Field Note: Kids
I lived with little Miss Holli Clarke for about a week. She was my first home-stay sister before I moved to another house. She is nine years old and in the 4th grade, or as the British say, the fourth year. Holli is an amazing little girl, who is outgoing and very social. She has led an interesting life so far. She was born with a heart problem and needed to have surgery. Now she has a very large scar down the middle of her chest. Being a kid is hard for everyone at one point or another, and for Holli it is no different. Her mom explained to me that she was concerned that Holli would be bullied for her scar, so when she returned to school after her surgery, Holly stood in front of the class and revealed her scar to everyone. She explained that she needed to have heart surgery so that she could live a full and healthy life. Do you think anyone would have bullied her if she did not tell them more about the scar? Holli has much strength and courage for a little girl, and when her classmates realized how brave she is, she has not been bullied.
Holli reminds me a lot of my little cousin, who is also nine years old. They like similar things and are alike in personality too. Her favorite singers are Justin Bieber, Carly Rae Jepson and Rihanna. The first day when I met her, she asked me if I knew the song “Gangnum Style,” which of course I do, so we danced it together. There are many similarities and differences between American and English cultures. Holli likes McDonald’s, and some of her favorite after-school activities include playing on her DS and watching TV, or the telly as the English call it. Even though she goes to a public school, Holli wears a uniform. Every school in England requires students to wear uniforms. Would you like wearing uniforms? Holli was very surprised and jealous to hear that many students in the United States do not have to wear uniforms.
Her school day begins at 8:30 in the morning and ends at three o’clock in the afternoon. Do you walk to school, take the bus or do your parents drive you? How do you think Holli gets to school? Oxford is a great city surrounded by neighborhoods. People use many different forms of transportation. While some students take a bus to school, Holli walks to school every morning with her mom. Sometimes, to make the two-mile distance go faster, she rides her scooter with her mom in tow. During her school day Holli has all the same subjects that students in the US have every day, including math, English, handwriting, science, art and computers. Her favorite subject is art. Just a few weeks ago it was Mother’s Day in England, and Holli made her mother a beautifully painted card in the art class.
Every day after school she has homework to complete and chores to do. Holli has a dog named Kite, and it is her responsibility to feed Kite and take him out for walks. Once she is done with her homework and chores, she may play on her DS or watch TV.
Holli loves the place where she lives and describes her house as beautiful. She lives in a semi-detached house, or a duplex. She has her own room that is painted pink, and there is a pink comforter and a pink rug. Her backyard, or garden, is big enough so that she and Kite can run and play together. She has a trampoline that is only used in the summer. When I left their house, snow was still melting off the top of the roof.
In England, fireworks can be fired off from people’s backyards. A couple days before I left, Holli’s uncle was in town and he brought over fireworks. I came home to a firework show! Even though fireworks are allowed, Holli never gets to see fireworks being lit in her own backyard! It was exciting for me too.
What types of food do you like to eat? Do you buy lunch at school or do you bring a packed lunch? Holli’s favorite food is lasagna. Her mother will make it for her at least once a week. She also loves fish and chips and beans. Baked beans are really common dish in England, especially for breakfast. Holli buys lunch at school where they serve meals like shepherd’s pie, lasagna, fish and chips, and macaroni and cheese. For breakfast, as she is running out the door, Holli has a slice of toast with chocolate-hazelnut spread, which is called Nutella. I have tried it, and I do not really like it, but it is very popular in Europe.
Do any of these girls’ names sound familiar? Holli plays with Lilly, Beighly, Kaitlin, Nicole and Limarni every day at school. They like to run around in the play-yard and talk about the boys in their class who they like. Holli told me that she likes a boy named Lewis and her other friends like boys named Chima and Evan. The girls also talk about what they want to do when they get older. Holli wants to become a star and sing all over the world. I heard her singing very often when I was living with her. Her favorite person to sing along with is Matty B, Justin Bieber’s little brother. When I was listening to Holli talk about her friends, it reminded me of when I was her age. I liked to do many of the same things. Are you finding similarities between your life and Holli’s?
After I asked Holli all about her life in England, she began to ask me about my life in America. She asked about the weather and what the schools are like. She also wanted to know what kind of money we use and what is it called. We talked about the music people listen to, and she was surprised to find out that I listen to many of the same artists that she does. I showed her many pictures of where I live and told her all about my experiences growing up in California. We had a lot of fun talking about our lives.