Home is where you feel at home and are treated well.
Time seemed to fly past the windows of our classroom. Everything that we needed (or wanted) was contained within the large plastic desks that surrounded us. The kind that open from the top. The kind that you could turn upside down to remove the contents; spilling papers and spelling books all over the floor. When we entered that classroom the outside seemed to melt away.
There was nothing special about it by itself really. It was what we brought to it that made it special, and to me, a shy 9 year-old coming from a school that I was ready to leave, it was exactly what I needed. That room on the third floor was like a box that had been lifted from the rest of the school, like everything revolved around it. It was as sheltered as it was safe, and as removed as it was central to our young Fenn careers. Everything we did “outside” seemed to affect us, just not in the same way that it did while we were there. We never cared if we spent a whole hour spelling the same few words over and over again because we enjoyed it. We had it all, we had our futures at Fenn ahead of us, and we had eachother, and that room brought us together.
That classroom became me home, my starting point, my introduction to what I would become over the next six years. That room was the building block that I started the beginning of my adolescent life. That room makes me nostalgic. Thinking about that room makes me nostalgic, almost painfully so. What that classroom represents to me now was the potential that I had at Fenn, the potential that we all had at Fenn, and if I could be put back into those shoes, the shoes of that fourth grader leaving that room, I wouldn't have done anything differently.
My WW Fenn presentations have never been in an attempt to win. I never wanted them to be. It was always for me to prove to myself that I could come through with this under talking. Public speaking and memorization are two of my least favorite things, which always makes this personally challenging. What this years contest will be for me is again facing my fears and puting in that effort that will prove to myself that I can do it.
What gives a snow day its exciting charm is the unpredictability and spontaneous arrival. I remember when I was younger standing in front of the T.V. watching the little banner along the bottom of the news station in hopes that "The Fenn School - Closed" would slide along the bottom. I would instantly turn around and run to the mud room to gear up and go and play in the snow. What has become of those nostalgic memories of New England winters is now much different. That unpredictability has been lost with advances in weather technology and forecasts, and frankly four in under a week seems a little excessive considering this area is no stranger to large storms like this. I know that the charm is lessened with the interference to weekly schedules and projects, something that I didn't have to be concerned about way back when. What these days off did give me a some time to get into Moby Dick and work on my WW Fenn piece.
Getting into Moby Dick has been challenging and slow-going to start, but it has ultimately been paying off as I become increasingly attached to it the more I read. These snow days have been the perfect opportunity to really spend some time with it.
The captain laid strewn out across his hammock, passed out from the night before. He was woken by the sudden jarring of the vessel that threw him to the ground. He kicked away empty bottles, as has he could find anymore solace drifting through their glass rims. His cloths were tarnished with the stink of liquor. While mustering the strength to pull himself to his feet he was startled by a rapping on door of his cabin. Who stood in the doorway was his second-born son: Willoughby. Willoughby was a stately lad, strong and well spoken. He was assertive and decisive, almost stern at times, yet he possessed the compassion which his father lacked. He was not more the seventeen, but gained the respect of the crew. “If this how you choose to spend your days and nights, then there is not I can do to stop you”
The best decision I have ever made was to enroll at The Fenn School for my fourth grade year. I would not have wanted to spend those six years anywhere else. What I found was community, friendship, and a sense of place that I have not found anywhere else. Over the years both my teachers and my peers have shaped who am. Every single experience I have had there has changed who I am, and that makes going to school there become a lifestyle rather than just a day-to-day requirement.
I am so grateful that I have been privileged with the ability to travel the world. It has allowed me to experience the beauty of the world and immerse myself in other cultures, and those collective experiences have taught me a lot about my life. This viewpoint has taught me to be grateful, caring and respectful. I have discovered on my journeys a lot about myself and how different my life is.
Travel has allowed me to see extreme poverty and unimaginable beauty, happy people and burdened people, and sometimes people who are both. These experiences have given me a way to put my life into perspective. Stepping into an orphanage in East Africa I was met by lively excited faces. Faces that seemed alone in this world. Faces that might have seen starvation; that still might see it. We handed out school supplies that we had in our house, and, until that point, had taken for granted. These items were things I didn’t even think about at home, but were luxuries for these orphans. I have seen the sun rise from behind the ancient rock formation of Kata Tjuta in the Australian outback and the rich, breathtaking colors that formed as the sun rose over the horizon. As the sun rose over the edge of the earth, the light turned from red to purple to blue. I have seen children carrying huge water jugs on their heads, and loaded down with vegetables so that they could provide for their families in places, like Peru and Morocco, and contemplated what it would be like to have to provide for my family at the age of six or seven.
To experience other places and cultures in person has given me an intimate, and raw perspective unlike reading about them in a book or seeing them in a video. I have been lucky to experience people, food, and art in other cultures. This has given me a passion for continuing to travel and a gratitude for the things that I used to take for granted. I am so privileged to have seen what I’ve seen and I am grateful for the chance to reflect on my own life.