Homecoming

Boy, do I have have a lot to tell you about this weekend! I am pretty sure that I can say that this weekend has been my best in Ohio so far, just because of the amount of stuff I did and fun I had. This has also been there first time where I’ve felt like I have actual friends here and I can’t even begin to explain how happy that makes me. 

So, on friday night it was the Homecoming parade and game. They have a parade to show off extra-curricular activities and clubs in school and also for the Homecoming Court to arrive in. (Homecoming court is those who have been nominated to be Homecoming King or Queen). I was in the parade representing the drama department and I stood on a trailer behind a van with the cast and sung ‘we’re in the money’ 7 times in a row. It was fun, but god did that song get on my nerves. We smiled, waved, sung, bopped and looked generally amused whilst being pulled a long at 3 miles per hour. I enjoyed it as it was a reason to see the cast again on a day when I usually wouldn’t have.

After the parade I stayed at the stadium so that I could ‘watch’ the game. Before the game began they announced the Homecoming King and Queen. I have no idea who they are but she looked incredible and had amazing shoes. Mum and Hamish decided to come to the game as they’d never been to one before and they were generally amused by the whole thing as far as I can tell. Lorna found her friend there and had a great time, she end up staying there later than the rest of us! I stayed mainly with my drama/dance frinds as they are just too funny not to be around.

On saturday morning I had school play rehearsal. This time we learnt the most complex sequence of tapping steps I have ever experienced in my existance. I honestly have no idea how i am going to master this dance, it is rediculous, even the experienced tappers are having difficulty, but i’ll have to master it or i’ll end up looking a complete imbicile on the stage if i’m doing it wrong.

In the afternoon I got ready for the dance and then went over to my friend Hannah’s house. It turns out that this whole Homecoming thing is really really formal. Her parents were dressed smartly and took pictures of us both and of her with her sisters. Then we went to CJ’s house and met up with Megan the other guys in our group and we took even more photos in his garden. It was trying to rain but we survived. It was really sweet seeing everyone all dressed up smartly, like prom all over again. After all the photos were taken and all the parents had left we went and got food. The resturant was full of people going to Homecoming and so everyone was dressed really fancy. After foods the girls and I went home and changed shoes (I suck at walking in heels) then we went back to the school and met the othes there.

The dance was different to how I had expected it. It was ‘under the sea’ themed and so they had put up blue dolphins and bunting and stuff everywhere. It was a lot like a year 7 school disco but with more questionable dance moves (Think ‘Batchwood’ times 10). It was still a fun evening though. I realised that I actually knew far more people than I expected. It was really weird as I had spoken to so many people, I just hadn’t realised it. It was reassuring though as I never got lost because I always found someone I knew pretty swiftly. I spent sometime with my drama friends, sometime with the people I came with, sometime with the people I sit with at lunch. It was a laugh.

After the dance was over and eveyone was leaving my friend Parker offered to take me home. We originally intended on going home but instead we decided we should go to the after party at his friends house. So we went there and her house was HUGE and they’d layed out a full buffet with pizza and grapes and chocolate covered strawberrys and everything. But most importantly they had those American red plastic cups that you always see during the houseparty scenes in films, I made a beeline straight for the lemonade just because I wanted to use the cups. I know that it was sad but I was internally screaming with excitement. Admittedly, the afterparty itself was rubbish as the music was quiet and everyone was tired but I could not have cared less because I had a red cup in my hand and was forfilling a lifelong dream.  

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Midweekers

If Wednesday’s aren’t your favourite day of the week then you are wrong. They are the best. I get to lie in for an hour longer than usual, I only have to go to three lessons and one of them is drama. There is nothing quite like a Wednesday. And, as it was ‘superflex’ today, it meant I could go anywhere on campus during my lunch period, so I spent the whole thing in the drama department with the other drama people. They’re all nice, weird and funny and I feel like I can be my-not-entirely-normal-mad-sock-wearing-self around them if you catch my drift.

I’ve finally decided (after much debate) to go to Homecoming! Hannah said I could go with her and her friends this saturday and I’m so excited. I get to do a proper American dance with freinds and wear a dress and do my hair and just do the whole prom thing again and I can’t wait! The whole thing here seems to be so much more formal here that at home. The whole ordeal must start about 1pm in order to get everything in! So first you get ready hair make up etc, then you go out for dinner as a group, then you go back to someones house and take your ‘homecoming photos’ and then you go to the dance. Then, if your lucky, someone will throw an afterparty. It’s so much effort for one evening but I’m well up for it and am becoming increasingly keen.

Rehearsal is still as fun as ever, but I swear if i have to hear another song from ’42nd street’ i might have to kill some one. There are only so many renditions of ‘lullaby of broadway’ that one can handle. But in rehearsal today I did spend an hour and a half of my life standing in a line, down the centre of the stage, for no exact rason. But nevertheless, I give my hours over to this production. It’s going to be so good when it’s done but currently it’s still at that car-crash-rehearsal stage.

If any of you want to know more about it here, or what I’m up to, or if the rumours about America are true etc. feel free to drop me a question and I will answer it in my next post. It feels a bit odd here whittering to myself, so if there’s anything you want to know more about please ask, as I don’t want this to be too much of a dull read!  

