Remember early on in my A-Z countdown, I talked about our first visit to our new school...a mere 24 hours after landing in a foreign country? Well today's story starts during that same visit. We were touring the middle school, as I was starting the 8th grade, while my poor sister was taking her French placement test. And when we were in the main middle school office, the sweet secretary asked my parents if I'd be going on the pony trekking trip.
Oh you know... the trip to the Black Mountains of Wales.. for pony trekking.
As it turns out the 8th graders always take a pony trekking trip in the fall. And apparently EVERYONE is going...according to the secretary. So my mom says sure, then I guess she'll be going! Because they did not want me being left out of something, the moment I got started- because they're the best.
So the kind secretary informs my jetlagged parents that the payment is due that day. Because the trip is in just a couple of weeks.
"Hm...Well... do we have checks that will work here? Or an account set up? Or the right kind of cash? Anything?" As it turns out they figure out a way to make it work. I don't know how. Did I mention we were jetlagged? But nevertheless, all settled.
Oh and I'll also need a sleeping bag...which in theory is no problem because we have sleeping bags. In our big shipment of things. That won'y arrive till after I'm due to leave. Oh no worries, we'll run to Target. Nope...no target. But the secretary had the answer for that too and let us know where we could pick one up.
Oh and one more question...where is Wales? And pony trekking... that's like horses? She's never been on a horse. And wait, chaperones? Oh, just the teachers? 4 teachers- 50 kids and a bunch of horses in the Black Mountains... well OK then!
So a few weeks after moving to a new country and starting a new school I rode on a bus with all my new friends to Wales. A place I hadn't even heard of before moving there. To ride horses for 4 days. We learned the basics of horse riding and spent the whole day, each day, out riding. Including one ride to a nearby city with a stop in a pub for lunch. Yep- with the horses in the parking lot. There were also activities and things in the evenings and lots of girly chatter in our bunk room. I remember that trip as the one that let me really feel like I was settled and a part of that group of kids. I was where I was supposed to be.
I unfortunately don't have pictures to share from that week. As they were most likely all taken on a disposable camera and who knows where I put them. But I can picture everything in my head clear as day. From the look on my parents' faces as they were trying to work out what they were signing me up for. To the wide open scenery spread out across from us as we rode the horses. To the busy, excited chatter of 50 thirteen year olds off on an adventure. All of it. Etched in my brain.