Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Leaving the Cocoon :: Example Personal Narratives

Leaving the Cocoon I wasn't quite sure how to react. I had never been called a "white boy" before, especially by someone I hardly knew. As I turned my head not knowing what to expect, I found myself face to face with a grinning boy, whose crooked smile gave him an almost devilish appearance. This was my first encounter with Oscar Jovel, an El Salvadorian student on our trip to Thailand over the summer. You could imagine my delight when I heard that we would be living together with a Thai family and sharing the same bed for six straight weeks. During the next couple of days I was faint with apprehension. The first thing both of our eyes fell on when we arrived at our tiny Thai house was the five by four foot bed we would share. It was extremely small, in respect to both length and width, with a bright pink mosquito net hanging around it. That first night, we often woke up, cramped and hot, to discover ourselves literally on top of each other. Although initially embarrassing, we began to find the situation more and more comical. To our surprise and delight, we discovered that we had the same sense of humor. From then on, we discussed our sleeping habits openly and complained about the other's loud snoring. We began to stay up late into the night discussing our lives and the difficult issues we each had to deal with. One night we talked into the early hours of the morning about his life in San Francisco. I could only listen wide-eyed and in disbelief as he talked about how close he had been to joining an El Salvadorian gang. I watched him with intense curiosity as he slowly told his story. I noticed how he would almost squeeze his eyes closed with his large cheeks when he was remembering something that made him angry, or thrust his chin out in a clumsy manner when he was excited. He told me of how he had been ready to be beaten into the gang. When I asked him why he would be willing to do that, he responded by describing how vicious his world was, and then explained that the initiation was a tiny price for the protection he would get from the gang in return. My respect for him only increased when I sat silently as he told me of his best friend who had been shot in the head in a drive-by shooting.

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