For A Crush

December 3, 2011
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When I look back four years ago, I am simply astonished by what I’ve achieved linguistically. Four years ago, writing this essay would have been inconceivable; four years ago, the only English words I knew were ‘hello’, ‘yes’ and ‘no’. Four years ago, applying to an American university would never have skimmed my mind. To every story, there is a beginning: Mine starts when my father, upon a nice sunny day, suddenly decided to enroll me in an American high-school.

Moving from Congo to Morocco had already been an ordeal and here was my father, putting me in another situation of hardship. When he announced his decision to me, I tried to give him my best questioning look, as if to inform him that he was going insane. “I’m a French-speaker!” my eyes yelled though my mouth stayed shut, sealed by a perpetual sense of fear for the man. However, my dear father was too riveted in his new folly to notice. I tried to seek support in my mother but it seemed my father’s enthusiasm had convinced her. “Learning English will offer you many opportunities” my father preached. “The best way to learn is to be in an English environment”.
Despite this zeal my father was displaying towards my brothers and I going to an American school, I still was skeptical. Plus, at that time, I could care less about the opportunities a language would offer me. However, the master of the house had taken his decision and I had to abide to it. Summer passed in a blink and as the first day of school approached, I felt more and more stressed about it all. How would I manage being in a school where most of the people wouldn’t understand me? I was mad at my parents for setting me into this trap; into this land of perdition. How would I manage to communicate and make new friends? In my small thirteen year-old brain, schemes of revenge against my parents sprouted: Play dumb and not try at all. If I could prove to my parents that being in an American school wasn’t beneficial for me, perhaps would they put me back in a regular French school?
It is on that revolted note that I started my first year at American Academy Casablanca. Unexpectedly, being on a different system of education wasn’t terrible at all. Most of the students spoke both French and English and would help me translate what I wanted to say and what the teachers were saying. My brothers loved it too. It was something different that appealed to them. However, I didn’t want to give up on my plan. I made no effort in acquiring new language skills and wasn’t planning on doing any… until I met her.
Her name was Amna and she was a Pakistani girl. When I first met her, I was immediately charmed. She had so much kindness and warmth in her that I simply wanted to be her friend… or more. However, something was wrong: I couldn’t communicate. This changed my perspective of being in an American school and of speaking English in general. I hated myself because I couldn’t speak English and more because I couldn’t speak to her! My inability to express myself in English rendered me speechless in front of her. The best move I could manage was an extra-kindly smile and she would only answer that with her warm and kind grins. This tore me. I became jealous at the other students that could speak both French and English; I wanted to be like them!
Books, dictionaries, CDs and DVDs! I bought them all. It had to happen; I had to master English! My decision was taken and I fought to make my resolution come true. My parents were all happy and supportive and I didn’t think of my father as fool anymore. He was right: English could open many opportunities. And at that time, the opportunity I wanted to have was to talk to this girl. After a semester, my English started to improve and the more I learned about it, the more I became fascinated by it. English was beautiful, I realized. I liked it. As I became more and more fluent in it, I started to converse with Amna and we became great friends. In getting to know Amna, I discovered a very intelligent and well-educated girl whose English flowed perfectly into beautiful sentences. The simple fact of being her friend challenged me. I passed from wanting to be able to converse with her to wanting to be better than her. Because of Amna, I pushed myself harder, practiced even more in order to reach her level.
Amna has been the propellant of my passion for the English language. We still are great friends and she yet knows the impact she’s had on me. In a way, it is thanks to her that I am able to write this paper. When I reflect on the past, it is with a smile that I discern what one could do for a crush.

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