There is nothing more exciting yet intimidating as the first day of school. You can be 5, 12, even in your twenties, the same thoughts still mill around in your brain, will I know anyone who is there?Will I make friends?
School in Trinidad at five years old was still better than being at school in the United Kingdom. I was elated when I got dressed for my first day. Instead of having seasonal uniforms, I would now be wearing a simple pleated skirt and a white shirt. No more blue summer dress, with a straw boater and striped blazer!
I woke up early, and prepared for the auspicious day ahead. Everything was brand new, my shirt and skirt had been laundered and ironed to perfection, not a crease nor a pleat out of place. My hair was combed into two bunches (also known as pigtails).
Excited yet nervous, with a wave of emotions I ventured off for my first day. The first thing that struck me was the size of the school. I remember trying to look past the playground and down the hill to see where the rest of it was.
Soon I came to find that was it. A two building school housing roughly 60 people (if so many) was my new school.
As if it was not enough, the second shock came when everyones outfits caught my eye. Everyone was in denim shorts, tee shirts and sneakers! There was no one in cute skirts, knee high socks and sandals like me.
I hated it. I may as well have been back in England walking around the courtyard perimeter at break times. Better the devil you know than the one you do not.
Always wanting to be a chameleon of sorts, I felt like an outcast. I heard whispers and comments and did what I do best, retreated into myself and away from the new world.
What should have been on and off, turned into quite learning experience as a child. I used to countdown to hometime, to retreat into my comfort zone, swim and watch television. Though thrilled with island life,a few months in, I was ready to go back to what I knew, what really was home.