Monday, August 21, 2006
Look at these three pictures - all of me. The first one was taken Christmas of 1980. I was only 6 years old. My uncle Alan had just been to America, and he came home with gifts (including that flag) and stories about the promised land! From that moment all I wanted was to go to America. No, I wanted to be an American. I put American flags on everything I owned, I used American words, I memorized American maps, I spent time with Americans living in South Africa, I used American spelling in school - which drove my English teachers nuts because these were real English teachers! One teacher told me, "There's no such thing as 'American English' - it's just wrong!
The second one was taken on February 16, 1994, just one day after I arrived in the USA from South Africa. Man was I "fresh off the boat!" A friend of mine in the movie industry in LA calls this my own personal Tommy Hillfiger ad. I was a 19-year-old kid with a head full of big ideas and a heart full of dreams as high as the stars. I had a visitors visa that was only valid for 6 months and only $230 to my name. But it didn't matter - I was finally in America (well, I was in Van Horn, TX which is still technically in America). Anything was possible.
The third picture is my official "preacher pose" for the church directory, taken in 2004. Here I am fully assimilated - as American as apple pie, as I like to say. My dream came true. I am an American! Now I need to work on making that $230 grow.