Starting Somewhere (new)

Day 4

19th of October 2016 – 9 pm

Brushing my hair

 

Have you ever seen the movie Frozen? Don’t worry, this has nothing to do with the movie, but do you remember Sven? The reindeer? Well, if you don’t: basically, there is a friendly reindeer called Sven. Ok, now I’m done with Frozen.

 

Now here’s what I wanted to tell you about Sven:

 

So this morning was the very first day of school with Katherine, my host. If I were, to sum up how it went with one word I would say: tumultuous. You’re probably about to pull our a dictionary but wait… I was just about to explain what it means. Tumultuous is chaotic and loud and turbulent. Everyone felt the same way about the first day. Katherine has 8 or 9 classes a day! Each class is 55 minutes, and her breaks in between are only 3 minutes. Then you have her lunch break, which is a little less than half an hour.

 

Since we aren’t used to it, we felt as if we were moving classes every ten minutes. We would sit down, do an activity or two, and there goes the bell! Oh, and have I mentioned how these students have adapted? The second the bell rings, the whole class shoots out of their seats and into the hallway. In a split second, they’re up and gone – no joke! They also speed walk everywhere. I could barely catch up with them.

 

Even though the day was tumultuous, I met tons of people. All of Katherine’s friends asked me questions, as well as a bunch of random curious people. I loved talking to everyone there and failing at remembering all the names that were hurtled at me and laughing at myself with others. It felt like moving to a new school. It felt like making new friends all over again. It almost felt like I had a new life in some other place away from home.

 

Am I going to be remembered as that same person two years from now? Are they even going to remember my name? Probably not. But I might as well enjoy it while I’m here.

 

Anyway, after school, Katherine came to pick me up at the principle’s office. We all had to be checked out to make sure we were with our hosts. Surprisingly I talked a lot more with Katherine than I’m used to. I’m usually quite shy with other people. Especially new people. We walked down the maze they call their school, and down to the parking lot.

 

Right before we stopped, Katherine affirmed: “This is Sven, and oh he rides a van. Get ready to listen to music from the eighties.” She giggled briefly before she looked around and pointed at a silver vehicle in the distance. I’m not sure if I thought she was joking or not, so I just smiled.

 

As the dusty van pulled up, I got a glimpse of who I assumed Sven was. The window at the driver’s seat was pulled down. I saw a pale face with dirty, golden strands of hair cascading down on both sides of his face, reaching the length of his shoulders. His eyes were shallow blue and his smile was friendly. He kind of reminded me of my brother, Unai. The same hair; almost the same smile.

 

Next to him was a younger boy, also with long blond hair. His hair was shorter, though. He sat next to him and his feet were up on the dashboard. He was wearing light gray Nike shoes that made his eyes look more gray than blue. Much later I realized his name was Nils and that he was half German, half American.

 

Katherine opened the door that slid open sideways on rusty hinges. “Typical,” I whispered to myself. She climbed into the back, struggling while doing so. I hopped into the van, not having said anything to Sven yet. As I sat down onto the stuffy seats, I guessed that I had to close the door, since I was the last one stepping inside. I pressed a weird-looking button situated on the handle of the door. The button released the clutch that held onto the door. It slid slowly and I tugged on it slightly to get it going faster. With a dull thud-click, it closed.

 

Sven turned around and opened the door again, that seemed to not have closed well enough. He slid it open and pulled on it harder than I thought he would. The door closed this time with a satisfying click. Not a dull one. Still looking backward, Sven sparked a conversation. “Hi there, my name is Sven.”

 

I looked straight at him. He was tall and I assumed he was about 18. “I’m Amaia. Nice to meet you, Sven.” He smiled. He looked very welcoming, or maybe he was just in a good mood today; who knows.

 


 

This is Nils sitting in the front with his feet up.

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Starting Somewhere (new)

Day 3

18th of October 2016 – 5:45 pm

Sitting on the floor with Oliver.

 

Since I forgot to tell you about what we did Yesterday, I decided to start this blog from the hotel we stayed at.

