something blue, something old, something borrowed
this old english-indonesian & indonesian-english dictionary belonged to my dad, which he bought back in 1990. i didn't know it's existence until sometime in 1996 when i was 7 year old. i asked my mom to buy me an english dictionary, and she handed this dictionary of my dad to me. i've been a language enthusiast since before i got into kindergarden. when we were out, i liked to read every billboard on the road. this had 2 advantages. first, i learned to read and second, i began to know english.
so, back in 1996, i asked my mom to buy me a dictionary because i liked to hear english songs (my dad raised me along with The Police, Sting, Bob Marley, Bee Gees, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Eric Clapton, Chicago, and bunch of others, you got it), and then tried to write down the lyrics according to what i heard and then i would searched through the dictionary the translations of the words. and of course, through the ears of a 7 year old with very minimal english vocabulary, those lyrics i wrote down made no sense at all. for example couldn't hear anything from The Beatles's Come Together. all i heard was "coop pah cop pah the me dah, coop pah cop pah the me dah, i know you you know me, come together like now, owe it me". and sure i couldn't find what coop, pah meant.
this dictionary has been my friend ever since. up until this very time. my dad never asks it back from me ever since. with that's been said, 'something borrowed' now considered 'something mine'. i never buy a new dictionary. this is the only one i have and i feel so 'click' with it. like i can use it easily. like i know where the word i'm looking for is.
as someone who loves language and hates math, school was mean sometimes for me. in indonesia, when you're no good in math means you're doomed. at least through my experience. i was a total looser in math and i hated math. mid term exams, final exams, block exams, national exams, daily tests in math meant hell to me. i didn't like it and if i look back now, i think i didn't try enough back then. to the contrary when it came to english subject. in every exam, i secretly wished that i was good in math rather in english. but after 5 minutes, i would take that wish back.
never did i ever imagine with my 7 year old self who looked so content with her dictionary that 8 years later i would become an english debater. when i started high school, i began to really focus and intense in the english club until i became a national debater. never did it pass through the mind of my 7 year old self that 9 years later, this english helped me through a lot with great things. it was how i communicated with some people from with different mother-tongue or a switzterland boy i met. or that i was choosen as one of a translator in an international education fair. and then 15 years later, just 12 days after my 22nd birthday, my english also one of the reasons that i got the most amazing job i could ever imagine.
i never thought that one day i will use and need english this much, work with these Americans, met a Mexican who thinks i'm funny when i haven't met any Indonesian who thinks iam, talked to a Puerto-Rican who can spell my name perfectly, said "c'est tres bien gentil de vous" to a French and apparently that simple line saved the day, or met a German who used to say "what am i suppossed to do with you?" frequently. and it started with this old dictionary. no matter how used, chapped and faded it is, i won't replace it. it also a my reminder, that my parents's most valuable gift for me is the chance for education. i know i'm so lucky to have education. it's something that not everyone can experience. it's a part of who iam today. and i can't thank my parents enough for it.