Thursday, June 18, 2009

14 Years and 364 Days

Tomorrow, June 19th, is my 15th birthday. Time to look back on all the events that have happened in my 14th year of life, which began at the end of 9th grade last year. Sorry to post yet another list, but we're in exam crunch time, and I don't think I have the capacity to do an all-out post.

  1. Firstly and most obviously, my parents got divorced. A year ago was when I found out, and about 8 months ago, it became official. This has effected my life in so many ways, it's hard to count. My mom and I have become a ton closer, and my dad and I fight way less than we did when he lived with us.

  2. I met the Core. Well, I've known Eddie and Jamiekinz since 8th grade, but we've added Maestro. I think we've become really close this year (we even named ourselves), through Fools, exam crunching, and spending every break and lunch in Ches's room, which has become our little hangout. I don't think I need to say exactly how much these guys have changed my life. I wouldn't be able to fit it into this list anyway.

  3. I became chums with my brother. In The Sunscreen Song, he tells us to "Be nice to your siblings; they are the best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future." And he's fully right. Our brothers and sisters have been there since birth, and every person we've known and every major event we've gone through, they'll remember. So my and Tony's relationship has fully changed over this past year, and I'm so glad that it did, before he goes off to college.

  4. We moved houses. The move from Fairways to Westmoorings completely changed my life, and allowed me to befriend a whole new group of people (see number 5). It majorly lowered the stress level in everday tasks, and chilled us out. It gave us the ability to go, "Hey, Mom? Can I go to James' to study after school today?" and not have to worry about how you're getting home, can we get a driver, traffic, that madness.

  5. I got tight with another group of people - Amanda, Maria, and Tara. Though they're fun to hang out with as a group, I got to know them individually moreso this year (and living half a block from Manda didn't hurt). I learned that while no one could ever replace the Core, knowing people outside of our group is a lot of fun.

  6. I got my braces off. They were put on in May of 8th grade, and though I despised them much of the time, a lot of my old insecurity issues about my teeth are now gone. And now I wear the hidden badge of honor, the permenant retainer, the only indication that someone has been through the hell that is braces.

  7. I lost some really close friends, in particular, Nora. Her leaving was one of the hardest things that's happened to me in a while, but I think having such kickass friends really helped me pull through it. I remember driving away from her house after saying bye, sobbing into my hands. Tara and Maria hugged me and promised to take care of me, and they did. I'll always be grateful to them for that.

  8. A big portion of this year for me was spent dealing with my man issues. They were finally resolved a couple days ago, and life seems a lot simpler now. But it's about to get much more complicated, when it comes time to make the decision about what to do when I leave. Not-so-deep-down, though, I already know the answer.

  9. Three teachers in my life crossed the student-teacher-relationship line, and became like parents away from home: Ms. Chesler, Lentzy, and Kaster. The first two I've known for two years, and the third only for one, but these teachers made this school year bearable for me, whether it was listening to my every problem and reading my blog faithfully, discussing current events and when the world will destroy itself, or being an all-around good teacher, who taught me more than I thought would fit in my head.

  10. I became more of an actress than I have before. Working with Mr. Levy through two productions, and being in his Drama class all year, I think I've gained some valuable skills that I won't quickly forget. I found my niche there for a while, being in the play and following that schedule, and I came to find that I like it. A lot.

  11. I found some creative outlets. My blog, photography, even decorating my room, all help me relieve stress, and though I'm still not a fabulous painter or drawer like my friends, I think I now express myself in my own way, and I'm perfectly content with that.

  12. I learned that you should never forget your roots. Sometimes we get so caught up in the everyday, where we are now, or where we want to be, we never think about where we came from. I slapped childhood memorabilia across my mirrors, created a memory box of special things from my life, and stuck pictures of my parents into a locket which I now rarely take off. I know I need to be aware of the future, but if you forget your past, it's like forgetting who you are, and I don't want my wacky lifestyle to do that to me.

  13. I started thinking about the world outside of my laptop. I've begun caring about things like politics, the economy, international affairs, things I never thought about while living in Dhaka. I've dropped my naivety about the world, and I've realized what's really going on out there. I don't tune out every time I hear Wolf Blitzer rant, because I care now, something I didn't do at 13.

  14. I've learned new ways to define myself. I've decided my opinions on important topics, so now I can safely call myself a pro-choice, Democrat, pro-gay rights, feminist, athiest teenager. Especially that last one - I have formed my own opinions of religion, instead of floating along saying "Uhh..I don't...have one?". This has drastically changed me and the way I precieve the world.

