Tag Archives: school

Newtown, Conn – forever changed

ImageAs with most of you my heart breaks for the families, friends and entire community of Newtown, Conn. Posts like this – and many others of a similar nature – should never have to be written. But they will be written and will be done so after this case as well.

 While I have not heard it yet I am sure the issue of gun control will once again surface. Honestly, I do not belong to either side of this particular issue. But I will tell you that gun control will not stop people such as this young man today. If someone is insistent upon obtaining a gun they will do so. Criminals will always be able to do so. If they do not follow the law in registering or other laws in regard to the gun control issue why the Hell would they follow any other law? No this issue is much larger than gun control.

 But what is the issue? Why did this young man go to an elementary school and shoot so many individuals? I’m afraid to say that we will most likely never know the entire story of what made him do it. Just as we have never learned the full stories of other mass shooters. Yes, there is speculation on some and there are actually notes, etc in regard to others. But there must be a combination of things that push someone such as this individual today to take that final step. What is it? What makes these people take that step?

 Personally I believe that there is  combination of circumstances that push these people to the brink. I suppose in a small way the breakdown of the family is a portion of this. However, I do not believe it is a large part as my son and most of his friends were raised entirely by single parents and all of them have turned out to be wonderful human beings. And mind you that family does not always mean a mother, father and 2.5 children. It can be a wide combination of people.

 But I also feel that movies and video games have taken things a bit far as well. Don’t get me wrong…I love movies and yes, even as a woman of a certain age, I do love video games. But there is so much bloodshed in both of those genre’s that one must question that.

And then of course there is society itself. Perhaps these young people that do these shootings did not fit in where they wanted. Perhaps they were bullied or pushed out of the clique they wanted to be in. Those actions can be very hurtful and can turn a person inside with no one to talk to. And who do these people have to talk to? I’m sure there are counselors of every kind that might be available to them, but do they know that? Are those places publicized all the time? We must get the word out there that there is help – for everyone!

And lastly the economy and the state of our nation probably does not help very much. Anyone, especially those young men that generally do these things are, like so many of us, having a great deal of difficulty finding or keeping jobs. If they are lucky enough to find something they can barely survive on what they earn.

 

All in all I believe it is not one specific thing that makes these individuals do what they do. No, I am not by any means, providing excuses – as there truly are none. But we, as a society must get our act together and work toward strengthening this county and our economy. We must as a society determine if we will continue making the video games and movies that all cry for more bloodshed. We must provide confidential places for these individuals to go in order to obtain the help they so desperately need.

 Again…my heart goes to those in the of Newtown, Conn. I cannot comprehend the sadness that you must be dealing with.

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rebellion set in…

though I honestly really can’t place a specific time or place on it. But I became “that” teenager. I hated everyone and everything. I hated what my parents tried to do – you know, things like parenting. I hated that I had a curfew and that I was not allowed to date until a certain age. I hated I could not wear makeup or have my ears pierced. And I hated school.

I began cutting classes here and there and eventually it became full days that I would cut. Oh I got caught, many times. I was suspended from school for cutting…hmmm, what is wrong with that picture? I was grounded by my parents for cutting school.

I began to smoke and drink. Unfortunately I still smoke. I hate it. It never really did make me look “cool” as I thought it did. Drink, yea I still do but certainly not on a regular basis. I would stead my parent’s cigarettes and get in trouble for that.

I had many boyfriends though I’m not sure many of them really meant anything. One definitely did. We went “steady” for almost 2.5 years. He was a good guy though certainly not the best looking around. I have heard that he married and had a family but then lost track of him. That’s too bad as I would love to know how he did.

I guess I basically began to rebel about everything. And yes, I do mean everything. I was terrible. But I didn’t know what was wrong. Why was I so angry? Why did I hate everything that life had to offer?

I was not a very nice teenager. I was mean (though not bully type mean). I was lazy. I liked the boys and felt they liked me (I figured that one out much later).

I wish I could take those years back. But I can’t. I wish I could apologize to my parents. Well I did to my mother but never had the chance with my father.

Unfortunately that was a large part of what made me. I’m not happy about those years and I’m not happy with who I was then. It took many years to figure things out and to finally become somewhat happy with myself. That of course is a continuing thing I am working on.

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discrimination was alive and well…

Did I mention that the school I went “home” to was what I call Lily White? There were no people of color there at all. And by that I mean any color other than white. There were no Hispanics, African American, Asian or anything else other than Caucasian. Now this was very strange to me as the school I had been attending had every nationality, color, religion that you could possibly think of, and probably more!

I did make some friends but it was not that easy for me. I still wanted to be able to do what I had been doing the past couple of years and yet was now too young. These new friends did not understand why on earth I wanted to do those things such as going to the games or dances or whatever. They did not understand where it was I had been and rather made fun of me when they found out. Yes, children can be cruel. And yes, bullying did in fact take place back oh so many years ago.

But being as young as I was I’m not sure that I really thought that much about those things. I knew I was somewhat unhappy but could never really put my finger on why that was. Of course, I’m not sure that I really tried to work it out as again, I was on the young side of life at that period of time.