 

As you might remember, my last blog post is about my second day. Well, actually my first day in Lousiana, because I start the story from the day we get on the plane. But anyway, the day before yesterday I stayed at the hotel and roomed with Patricia. I talked about how we got up in the morning and got ready to eat breakfast. (If you’re asking yourself what in the world I am talking about, then, buddy, scroll down to where it says posted in Journal Entries – Starting Somewhere (new) – LSU and under that you will find an area that says tagged. Click on day 2 and it will take you to the blog post before this one).

 

Now continuing where I had left off:

 

After the struggle of waking Patricia up that took place a few minutes ago, we traced our steps that we took last night to find our way downstairs. Still a little bit tired, we made our way to the breakfast area. Not very surprisingly we found the rest of our classmates sitting at their tables. The atmosphere of the eating place was almost drowsy: everything and everyone was tired.

 

We were told that we could only take the food with the yellow stickers on it. This limited us from the wide variety of choices they provided. Taking a plate, we scanned the buffet laid in front of us. Luckily, I wasn’t very hungry. In fact, my stomach was twisting and turning like when you go on a roller coaster. But then again, I haven’t actually been on many roller coasters. I’m just assuming that’s what if feels like.

 

I looked down at my choices. A small bowl of cereal, milk in a carton box, and an apple. Not very distinctive to an ordinary breakfast. I guess it was fine.

 

We looped around occupied tables and found the spot we were all happy with. “I’m so nervous,” Olivia stated, “we’re going to meet our hosts today!” I’m not sure if it was the table that sparked our conversation or if it was just a random coincidence. The families were going to come at 11:00 am. The fact that it was already 9:40 ish made my stomach feel even weirder. All of a sudden, the meal didn’t seem as appetizing as it did before.

 


 

We rushed down the hallway to our rooms. Twenty minutes left to pack and go downstairs. Everyone seemed nervous, even Jenny, who never seems to be nervous when meeting new people. As we entered our room, Patricia went to her bed and laid down, face flat on her pillow. I decided to neglect her; I decided to pack my belongings instead.

 

Ten minutes passed and I had already done everything. I brushed my hair, packed my suitcase, charged my phone, unplugged the charger, brushed my teeth, and I even put on my shoes. I looked over at Patricia. Still on the bed. By then I was assuming she had fallen asleep.

 

I decided to go and check in on Olivia and Jenny (who had slept in another room together with Felicitas). As I walked in I found them all ready. Sitting on their beds with their phones. Even their shoes were on.

 


 

“Hey, guys!” Mr. Wallace’s deep voice almost echoed through the hallway. Luckily, there was a mat on the floor and furniture against the walls that absorbed the noise just enough to make it sound a little duller and not wake up everyone else in the hotel.

 

Most of us were in the hallway. Maybe like 12 of us? Anyway, Mr. Wallace only had to say two words to grasp our attention, and two other words that made our hearts race in our chests: “They’re here.”

 

Nervously, we strutted along. We got into the elevator and started one of those weird conversations you get when you’re worried. The conversation in which everyone agrees with whatever the other person has to say. That awkward, harmonious sound of everyone saying yeah.

 

The elevator let out a familiar noise. A ding that lets you know when the doors are going to open. At the moment I felt my heart sink into my shoes. I didn’t want the doors to open. I wanted to be trapped inside – wait for hours before we got rescued if we had to.

 

Luckily, Jenny nudged me forward. I wouldn’t have moved if she hadn’t had done that. “Are you nervous?” she asked.

 

“Maybe,” I swallowed the yes that came after that so that she couldn’t hear it.

 

Together as a pack, we walked through another identical hallway that led us to a large open room with chairs, tables, and whatnot. I shuffled along, almost shivering. I hadn’t felt this way for years. The last time I felt this nervous was the very first day of school when I came to Panama.

 

I clenched my jaws together to prevent them from saying anything stupid, or funny, or sad, or anything, really. By this time I could hear my heartbeat thudding in my ears as if it was heavy metal music from the seventies.

 

As we turned the corner I was convinced that everyone held their breath. In front of us, surely at least fifty people were socializing with each other. Talking, laughing, interacting: not noticing us yet.

 

Two seconds later, though, all eyes were laid upon us. Everyone became quiet and focussed on us. Meanwhile, I searched the room for my host, Katherine… yeah, Katherine, I think.

 

My group scattered as they found their hosts. A few seconds later I heard a voice from beside me. “Amaia?” I swung around to see three familiar faces I had skyped with about a week ago. I firmly took a few steps their way, smiling at the encounter. They were all very tall and were encouraging me to come over.

 

“Hey, Amaia!” Katherine’s mom exclaimed, “Is that how you pronounce it?” She stuck out her hand and I shook it without hesitation. “Yes, that’s right,” I simply replied. It was weird, though, because so many people mispronounce my name before I correct them. They say maya, or amia, or even ameya.

 

I looked over at Katherine. She smiled and we just said hi. She then introduced me to Olivia’s host, Jenny’s host, and Patricia’s host. It turned out that they were all best friends, so we were in luck. The conversation already started to become interesting when Katherine pointed a guy in our class out and was like: “who is he? I think he’s cute.” We all giggled and that’s how our friendship flourished.

 


 

This was us when we arrived at the Lousiana airport at around midnight:

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Starting Somewhere (new)

Day 2:

17th of October 2016 – 9:50 am

Just had breakfast at the hotel.

 

Have you ever tried to describe how hard waking up really is? Think about it. Waking up is harder than climbing up the Eiffel Tower with your hands tied behind your back. It’s harder than doing a triple backflip and landing perfectly. It’s harder than winning la Tour de France; I think you get the point here. Well, waking up is a struggle. I struggle, you struggle; we all struggle with it, trust me. But no one in this world struggles more than Patricia. She could sleep and sleep and sleep and sleep if she was allowed to.

 


 

So here’s how my day went.

 

Yesterday we boarded the plane; it turned out to be a four-hour flight, instead of a two-hour one (what they had told me originally). Don’t get me wrong: I love flights or rides; trips in general. Especially when you’re with people you like and can socialize with.

 

After what seemed like a long time, we got off the plane. It was around midnight when the LSU school bus came to pick us up. It wasn’t only the clock that told us that, though. We all went to the restrooms and the mirrors proved to us what a plane trip we had. Hair was everywhere, our eyes were itchy red, and it seemed like we hadn’t slept for days. We all took one glance and were grateful we weren’t meeting our hosts looking like this.

 

Now back to the bus. Never in my life had I seen such a stereotypical yellow bus from the states. It was exactly how they are described in the movies. It was big, had the words School Bus printed on the side with big bold letters and the seats were like benches covered in a gray coating of some sort. To my surprise, it had air conditioning.

 

As we found a seat, Jenny kept chatting about how this bus brought her back so many memories. How she lived in Colorado, and how she would ride this bus every day to school. One thing was clear: this bus was a little piece of her childhood. I wish I had such memories to share.

 

The bus ride passed quickly. We got off the magic school bus and before I knew it we were in our hotel rooms. I was paired with Patricia. Clarissa snuck into another room; more space for us, I guess. We spent a while talking. About the hotel room. About our homework. About how excited we were to meet our guests. About how we should set an alarm for tomorrow morning at around 8. About how comfortable our beds were. About how chilly it was getting. About how we might turn off the lights but keep talking.

 

That was the last thing we said. Neither of us had the energy to pronounce another word. Not even goodnight. We slept at 2:30 ish am.

 


 

I squinted letting a little bit of light into my eyes. I rubbed them and checked the time: 7 am. I lay there for ten minutes trying to mentally prepare myself to get out of bed.

 

One thing that’s weird about me is that I have this thing I call an alarm clock inside my head. I know it’s weird, but hear me out: when I go to bed and have to wake up at a certain time the next morning, I tell myself that, because that’s how my brain knows I have to put an alarm clock. After I do that, I fall asleep, dream, and do all the normal stuff people do when sleeping. But here’s the odd part: the next morning, no matter what time it is, I will wake up at least five minutes before my alarm goes off. Isn’t that weird?

 

And don’t think this has only happened once, oh no, I have done this so many times that my hypothesis has become a theory. Anywhere at anytime it happens.

