Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Survivor Story

It's Friday, and I have survived a whole week in public school! Tuesday was my first day of high school.

More than thirteen hundred students. Over 450 freshmen, the biggest class ever in the school's history. Roughly two miles of hallway. Eighty-seven teachers, nineteen of them brand new. Eight period days.

And on top of it all, I still don't have a locker. So I have to carry everything I need for the day on my person, including my beloved flute. Speaking of the flute, jazz band is a totally new experience for me. I'm learning a whole different way of playing.
Anyhow, I have calmed down quite a bit since my last post. By midnight Monday night, I was still wide awake. I got absolutely no sleep that night. The next morning, I got up at five, packed my bags, cooked and ate breakfast, and jogged out the door.
I'm going on an adventure!  THE HOBBIT  LOTR
I boarded the bus at 6:40. The bus ride to the elementary school is about ten minutes. We are dropped off there and get on one of the two buses that take all the high schoolers from our town down to the high school, which is an hour away. It's a long ride, but it passes quickly with the help of friendly conversation and music.
I had no trouble finding my classes, thanks to my "compass." And whenever I am unsure of where I am, I just keep walking and eventually find my destination.
The only difficulty is getting from the band room to Spanish class between sixth and seventh periods. The band room is on the first floor on the far west side of the building. The Spanish room is located on the top floor on the east side of the building. And traffic seems to be the worst at exactly that time of day-- I was stuck standing still in the hallway by the stairwell for five minutes today, not moving at all because NO ONE WOULD MOVE FORWARD! I was very peeved. And very squashed-- between two tall guys' backpacks and a locker, to be exact. "Hello? Excuse me-- um, you're kind of pressing me into a locker-- hey-- guys... Hellooooo. Anyone? Seriously?"
As to my social life, I'll worry about that later. This week I was just concerned with keeping my actual life. (That is, not getting run over by a stampede of seniors during lunch or being turned to stone by a cold look from one of my teachers.) I pretty much stick with my old friends from elementary school, which is just fine with me because they are still as awesome as ever. I have found this table at lunch that I really like, though. It's full of somewhat nerdy guys who like to laugh at their own jokes. They should consider a career in stand-up comedy. I have to be careful not to take a drink of anything when they're trading jokes, or it ends up coming out my nose-- that's how hilarious they all are! Anyway, I knew a few of them before this year, so I took refuge with them when I couldn't find any other familiar faces during A lunch. I think I'm going to stay.
And the most important question: do I like public school better than homeschooling?
YES. On most levels, anyway. Despite the two and a half hours I spend on the bus every day, and the no-locker situation, and the maze of hallways, and the stuck-up seniors and juniors, high school is rather interesting. I find sitting in a classroom and getting my education that way strangely satisfying. I get to see my friends for several hours every day, and I no longer have to endure homeschool jokes, or explain to people why I'm not in school.

On the other hand, it is very hard to maintain a Christian world view in the public school classrooms. Especially during Science and History. The teachers seem to be able to make some reference to evolution in every sentence, during which simply I exchange glances with one of my church-going friends and frown a little. But other than that, I love school.

Regardless, I literally got home and flopped on the floor, looking much like this:
Me Tuesday...

Ah, home sweet home.Then I remembered that Seriah was in town, and I was supposed to go meet her up at the lake! I immediately jumped back up again with new energy, and ran to get my things together. We then spent a lovely evening tubing on the lake and eating ice cream, and I will likely post about that later.

So, I'm alive! A whole weekend until I have to go back... But I seriously think I'm just going to sleep until Monday.

I am not freaking out. I am NOT freaking out...

These next few days are going to be entirely life-changing for me. This time next week I'll be sitting in a classroom like everybody else I know, likely chewing on the end of my pencil and daydreaming instead of paying attention. (Because that usually happens to me; unfortunately, I have difficulty paying attention to people rather than things.)

I'll be honest: I'm terrified.

What if I can't handle public school? What if the work is too hard? What if I get caught writing stories and poems instead of taking notes? (we all know that's going to happen to me at some point) What if I get lost? What if they kick me out of the jazz band because I'm not good enough and I'm just a freshman anyways? But this is what you wanted, Rebecca. Well, you're getting it. It's going to take an act of Divine Providence to get you through this.

Rapunzel understands me-- once again I see my life portrayed in a Disney movie! On the left is the half of me that is ecstatic to go to school. On the right, you can see what I'm feeling as I write this post.

