scorecardresearch
Thursday, Oct 06, 2022

‘We chatted and smiled and cried a little’: Writer Jamil Jan Kochai shares story of meeting his English teacher

Fiction writer Jamil Jan Kochai who is the author of 99 Nights in Logar has won hearts online after he shared the heartwarming story of how he learnt to read and write English, and about meeting his old English teacher Susan Lung after searching for almost 20 years.

Jamil Jan Kochai, meeting English teacher, English learning, Afghan writer, writer meeting teacher, indian expressSharing a photograph of himself with the teacher, Kochai narrated the story in a long Twitter thread.

Fiction writer Jamil Jan Kochai who is the author of 99 Nights in Logar has won hearts online after he shared the heartwarming story of how he learnt to read and write English, and about meeting his old English teacher Susan Lung after searching for almost 20 years.

Afghan-American fiction writer Jamil Jan Kochai, who is the author of 99 Nights in Logar, has shared a heartwarming story of how he learned to read and write English. The Pen/Hemingway award finalist’s story of how he grappled to live in the United States without being able to speak in English, and later meeting the teacher who helped him learn, during a reading of his book recently has won hearts online.

Sharing a photograph of himself with the teacher, Kochai narrated the story in a long Twitter thread. He mentioned that he has been looking for his teacher Susan Lung for almost 20 years. It was Lung who helped him read and write English after reaching the US.

Kochai was born to Afghan refugees and brought up in a Pashto and Farsi-speaking family. He used to get punished by his teacher during his kindergarten years. As his father struggled with work, he attended different schools in one year and later returned to Afghanistan for the summer.

After returning, Kochai completely forgot whatever he learned and Lung came to his rescue. “But I’d completely forgotten all the English I’d learned in school! I remember on the morning of my first day in 2nd grade, I could only recall 10 letters from the alphabet. I was way behind and on track to be left back. But then I had the fortune of meeting Ms. Lung,” Kochai tweeted.

Everyday after school, Lung gave Kochai extra classes and helped him read and write. Later, the seven-year-old boy started winning reading comprehension competitions. However, he lost connection with Lung as his family moved a few times.

“After that, my family moved a few times more and I lost track of Ms.Lung. For years afterward, all throughout high school and college, I tried to find Ms. Lung, to thank her for everything she’d done for me. I searched google and social media. I called my old school and visited,” Kochai tweeted.

Kochai further added, “The district office. But I kept hitting dead ends. The main problem was that I didn’t know Ms. Lung’s first name! She’d always just been Ms. Lung to me. In my mid 20s, I’d pretty much given up on the search. I figured Ms. Lung had moved on to a new state, a new life. But a few…”

After years, Lung’s husband connected with him on Facebook and ringed him. “My family and I all gathered together for the call. My parents had been wanting to thank Ms. Lung for years as well. When I finally got the chance to hear Ms. Lung’s voice, tears welled up in my eyes. I told her that everything I’d accomplished I owed to her, and that I thought of her all the time and that I’d been searching for her for years. We all cried that night. Unfortunately, this was at the height of the pandemic, and we were still qurantining at the time. We promised to meet in the future. After that, my wife and I had a child, the Afghan,” Kochai’s tweet read.

Later, the Afghanistan government collapsed and he published ‘The Haunting of Hajji Hotak’. Kochai again lost touch with her. Finally, during a book discussion last week, he met her in real. Brimming with gratitude and joy, he cried and talked to her for a while.

Subscriber Only Stories
Remembering Indian tennis great, Naresh Kumar, who passed away on Septemb...Premium
How Carlsen would need to cheat just once in a game of chess to be invinc...Premium
IAS officer’s initiative scales up students’ learning level in Sangli sch...Premium
Rising rates after four repo hikes: Turbulent times ahead for home loan s...Premium

“Years earlier, after ‘99 Nights in Logar’ came out, someone reached out to me out of the blue on Facebook. It was Ms. Lung’s husband! Apparently Allen Lung heard about an article I wrote for LitHub where I mentioned Ms. Lung. He asked me if I wanted to speak with her that night.

First published on: 16-08-2022 at 06:51:35 pm
Next Story

Bilkis Bano gangrape: In May, SC had asked Gujarat govt to decide remission of convict

Latest Comment
Post Comment
Read Comments
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement