When you ask a Brooklyn College student “Where are you from?” you had better be ready to listen up.
For this comp zine, three semesters of English 1012 classes, taught by Natalie Nuzzo, interpret the answer to this question according to their own experiences. The quotes below provide a glimpse of the varied, tenuous and beautifully contradictory answers that Brooklyn College Students have about what it means to be “from” somewhere.
You really have to read through all three volumes, look through the photographs, read the beautifully composed responses that, together, serve almost as a time capsule of Brooklyn as it is today. Our residents unflinchingly and eloquently claim this borough as their own, without feeling the need to cancel out other homes, past and future.
Volume 1: Spring 2012
“We were unlike our neighbors. The other families ate, slept, woke up, and dressed the same. Not us! We were the life of the neighborhood, the outsiders.” –Shaima Mubarez
“I’ve been speaking the language and eating the food of Bangladeshi culture throughout my nine years in the U.S. I was not familiar with any other place in the world, apart from my birthplace, New York City.” –Zinu Gofur
“As I walk briskly home in the evening dusk, the fresh scent of evergreen trees enters my nose, and the crisp, invigorating air enters my lungs. Unnatural blue shadows lay extended across the pristine white snow.” –Tzirel Norman
“I wonder if I will be remembered in this neighborhood that I call home. Will I be remembered as the ‘back of the park kid,’ the kid that was always playing ball, or will the memory of me vanish like the yesterday of a newborn.” –Barry Hinds
Volume 2: Fall 2012
“For weeks, I’ve wondered, is it always going to feel this lonely living in a house?” –Leeza Torres
“It was like a flower show all year round and, for us, living in the Tropics only added to the luscious growth of these plants. My grandmother, Mama, was in the top four flower-crazed women of Sonia Close.” –Shakera Sherwood
“You don’t need an alarm clock to tell you when to wake up. You are already awake by the 4am call to prayer thanks to the mosque in the corner. You don’t need an alarm clock to spring to life at six o’clock in the morning. The honking of the “trotro” or dollar vans lets you know that it is six o’clock in the morning.” –Samuel Tuffour
“Yes we were active kids, but at that moment in time we all sat with each other with our legs hanging out of the boardwalk railing, our toes in the sand, and silently watched the dark sky light up with explosions.” –Sara Furshman
Volume 3: Spring 2013
“Home to me is just my cup of tea. I can sip it but I will never get full. I can stir it and never lose its taste. I can leave it and always warm it up.” –Tieisha Waithe
“Where I’m from, they say there are only three seasons: a season for rain, a season for tulips, and a season for road construction.” –Bridget Landreth
“I remember the day I was moving back to New York, my grandmother squeezed me tightly and said ‘Ishtaktillek ya Soosoo. Mish mushkalah, hayek rah itrawih. Inshallah ibtoosil bilsalamah.’ This means, ‘I miss you already Soosoo (that’s the nickname she used to call me). Don’t worry, you’re going home. God willing, you’ll get home in peace.'” –Sohayeb Jabir
“If you lived on East 96th you knew two things. The first was the only pink house on the entire block. The second was the woman who lived in that house, my grandmother. If every block has a legend on it she was it for 96th street.” -Anthony Foster