Time past so quickly, we have already been New York for five years. Recalled when we came here for the first year, it was such a disaster. There were innumerable difficulties for me to fit in at school, I have tried so hard but the problems were continuing occur. I looked like an alliance, who was completely different from other people. Special accent from Dominican, dark skin color and hair color were all betraying my ethnicity. I always felt myself inferior, why could not I have the same identity as they do?
In the school, everybody called me Julia. It was so annoying but I wondered if I shouldn’t correct my teachers and new friends. I tried to be calm as they mispronounced my name, but it was my name! How could they just pronounce it, as the way they thought was right? I could not bear this anymore, but my attitude changed after you talked to me. “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” As you said, I would never change because of my name changing. I tired my best to get use to it and started caring less. My classmates had gotten into the habit of giving people nicknames, and I was so glad that I could accept those wired names.
In order to be more similar with my friends, I also changed my style of clothing. Sixties ushered in peasant blouses, hoop earring, serapes, I wanted to merge with my friends in my class. As I bragged that I was from New York, they queried me directly. I tried to answer it vaguely, but they continued asking me about the specific location. Even though I understood they were just curious, I felt so embarrassed and burned with shame. I didn’t mean to lie, but just didn’t want to be single out as a “foreigner”, a rare, exotic friend. I pronounced my full name slowly to them it was as chaotic with sounds as a Middle Eastern bazaar.
For my graduation, our extended family came. Because of our large group, some of my little cousins just snuck in without tickets. It made me felt different again, because my other friends were only with their parents. Introducing you guys to my friends was another challenge, because we had such complicated names and there were too many of family. But there were also some benefits to have an extended family, because I’ve got lots of presents, especially the portable typewriter.
Everything seemed so funny as I looked through back and we were getting better and better. So glad that I was you daughter!