Groundhog Day

Sorry for being almost entirely useless this week. It’s been hectic and tireing with little time spare to update you all. Nevertheless, I soldier on and here I am to describe another week of my life in the land of the free.   

After finally deciding that I could live here, I’ve had a monotonous week of living. School, rehearsal, tea, homework, tea, sleep, repeat. But working on the school play is so much fun and I honestly don’t know where I would be without it! It takes up so much of my time but I’m loving every minute of it. Even though it’s only been a week of rehearsals, I feel like I know most of the cast already as we spend so much time together. Hopefully it is going to be a great show, we’re performing in the local theatre which is HUGE, bigger than the Alban Arena and we’re having full size set being built. It’s going to be incredible!

In an odd way this has been one of my hardest weeks, I can’t quite put my finger on why, but I’ve found myself missing home a lot. Seeing all your little smiling faces on a daily basis and the general moan-y Britishness of home. The strange thing is at the same time I love it here. I know that it makes zero sense but I absolutely love New Albany and everything that goes with it whilst I hate not being at home. I know I’ll get used to everything soon enough though and it’s less than 3 months until I come home!    

Mum and I have spotted a little animal that lives at the end of our garden and is about the size of a raccoon/beaver/small dog. It’s so cute and just chills on the drive way then waddles off to the creek when he sees us. Today I saw him sunbathing on a log. This evening we were at a resturant and were discussing said mammal when our waitress said it was probably a groundhog. So i googled it and she was right! As a family we have now adopted the groundhog at the bottom of the garden and christened him Gunter. Gunter the Groundhog.  

This week at school is ‘peace week’ in the lead up to ‘Homecoming’. I have absolutely no idea what either of these things are which is slightly worrying as I’m supposed to be taking part in them. What exactly are we supposed to be ‘coming home’ from? and why does this require us to be ‘peaceful’? and how does dressing in house colours tomorrow aid to this ‘peace’? America baffles me… What I have gathered though is that it’s fancy dress everyday this week, that there is an important football game on friday and a ‘school dance’ on saturday night. So hopefully this week should provide some entertainment!

Participation and Involvement

I have no idea what a peron who lives in New Albany is called (A New Albaner? A New Albainier? A New Albanite?!) Well whatever it is I’ve tried to be an active one this past weekend. To immerse myself in the culture so to speak.

So on friday night I took my sister to the football game, she’d never been before so I thought she should go. I also had nothing better to do and thought I would probably meet someone I knew there anyway. The theme was red, so I wore my Buckeye [Ohio State University] jumper (after all it is my local ‘collage’). Lorna loved it! She was so excited, more than I was at my first game. She’d only been to the stadium once before so it was quite a shock for her to see it all so full and so busy. She saw a couple of her friends but we stayed together as it felt right and she couldn’t exacty tell them how excited she was with the whole thing. She kept seeing things and shouting and giggling and pointing and it was adorable to watch. We shared a huge pretzle as she marvled at the cheerleaders and especially the marching band. In a weird way it was actually nice just spending sometime with just the two of us. I have an odd sort of relationship with her that fluctuates between her being my best friend and me not wanting her to breathe near me.

After the game my friend Hannah, who is in my english class, invited me to go and ‘hangout’ (they actually use that word) with her and her friends. It was such a nice evening and I am so glad I went. There were 8 of us in total and we sat in her friend Rachel’s basment and chatted for ages. I was a bit out of my comfort zone at the start as i only really knew Hannah and Parker from my Drama class but after a while I just felt like I fitted in.

On Saturday I had my first dance rehearsal for the school musical. It was intense. We managed to get the first dance number nailed in about an hour and a half. I wouldn’t call it easy tap dancing either, Lorna has done tap since she was 7 and she can’t do some of the steps. That is one thing that I’ve learnt about America though, they really like to throw you in at the deep end. If they want to teach you something they don’t take it slow at all they throw you in deep and expect you to catch on as fast as you can. I think that it’s so much better for you though.

Today we went to the ‘New Albany Classic’. It is essentially a show jumping event, although, it has an atmosphere similar to a county show (minus the cows and the WI). It was a nice day out, we stuck together as a family and went into some tents, watched some horses, went on some rides, ate some foods etc. Ariana Grande performed which was sweet aswell. I reckon the majority of New Albany was there, Lorna and I kept seeing familiar faces, Mum bumped into people she knew, Hamish found his friends from football and Ish saw work mates. And now, as a result of my weekend of participation and involvement in New Albany life though games, the musical, events and friendships I do now feel like I could actually live here. 

For the last couple of posts I have only really been explaining what I’ve been upto. So, in this post I’m going to attempt to explain what New Albany itself is like and what it’s like to live here as, lets be honest, you have no idea where I am!

