Ingrid is an alum of the 2017 and 2018-2019 Chinese (Mandarin) programs. This poem was submitted as an entry to the NSLI-Y 15th Anniversary Storytelling Competition.

image of andrea walking in taiwan in a greenspace

I stutter, sigh and wonder why I thought
significance would not betray my words.
When I decided language could be taught
I did not know immersion was absurd!

So here I am on other sides of worlds,
a new-born adult learning how to speak.
Frustration is my newest foe unfurled,
please misconstrue my silence as mystique.

image of ingrid in a tree overlooking a skyline

On the dark day I chose to speak no more
I missed the bus, and had to run to school.
Through parks and streets I had not seen before,
I met a friend who knew no ridicule.

A smile! We understood, then words followed.
A spark! Worlds crossed, in memory hallowed.