My last day started in the best possible way. When I was at barn chores, a cow went into labor and I helped to deliver the calf! The cow’s name was Disco, and her calf came out looking identical to her. It was neat and a great thing to have happen right before I prepared to leave for home.
It was tough to say goodbye to all my new friends, but I was a little bit excited to get a good nights sleep in my own bed. I am planning on spending the weekend catching up on rest and recovering from my cold.
I highly recommend going on a network exchange. It was incredibly fun and exciting, and it gave me a new perspective on things. Boarding school is very different from what I am used to, but it has benefits and disadvantages that I would not have known if I hadn’t experienced it first hand. I am very glad that I went on this network exchange, thank you Putney for the great experience!
After a long day of ice climbing on Sunday, I woke up on Monday feeling tired and more sick than I had the week before. I took the day easy, checking in at the Health office to get a new cup of throat tea and more cough drops. Putney’s Health office is such a wonderful and inviting place to go whenever you feel sick or need to be taken care of. They have every kind of tea imaginable, and many herbal remedies if you don’t want to take Tylenol or other drugs. We can also go to the Health office to rest, talk with a therapist, or get a massage. The nurses are so kind, some people stop by just to sit on the couch and visit.
I spent Monday going to classes, and trying to catch up on work that is being assigned at home. I spent some time with my friends, played a game of foosball, and then went to bed earlier than usual so I would feel better in the morning.
It was extremely hard to drag myself out of bed for barn chores this morning. By the time I got out of bed and had my barn clothes on, I thought I would be late. So I sprinted the approximately half mile walk down to the barn, and luckily, made it on time. We did the usual chores, shoveling manure out of the gutters, feeding the cows both grain and round bale hay, milking the cows, and putting down new sawdust. A new calf was born on Monday, and I spent some time visiting with her. A few of us were also aloud to have a milk break when the barn became too crowded, and we got to drink a cup of milk straight out of the huge tank.
Highlight of the day: I found out that there would be a basketball game on Wednesday, against the Academy team. This news was really exciting to me because I was going to be able to watch two teams that I knew well play against each other. I couldn’t wait to see familiar faces from home show up at this new place which I had slowly been getting accustomed to, it was just an unusual but cool situation.
Today was a good day. We got released from barn 15 minutes earlier than usual, and breakfast was really good (blueberry pancakes and fresh fruit). I was also excited for the basketball game that was later in the afternoon. After I finished classes I played a few games of foosball with my friends while we waited for the bball game to start. The Academy showed up a little bit late, but the game got going as soon as they warmed up a bit. I had so much fun watching the teams, being able to cheer for every single person on both teams. I must say, I definitely wanted The Academy to win (school pride) but I was not in the least bit upset when they lost. The final score was 51-37? I think.
Unfortunately, I have come down with a cold. The past few days have been spent drinking tea, going to classes, and trying to get better. I have decided to include in this one post some of the highlights of my past few days rather than write individual posts for each day.
- Sing! – Every Thursday morning the entire school gathers for Sing, which, self explanatorily involves singing songs. The Putney School has its own song book which includes many different gospel, folk, traditional, and cultural songs. We split up the room by Sopranos, Altos, and Tenors/Basses, and then we jump into whatever songs people wish to sing, or whatever the chorus director chooses. I had so much fun, and I was blown away by how neat it is to have 230 students plus the faculty all singing at once.
- Signed up for Ice Climbing: Every weekend, there are a variety of different activities to sign up for and participate in. One activity in particular caught my interest, Ice Climbing. It involves putting on harness, and using spikes to climb up rocks covered in ice. The group will be leaving tomorrow morning at 9:30, and we will return a little before 5. I am so excited! I can’t wait!
- This isn’t so much a fun activity, but I still think it is important. Yesterday with the help of my friend Maddi, we washed the entire milk room from ceiling to floor. We were preparing for the future visit of a milk inspector who would be checking for cleanliness in the Putney School’s cow barn, and we just wanted to make sure everything would be extra shiny and clean.
I will be posting pictures of ice climbing tomorrow, and hopefully I will get over my cold so that I can participate in more activities before I depart for home next week.
Day six was a fairly normal day at Putney. I had all of my classes, and I had some free time to be able to play the piano and practice guitar. There was also time in the afternoon to take a shuttle into the center of Putney to buy food at the General Store. My friends and I bought cookie dough to bake later that night, but we ended up eating it all on the bus ride back to school. Then I hung out in the Field House, which is a really neat building on campus. It is a ‘net zero’ building, meaning that it creates just as much or more energy than it uses. Inside of it is a basketball court, rock climbing wall, weight room, and foosball tables.
Yesterday was my 7th day here! I still can’t believe how fast time is flying by. The day started off with barn chores as usual, though unfortunately I felt slightly sick and as though I was coming down with a cold. After barn and a delicious pancake breakfast, my Spanish class had a very interesting and controversial discussion on the topic of immigration, and the law Arizona has about racial profiling. We watched some very interesting video clips about both topics, and I learned a lot about how the US has been dealing with it.
The rest of the day I spent resting and getting ahead on homework, and then later that evening I had a really fun guitar jam session with a girl who lives in my dorm house. We put on a show for all the other girls and everyone was enjoying themselves.
These pictures are of campus. The barns, my dorm house, and also Brattleboro, Vermont.
A picture of the Putney campus
Time has been flying by, it’s crazy! I am really enjoying my time here, and each day there have been less and less unfamiliar faces. The weather was very cold, so I found myself running to and from each building to minimize time spent freezing my hands and face. I had my first English and Spanish class since my arrival, and I really enjoyed the teachers and how the class was structured.
In English class we began reading a book called Bread Givers, and so far it has been an interesting and fun to read book. We also watched part of an Ellis Island documentary and discussed how you could define the word faith. After lunch, I had Spanish class. The structure of this class was very different from Spanish class at the Academy. Abe (our teacher) is from Mexico and during class with him he only speaks in Spanish, and he speaks very fast. At the beginning of each class, he shows us all a Spanish song (the genre changes each day) and then we go over a few conversational phrases. The class is full of positive energy and we have a lot of fun discussing the culture of Mexico and other Latin American countries.
My third class of the day, Farm Work with Pete, involved helping out when the vet came to check if 6 of the cows were pregnant. Luckily they all were, and then we spent the rest of the block shoveling sawdust and preparing for a chilly week.
My favorite part of the day: I went down to the Puddle during afternoon blocks and we played a game of 3 vs. 4 pond hockey. It was my first time playing hockey and I had a blast! My team lost, but we weren’t far behind, and I scored two of our points. It was a great way to end the day!
MLK Day! The day of activities and workshops relating to Dr. King and how he impacted history. The day kicked off with an assembly where we watched two amazing musical performances from a rock band and also the jazz band. There was also the first half of a really moving documentary about everything that happened in Birmingham, Alabama. I honestly had a moment of guilt for forgetting the full importance of MLK day, and everything that went on during that time, so the documentary brought back everything I learned in elementary school. The children participating in the march and having the courage to go to jail, and the incident with the Birmingham Police seriously injuring the protesters with fire hoses… It is so horrible and yet many people have forgotten.
Putney believes not only in talking about what you believe, but also in DOING. So, in the spirit of MLK and the bravery it takes to stand up for what you believe, we all went out and DID something. My group, Guerrilla singing, decided to share our voices with the local people of Brattleboro. We visited two nursing homes and two grocery stores. The elderly at the nursing homes had tears in their eyes as they sang “5 Hundred Miles”, “If I Had A Hammer”, “Wade In The Water”, and “Freedom” along with us. At the grocery store we “flash mobbed” the shoppers, which was a lot of fun. What we did was enter the stores and walk around, pretending to look at food and spread out over the shop. Then someone would start the singing and everyone would join in, surprising the shoppers. Many people stopped to listen to our short performance and really enjoyed it. It felt amazing to bring happiness to people, even though I did not know them personally.
Yesterday was a fun day! I finally began to remember people’s names and make new friends. I also began to learn my way around campus, so luckily I no longer got lost every time I walked out the door. Yesterday started with a 6 a.m. milking at the cow barn, so I had to get up at 5:30 and walk in the dark to the barn. It’s hard work, we have to feed the cows, milk them, scrape all the manure out of the gutters, and put down fresh sawdust.
After finishing in the barn, there was a delicious breakfast in the KDU building. First class of the day started at 8:30, and I had Chemistry again. Then at 10 I went back to the barn to help with the mid morning feeding and hung out with friends until lunch time. The nice thing about Saturdays are that there are only classes in the morning, and then the weekend starts after lunch. I spent the rest of the day in Brattleboro, VT shopping and walking around with my friends. It was my first time in ‘Brat’, so I had a lot of fun. The day ended with running around campus in the dark playing glow stick capture of the flag and watching movies.
Today I woke up for barn chores at 5:30 again (same as every morning for the next 2 weeks) and we finished early. After taking a much needed shower, I ate waffles, scrambled eggs, and apple pastries for breakfast. Mmmm, it was so good! Then I had the whole day to just settle in, hang out, and read a book. It was very relaxing and unproductive on the whole.
Tomorrow is MLK day, and although we do not have classes, we will be helping out and participating in activities. I will be in the Guerilla Singing group, traveling around locally and singing for people. I am excited to be in this group, and to share my voice around Vermont.