Ti Ti’s Yogi-ism
“It’s Like Déjà Vu All Over Again.”

One of Yogi Berra’s famous Yogi-isms was, “It’s like déjà vu all over again.” For decades, I thought that statement was a clever and cute oxymoron. In my twilight years, I realized that it was more than that. Allow me to provide you with two backstories. After you read them, you will surely grasp my feeling about the truth of that déjà vu statement.

This is the first backstory. I returned to visit my family in Myanmar during winter break in 2017. I love my family and wanted to visit them. Beyond that, I had another agenda. I wanted to talk to Ti Ti about going to college. I remember sitting there with Ko Ko and Moh Moh, Ti Ti’s parents. Ti Ti had a couple more years of high school before going off to college. However, I remember looking at Ti Ti and saying that where she goes to college is up to the three of them.

That being said, I told Ti Ti that she had to decide what she wanted to do after college. The answer to that question is critical and will narrow her choices of which college or university she would attend. Then Ti Ti had to find the best school to prepare her for the career she wanted.

Then I left my comfort zone. I didn’t feel comfortable suggesting something that didn’t parallel what her parents thought. Nonetheless, we got into her wanted to spend a year abroad. I spent a year doing post-graduate work at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Traveling to a different country will provide two important educational learnings. You learn a great deal in a different educational environment. Colleges and universities in other parts of the world are radically different from what a person is familiar with. However, you will learn as much outside of the classroom by far as what you learn in school. Seeing and experiencing another society teaches you things that you can’t truly grasp from reading a book or even watching a video about someplace in the world. International students will get off a plane in a new place and suddenly realize that their destination isn’t like what they first thought.

Ti Ti started her college education at Gusto University in Yangon two years ago, three hundred miles from her home. However, COVID forced her to go to Gusto online. The following year, the military seized power in a coup. She still learning online.

This is the second backstory. I hope that Ti Ti and her family get their Diversity Visas in the next two months. I believe they will. Regardless, Ti Ti will attend a college in America and live with me or the entire family will. When I discussed this with Moh Moh and Ko Ko, I told them that Ti Ti could live with me.

Dear Papa Al,

     I’ve heard about your plans for me on my education journey. I couldn’t be happier to know that an opportunity to study abroad would come knocking at my door. It was my childhood dream to study overseas, especially I always wanted to study in the States since I was in primary school.

     I was reading my old diary a few days ago, and on a page, when I was around 14, I’ve written this:

In 2020, when I pass the matriculation exam, I’ll take IELTS test and go studying in US or Japan for high school, college and university. I’ll learn to the highest degree of the subject and work in US.

    *If I failed, I’ll open a bakery.*

P.S. If everything above failed, I’ll just shave my head, become a nun, and eat one meal less.

    Two years ago, when I read this, I was laughing thinking “how foolish of me”. Studying in US or Japan was just a dream, nothing more nothing less. That time, everything is dark and all the paths are unclear. Every road that I tried to walk down is blocked. Until you made me study in Gusto. It was the time that I saw the light, the light that you lit up for me. Because you are in my life, my dreams come true. I couldn’t be more grateful.

     A week ago, my parents made me go to a knitting class. This is the first toy I’ve made after learning it for a week.
I’ll make something for you too. What would you like to have?


Ti Ti

When I read Ti Ti email, the first thing that entered my mind was Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven, which begins with this stanza. Education came knocking at Ti Ti’s door.

   Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
   While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
       Only this and nothing more.”

The next thought was, “It’s like déjà vu all over again.” As Ti Ti looked back at her journal, she replicated her dream of coming to America.

My final takeaway from Ti Ti’s email is that she is trying out for the charter, Madame Defarge in the new movie, The Tale of Two Cities.

I think that Ti Ti will get the role of Madame Defarge. She is running against this person.

You decide which one you would prefer.