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Feeling strange in an unknown land has its advantages and disadvantages. Unfortunately, for me my first year at Ray-Pec Middle School, my 8th grade year, found an unsettling disturbance in the balance between these two elements. The balance between disadvantages to advantage was the same as putting a bolder and a pebble on a balance beam; as you can see the advantages weren’t very apparent. I felt trapped somewhere I didn’t want to be, I mean seriously, who wants to make the drastic change to a new school their 8th grade year.
My first day, there was no doubt in my mind that I stood out like a 35-year-old-man at a teen party. I mean, I really stuck out something vicious. I felt alone for the first couple of weeks. Now don’t get me wrong I had people to talk to, I guess you could say I just wasn’t feeling the social atmosphere at Ray-Pec at the time, Me from coming Smith Hale allowed me to obtain the biggest disadvantage of them all; the inability or inexperience of working with white people. I’m not racist or anything of that nature, I just felt strange coming from an environment where everyone had the same skin color and culture, to now, not only having to deal with a different race but also a completely different culture.
One particular day, I guess you can say my first friend forcibly introduced himself to me at Lunch. I was just sitting at the lunch table all by myself (reminding you I was still in my loner mode) and I wasn’t eating because that particular day I didn’t have lunch money to pay the warden to get a very delicious plate of Missouri’s finest prison food (By the way we called the lunch lady the warden). Anyways there was this kid, who seemed to be in my grade, (technically he was but I didn’t know this at the time) trotted over to my table like a freaking super hero, I gave this young gentle men a puzzled gaze like who are you suppose to be captain save a hoe. I held back my laughter at his goofy appearance. He looked at me with encouraging eyes and said, “What’s up, you look hungry.” For the most part, I’m a sarcastic person at heart so I replied, “Naw, I just enjoy watching people enjoy their meal while my stomach roars at me like a wife nagging about a shirt that always finds its self on the floor.” He laughed humorously and said the most amazing thing I’ve ever heard. He said “Well come on I’ll get you some food, and if you ever don’t have enough money to eat I’ll pay for your food.” Whether it was the generous hospitality of that kid (Later found out his name was Derek), or my sudden realization that dang black people are stingy, that made this moment so special I will never know. Most people looking in on this conversation might think, “What’s so special about this,” and my reply to this type of thinking is, well if you shut up and stop thinking so hard I’d tell you. Smith Hale ran on an every man for himself system; you would almost have to be a blood relative to receive anything from some one at that school. Even then, they would take 4-5 business days to think on it. From my recent exposure, u can see I wasn’t at all use to this new type of behavior among students.
More advantages began to kick in as the day went on and I became well acquainted with this Derek, and he toured me around meeting other students like the kids I labeled the funniest person I had ever met. One was a football player named Deron Washington who’s sarcasm was a little below mine which in turn made us get along well. The other was a kid (named Ervin) was just as new as me but the connection we shared was much stronger than me and Deron simply because we came from the same back ground. Us both being from the south, me being from Arkansas and Ervin being from Louisiana, had a selected funny bone when it came to listening to people from Kansas City talk. With these newly found friends, I felt I could actually relate to made my days go by faster at school, simply because I wasn’t as isolated as I was earlier that year. I also got lots of notes from girls that day telling me they liked me which was dope seeing that I’d never had so many girls come on to me like that before.
The day I found friends was the day I finally felt socially acceptance in this unfamiliar culture. Moving to Ray-Pec open my eyes to a new culture and allowed me to experience things in a new and even better mind set. Moreover, as I sit here in 2011 about to graduate I still remember the first friend I ever made in uncharted territory.





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