Maybe It’s Not Always Bad

May 24, 2012
By gcaterini BRONZE, Greenwich, Connecticut
gcaterini BRONZE, Greenwich, Connecticut
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

I have had a mobile life, if you can say so. I have lived in five countries, three continents and a spree of different schools. A misconception is that I am at home in Italy, but actually, I think everywhere is my home. This diversity has really made me special and sometimes I forget it. Looking back, this detail has enhanced me drastically.

I can still remember walking into my first math class at Brunswick. Into the room walks this short man, with a thick white beard and red, puffy cheeks. The last remnants of summer heat made everybody sticky and sweaty. Not a very pleasant feeling, especially in an all boys class.

“Alright, let’s see hear y'all what we got.” he said as he looked around the classroom, staring us down, one by one. “Let’s start with a quick role call for names...” His strong voice was slightly muffled and I had trouble understanding him speak. The only other time this happened was when I was first learning English.

“Who’s.... Giorgio Caterini! Check please!” He giddily exclaimed as he jumped up and down and flailed his hands. It hit me hard that I stuck out like a sore needle, but this was not a new feeling. I always have been different because of my nomadic background.

“Well, that’s me! I’m from Italy.” I said timidly. I always feel like I have to explain my name because most times people don’t understand it. I heard giggles in the back from a couple of my classmates. I didn’t think I said anything funny even though I have always been prone to saying stupid but funny things. It’s mostly laughing at what I said. It doesn’t bother me, but this was different. This was people laughing at a straightforward and clear comment.

I flinched and turned around, “What’s so funny?”

“Your accent, it’s hilarious and I love it.” The boy said. The teacher got quiet all of a sudden. Everybody else started laughing, but I remained utterly confused. What had I done wrong? I kept doubting and asking questions about myself. I was mystified and distraught, but I didn’t feel uncomfortable.

“Everybody settle down, let’s begin class.”

At first I didn’t make much of it, but slowly I began understanding. Oddly enough, the true meaning of that comment never hurt me or annoyed me. I understand what he was saying but I am not ashamed of my difference. Au contraire! I am proud of this difference and originality that has made me a boisterous and outgoing guy. I was being alienated by the other students and being categorized as “different”. That thought is what I embrace most about me. Most people would cry about how they are bullied and how it hurts their feelings. For me, this is the complete opposite. I embrace my difference and use it to throttle and drive me to be better and stronger. Maybe for once, bullying helped me do something that most struggle with: taking action.

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