 

But back to the main point, I woke up and it took me a while to sit up. I glanced over at the other bed in the room and saw Patricia sound asleep, tangled in her blankets and pillows. It was 7:15 so I decided that she still had some time to sleep since we had breakfast at around 9.

I took at shower, changed clothes, brushed my teeth (I was feeling a little bit gross), unpacked the things I needed for today, read a few pages of The Perks of Being a Wallflower which, by the way, is a really good book so far, and I even went to Jenny’s and Olivia’s hotel room. But Patricia just kept sleeping.

 

By the time I got back, it was 8:20. Time for Patricia to wake up.

 

I quietly said her name and shook her slightly to wake her up. She didn’t say a word. I tried again with a little more effort. Suddenly, she opens her eyes and looks at me as if I shouldn’t have woken her up.

 

Her squeaky voice brought out: “What time…is it…?”.

 

“8:20,” I said, “breakfast is around 9.”

 

She closed her eyes and I think I saw her nod slightly. “ok,” she said with her last breath “good night.” She turned around and fell asleep.

 

“She’s not waking up anytime soon,” I sighed.

 

I let her sleep another twenty minutes before I texted Jenny to ask her if she could come “rescue Patricia from her sleep”. Sure she did.

 

Now, Jenny has a way of doing things. She came into the room, talking loud as if I was sitting ten meters away. She saw Patricia and went: “Patty, wake up. You have twenty minutes to get ready because breakfast is gonna be ready at 9.” She sat on her bed and almost shook her awake.

 

And that’s how we managed to wake up sleeping beauty on the first day in Louisiana.

Starting Somewhere (new)

Day 1:

16th of October 2016 – 2:15 am

Made it to the hotel alive, but tired. Almost ready to go to sleep.

 

“Wouldn’t it be weird,” Kepa remarked, “to live with a other family.” He glanced up from his dinosaur toys, his gaze finding its way around the clothes and mess I had made in my room. I stopped briefly to understand what he had just said.

 

“First of all,” I commented, “it’s an-other family.” I paused a minute or two so that he could respond. He didn’t. So I decided to continue. “Yeh, I guess.”

 

Kepa looked back down at these plastic toys that brought him joy. He continued with his sound effects and blocked me out of his world, yet again. I didn’t want him to just look away. Why wasn’t he asking me what I really felt? I kept looking at him, waiting for him to look back up at me. To rewind what he just said, and do it all again, but this time in the way I was expecting.

 

He didn’t. That was the last conversation we had since the day I left. That and a goodbye.

 

I thought of it as I waved goodbye to my family. I thought of it as I passed through security. I thought of it as I talked to my friends on the plane. I thought of it at 2 am in the morning as I was getting ready to sleep.

Goodbye…

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I was afraid. Too afraid, in fact. I couldn’t take it in. No one told me it was going to be this hard. This hard just to get two simple words out of my mouth, off my lips and into the ears of my friends. My friends. These strangers huddled around me, trying to soothe me. But those words meant nothing to me. Just a collection of letters, knotted together, without true meaning. The strangers got close. But who were they? Did I even know them?

A friend: “A person with whom one has a mutual affection.” Affection: ” A gentle feeling of fondness or liking.” To like: “To find agreeable, enjoyable or satisfactory.” Yeah, that’s what the dictionary classifies them as. These strangers were friends. Friends that had stayed with me this entire time. Friends who shared too many memories to recall and friends who knew all my deepest secrets. They were my friends.

We just stood there. We could see the tears in our eyes, the misery on our faces. We cuddled closer, not allowing a single breath to escape the bubble. We held on. Tight. We were all afraid to let go, but we all knew we had to.

I was crushed by that thought. I didn’t and wouldn’t say “goodbye”. It was a “see you later,” but I couldn’t lie. Not to my friends, not to myself. And that was when the shower of pain and sorrow cascaded onto us. We cried, and sobbed and wept until our lungs were dry and our eyes had no more tears to shed. We felt each other’s love spill out on us. They weren’t only friends, they were family. And family never gets left behind, as the saying goes.

