Being in Oregon still feels so surreal to me – like at any given moment I will wake up and be in that cracker box house in West Valley. Take this morning for instance. It was definitely cooler than any day that we’ve been here since we had come out for spring break.
I had dropped by the middle school to ask a few more questions. The front door was open, and there was a light on one of the offices. I think I heard a vacuum cleaner in the distance. It was before 9:00 am and perhaps was too early and so I decided to return at a later time.
I drove to the pool which was still closed. I decided to sit on a bench and read until the instructor and lifeguards started filing in, and then walk down to do some water aerobic workouts. I took a few pictures from my cell phone (as I had left my camera at home by the computer) before I notice the manager and then the instructor. As I made my way over the hill and around the building, I couldn’t help thinking how none of this had existed for me just a month ago. I wasn’t even aware of the existence of this part of the world.
My aerobics start at 9:00 and go for an hour. Jenna has swim lessons that start at 10:30. I allowed her to stay home while I was in the water and then returned home for her. We had twenty minutes of waiting time and stopped at the school to ask the questions and I was also given the forms that I’ll need for registration.
After her swim class, we went to the music building which sits between the elementary and the middle school. We introduced ourselves and I told the instructor that I was interested in putting Jenna in band. He assigned her the clarinet and she had a four-minute instruction on how to put the instrument together and take it apart and gave her a first ten minute lesson on how to play each note. He gave us a book and the clarinet and instructed us to return to the school to pay a rental fee.
Students are encouraged to practice the instruments during the summer so that they will be somewhat familiar once school starts. I had been interested in starting Jenna in band when she was in the 5th grade, but when the leadership program was introduced to elementary school she attended in Salt Lake, it appeared that they had dropped the band program. Now Jenna has the opportunity – which at this time she is not at all happy about – but she felt that same way about my having put her in the dual immersion program and theatre and those turned out to be pluses and band will, too.
The school district does not offer a foreign language program until High School, but I am happy to say that Jenna will not lose her ability to communicate in Spanish. Halla, a student who moved to Myrtle Creek from Mexico, speaks no English and so the school plans to assign Jenna as Halla’s buddy. I AM SO EXCITED!!!!
Last night Jenna played with friends for the first time since we’ve moved here. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints offers a program to girls ages 8-12 which is supposedly similar to what the boys get with scouts. The program is called achievement days or activity days. We had taken Jenna to the church last night and she and Casey decided it would be great to continue playing together after the activity was over. We brought Casey home with us. Jenna was sooooo excited to have a play date with somebody – finally.
I think we had only been home just 30 minutes or so when Casey’s younger sister, Carly knocked at our door. She had with her Casey’s friend, Callie. So Jenna, Carly, Casey and Callie played together and Jenna was in her glory. It’s the happiest I have seen her in a long time, actually. She was hoping her play date would never end. Of course it did end. The skies grew darker and Roland’s eyes became heavier and he suggested sending the girls home. I told Jenna she could walk down the street with them and then return. I went out to the street to watch her – but it was so dark outside I really couldn’t see them.
I heard my neighbor across the street and yelled out to her, “Hi, Judy.”
When she seemed to respond, I had to cross the street to ask her to repeat whatever she had said as I couldn’t hear her.
I saw Jenna return to the house – along with the three girls she had walked down the street with.
“You girls cannot walk each other back and forth to each other’s houses all night!” I yelled.
Judy started laughing.
“Casey’s mom wants to talk to you. She’s right behind us.”
The girls started playing games on the front lawn before Callie and Casey’s moms walked across the street to join Judy and me. We must have all been visiting for 20- 30 minutes before Josie and Tara collected their girls and each went in a different direction. Jenna was beaming and excitedly asked me, “Can I tell you what we did?” and started in with every detail beginning with activity days. It was quite amusing to hear her trip over the names of the other three as she explained the details of “duck, duck goose” and “mother may I”. I am so happy to see that sparkle back in her eyes!
This afternoon I took Casey and Jenna to the library for an activity. We met the mayor – who, as it turns out, is my neighbor from just up the street (next door to Judy) and there was a programs and gifts and prizes and Jenna received a free t-shirt from a drawing.
I had planned on creating this post while Jenna and Casey played together, but Jenna asked if I would play a board game with them – which I suppose was necessary as Casey wasn’t quite getting the joy of playing it. After a while, Callie came over and the three girls played together. Now Jenna is at an outdoor concert which I could have attended as well, but chose to write this post instead.
I did feel a few drops fall down from the sky. Not a heavy rainfall. It looks like it could rain however. It really has been a great experience being here.