Day 1: Welcome come to my doom. Enjoy.
*inside my dream*”I declare today as National Potato Independence day.*cheers and wolf whistles* so as the rightful citizens, raise your potato and sing the potato anthem…” “ANGELI WAKE UP!!! I’LL GIVE YOU 3 SECONDS OR IT’S GONNA BE RAINING DOWN YOUR FACE!!” urg. I wake up to my mother shouting at me for some reason. I probably forgot to let the dog out last night.. wait we don’t have a dog. Then what ..? ” YOU’RE GOING TO BE LATE FOR YOUR TRIP!!” that’s it, it’s the day i have to go on a ‘field project’ or as i like to call it ‘a class vacation’ to Nagano. We were planned to stay at this place called Northstar. I hope they have a ping-pon table, cause i like smashing the ball and ruining the game. Aren’t i in such a great mood. Just peachy. I’m not much of a morning person if you haven’t noticed. I got out of my soft covers and got changed. I stared at my bags i was going to bring. They looked like they were a time bomb near the end of the countdown, ready to exploded any minute. Carefully i dragged them to the door and quickly grabbed some toast and headed out the door. I was on my way to Audrey’s because she lives right in front of me and that her ever-so-considerate father was dropping both of us off at school. An hour later of bothering Audrey on the way there (one of my number one hobbies in my list of hobbies to pursue when older and wrinkled), we arrived at school where i was attacked by a mob of huggers that i lately on identified as my friends. We proceeded to stand at the playground until everyone was here and went on the buses. You know the term “roadkill”? Well the situation on the bus could’ve been defined by roadkill. It was 6-straight hours of pure torture. It’s like going on a roller coaster full of non-stopping-stomach-fluttering sensations. People kept on singing tunes in out of tune voices, boys kept on getting ‘too hyper’ and the elf in my head wouldn’t stop yammering. and no, having a elf in my head is a perfectly normal thing. not. It’s not like i could jump out the window because that wouldn’t be so smart, and my headphones were useless because no matter how high i put my music on, i could still hear voices in the background. After struggling through the pain i felt the bus stop. Out my window awaited such a beautiful scene (hold on, it gets poetic from here). Before my eyes was a huge lawn covered in a blanket of crunchy mango-maple leafs. The sturdy thick trees that surround the area in their honey golden leafs glittered with sunshine. The heaven blue river that flows gently across the lawn in a silent trickling beat. Finally there stood a wide lodge made of dark brown wood and the sign that said “Northstar.”
We played team building exercises out on the lawn such as sitting on the ground and pulling ourselves together at the same tie. It was tricky at first but before we knew it, instead of pairs we were pulling 16 at a time. The air outside got cold so we went inside. That’s when they told us that the girls had to go to a smaller lodge called Raicho instead of staying at that cool place. But orders were orders so we took a bus to Raicho and i discovered that my bunk mates were my friends Seira, Ellen and Melanie. I guess this trip became a bearable. a little. I went down to dinner only to have find myself piling food onto my plate like crazy due to the marvelous smell coming from the food. And boy was it good. Satisfied with my tummy i head up to my bed where literally fall down my bed and sleep. It was like some hit the snooze button on me. Not that i didn’t know i had a button on me, did i?
Day 2: Star Gazing – romantic much?
“ang…Ang…ANG!!” i heard i voice scream. since when did mum call me ‘Ang’? “Huh?.. who let the chickens out?” I groggily reply. “Never mind. Come on. Breakfast is in 10 minutes.” said Melanie. “um sure i’ll be there.” I surveyed my surroundings when i suddenly remember i was in a little room with my friends so that must mean.. I’ve been held hostage by Death eaters as a punishment for uprising against Voldemort! See what the mornings do to me. I think crazy thoughts, not that i’m usually this weird though. I think again and realized that I’m probably on my vaca- i mean field studies. “I thought you were coming?” said Seira impatiently. “right I’ll be there in a jiffy.” i said. Mmm what is that wonderful smell? am i dreaming this or is it some sort of illusion? i thought while going down the stairs. My answers were answered when i hit the dinning area. Aha, breakfast! i join my friends at the table and swallow the food till i scraped the plate clean. I think i’ll like the breakfasts here. We walked to Northstar to meet up with everyone else. We had a option for today. It was either guardrail painting or Ski lodge fixing. Of course i took the painting option. So did my friends so i was pleased. we were provided with a brush and a can full of paint. There were ten million rail and i didn’t see how we were going paint all of them. First we had to scrape off the rust from the rails. then we paint layers on the surfaces. Even the back of the rail was necessary. I mean who looks at the back of the rail when they crash into it? ” *crashes into rail with car* Never mind me, or the car, what beautiful paint it has on the back of the rail. Ooo even better underneath the rail is like that master piece by leonardo what’s-his-name” Really. Like that’s going to happen. Anyhow after hours of painting every single white spots, i stand up to see that some how i was covered in paint head to toe. Including the back of my neck. How did that get there? We went back to Raicho to eat lunch and we had this delicious curry for lunch. Ellen was so hungry that she ate her bowl in one bite and went back for another. When we went back to Northstar we had to split into groups and build “organic-chairs” which were just chairs made out of leafs and all that stuff. Our team was lazy so while the others were building extraordinary chairs we made a reclining chair instead. The ground was the base and we had a foot stool and a head rest. It was actually quite comfy. But did we win anything in the end? Definitely not. Though it was fun so i guess that’s it matters. We star gazing at the end of the day. Well actually it was more of a cloud-gazing. We had to sit still for a decade or so, so that we could “here nature’s voice in disguise” and noises we usually couldn’t hear due to being in the city. That little excursion was fun excluding the fact that i’d probably never feel my finger and ears tips again, my teeth fallen off by chattering too much, and my toes crumbled to shrubbles. Relief rushed through me as i snuggle into my warm and fluffy covers.
Day 3:Why snuggling inside fluffy covers always seem like a good idea
I woke up to voices and the sounds of feet scuttling around. “hurry up Ang” said Melanie, ” We don’t have time to be lying around.” ” Time for what?” i asked. ” we’re going hiking.”
There. just like that. I immediately imagined all that walking up and down and up and down, the coldness that creeps through the gap between my neck and my scarf, the muscle pains after going through the mountain and not to mention the uncountable amounts of blisters i’ll probably get. Now don’t get me wrong, i like exploring, i like the outdoors but do i like 5 hours hours straight of walking with small shoes upon rocky grounds? who doesn’t. I felt like snuggling into my warm, soft covers and leaving to dreamland but apparently i was “supposed” to get ready for a “super exciting day of absolute fun” so mumbling under my breath, i stuff my coats and water bottles into my bag and hurried down to breakfast. At least the breakfast brightened my mood. a little. It was delicious as always, and as soon as we were done we got into the dreaded bus and rode our way to north star.
