The Daily Rambling Artist - Why Do Birds Suddenly Appear?: The Long Way to a Punchline!


The Daily Rambling Artist - Why Do Birds Suddenly Appear?: The Long Way to a Punchline!

My first language was Spanish. Going to pre-kindergarten was quite intimidating, as everyone spoke English. I was fortunate there was one girl who spoke Spanish, and she helped me through those initial days. Before long, I was speaking English fluently.

Reflecting on that time, I recall a complete absence of conflict during the language acquisition process. I went from not speaking English to effortlessly picking it up. About a year later, our family relocated from Chicago to Houston, which disrupted the tranquility I had felt in my language journey. Even though I was only four years old, it was disconcerting to realize that I had an accent when speaking English,.

I also began to notice how my parents were treated, and sadly, they still face occasional prejudice due to their accents. What struck me was that many native English speakers in our new location also didn't speak English perfectly. I began to realize that words like 'ain't' weren't even considered words in the English language. It was an eye-opening experience.

At that tender age, I took it upon myself to learn how the English language was supposed to sound. I became an avid viewer of PBS, with Mr. Rogers being a significant influence. Shedding my accent became a mission, and it's when my love for writing and speaking language in general was born. I could now confidently articulate my thoughts; it was my superpower.

This was a long journey that eventually led me to high school Spanish classes. It was there that I realized my desire to speak Spanish just as fluently. The prospect of reading Spanish literature, such as the works of Lorca and Neruda, in AP Spanish was a reward I eagerly anticipated and cherished.

Amidst this linguistic journey, my favorite memory was in one class session when our Spanish teacher, Father Hanna, pointed to an image on the projector screen and asked, '¿Qué es?' The student in the front row answered, 'Es un bird,' to which the entire class erupted in laughter. In the classes that followed, my friend Chad would occasionally burst into laughter during class, repeatedly exclaiming, 'Es un bird,' while choking on his own laughter.

Every time I paint a bird, I think of his infectious laughter. Chad sadly passed in his twenties, but it makes me happy he’s still making me laugh. Rest in paradise, sir.

-Sergio Santos