” Earlier in my life, that would have been difficult, because I had few friends other than my cousins. I concentrated mostly on school and TV, paying little attention to life outside my studies. My high grades made me the target of torment during elementary school, the name calling: nerd, geek, and worse, was so bad that I was ostracized by some of the class, and I shielded myself by further isolation. My Middle School experience was no different.
I was still a loner. All the dances passed by, and I found other, solitary ways to occupy myself. I rarely took time to hang out with fellow students during weekends or vacation time, I was too busy watching television and playing Nintendo. Then came high school, and in Mrs.
Jone’s Ancient History class I sat next to this energetic guy named Ryan, who joked about the no-brained teenagers working in 7-11’s, made fun of the way our teacher dramatized the pronunciation of the Huang-Ho and Yangtze Rivers, and satirized the teacher’s methodology of hand-signals for facts, generalizations, and cause/effect. Finding common ground in our senses of humor and love of the TV Simpson’s, we grew acquainted with each other. Later in the year we teamed up as the defense lawyers in a class debate trial in which Mao Zedong was charged with crimes against the people of China. To Mrs. Jone’s dismay, “legal wrangling” caused the debate trial to last two weeks, even though she had planned for it to take three days, until it was resolved by a split decision, with the jury voting 6 guilty and 6 innocent.
More important than the result was the experience of friendship and shared learning. We each had a great deal of fun preparing questions for the witnesses and planning our cross-examinations, and after the trial we remained good friends. Tenth grade would be a notable year. Ryan introduced me to Alicia and Ana, our classmates in English.
The four of us had a great time making our first home movie, based on the allegory Redwall, at Ryan’s house. Our filming day coincided with a storm, so the outside scenes were hilarious. Plus, when we jumped up against the side of Ryan’s house, we knocked down some books off a shelf inside. In the end, we all had a great laugh watching our final product. In March, Ana invited me to her sweet Fifteenth-birthday party, the first major social occasion that I had attended in years.
I will always remember the wonderful time we all had dancing and celebrating. Later in the year, we made another movie for English class, which was more of a satire. In it we managed to include many of our history teacher Mrs. Lemma’s infamous quotes by working them into the lines of Basil Stag Hare, a character from the Redwall novel who often spoke in nonsense. In June Ana invited Alicia and me to her house for a study party, hoping that we could learn enough of World History to excel on the mid term finals exam. After wasting most of the afternoon watching TV, we highlighted the review book, and we were finally ready for the big test.
Last fall Ana and Alicia convinced me to go to the Homecoming dance, and I began to realize all the fun that life has to offer. It was only natural that the group of us had an even better time at our Junior Prom. I must admit that if I had never met them, I would have missed out on the complete experience of a truly special occasion. On a Halloween party we all went dressed in costumes, with Ryan dressed as an outrageous mime and I in the less exotic costume of a carpetbagger. That night we took a trip through the haunted house; we were blinded by the strobe light in the basement, and scared out of our wits when a ‘ghost’ jumped out of a fake coffin and started up a chain saw. Now, as the first to have a driver’s license, I’ve become the chauffeur to dances, movies, and restaurants.
As one might guess, Al, Ray and Ana have all exerted a positive influence on me. Now that I’m a senior and no longer live near my best friends, not even in the same country, I have a more sense of self-confidence that ignited from these three marvelous persons. This self-confidence has helped me create a new home in Brazil. So you can certainly see that not only have these persons most influenced me, but left foot prints on my soulBibliography: