Shortest Horror Story- School Tomorrow

macaw, happy, inspirational, macaw on perch, san fansisco zoo

Gosh it’s been a great break. Extremely long and full of good things like chocolate and fireplaces. Gorgeous memories with friends and family. It was all I could have asked for. Then suddenly, all the teens in America woke up this morning with the crappiest feeling.

School tomorrow.

ew, blech, i'm gonna barf, school tomorrow, pirates of the caribbean jack sparrow tongue blech

The wonderful amounts of sleep and food we’ve been getting are soon to be forgotten when we go back to the Zoo called High School. Remember? That awful place growing on mountains of books and crawling with fire-breathing teachers handing out assignment after assignment, not to mention the other kids battling for survival along with you.

Ice cream calms the nerves.

Ice Cream is a comfort... It really is
“Eating Ben and Jerry’s eternally gives me brain freeze!”

Here’s the ray of sunshine people. Nicki Phillipi, this neat chick-Vlogger who I follow on the Tube of  You, has some general tips on how to be happy. Something I feel like is important to remember when crawling back into the Jungle/Zoo.

The Gist of How to Be Happy

By Nikki Phillipi

• Exercise

• Eat right

• Take care of yourself (hygiene)

• Express yourself

• Maintain a clean and happy environment

• Let your blessings flow

• Love other people

• Keep growing

And a line that I especially like and that I’ve been thinking a lot about IS, “Don’t get sucked into your own vortex”

Seriously.

That’s positive social media right there guys.

So when life feels like a Jungle, remember how to be happy. It’s more than possible :)

(Inspirational picture of a Macaw)

macaw, happy, inspirational, macaw on perch, san fansisco zoo
“I can see clearly now, the rain is gone” :)
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Volunteering at a Soup Kitchen

My mom signed us up. At first everyone whined, including my dad. But then we accepted facts as the time came for us to leave the house. I told my youngest brother, “Tonight’s Christmas Eve Eve, and so all of Santa’s little elves are spying on us just checking to make sure that we still deserve to be on the ‘Nice List’. Christmas Eve Eve is very important so you have to be really good at the Soup Kitchen. Okay?” He nodded at a violent speed.

We had close to no information about how the runnings of the soup kitchen worked, like who we would be feeding and how. All we knew was the address, and to bring pulled pork on buns and tell our friends that we had invited to bring salad and dessert. Approx mouths to feed: 55

We pulled into a sketchy, warehouse part of downtown and unload our haul. It was pouring and our crock-pot dripped while we stood outside, knocking on the glass doors of the building we thought was the Soup Kitchen.

I really didn’t know what a soup kitchen looked like. A large cafeteria perhaps with ladies in hair nets and men with beards holding out bowls?

” ‘Naught ‘a th’ sort. “

A woman opened the glass doors with a grin larger than the country called China.

“HELLO! Welcome, Welcome, Come on in! We weren’t expecting you tonight because HQ forgot to tell us you were coming, but here you are!” She ushered us into the kitchen, her big blue eyes were gleaming behind her petite landlady glasses. She began to clear away what looked like thawing frozen meals and then pointed to the tantalizing aroma coming off our crockpot, “And what you have there looks so much better than the frozen sandwiches we keep in stock!” We smiled at each other and at her, then we rolled up our sleeves and got to work; no hair nets required. (Score!)

Salad was tossed, brownies were cut, and well, pulled pork sat there looking amazing; all in a little room that close to nothing like what I had imagined.

There were two long tables, each as long as an olympic ping-pong table. They were surrounded by blue plastic chairs. A christmasy centerpiece was plopped at the end of each table, complete with smiling snowmen and mini plastic Douglass firs set on one end of each. Booster seats hung low on the walls, available for reach. Thank-you cards and hand-drawn pictures were taped in an arch around the entry-way. It was no Best Western, but it was build by love.

As we set up shop, we learned a few things about this Organization,

1) They are an application-based Women and Children’s home for the Homeless. The people we would serve had earned their place here, the goal is to help these families through food, education, safety, comfort, and self-reliance.

