How do we learn? It is a profound question often left with no answer. To understand we have to look at the journey of our own self.
Ana had never imagined her past would haunt her present as if she was cursed by a witch. The closer she sailed towards the coast, the more her thoughts echoed declaring war inside her head. After all these years, her childhood memories woke up from a long time of hibernation. Suddenly her present was traveling through the past to the unknown future. Confusion ruled in anarchy. The impotence of describing her feelings was a hazardous venture she didn't like. Was it just the reconnaissance of her illiterate understanding? Had she unknowingly ignited something that had existed in suspension only to tamper with her mind?
She left her birth country too young to remember anything, barely a seven-year-old child. This traveling was a memory calling, while collecting bits and pieces from her childhood imagination and her mother’s unspoken words. Since her mother’s death, she had abandoned the idea of visiting her home country. Her mother's stories and legends triggered Ana’s imagination.
Ana felt trapped between emotions. The last summer there was something that was left vivid in her memory. As a young child she was always curious about everything surrounding her little world. Ana remembered that particular summer because she believed that summer had traveled with her and had never left. For the first time in her childish life she stopped asking “Why?” but went in the search of “Why.”
That hot August, her mother answered unusually to her string of questions.
“Why? Why? Even Socrates didn’t find why!” That’s all she said and left knowing Ana would question the answer.
Well, who was this Socrates that supposedly would have known everything? Looking for why was not easy, but looking for Socrates turned out to be a challenge.
The search became a journey. Ana began looking around the neighborhood as she never did before. Who might he be, she struggled. The bread maker took her attention first. She had to admit, his bread was the best. For her surprise, making the bread was not easy. The bread maker taught her how to make the bread. Yet no trace of Socrates. Although she agreed with the bread maker that even Socrates would have liked his bread.
That summer journey went on visiting the dress maker, the cheese maker, the shoe maker, and all other little shops around. They all agreed Socrates would have liked their products, but still, no Socrates.
Was it the ice cream guy?
Maybe, Ana thought. Besides, she loved ice cream and every time he came around her neighborhood, everyone ran towards him. He must have answers, since all her friends, including her, loved his ice cream, Ana reasoned. One afternoon, she waited for the ice cream guy until he showed up as always with his usual music and usual ice cream. She looked around and observed for quite a while until she took his attention. After a range of questions, she learned he was not Socrates but he taught her how the ice cream was made and swore that Socrates liked the ice cream. Happy to have learned about the ice cream, Ana returned home. Excitingly, she told her mother about the ice cream learning sensation but still had not solved the Socrates riddle.
That journey traveled with her imagination on the first day of school. When asked what she did that summer, Ana proudly narrated the stories about the bread making, the shoe making, the dress making, but the most successful one was the ice cream making. The idea of knowing how to make ice cream was an instant success to her new classmates.
- Who taught you all this, one of the students anxiously asked?
- Socrates, Ana answered with a childish confidence.
Even twenty years later Ana remembered her teacher's smile. After all, she still remembers how to make the ice cream.
ã Fatjona Lubonja