26 May 2008

My life as a nerd

This is what I did instead of studying for my English final. But I hope y'all enjoy learning just how nerdy I am, in case you actually needed proof!

I was born a pretty normal baby, I suppose. Brown hair, blue eyes (that have now become brown), 7 pounds, 1 ounce. Actually, according to my baby book I also had really long eyelashes and was an overall pleasant baby (though, of course, I did the normal annoying waking up in the nights to be fed). I think that my life when I lived in Colorado for…about a year was normal. Little did anyone know the big nerd I would become in my lifetime.

Now, I can’t say when exactly I first became a nerd—I don’t really remember my life much further back than 3 years old, and clear memories only start from the age of 4. I vaguely remember calling my daycare in Ohio, “Dinosaur School” because mostly I played with these plastic dinosaurs that they had. Which, in retrospect, is pretty nerdy. So maybe that’s where it started. But, anyway, I don’t remember much else about life in Ohio other than Dinosaur School. Seriously, I don’t remember any friends I might have had, although playing with dinosaurs probably didn’t make me that many friends. I also don’t remember much of my early days in Texas, either, though my earliest really clear memory comes from me talking to my mom about my 4th birthday that my Grandpa would be coming four while holding one of those number candles (a 4, obviously).

Anyway, I was a pretty shy and nerdy little kid. I barely talked to anyone, and I was completely obsessed with Blues Clues and Winnie the Pooh. Yes, seriously. I don’t even know what it was, but I made my friends based on the fact that they also liked Winnie the Pooh. I distinctly remember in 1st grade that a girl in my class said, “Winnie the Pooh is stupid,” and my friend Aliyah and I nearly started crying. Yeah. I’m not even kidding. Basically, I got obsessed with the most random things, and not normal girl things, either. I did have one of those American Girl dolls, named Hannie, that I got pretty attached to for a while. I also did swim team for a long time, which I guess is a pretty normal little kid thing to do. But on to the nerdy things. I was obsessed with those Hot Wheels cars. Seriously—I collected them in this blue container/box thingy, though I actually can’t find any of them anymore. My sister, my friends, and I made these weird mixtures out of grass and dirt and leaves and bugs and toothpaste and random things and tried to make our parents drink them (which they didn’t). And, from an early age, I would rather read than do most anything else. I was reading chapter books by the 1st grade, I knew how to write by the age of four, and in 1st grade I was already writing a few really crappy stories.

So, onto moving to Colorado in 2000. Well, as I’ve said so many times, this was when I first became obsessed with Harry Potter. I met my first friend, named Nick, through the combined factors of him being a Harry Potter fan and that our parents knew each other. And I was still really into reading—when we moved, I sat in the empty house reading those Ramona books while my sister was outside talking to the neighbor (who later became my best friend, but only after we were in the same 2nd grade class). This is a list of the nerdy things I did throughout elementary school:

