Am I choosing my ¨language¨ or is my environment doing that for me?

¨LJ we are leaving soon for the airport now.  Your plane leaves in two and a half hours.¨ My Mom yells.

I finish packing my bag and head downstairs.

¨I am going to miss you while you're gone.¨

¨Mom, you don’t have to worry ‘bout nothing.  I’m call you when I get on the plane and when I get off.

She smiles.

I am heading to Arizona.  I signed up for an advance hitting and fielding camp at Arizona State University.  Arizona State is one of the top baseball schools in the country.  If I could impress them in a two day camp, it could help me get recruited to play for them in college.  While I am there I am going to stay with my Aunt Jenn and her husband and 4 children.  They are on my Mom’s side of the family.  After the camp was over I would get on a plane to Boston, to spend time with my dad and his side of the family.  We leave for the airport 10 minutes later.  As we get to the airport me and my Mom say our final goodbyes.

¨Call me as soon as you can.  You hear me?¨

¨Yes Mom, as soon as I board the plane and land, call you.¨

¨See you in August.¨

My Mom hugs me.  I get to the gate.  It is my first time traveling by myself.  I get scared.  I realized that this will help me in the long run.  I quickly get over my fear.  Next thing I know I am on the plane taking off, heading west.

It is important for me to say that my Mom is adopted.  She was adopted into a white family in the early 1970’s.  This means all of her family is white.  When I am with them there is a different language I use.  This happens by accident.  I grew up in a liberal, urban scene, while my family is more conservative and lives either in a suburban area or out in the country.  When I am with my Mom and sister, the urban part of me talks. The ¨Black English¨ like James Baldwin once said.  When I am with my Grandma or Aunt, I start to talk more proper.  This happens by accident.  Since I am not of the same race, I try to make language as a way to be the same as them, since in my eyes we are not.  We speak the same language, but it is so different at the same time.

¨Welcome to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.  We know you have a lot of options when flying, but US Airways would like to thank you for choosing us.  We hope we will see you soon.¨  The flight attendant said on the loudspeaker of the plane.  I call my Mom.

¨Yeah Mom, I’m ‘bout get off this plane.¨

¨How was the flight?¨

¨It was ard.¨

¨Ok, well call me when you find your Uncle Drew.  He got a new car, so make sure it is him before you get into the car.¨

¨Ok, I will call you when I see him.¨

I get my bags and walk out of the plane.  I put on my headphones.  Jay-Z is playing in my ears.  

¨I probably owe it to you all, proud to be locked by the force, Trying to hustle some things, that go with the Porsche.¨

I see my Uncle Drew in his new car.  He helps puts my bags in the trunk.  I get into the car and I hear a Christian gospel song.  

¨I’m so grateful for all you have done in my life.  I give my life to you.¨

I turn my music off really quick.  My uncle gets in the car and we have small talk.

¨It’s great to see you buddy, how was your flight over here?¨ He said with a smile on his face.

¨It was great, Uncle Drew.  There were no problems at all on the plane ride here.¨

¨You ready for the baseball camp on Saturday?¨

¨Yeah I really can’t wait, I have been waiting the whole summer for this moment and now it is here.

¨Well your cousins are up and waiting for you at the house.¨

We get to the house and all four of my cousins are happy to see me.  My youngest cousin, Quincy takes me to see all of her new Legos.

¨See this one.  It’s really pretty.  This is my favorite Lego because it’s pink.¨ Quincy said with a smile on her face.

¨Yeah you're right it is very pretty, my favorite part is that it is pink.¨ I said back to her.

We look and play with Legos for a couple of minutes, then it is time for her to go to bed.  I decide that I should go to bed too.  The camp doesn’t start tomorrow but I should get some rest anyway.   I text my mom and tell her that I got in safely and that I would talk to her in the morning.

On Sunday, the camp ended.  When I talked to the coaches after it ended, they said I did good and they hope to see me again.  I get in the car.  My friend texted me.

¨How did the camp go?¨

¨I fried at the man bro.  Coaches said I did good.  They hope to see me again.¨

¨Ayye I see you bro. You going to go to another camp?¨

¨Idk, maybe they have a camp in September, but that is even more money and school has started.

¨Ard I will ttyl.¨


My Uncle asked me the same question.

¨It was really good.  The coaches helped me a lot, especially when it came to hitting.  I’m glad that I came out here for the camp.¨

We head back home and I pack up.  I am heading to Boston for the rest of the summer.  I get my bags and I get back into the car.  My cousin Aiden and Holden tag along for the ride to the airport.  We talk about school and sports.  As we get to the airport we say our goodbyes.  I head to the gate.  I like spending time with my family, even if I think I have to change a little for them.

James Baldwin once said ¨A Frenchman living in Paris speaks a subtly and crucially different language from that of the man living in Marseilles; neither sounds very much like a man living in Quebec; and they would all have great difficulty in apprehending what the man from Guadeloupe, or Martinique, is saying, to say nothing of the man from Senegal.¨  What he is saying is that all of these people speak the same language but all of them speaks it a different way because of their background.  I agree with that.  My family and I speak the same language, but since we are from different parts of the country and from different backgrounds, it is a little different.  Even if the language we speak is a little different, we are family and at the end of the day that is all that matters.

Comments (1)

Stephen Buchanico (Student 2017)
Stephen Buchanico

One thing that grabbed me was the fact that he was doing something new, traveling by himself for the first time. It kept me reading and wondering what was going to happen next. I learned about all of his family that I did not know about. Maybe you could have described the baseball camp a little, but other than that it was really good.