Archives of Our Lives

{a narrow and broad look into the lives of people I love}

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Worlds Apart

I imagine Canadian children get a very different education than those of the Arizonan school systems.

I remember when my 5th grade class was learning about precipitation during Science Time. Precipitation, condensation, all that good stuff. My frizzy-haired teacher, Mrs. Jerrald, got distracted somehow (probably by that punk kid Ivan who always sat in the back. He was the class heckler) and tried to explain how moisture freezes when it reaches a certain temperature. Ice cubes were an easy enough concept to grasp, but we could not fathom how air coming out of our mouths could freeze into fog. (She should have used this link to explain it.)

We were so baffled:

"You mean we could really see our breath if it got cold enough?"


"Could we blow smoke rings like on Alice in Wonderland?"

"Could we make smoke signals?"

"If we all did it at the same time, would it make one big cloud and start raining?"

So intrigued were we by the idea that somewhere in the world, kids were playing with their very own breath-clouds at recess, instead of trying to catch the geckos that darted in and out of our sand forts--sand forts that would never hold together because...let's face it: you can't build anything out of sand without at least a little bit of water. (I actually remember running to the drinking fountain during recess, filling my mouth with as much water as it could possible carry, and hauling it back to the playground, spitting it in the arid dirt and hoping in vain it would help to concrete my masterpiece. It never did.)

I was always really excited by the notion that licking a metal pole might possibly get my tongue stuck to it. I tried. Lots of times. All I ever got was a gritty tongue that tasted like dirt and metal. The poles could have been made of lead, for all I knew--I was just bummed that my tongue wouldn't stick.

The first time I really saw snow was when my family went to Flagstaff to support my mom as she walked through the line to accept her Masters Degree in Education (go, Mom!). I was twelve, I think. I tried making snowballs, but I didn't realise that there are different kinds of snow, and some snow doesn't hold itself in ball form. Instead, I felt gypped that the first time I consciously got to play in was broken.

It's strange for me to think of raising my children (if, in fact, I do prove to be fertile [and if, thereafter, Poor Kyle and I do choose to reproduce]) in such a different environment than I was.

I didn't grow up here. I don't know why air comes out of our mouths and freezes. I don't know why some people plug in their cars at night. I can't explain which snow is the kind that sticks together decently--I don't even know the basics of building a snowman.

How am I supposed to explain that where I come from, dirt can get so dry it will actually crack? That some plants soak up all the water they will need for a year at one time, and thrive? How will they possibly learn to pronounce terms like "Palo Verde," "Casa Grande," and "Carne Asada?"

Will they grow to crave the smell of rain like I sometimes do, or simply view it as pure, comprehendable, scientific precipitation?

Labels: , , ,


Blogger Loralee Choate said...

I love living where there are seasons, but the winters just go ON FOREVER.

I don't know how you do it.
But then, I don't know how you had all that heat all the time EITHER!

February 2, 2008 at 11:41 PM  
Blogger Raygon said...

Oh, Camille. I feel your pain....

February 3, 2008 at 6:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


For some reason, this kind of made me want to cry. Perhaps the background music added to the nostalgia, or maybe I still have some lingering pregnancy hormones. At any rate, it made me sad and almost a little depressed to think of my Canadian nieces and nephews being raised in such a vastly different environment than the one we grew up in. I think it's because I just miss you and Poor Kyle...

P.S.: Preston weighs 12 POUNDS! Little porker!

February 3, 2008 at 10:30 AM  
Blogger LetterToKayleen said...

this post makes me sad for you...and for your future children. as much as a curse the desert's climate from hell, i couldn't imagine being raised anywhere better.

but it's all relative and your future kids will feel the same way about the snow.

February 3, 2008 at 12:17 PM  
Blogger Joel said...

My son was born at Banner Mesa (one of the last, I suspect...) before we moved to Michigan. He doesn't seem to have issues with the seasons. He loves to play in the snow, but he doesn't like to pick it up with his bare hands (they get too cold). He likes it right before we go into the house when it is dark outside, as we are unlocking the door, that he can see his, mine, and my wife's breath in the light. So we stand out in the cold and breath into the light for his enjoyment. So he is doing fine.

I will make dang sure that he is capable of speaking proper Spanish-that-we-use-in-English words, though. It really bothers me when people say jalapeno or tomatillo incorrectly. So we parents just have to do our best to make sure that our kids learn as much as they can about our life experiences and of course make sure that they get to have some good ones of their own.

February 3, 2008 at 12:36 PM  
Blogger Jami said...

camille, I have an idea...MOVE HERE! and good for preston...grace was just 12 pounds at like 2 months, maybe 3!

February 3, 2008 at 2:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes----I echo Jami's post. I can hardly go 12 hours without seeing my little boy. I don;t think I can bear to not see the Canadian posterity twice a year. GranMAMAMAMMAMAAMMAAM

February 3, 2008 at 4:59 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

Growing up in So. Cal. I remember vividly the day I saw it snow for the 1st time. I was 18 and was in awe. At the time I was talking to a boy who grew up in Utah and he couldn't believe I had never seen it snow. Where you grow up really shapes your experiences. I laughed when I pictured you sticking your tongue to a pole hoping it would stick. Too funny!

February 3, 2008 at 10:18 PM  
Blogger Raygon said...

if you do move back to az, pick me up on the way.....i want to move back too!

February 4, 2008 at 8:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Melissa is 100% right. Where you grow up really makes you who you are. I am so grateful that I got to see my little boy after a very hard day. He makes my life complete. He is the best thing that has happened to me.

You are the strong person that you are because of 85201, your family and your personal conviction of the divinity of Jesus Christ and what he has done for you. Having a new prophet has caused me to reflect on my position in the eternities. I am and always will be grateful to be a daughter of Heavenly parents who love me. I knew I had to get back to Mesa when A. was starting Kinder so that I could help her establish her roots so that she was comfortable with her wings. I am glad that you have wings and are soaring---I hope the "HOMING DEVICE" kicks in and you are able to share what has made you uniquely you with those who need and love you in 85201 and its close proximity. I was just telling Linda D. how calming you and your greenness are when it is times of crisis. I need you in my life and I send my love.

February 4, 2008 at 10:29 PM  
Blogger lindser-lou said...


February 5, 2008 at 11:52 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home