  • For some reason, I became completely obsessed with bears. Black bears, spectacled bears, grizzly bears, polar bears, you name it…I had a bunch of books about them that I read for fun! I’d be at a party with my parents or talking to my grandparents and I’d come out with this really random fact about bears. They all thought it was adorable and genius and all that stuff, but it was really just incredibly…nerdy.
  • At one point, my friends and I were obsessed with that Sailor Moon TV show, though I barely remember it anymore. I was also obsessed with the Powder Puff Girls for a short time.
  • I did these math contests. Seriously, it was this nationwide thing with five hard math problems called Continental Math League. I hated it, but I still did EVERY year and in 2nd grade I got 2nd place in the city
  • I also did Battle of the Books from 2nd grade to 5th grade. 50 books, and I believe I read about 35 of them—it would’ve been more, but they changed the list slightly a few times and several of the books didn’t appeal to me. We went to the regionals in 5th grade (because that’s when they were) and my team was only a few points away from making the finals. It was actually a lot of fun, but I realize fully why people regard me with strange looks when I tell them I did a competition answering questions about books when I was in elementary school
  • My sister and I made this whole entire kingdom with our stuffed animals and played with them. One of my bears was queen, and another one was a duchess, and we came up with all these weird stories and scenarios. Yeah, nerdy.
  • In 3rd grade, my friends and I played Harry Potter on the playground. I was Parvati Patil and I danced with Chris Acy, who was Harry, at one point during recess. Though, of course, he pretends not to remember
  • In 4th and 5th grade we progressed to playing a few different things. We’d spend some recesses talking the entire time in Pig Latin because we thought it was oh-so-amusing. Or, we’d run backwards and see who was fastest (ok, that one’s not really nerdy). And progressing on the nerdiness scale, we would also play Lord of the Rings.
  • I loved playing these random computer games. I played the Oregon Trail A LOT, and we also did a unit on it in 3rd grade. (Random fact: Chris Acy, our Harry Potter, also was my wagon leader for the unit and decided that rather than finding water, we’d steal it from Indians. We were “punished” by having to stay behind a few extra days, but we still “arrived in Oregon” second) I also played Roller Coaster Tycoon, Zoo Tycoon, and Civilization. I’m not kidding—I found it fun to build by own civilization, though I never went to war with anyone.
  • My sister and I were obsessed with those Zenon movies. I loved them, and I actually still go watch them when I have the opportunity (aka, the time once a year when they’re on Disney channel). We also watched Smart Guy and those old, really GOOD Disney shows that aren’t on. Oh, and Boy Meets World was a favorite too. I don’t know if any of these are actually nerdy, but I know so few people that did these things that I’m pretty sure they are
  • Being repetitive here, but I was still a huge bibliophile. I took books everywhere. I read at breakfast, lunch, dinner, before bed, instead of doing homework, when I finished classwork early (which was nearly always). I read Babysitter’s Club, Animal Ark, and similar stuff when I was younger, but by 5th grade I had progressed to The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, the Witch of Blackbird Pond, A Wrinkle in Time, Sharon Creech, and other stuff. I remember that my teacher once told me when we did those reading tests that it was hard to find a book I hadn’t read already. But, yeah, in 3rd grade I was already reading 10th grade level books. And I read for fun. Yep.
  • I was in TAG. I still am, I mean, but in elementary school I had separate Reading, Writing, and Math TAG classes (that’s Talented and Gifted in case you didn’t know). I loved being a nerd, and I still do.
  • I did Art Club (not so nerdy) and Science Club (NERDY) in addition to Battle of the Books. I loved my science teacher and I enjoyed doing random experiments. I also became obsessed with Bill Nye.
  • I wrote a bunch of random and incredibly crappy stories. One of them was a crime series with my sister that wasn’t half bad, but most of them sucked beyond belief. I’ve deleted most of them, so please don’t ask.
  • I collected several nerdy things, the first of which is rocks and minerals. I had several books on rocks and minerals, as well, and my collection never got very big, but I collected them nevertheless. I also had an endless collection of stuffed animals (Beanie Babies). And, I collected postcards from places I went, and asked my parents to get me postcards when they went on vacations.
  • I also became obsessed with random historical events. I had a book on the history of the Olympics. In 2nd grade, my class memorized and performed the Gettysburg Address for our parents. I knew random facts about Mt. Vesuvius and Pompeii. I made my dad take us to Williamsburg in Virginia on a vacation, and I also made him take us to the Natural and American history museums in Washington DC
  • Oh, and I’ll show you pictures of the nerdy clothes that I wore if I can find some, okay?

So, that’s the list of all the nerdy things I did in elementary school that I can think of at the moment. I’m sure there’s more, but that’s an overview. So, let’s move on to middle school, shall we? I’m going to do a list of the various things I became obsessed with, which are not in chronological order or the order of how obsessed I was with them, but rather in random order.

