“Headmaster’s Holiday tomorrow!” Somebody yelled and ran down the hallway. I listened to her while reading the last passages of my biology homework which was almost done. I quickly went to check my email to make sure of what I have just heard.
Yes! There is a holiday tomorrow. I cheered up. Headmaster’s Holiday is a day off from classes that our headmaster gives us 6 times a year. It’s a tradition at many boarding schools or prep schools, like Kent School, where I go to high school.
After a second though I realized that tomorrow is Wednesday. Wednesdays are half days at Kent School (the other half of the day is on Saturday), so I only have three classes, and I had done all my homework for those classes already.
“What is this holiday good for?” I asked myself. I didn’t even have any tests or quizzes the next day, so I didn’t see any reason to get really excited about it.
I kept working on my biology homework, but it was hard not to get distracted. It was very quiet in my room, and I was very comfortable sitting on my chair, as if I was sitting in a yoga room. I began to look around my room – at the nice view out my window, at the picture I took at my cousins wedding where I look totally different because of my makeup and because I am not wearing my hijab, at the bright green peacock feather I hung to brighten up my wall, and the stuffed rabbit wearing a necklace with my sister’s name on it to remind me of home.
As I struggled to concentrate, some of my friends knocked on my door. My friend Lily (a Chinese girl with long, black hair that she always straightens) couldn’t believe I was studying.
“Farima! Are you still doing homework? Do you even know that there is a holiday tomorrow?” she asked.
I did, but I wasn’t as excited about it as she was. It just didn’t seem like a big deal to me.
I woke up the next morning, like I always do, when my phone began buzzing. I snoozed it for five or ten more minutes and finally brought myself to sit up on my bed. From there I could look out my window to the river, which looked so pretty with the shining sun. I started my day by looking at the river, and at my family’s pictures which I have hung up on my wall in front of my bed.
“I am going to have a great day and get lots of work done today,” I said to myself. According to a psychology book that I have read, if you start your day with good words, you will have a great day. I crept out of my room, being careful not to wake my roommate, who was sleeping in for the holiday. Outside it was even nicer than it looked from the window, and I fell in love with this nice sunny day. I started singing a song that I learned when I first came to the United States, and got to think that this holiday might not be such a waste after all:
Getting up early gave me time to go to the cafeteria for my favorite breakfast meal – pancakes with tea and a grapefruit. It seemed like I was the only one awake, and I took the opportunity to get outside and enjoy the beautiful day in peace.
I grabbed my English book from my room, and went outside to read Shakespeare’s Hamlet (out loud, which I think makes it more fun). I read a couple of pages and took a break for a second. I looked at the water in the river, which I could almost touch – it was very shiny and was smiling at me. I thought both the sun and river were embracing each other and feeling happy that I was joining them too. I took a deep breath in and let all my stress go out with my breath on the nice breeze.
Having the holiday also gave me the very rare opportunity to have a leisurely lunch with some of the school faculty. I ate with my French teacher Mr. Runquist, Mr. Alley, an administrator, and Maisam, the new Afghan student. Since he is a sophomore and I am a senior, now in my second year at Kent, the faculty members were looking to me to give him advice and share the benefit of my experience. Mr. Runquist complemented me, saying he felt I had been at Kent a long time.
At dinnertime I found my friends, who had disappeared for the day. Everyone at the cafeteria table was fresh and hyper after their day off – Kim was sitting on her chair enjoying the music on her ipod, and only John sat quietly, with his black hair falling onto his eyebrows, looking as if he had had a tiring day. My friend Bronson had gone for a hike in the woods – he said he had tried to call me but had a bad connection. My other friend Henry had gone to the gym to work out.
When the day came to an end, I had done a lot of schoolwork, but also managed to have a very relaxing day, and I was grateful for the holiday. I realized that even though I wasn’t excited about it to begin with, it is important to be able to take a break, hang out with the nice people you know, and appreciate your life, the place you live and the nature. It might sound wrong to say that you can enjoy every moment of your life as a boarding student, but it is right to say that you are the person who makes things either boring or interesting.
I ended the day with 15 minutes of prayer, which I finished with the closing sayings:
“Thanks Allah for being the most merciful and the most helpful. Thanks for what you have given me and others. Please guide us to the right way and protect us from the evil, give us goodness and wisdom and don’t let us be alone at any time. ”
“Amen,” I said.