This is a task which was assigned by Icha about a month ago. It’s overdue so I must do it quickly and then assign it to other bloggers out there. Watch out, guys! I’ll be giving you homework too.
The purpose of this post is to tell you about my primary school years. I dreaded writing it because it’s too complicated for me to retell. I also worry myself that it might be too long and I’d even bore myself with writing it. I wonder how readers would feel reading it.
Anyway, here goes.
I have transferred schools 3 times during the period of my elementary school years. I had kindergarten at Gumnut PreSchool in Sydney, Australia. I spent my first 2 years in SD 10 Mataram, in Indonesia. Then a few months at Conniston Primary School in Wollongong, Australia. After that I spent the rest of my years in Gwynneville Public School, also in Wollongong, Australia.
I don’t remember much about this time of my life except that I had a really cute uniform and that there was this pretty little girl I always played with. I forgot what her name was.
I loved my uniform then and still do. I’d wear it now if there was one in my size (laughs). It comprised of a yellow turtleneck sweater and brown overalls. My mom would always tie my hair in pigtails with yellow ribbons and put a pair of alice-in-wonderland shoes on my feet over white frilly socks. I wish I had a photo to show off to you, but I think I have misplaced it.
As for my little friend, she was a pretty little girl with long brown hair. I remember that we used to play together in the school grounds, tossing around the colorful autumn leaves. After school, i would go to her place or she would come to my place and we’d mess up our mom’s rooms by jumping on the bed. Sometimes, I would put my mom’s dressing gown and we would play “lets pretend”. There’s a hilarious picture for this too, but it’s too embarassing to upload.
*me playing with the leaves
2. SD 10 Mataram
I remember these years as “the years of the needles”. We had the needles every year and I was always so terrified of them. My name was always last to be called and it was always enough of a time for the apprehension and fear to build into a frenzy. When my turn came, I would always cry and refuse to be called up front. The teacher always had to chase me around the room and grab me forcefully to let the doctor inject me with the scary needles.
I also remember waiting for dad to pick me up after school. I would buy the small treats they sold outside the school grounds like “es-kado”, “es-lilin”, and “gula-gula”. I would also make jewelry and decorations out of the leaves of the palm trees growing in the school garden. Sometimes my friends and I would also help the school keepers sweep the school grounds which were always full of dry leaves at the end of the day. It was our idea of being “helpful”. So we were frequently seen crouched down on the grounds, sweeping the leaves with a few dry twigs and sticks. I always came home dusty and dirty.
3. Conniston Primary School, Wollongong, Australia
It wasn’t easy being a small kid who knew little English and looked different from everyone else. All the kids were tall giants with pale skin who spoke in a strange tongue. I remember this one time where the kids were so fascinated by my “shortness” they compared me with one of the kindergarten students. They made us stand side by side. I was shorter. They thought it was hilarious. Me? I enjoyed the attention.
I also remembered being followed around by another new girl. She was very sensitive and it got on my nerves a lot because I was rather blunt and stubborn. She once cried because I didn’t give her the pencil I was using. It was one of the rare pencils in class which had an eraser on the tip. I told her I got it first. My teacher told me to give it her anyway to make her stop crying. I gave in and rolled my eyes at them. Even as a kid I was sarcastic, LOL.
4. Gwynnevile Public School, Wollongong, Australia
Gwynneville wasn’t a large school, nor was it a famous one. Nevertheless, it was my favorite school of all. I spent about 4 years there, from year 3 until graduation in year 6. We had mixed classes like 2/3R, 4/5/6H, and 5/6D. The letters stood for the different teacher’s initials. My favorite teachers were Mr. Dwyer and Mrs. Hunt.
Mr. Dwyer was my year 5 teacher. He was a middle-aged man with white hair and kind eyes. He always encouraged us to be the best we could be by appreciating all our abilities. He was the one who really motivated me to write. Sometimes, he would read out my stories in class, however outrageous they were. Then, he would type out my drafts and print them for me because I never had enough time to rewrite them in class. They were always too long (old habit).
