Well, believe it or not, my amazing husband was able to fix the computer so I'm back - I sure hope it doesn't crash again anytime soon. Yes, being married to someone who understands all about computers certainly has some very special benefits! Now I just have to get busy making backups in case something like this happens again.
In the meantime, I'm going to continue the story of Becky, the modern teenage girl who unexpectedly landed in her aunt's traditional homeschooling family...
That's it. I'm doomed. Where do I start? With the worst, I guess. It turns out that instead of taking my clothes, I picked up Grandma's suitcase, the one where she keeps old scraps of fabric. My jeans and tops! The cute little strapless dress I only bought three weeks ago! My blue mini-skirt! Catherine, on the other hand, was very happy about getting Grandma's old fabrics and immediately set to making a patchwork quilt out of them.
Of course, I immediately wrote to Grandma and asked her to send my clothes along. But until the package arrives, I need something to wear. Catherine very generously offered me to borrow her clothes. I can just as easily wear a sack over my head, I thought. But as it appeared, she has more normal-looking clothes than the ones she usually wears. Her aunt, Uncle Ben's sister, often sends her packages of clothes that didn't fit her daughters. However,Catherine thinks that knee-length skirts aren't modest enough. I ask you! She usually wears ankle-length skirts and dresses. I thought her legs must look terrible, but no, she's just slightly crazy.
Let's go on. A short description of the house we live in. The first story consists of a large kitchen, a dining room, a sitting room, a laundry room, and Uncle Ben's working room which also functions as a library. On the second story we have five bedrooms (one of them is David's old room, and now Aunt Anne turned it into a sewing room) and two bathrooms. I, of course, was sent to live in the same room with Catherine. Until then she had her own room. I would be really mad if someone was placed in my room just like that, but Catherine acts as though she couldn't be happier.
The boys sleep in one room. Uncle Ben and Aunt Anne have a big soft rug in their bedroom for an enormous labrador named Corny. Rachel has her own bedroom, the smallest. But Aunt Anne said that they "hope to give Rachel a little brother or sister". They are crazy! In their age! They have too many children anyway.
The house is surrounded by a large garden of fruit trees, a vegetable patch and fields. A 15-minute walk will take us to our nearest neighbours - another homestead. What a miserable place.
I was happy about not having to go to school. I thought "home education" is for idiots. But it turns out that I'm not good enough to do the program that is meant for my age! I have to study together with Catherine. Of course, she was over the moon with joy and immediately volunteered to help me. She's so boring.
Studies begin immediately after breakfast. And prayers, of course. I forgot to say they pray every day. Catherine prays twice or even three times a day, it drives me crazy. I told Aunt Anne right away that I'm not going to pray, and thakfully, she let me off the hook. We study for only about two-three hours, but somehow, do more than we did in school.
After classes, there's still plenty of time until lunch. During those hours, Aunt Anne finds something to do for everyone. Uncle Ben (he's an engineer) is in town at this time, or if he's at home, he's working in his office and we have to be quiet as mice if we walk by his door. So Aunt Anne usually sends the boys to work in the garden, sweep the paths or pull weeds, or water the plants. Catherine volunteers (!) to clean up the kitchen after breakfast and helps Aunt Anne make lunch. Rachel follows as if she's glued to them.
Aunt Anne won't leave me alone either. Of course, I told her right away that I'm not used to housework and can't do anything (as if I ever wanted to!) - she didn't believe me. Later, when I broke six glasses in my one miserable attempt to wash the dishes, tried to wash the floor using fabric softener and fruitlessly wasted half a box of matches trying to start a fire on the stove, she realized I'm right. But she didn't give up, and gives me all sorts of boring jobs, such as sweeping the floor, dusting and watering the plants in the garden. I'm so glad my friends can't see me right now.
After lunch, as far as I know, normal people do normal stuff. At home, I would finish my homework as quickly as possible, and then I would go out with my friends or my boyfriend. We'd go to the mall or movies, and if it wasn't a school night, we could be out nearly all night long. Sometimes we'd have slumber parties with my girlfriends. Here, of course, there's none of that. These people don't even have a TV! Catherine explained to me that Aunt Anne and Uncle Ben believe that TV is a bad influence. And it seems she agrees. I told you they're crazy.
They have a computer and internet, though. But each of the children has a one-hour-per-day limit of using it. Not that I would have time for more - there are seven people in the house, and Uncle Ben uses the computer for work. Anyway, after lunch there are still many, many hours until evening. Oh well, I thought, at worst I could stretch out on the couch reading a book, sleep a bit, paint my nails or listen to some music. But no. Can you guess Aunt Anne's motto? "Children should always be occupied!"
So Sam plays the flute, Nathan plays the violin, and Catherine plays the piano. They do this about an hour or two after lunch. Later the boys and Rachel have play time until dinner. Catherine has all kinds of weird hobbies to keep herself busy during that time - sewing, knitting, crocheting and embroidery. My Grandma would have been proud of her. Later she helps Aunt Anne make dinner and set the table. I have nothing left to do but read. But it's not like I have too much to read, either. There are plenty of books and magazines in the library, but no juicy love stories or good detective stories, or anything interesting at all. They have shelves upon shelves of holy books, biographies, art books and classics. Believe it or not, I'm so bored that I'm getting through the works of Tolstoy.
Twice a week, Catherine visits the neighbours and gives their children piano lessons. They pay her a bit for that. I forgot to mention children here get no allowance, not that we'd have anywhere to spend it.
After dinner, we're left alone perhaps for an hour or two. After that it's bath time and bed. We're sent to bed early, at about ten. Which is about now. Good night!
PS: I hope my clothes arrive soon!