My new high school is a large campus, an hour away from Rawene. Mama drives me for the first half hour, and I take the bus for the second. It feels just a little bit surreal, like something out of a movie with the crowded old bus going along dirt roads, by corn fields and cows.
Nobody ever chooses to stay inside at Okaihau College.
At interval and lunch you are either on the roofed porches, walking around on the field, or playing tennis. No cafeteria. No if-it-is-raining-you-all-must-stay-inside. The tuck shop (selling sausage rolls, sandwiches, fruit, drinks, and meat pies) is outdoors.
The windows are open unless there’s cold wind. All the classrooms open onto a porch, not a hallway. Natural light is the default, not electric light.
Interval is twenty minutes long, and lunch is an hour. At my American middle school, lunch was twenty-five minutes and we had no recess. No playground, either. Okaihau College is a high school and they have a huge play area.
The difference? Well, for a start I feel much less tired and bored in math class now. I can run if I want to because there are no halls. Four tennis courts, a volleyball net, a pool, a running track, trees, a soccer field, a rugby field, and a fifty-foot-long jungle gym make PE another recess (unless we’re playing Capture the Flag. Then it’s a war zone). Actually, I’ve discovered that I like trig. I’m good at it. I’ve never once enjoyed math class before. I think it’s the fact that it comes after PE and just before lunch. It’s a good ratio: two hours of playing outside to one of math.