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I’m from the hot deserts of Africa, with Sekuru’s delectable, rich mushroom stew, and Mama’s avocado pudding, and the African adventures with waterfalls and dancing in the night with fireflies as night lights. And the red dusty villages of Cameroon, with rains that come almost once every month. And Sekuru’s little straw hut-like chapel, where stories and the Bible are read.

The big continent of Europe is where I’m from, with silly, little, annoying, cute, frustrating cousins who follow me everywhere I go. And aunties, who make delicious cake pops and table grill and German sausages and treats and grow mouth-watering fruits that drip down my shirt, and cook everything possible everywhere they go.

I’m from Hopewell, New Jersey, with its green luscious forests, and with Lotta, our dog, following my every single step. And seeing her perform a routine of sit, lie down, paw and guess which hand your treat is under. And the soft sandy beaches of the New Jersey shore and their warm grains of sand cushioning my feet under cool water with shells of all shapes, sizes and colors.

I’m from Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, with drops of water splashing my face like rain. I’m from hiking up mountains to reach for the heavens above us. With my Sekuru who tells me stories of his trips from Australia to Los Angeles and all around the world. And I’m from the frightening animals, like charging elephants and yawning hippos with enormous teeth and lions crossing roads.

The piano is where I’m from, with notes from lowest A to highest C, and violins and cellos that follow me. They sing the songs of Mr. Louis with a past as old as dirt itself. And when strummed, fill the air with dust and history of an old jazz band rocking out on the streets all night.

I’m from a village in France, with water crystal blue and caves with plenty of history to go around. And little French schools with children running around and screaming with joy. I’m from lollipops the size of my head.

I’m from Louisiana, New Orleans, with Louis Amstrong on every street and Mardi Gras beads hanging on electricity poles. And homemade spicy crab mix, my favorite of all time.

I’m from summer night barbecues and side dishes of haricots (rice and beans), and running my home-made “ninja course.” With Lotta biting at my clippety-cloppety, sparkling, muddy boots. I’m from staring on a starry night into the clear nighttime sky way past midnight. But on the rainy days, you’ll find me in a light raincoat and without an umbrella running around my yard with a little puppy running and slipping at my heels.

I’ll always be from giving Lotta a bath and seeing her look almost as skinny as a single sheet of paper. And from her shaking herself dry and giving me a shower. I love that I’m from the five year classes of ballet and tap and coming home with usually three to four blisters on each sore, swelling, painful foot, but every lesson was worth it. And the bootcamp-like swimming competitions, always swimming in cold and rainy weather. I’m from summer, summer, and more summer, with buttered corn and sprinting 5Ks all morning. I’m from splashing in an ice-cold quarry and finding mulberries and being silly with friends.

And I’ll always be from the really special place—my home.

Talia E. Moyo
Talia E. Moyo, 10
Hopewell, NJ