This entry is about the most important years of my early life. It’s about the places and people who influenced my first 7 years of my childhood and consequently my whole life. They’re probably the author of a substantial part from who I am today.
I’ll proceed from where I stopped in my previous entry by describing my first daycare and school:
Since both of my parents had to work for long hours to make a living in the foreign Arab country in which I was born, the daycare was my real home, the staff my effective parents, and the other children my close family. It has undoubtedly shaped most of my personalty and what I like to call “me”. According to my memory, it was a very pleasant place. It had a little playground covered in little grey stones, and it had a huge tree in one of its corners. I remember that the children used to throw it with stones until one day a teacher told them, “What would you feel like if you were the tree, being thrown with stones all day long?” A very powerful lesson which I can never forget: always put yourself in others’ shoes (If the daycare was a church, the golden rule was its bible).
I remember a funny teacher playing a game with us by covering her face with her dark long hair and wearing glasses on top of it. It always made us scream and laugh as if it were the first time. The daycare was where I played my first game of “who took the cookie?”, where we sat in a wide circle on the daycare’s warm green carpet. I remember that children of each age were grouped into batches which took cute names like “the butterflies”, and that the staff wore blue uniforms similar to those of nurses.
It was an extremely diverse and colorful place that had children from all races and from all around the world: from America, East Asia, India, England, and few from the Arab world like myself. Naturally, we all spoke English, which explains why English is my first language instead of that of my home country. Consequently, English literature for children was the first cultural exposure we ever had.
I remember the extremely naughty and beautiful little African American Elenda because she gave the teachers a very hard time, always screaming and crying. I remember the lovely Mrs. Angelfish who was probably the head of the daycare’s skilled staff. I remember her telling my parents once that I was a good boy and then turning to me and saying, “But remember: don’t kick.” It was in the daycare where I learned the 5 “magic words”: Please, thank you, you’re welcome, sorry, and excuse me.
Out of all of the people who I remember from the daycare, there are three prominent characters who I can never forget:
1- Remy: A Filipino teacher who I utterly adored! She taught me most of my life values. She even took me home one night to her small place when my mother was giving birth to my brother (I was 3). It was my first time ever (and probably the last) to watch a thriller movie -which I don’t know the name of- about some alien squid-like species. Remy was almost like a mother to me or an elder sister. In the daycare, when I wanted more food, my version of the Oliver Twist famous line was: “Remy, Remy, can I have some more food please?” I always said in a musical tone as if it were a song. I owe her a debt of gratitude forever
2- Farid: Despite being a year younger than me, he was my best friend back then. His father was from England and his mother was from Egypt. I spent most of my time with him, and I remember going to his home once -a small house located in an area that was out of town. He looked more like his white father while his younger sister was more like their Arab mother. I think her name was Jessica or Jenny.
3- Emma: A sweet little white girl who was also probably from England and a year younger. She was the closest thing to being my first love. I remember her feeding me and being very nice to me. My parents say that she used to scratch my face and I never complained -weird way of flirting right?. It was with her when I first got that unexplainable feeling inside of me which can best be described as an odd mixture of chill, transcendence, and repose.
Today, the only connection I have to those people is my vague fragments of memories. It seems that I’ve lost them forever and I’ll never get to meet them again ..