  15. Canada happened. I know by the time I move there, I'll be 15, but all of this, the pre-Canada? That all happened while I was 14, and if I may say so myself, I've dealt with it (or I will deal with it) better than some 14-year-olds I know would or could. I've mentally prepared for a whole year that this is my Trini tour coming to an end, and now it's crunch time, when I actually have to live through it. Living here has changed my life. Just look at what's happened in one year of being here, let alone all three.


~
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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Painted Nails and Rain Delays

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Our Detroit Tigers were scheduled to play against the Chicago White Sox today, but because of rain in Chicago, the game was delayed by three hours. While hanging out in our living room, my mom and I (sans Tony, he was at Lucas') did a whole mess of things to occupy our time, like:

  1. I took off my red nail polish (left over from prom) and put on black. Dr. K. makes goth comments whenever I have black nails at school, but they give me a weird kind of condfidence that other colors can't.

  2. WGN, the channel meant to be showing the Tigers game, showed old retro shows while we waited. Today, they were showing "I Dream of Jeannie", a show I've never watched before but instantly fell in love with. The show is about a woman, Jeannie, who is literally a genie in a bottle. She has to pretend to be married to her "master", the guy who found her lamp. She can use all her genie powers by simply nodding her head, but she has to keep it a secret. Hilarity ensues.

  3. An episode of Wife Swap (we had to leave the TV on all afternoon, waiting for the game, hence all the TV on this list) was on, where an etiqutte teacher switched places with a mom who couldn't care less about keeping clean. This spawned conversations about who in our extended family would switch with whom, and what type of woman would my mom switch with.

  4. In planning my/Maria's birthday/going away party, I made a list of songs we MUST have played at the party, including, "Don't Stop Believing", by Journey, and "Africa", by Toto - this spawned (I used that word once already. Ah well) a *heated* conversation with Eoin about what constitutes a boring party. I refuse to allow five hours of soca at my party, since it all sounds the same, but he claims too much retro music is lame. HERMPH!

  5. My mom, feeling slackish for sitting in front of the TV for so long, decided that during each adbreak, she would organize something. So far, she's done end tables, the desk from the kitchen, and the TV cupboard full of casettes.

  6. We watched the last section of Grease - "We'll Always Be Together", and "You're The One That I Want" - complete with "hoo-hoo-hooo, HONEY"ing. 'Nuff said.

  7. I discovered that my Dad pre-ordered Sims 3 for me back in December as a Christmas present. He had forgotten to tell me, and I only found out today when my mom CASUALLY dropped it into conversation. Read posts below (i.e. So you've got the God Complex) if you don't already know about my addiction to Sims. That should give you an idea of how big this news is to me.

  8. Shada lazed around, acting like the cat she thinks she is. Her mood this afternoon reflected ours.

  9. I realized that every once in a while, you should just take a day. I know this is prime exam studying time, and that that's what everyone else I know is doing, but before I get into The Crunch, I'm taking today as my relaxing day, and it's been pretty fabulous, rain delays and all.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Junebug

Every three years, we pack up and move to a new place. We leave our current post in late June, after school gets out. My birthday + exams + packout + school ending = one hell of a June. I call it the Junebug. Everyone is hyped up and stressed out (mostly me and my mom) and everything seems so rushed. The teachers freak out because there are seven school days left, no one has taught everything they needed to teach, people get sick from doing so much work, we try to plan birthday parties and going away parties, and it's just one big explosion of energy. The Junebug, not an old 50's style of dancing. And this happens every third June of my life, without fail, and of course, it's happening again this year. Only this particular June, it's magnified, because Tony's graduating.

It's still hard to believe my big old brother is going off to college. He still seems too young to go. Like someone is taking him away before he's ready and he'll just crawl into a corner and die there. Of course, I know he won't. He'll have a ball at college, he'll get all politically active and meet awesome new people. But it's a marker as to how much my family and my life have changed over the last couple years.

My mom always says that the Chinese believe that every 12 years, you start a new period of your life. Sitting in the boiling Spanish room this afternoon, ignoring "Do your workk, goiyes" and trying not to fall asleep, I thought about this. From the time I was born until I turned 12, my life was relatively linear, with the same setup, plus the occasional international move. My mom worked, first as an English teacher, and later as a diplomat, and my dad was a stay-at-home dad, as a carpenter, and later got regular work hours as an editor. I think of this period of time as my childhood. I know I'm still technically a kid now, but this was steroetypical childhood (and later, puberty) - playing with Legos and Hot Wheels in Tony's room, having my ridiculously long platinum blonde hair, and not really caring about the outside world.

