Overwhelmed (written by Tom)

by Guest Blogger, Tom

37 notebooks and textbooks for sixth grade

Five and a half hours of school a day, six days a week plus two hours of homework each night.  I am so overwhelmed.

One thing I noticed about Italians is they love to yell.  During math class, unless your equations are written very neatly in black pen and the numbers are perfectly aligned, the teacher will pound on your desk yelling, “piu ordinate!” which means more organized.  In Technology, if you get up to sharpen your pencil or blow your nose, the teacher will scream “seduti!” (sit down).  French is impossible, because they are teaching me a foreign language while speaking a language I don’t fully understand.  They have different names for their music notes in Europe, which doubles the frustration in Music class.  Even English is hard, because my English teacher can’t pronounce simple words like “umbrella,” “poison,” “daughter,” or “hello.”  The kids are somewhat polite, but they don’t help each other out, so if I don’t understand the directions, it’s tough luck for me.

Too many books

We have a dress code.  This is the first and only time that I have been forced to wear jeans.  And to make matters worse, I need to wear a button-up, white,  collared shirt.  Even on P.E. day I am not allowed to wear shorts.  I don’t think I will ever get used to the dress code.  I would run home after school and change into more comfortable clothes, but with the weight of my backpack, my top speed is only three miles per hour.

The steep hike home

I am so wiped out when I get home I feel like taking a three-hour long nap, but I have to complete my homework first.  My assignments wouldn’t be that hard if they weren’t written in a foreign language.  Just converting the text to English takes forever, and by the time I am finished there is very little time before dinner.  My parents got a tutor to help me out, but she just makes it worse.  Even though my tutor can speak a little English, she refuses to.  She won’t even allow my mom to translate the directions for me.  In addition, Paola (my tutor) is strict and the sessions are supposed to be 30 minutes long, but they wind up lasting an hour.  Sunday, which is my only day off, is equally difficult.  My family goes on small vacations every Sunday, so a third of my day I spend packing, driving, and unpacking. The only good thing about Sunday is that I get to wake up early to watch the Husky game.

Signora Paula and me

School has been ridiculously hard, but at least I have mid-winter break to look forward to… oh wait, I forgot they don’t do that in Italy.


26 thoughts on “Overwhelmed (written by Tom)

  1. I like to think of you, Tom, as the protagonist in a triumph story. Right now, you are the underdog, but in the end, I believe you will come out on top.

  2. I don’t know whether I should laugh or cry. As a Grandmother my immediate thought is “how can I make this all better”?! Then I did my usual and “bit my tongue and kept my comments to myself”:-) I am praying that you learn Italian quickly!

  3. I like it. I love how you let out all your feelings. It sounds super hard. If I had teachers that would yell at you if you don’t write things down really organized I would go crazy in class.

  4. TD, that`s not even horrible, it`s flat out wrong. I don`t beleive how a teacher could do that to you. That`s just ridiculous. Jill, at this point, the way I`ve been e-mailing TD, I don`t think that there`s anyway possible he`ll come out on top. Maybe he could find could his own success, but that`s a big maybe. I cry so much thinkig of you, TD. I don`t think I`ve told you that. I just wish that I could do more. But, I just can`t. And it`s not fair. But, it`s certainly not fair to you. I would just hate to be you right now. And, I`m sorry that you have no energy. And, you should try to find a different tutor. she sounds very mean and impaitient. I don`t know how easy that is in Italy. If you ever need anything, email. I`m always there for you. Stay strong and remember you can lean on me when you need a friend. 🙂

  5. Tom, I so appreciate you speaking to “us” so honestly. Hard to even imagine what your classroom environment is like, let alone in another language. I have always seen you as a young man with the strength of a mountain because of all that you have gone through at a young age. I has seen you with confidence, committment and passion. I am sure you want to do your best in this new environment and your will find success in your own way. Although it may be hard to envision this now, but this time in Italy and days feeling frustated in class will build so much character and appreciation for life when you are older. I had some tought times when I was a teenager in Tokyo, but for different reasons, so I do empathize with you. You are a wonderful student and like your mom says, you will come out on top. It may be hard to see at this time but it will happen. Alek speaks from his love for you as his best friend but like he said, and like the words of a favorite song of yours, “lean on me when you are not strong…..”. Love and a big hug to you Tom.

  6. Alek, what a wonderful friend you are. Tom you should tell your mom to get you a tutor like the one I had for Mary. She would have fresh baked cookies for you when you got there and if you didn’t feel like doing your homework, she would come up with a fun, theraputic art project. 😉

    You are going make it. You are a wonderfully strong and gifted boy. Don’t take any of their yelling personally, it’s just the way they are. This really is a great life skill to learn. There are some angry/upset people out there, but that’s their problem NOTyours. I feel sorry for people that yell all the time, that can’t be a happy way to live. Learning to deal with these people comes as you gain confidence. Remember what your mom said, ‘courage is a choice’. You are already being very courageous and with that, the confidence will come.

    I agree with your mom you will come out victorious. Remember that picture of you standing on the columns in Pompeii. That’s how I picture you, with sword in hand at the end of the story saying loud and strong, “That’s right Italy, it’s me Tom Deasy – and don’t forget who your dealing with!” (only in Italian)

    And hey, after this, just think how easy Tyee is going to be.

