Six-Word Memoir

Jul 7, 2014
by: jnine

My name is Jim. I’m an English teacher at International Community High School on Brook Avenue in the Bronx. I was born and raised in a small town in Iowa, but I have lived in New York City for the past 14 years. A pivotal point in my life was when I participated in an exchange program in the 11th grade. I lived with a family for one year in Yugoslavia (Croatia). This experience got me interested in studying language so I majored in Croatian and Russian at the University of Kansas. I also have a Masters in International Business from Pepperdine University and a Masters in TESOL from Teachers College/Columbia University. Besides Croatia I have lived in Russia, Germany and El Salvador.

After I finished my masters degree I became a Peace Corps volunteer and served for two years in a small town in northeastern El Salvador. While there I worked with a Savings and Loan Cooperative (like a bank) because the town I lived in didn’t have a bank and the nearest one was three hours away by bus. I helped the manager and cooperative committees with the day-to day work. In addition, I taught English to some students and adults in my community and helped the elementary school construct a roof to cover their basketball court so they could use it during the rainy season. My Peace Corps experience made me realize how important it is to be in service to others and this is why I eventually became a teacher.

Outside of teaching school, I really love to travel. I try to take advantage of all the vacation time as a teacher to go visit family, friends and, most of all, places I have never seen before. I think I have travelled to more than 50 countries and I would like to get to 50 more soon. My last big trip was to India for three weeks. I studied Hindi for a week when I got there so I could at least read a few words on the subway. I got to see the Taj Mahal and experience a place that is quite different from New York City. I love the adventure and the “unknown” of going to a new place. It doesn’t matter to me if I don’t have a place to stay when I land or if I don’t know exactly where I am going or exactly what I am going to do. That’s all part of the fun!



sbarrett's picture
Submitted by sbarrett on Wed, 2014-07-23 11:56.

I found your post very interesting because of all the places you've been and your 6 word memoir. I found your memoir very unique. At first I didn't really understand what you meant but then I read your bio and it all made sense; you traveled a lot and in those different places you gained a lot of knowledge. I love that.

One sentence you wrote that stands out for me is 'I love the adventure and the “unknown” of going to a new place'. I find this intriguing because I haven't really thought of traveling as an adventure. I also love to travel and I can see how it is an adventure, I'm not saying it's not, but your reason for loving travel is different from mine. I've lived in New york state all my life and I rarely get to leave, that's why when I do I'm so happy. I want to travel the world because I'm tired of being in the same place; I want to see new things, gain new experiences and have a new setting. That is why I love to travel.

Another sentence that intrigued me was 'It doesn’t matter to me if I don’t have a place to stay when I land or if I don’t know exactly where I am going or exactly what I am going to do'. Once again this is different from my thought process. The total opposite actually. When I go to a different place, I always have at least a sense of where I want to go and what I want to do. To be honest not knowing what I'm going to do or where I'm going to stay slightly scares me. So the fact that it doesn't matter to you is very different and surprising.

Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next. It seems like we share the same interests. Perhaps you can tell me about your times in all those countries!