Then I turned 12, and we moved to Trinidad. And that was when everything changed in my life. My dad, who had found his niche at an NGO in Dhaka, couldn't find work here, so he moved to DC, and now, two years later, they're divorced. We moved houses, from our dingy Fairways house that will always remind me of my father, to this new Westmoorings one, which makes me want to have people over and which my dad has never seen.

My mom has become an independent single woman, taking care of Tony and I by herself, and preparing for our move to Winnipeg, the first time in 25 years she's moved without my dad. Tony's grown into a real adult, drinking booze around the house and having a serious girlfriend. I don't quite know how I've changed. I got my ears pierced, twice. Got braces on and off. Met The Core. I like to think I've matured at least a little. I know I've definitely become more opinionated and more politically aware. I followed the elections and inaguaration carefully, the first time in my life I understood what was going on.

The American regime of Republicans (technically just one Republican) in office ended. We had another Olympics.

We're moving to Canada. Canada, and then the US, represent my next twelve, until I'm 24. I see them as the place where I'll really become independent, learning to drive, moving out and going to college. So maybe the Chinese are right, maybe each 12-year segment of your life is a new start, a fresh leaf, of sorts. Though it seems like a long time to wait for your life to be overturned again, so much has already happened in the first three years of my second segment - what does that say for the other nine I have yet to live through?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Promenade of June 6th

Laaast night here in TNT was our school prom. On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being "I was bored out of my mind", 10 being "I never wanted to leave" - I had about a 6. I wasn't particularly bored, because a lot was going on, but having just got back from Matura, I was pretty exhausted. We went out Leatherback turtle tagging (I'll write a later post about all of this in a while) - left the inn where we stayed at 7, left the beach at 1 am, getting back to the rooms and asleep around 3. We got up 3 hours later, to go on a relatively streneous hike (the one the previous day was more work) before leaving Matura and coming back to Port of Spain. I got home, showered, packed my bags, and an hour later had to leave the comforts of my room for a friend's house, to get ready for el prom.

I don't know where the tradition of getting ready with friends started, but I appreciate it. It's generally my favorite part of any party, except for when you crash into bed afterwards. Though tensions were running high at one point, it always feels good to get doled up all purty like. It's a self esteem boost that everyone deserves once in a while. That's why it's called "Prom", though. It's a promenade. It's an event where you put on makeup, shave your legs, straighten your hair, paint your nails, all for the purpose of showing off to the people around you. You strut around for hours looking gorgeous to get attention, and hopefully have some fun doing it. I leaned over and said to someone last night, "Aww, how cute, look at the freshmen with their feathers all plucked and noice." We turn into peacocks, displaying our colors for the sole purpose of having people look at us.

After arriving at prom, it was the usual "ohmigodd you look soooo prettyyy" comments to pass around, the posed pictures to be taken, and all the people to greet. I'll agree with Ed and James, I wasn't a fan of the repetitive soca music. Soca is relatively hard to define, actually. It's loud and pouding and it's only purpose is to get your toes tapping and your booty wiggling. It's played 'round the clock at Carnival, a national three-day party every March. Its perfect niche is at someone's dance birthday party, or, obviously, at Carnival. Prom, though, is another thing. Again, see Ed and Jamie's blogs for the whole description, but I'll just say that in comparison to American proms, it was pretty out of place. Come to think of it, though, in comparison to a Trini "school dance", it was exactly what you'd expect. The Trinis don't really know any better. They don't know that in the States, a live band is hired, who plays a balanced mix of fast and slow songs, and the night is more about socialzing (and electing prom royalty) then it is about dancing. To Trinidadians, any event where people get doled up, get together, and get funky requires some hard soca music. But I've come to the point in my three years where I've come to expect these sort of things from Trinidad, and I wasn't really surprised (though not entirely happy) when it was four hours of soca and 15 minutes of slow songs.

Now, after last week's madness, I have a nice, short, three day week, because there's yet another of those miscellaneous Trini holidays on a Thursday. I get to relax for these three days, and then begin the exam crunch - the two weeks where we're in lockdown as we attempt to pass some classes. Expect a birthday related post for my 15th, and a contemplative one about how best to do My Finale.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

"Oh, and you're lost, too, did you know?"

Here comes a post out of guilt. I haven't blogged since early May, for a lot of reasons, most importantly the play, "Fools" (for a long description, check Ed's blog, yet again). So I'll ramble until I find something to talk about, eh?

