“You have an olive complexion”
They like to say
My skin retains the Mediterranean sunlight
From a generation’s past.
A permanent blush peaks through,
The color of the pink wine
That once had its start in the mountain vineyards.
And the bluish-green veins?
They are the Lisbon River,
Guiding mighty vessels across the sea.
But there is Old World and New World mixed in me.
My feet do not dance the bailharico;
They flit up and down city blocks,
Trying to keep up
With a society moving too fast for its own good.
My mouth does not tell the old folklore
That has been passed down through generations.
It sings “God Bless America” and drinks out of Styrofoam coffee cups.
My honey brown eyes do not see Portugal’s gleaming sea,
Rustic castles, or donkey-pulled carts;
They see the Statue of Liberty, Fourth of July fireworks,
and land developers stripping away the last frontier.
My appearance radiates European flair,
But I am American:
Patriotic for my country
And forever prideful of my roots.
Okay so in Comp we’re reading The Scarlet Letter and Hester was called “the harlot of Babylon” and in Ragtime Evelyn was called the same thing and I got really excited because I didn’t know what that meant during my Ragtime days and yeah I dunno bye
So it has been exactly one year since I’ve moved into my “new” house in Miami. I have no shame in saying that I don’t like it here. In fact, I kind of despise it. Mostly what I’m going to say here is negative, maybe even offensive, who knows. So my feelings will not be hurt if you just merely scroll past this silly post. All it is is just a silly teenager blogging out her dramatic feelings.
But anyways, onto complaining what I don’t like about my new surroundings. First of all, it’s monotonously hot. It’s upper 80’s sunny sky weather is completely aggravating. It’s disgusting. Having skin that tans very easily (thanks Mediterranean complexion) I must stay indoors in order to not tan. Or put on 50 spf sunscreen in hopes I do not tan.
Additionally, what I find extremely difficult here is simply communicating. Here, it’s almost a necessity to speak Spanish in order to interact clearly. My flimsy high school Spanish vocabulary is completely out the window. Thankfully my mother can speak enough to get the job done. But basically everywhere I go- the doctor, salon, stores, and even the hospital- Spanish is the primary language. What’s even worse, is when I’m at the doctor the nurses take one look at my last name and they expect me to speak Spanish. First of all, that’s actually a popular Portuguese name and secondly, I only speak English. In public when I tell people I only speak English, they try to tell me that I should be able to speak Spanish. Well sorry that I don’t? I feel like the language barrier is the main problem I have here in Miami. I feel even worse for my little sister honestly, she doesn’t understand a word. I’m afraid I’ve gone to far on this subject but basically it feels like I’m living in some other country.
I could go on and on about my quirks on Miami for days but I think this is a good place to stop before I clog y’all’s dashboard.
Well I think my school goes just a tad too far.
I go to School for Advanced Studies (SAS), a dual enrollment high school/college program that is a partnership between Miami-Dade County Public Schools and Miami-Dade Community College. A two year program, it’s designed so one can ultimately earn an Associate in Arts (AA) degree at the same time one graduates from high school. Sweet right? Sure, if you’re up willing to trade your life and sanity for it.
I joined SAS because when I moved here I heard my home school was dangerous for a girl like a me. After contacting various magnet schools to no success, my neighbor suggested School for Advanced Studies. The campus near mine was already full but another one roughly 15 miles away still had seats available. I was accepted.
A typical SAS school day is broken down into 3 sections- a 25 minute morning block for a high school class, a 3 hour block for college class(es),study time(aka “free time), and lunch, and another 3 hours for 2 high school classes. We are enrolled in 4 high school classes- math, English, social studies, and research, which really doesn’t count. In addition we are enrolled in 3 college classes of our choice per semester. The sad thing is though, the college classes are easier than the stringent high school ones.
Ah, the high school classes. One word- terrible. The teachers are obsessed with giving loads of work in large quantities and expect us to absorb all the information as if we are sponges. The reality is that in order to complete these silly assignments in time, we have to rush rather than carefully understanding the material. Everything is memorized for the short term, never fully connecting the material to other topics. And the only things you do understand are the big picture concepts. Preparation for the AP exams are almost nonexistent since the teachers expect you to already know everything although the truth of the matter is you don’t. Which is funny since the teachers stress that we have to pass these exams in order to gain college credit towards an AA that you might not even obtain.
Sleep is nonexistent as well, having to either cram for an important test or to complete mundane assignments. There aren’t any vacations, since the days you have off from high school you still need to wake up early to attend college. Weekends are piled a mile high with homework. There is never a break. Or a social life, at least for me (even though I don’t have friends to begin with).
What did I learn this junior year? That I don’t even want to go to college. I’m so burnt out from this year and I’ll be more burnt out next year that the idea of college has lost its appeal. I put so much effort into this year and I’m failing. My GPA has dropped from its perfect 4.0. I feel like I’m dumb and a failure. I feel that my intelligence has taken a toll, that I was smarter last year. I’m sick, I’m tired, and I just want to relax but I can’t. Before I came into this school I knew what I wanted to major in and what I wanted to do with my life. Now, I feel like throwing it all away. I just want to go back to my old school and resume my old life but that’s far from gone. Even if someone tells me that it’ll be alright in the end I don’t think I’ll be able to believe them.
Maybe I just need a hug.