By the age of 9, Jesi started thinking to herself how she is quite different from the other kids at her school. For one, she likes calling herself "Desi Jesi." For those of you that don't know, "Desi" refers to someone who is from India.
A particular time she noticed this was when lunchtime came around. Some girls and boys ate turkey sandwiches or pizza. Not Jesi though. Jesi ate chicken curry and vegetable biryani. She could never forget a scrumptious samosa snack.
Jesi would look at her lunch, then the other students' lunch, then back to her lunch. She couldn't help but close her eyes and take a big inhale before digging in. It was fragrant notes of sweet and spicy that made Jesi's tastebuds dance.
"Eewwwww! What are you eating?" shouted Ben. Jesi responded, "Indian food my mommy cooked for me. Would you like to try some?" Ben pinched his nose and responded, "No way! That is sick. That is why you are so stinky all the time." Jesi's eyes lowered to the floor as she watched all the boys and girls find seats far away from her in the cafeteria.
Jesi's mom watched her daughter come home crying every day.
Curled up in her bed, Jesi asked her mom if she could send her to school with American lunches. Her mom knows how much Jesi loves homemade Indian food. "You are my Desi girl. You shine bright the way you are. Different is good. Different is celebrated." "Being different is not how you make friends. I need to be the same as them," Jessie answered.