We met up with the boys and we were officially off to the hiking place, Kamikouchi. Hour and a half later from nervously looking out the window we arrived to our destination. one step outside the bus and my teeth were chattering to death and my legs were viberation mode. i knew i should’ve brought more layers of coats. Our little hike group’s tour guide was Seiya so i guessed it was bearable, for now. We walked in various directions; up and down and right and left and you know, everywhere. i found my self actually enjoying myself as my friends and I talked and sang during our way. I even got to annoy some people which was a bonus. My camera was bursting with photos of nature’s beautiful side and what it has to offer. We took at group photo at the steps near this big bridge. When the other tour guide offered to take other’s cameras too, we all scrambled to towards him like a mob of impatient women rushing to a 80% discount boutique. He had at least 80 cameras dangling from his arm like a laundry line. We came across this statue with a guy’s face on. Seiya said that he was a guy who came from England or somewhere and made Kamikouchi famous to the world. cool. We also visited the museum in the park and we headed off to the buses afterwards. Finally! it was fun though, i gotta admit maybe i’ll give hiking a re-think. We were dropped off at our lodge so then we took a long refreshing bath and went down to have dinner. Yet again the dinner was fabulous. Seriously, how do they do it. Probably magic of some sort. We had Tonkatsu (Pork chops) and between a scale from 1 to 10, it was a 50. We were scheduled to have the boys over for a movie night so we sat and waited. and waited. and waited. We were so fed up waiting for them so we cranked up some music and started dancing. Then FINALLY the boys decided to show up and crash our little 5 minute dance party. They have such great timing don’t they? Anyway the Movie we watched was “White cops” and its about these two black cops that disguise themselves as white girls for a mission. The room was filled with never ending laughter as the characters on the screen entered various-hilarious situations. We finished the movie and got our special Northstar T-shirts too. Before i realized it, my feetwere at the front of my doorstep. Then without further notice, i entered deep sleep, or as i like to call it, Dreamland.
Day 4: The invasion of the Marshmallows
*groans* meh the muscle pains hurt from yesterday. “Ang come on, wake up or i’ll poke you to death.” Said Melanie, again. ” I know you wouldn’t” i said, “you know i would” she replied and started poking me on my sides so much that i bet there were tiny bruised spots on my stomach. “okay fine i’ll wake up,” i said shaking with laughter ” What are up to today?” ” I don’t know but lets go down, I’m starved” said Seira. So then we got changed into decent clothes and went down to breakfast. While i was munching on my perfectly-crunchy breakfast, the guide there announced that today was do-the-activites-we-chose-yesterday-day. Basically today’s the day we do the activities we chose to sign up for yesterday during the movie. Now me and my friends were clever so we signed up for the same activity for the same time. There were 4 activities to choose from: mountain biking (nah), orientating (navigation), rock climbing (fun) and hiking. i wasn’t going to do hiking again, despite the fun i had so we decided to do rock climbing in the morning and orientating in the afternoon. We drove down to Northstar and the hiking group had left all ready. The mountain biking (MB) group had their bikes ready and the morning orientation group was off to the woods. So it was only us rock climbers that was left in the lodge. Now I’m not the greatest rock climber in the world. Actually I suck. I have no power in my arms what so ever due to the fact that they’re just sticks with a layer of dead skin cells. So its was unsurprising that I was already out of breath when i climbed my second stone up. The only thing i admit i was okay-ish at was belaying. The recipe of belaying seemed complicated at first but once you have a steady rhythm going on, it’s easy to mimic the steps.
After what it seemed like an hour or so we went back to Raicho for lunch. We had gudon which is sorta like rice tucked in with a blanket of beef and onions. Yet again it was splendid. Some people kept on giving me their meat because it was full of fat but i like it anyway. We returned to Northstar to begin our second activity of the day. We gathered in to the small lounge and waited for our director. His name was Steve, the tall guy with the red hair. He explained what orientation was and how to use a compass. We then gathered into groups of three (Melanie, Seira and I) and as we were given our treasure hunt instructions, Steve yawned and I then noticed he looked tired. Since he actually was, he let us play a game of ninja before we went. Ninja is this game where we all strike poses and we go around in a circle trying to smack the hand of the person next to you in one move. At first i failed but as we played more and more, i actually started to learn and improve and in the end i even defeated the best player. Through the woods and trees we went finding hints for the treasure. At one point we had to climb this very steep hill full of bushes and twigs. I seriously thought i’ll never see daylight again. That’s how pathetic i was. In our group of three, we each play a role; Seira is the Navigator, Melanie was the Recorder and I was the Pace counter. Hint by hint we got closer to our destination and finally we reached the lodge. We concluded that the treasure was a message given by the hints. It was a quote by Helen Killer. Since we finished the quest earlier, we went out to play a game of jackpot. Jackpot is a game that requires a flying disc. Preferably a frisbee. one person throws it into the huddle and calls out a number from 10 to 1000. The person for example says 20 and throws and if you catch it, its mean you got 20 points. You got to get 1000 points in order to be the caller. I got a little too aggressive i guess. Well you see, when i finally caught a frisbee, William grabbed it and demanded that he caught it so i kinda kicked him in the shin to let go. It was impulsive! I swear. Everyone clapped and cheered though when i did so. Even Steve looked happy. We continued playing out in the cold for a while until the bikers came back. So then we went back to our house and showered and returned back to Northstar. There, we had our last dinner together. By the way, it was yummy. We wrapped our selves in scarfs and hats and went outside to burn some wood. It’s a good thing i brought some marshmallows. Even though they were sugar cube sized they were nice and toasty. I then felt mischievous so me and my friend, Daniel decided to put marshmallows inside Elliot’s hood one by one. When we peered inside it was half full of twigs and squashed marshmallows. The best part was that he didn’t suspect a thing. At all. After watching marshmallows burn in the flames, we went inside and we watched people performing skits and their “talents.” It was quite hilarious actually. Some people did funny skits while others sang with serious faces. There was a still an unmoved smile from my face as my head hit the pillow and everything went dark.
