Back in Canada I really didn’t feel like I fit. That’s not to say that I didn’t have close friends or good times. I absolutely did. But on balance, when I examine my feelings about the time I spent in high school, here in Canada, it was awful.
I genuinely don’t remember when the bullying started. I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t right away. I remember reconnecting with some friends that I’d had in grades 6 and 7 (the last time I’d been in Canada). Too much time had passed and the reconnect didn’t last long. I think I’m Facebook friends with one of them, but she’s barely recognizable as the person I knew and all I really get from her is requests to play candy crush or farmville (do people still play farmville?). As I write this, I realize that it must have been a bit later on in my first year back, grade 10. I was acquaintances with many and friend to few, I know that sounds dramatic, but it’s not what I’m going for. When you change schools every two to three years, you need to be able get to know a lot of people in a short amount of time. At least that was always my tactic. Get to know a little bit about a lot of people. I was not a part of one group, but known by many groups. As soon as I put this thought down on paper (screen?) I realize that this is probably why I smoked. Smoking started with Diana and Mel and went from there. Going out to the smoking section meant that I was in contact with broad group of people made up of people from all the smaller groups. Speaking of groups, I never saw the clear divisions between students here in Canada that I saw in Cairo. One would think that this would be a good thing, but I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t. The groups I saw here in Canada seemed to be made up of friends, neighbours, classmates and not visibly along the lines of interest or sport. I never thought about it then, but I think it’s kind of strange now. Maybe I wasn’t looking close enough, maybe the lines were more subtle, maybe I’m wrong. I don’t know. High School in Canada was so very different to me.
End of part 4
Here comes the tough part. I’ve already written the next few posts that follow this one. I need to edit them though. I’m struggling with what to put in and what to leave out. It’s important to me that I get the important details right and cull the stuff that is clutter. I want to be able to explain or convey how I felt (this is very important) and even how it feels now. 20 years later I have raw spots and raw moments when I look back. It still amazes me that I can recall and feel the emotion of that time, but I can. If I were hearing any of this from one of the students that I work with, I would remind or inform them that the kind of uprooting they experienced and even a minor amount of bullying (is there a minor amount?) would be labelled as trauma, so it would only be natural that the feelings and memories could be so vivid. Of course, I’m not one of my students and theory is fine, but I’m still amazed.