Losing A Student Almost Makes Them Lose It

, , , , , , , | Learning | May 18, 2019

During my junior year, I go on a trip to San Diego with one of the clubs from my school, which is in the Chicago area. After our flight lands and we arrive at our hotel, we decide to get lunch at a restaurant in Old Town then spend the afternoon sightseeing in the area.

The hotel offers a shuttle for guests but will need to make four trips due to the size of our group. I am in the second group, and we are dropped off at the intersection where the first group is waiting. There are some stands a few feet from the intersection that have interesting crafts for sale, so I decide to browse while we wait for the last two groups to get there.

I finish making a purchase – which takes me less time than a single round trip to the hotel, let alone two – only to turn around and discover that everyone is gone. Turns out the teachers found out that the shuttle could drop off directly at the restaurant, so the last two groups went there while the first two walked over, not realizing I wasn’t with them.

Thankfully, there are kiosks with maps nearby and I remember the name of the restaurant, so I quickly find my way there. As I am walking up to the front door, one of my teachers is walking out with her cell phone in hand and, seeing me, says, “I was just about to call you!” I don’t have a cell phone, which I tell her. “Then what’s this number?” I check her phone and, sure enough, it is my number – my home number.

And that’s how I narrowly avoided giving my parents a heart attack from 2000 miles away.

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On Jewish Holidays You Get The World

, , , , | Learning Related | April 28, 2019

(During my fifth year in high school — age 16 or 17 — I go along on a class trip to Prague. It is quite boring and hot. At one point, we are supposed to visit a Jewish cemetery, but the teacher asks us:)

Teacher: “Do you want to go?”

(Pretty much everyone says no, and we are allowed to do some shopping. I see a trinket I want, but I want to sleep the night over it and get it the next day, as we’ll have some free shopping time then, as well. That evening, my classmates go to a bar or disco. I’m not sure, because I am the only one who returns to the hotel — I’m an oddball and not very social — and I have a good night’s rest. The next morning, I notice how almost all my classmates are hungover, silent, sleepy… and the teacher is furious! It turns out that some of my classmates got so drunk, they banged on several doors in the hotel, including the teachers’, and the bus driver that would have to take us home that afternoon. Turns out I’m a deep sleeper; I didn’t notice a thing. The teacher is so furious, he yells at us all and the free shopping time is cancelled. We’ll go visit the Jewish Cemetery and then head home. I know it is of no use to argue and resign myself to not being able to get the trinket — I had decided to get it after all — for my dad. When we reach the cemetery, it turns out to be a Jewish holiday and it is closed. We get free shopping time instead, and I hurry to the shop where I saw the trinket. When home, I give the glass globe to my dad, who suddenly falls silent and says with misted eyes:)

Dad: “How did you know?”

Me: “Know what?”

Dad: “When I was born, there was a globe on my birth announcement. I always wanted to travel the world, but couldn’t.”

(I didn’t know what to say, but I realized that if it hadn’t been a Jewish holiday, I couldn’t have given this gift to my dad. It might be more than silly, but to me, it felt like divine intervention. And for those who wonder: since I moved out, he has taken my mom to Egypt and Costa Rica, so he’s a tiny globetrotter after all.)

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These Boots Were Made For Beeping

, , , , , , | Learning | February 11, 2019

In middle school, my class takes a field trip to a major government library to research a history project. It’s worth mentioning that at the time, I am a bit of a punk-y tomboy. They have some very sensitive and valuable documents inside, so everyone is required to go through a metal detector before they can enter.

Most of the class goes through with only minor hiccups, like forgotten change or house keys. Then I go through. The detector beeps, and I’m confused because I only have a cheap necklace on that I was sure wouldn’t set it off, but I remove it anyway and try again. Again, the machine beeps.

This prompts me to have to go through every pocket I have — quite a few as I like wearing cargo pants — and after a few more failures I even leave my emptied coat with the guard. Still no luck. Finally, they break out a wand to try to pinpoint the issue. The wand is silent until they get to my shoes, where it starts beeping madly, and I realize with horror that I completely forgot that the boots I’m wearing are steel-toed. The guards immediately break out laughing, as no one even considered the idea that petite, blond, thirteen-year-old me would be wearing men’s work boots.

I wasted about fifteen minutes of everyone’s time in the end, and my classmates teased me for weeks about being a shoe-bomber. At least they didn’t take my boots from me!

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Hooked On The Theater

, , , , , , , | Friendly | January 3, 2019

Our class is scheduled to see a West End production. We dress in our formal clothes, and we get to the theatre early. Most of our class is happy to wait in the foyer or on the sidewalk, but three of us want to look around the area. One of our male teachers agrees to chaperone us on a walk.

At first, we’re cheerful and loudly discuss which way to go. We turn down a side street, which seems at first to be lined with small shops with neon marquees and neon-lit windows. There’s only foot traffic here, and some women are clustered around open doorways, chatting or leaning against walls. But as we near the closest marquees, we realize who the women are, and what the “shops” actually are. And we begin to realize we are a group of three young women wearing fancy dresses being escorted by a guy at least twice our age, and that this is not a place we want to be at all.

My eyes bug out, and we giggle nervously while our teacher turns red. We go quiet and focus on getting to the other end of the alley while the hookers watch us.

We head back to the theatre immediately. We never say a word about it to our classmates or the other teachers.

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Climbing This Mountain Is A Sweet Experience

, , , | Friendly | December 19, 2018

(I have been helping out on a Brownie holiday and we are on the bus on the way back to our home city. I am sat next to the Brownie leader. A couple of the girls in front of us are pointing out things excitedly and being quite loud and silly.)

Girl #1: “Look, look! There’s a monster cow.”

Me: “Uh-huh, sure.”

Leader: “Yep, that’s a monster all right.”

Girl #2: “Oh, and you could jump from that cliff and fly up like birds.”

Leader: “You think so, huh?”

(We drive past a mountain.)

Girl #1: “That’s Sugar Loaf Mountain!”

Leader: *trying very hard not to laugh* “Sugar loaf, eh? What kind of sugar loaf?”

Girl #2: “The mountain!”

Leader: “Sure. See them all the time, those sugar loaves climbing up their mountains. Go tell [Other Helper] all about the sugar loaves around here. Tell her we’re eating them tonight!”

Girls: “Okay!”

(They get up to go speak to the other helper.)

Leader: “Sugar Loaf Mountain, eh? What are they like?”

Me: “Er, that one was actually real.”

Leader: “What?”

Me: “Sugar Loaf Mountain is a real mountain and we did just pass it. I’ve climbed it before.”

Leader: “Oops. Oh, well. Wonder if [Other Leader] will guess that. What a wonderful name.”

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