The Summer I Matured... Kind Of

Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.


Falling asleep in class is never a good idea, especially when the teacher is your 86-year-old grandfather and the classroom is his bedroom. How did I get roped into giving up my limited, beautiful summer days for a fluorescent monitor and fourteen dictionaries? Instead of lemonade, I get hearing aids. I sit in front of a blinking cursor, the lyrics to “It’s The Hard-Knock Life” running through my head.

I’m helping my grandfather realize his dream: to author a dictionary illustrating the travel of Sanskrit cognates through Indo-European languages. For three to four hours a day I type tables of words into a computer that doesn’t even have internet, expectantly awaiting my half-hour break for lunch and a cat nap. A creature of spontaneity, this tedious schedule is my own personal purgatory.

Insert table, type, page break, repeat.

While I attempt to maintain my social life through my phone, Ba launches into another lengthy explanation about the derivation of a Sanskrit cognate. I muse silently, “You know, ‘phard’ sounds a lot like ‘fart’.”

His lecture tapers off and I’m left to contemplate. I think about my grandfather: how he left India and his dreams in order to please his father, himself a Sanskrit scholar. I think about how I...

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