    1. Politics. I think it started in 6th grade, since that was the 2004 presidential elections, and also the time when my dad was in Iraq for four months. I became very opinionated and persuasive on who should win, coming up with my own opinions when most kids still held their parents’ opinions. (And in case you’re wondering, I supported John Kerry). That obsession continues to this day (I’m a huge Obama supporter). But, anyway, I held these very strong political views and in 8th grade I even went to Legislative Day up at the State Capitol in Denver and talked to a bunch of senators and representatives…
    2. History. I love random history facts, and I watch the History Channel for fun. I also keep a notebook of facts, but I can’t seem to find it anymore….
    3. Marine Biology. This, still, is the career I most want to have. But in the summer of 2005 I went to this Junior National Student Leadership Conference on Life Sciences. I loved animals and dolphins and everything before then, but JNSLC really opened me up even more to the thought of it as a career. I wouldn’t say I’m exactly obsessed, but it is vaguely nerdy.
    4. Charmed. I loved it. Now, this probably isn’t necessarily nerdy on the regular “I watched it and loved it level.” But, as most nerds, I never just LIKE something. I become obsessed with it. And so I did. I had sheets and sheets of funny quotes. I printed out pictures and pasted them on binders and notebooks and around my room. I wrote and read Charmed fanfiction. And I hated when it ended.
    5. Newsies. Again, I became obsessed. Mostly with Spot Conlin, but I watched it over and over again and constantly went around singing the music. I also read and wrote Newsies fanfiction (What is it with me and fanfiction?!)
    6. Theatre/Choir It started the summer before 6th grade with a Broadway Show camp in West Lafayette, Indiana. I loved it so much!!! My grandparents also took us to a few plays. Then, it progressed to going to at least one play every two months and doing drama every year (the class). I did a Melodrama Class at the Fine Arts Center in 7th grade, and in 8th grade I did Pirates of Penzance with my class. A Theatre/Choir Nerd too.
    7. Rwandan Genocide. Okay, so it’s not exactly an obsession, but the simple fact that I actually spend my time researching the genocide in 1994 and that I have about six books on it makes it something nerdy. I find it fascinating—horrible, but fascinating.
    8. Battle of the Books. So, it continued into middle school. Yep. There wasn’t much focus in the 6th and 7th grades, but in 8th grade my team went to the district battle and got 4th place—mostly because we hadn’t really been trying very hard.
    9. Spelling Bee. I did it in 8th grade, and I LOVED it. Yes, I know, the spelling bee is about the nerdiest thing anyone could do, but it was so much fun! I have this weird love of language and words, and I really enjoyed showing off my skills and passion. I got 2nd place in the regional spelling bee and I was in the top 10% at state. Unfortunately, I did it the last possible year that I could, but I still have a love for words and I still watch the national spelling bee every year.
    10. Writing. Well, I’m really into creative writing and that sort of thing. I’ve written novels continuously, as I’ve already said, but the quality greatly improved throughout middle school. Most of them died and didn’t go anywhere, but I’m still working on my historical novel about the Rwandan genocide! (psst, go see http://www.fictionpress.com/~kathleendelmarina and make me happy!)
    11. Reading (still!) I’d still rather read than do anything else. I read when I should be doing homework, and it’s kind of sad. I had to get a bigger bookshelf earlier this year for all my books, and the main reason I want a job is so that I can afford all the books I want.
    12. The X-Files. Yay! One of the best shows out there…my family has the entire series and we’re slowly watching it. Scully and Mulder are my heroes. J

Other nerdy things:

Well, there’s the fact that I keep a quote book with quotes that I adore, as well as a word notebook of words that I love. And, of course, I don’t really need to mention my Harry Potter nerdiness, since I kind of showed y’all how deep that goes with my “Harry Potter thoughts” post.

But, basically, I’m a nerd. And I’m incredibly proud of being a nerd! Wooo, GO NERDFIGHTERS!

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