april 22, 9:33 am
we've been on the bus since 7am; 2 1/2 hours into a 10 hour ride. the bus is freezing. the kids are excited and loud. (telling them to shut the fuck up isn't an option)
i suspect that the girl is chatting via her ds texting capabilities w/ a boy on the bus. at the rest stop i hear her walking behind me telling her friend, "he said he liked me."
i am trying not to hover over her because this trip isn't about me and her bonding really, it's about me not being ready to send her 10 hours away for 3 days alone. i need to remember the excitement of this time in life. i never went on overnights in 6th grade but i did a few times in high school and it was as much about the bus trip and being out of school as it was about wherever we were going.
omg--it's been too long since i've hand written anything. my hand is cramping.
it is 9:50, is that too early to eat lunch? i want to put my ear phones on and sleep like i do on planes, would that be rude? i'm a chaperon after all. but right now the teacher's patrolling the bus and the other two parents are just vegging out.
12:25--we stopped to eat our brown bagged lunch at a rest stop and are now back on the bus. my group of kids consists of 8--one of which is the girl another of which is the boy she was talking about earlier. he has since moved up to sit behind me, directly across from the girl. we are in Tennessee now.
one of the other boys in my group has lost his father (and not as in he misplaced him). he was talking about his cooler and how it made him think of his dad. i asked why--he said because he's dead. i said i'm sorry (a stupid, pat response actually). he said don't be, my dad believed in heaven and that's where he is now. i can't help be reminded of my nephews, who also are w/out their father.
the girl's math teacher is on our bus. she told me what a wonderful student the girl is, not only smart but so pleasant and respectful and she said all of the teachers feel that way about her. that makes me so proud!
part of my being here is also to get some idea of how the girl acts around other kids her age. i realize this may not be truly accurate, since i'm here and she's apt to behave a bit differently because of that, but, we'll see.
we just passed a club--the katch--w/ silhouettes of people dancing and it said dance club. swanky. the building was right off the interstate and built out of cinder blocks. i'm sure it's a classy establishment.
listening to the mp3 player now--really, is there a voice more wonderful than rod stewart/ srsly--wonderful isn't even the word. you are my lover, you're my best friend, you're in my soul. you'll be my breath should i grow old.
you never really realize just how many shades of green there are until you look at a mountain side full of trees; laid out like a multi-hued carpet, looking soft and bushy.
--all for one and all for love--let the one you hold be the one you want, the one you need. bryan adams--all for love.
87 miles to Chattanooga.
2:30 (1:30pm central)--i napped, we had another pit stop and the movie playing now is mighty joe young--a disney flick i somehow missed but, guess who's in it??? sayid and bill (the dad on big love) and charleze theron! who knew? this movie has to be 10 yrs old. sayid just said--i'm not moving but my bowels are. really, great movie quote. lol
i can't help but wonder how tense and worried i would be today if i hadn't been laid off. our issue ships to the printer friday and a major trade show starts saturday. it would have been a crazy stressful week and i'd be here (because it was already planned and paid for) freaking out about work.
Friday, april 24, 10:30am--it has been a long, regimented few days. we're on the bus on the way home.
things i've learned over the last 3 days and 2 nights:
1. i am lucky to have the child i have. she is perfectly well behaved, respectful and polite. there are 80-90 kids here. of the 21 kids in our group, there were maybe 7 that were really well behaved, three that had special needs (including the boy who lost his father), 4-5 that were just rambunctious and about 6 who i would have liked to beat the hell out of.
2. 12-13 year olds are SO much more mature than i was at 12-13.
3. the state of alabama (which runs space camp) is raking in at least $21 million a year from this thing. they need to reinvest money in the facilities and staff though. it's looking sad and run down. not as high tech as i imagined space camp would be.
4. i could not be a middle school teacher.
5. it scare me to see all of these floundering kids w/ some it is painfully obvious that they receive little/no parenting and/or attention.
6. i did not know very much at all about the u.s. space program before this. i got the cliff notes version of it here; it was interesting. and, while there is no way in hell i'd personally do it, it makes me sad that we no longer go to the moon because we've been there done that and the money and public interest doesn't support it.
7. i rode the g-force simulator--sort of like the ride at an amusement part that spins you around, but much faster. this one went at least 50mph. it was not scary but rather uncomfortable. i felt like someone was sitting on my chest and i couldn't breath. the girl rode this one twice!
8. i also rode the gyroscope looking thing (as did the girl) which was pretty fun.
9. the girl is independent. I've known this, but it was more obvious now. the only time she sought me out was for money for the vending machines. i did manage to "accidentally" sit by her a few times though.
10. i need a new pair of tennis shoes. mine are either too small or something because having my feet laced up for 3 days has sucked.
11. the camaraderie you develop w/ other chaperons is interesting. there were 80-90 kids here; 4 school personnel (one 6th grade teacher, assistant principal and 2 special ed teachers), 5 parents and the teacher's husband. each of us we're directly responsible for 8-9 kids but we traveled in teams of three groups--w/ 3 chaperons each and the assistant principal was a floater.
12. i haven't had a smoke since wed. morning.
13. from what i've seen of alabama from the bus window, it is not unlike nc. i have been to birmingham, al before and it was quite lovely. but, if it's 80+ there now, holy hell i couldn't live there in the summer.
3 something eastern time--if i ventured in the slipstream...could you find me, would you kiss my eyes, lay me down....(van morrison, astral weeks, on my mp3)
we've stopped for lunch. i've been doing some crossword puzzles, listening to my mp3 player. of the kids on the bus i have decided who the girl can be life-long friends w/ and which boy would be a suitable husband (it is not the one she was texting). the boy i like for her is actually one she has mentioned before. he too is one of the smarter kids in the class. i've only witnessed his demeanor on the bus and in all group times because he was in the other group at space camp. about an hour into the bus trip wednesday he moved up front so he could read--it was too loud in the back. he is not dorky or geeky at all, just seems mature for his age. he is respectful and funny and curious and nice. (srsly, is there anything better than van morrison? i am forever grateful to my friend big t for many, many things, one of them being introducing me to van--not in person dumb ass, but to his music! i can't believe it took me so long to discover him)
there are kids, boys and girls both--who are HUGE. i'm 5'4" so it's no big deal that there would be kids taller than me, but omg, there are 6th graders who are nearly 6'!
the above were the notes i jotted down on the bus ride. the girl and i had a good time, but it really wasn't what i expected. we had literally every minute of the day scheduled. i understand them wanting to keep the kids occupied, but we could've used a few more breaks through out the day. i am amazed by how many kids were so badly behaved. i don't remember kids being like that when i was in middle school. the assist. principal said there would be kids on suspension this week because of their behavior on the trip. the girl rode every simulator she could and had a blast. i don't think she was so enthused about the space program history part, but it was interesting. i'll post some pics later, possibly today.
and yes--one of the movies they showed on the way to space camp was....space camp! LOL. i only caught bits and pieces so now of course i want to rent it. our space camp adventure wasn't quite that involved.