A friend quickly overcame her surprise, ran to the bathroom, grabbed paper towels, and walked Karen to the nurse’s office. “That was when I realized that my face was 70% blood,” says Karen.
Though her face healed, she initially looked strange. Karen says, “It happened to be Spring Fair the next weekend, and then when I went everyone asked me if I was okay because my face was scabbing.”
Despite the pain of her second grade injury, Karen still looks back upon the event fondly. “Although I had a bad experience, it made for a great story to tell in the future,” says Karen. “To this day every time I walk past the waterfall I have flashbacks.”
Katie Wang: alternative biology
Katie Wang (10) says that one of her best memories from lower school is a memory from science class in fourth grade.
While taking her preliminary science test before her environmental unit, one of the questions asked her, “What happens to animals when they die in the forest?”
The question left many of her classmates puzzled. Katie remembers Mr. Boepple, her fourth grade homeroom teacher, reading out students’ answers on the question out loud.
One creative classmate wrote down, “The tree sucks the animal up by its roots.” Another wrote the animals simply turned into rocks.
Katie says, “Their hilarious responses made me realize how far we’ve come in our understanding of the world.”
Matthew Chen: post-soccer strangle
Matthew Chen (11) vaguely remembers attempting to choke his friend, Julian Lee (11), after they got into an argument caused by an intense soccer match. According to Julian,he had defeated Matthew’s team in the recess game, and subsequently began trash talking, angering Matthew.
Matthew says, “Lower School: it was full of turbulent times. Thinking back, those actions were very irresponsible. It’s funny now, but thinking back it was very dangerous.” He expressed mild regret, but then said that his friendship with Julian still remains strong. He joked, “it was slightly abusive, [but] it’s a great friendship.”
Vanessa Su: a first (sort of) kiss
Vanessa Su (10) recounts a classic major milestone in her middle school life: her first (sort of) kiss. She was hanging out on the bleachers with a group of friends, playing dares. She was with a boy that she was “dating” and that time, and was “ready to bring things up a notch from holding hands.” Exactly as she had wished, one of her friends dared the boy to kiss her on the cheek.
“We made everyone cover their eyes, but they all peeked through their fingers… and he did it.” She exclaims, “It was funny because I was ecstatic.
“I could not sleep that night! In my eyes nothing else mattered. Now, the event has become a funny story she tells to embarrass herself. Vanessa says, “I was in sixth grade, I was stupid. ”
Keanne Chang: a second family
Where the Tiger Lily, a wooden boat, now stands in the playground, there used to be a treehouse where students often played hide-and-seek.
Keanne Chang (10) remembers, “I was a hider and Maggie [Lee (10)] was the seeker. I hid under the treehouse waiting for her to come find me, but apparently she gave up after five minutes, so I just sat in the dirt waiting for her to find me for the rest of recess.”
However, Keanne’s favorite memory is not of a particular event. She is most nostalgic about having a homeroom. “In Lower School homeroom felt like a second family, but in high school you aren’t with the same people every day, so you can’t build the same strong relationships with your classmates,” says Keanne.
Keanne and Maggie have been best friends since they met in kindergarten, a testament to the bond homerooms can create. Keanne says, “Our friendship is so deeply rooted that her mom talks about how I’m going to be the maid of honor at her wedding. It sounds cheesy but it really seems like we were meant to be.”
Tingjen Hsieh: domino effect
Tingjen Hsieh (9) recalls a random, funny moment in fifth grade, when lining up was the customary method of walking from one place to another. Tingjen says, “We were tired and exhausted. All of a sudden, the guy in the front fell onto the person behind him, and [one by one] we all toppled over onto each other.”
This comical domino effect proceeded until Tingjen face planted onto the floor. “I couldn’t get up because I had the weight of the entire class on me. Then, our teacher, Ms. Shim, came out and asked us what we were doing,” remembers Tingjen. “I laughed because she thought it was my fault, which didn’t make sense because I was the one on the ground.”
Lloyd Ciceron: a wormy recess
About ten years ago, the Taipei American School upper field was a baseball field with real grass and red sand. Lloyd Ciceron (10) remembers his Lower School days, when he would gather his friends to play in the muddy field after a rainy day and meddle with the worms exposed by the rain.
He explains that at a young age, even the dead and squirming worms fascinated him; he spent his whole recess running around the field and competing with his friends in who can find the most worms. “We would carry them to the kids who were scared and watch them run around screaming,” Lloyd says.
“As little kids we found joy [in it] even though looking back at it now it’s pretty nasty.”
Catherine Chang: fun and games
Catherine Chang (10) often reminisces on having fun in Lower School during Physical Education class. She explains that she misses the old outdoor tennis courts and indoor badminton courts, where all the “fun games” used to take place. Catherine says, “I remember I loved going to the outdoor tennis courts. Every time Mr. Carter brought us there, I knew we were going to play something fun.” Catherine especially misses playing the game “sink the ship” and playing racquet games in the indoor badminton courts. “I remember walking around the tennis court bouncing a tennis ball on the racquet and trying not make the tennis ball roll off,” she explains. “The bouncing obviously didn’t last long and it was more of me running around the tennis court trying to pick up my tennis ball.”
Photo Credit: Kim Walker