally light blond hair” but I didn’t expect to see no effect whatsoever on golden blonde hair. Literally the only thing that was dyed was the scalp, and that lasted only until the next day. Yeah, not buying that again.
Also, TTMIK books. I am in no way disappointed by TTMIK, as they, and their podcasts in particular, have proven quite the blessing, but the prices! I saw a deal on all the books today, with 10% off. It was still over €350. I know that it isn’t that expensive for so many books (25) but the truth is that I cannot even afford a single one. That’s right: I currently don’t even have €10 to spend and January hasn’t even started yet. I have to survive off of this until the 20th. This is why I moved back home with my mum. I don’t even know how I’ll pay for taekwondo. Ugh, money.
On that note, let’s end this.
Imagine being born. You live your life happily as a baby, your parents love you. They struggle but you’re little so you have no worries. They teach you how to walk, speak, to use the potty. Life is good.
Imagine one day they take you somewhere. You think you’re going to see that nice old couple you refer to as your grandparents. Instead, you are taken to a place with other little people like you: pre-school.
You get shy. You haven’t been around this many people before. On top of that, they speak a language you don’t understand. You’re two years old and you’re all alone in this crowd of people. You observe. As the days go by, you understand more and more of the language. You don’t start speaking it, as you are still very shy, and you are not good at making friends.
Two years go by like that and you are ready to leave this place. You are about to enrol in elementary school, but your old teacher expresses her concern. ”Your child might get in trouble. She hasn’t spoken at all since she started here. Be aware that she might fall behind.”
Your parents get concerned. They don’t understand. At home you speak really well, be it in your own language, and you’re a fast learner. You go to elementary school, and your parents are prepared that you might fail.
You do your own thing in elementary school. You listen to the teacher, you perform all the tasks. You even manage to make some friends. One day you were minding your own business when the teacher asks you to perform all kinds of tasks, over and over again. She looks surprised but you don’t know whether she thinks what you’re doing is good or not.
Your parents get a call. They have to come to school to talk about you. They are concerned. What if the pre-school teacher was right and you’re falling behind? They go, expecting the worst. They will love you no matter what.
When they reach the principal’s office, your teacher is there too. Both women are smiling. Your parents don’t understand. ”We took some tests with your child. We believe she might be of above average intelligence.”
Your parent don’t know what they’re hearing. ”Above average?” they ask, eyes wide. Deep in their hearts they had known you were smart. You take more tests and you get to skip a grade.
From here on, your life in elementary school is great. You kind of suck at gym class, but you excel in everything else. You take all kinds of tests, year after year, and pass with flying colours. You are constantly within the top 3 of your class.
You turn eleven. You start thinking about high schools. You have one final test to take and you get a near perfect score on it. You apply for the highest level of high school. You expect to get in easily because you’ve always been smarter than the others. When your letter finally arrives, you open it excitedly. You read it and your dreams shatter.
You got accepted into the second highest level. You’re confused, but accept that maybe you’re not as smart as you think you are. You show the letter to your mum. She explodes. You have never seen her so angry. You want to go apologise for not being smart enough. You try but she is on the phone. She’s angry. You leave the room.
When she is done, she comes to find you. She called the school and asked why you hadn’t been accepted into the highest level. They told her they thought you’d have trouble with the language. You are confused. All the tests you have ever taken were in this language. You understood it better than most of your peers. Your mum explains she told them exactly that and they decided to accept you. You are relieved but you still question your intelligence.
Your first year in high school goes by and you pass easily. You are somewhat bored because part of it all is far too easy and part of it is told so monotonously, you lack all motivation to learn. You pass class after class, year after year, without much trouble. You study an average of 2 hours per school year, but no one believes you.
In the final three years, things get a bit more difficult and you start studying about an hour every week. In geography class, a guy tells you that you and your people are to blame for his father not being there during his childhood. He was a soldier during the Yugoslavian War.
You don’t understand what your role in this was. You had been born a month before the peace accords. Your parent had fled to this country at the beginning of the war. You’re confused and hurt, you feel bad for what your people did. You don’t exactly know who your people are supposed to be, as you only know your close relatives, but you take his words to heart and feel bad.
You try to get a job, but no one even bothers to respond to your application. Your friend applies for the same position and gets it. Exact same credentials, curriculum vitae virtually indistinguishable. You hear a Moroccan girl complain about discrimination based on a foreign name. You start thinking and you realise that might very well be the case. You want to give people the benefit of the doubt but still no one responds to your applications.
Geert Wilders becomes a well-known figure. His racial slurs grow more popular every day and you feel increasingly unwelcome in the country you were born in. People who you thought were your friends start yelling for less foreigners. He makes the adjustment saying the well-adapted ones are okay. You feel slightly less bad but you still worry.
You get into the university of your choice. You have grown weary of people and you find it hard to trust people but you manage to make friends. University turns out to be a much more open and accepting environment. You’re enjoying yourself but you still feel different.
You don’t think the way these people do. They are smart and so are you, but your way of thinking differs so much. You try to think their way but fail. You struggle with accepting yourself as you are. You have some personal issues, as does everyone else.
In your third year, a partly Moroccan woman gets a high position in politics. You think to yourself: yes, this is a well-adapted foreigner; this is the direction society should go towards. Wilders, however, is less than pleased. People are calling for her to swear off her second nationality. They seem to think someone cannot be loyal to a country if they have ties to another country. You find this silly, as her cultural heritage has made her who she is, and a person can be loyal to more than one person, so why would that not be the same with countries?
You hate the fact that so many fellow-citizens support such xenophobia. You struggle to find your place in a society that doesn’t want you. You’ll always be that lazy foreigner, with no work ethic, who adds nothing to society, and who should go back to their country.
You were born here, but this is not your country. You go on holiday to the country your parents were born in, but you feel like a foreigner. You don’t belong there either. You have a double nationality but neither matches your identity.