Throwback Thursday: Learning and Me

Good morning, friends! Today, I’d like to talk to you about a subject that’s always been a bumpy ride for me: Education. I’m not proud to say it, but I’m a high school drop out. I’ve always had issues with absenteeism in my life, because I get sick easily, have chronic migraines, and a number of other issues. I’m not actually intending to talk much about that, however: what I want to talk about is the fact I wasn’t always a bright student. In fact… I was pretty bad at being a student in my early years.

Throughout elementary school, I was a lot slower than my classmates, physically and mentally. I couldn’t seem to write well no matter how hard my teachers tried to, well, teach me. I was always clumsy and struggled with my physical education from regular falls and lack of muscle compared to my heavyset physique. It got to a point where it was decided I needed both physical therapy and occupational therapy while I was in school.

This was an issue that continued through part of middle school. My two therapists came to see me and would pull me out of classes to get my work with them done. While occupational therapy involved all sorts of things, including simple movements like lunges and wall facing push-ups, occupational therapy focused mostly on my reading and handwriting skill. To this day, my handwriting remains notably messy, but at least I recognize the letters now, which I struggled with in my early years.

I have a learning disability or two. I’m dyslexic with a side of dyscalcula. Words and numbers always felt they were moving around on the pages in my text books, so I always ended up making notably errors, even if it made sense if they looked at my work. I also just have a bad memory. In high school, I was given a number of tests- IQ tests, memory tests, things like that. It was noted to me afterwards that I had a low(ish) score on information retention, which honestly didn’t surprise me. I don’t know why that is, but it was already fairly obvious to me- in middle school, I had to ask my friend every hour what day of the week it was.

I have one more health issue that doubles for causing me issues in classes. I have a form of OCD mixed with ADD. For me, I’m quick to change what I’m thinking about at any given time, under one condition: there’s no spelling or grammatical errors on the papers or the blackboard I’m looking at. I had a lot of teachers who’d make mistakes, and when I caught it, I could no longer concentrate on anything- I was fixated, praying I could alter it with telekinetic powers or something. It did and still does drive me crazy! I can’t finish paperwork if I don’t edit the fields that have typos- that goes for doctor’s offices and government documents I’ve had to fill out n the past, too.

So you see, I had a lot of issues with learning. From my inability to focus after noticing and error or just not really soaking in information very quickly, school wasn’t easy for me… but I loved it. I’ve always loved learning, and I still do. I have plenty of things that set me back, but I make an effort to learn something new each day.

What was school like for you guys? Did you have issues with learning in general, or just certain subjects? What were things that helped you to learn more easily? I’d love to hear all about your experiences! Whether you’re currently in school, graduated, or dropped out like me… I want to hear your story. I’ve already shared mine- now it’s your turn!

Have a great day, guys! See you on Saturday!

Topical Tuesday: Travel Tales

Hihi! How’s it going guys? Today, I was given a prompt by a friend who’s been helping me a lot lately when I get in a rut on what to write. I’ve been having some pretty bad signs of ADD showing recently, so my doctor intends to put me on new medication that should do the work of two I’m already on. That’s not what this post is about though- just wanted to update you.

No, today’s post is about travel. As many of you probably know, I went to Arizona back in mid-August to visit my boyfriend. This wasn’t my first time traveling there, or even traveling to Arizona- in fact, I’ve traveled a fair bit in the United States over my life. And today, I’m going to tell you some tips and tales from those times.

The first time I traveled to Arizona, I was twelve years old or so, with some of my extended family. This was a three part trip, starting in Arizona, leading to Nevada, and finishing in California. In Arizona, my most notable memory was melting in the harsh summer heat alongside my cousin. We got ice cream, but it was messy. We were too bored inside where the adults were dealing with selling one of my grandma’s properties, but it was too hot to handle the outdoors. It wasn’t fun, let’s leave it at that.

The more interesting part of the trip, Nevada, was mostly just something to laugh at. You see, in Las Vegas- where we went- kids aren’t allowed on the carpet of hotels because it’s considered part of the casino. As my cousin closer to my age and I were being told to get off, so was my fully adult cousin with her law degree and passed bars. Why? Because she’s shorter than I am, and I’m not all that tall to begin with. She’s so tiny that to this day she still has a kiddish air to her. I couldn’t help but giggle when that happened.

Finally, in California, I was helping my grandparents house-sit for my wealthy aunt and her family while they were on vacation elsewhere. You’d think that house-sitting would be boring, but in my case, I was also cat-sitting… and also learning minor Japanese. To practice cat and flower, as their cat’s name was Daisy, I started calling her Hananeko. After two weeks of that though… Well, it took some adjusting for my aunt and cousins, as she stopped reacting to Daisy altogether! I renamed their cat in my process of practice!

The next story comes from when I was moving in with my youngest aunt for my last year of middle school. Like many trips before, I flew- but it was the first time I was flying alone. During this trip, I learned a lot of things. One, kids can fly alone but have to have a flight attendant keeping an eye on them regularly. And secondly, sitting next to strangers can be not just scary, but annoying.

You see, I was dressed in a long skirt and shirt that day. I was flying from freezing New Jersey in the dead of December, so my normal clothes were usually sweatpants or long skirts or similar things. The guy who sat next to me thought it was a smart idea to ask a kid he’d have to sit next to for five or six hours, “Hey, you’re Jewish right? I can tell by the big nose and the way you’re dressed.”

