More writing for my book. This is based on the first day the main character sees the school she’ll be attending in Hawaii.

I was dying to see my new school, and it would still be a couple of weeks before classes began, so once our car arrived from Virginia, we decided to do some island exploring, including an informal tour of our schools. We drove around the outskirts of the University of Hawaii, up towards the mountains, following the road as it became narrower and windier. The turn onto Manoa Road was marked by a large, white house covered in moss and ivy that looked like something out of a horror movie, set in the old south. My mother turned right as I continued to gaze at the large house, fascinated by its gothic presence. The road was not wide, and because of all the cars parked along the right side, drivers had to dart in and out to make enough room for two cars to pass each other. A Pinto shimmied through the narrow lane and the driver flashed us a “shaka” sign as she drove past, her window rolled all the way down. At the end of road, before it made a sharp left, there was a low wall that marked the entrance to the school. Behind it was a massive hill trying to be a mountain and I quickly realized that the nuns who had founded Saint Francis School for Girls had chosen this spot well to keep their young, virginal novitiates secluded from the rest of society.

My mother parked our station wagon and we walked up to the front entrance, marked by a life-sized statue of Saint Francis. One arm was extended out with his palm held up to the sky, as if to provide a small perch for a bird. Three desiccated leis hung around his neck. We continued up the stairs and could see a large courtyard that served as the center of the school. Two stories of classrooms surrounded the courtyard, and there appeared to be a large auditorium in the far right corner, where there were no windows. The courtyard had a one large tree in the middle, and sloped up toward the rear classrooms. All of the classrooms opened into this courtyard, which made the center of the school feel slightly vulnerable. Won’t we get wet when it rains?  My public high school in Virginia had been easily ten times as big as this place. Plus, it was only a year old and had boys. This school looked like it had been established not long after the missionaries had shown up on the islands. The nearest brother school was a 30 minute drive away. My parents had signed me up for a school with no modern amenities or men.

We walked from the courtyard to the right, through a hallway that led to another row of classrooms, with lockers outside. I had to admit, there was something peaceful about the school, mostly due to its hidden-away location, but also because of the tii leaves and flowers that grew abundantly throughout the campus…no, it was too small to call it a campus.