Days 8 and 9 - Jan. 1 - Jan. 2, 2016
New Year’s Day was rather lazy. I did some homework I needed to catch up on, and we also went sledding, because Swallow had sleds, and there were a bunch of hills around Des Moines too.
That night, we went to Swallow’s house to celebrate the New Year, because we didn’t get the chance to while bowling last night.
We played pool, ate pizza, drank Dr Pepper, and generally lived it up… for about three hours.
I woke up at a decent hour again the next day, and crawled out of bed groggily. That day, we went to Chow’s Gymnastics to start the day off. But first we went sledding. It turns out that Liang Chow, coach of 2008 Olympic champion Shawn Johnson, as well as coach of 2012 Olympic champion Gabby (Gabrielle) Douglas, opened a gymnastics school in Iowa. Even though Chow came from China, he still helped the US gymnasts win gold medals.
It was quite a weird experience, learning that kids not much older than me have Wikipedia pages about them.
We then made our way back to Merle Hay, but it wasn’t (unfortunately) to go bowling again. It was to volunteer for Hillary Clinton. First, we met Emily, another volunteer at the office. Once we had chatted for a bit about her background and schooling, I made a few phone calls. But, it was currently in the afternoon, when everyone was at work, so not many people picked up.
Ironically, Bernie Sanders’s headquarters was in the exact same building, and right across from Clinton’s, too. It makes me think, why would you want to have your headquarters right across from one of your bitterest rivals’ headquarters?
Sanders’s office was much of the same; a quick briefing on phone calls, then we made some more calls. Once we ran out of time, we said our goodbyes, and left.
But then we went to do even more volunteering; this time with Ben Carson. Y’know, after helping two Democratic candidates, I thought I might help out the Republicans this time.
I overheard Nathan, the director of Carson’s office saying something to other students about giving them a really cool-looking iMac after the caucuses a previous time we were at the office. It looked like after the Iowa caucuses, everything had to go, because they couldn’t take so much stuff to New Hampshire, or South Carolina. There was a funny poster in the office that caught my eye, but I never got the chance to ask Nathan about it that day. I asked him about the poster this time, but it turned out that the posters would probably be shipped to South Carolina. Too bad.
The poster itself was probably much more amusing to me than it is to you, but hey. It had a baby girl holding a sign that said ‘I’m with Ben!”. She had a teddy bear next to her with a slightly smaller sign that said ‘Me too.” And there was also a stuffed elephant holding a tiny sign that said ‘And me.’
Now this was probably because separating twins joined at the head was Dr. Carson’s biggest achievement. Probably.
I’ve no idea where they managed to get that poster, but Ben Carson is my favorite candidate so I had a brainwave right before I was supposed to start making phone calls. I asked for a piece of printer paper and a black marker. Then I wrote ‘and me’ on the paper and stood next to the poster. Then everyone else in the room wanted to do that too, and we pinned a Ben Carson cheer card next to it, and then we brought their life-size cardboard cutout of Ben next to it, and things escalated from there.
We didn’t get anything else done that day.
*** About the Author ***
Steven Chen is a seventh grader who goes to Gale Ranch Middle School in San Ramon, California. He attended PYLI's winter program between 12/25/15 and 1/5/16, had a blast and hopes to go to the PYLI summer program in the next few months.
Steven messes around with things such as playing baseball, listening to music, and trying to play said music on the trombone (badly).
His life was really boring before he went to Iowa. Back in California, he had a week to study for algebra finals, catch up on the schoolwork (and homework) he missed, learn an entire dance for PE in eight minutes, as well as get extra practice in on 'Wildest Dreams.'
Steven also overuses parentheses in his writing (a ton).