My dad and I went to the school Wednesday morning to register me. The halls were poorly lit, and there was no one around. If there were signs on the walls, it was too dim to see them. We wandered around for a bit, not sure where to go. This did not help my dread of getting lost during school-- if my dad can't find one room in here, how am I supposed to find all of my classes?

Eventually we found a man who directed us to the counselors' office. "If you ever get lost," he said. "Just follow the gray line up on the wall. See that? It runs through the whole school, starting at the main office and ending at the counselors' office." I thought that very nifty.

A woman with cropped blonde hair asked us questions, and typed away. My address, my phone number, my Social Security number, my Student Identification number, my emergency contact numbers. I live in a world of numbers, I thought. This is how government and school systems work-- grouping everyone into meaningless numbers. Reducing us to mere digits on a piece of paper.

 She gave us papers that asked for the same information we'd just given her, and sent us back to a room to fill them out. Another lady, with dangly beaded earrings and gingery brown hair, emerged and talked to my dad. I needed to choose eight classes. I qualified for Pre-Honors classes. I wanted to do band, but there were four bands to choose from and I didn't know which one to pick. And the lady was so kind as to walk us down to the band room and consult the director. The director told us-- from what I could hear over the blare of the trumpets-- that there was marching band, jazz band, instrumental ensemble, and beginners' band. Then the sousaphones joined in with the trumpets, completely muting her voice, so that I didn't hear anything she said afterward.

Dangly-Earrings-Lady gave me a brief tour on the return to the counselors' office. She gave me a map, too, which I consulted as we walked. Back in the room, I was to circle the classes I wanted to take. I wanted to burst out in indignation, "You want me to choose my own fate?!" But did not. When it was done, I handed her my completed form. She disappeared to punch some more numbers into a computer. When she returned, she appeared quite pleased with herself.

"I'm not choosing favorites, or anything," she said. "But I pressed a button and your schedule just printed right out. I've never had one do that before!" I smiled to myself. There was some of that Divine Providence I needed. Surely God was with me. "So here. You can go ahead and have your schedule early. Nobody else will get theirs until Orientation." So I have an advantage.

I looked at the schedule-- since I was the first with my classes planned out, there was a place for me in the jazz band! I copied the information from the schedule onto the map, labeling the classrooms I would be in and the times I needed to be there. It's going to be my compass. I can't get lost as long as I have that! There's one fear gone.

And yet I'm still freaking out. Maybe I would feel better if I took my trusty frying pan to school with me?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Agatha Christie

Guess who hit the jackpot? This person! (No, not Anna. Me.)


We went to Christian Crossings today, a sort of thrift store in town. My mom is enamored with these dishes called Pfaltzgraff Yorktowne. We've been eating off the set we have for probably longer than I've been alive, and as usually happens over time, some of them have been chipped or shattered or just vanished entirely. So Mom is always on the lookout for new ones. But they are kind of hard to find nowadays, since the company stopped making them. A lady from church knows how much Mom likes them, and she called us to let us know she'd found some at Christian Crossings.
I wandered into the book section, as usual, and found these:

And only fifty cents each-- jackpot! There were lots more, but I didn't have much money on me.

Okay, so you have probably gathered that I have found a new author to obsess over: Agatha Christie. It appears I have a problem with falling in love with dead authors' books. First it was Lois Gladys Leppard, then C. S. Lewis, then Lucy Maud Montgomery, and now Agatha Christie. I guess it's true that artists' works are more famous after they're dead; it must be the same with writers.

The first I read was The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. In the beginning, I was reluctant. One, I'm not a big mystery-reader. I always lose patience with the main character because he/she is taking too long to solve the mystery, and flip to the last page to see whodunit. (Horrible of me, yes I know.) Two, my mom recommended The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. She and I don't always have the same taste in books. Three, it was old. You know what I mean. After just finishing Divergent, a mystery set in the early 1900's seemed ancient. I thought it would be hard to really get into the book, with such a shift in mindset.

But I loved it! The Murder of Roger Ackroyd was amazing! It was completely puzzling, well-detailed without being boring, and the dialect was very entertaining. I had to cover the next page with my hand to keep from accidentally reading ahead. *SPOILER ALERT* I was greatly impressed by the way she made the main character, the one who was telling the story from his POV, be the murderer! I did not see that coming.
So is it any wonder I jumped on these books today and haven't let them out of my sight?
Now if you'll excuse me, I have some books to read.

What about you? What author are you obsessed with right now?