lunes, 24 de julio de 2017

Once Upon a Time

Hiya, mates! I can’t believe it’s already the middle of the winter break. It is true what they say, time flies when you’re having rum. Today I woke up and I realised that I ran out of tea bags. So I thought, fine, I’ll have vodka. Well, it’s the old saying, if life hands you lemons, make limoncello. I always try to stay positive. Every single morning I get up, I go out, to stop and smell the roses, and I know it sounds corny, but it’s true. My neighbour yells, “Get out of the garden!” and “put on a robe!” Nevertheless, I always try to be positive. Today's post is going to be about this. I think positivism is something we have to share, and sometimes it can be inspiring. 

You know I think that our experiences in life shape us. Good and bad experiences help us to see the world differently. So, I want to share a personal experience. When I was 7, I got meningitis. I had to be in a children’s hospital in La Plata. Meningitis can be life-threatening or lead to brain damage without quick treatment. By the time I got to the hospital, I could not walk. I remember I was scared. My mother couldn’t be with me because it was contagious. She was in the hospital, but I couldn’t see her. My father was at home taking care of my brothers. It was just horrible. I had to be there for more than two weeks. My mother sent me books with one of the nurses. I remember reading a lot of short stories. But there was a book that changed my life completely. That book was Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. As I told you before, I was alone. So, I started reading Alice, and you have no idea how that story helped me. Alice was going through a very difficult situation alone. She was scared, but she had a positive attitude.
“Why it's simply impassible!
Alice: Why, don't you mean impossible?
Door: No, I do mean impassible. (chuckles) Nothing's impossible!”

I read the entire book in two days. I loved it. Sadly the book wasn’t mine, so I had to return it. Days went by, and I was getting better. I went to my house, and I thought everything was going to be alright. Years later, something bad happened. My best friend got sick, and days later he died. I couldn’t understand why he was suddenly gone. My parents were very religious people. But they couldn't explain why this happened. So I changed. I started having a mind of my own. Again, I remembered a passage from Alice.

'Who are you?' said the Caterpillar.
This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, 'I — I hardly know, sir, just at present — at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.'
'What do you mean by that?' said the Caterpillar sternly. 'Explain yourself!'
'I can't explain myself, I'm afraid, sir' said Alice, 'because I'm not myself, you see.'
'I don't see,' said the Caterpillar.
'I'm afraid I can't put it more clearly,' Alice replied very politely, 'for I can't understand it myself, to begin with; and being so many different sizes in a day is very confusing.'

The doctors said that meningitis could cause the loss of cognitive speed. My mother was worried. When you are 7, you don’t understand what those terms mean. I went back to school. In the school library, they had Alice in Wonderland. I took out that book each year. My parents got divorced so I could not afford to buy the book. The day of my graduation the teacher, in charge of the library, gave me a brand new copy of that book. She wrote something beautiful there for me. So, I just moved on with my life. I went to college to study something related to animals. You know I love animals. The possibility of “the loss of cognitive speed” didn’t stop me from doing what I wanted to do. Then, I decided to study English. Now, I’m studying to be a teacher of English. Do you remember the movie based on Alice directed by Tim Burton? I think it’s excellent. There is a quote from the movie that hit me:

“From the moment I fell down that rabbit hole I've been told where I must go and who I must be. I've been shrunk, stretched, scratched, and stuffed into a teapot. I've been accused of being Alice and of not being Alice but this is MY dream. I’LL decide where it goes from here.”

This quote means everything to me. You should never let bad experiences define you. We can always do better, no matter what.  JK Rowling wrote, “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” 

In 2012 I sat for the entrance exam at the teacher training college. The day of the exam I felt really bad. My back ached. I had a terrible headache, too. I took the exam, and after that, I went to the hospital. My gallbladder was about to explode. Doctors had to remove it immediately. It’s a simple operation you would think. Well, I had to spend sixteen days in the hospital. I spent Christmas there. I asked my mother to bring Alice to me before the surgery. I read it again. You know what? I read a completely different story. I could understand Alice a little more.

“I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.”

I've probably read this book 15 times by now. I always find something different in the story. It makes sense if you think about it. In addition, this book opened the door for other stories like Harry Potter, Gulliver's Travel, Jurassic Park, and many other books. 
I think that books are powerful. The stories can help us a lot to go through difficult situations. I know this book makes the difference for me. That's why I love teaching fairy tales. That’s why I always encourage my students to read. Every year we read different fairy tales. I think it is our job, as teachers, to help them discover these wonderful worlds. I think books are worlds. 

“No story lives unless someone wants to listen. The stories we love best do live in us forever.”-J.K. Rowling

While I was doing my research, I found this amazing video. Have a look. 

People say that children do not read. Actually, I think they have not found their “Alice” yet. That’s why it’s important to present different stories. In my next post, I will talk about this. I believe that in one post I can't say everything I want to say about reading. Finally, I want to end this post with one of my favourite quotes.

Have a nice day 

1 comentario:

  1. Oh, Claudio... you've done it again!! What an inspiring post!!
    To begin with, I really admire you for overcoming so many hardships... not everyone can do that and stay strong and positive. Thanks for sharing...I had no idea.
    Second, I must say that I agree with a lot of what you've my case, it is not just one book...depending on the stage of my life I can name the books that have made a difference: first, there was The Wizard of Oz with its reflections on how it is not the brain that makes us happy, etc; then, there was "My planta de naranja lima" and its sequel "Vamos a calentar el sol", incredibly moving true stories by Brazilian writer José Mauro de Vasconcelos; and then there was Gone with the Wind, which marked a turning point in my relationship with English and History.
    Finally, I love your writing style. The way in which you say that children have not found their Alice is beautiful and encouraging, for example. And I love your positivism...
    Once again, thanks for sharing!!!


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