2) There’s a learning center for the kids who live here and are tutored there by high schooler kids who need community service hours!

3) Random Drug tests.

4) We would actually be feeding half the number of people we had prepped for because during the holidays, many of these families leave to be with family.

(And a few other neat things which I will remember and slip in later)

We were ready and the doors opened. That room was more full with appreciation and Merry Christmases than oxygen. People ate. I sort-of taught the two little girls who were also volunteering how to toss a salad. Lots of people who had never tried pulled pork before came back for seconds. Almost everyone in the room was smiling, except for the ones with their cheeks full. We made faces at the babies and talked with their mothers. We took shifts eating with the families or behind the counter dishing up. Nothing was scary anymore, and we were all really enjoying ourselves.

Then, those little girls I tossed salad with? One opened up her little violin and played in the corner all three songs she had memorized, including the Can Can. It was adorable. Especially when she messed up and paused, her bow in mid strum, with a stumped and concentrated look on her face. “Oh yeah!” Continue she would. The families who remained clapped to the rhythm, and a few poked their heads in to see where the curious sounds were coming from. One little girl in particular who had long dark hair and huge brown eyes, probably the same age as the girl playing, stood very close and watched intently. I left to do something in the kitchen, but when I came back, the violin was on the dark-haired girls shoulder, and my little salad girl was teaching her how to play. Dark-hair was ecstatic, closing her eyes and playing short little screeches to her heart’s content.

Christmas is about that rosy red thing called love. I pray for you and your family that you find some tomorrow and all the days to follow. And if you can’t find some, give some. Don’t worry, you have this love generator thing called a human heart. It’s very useful when serving soup in a kitchen, which I strongly suggest you try sometime. Musical instruments optional but highly looked upon.

Merry Christmas Guys :)

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The Saddest Week of my Life.

I wrote “love” on my arms on Monday for suicide awareness week, because that’s what it was. And then I  had to go over the faded letters again in pen on Tuesday, 9/11, because I heard about Sally. Her name isn’t Sally, but it’s better that I call her that.

Sally had done exactly what Suicide Awareness Week was established to prevent. She had succumbed to teen depression, and made a choice that would cause permanent results not just for her, but for her family and for her friends, and for her teachers, and any of those who knew her name.

This week a grey blanket lay over my school where she once laughed with her friends in the halls. It was sad at first, awfully sad. And then it changed to a solemn sense of remembering. Remembering her life, remembering if there was anyone else at school who had shown the same symptoms as Sally, or who had shown them that day. In my circle of friends, we found a few and checked in on them. We cried together as a school, and it was cold and dark. Not yet rainy. We cried together at lunch as friends and in classes with teachers. We held each other, and were always asking,

Are you okay?

My spanish teacher put her desk where she had sat in the back of the room facing the class, holding cards and flowers. The desk seemed sad. A table was set up by a wall where a poster read her name and people wrote messages to her. Unsaid thoughts written in Crayola marker on the poster and on the table sat flowers, several bouquets, just as beautiful as her life had been. A friend brought candles, and we lit them reverently.

I haven’t been the same. Nobody has. It’s hard to put any effort into anything, like studying or Volleyball. All drive to do things seems to be gone because there’s a hole in our school and sadness in every corner. But there’s always hope. I’m looking back up at the candle as I type… fire is hope and sorrow. It’s okay to be sad, but that sadness must spark a change. I’m still sad, but I also went to church today. Oh thank heaven for church. It’s thanks to my religion that I know where Sally rests. I do. Again, that’s faith.

All will be okay. It will be better than okay because there is still good, good life in this world. I believe that Sally is not lost, and she did not live her life here on earth in vain, because it was beautiful. And it was something to learn from. Something big enough to wake up a whole school and city. And I believe that I will see Sally again later, and we’ll all run up to hug her. We will all remember how to laugh again soon. Together. That’s what Sally would have  wanted. And may she rest in Paradise.

“Don’t forget to love each other”  – Our Principal