Things are weird in my life right now. Firstly, I've realized that I use the word "weird" too much. But other than that, I'm stuck in what feels like the longest week of my life. With a Biology test, the Matura trip, followed quickly by prom, it was already packed. Now, however, it's become worse, because I stayed home sick today. I'm not all that sick, actually, it's just that my white blood cells were slacking, causing my (adrenal glands to oversec--HA, just kidding) Kleenex box (phew!) to empty faster than my house of plants. A little explanation: we can't take any of our 5 billion plants to Cyanadia, so we're selling them all tonight and over the next few days.

On the topic of the moving process, I've decided to take my blog in a new direction, and this is the post to announce it. After making my and James' radio documentary (entitled "LOL"), and chatting about it at Spaghetti Night, I realized that a blog is not a diary, like I've been (sort of) treating mine. Don't get me wrong, I'll still keep my personal voice going, but talk about more the events in my life than just my random thoughts. Plus, now that I'm moving to Winterpeg, my blog will be a good source for my friends to know what's ACTUALLY happening during the move and once we get there, rather than the "BEBEE! MOMMAAA! I MISS YOUUU! I LOVE YOUUU! HOW'S CANADA?!? GOOOOD! COOOLLDD!" MSN conversation Jamie and I will have (but I'll love those too, Bebe :D). So, on that note:

Technically, by definiton, I'm what you call a "Third Culture Kid". I've figured out that since one parent can have Culture A (say, Latina), and the other can have Culture B (say, Russian), if you grow up with a mix of these cultures, plus all the other ones, you have Culture C, or are a Third Culture Child. Since my 'rents are American and English, and I only sort of identify with these, I get to be in the C group. It's a relatively small collection of kids, from what I've seen, but who knows, maybe they all hang out somewhere I've never been.

Long story short, I'm terrified of going to a local school in Canada, my first non-international one in eight years. In those schools (ASW - American School of Warsaw; AISD - American International School of Dhaka; and ISPS - International School of Port of Spain), kids coming and going every two or three years was common and expected. Getting five to ten new kids at the start of a new year wasn't a big surprise. But in American public schools, getting a new kid (god forbid in the middle of the year) is like an alien coming. I told my cousin's friend that I lived in Dhaka, and she asked a) "Where's Duckland?" and b) "Do they wear underwear there?". Case in point. Now, I've never been to Canada, so I wouldn't know, but being a private, non-international school, I wonder what exactlyt those Kanucks'll think of me? Will they, like small-town Michiganers, alienate me because I've lived abroad my whole life?

My mom and I were talking yesterday about using the public library in her hometown of Marysville, Michigan. I confessed how I feel so awkward going there, because everyone is cold and not all too friendly. She responded that all Marysville residents are like that if they don't know your family three generations back. But they do. My mom was born and raised in Marysville, just like her mom, and her mom, and her mom. They're like one of those old Southern families with a plantation, except they live in the North (and don't have a plantation). But because my mom is the scandalous one who lives in all these far-off places, her kids are like unknown travelers to the rest of the town. At Christmas, I was standing in my cousin's (whose name is Shayleigh, or Shay, to make this story easier) driveway with one of her friends (whose name escapes me, but who I'll call Ashley (since they all seem to be called that)). They were chatting it up, blah blah, boys and makeup, when Ashley said to Shay, "How long is your family here?". I had no clue what she meant, so assuming she meant Shay's OTHER family (as in, her dad's side (since her mom and my mom are sisters)), I stayed quiet. Shay then said, "I dunno", turned to me, and said, "How long are you here?" I told her, and she turned back to her friend and repeated my answer. Her friend "ohh"-ed, and the conversation continued. It was one of the most odd experiences of that trip - it was if the friend thought Shay would have to translate for me. Like, just because I live somewhere else, means I speak a different language too.

But I guess the majority of my mom's family plain doesn't get our lifestyle. Take my grandma, for instance, who knew we lived in Warsaw, but never said what country it was in, thought Bangladesh and India were the same thing, and now has given up on remembering the name "Trinidad" and instead asks how life is on "your island".

Kay, I'm now realizing this is a pretty epic post, but I wanted to make up for my month of absence. To concluuuude my rambling about my life: it's a weird (SEE? SAID IT AGAIN) way to live, but it's my way of living, and I'm okay with it, for now. As for the theory that we Thirdies (heh. hehe.) will have issues with staying in one place for more than 3 years, we'll have to see, eh? See - already talking like a Canadian.

PS: Thought I should add this. The title for this post came from a Spag Night conversation, when we were definining Thirdies and how I, apparently, am one. I said how weird this name was, and how it's such a label, when Mr. Kaster turned to me and said, "Oh, and you're lost, too, did you know?". "Shucks." I replied. "That sucks."