“ The Best Week of My Life”

September 28, 2007
By Nayeli Paez, Shandon, CA

I was sitting in the yellow and red booth at McDonalds, drumming my fingers on the table and glancing at the black clock on the wall constantly. I was worried as I looked again at the clock and saw it was nine- thirty. A bus was supposed to come and take my friend Gilberto and me to take us to go to an algebra camp at USCB. I grew tired with waiting, so I went outside to talk to my friend Gilberto and his younger sister Adilene. As I approached them I asked, “ What time was the bus supposed to be here?” Gilberto hesitated before answering. “I think 9:45.” He finally replied. He then grew quiet and said slowly,” I don’t think I want to go anymore.” I was shocked. If Gilberto didn’t go, I would be the only one from my school going! I told him, “Gilbert, you have to go. You just feel nervous because the camp is a week long.” I glanced around and saw a yellow bus coming towards us. “Look, that’s our bus. Let’s go.” I urged. He mumbled, “Fine.” And picked up his suitcase. I went running to my father who was holding my luggage and hugged him. He handed me my belongings and I walked to the bus. There were two girls from Atascadero. I climbed on the bus and sat near the end behind Gilberto . I was excited about this trip. This trip changed the way I think about my friends.

It took us about four or five hours to get to the university because we needed to stop for more than thirty kids from different towns. When we finally did arrive, we received are keys to our dorms. Our roommates were chosen alphabetically. I walked on to the first floor of the San Miguel Hall where my dorm was. I met my roommate and we talked for a while. We didn’t talk long because we went up and down the halls talking to other kids. Soon we went to eat dinner at a buffet with different kinds of foods. Since it was the first day of camp and I didn’t know anyone, I hung out with Gilberto. I told him,” Have you talked to anyone yet?”

He answered after swallowing his food,” Sort of. I don’t have a room mate.” I told him that was cool and looked at the people around us. There was one group of kids who were already talking and laughing as if they had known each other for years. At that moment I decided I would make new friends as soon as possible.

The next day, I started to hang out with very funny people. There were three girls that I got along with the most. Their names were Jackie, Tatiana, and Jessica. I hung out with them for the rest of the week. Gilberto also made a lot of friends.

In the middle of the week was when stuff got personal. I talked to my new friends about personal problems and some of them could relate to my problems and gave me advice. At one point in the conversation I remember thinking, “Whoa…I can’t really tell this to my friends because they will tell other people and spread rumors.” I had a feeling the people I told wouldn’t tell anyone else so I didn’t worry.

Algebra class wasn’t anything new. I had already known all the things they taught us. In some lessons, we were allowed to use graphing calculators that we could “text” on. We would type silly messages and show people, but we did pay attention in class. Our classes were about two hours long but we had breaks between each hour. After classes, we would eat lunch and then play afternoon activities. Usually we would rock climb or play soccer.

The afternoon activities were really interesting. Everyone played soccer because everyone loved it. I played fairly good. I made slide tackles but ran into a guy on accident. But not even Gilberto could compete with the kids who had been playing for years. Veronica had been playing for seven or eight years, Tatiana had been playing for six or seven years, and most of the boys there were really good. They were some of the best I had ever seen, well, in person anyway.

Rock climbing was a different story. I had never been rock climbing before and therefore, it was very exciting. There were four different difficulty leveled walls. Each wall was about twenty feet high and had a different amount of space between each rock. I made it all except the really hard one. The next day, I was really sore.

The last couple of days I enjoyed as much as possible. There was a “family day” where your parents go and visit you. My parents didn’t go but one of my friends did. I talked to her mother and sister for a little. It was really fun except when we had to listen to the parents talk about how much they love their kids. I passed notes throughout the whole thing with my friend Jessica, whose parents were also not there. We weren’t the only ones bored though. At least five different kids feel asleep while the parents were talking! It was hard to hide my giggles while I watched their heads droop as they fell into sleep. It was sort of sad when all the parents left but we still had a rope course to go to.

We walked about ten minutes away from the San Miguel Hall to where the rope course was located. A man showed us all the cool activities we could do. We were able to swing off a rope into a net like Tarzan, walk on a rope bridge that was suspended twenty high up in the air or have a sudden drop from twenty feet high in the air. After we did most of them, we used our last hours to talk. I talked about friends here in Shandon, and they talked about what their life was like. All that day was fun and adrenaline rushing.

The last day we walked on the beach. We signed books that had “autograph” pages to write on. We talked as we walked in the cool water in the ocean. We saw two animals that looked like either dolphins or whales, I couldn’t tell, but they were black anyway. We had a picnic lunch right beside the beach and watched people water ski and go boating. It was sad when we got back on the bus and rode home. I was one of the four to get off at Atascadero and was in a gloomy mood by the time I got home.

I still remember details about this trip even though it happened months ago because it changed the way I think about my friends. When I came back into school as a 8th grader, I realized my friends weren’t easy to talk to like the kids from Santa Barbara. They never really listened the way the others did. I never had the confidence to talk to them about personal stuff. Sometimes it makes you wonder who cares and who just say they do. If I was to ask them if they did care, they would say they do but without really meaning it. I know which friends are good to me and which are bad influences so it doesn’t matter. I realized my mistakes and urge other people to make sure their friends are good influences. I still keep in touch with the people I met at camp so I haven’t forgotten them and now I know to give new people a chance and not judge them too early.

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