Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A window

A combination of several current events brought this "window", this little view of my past, to mind. Reading someone else's post on her "windows", reading Harry Potter, and rain like today's always reminds me of Kijabe.

Jacob has gotten into watching the Harry Potter movies. I really don't mind. They're well made and he's learned to walk out for the scary bits. Though he did let me know that he would snuggle with me so I wouldn't be scared when the spiders came on. I decided to go back and read through the series again. I put the book down last night right at the part where Harry first gets to Hogwarts. It brought up my own boarding school experience--slightly less positive.

January 1985...just a few days into being 13 and my first week at Rift Valley Academy. I was excited and anxious at the same time. Being away from home wasn't too big of an issue. I had been home schooled the year prior in order to properly adjust schedules (British school year ran January to December while the American system was September to July and I didn't want to stay back a year). I think my mom and I were more than ready to take a break from each other. I was going to be around my peers for the first time. An entire school full of people just like me. I've often felt that the missionaries were the red headed step child of the ex-pat community. Even in Mwanza, we really didn't fit in at the yacht club even though my best friends were there.

My parents were able to take my sister and I to school that term. They wouldn't always be able to make it. For the most part we were picked up from Wilson Airport by either the school bus or our local guardians and deposited at school. But that first term, I had my mom there to help me unpack and make my bed. Something I still do to this very day--every move, I make the bed first.

The term started off innocently enough. I think arrival day was a Friday and that night there was the usual start of term festivities. Saturday night was movie night--with an appropriatly edited movie (I was well into my twenties before I ever saw an unedited version of
Romancing the Stone. Apparently Michael Douglas's mudslide landing was too spicy for young missionary children!) Then came Monday morning. In the dorms we were all assigned various chores that had to be complete each morning--in addition to keeping our rooms clean. I had never had to face that level of time management before and that morning I remember feeling very stressed and very overwhelmed. Then, one of the other girls asked if she could help. Karen, if you should ever read this, know that I remember and that to this day that little act of kindness remains in my thoughts. She made my bed for me and I made it to class on time.


Suburbia said...

That sounds scary and sad at the same time. Did it work out ok?

Thanks for coming to visit, please call again!

Gina said...

You said British school system?? Were you raised all over then, as Mwanza is in Tanzania I believe??? Your family was missionaries??? How exciting to travel so much or was it?

Isn't it funny how a simple act of kindness can be remembered a lifetime and the same goes for a simple act of meanness?

Dori said...

I'm not too scarred, if that's what you mean, Suburbia!

After lurking so long, I figured it was time to say something. Sort of takes the voyeuristic quality out of it. :)