What I hated was technically speaking, he had been right. I was born into Judaism, but I certainly didn’t practice it. I hardly believed a word of it! I didn’t want to be recognized as ‘Jewish’, because he was making it sound like only Jewish girls wear long skirts. I just like skirts! I find them cozy! What about that means I have to be Jewish!?

I hadn’t traveled much for a decade after that trip, aside from the trip when I moved back home to New Jersey that June. It wasn’t until last year that I took a plane again to visit Arizona- and I learned some interesting things from that trip, along with this year’s. For starter, I learned there are two kinds of ‘Economy’ seating, and different airlines treat ‘Basic Economy’ differently. United does not allow a carry-on for Basic, while American Airlines does- meaning I didn’t have to have a checked bag with them, potentially. I tried it the second trip, and it worked like a charm! Other things went wrong though:

For starters, I required a wheelchair going through the airport. My legs have been getting worse lately- both from lack of exercise and my nerve problems. I still need to get them x-rayed, actually, but that’s a story for another time. It wasn’t bad being brought on a wheelchair to the boarding area. In fact, it was kinda nice to have help getting there.

When I landed, though, I found myself baffled by the layout of Phoenix’s Sky Harbor airport. I ended up asking a person that worked at the airport to tell me how to get to where I needed, only to be sent in the wrong direction! I don’t blame them for not getting it right though. That place is a jungle in my opinion. A crowded jungle.

My return trip seemed a bit better. My wheelchair also got me staff members that would come check on me and offer me food, water, or to wheel me to the bathroom. They also were in charge of wheeling me onto the plane- but that’s where something went wrong. See, my plane wasn’t at the gate yet- a plane to Atlanta was. I’d been confused by the boarding display myself, but when I noticed it said Atlanta, I had to stop her.

The reason it bugged me, though, was because she had me show her my boarding pass. It says where I’m going, and I was clearly not going to Atlanta. And she was just happy to push me onto that Atlanta plane if I hadn’t stopped her. I got really lucky with my neighbor that flight though. He was a nice fellow, and helped bring my bags off the plane and out of the gate area for me while I as in my wheelchair! I was in awe.

By the way, both my flights this year were delayed by like an hour to an hour and a half: one because there was a group of 40 Israelis visiting the country as a special program, who were all very bad at the ‘sit down when the sign says to’ concept. The second was because of a bad storm in Newark, which I still felt the strength of when we got there- that rain was horrifying. I got lucky a limo driver offered me a good rate when he saw me struggling to get my bag on the escalator.

So, what did I learn through all of this? A few things:

  1. Sometimes airports are just as confusing to staff as they are to consumers.
  2. When traveling alone, it’s Russian roulette if you’ll get a decent seat neighbor or not.
  3. Sometimes you can believe the weird person who comes up and offers to drive you home.
  4. Don’t do the above without contacting someone that you know will keep an eye out for you in case it’s not a good person driving you home after all.
  5. Kids and disabled adults are treated similarly by staff.
  6. Airplane food has gotten way better.

That’s all I have to say today. Have you been on any trips recently? Do you have any wild or just general stories about your trips you’d like to share? Whether it’s advice for my next flight or a story from your own, I’d love to hear it! Thanks as always, guys!

Topical Tuesday: Words to Live By

Good morning, lovely readers! It’s been a rough week recently, with issues regarding a new laptop getting to my house. However, the one I’ve been using still works somehow, so let’s use this computer’s old age to talk about today’s topic: wisdom.

More specifically, words of wisdom. You know what they are- those tiny parts of a grandparent’s rambling that seem to describe the meaning of life. That one really good fortune in a fortune cookie that inspired you. It may come from anywhere, but these words are words to live by… And I have some to share as well today.

When I was thirteen, I lived with my aunt for a year. Over that year, she said some remarkable things- and now, having been well over a decade, she doesn’t realize she taught me them when I mention them to her! It’s rather funny, but also helps the words remain deep within my mind. I’m going to share some and why they affected me. Perhaps they’ll affect you too!

  1. “Goals high, expectations low.” – These words SCREAM NaNoWriMo to me. Her point at the time was to cheer me up over something I tried hard at, or at least I think that’s what it was. I don’t remember when I was told exactly, I just know she told me it, and it’s been in my methods as a writer or even as a person ever since.
  2. “Life is a team sport.” – This nugget of wisdom has to do with mental health, which run rampant in our family. For me, what this says is a reminder about how important a good safety net is. Have lots of people to love and who love you back, and you’ll surely find someone that’ll help you in moments of difficulty.

Another line I really like is something that was shared to me in high school by a student teacher. I went to special ed schooling for mentally ill children- but even if we were special needs, our teachers treated us fairly the same, if not better I think. My math teacher was teasing me at the time for turning 18, after we’d just had a financial planning class regarding age of majority. And that’s when my student teacher had this to say:

  1. “The best part about being an adult, is you get really good at being a kid.” – To me, this was more or less a reminder not to lose childish curiosity and to keep being creative. It was something that told me it was okay to not know my path the entire way. It meant so much, I love to share it with youths now that are nervous about becoming adults.

There are plenty of other quotes in my family, but they’re more personal words to live by. Things like “things come in threes” are common in my house and extended family. But one thing my dad always has to remind me is something I think everyone should remember when they’re in a rough spot- and that’s what I want to end on today. So please remember it in times you can’t seem to thrive…

“This too shall pass.”