Saturday, January 5, 2013

Boarding School - 2

I'm going to try and describe the boarding school we were at to kinda setup the scenery and compensate for the lack of pictures. It was a school for the the Armenian Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, basically the place was crowded with nuns of all ages and this is what they looked like.
I found this picture online but for some reason i feel like i know the nun in the back row first one from the left...
The School was basically a monastery. It was built in the 1950s, a stone building, very beautiful, massive, surrounded by a vast piece of land. It was 4 stories high, if i'm not mistaken. The bottom 2 floors were for the students and the top 2 floors were for the nuns. The place was run by an older nun titled Superior Mother. She wasn't involved in the day to day activities of the kids, i honestly don't know what her exact job was. The kids were supervised by a head nun, during our stay there her name was Sister Ossannah. I actually went and visited her before i left to the States for good, she remembered me :) 

If you want an imagination boost, this monastery  below is very similar to the one we were in. This one is for the boys. There was a similar one for the girls a few miles away.

There was plenty of open spaces around the school where we can play. The school itself was fenced in with a stone fence and had metal gates; 1 in the front and 1 at the back. The front metal gate was 1 or 2 blocks away from the actual door to enter the school. Visitors (parents included) needed to ring a bell that was placed by the metal gate, a nun would come out and walk to the outside entrance to make sure you are allowed to visit and let you in. If parents visited outside the allowed visitation days they would be turned away unless there are special circumstances. Parents were allowed to call on the weekends to check on their kids and talk to them for short periods of times. 

I'm kinda laughing a little cause it seems as if i'm describing a prison.

The dining room, cleanup kitchen, classrooms, showers, some toilets and common areas were on the bottom floor of the building. I specifically remember the pinkish tiles that covered the entirety of the first 2 floors occupied by us students.A section of the building where the classrooms were located had white tiles and we later found out that this was a section that was added to original building at a later date. The "white building" had a long corridor with wall length windows, we could see cherry trees looking out those windows.

All kids were assigned a number when they were enrolled, that number was to be stitched on all the child's belongings. My number was 27, my sister's number was 30. We were each assigned a little drawer cabinet where we stored our shoes and related supplies, it was called the SHOE ROOM, how innovative... right next to it was the laundry room. There was a metal pipe all around the room, kinda like a ballet room, there were numbered hooks all around where the laundry bags were hung. One day playing hide and seek i actually hid in my own laundry bag and had an older girl just hang me back on the hook, i stayed there for hours probably before somebody found me. The nuns didn't do our laundry; when parents visited they would take the dirty laundry and bring us clean clothes and replenish our toiletries.

The bedrooms, bathrooms and "closets" were on the second floor. I put "closets" in quotes cause they were not real closets, it was a big room that had cubbies from floor to ceiling, each cubby was numbered and your clothes would be stored in the cubby that corresponds with the number we were assigned. We didn't even get to choose what to wear. The older girls would randomly pick an outfit for the younger kids, roll it and put it on your night stand. Some days i ended up with pants and a dress and i had to wear them. Our undies and socks were stored in the night stand along with our toothbrushes and toothpaste. I don't recall there being running hot water cause i remember on some of the cold snowy days not wanting to get my hands cold i would just wet my fingers and wash only my eyes :):):)

We loved the snowy days. waking up early in the morning i pretend that i need to go to the bathroom, i would just sit by the window for a few minutes in my green and orange robe, leaning against the radiator heater staring at the immaculate whiteness outside, noticing the cat's footprints, wishing i was home.


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