When I started fifth grade, the school I attended required about an hour long bus ride. The fifth and sixth graders rode the same bus as the tenth and eleventh graders since our schools were only a couple blocks away from each other and on a similar schedule. The bus driver was named Jodi and she wasn't so fond of kids. We were assigned seats on the bus and each younger kid had to sit with an older kid. The older kid I had to sit with? He was Satan. He was always in trouble. I was the lucky kid that got to write his sentences. You know, "I will not talk in class. I will not be disrespectful. I will not torture fifth graders. I will not grow up to be a serial killer." That kind of stuff. When I refused, he poked me in the leg with a pencil. And when I say poked, I mean he jabbed me with it hard enough that the lead tip broke off in my leg. To this day I can still see it even though I don't think about it much anymore.
But as a result of spending two hours a day with this maniac, there were side effects. I wasn't sleeping well, I wasn't doing well in school, and I was sick a lot. I don't remember why I didn't tell my Mom what was going on, I think I was just too scared. I mean, the bus driver saw what was going on every day and did nothing, so I just kept my mouth shut. However, my mom was so concerned that she pulled me out of that school district and transferred me to the district where she taught. And my life? Got a whole lot better. I spent the second half of fifth grade through the end of eighth grade in that school district. I was really happy.
For ninth grade, I was going to be switching back to my former school district so I could spend all four high school years at the same school. I figured it would be no big deal. I had gone to school for years with most of the kids I'd be going to high school with, and why not pick up right where I left off in fifth grade? Yeah, I know. Naive.
I had kept in touch with a few of my friends over the years I spent in a different school district, so it wasn't like I didn't know anyone well. My friend Karla and I attended orientation together. Karla was in band, so I tagged along with her to meet the band teacher and see the band room and all that. I can't read music. I've never played an instrument. So I'm still not sure how I ended up IN the marching band 'playing' cymbals. But I sure enough did. Green polyester wool blend uniform and all. And I met some great people in marching band and I had a lot of fun. I wasn't exactly musically gifted, unless you consider knowing all the lyrics to Duran Duran songs a gift, so my band days ended after ninth grade.
And that's where the not fitting in started. Not in a bad way. I've always been just fine with a lot of alone time and I liked being friends with all different kinds of people. So for the rest of high school, I just kind of....was. I'm always surprised that anyone even remembers me because I tried really hard (unless you were a cute boy) to be well under the radar. High school? Not my favorite period of life.
Fast forward to present day. For me, being a military wife is a lot like high school. R's job in the Air Force is one that is pretty individual. There isn't that sense of teamwork and unity that there was when he was in the Army. We've been at this base over six months, and I have yet to meet anyone from his unit. I'm sure the social programs exist, but honestly? I'm not one to seek them out.
I'm not the least bit unhappy with my life, but every now and then I realize that I really, really miss the life I left behind in NC. My first trip back this summer, it was like I just slid into my old life like I never left. While that's terrific when I'm there, it also makes me really miss it when I leave. And this week with being sick and exhausted, I'm feeling sentimental I guess. And that makes me wonder if I try a little harder here to make a connection, will I have the kind of luck in finding great friends here too? Sure seems worth it to me.