Nothing seemed to matter at that moment. That’s when I promised I would see them again. We would have a reunion. We’d meet up one day when we were older and go backpacking together through Europe. Something we dreamed of together, something almost impossible that didn’t convince us.

Minutes, almost hours flew by, and little by little our friendship circle was torn apart. Waves of shocking thoughts washed over me. This was the last time I would see him. This was the last time I would say goodbye to her. No, I told myself, I’m not giving up, but the next thing I knew, I was walking away myself. The leftover tears stung my eyes like needles covered in lemonade, blinding me, making that afternoon nothing but a vast memory.

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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Book Review

Novel by Sherman Alexie

Review by Amaia van Dommelen

 

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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a young adult novel written by Sherman Alexie. This novel is one of his more recent books that he has published, yet it’s known worldwide, as well as the books: Flight, Thunder Boy Jr., and Blasphemy. Most of his writing is drawn from his personal experiences from his childhood when he lived on the Spokane Indian Reservation. This book is a coming of age novel, with a genre of bildungsroman, and a humorous tone. Targeted for teenagers and young adults, this book talks about issues that many of them face daily, including the relationship to, and separation from, parents and family, love and sexuality/gender norms, cultural and racial background, expectations, and much more.

 

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is about a fourteen-year-old boy named Arnold Spirit Junior, who was born hydrocephalic, or as he describes it “I was born with too much cerebral spinal fluid inside my skull. But cerebral spinal fluid is just the doctors’ fancy way of saying brain grease.” (1). He had trouble making friends and fitting in with his Indian society in the reservation, but that wasn’t enough to stop him from speaking to the world. In his free time, he draws cartoons of everything: his sister, his school, and even his best friend, Rowdy. So he drew, and drew, and drew until the day he decided to take another path that wasn’t yet paved for him. Arnold changed schools, abandoning his family, friends and even his childhood. As he starts spending more and more time away from home, more problems seem to arise.

 

Emotionally, his life becomes exhausted to carry around with ongoing bricks piling on top. Everyone seems to turn on him, for the people in the rez start considering him a “part-time Indian”, but life at his new school isn’t pleasant either. There, he gets picked on by the other guys for being the odd one out of the bunch. Just when Arnold starts feeling helpless, his life changes when he punches the meanest bully of them all. That’s when he realizes his inner strengths he never knew he had. Only then he gets accepted into the all-white school society.

 

In the book, the protagonist, Arnold, grows up to learn the truth behind his reservation and life as a Native American. In his school, at the Spokane Indian Reservation, his teacher, Mr. P, unfolds a secret before Arnold’s eyes: “We were supposed to make you give up being Indian. Your songs and stories and language and dancing. Everything. We weren’t trying to kill Indian people. We were trying to kill Indian culture” (35). But before Arnold can respond, Mr. P becomes a positive role model and suggests he leaves the rez for education, because he sees Arnold’s inner potential of fulfilling his life as an Indian. “But not you,” Mr. P said. “You can’t give up. You won’t give up. You threw that book in my face because somewhere inside you refuse to give up. If you stay on this rez, they’re going to kill you. I’m going to kill you. We’re all going to kill you. You can’t fight us forever” (43).

 

As his teacher suggests, he takes the risk and finds a way out of the reservation. Arnold doesn’t have anyone to talk about his worries or problems, so he finds an alternative way. The only way he can cope with all this pressure is by drawing. “I draw because words are too unpredictable. I draw because words are too limited.”(5) he writes, explaining how his form of expression is through cartoons.

 

This book was woven together with a sense of humor, but with a deep message that runs through the entire novel. It is a great example of a coming of age novel, because of all the realistic themes introduced in the book that are recognized in the daily lives of teenagers. When reading it, you live along with the main characters, taking their place in the story. The book keeps you engaged, and once you pick it up, the story’s words take you off your feet and you don’t put it down until you finish. I would strongly recommend this book to teenagers who are having a hard time growing up and deciding who they want to be. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a captivating book you’ll never forget.

