I met Guot on a fall afternoon while a steady rain was plastering leaves to the sidewalk outside his front door.
Guot had been digging through a chapter on atoms for his next chemistry class.
It all appears so familiar, so normal, but Guot can be forgiven if, to him, his surroundings still seem strange.
It should be said that Guot hates to be called a boy.
Nevertheless, Guot was part of that long, ragtag column of children, mostly boys, who trekked a thousand miles before the survivors finally found sanctuary.
Guot, whose name means heaven in Dinka, was born in Paliau, a village of 300 people located in Sudan's southeast corner not far from the White Nile.
Thus it was no accident that Guot, while munching a hamburger in a Tacoma fast-food restaurant, could recall instantly the name of the cow that had knocked him down 14 years earlier and left a scar on his right cheek.
That same year Guot and his family were swept up in the maelstrom of the civil war.
While in Ethiopia two things happened to Guot that changed the course of his life: He was baptized, and his formal education began, even though there were no books and the classroom was just a shady spot under a tree.
At this point, Guot had been a Lost Boy for five years.
When he arrived at Seattle-Tacoma Airport in December 2000 with eight other Lost Boys, Guot had almost nothing with him except a few pieces of inadequate clothing and copies of the Old and New Testaments and a Dinka hymnal, all worn by constant reading.
When Guot stayed overnight in a New York hotel on his way west, it was the first time he had ever slept alone.