And there was little rejoicing… and much packing.
– I’m still not done.
So far, this trip has consisted of a sum of parts, (the number of which will be determined as I write this) and yet too few of them have involved little stressing.
Part the First: In which, I learn of SAS and don’t care.
When I first heard of the idea it was through my father. His initial reaction was a cross between negativity and simple disbelief of my mother’s will to follow through. (No matter how he tells it, that is how it was.)
Here is the initial plan, as I remember it presented to me:
Dad: “So your mom thinks she’s going to take the girls around the world.”
Cameron (just in the car after ballet): “huh?”
Mom (over telephone): “Yeah! Wouldn’t that be fun?”
Dad: “Pffft. Sweetheart…”
Cameron: “I’m being left with dad…?”
And so on.
Yes, originally I was omitted, and I was fine with that. The reasoning stood that I was too focused on ballet and school and couldn’t afford to take a break. This was all true (not really). I was too focused. I am a proud 4.0 student, but that for me was not the real issue – ballet was. I was worried if I chose to leave my current path, then I might not be able to make my way back, after all, I couldn’t very well dance on a ship. And so, I took little notice – at first. After a talk with my mom, she pretty much decided that she wanted me to come anyhow. So, three days later I found myself with my mother in my school counselor’s office, with the adults going back and forth about what a great opportunity that would be, and oh it could totally work.
At that point I was fairly convinced on the first point; it would be a fantastic opportunity, getting to travel the world on a ship, taking college classes, learning about other cultures and then experiencing them. I was not however convinced on the second point. I did stress multiple times that I was not worried about the educational standpoint. I am a bright kid, and the opportunity to take college classes was of course appealing, furthermore I had had experience homeschooling in 7th and 8th grade, so whatever I could not learn in class I could surely teach myself. No, that was not the issue. The issue came from ballet.
I had come quite a ways from the days when I went to Nutcracker summer camp with Mr. Lynch. Now, I dance a grand total of fourteen-and-a-half hours each week, with classes including Ballet Technique, Variations, Modern (which I love; Ms. Stone is a fantastic teacher)*, and Pas De Deux (which is a new addition as of this year). In case you can’t do the figuring on your on, I’ll spell it out for you: Ballet is very important to me and a huge commitment that takes up much of my time (didn’t I mention that it takes 45 minutes to get to PNB from my house with light traffic). In all of this, my great concern was that a trip like this could ruin myself and the progress I have made since my four-year-old self decided he wanted to be a soldier in the Nutcracker (a feat that I barely achieved, in an interesting story, by the way). It was because of this, that at that point, I decided that even though, on second thought, I had been invited, I would not be going.
*I love ballet too of course, and tap is pretty neat, I just figured I’d make this shoutout because a year or two prior my feelings on modern were quite the polar opposite. I should also say that Mr. Yin and Mr. Gaines, my ballet teachers are also fantastic, and I would like to thank them, and Ms. Stone, for the hard work they put in to teaching us boys.
Part the Second: In which, I learn that I want to come and that bureaucracy is a pain in the *ss.
Even though my initial sentiments were that I could not leave my very busy life, my mother, still moved as though I could come, so as not to close any doors for me. This meant continuing to speak with my counselor, and getting in contact with my Ballet School Principal. It turned out that she thought that the trip was a fantastic idea, and a wonderful opportunity. I was told not to worry, and that as long as I stayed fit, and did some stretching and basic ballet stuff, I would be fine. No, Cameron, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (ugh, this word is used way too often) to travel the world does not ruin the possibility of you having a career in dance. Oh, phew. From Mr. Gaines I received a workout plan for my time on the ship, and just like that, all issues with ballet were put to rest. At that point, I knew that I wanted to go. In fact, I knew that I would go, provided that enough of our VISAS went through (talk about stress and bureaucracy).
It turned out that my school would end up being more of an issue.
I should be clear here, my teachers were great. Apparently everyone thought I was a fantastic student (which I am, of course). My Math teacher, Mrs. Anderson, was eager to send me lesson plans and school me while I was abroad. My History and English teachers too, were most excited by the prospects of reading the essays that I would come up with, whilst on my trip. In fact, they were all very willing to cooperate. (There was the exception of Chemistry, but that was for practical reasons, of course. There is simply no way that I could make up labs on my trip). Everything sounded great, until we learned about the intricacies of credit requirements for the district. I suddenly found myself in great duress, worried that I might not get to return to Inglemoor, and have to go to a private school instead. (Oh no!)
Everything went from being smooth to being a pain in the *ss – or so it seemed.
To shorten a very long story: it turns out everything will be fine. I’m going to graduate on time, and likely with my 4.0. I will have travelled the world, and I will be a prime selection for college admissions, with my impressive résumé. Unfortunately, I will not be continuing to work with my teachers back home past January. Still, it all works out, and that’s a plus.
I will not be taking any of the courses on the ship for credit, (though I could) but I will take the learning very seriously. Over the summer I will have to take Spanish at the UW, but beyond that, I will have all of the credits that I need to graduate from my past years in advanced math.
To summarize this confused section, I decided I wanted to go, and then my mother and I took the necessary steps to allow for it. (All the while the issues with the school were going on, Mom was drowning in paperwork for VISAS and medication and notary nonsense). Like I said, no part without stress.
Part the Third: in which, I finish all of the January work for Spanish in a little over a week.
This is a short part.
Yes, I finished all of the January work for Spanish, and expressed my feelings about language learning in the US to my teacher; they were sentiments, with much of which, she agreed. (Can’t end with a preposition. 🙂 )
I also received work from my History and English teachers, which I am finishing over break, and I created and presented a presentation for my Marketing class with my good friend Kaarina Tulleau, which we rocked. (Thanks for humoring me and doing the project a month-and-a-half early, by the way.)
I still haven’t finished my English and History homework, in fact I am procrastinating right now, as I write this. My mom wants it done before I go to California – actually, she wants it done even sooner. I’m not sure that I have the strength to do that though. I’d much rather hold it off until the last minute.
Part the Fourth: in which, we are currently. Packing and shopping and packing.
I have been “packing” for the past five days or so, and I’m still not done.
I’ll be honest, I haven’t really put my best effort into it. If I had wanted to, I could have taken a lot less time. The thing is, there are still things that we need, and do not yet have. I believe that after the past few days of shopping, my list is done, but Mom’s isn’t, and there are still things she needs to get.
I have, currently packed, a small carry-on size suitcase with all (well, almost all) of my clothes that I will be taking on my trip. I still need to organize toiletries, and electronics, and downloads, and such, which is probably how I will be spending my Christmas.
A Conclusion: in which, I restate my thesis and offer final bits of insight on my topic.
I would like to say here, that my original claim is entirely true. There is no aspect of this trip which has not caused some stress. This statement is most true for my mother. She has been working tirelessly, in preparation for the trip. Despite all of the stress however, it will be well worth it when it comes down to the shear awesomeness of the experience.
During our months away, we will be learning constantly, and for that I am quite excited. I know that I am going to miss my friends, and the regular consistency of everyday life, (maybe even my dad too) but it will all be waiting for me, right back in Washington state, and that is some consolation.
I think that, as of now, I am, for the first time, actually excited to begin the trip. I can’t wait to get started.
As the objective, observing, tenth grader, I will serve as a guide, here on the blog, to the truest adaptation of the story that is about to unfold, and as the Chief Editor, it will be my responsibility to control the in and out flows of information, and by extension your entire understanding and knowledge of our trip as a whole. (Muhahaha! All this power!)
See you next time,