Friday, January 31, 2014

A Fresh Start

Well that's over.

I just had my first high school finals experience.  

How can I describe it?  Intriguing?  Relaxed-with-a-hint-of-intensity?  Nothing new?

My old school had finals for seventh and eighth grade, so basically with finals I was just going through the motions: studying slightly, pretending to study, and then studying slightly again.  But this time around, there was new hype--after all, this was high school.  The finals were worth fifteen percent, which was five percent more than in seventh and eighth grade, and colleges would look at my finals.  Like, actually look at them.

*freakout mode*

It turned out fine.  I have good grades, I don't have any homework during this three-day weekend, and I'm ready for a fresh start.

Aren't we all?

First day of finals.  Tuesday.  Ohhhh boy.  I had finals in the morning, then twenty-minute periods after lunch for the rest of my classes.  Of course, in the twenty-minute periods, the teachers let us fool around because 1) it was finals, and 2) what were they supposed to do?  Make us do a lesson?  Twenty minutes isn't enough time to teach forty freshmen how to dissect a squid.  First, you have to tell them you're dissecting a squid (five minutes).  Then, you have to say, "Please stop saying ewwww," (which takes a minute).  Then you have to bring out the squids (five minutes).  Then, you have to instruct them on how to dissect the squid, exactly (thirty to forty minutes).

See what I mean?  

Probably the only reason why they had the twenty-minute periods was because of some law about the number of days of school or whatever.


So back to Tuesday.  Tuesday was a good day.  I had English (my favorite subject) and math.  For whatever crazy reason, all of the tests were, you know, multiple choice.

For whatever reason, I did better in geometry than I did in English.


It's a crazy world out there.

Wednesday.  Half-day, a minimum day.  The last day I had to actually study for, because tbh, Careers isn't that hard of a class.

Wednesday was Spanish and bio.  I have to say that it was probably harder than Tuesday, because Spanish and bio aren't my strengths.  Also, I recently figured out that for Spanish, I can recognize words when they're fleshed out there on paper, but when it comes to actually saying stuff, I need my textbook for the vocabulary.

(Imagine me in Costa Rica or Mexico or someplace where people speak Spanish.  Then envision me lugging around my thick-giant-purple-edged public-school textbook, looking up simple phrases like Como se dice? and Eres?)

Well, that's where the whole "multiple-choice" thing comes in.

Biology.  *Ugh*  The subject is interesting enough, but for me, it's not as easy as identifying literary terms.   And I don't exactly have a passion for meiosis and mitosis like I do reading and writing.

The fact that I had a runny nose, I had my glasses on, and my hair looked like a rat's nest didn't help my testtaking skills.  

I managed to eke my way through the entire 143-question final.  (ONE HUNDRED FORTY-THREE QUESTIONS.  Was there ever a more awkward number?)  I did OK--not as good as I would have liked but OK.

In the end, I still have a good grade in biology, so that's all that counts, right?

I made it through!

Later that day, my family had an interesting experience.  Like I mentioned, we're going to Korea in the summer.  And Wednesday was the day we went to get our passports.

We'd already taken the pictures at Costco.  (My face looked fat because we couldn't smile, but who cares?).  All we had to do was go to the passport office and get our passports.  I couldn't stay home and lounge around, because all the people getting passports need to be present.  But still.  It should have been a done deal.  

It took one and a half hours.  (Which is a long time to get a passport).

Once we got there, the lady told my dad that he needed to have birth certificates for all of us kiddos.  So he had to drive fifteen minutes all the way back home, hunt for the certificates, and drive back.  Then he had to get checked with the lady again (took thirty seconds) and had to wait for three people ahead of us to get straightened out (that took a while).  Then, once we were in the office, we had to wait while the guy processed the papers and asked questions and government-y stuff like that.  

It sounds like it kindasortamaybe stinks, but in reality: haha, nope!



*does happy dance*

*oh ye-ah, oh ye-ah, oh ye-ah*

I was at a dry point for SJ (still am, actually, but I'm slightly moist now that I've slightly rested), and I was searching for some new, enlightening reading material.

So I spent the entire time reading.  I checked out exactly two books.  (Not one and a half, not three and three-quarters--two books, guys).  Both of them were pretty good.  One of them was definitely MG--predictable, slightly whiny, and all that, but all in all, pretty OK--and the other was listed in the YA section.  

Thank you, Jesus, that the passport office was in the library!

Afterward we stopped by McDonald's and picked up some grub, went on home, and ate.  

I spent about ten-fifteen minutes studying for Careers, then went to bed.

