Ladies and gentlemen, we proudly present to you An Imaginary Trip Around the World, the brand-new writing collection from the University Settlement Adult Literacy Program and the NYU Gallatin Writing Program. The following story/poem, along with the other stories in the collection, comes from the Advanced Writing Class taught by Prof. June Foley of NYU Gallatin with the help of undergraduate student-teachers. Enjoy!
I remember when I was a child. My mom had five children, including me.
I remember my mom holding my hand. That was over 50 years ago.
I remember my parents smiling at us when we did better than before.
I remember my parents beating us when we did the wrong thing.
I remember when we turned on our first TV. It was black and white.
I remember the first time I noticed wrinkles on my mom’s face.
I remember when I first noticed the spots of brown on my father’s face.
I remember the day I came to New York. The city was heavy with rain.
I remember the first time I saw snow falling, and they were little flurries. I cried from excitement.
I remember when I first heard William call me “Mom.”
I remember all the good and the bad. I like to remember the good most of all.
The new Literacy Review is here, and this time five University Settlement Adult Literacy Program students have their writing published in it. The Literacy Review is an annual collection of writing by adult education students throughout New York City, and it is produced and published by the NYU Gallatin Writing Program, under the leadership of Professor June Foley.
Click here or on the picture above to read it online. Students, their story’s titles, and the page numbers are listed below:
“Bitter Coffee” by Jennifer Alonzo, page 44
“Love Conquers All” by Marilia Valengo, 46
“Paper Cranes” by Yuliia Semenova, page 63
“Father in My Heart” by Wei Wen Zeng, page 92
“Take(c)” by Fernanda Sequeira, page 104
And here’s a photo of Yuliia reading her story at NYU at the annual Literacy Review Gala and the University Settlement delegation which attended it:
Recently Class 3P took a trip to Symphony Space, where professional actors read a couple of their stories as part of the the All Write! program. Here are the two stories that were read:
The Rainy Day
Jian Wen Li
“Tick and Tick,” this rhythm is like a wonderful melody to wake me from my dream. I rub my eyes and focus on listening.
Wow, this is rain, this is my favorite, a rainy day. I jump out of bed, run to the window and look out.
The leaves are scrubbed with bright green color, the rain drips little by little from the tips of the leaves, like a beaded curtain. The flowers open their arms and embrace the rain, satisfied sucking.
The house and the street are washed by the rain, so clean. The rain is dripping on the road, splashing down like beautiful blossoms. The cars drive so fast and spatter a white wave. People on the street are holding colorful umbrellas, like beautiful blooming flowers.
A breeze blows, I breathe greedily. The air is so fresh, accompanied by the smell of grass, which is the taste of spring.
I change my clothes and rush out the door. I like to be in the rain and let the rain fall on my face, the rain gently touch me.
You will never understand a Pluvophile*, how to love the rain.
*Pluvophile : a lover of rain; someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days.
Happy Things In My Childhood
I love my hometown and my childhood. My hometown is a small and beautiful place. The name is Chang Le. It was a city, now it is a zone. There are so many mountains and rivers, and also a lot of seafood. The weather is very good, it never snows in winter. In the morning, occasionally we saw a couple of icicles on the eaves of the roof, and the children all felt excited.
I miss my childhood very much. It was not as advanced as it is today, but everyday I feel and think we enjoyed a colorful life. There were no computers or mobile phones. If in the whole village one family had a TV, we thought they were rich. I remember when I was little, sometimes in the village there would be movies and we watched ancient singing dramas. I sat down on my father’s lap and fell asleep, then my father carried me home.
My father was a migrant worker. When he went to the farm, I would help bring rice and a snack to give my father to eat. My father was a hard worker. He had watermelon, sugarcane, and sweet potato. Also, he planted different kinds of vegetables and had a fish farm. Although we were not rich, we were never hungry with starving tummies.
I still remember one thing. When I was seven years old, my parents just sent me to kindergarten, but the teacher said I was too late and too old. I couldn’t study in kindergarten, I needed to study in first grade. I thought she didn’t like me. I cried.
There are still a lot of happy memories. I remember them all. I’ll leave it there for now.
Now it’s Class 2P’s turn to share their mom stories. Read one below and remember to take the quiz afterwards in order to test your comprehension.
Ling Ling Zhao
The Queen in My Family
My mother is a queen in my family, because she has the supreme power in my house. Everybody must listen to her and follow her way. If you do not, you will be punished, including my father.
My mother is average weight and average height. My father is ten years older than her. When they stayed together the people all said, “Oh, your wife looks very young and beautiful!” When she heard that, she always said, “See! You are so lucky that you can get married with me!” We thought she was very narcissistic.
My mother is a talkative woman. Sometimes we felt she was very annoying. She always argued with my father. It was very funny to see them. My mother was taller than my father. When they argued, my mother always used her finger and pointed at my father’s head and my father looked like a kid who did something wrong. That was why he always lost.
But we still love her, because it was not easy to raise four children. Nobody helped her to take care of us. She was the first person who got up and she did all the housework every day. We knew she was very exhausted but she didn’t say anything.
Right now I am a mother, so I know how my mother felt. She is a great mother in my heart, and I hope my kids will love me as I love my mother.
Class 3A recently wrote about their moms. Read one below and then take the quiz afterwards to test your understanding:
“Feifei, I go to school,” I said when I was a student. “Feifei, I go to work,” I said when I was a worker. “Feifei, I am so happy!” I said when I got a good grade or got my first job. “Feifei, I am so sad today,” I said when I had some problems in my life. Feifei is my mom; she is my best friend too. Feifei is her nickname. I love to call her by her nickname because her friends do it. She has short, straight black hair. She is fat but she is active. She loves to travel but she doesn’t like to spend money.
Feifei is strict about my studies and my life. I remember when I was a high school student, it was New Year and I had a date with my classmates to celebrate at midnight. Feifei was angry with me. She called me many times but I didn’t want to reply to her. When I got home, I was locked outside. Then I rang the doorbell but nobody answered me. I sat on the ground near the door all night. At 8:00 in the morning, Feifei opened the door. When I saw her, I cried. I felt sorry because she looked worried and upset. I couldn’t sleep all night and she couldn’t sleep either. I never did something like that again.
I am living in the USA now but we still keep in contact. I chat with her on WeChat every day. We always share interesting things in our lives. I love my mom.