And now we get to the point of life where more change hit me than a little bit, but it’s all been able to benefit me on multiple levels. I can come into this from multiple angles. The quickest & simplest way to start is that I went out of the country. A few years before that, I did do some traveling to a couple of other states, but my 9th-grade year was my biggest & most significant travel. Bryan went to Pescara, Italy for a foreign exchange. I can say that this experience is something that not everyone can say they have encountered. I really didn’t know what to expect. I was able to participate in this thanks to donations, fundraisers, & oddly enough, taking Italian my freshman year. I will say that the term culture shock is an understatement. I think that we sometimes don’t know what to expect in our lives, & when I went to Italy, I really didn’t have a clue what to expect. Luckily one of my longtime friends went along with a friend I made thanks to middle school & primarily high school. We were literally like the 3 amigos. All of our personalities were totally different, but we were a good group together. I skipped over a key piece from middle school. I made a friend who I was friends with for a couple of years, & we had a good bond. I haven’t talked to him in the past 5 or so years. I know why we are no longer friends, but I will hold off on going into that since we’re not to that point yet (well we are, but it will tie in eventually). The Italy foreign exchange was a GREAT experience. I was actually gypped while in Rome. I got to eat a pizza that CHALLENGED me. It was a little rough not knowing the language fully, but I still was able to enjoy the trip & the experience. It was my first (and oddly most recent) plane ride. The challenge was when I got homesick. It got simple with time. Many of you who may not know much about a foreign exchange based on you staying with someone’s family & then that person stays with you. Well, I did experience that, & it was different being an only child, but it wasn’t a massive difference. The largest culture adjustment is when the Italians had a tradition of sitting in each other’s laps if there weren’t enough seats. The teachers and even the principal wasn’t even sure what to do. A piece of being in Italy that STILL stands out to me is how the city shuts down for lunch. If we had that opportunity here in the states, there would be much less stress on people. That’s just my personal opinion.
I feel like I’ve spent the majority of this section on Italy, but there were some other things that happened in high school. I did play in the band my freshman year, which introduced me to the tenor saxophone. Traveling was a joy in itself. I got quite a few accolades while in high school. I was starting to come into my form of who I was while in high school. I became a writer my senior year of high school. My English teacher was very transparent in my opinion. She would allow us to write on whatever we wanted to write about while I was in school. Basically, I would write about the topic that was listed on the board & then writes my own personal tangent (aka journaling) during the time period of writing. I got to play basketball & learn basketball a little while in high school. Before you ask, no I didn’t play for my high school. The closest moment I had was throwing a no-look pass & maybe hitting a 3-pointer in the game we were playing. I wasn’t the most athletic as a kid. I also didn’t really put my effort towards that avenue. I knew & accepted something that many people have been aware of with me 17+ years later…I was a nerd.
This will be a separate paragraph because I want to bring something to everyone’s attention. I wasn’t a smartass nerd. I was just someone who knew how to be tactful in what I said or what I did. Grade-wise, I didn’t have the greatest of grades. I didn’t do enough to get by either. I just was usually used to staying in the simple smart radar. I didn’t want it to be known that I was smart, but it would work out to my advantage as I get older. I loved talking sports when I was a kid. I was also trying to establish my sports teams that I became a fan of. I was (and still am) a fan of these teams:
What was funny is that no one really could figure out where or how these teams came to life. Well, I’ll explain since we’re here. The Panthers were a new up & coming team, & I wasn’t too much of joining bandwagons (Steelers, Redskins, Cowboys, etc.). I didn’t knock any fans of those teams. The Panthers & Jaguars both came in the league the same year, & Carolina became my option. The AC Milan love generated thanks to going to Italy (MILAN FOR LIFE). Kentucky was a team I kept up with thanks to Jamal Mashburn and Tony Delk. They happened to win a championship when I was a freshman in high school as well as my junior year, so I saw their winning ways early. The Houston Rockets is STILL a funny one because I became a fan AFTER they won their back to back championships before Jordan returned. I had pretty poor timing. I was close to seeing the Rockets make it to the finals this year, but it wasn’t the best of runs when you look at it. Anyways, that’s the sports story & rundown. I literally shared this because you were guaranteed to see me write CHKM on my notebooks for quite some time.
I went to prom, which was a pretty chill experience. Not even gonna lie. I got a chance to kinda relax & say that I went. It wasn’t anything extravagant, but I did attend. Not long after, I graduated & went on to “school”. This was a pivotal decision, & I’ll explain why in part 4 (yeah I’m dangling it…plus I have written waaaay more words than I was supposed to for Part 3). Until next time…BT coming with lovely written content.