If I start with the basics, I’m currently living in a suburb of Columbus which is the capital of Ohio and is pretty much slap-bang in the middle of the state. The suburb that I live in is called New Albany and is to the north east of the city. New Albany is pretty much an exact copy of an English stereotype of an American suburb. When I first arrived I thought it all looked like ‘East Egg’ from Gatsby; completed with red brick buildings, white picket fences, red fire hydrents and those little post boxes at the end of your drive way. Everywhere is really green aswell, there is a golf course that winds it’s way between the houses making it all pretty in the summer. Though, It definately feels a bit Wisteria Lane and I often find myself reminding myself that I am not actually in an episode of Glee…

It’s exactly the sort of place I would have wanted to grow up as a small child – safe with a friendly community atmosphere. I swear to God that literally everyone knows eachother, it’s actually crazy. It’s like a massive tight-knit comunity. You mention someone in an off hand way and they can spout about 10 facts about them. When you go out for a run everyone says hi aswell, this is all well and good – but honestly, I dont want to speak to anybody when I’m red in the face and am dripping in sweat.

Everyone here is a little over-obsessed with sports too, everyone does some sort of sporting activity and you stand out a fair bit if you don’t. Everyone has one sport in which they specialise and spend upwards of 4 days a week practicing. It’s all becuase some of the biggest university scholarships go to those who are particularly good at sports. Everything here is quite intense though,even the school play rehearsals are from 3-6pm Mon-Thur and then 5 hours on a saturday! I won’t have time to think let alone tap-dance!

Updates

After the past couple of packed weekends I’m now 96% sure we have done everything central Ohio has to offer so this weekend we havent really done very much. Although, I’ll try my best to make my dull life seem as interesting as i can for your benefit. 

This evening we went out to the cinema, however this wasn’t your average cinema, this was a ‘dine-in’ cinema. This evening I went to a cinema that was also a resturant!  It was amazing, there was table service in the cinema. I had thai-mexican food (yes, that is a thing) whilst watching a film. As you can gather gather, i loved it. The film was brilliant too; we saw ‘The Butler’ which was about a butler at serving the White House during the civil rights movement. It’s a wonderful film and covers about 27% of the edexel GCSE history syllabus. It’s a great film, definately go and see it, however, if i were you I wouldn’t choose to take a 7 yearold old boy with you enless you want to endure being asked about the KKK on the journey home. (‘Mummy why were there men dressed as ghosts throwing fire at them?’) Yes, that did happen. No, we are not proud.  

Moving swiftly onwards, all of our rental furniture has now gone! This is a negative as well as a positive, we are now without many items of ferntiure that we actually need . For example, we are currently without a kitchen table so are forced to eat from the kitchen work surface, in the place where it should be we have put a high chair as to stop people walking into the low hanginging light fitting above – so far no casusalties. It’s nice having our possesions back, I missed my clothes a lot, not that i’ve worn any of the ones that were dilivered, they’re all old – no wonder I put them in sea freight! The best part about everything arriving is having my duvet back; sheets and blankets are just not as spiritually fulfilling. Yesterday, we had to go shopping for bedding and towels and general necessities that the rental men took with them, i’m now confident in saying i have visited every single shop that sells such things this side of Columbus. I used to love soft furnishings, Dunelm and Ikea used to be top on my list of weekend activities, not anymore. If I ever have to choose between shower curtains again I may have to kill somebody.

This past week I’ve been going through the process of autitioning for the school play, this year it’s 42nd street. That meant I had to tap-dance. To say my dancing went badly is an understatement. I never want to have to exicute a ‘time step’ again in my existance. I sung and acted as well but I was only very average. To my surprise I did gain a spot on the cast, i’m in the chorus but that doesn’t bother me. Although I would hazard a guess that the chorus do a fair amount of tap-dancing onsidering the plot is about a chorus putting on a tap musical…  

Arrivals

So, today is the day I’ve been waiting for since we moved, moving-in day! All of our stuff arrived at our abode at around 9pm this morning and there have been men in and out of the house all day bringing stuff in. It’s quite a shock to the system having all of your belongings back, you get used to living with just a couple of items – life’s so much easier with less stuff. I came home to find all of my clothing dumped upon my bed with excess furniture tossed around my room. It took me 3 hours to clear it off my bed and form a path to my bed which didn’t involve jumping over a keyboard, climbing onto a chest of draws or trying to avoid the searing pain of standing on hangers.

After not having enough furniture in our house for over a month we are now confronted with the rather odd issue of having far too much. All of the stuff that we’ve rented isn’t being taken until Friday so now we have double everything. For example, In my room today I have; two beds, four bed site cabinets and two sets of draws. Although this is really fun as you can choose which piece to sit on, it is starting to prove quite challenging when attempting to move from room to room. The kitchen is also a major hazard area as where are boxes of stuff being unpacked, dishwashers going off left right and centre whilst double the usual amount of cooking implements litter the surfaces.

It has come to my attention that some of the oddest things have been packed, why on earth would we ever need two recorders?! nobody in this family plays the recorder, let alone two and I don’t plan on starting a recorder choir anytime soon. The even more baffling issue is which individual decided that it would be a good idea to take the mini accordion?! Not mine I can assure you of that. I’ve already had to endure listening to the sound of Hamish wander the house singing along to it at the top of his voice. It wasn’t pleasant. But this does mean that we could start a family recorder and accordion band…