Day 5: Warning: Sappiness ensured
Suddenly I shot up from my bed. Huh, that’s weird. I never wake up unless i’m provoked to do so. What’s that feeling that’s been nagging me since i woke up? Oh that’s right, today’s the day. I woke everyone else up and we got changed and cleared up our sheets a little. We meet up with breakfast down stairs and was lovely as usual. It sure was gonna be missed. The guides came down and instructed us on where to put what in the rooms (eg. bed sheets and all that nonsense) It took us about 30 minutes to do so. We then went up to feed our bags with clothes. I don’t know what i’ll do without Audrey’s help. The night before she gathered my clothes into semi bags so it would be more organized. Seriously, what can’t she do? Anyway I (literally) dragged my bag down the stairs and threw it into the van. when i went back to check if we forgot anything in our room, the place seemed bigger. It’s like an emptied pool that was full of junk. It was a little sad to see the room empty but I was excited to go too. Oh yeah did i mention? we’re going home today.
If it’s one thing i hate, its saying goodbyes and all that stuff. Knowing you’ll probably never see someone again is pretty sad if you think about it. Especially if they’ve done so much for us. When we were at the shoe place, one of us gave the people at Raicho some flowers and said a few words on the behalf of us in japanese. We need packed into our small bus and waved to them and screamed goodbyes and see you’s at the window. Course, we looked like a bunch of hooligans waving frantically till our hands ripped off from the outside but i knew they understood. We got to Northstar and the boys took AGES in packing up so we played in their game room. When they finally decided to come out we got into our tutor groups and played “team-building” exercises to communicate and all that stuff. Our mission was to get everyone of us on the other side of the spider web through the holes. The catch was that when someone goes through one hole it was their’s and no one else can go through it. Somehow though we were the only tutor group to get everyone over the obstacle. some kind of miracle, probably. We gathered at the steps of the lodge and I prepared myself for a big speech from the guides about “thank you for coming, communicate is important, don’t comeback..” and all that usual stuff. We took a group photo and this time the guide did not accept any other cameras (go figure) and so that went by quickly. Here then did we have one of us say thank you and gave a small gift of apprentice. This was it then. As i looked out the window, i remembered all the laughter and fun we had for the past 5 days. The first day when I saw the lodge. The time when i thought i would probably die and be buried at someone’s back yard because we were going hiking. These memories that made this trip a little more bearable than i thought. As i looked at Northstar growing farther and farther away i thought these memories were just another chapter in the book called “my weird life” in the library of my brain. Then I smiled and turned my back on my past and looked forward to the future.
For Pictures =>
Special thanks to the 8th grade teachers and Mr. Lorimer for tagging along! and thank you to the north star/ Raicho staff who helped this trip go smoothly. We had a blast:)
class of 2015