The Pack I belong to

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At home, there is a way things flow. When someone asks me what my family is like, I simply respond: connected. At home I feel comfortable talking about many things with my dad, brothers and mom. We work as a web, bouncing ideas and thoughts off each other. We talk and talk and talk and talk for what feels like forever, until we know each other’s stories like the back of our hands. If there’s a problem, we all face it. When one of us is sad, we all shed tears together and feel each other’s pain. When one of us is happy, we all share the pleasant feeling of warmth and laughter as we sing and dance to the songs my parents used to sing when we were little. The songs my dad used, to learn the hispanic language. Those rhythmic songs with words that sound like woven silk in a language we learned as babies.

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My mom is like the sun, shining bright, lighting the dark paths for others. She’s always active and laughing at the smallest jokes others make. She’ll try to make you smile when you’re feeling blue, but it’s not her joke that will crack you up, it’s the effort she puts into it. She’s the kind of person who will crank her favourite song up on the radio and sing the memorised lyrics at the top of her lungs.

 

My dad is like the moon. He’s gentle, but very practical in ways. He sees the world through lenses of knowledge and tells the best stories in the family. He’s up at dawn and doesn’t stop ’till dusk. He’ll have your back, but encourage you to stray from the path and explore the world beyond our sight. he’s the kind of person who isn’t afraid to loosen his reins a little more.

 

My brothers are like the stars. They’re the same, yet polar opposites in so many ways. They’re always asking questions and looking forward, gathering the most they can. They can become arch-enemies and three seconds later, best friends. They protect each other like no others. They’ll listen to every word you say and support you if they believe its right. They’ll roll down hills of grass barefooted, and come back smelling like dogs.

 

And then there’s me. Quiet, yet full of wisdom and curiosity. Constantly examining the beauty of the natural world through adventure. I’m up for the craziest things, as long as my family is by my side. We’re a pack. And I’m happy, grateful to have such a great family near me. They’re literally everything I could’ve wished for, but I hope nothing changes. I hope, because I’m worried. No, I’m scared. I don’t want them to change. I want to make us last forever.

Chocolate Thief

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Maybe I did eat that last piece of chocolate on the top shelf of the fridge. Maybe I did it deliberately. Maybe it was a mistake. We all have habits and do things that bother our siblings, right? Ok. So, I did eat that Milk Oreo Chocolate that we all had such a fond of, and, in fact, it was the best piece of creamy sweetness I had ever had in my entire life.

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At first no one noticed I was in the kitchen, not even my parents, because I was as stealthy as a fox. I crept into the room, carefully placing my feet in a well-thought out path that avoided all objects. I was lucky everyone was busy doing work and listening to music. As I walked passed the sitting room, I scanned the empty kitchen eagerly. I looked on the shelves, in the cupboards, and on the table. Nope, nothing worth eating.

If you know me well enough, you’ll know that I will eat certain foods when I’m in a certain mood. Kind of like a matching game, you know? When I come home from doing sports, I always feel like eating fruit. When I come home tired I’ll eat something simple and quick. When I’m starving I tend to eat a bowl of cereal, and when I’m too stuffed to even think of food, I just drink a glass of fresh milk. Occasionally, though, I will be in a very cheerful and hyper mood, and that’s when I eat toast with butter and chocolate sprinkles. Yes, that’s a thing, and you should seriously try it sometime.

That day when I came home it felt like an exception, you know? Like one of those days that you feel on top of the world. Like one of those scenes in the movies where everyone is happy and nothing can go wrong. Like when you sit down to do your homework, but you realise you already finished it. That’s exactly what I felt like: as if nothing or no one could ruin my day. I almost felt like rewarding myself for being such a great person (don’t ask me why).

Anyway, I snuck into the kitchen and my next instinct told me to go look in the fridge to see what tasty snacks the cold closet would offer me. As I outlined the objects that lay before me, my mind pointed out a piece of chocolate wrapped in a plastic wrapping with five clear letters on it: MILKA. Now, if you’re asking yourself what in the world MILKA is, you got to be joking right? Tie a ribbon around your finger and read this: MILKA is the best chocolate you’ll ever try in your life. It’s almost to die for.

