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All these family excursions were great, but I had always wanted to visit California – Hollywood, Rodeo Drive, San Francisco…Alcatraz! I just don’t know that I was ready to completely move there. When I began at the school I struggled to meet new people and find my way within the school structure. I was convinced that there was something wrong with me, and that I had trouble meeting people because I was so extremely different that I would never be able to assimilate. Every day at 11:30 I would get a feeling of dread in my stomach knowing that I would soon have to go to lunch and amble awkwardly around, pretending that I actually had a group of people to eat with, and then subtly sit down by myself at a table outside, eating, and wishing that the next bell would just ring so I could slink away to Math class. Even the quadratic formula would beat this. Mysterious Disappearance I realized that eating by myself everyday and spending my weekends watching Full House re-runs wasn’t the most ideal way to be spending the glory days of my youth. I became frustrated. When I would sit alone I would imagine the life I wish I had. I’d watch the football players laughing with cheerleaders at their table and think they were just lame anyways. I was smart. I thought about things like philosophy and books and Ernest Hemingway. So I’d continue eating my sandwich and watch other groups. One day as I was sitting there, observing people, I noticed two guys walking quickly away from the cafeteria, looking around like they were going to escape from prison or something, and then quickly disappear into the woods. I had no idea where they had gone but I was curious. The next day, after I went through the lunch line and got my hamburger, taitor tots, and milk, I walked around and then saw them standing by the vending machine talking. I had to figure out where they kept going. I sat near where they were standing and put on a happy demeanor. After a moment they stopped talking and one of them asked me what was being sold for lunch. Taitor tots, I said. He laughed and then they walked off. A few moments later, to my great surprise, they came back and sat at the table with me and joked around for a bit. After they finished, they motioned to each other and said goodbye and then walked down the same path towards the woods that ran adjacent to the cafeteria. I knew they were going to enter the woods again. I still had no idea why. The next day at lunch I looked for them again, even sitting in the same place, but they weren’t there. I didn’t think much of it and the day after that forgot the incident had ever occurred. I decided I wasn’t Perry Mason and gradually lost interest. Fitting In This isn’t a story about not fitting in, however, and indeed, after a few weeks I started making an effort to talk to more people. I even met a friend name Franz. Franz was born in Austria and I thought his name was a little weird, but he was a cool guy and we both shared the same interests — we were readers, played basketball, and could undeniably dominate all lesser-beings on the Playstation. Franz introduced me to his friends and eventually I moved to their table at lunch and began joking around and regaining the same social structure I had back in my hometown. The next semester I moved into the International Baccalaureate program at the school. My classes were a lot more difficult, but I appreciated the challenge and for awhile it