Chris Comeli: The Trilingual 9th Grader


Kasia Jackson, Editor

Chris Comeli is a 9th grader here at Sahuaro who speaks French, English, and Lingala (an African language). Although he knows three different languages, he is most comfortable speaking French, since it is his native language. He is from the People’s Republic of the Congo, located in Central Africa, and came to America when he was around 12. Because French is his first language, there are certain French words/phrases that Americans say incorrectly that bother him. For instance, “when they say hi or good morning incorrectly, which in French is Bonjour”.

The transition from speaking French to English seemed to go quite smoothly. The middle school he attended when first coming here was nothing like he expected. “It was very small, I thought it would be more like high school.” He took classes at the school to learn English. In the early stages of learning the English language, he would watch movies or tv shows, where, “everything was in English.” He doesn’t recall the names of the movies or shows he watched at the time. These films were used to help him with his English, which they did. He expressed that learning English wasn’t too challenging for him. Meeting new people didn’t seem to be a challenge either. “Making new friends, that part was easy,” Chris said.

Coming to a different country could definitely be a culture shock, and that’s exactly what Chris experienced. Something that confuses him about American culture is the shoe sizes and the way they’re presented. Another thing that was different for him – not being able to “play in the street” like he was able to do in the Congo. Something he misses about the Congo is being around his family, whom he still speaks to.

Chris’s current hobbies include watching TV and playing games. His favorite video game is Valorent, which is played on a laptop, and his favorite show is Lucifer. 

Chris’s experience so far at Sahuaro has been a good one. With Chris having a passion for being athletic his favorite class is PE. He also enjoys playing soccer and plans to play next year at Sahuaro.