So basically, I snuck the very last piece of MILKA chocolate into my room and ate it myself. Go ahead and call me selfish, but I’ve only done it once and I feel bad for what I did. Luckily they never found out, but when they do… who knows how they’ll react.

The restrictions of Uniforms

Amaia van Dommelen

Mrs. Karper

Language and Literature

May 25, 2016

The Restrictions of Uniforms

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     “Why uniforms?”, tons of students wonder as they open their closet doors to see a pile of white shirts and dull-brown pants neatly folded, ready to be used. Every morning they think the same thought, questioning why students have to show up at school with the same boring clothes, making them look like clones of one another. Uniforms limit many things, including the ability to be creative and have self confidence. Uniforms are commonly not weather appropriate, either. Most importantly, though, a staggering amount of schools have sexist uniforms. Due to these reasons, I believe that schools shouldn’t require students to wear uniforms.

 

     When growing up, students learn to be unique and how to express themselves in numerous ways. As they become older, they start to like showing their inner-selves through what they wear. Children should be able to have the freedom of self-expression. By limiting them from wearing their own clothes at school, students are less confident and are more likely to feel uncomfortable and shy. By not allowing them to wear their own clothes, students are also less likely to think creatively in their class work. Many people agree that uniforms highlight conformity, not individuality.

 

     One of the major reasons that students dislike uniforms is because they aren’t weather appropriate. A great deal of schools are located in places with tropical or warm weather. These schools prioritize the student’s formal appearance over the comfort of the students. Schools that have long trousers, as part of their uniform, restrict and discourage students to go outside during their recesses or breaks. Students with lack of movement, and time outdoors, are then less likely to focus in class and more likely to learn at a slower pace.

 

     At many schools girls and boys have distinctive uniforms. Girls might have skirts and long socks, while boys have trousers. It might seem ordinary, but not many of us recognize that this is a form of sexism. Why do girls have to wear skirts and boys pants? There is no explanation, it’s just the way things are in many places. Skirts and dresses restrict girls from running, jumping, climbing, and even sitting comfortably. Boys don’t have to worry about anything like that thanks to their uniforms. Uniforms make, especially girls, uncomfortable and restrict them from doing activities that the boys in their school do.

 

     Uniforms are boring, hot and uncomfortable clothes. Why do students have to wear them? They might look formal and orderly, but uniforms have many restrictions. There are plenty of reasons, including the ones I stated above, that support why there shouldn’t be uniforms in schools. In the end I believe that uniforms should be banned from schools. I want to wake up one morning and open my closet to see a wide variety of colorful clothes, ready to be worn to school.

 

The Lesser Bear (Ursa Minor)

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     Long ago, when the sky was still clear and the lakes were still blue, a mother bear roamed the mountainous backdrop, with her cub by her side. The grass rustled in the wind, as the cub made his way over to his patient mother. Mother had pale-chestnut fur, which kept her warm from the chilly temperatures they were used to. Her eyes, as black as graphite, reflected an undescriptible look . As the very first snowflake found its way to the ground, mother bear signaled her little bear to stay close.

     After half an hour of tiresome walking, little bear became bored. The ground was now coated in a blanket of snow, as the wet particles kept coming down. The cub lept into the snow and sniffled around in curiosity. Mother bear looked back and growled. “Don’t get distracted, stay close and follow, or the worst will take place.” Quickly, baby bear waddled to his mother. He decided to follow, but ignored what she said.

     Little bear then heard something behind him. He flung around, intrigued by the noise of a snapping twig. For what seemed like a second or two, he investigated what could’ve made that noise. After a while, he gave up. Baby bear turned around. “Mom?”, he squealed, “Mom, where are you?”. Fear struck him. The falling snow made a curtain around him, limiting him from seeing further than a few steps. Baby bear roared as hard as he could, but it was no help.

     Days later, mother bear returned in search of her son, but found him dead on the floor, coated in snow. Mother was so devastated that she lay there until the day of her own death, embracing him in her paws. The gods soon heard of Mother and Little bear, and were so sorrowful that they decided to make things better. The gods took both their souls and placed them in the sky, where they could live for eternity.

  • Amaia van Dommelen