  7. Eccellente! Your writing is so amusing, Tom! Your writing and Mom’s photography were a perfect pairing. Hang in there….

    Ol, Grey and Simon’s G’ma Joan

  8. Tom, your post made me want to give you a huge hug but Stephanie K is right. This is what builds character and you are going to be SO ahead of the game when you come home. And from everything I have heard and learned, the hardest year at Tyee is 6th grade so you will come home to a breezy 7th grade year. Speaking Italian. You will rule the school!!!! Hang in there. 🙂

  9. Tom, If you’re going through hell, keep going! There is a wonderful movie titled Life is Beautiful. (La Vita e Bella) It’s an Italian tragicomedy. In an attempt to help his son, Giosue survive the horrors of a Jewish Concentration Camp, Guido imagines that the Holocaust is a game and that the grand prize for winning is a tank. This movie proves once and for all how strong we are, as humans, that in the face of adversity we can make the best of things. Outwit your antagonist! Love and courage, from Gramma Carol

  10. Hey Tom, just pretend you are like the Husky football team. The teachers yelling are the crowd cheering you on and you have to translate passes into completions and decide if it’s zone or man coverage. Your tutor is like an offensive lineman, they’re never that friendly. Pretty soon you’ll have a breakthrough like Sefarian-Jenkins in the end zone or Bishop Sankey busting one loose for 46 yards. Hang in there. Andy

    • As there’s no like button, I have to reply and say that you, Andy, have expressed my thoughts so much more eloquently than I could have myself. But, can the teachers be the cheerleaders so that all of Tom’s friends and family can be his home crowd cheering him on?

  11. Overwhelmed for sure! If I were you I’d be crying. By the end of the school year think back to the beginning of the year and I’m sure you will be surprised how much you have improved. Think of it as baseball you’re at bat the count is 0-2 you foul it off still holding on. Then you hit a home run and you wiz around the bases winning the game! If you are the batter then school is the pitcher and your family is the rest of your team. Your going down then you hold on and eventually hit the homer winning the battle against school. Hang on and your sure to win.

  12. Tom you are my hero! I think you are amazing for facing this challenge day in day out! I think you are probably building amazing muscles that will help you with every challenge you face. I’m going to think of you when I have a hard day and remember it could be harder – it could be in Italian!

  13. So well done; hope we hear more from you. Meanwhile, there is so much encouragement above, you don’t need any more. All things work for the good for those who love. You will be better than fine when this year is over; you won’t want to leave!

  14. Tom, the mere fact that you can write so articulately about what you are experiencing means that you have the wherewithall to not only endure it, but triumph over it. I wouldn’t be surprised if you were speaking Italian fluently in a few short months. You are being baptized by fire, as they say (and in my opinion, the fire baptisms are the best ones, at least in retrospect!). You are a superstar – keep it up!

  15. Tom, your writing is beautifully honest and perfectly defines the word “overwhelmed”. I agree with superstar, and rockstar and SO, so brave! Thinking of you and Ray! Sending you hugs!

  16. Not cool to tell yer techno teacher to seduti on that sharp pencil but I would clue Paola what “chill out” means in english….in the polite tense of course.

  17. Hi Tom. I’m Jan, a friend of your Grandma Carol’s on The McKenzie River and she has been sharing your mom’s blog. I’ve been enjoying it so much, but I especially appreciated your blog. I just spent a wonderful week with extended family in a farm house just 15 minutes west of Siena. Our 36-year-old niece, Ashleigh, was among us with her little boys, ages 5 and 1. When Ashleigh was 9 she spent a year in St. Remy, France with her family after having studied French for a couple of years at her home school in California. Last month while we were in Italy she said that she really didn’t want to go to France when she was 9, let alone go to a French school. However, she now looks back on that time as one of the most formative times of her life and hopes to offer her sons the same experience at some point in their early years. Yes, it was very hard and it took great courage to walk into that classroom each day (for the first three months especially). She, too, had piles of homework and struggled with the language and the cultural differences. Today she is a very strong, confident, AND very intelligent woman who possesses a great curiosity about her world. Though at the beginning of her time in France she never would have imagined standing triumphant at the end of the year, she did and she still does. You will, too, (on top of that FINISHED pile of text books) and will be the better for it!!
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts in such a open and intelligent way!! I hope to meet you one day!

  18. Well done Tom! Thank you for sharing your education experience. Wow, that pile of books is unbelievable. You must have some great muscles developing. This experience in Italy might be hard, but there will come a time when you look back and realize how much it contributed to your life experience and character building. Hang in there, you are doing a great job! I hope you write another blog, cuz I really enjoyed your writing. Love to all you guys!

  19. Hey Tom, I just wanted to write and tell you to hang in there! I understand it is very difficult right now but you are a super-smart guy and I know it will get better if you try your best. Pretend you are Marshawn Lynch crushing tacklers as you move down the field, you can do it!

    I also wonder if you are able to see any games from there? Can you stream them on the computer? I know they will always be on at a weird time. I missed a lot of NFL games when I was in Europe last August. The Seahawks are really exciting this year and the Huskies are either horrible or great, but maybe playing better now. I’m really excited because I might get to photograph some Husky b-ball games this year. I’ll have full access to the court, players, etc. but I can only shoot with my iPhone!

    OK, have a good weekend, Go Dawgs!

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