I was just starting fourth grade when I met Jennifer Lim. Then, I had just moved to the Philippines from Korea and I knew nothing, nothing about English except the ABC's. Since I did not speak English, I was assigned ESL (Enlish as a Second Language) classes, and that is where I met her--Jennifer Lim, a person who significantly influenced me.
I walked into the ESL classroom, for the first time, with my homeroom teacher. My homeroom teacher introduced me to everyone--at least that's what I think she did--and left. Next thing I know, I was sitting with another English-speaking, not-understandable teacher talking to me. Of course, I did not understand a word, and after tries and tries, the teacher called in an English-speaking Korean student. And that, was Jennifer Lim. A tall, skinny, smart-looking girl who spoke almost perfect English. Although I did not speak English, I sensed that she was one of the favorite students of the teacher. She talked to the ESL teacher, and translated the words to me in Korean. It might have been nothing to Jennifer, but that was when I felt a rivalship between the two of us--the teacher had treated me like a baby, talking very slow, and there was Jennifer, who had fluently spoke with the teacher. When I think about it now, it seems silly--me trying and trying to beat Jennifer, and Jennifer who probably didn't even notice it. However, I think it was that very rivalship that made me do my best in not just studies, but in everything.
After I met Jennifer, I had goals. I had many goals--to study harder, to be more atheletic, to be more friendlier--to be more like Jennifer. I was desperate to be like her and everybody else. I wanted to speak infront of the whole fourth grade, I wanted to have someone, anyone, understand me when I spoke English. I recall that I always thought, "Only if I spoke English," a lot of times. I thought that I could do as much or a whole lot better if, only if, I spoke English. It was always that Jennifer was the first to answer a question, or finish an assignment. And next, Jennifer was the first student of the year who became a non-ESL student. When she did become a regular, main-stream student, I felt more desperate and worked harder.
Although I was desperate to be like Jennifer, I didn't always feel "jealous." Sometimes, I felt hopeless. I remember crying once after school in the school parking lot, telling my mother how I was the only one who didn't speak one bit of English. I couldn't imagine myself speaking or writing any of the language without a dictionary. However, with my father and mother's encouragements and my other abilities, such as math, music and Korean, I was able to be more "jealous." Now, this "jealousy" didn't lead to hatred. I had no reason to hate a person who tried hard enough, and paid the price to become a voluble English-speaker. It was more of an admirement. If I recall right, I eventually wanted to be more than Jennifer, and more than any other student. I wished, as anybody would, of being complimented and recognized. For the next few years, I studied English, and although I'm not as perfect as others, and did not learn English as fast as others, I like to think that I've reached my goals and am successful. However, surly, my studies for English will not stop till the rest of my life.
If there was no rivalship between me and Jennifer, I would never have succeeded, or at least as fast as I did. I am content that I met Jennifer and that I tried to be like her. I really want to thank her if I meet her again.