The next day, I brought along plenty of stuff so nobody would have the chance to talk to me. (A day or two earlier, I had gotten The Question posed on me--"Who do you *like*?"--by some other dude I sit by.  The answer, of course, was extraordinarily creative and definitely NOT typical: "Nobody.") *sarcasm to lighten the mood*

I brought my phone and earbuds; I brought paper to doodle on; I brought my Top Secret SJ folder even though I probably wasn't going to do anything with it.  And it wasn't really that bad.  Clearly the minor annoyance era was gone--thank goodness--although I still dislike sitting by those guys.  

We communicated very little on Thursday.  It consisted of:

One of the guys I sit by asked, Do I look Asian?

The guy is white, and would probably not pass for Asian.  

So I said, No.

Yes, we talk about very, very important matters.

I finished the test quite early--it was very easy--and began listening to Jamie Grace's Ready to Fly.  Pretty soon everybody was done, and one of my friends came over and we started talking.

Interesting tidbit of information I picked up: the iPhone 5S, which she got for her birthday, can record video in slow motion, baby! (Quoting Turbo)

This is what I get for having a Samsung Galaxy SII.

Afterward, I had tennis.

Now, for some reason, the head coach decided that we would do circuits.

When he said that, I died inside.  Literally, died.

*sees gray clouds pile up*

I was complaining up a storm, and when he announced that we would be bumping up a notch to sets of twelve instead of sets of ten, I died a second time.  #YOLT (You Only Live Twice)

*sees more gray clouds pile up*

Then he said that since the guys would start regular practice, we'd be doing circuits less, and only when they had match days.


*finds a silver lining in all the clouds*

That seems utterly insignificant, but my coach decreased our distress with that bit of sunshine.

After the ultimate happiness of that joy wore off, I turned to face the utter reality:

Circuits.  Now.

I managed to complete three sets of circuits without much drama.  As I started the steps part of the fourth and final set, I fell--like the klutz that I am--and landed on my shin on the edge of the step, taking off a chunk of skin that turned to drops of blood.  It also created a giant bruise that hurts whenever pressure is applied (well, that's the definition of the word bruise).

It hurt bad.  And it still hurts, actually.

What's worse, when I started up the next sprint, I found that I was breathing kind of funny--short, quick gasps that somehow didn't fulfill my need for air.

Asthma?  I don't know.  Whatever it was, it wasn't pleasant.

However, I got it over with.  And more silver lining in the cloud: I used up the remainder of my Starbucks gift card and bought a Caramel Flan frap.  Without coffee, of course.

Then I realized that in order to get my fraps to stop tasting the same, I should probably have kept the coffee.

I gradually contracted a headache over the next couple hours, and it got to the point where I had to lie down in my room, huddled under the covers and listening to music.

My mind started to drift as "Beautiful Day" by KJ-52 came on.  The song makes me feel happy, and I could imagine it playing during the part of every movie where everything's going well for the main character.  I envisioned lots of happy activities--water skiing, drinking shakes...and suddenly I had an inspiration.

I'm having a dry period during Snow in July writing.  I don't know...It's just that I'm not quite sure how to involve all of these new ideas into my writing.  It's a huge project--writing a novel always is, I'm sure--and I think most of these problems stem from the fact that I'm unwilling to print all of its pages out.  I've had interesting experiences with my printer (we have a love-hate relationship), and right now I'm scared to waste any more paper.

But as I was laying there, thinking, suddenly, I wondered: Why not make a Snow in July playlist, where the music would evoke the emotions that each section of the story conveyed?  And that's what I did for the next hour or so.  I made a playlist.  I put songs from my playlist into it--OneRepublic, KJ-52, Mat Kearney, Shonlock, Katy Perry, Royal Tailor, Skillet, Switchfoot, and other artists whose selected songs I feel represented each section of the novel well.  I also put the entire thing in chronological order--from when my main character goes to the town to when she has an interesting experience in a government fort to the ending.  The whole playlist idea is probably just be pure stalling, but I like the idea, and it helped me flesh out my novel.  

Speaking of music--I've been working on this post for over an hour now, which is a record--but one last story.  My siblings and I received iTunes gift cards from Elise's family for Christmas.  Andy Mineo's Neverland wasn't on Spotify, so my brothers coerced/convinced/whateveryouwannacallit-ed me into using my gift card to buy the tracks on iTunes.

So I did.  I gave my dad my gift card and spent seven out of the ten dollars on it to buy Neverland (which is seven tracks).  Once I bought it, it went to all of our devices--my brothers' iPods, my iPhone/iPod--and we all started listening to it.  

Literally an hour later, my brother told me, "Neverland is on Spotify."

You can only imagine my reaction when I heard that.

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