We were the only foreigners in the town.
It was after the war; we got out of Europe and came here
but we were different and couldn’t speak English
or at least, not very well. So people looked at us
and in school I was left alone, no one tried
to be a friend and so
I turned to math because you see
numbers are always the same. In any language
they act the same way, do the same things.
You can depend on numbers.
I learned English and when I became a citizen
I changed my name to make it more American.
The country of my birth was changed and the place
I called home became part of another country;
now that country too has a different name and border.
Many things in my life have changed over time.
Yet numbers always remained the same and so
I kept my love for numbers and that is why
I became a teacher of math.
(Otto’s story make me think about other universal languages: crying, laughing, sorrow, body language, singing. Whatever our differences, these we all share.)