Growing up in a different country, in a different culture and being different are not all of the three best combinations in order to be considered normal. I was 9 living in Zimbabwe, Africa and I thought that there was nothing more important in the world then burying your nose in a good book. Sitting with Anne of Green Gables underneath the patio while everyone else was playing on the monkey bars and the playground was a typical break for me. When some of my friends came over to ask if I wanted to join them in their recent game of tag, I refused and then explained that I was in a really good section of the book and that I would come and join them as soon as I could. I sat down and continued to finish my chapter all the while the games were going on around me and I was completely oblivious to it all. Suddenly, I heard the taunts that were directed at me and looked up from my book. A group of kids were near me and were taunting me with how little I seemed to care about the outside world, and that if the world inside the book was so wonderful then maybe I should just live there. Being as blunt as I am I asked them why they were bothering with me and didn’t they have better things to do then torment me. My statement was met with replies of you are a weirdo and how I am better off with the friends in my book, because that at least will give me some friends. Thankfully, there is safety in having a strong family, and at that moment my sister and brother walked over and asked if everything was okay. I told them yes, that there was just some confusion and they were just leaving. I always have been comfortable in the world of my books and it gives me a sense of security, just like the comfort of my family.
The package was brown with lots of stamps that stretched from North Carolina, United States to Cameroon, Africa. It was addressed to Lindsay, Jamie and Elizabeth Cobb and we were all so anxious to tear it open to see what was held inside it. It was from my Grandma and Grandpa in North Carolina and their stream of presents always held the hope of a new Disney VHS tape. My sister told my brother Jamie that it was my turn to open because they had opened the last two and so I hastily got to work tearing the brown paper. The movie was Aladdin! We had heard about it from our family back in the states over the phone and from some of the other kids that had already received the movie from some of their family back home. We were so excited to open the VHS box up and watch it! My mom interrupted us and said that first we had to wait until all of my brother and sister’s homework was done first. I was itching to watch the movie, it was finally in my grasp and now I had to wait? I waited patiently for them to finish with their homework, and by patiently I mean that I kept going and asking them if they were done yet. At least two hundred times in a matter of minutes. Finally, Lindsay and Jamie finished up with their homework and we went into the living room to start our movie. When the credits came on my mom and dad sat down with us to watch the movie and I couldn’t control the excitement that I felt when the music started. The opening song started and I sat fascinated watching the colors play on the screen and the words that spilled from it.
I was two and my favorite story was, “Beauty and the Beast.” I would grab the book and crawl up on my mom’s lap in her rocking char and say, “Please?” as I was taught to. I must have made my mom read it to me over and over again countless times in a row for weeks or, maybe even, months on end. One day I surprised my mom by reciting the words of the book out loud, without her saying anything, but just by merely turning the page for me. To say my mom was stunned was an understatement! She got so excited and said to me, “Elizabeth, how would you like to show Lindsay and Jamie (my older siblings) that you can read?” I just handed her the book and said, “Please?” My mom quickly took me into the living room where my sister and brother were hanging out and she sat me down in her lap. “Lindsay and Jamie, look what Elizabeth can do! She can read!” my mom said. Neither my brother or sister believed that I could read, as I was only two years old, so they both argued and said that there was no way that I could read. However, in my house you don’t argue with my mother once she says that we are going to do something. After a lot of grumbling we finally settled down and my mom parked me on her lap. She opened Beauty and the Beast and I started to “read.” My siblings were mesmerized, they had no idea that I had just memorized it from the amount of times that I had heard the story. They came over and started to excitedly tell me how proud they were of me and then they asked my mom if I could read another book. My mom started to reply, but just like every other time, I had grabbed the book and shoved it into my mom’s hands and said, “Please?”