Girl in Translation
Jean Kwok
Contributed by Harvey Landy
Chapter 7

When it comes time for gym class, Kim is nervous about changing in front of the other girls. Luckily, she finds a bathroom stall she can change in. Then she had to do some physical tests, which she wasn’t the best at, but she also wasn’t the worst.

As part of the scholarship, Kim had to work in the library three times per week. The first time she goes in, she is surprised by how warm and inviting the library is. She asks Mr. Jamali if she can switch her hours to earlier to help her Ma at the factory, and he says he will see what he can do.

Kim has an English tudor at Harrison, a senior named Kerry. Kerry lets Kim decide what would be the most helpful, so she just talks to Kim, correcting the things that Kim says wrong. She is able to do well in the math and science classes, but she still has trouble with the current events in social studies.

One day, Kim is seen changing before gym, and the other kids begin to make fun of her underwear. She complains to Ma again, and Ma takes her shopping to buy panties and a bra. The story they first go to doesn’t have any bras in her size, so they have to go to Macy’s and get help from an attendant.

A few days later Aunt Paula invites them over for dinner. They had not been invited there in a long time, so Kim is skeptical about Paula’s intentions. Ma says that it’s likely Kim could be a good example for Nelson. When they arrive, Kim realizes it was just a way for Aunt Paula to show that Nelson also goes to a private school.

For the rest of seventh grade, Kim works hard to improve her English. The teachers are much more helpful than the ones at public school were, and they grade her on her improvement, not how she compares with the native-speakers. By the end of the year she had kept her scholarship and was beginning to feel talented in school again.

When eighth grade begins, the school says that Kim no longer needs an English tutor. One day, the other kids even invite her to a show in the city. Kim says she cannot go, but is pleased to have been invited.

There is a big test that is coming up, and all the other students are nervous. Tammy turns to ask Kim to borrow a pencil, and when she does, a yellow piece of paper falls out of her sleeve. Kim picks it up and the teacher catches her. It was a cheat sheet, and the teacher assumes that it was Kim’s. Luckily, Curt, one of the boys in the class, comes and says that he saw Kim pick up the piece of paper.

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