Day 3 : A Memory (Riz's First Book)


    Today writing challenge takes me awhile to actually start writing it. Because I find it hard to remembering all the little things or some sweet memories I have had in the past, especially in my younger years. I don't know if I am having a secret mental trauma that I didn't realize or am I just surprisingly bad in remembering things, but I do admit for the last two years I kind of make myself not to look back to any memories in the past too often. Maybe it got something to do with the memories of my parent and the way we lost them got me hesitate to revisit those memories - This is quickly becoming a therapy session for my black soul, so let's stop here. LOL

    Okay. So for today's content I am going to tell you about one memories of mine receiving my first ever book at 5 or 6 years old. It was my first book ever. We were in vacation at grandparent's house for the school break. I was living in different city at that time. We have to take 2 hours flight from the place I live to reach my hometown, where grandparent are. Granddad already passed away couple years earlier so it was only grandma at the house, along with several housekeeper. I was just playing all day as usual but that day is a little bit different. After we have our breakfast, I was playing on the porch together with some other neighbor kids. My mom and grandma are in the living room. I remember one of them is calling me from the house, so I responded and went to see them. When I got to the living room grandma is holding something. It was a book. It was a big book with colorful letters and pictures of little kids on the cover. Grandma says, "Aldi, this is for you" (quick note here: Aldi is my nick name growing up. My name is Rizaldi, so they shortened it. As I grow older and got more foreign friends, I refer myself as Riz to them because of two reasons. One, I think it's a more 'easy' and sounds like a 'normal' name to them. Two, because Aldi is a brand/name of a fresh produced/grocery store chain and I think it's already funny enough to know my name is actually a giant global brand with stores across the world). Okay back to the story. Of course I immediately snatch that book from her hands while asking her, "What is this for? This is not even my birthday?" She answers, "I just thought that you may like this book." then she smiles.

    I don't know about any other kids out there still playing at the front porch, but I love books! I never actually sit down and think about why do I like books but it is just something that I cherish. Probably because at that time, growing up in a working class family, be able to read books and can see what's happening in the other side of the world is really makes my heart full of excitement. I get to know things I have never experience it but I can have a little glimpse of what is like to experience it based on somebody's experience or story. The idea of I can see a bunch of animals and knowing what are they like without leaving our house, the excitement of knowing that we can learn so much from a piece of paper is just ecstatic. I am just glad that I can read very early on and my parent doesn't need to struggle to teach me how to read.

    I got another memory of this all of the sudden. So let me tell you this one as well. I don't think my parent really teach me to read that hard. No, it's not like they didn't teach me at all, but I think they just teach me the basic and it just took off from there. It's not like I haven't had any lesson at all, but in fact, I kind of unintentionally attend school earlier than I am supposed to. Here is why. I got my only older sister who is three years older than me. She is older means that she went to school earlier than me. So back then, during school my mom and I usually wait for my sister to finish. Now, imagine telling a young kid to wait and sit still is almost impossible sometimes. So what I did, I would take a peek at the class that my sister was in during her lesson and kind of get on with the lesson as well from the outside. And this turns into a habit. So whenever I wait for my sister at her school I would just stand there on the window to see. Fast forward couple months later, I was riding in a public taxi or "angkot" (what they called it in Indonesia) and for no specific reason I was start to spelling the words I saw on the billboard. And my mom just turned her head so quickly to me, surprised, and ask me "DID YOU JUST READ??" and I was like "umm.. yeah?" then she hugged me and tell me what a smart boy I am. Lovely time.

    Okay. Back again to the story. Another interesting of this first book of mine, it is a learning book for children titled 500 Kata yang Pertama (English-Indonesia) or 500 First Words in English-Indonesia. What makes this interesting is my family is not that fluent in English or know English that well so that they want their children to learn foreign language from early on. My mom and dad didn't even speak English and my sister understands English but can't say she's fluent as well. Even up to this day, I remain as the only fluent English person in my nuclear family. I guess, my Mom catch me really interested in English based on what I was like when I watch those foreign channel and try to imitate the language and FAILED miserably and sounds like I was speaking gibberish. As the matter of fact, Spice Girls, MTV and Discovery Channel are my very first exposure to the language. That book itself is a picture book with words on it. So it has the English words for colors, animals, birds, household items, family members, bugs, and so on. It's really one of the book that I cherish the most even though I don't know where is that book now. Haha..

    So yeah, after I received that book, I bailed on the group of kids that I played with earlier and spend the rest of the day reading that book over and over again. And that is how I got really infested in learning English and make me who I am today. Growing up I was always that English kid at school, at college, at work. It's really amazing to think that my parent would throw this language to their son without even knowing the foreign language themselves and for that I'll be forever grateful and in their debt.

Cheers! 🍻