I found myself also feeling a bit more smart than the rest of the class. Ok, maybe smart is not really the proper word here but there was something that I had that the rest of them didn’t and yes, it did distinguish us. It did put a line between me and everyone else.  Did I actually draw that line? Perhaps I did but am not sure that I was the only one that did.

Things changed for me however, and actually opened my eyes just a bit. But again, being the age I was I did not know how to deal with it.  You see eventually a black family (yes that is what they were called back then) moved into the neighborhood. The daughter was in my class and she and I became pretty good friends.

Of course, no one else in the class or even the school would even acknowledge her. And because I had become friends with her they began to not acknowledge me either. So those “friends” that I had worked so hard to obtain were suddenly gone, out of my life. And yet I had no clue as to why that was, what I had done.

I had never seen discrimination before. That was not how my parents raised us at all. And that was not the life I had lead before. And I did not understand it at all. And it troubled me but I could not put that into words as honestly it was not something I was capable at that point in my life of understanding.

That family moved away not long after that. I do not know why the moved, though at this stage of my life I certainly have my own thoughts about it. But the damage for me had been done. That is certainly, however, not to say that I would not have made friends with her had I know the consequences it would have on my life.  I most certainly would have been friends with her and honestly have always been upset that I did not keep in touch with her. Yes, it would have been much easier on me if she had never moved there but I believe that in reality those so-called friends would have found yet another way to push me out.

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home…or was it really?

Going to a new school was strange. You see my sister and I ended up going to different schools. I was in the 6th grade and she was in 8th or 9th. I didn’t understand why we had to go to different places but everyone said we did. As far as I could tell she fit right in, but then she always did where ever she went or whatever she was doing. But not me.

This school was so different than what I had been used to. First of all it was only K through 6 and I was used to K through 12. I was used to talking to everyone and mingling with everyone. Here it seemed that you really only mingled or socialized with your own grade.

But far more important was the fact that I returned to a school that was quite white. I don’t think I realized right then that would end up being a problem for me, but eventually it would come into play.

First though came a few other problems. I was of course the new kid and not everyone at this school knew how to accept new kids. They had all, or most, gone through school together and had very few people joining them, especially in the middle of the year such as I did. I am not and never have been one that makes friends easily so I blame myself just as much. But my old school in Singapore had kids coming and going at all times. We were used to the “new kid” and they were very easily accepted. I did not feel accepted then, nor did I, in fact, feel accepted for a very long time.

Then one night my sister went to a game or a dance, I really don’t recall which one. I was not allowed to go though certainly did not understand why not. After all I had, for the past two years, gone to many school dances and games. Why now was I too young to do so? It made no sense to me and yet no one could explain it. I loved my sister but I believe I became jealous and resentful of the fact that she was able to do the things we had been able to do before but for some reason I could not. Was I being punished for something? I didn’t know and again no one could explain it to me.

People would ask me where I was from and when I said Singapore (or Indonesia) they would look at me as though I was crazy. Or wouldn’t have any idea where that was. I would try and explain where it was and would many times be made fun of, which of course I did not understand either. That bothered me a great deal. Eventually I gave up and learned to hate the question of where I came from. It took me a 25 years to finally begin telling people again that I grew up in Singapore. That was how I would put it as for me that was the truth. Little did I know that was all part of being a TCK – a term I would not learn for another 40 years.

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We seemed to all move right into our new lives with really very little problems. At least I don’t recall any if there were some. I loved where I was living and I saw my sister every day at school.  We would go “home” for vacations and be able to spend time with our parents.

During just about every single vacation home we would go on a trip somewhere. Some were just short little things while others were quite adventurous. We would go up to a resort area not all that far away. They had a huge swimming pool with the absolute longest slide into a pool I have ever seen – even to this day. But the water in the pool was ice cold! Oh we had a blast anyway and loved going up there.

 We would go to other areas on the island of Java and hike up into the volcanos, or look at the huge temples. Or we would go to Bali. I do believe Bali was a favorite for all of us. Remember this was in the very early 1960’s so it did not have any big tourist hotels. There were only the little hotels located along the beaches…and they were fabulous. We spent several Christmas vacations there, including one in which we had Christmas dinner (ok, could have been Thanksgiving) on the hospital ship Hope. I remember that one well as we had milk which I swear was the best ever produced.

Yes, there were many, many trips but I am not going to go into those. They would take many pages to write and honestly, I’m not so sure I can remember all of them. I do know that they were all very exciting and wonderful.

We also eventually made friends with the people of the village directly across the street from us.  Even without being able to communicate I played with a couple of little girls over there quite a bit. And yes, I ate whatever it was they ate and yes, I used their little houses above the river as well.

Life was different for us then. But life was good for us as well. We all seemed to excel and grow tremendously in many different ways.

Then one day it all ended. My mother got word to the American Consulate in Singapore to have her help us get ready to leave. My father had a spot on his lung and we were headed home to make sure he got the best care possible.

My sister, AJ and I left Singapore on a PanAm flight. The captain of that flight was the man who had purchased our home back in the states. He would fly us home and then take us back to the house we had left but that was no longer ours. We would begin school while we stayed with them until my parents arrived a few months later. Big changes were about to take place for me.

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