Mrs. Hunt was my year 6 teacher. I think she was the best teacher in my school in terms of teaching. She often taught Math and, boy, was she good at teaching it. Learning Math was a joy in her class. Mrs. Hunt liked to read to us from children’s novels, making brilliant expressions to match the stories. Sometimes she would let us choose what we wanted to do during free time as a class. We’d play volleyball, soccer, T-ball, bingo, or even skipping rope. I think the chant for the skipping game went something like this:
“Down the Mississippi, if you miss a loop you’re out…”
Two people would turn the rope, one at each hand. Then the kids would line up at one side. The first person would jump in and keep jumping until the end of the chant. Then the next person would have to jump in without missing a loop, jump once, then skip out and line up at the other side, and so on. If someone misses or gets tangled in the rope, they’d have to sit out. Then the next person would jump in for the chant and so on. It’s a fun game and required us to be alert and precise. The first time I played it I always missed. I was terrified getting whipped by the rope or falling down. After a few games I got the hang of it and enjoyed it very much. I even managed to win once. The person who won was the last person left in line. Sometimes Mrs. Hunt would let the final 5 win and give them prizes. Usually they were vouchers for the canteen, stickers, or stamps. However, it was very difficult to win. The more people out, the faster you had to skip in and out of the rope and run around the people turning it. I remember that certain people in my class often won. They were really athletic. Some were gymnasts with small and agile bodies. The others were sprinters with nice long legs (envy).
Anyway, back to Mrs. Hunt. The thing I also liked about her was her look. She was really stylish, in an executive sense. She always wore blazers and clean-cut pants with matching colors. They were usually maroon or brown. She also had really nice nails. She changed her nail polish frequently and I was always excited to see how they’d look the next day. Because of her, I decided to take care of my own nails, growing them and decorating them with multicolored nail polish. I was ecstatic when she complimented me for them instead of scolding me and let me keep them as a sign of my creativity and fashion sense (laughs). I can’t imagine what my teachers in Indonesia would say (no offense, we are much more conservative here).
I followed many extracurricular activities there. I joined the school choir and got to perform in a beautiful concert hall with other schools every year. My family would come to watch and take pictures of us. I haven’t found the pictures yet to upload here.
I also volunteered to help gather the organic rubbish to make compost at the school. Every day, after the school bell rang for home time, I’d gather all the compost buckets at each class which were usually filled with fruit and vegetable scraps from the students’ lunch. Then I’d dump it in the big compost bucket in the school garden. It was disgusting sometimes. The giant bucket in the garden was full of worms, flies, grubs, and other creepy crawlies. I always hesitated before opening the lid, anticipating the smell and sight inside. However, it felt good to contribute in helping the environment. Besides, the teacher gave me and the other kids involved lots of merit for it (hehe).
I made lots of friends at this school from many different backgrounds. We made a gang and did everything together. We would share our lunches, hold parties, visit each other after school, and go to the mall together. We weren’t exactly the popular kids in school. Most of us were from another country, striving to fit in in a foreign school. Some of us were the kids who were picked on by the bullies for their differences. That’s why we stuck together. Our number and solidarity for each other scared the bullies away.
*me and my friends at Gwynneville
There are so many things I’d like to write about my school years: my gang of friends, school field trips, camp Berry and Burrendong (I think that what it was called), my first crush, competitions, festivals, parades. I have them all in my diary so that I would not forget. Some things weren’t mentioned in my diary, so I cherish every time the memory comes to visit me because I can’t remember everything all at once. As usual, there are triggers to bring them back, like this blog assignment. I thank Icha a lot for assigning it to me.
So, go and visit your memory lane guys! Spread this assignment and share your school tales!
I will assign this project to:
1. Blue Spy
2. Mbak Rani
3. Mbak Ninit
Can’t wait to read your stories!