Tuesday, June 4, 2013

New York was different than I had expected. I had been out of state before but this was different. Just the city atmosphere even startled me a bit. We were left downtown. Funny part was our family didn't even know we were coming. We didn't talk to them at the safehouse at all. They just bought tickets and sent us across the country. Upon arrival we called my grandparents to come pick us up. It was big. EVERYTHING was so big compared to what I was used to; In Kentucky there were no skyscrapers, no office buildings only businesses and homes. At one point an old home improvement store was re-purposed as a childcare facility. We simply didn't BUILD things. It costed too much in the mountain town we lived in. Walmart even turned us down to build a location and that's saying A LOT.

We got to the house and my mother had to wait for paperwork and clearance from the school-board to enroll me. I was home-schooled for what seemed like MONTHS and I hated it. I was so much further along than my classmates when I re-entered school, to this day I'm not sure if it was due to the homeschooling or because curriculum in Kentucky was so strict in order to keep kids OUT OF TROUBLE. Good news is I can read roman numerals lol. I lived within two miles of the school so I had to walk. I remember it was terrible. Remember that scene from A Christmas Story; The one where the boy falls over and can't get up because his winter clothes weighed so much, it actually happened to me once I remember I had to take off my jacket to get back on my feet. In New York you have to APPLY to schools, when you GRADUATE from elementary school you put in applications much like you would a college. I remember all of my friends went to a school named Athena and they were separated from me when I went to Apollo. Apollo was on the other side of the city. It was COVERED with guard patrol EVERYWHERE. It was a small but very upright school. There had to be at LEAST 5 floors. They had an Administration on the top floor followed by the 6th,7th,8th grade floors. The lower floors contained the infirmary, cafe, locker rooms, dance hall, auditorium and all other extracurricular rooms. The curriculum was intense, maybe that's the reasoning in being split from my friends. All of my friends and neighbors near the house attended the other school and I was jealous of all the free time they had to themselves; while I sat at home studying for exams, doing HOURS of homework to prepare for the next class. Even the DAY1 DAY2 schedule didn't help. In fact, I ended up taking more classes than I knew what to do with. I ended up taking 18 classes a week. 9 a day and lunch of course. I didn't know that there were so many schools available in New York versus Kentucky. In Kentucky there were NO choices. There was one school building per so many grades. In fact ALL schools released at the same time and rode the schoolbus together. It was crazy in New York I had to take the city bus to get to school. It was the first time that I couldn't WALK anywhere I needed, considering the town I lived in contained about 5 miles of area TOPS.

The scariest part of everything was that we found out that our paperwork from the safehouse meant NOTHING. The safehouse in Kentucky rushed the process so much so that we were almost immediately moved into ANOTHER safehouse to protect us and get the necessary paperwork done. Unfortunately that would have caused me to transfer schools and start ALL over again. With everything going on Namechange was on the agenda as well. There were quite a few variations thrown around. To this day I have to think about the name in the system when I go to the doctors. I could have been anything from my grandfathers name (deeming me as ferrari) or a much less known name as (crociata.) THAT'S right I'm not hiding anymore. I am an adult and though I'm scared of a lot of things, I am not afraid of what I have been through. It didn't kill me... so I guess I won

Monday, June 3, 2013

Luckily for us, My mother and I had family across the country. When we were approached by the safehouse representatives saying that we posed a threat to ourselves and the others placed in the safehouse and they had to move us AS FAR AS POSSIBLE. The first place we were sent was Rochester, New York. We shared the basement in my grandmothers 3 bed, 2.5 bath house. The basement was quite spacious actually, spanning the entire length of the house. It was split into a makeshift bedroom/entertainment area a Large walk-in closet, a bar area, wood shop, sewing room, study and laundry room.

So that was it. The safehouse bought our greyhound tickets and drove us about 3 hours away to a large city, handed us our tickets and things and took off on us. So much for safety, looks like they were concerned with their own. Seeing as we had HOURS before our first bus took off and only had my mothers last minimum wage check and the money I had saved from school functions. Every friday the school would do half a day of classes and the remainder they would open up a candy cart, selling candy, popcorn and soda while playing a movie marathon. For months before we had left my mother would tell me "soon the fighting will stop, soon it will get better, you can ALWAYS replace things, never people." So I sat in class and watched the movies every friday, no soda, no candy, no popcorn. Just sitting for months. I saved hundreds. Actually more than my mom had saved. Then again, I had no bills to pay. We walked to a burgerking, I think it was. Maybe a Subway restaurant. It was somewhat close to where we were left at the station. Too scared to wander off in a town we didn't know. In a time before everyone had a cell phone or a gps. Not to mention, we were being "securely moved" (if that's what you would call leaving two small women on the side of the road in a large city with not even a map.) I remember getting out of the minivan that day and they handed us our protective order and our tickets.

Later, we would find out that our protective order, temporary custody, and other assorted paperwork didn't mean a thing legally. We get on the first bus and off we go, finally safe. Over night it got so cold that we began to dig through our carry on and put on everything we could find. Layers helped, especially AFTER the bus broke down. That was fun lol. We got to our layover in Dayton, Ohio and we saw something never seen in a small town before. First, as we tried to board my mother was dragged down by the weight of backpacks and a duffelbag. No one would help her up and I had to try, with all the extra weight on my 8 year old limbs, I couldn't manage. She was forced to sit everything down and reorganize afterwords. There was a group of quakers in line behind us, We had thought they were known for friendliness (I guess that's really just the guy on the oats can.) The man in the bus station refused to take the tickets out of the envelope, regardless of seeing both my mother and I struggling to stand upright, let alone dig through paperwork. It was the time of Anthrax but a 4'10 woman and her 8 year old daughter are NOT your threat buddy.

We finally boarded and it was off to New York at last.