Chapter 24 - Engineering

As I grew, I found myself fascinated by science and engineering. The idea that I could write code and see it function in a machine like my computer or a toy robot fascinated me. I wanted to study the world around me with tools I built. Returning to Indonesia this time over the summer, I took an early college course in computer programming with the instructor's permission. I learned to code in Java, and began to understand the visual coding I was doing before. This ended up being really helpful later on, as I began to play the videogame Minecraft. Minecraft taught me more about coding in Java, manipulating objects in a model of the real world. With some difficulty, I even made a plugin for my favourite server, a mini game. Coding wasn't the most difficult thing I had ever done, but the challenge seemed to grip me every time.

After I returned from Indonesia and finally entered high school, I was allowed to start a robotics team, even though I was older than the childeren in school. Being older didn't help with everything. Though I enjoyed working with robotics, building a robot to complete a challenge from a kit, our team was never perfectly successful. We made it to the state competitions and even won a prize at the local competition, but we didn't exactly have many competitors. Still, I learned to code in C from my work with robotics. My skills were building.

I was still taking music lessons, and music was always on the back of my mind. There were strange things and little wonders I would always hear in the world and try to replicate. As I grew taller, everything fascinated me. I dreamed I would be an astronaut again, or maybe even a musician.

During my Freshman year of highschool, I also applied to be an exchange student. I didn't get into the program that I wanted, so I applied again the next year. I got in, and I began to feel anxious about my living situation. Would I be able to make it out of the house of my attackers? Would I be accepted in a foreign country, and could I even stay there?

People made fun of me for being "such a nerd", playing video games and coding all the time. I began to rebel. I bought cannabis at school, and smoked it at home, first simply by burning it and inhaling, then from an apple. I felt incredibly high. I had never smoked much before that I could remember, and when I smoked I felt different. It was like the pain had gone away. Before I knew it, I began to enter what seemed to be the equivelant of an adult life.

I worked over the summer, and found out I would go to Germany on my youth exchange. I worked at a small Italian restaurant as a dishwasher in Fairbanks, Alaska. The work was boring, but it paid off. I could buy the things I needed, and I had some money saved I could spend while I was abroad. Time flew by. Before I knew it, between hanging out with friends and working, I was on my way to Germany. My foster family didn't want me to leave. I worried they might try to stop me, but overall I carried on. Packing my bags full of clothing and amenities for the journey, it was my last day before leaving to germany. At nighttime I took a pot brownie because I wanted to be high on my flight, which I deeply regret. I hardly noticed the white powder carefully buried in the brownie, and by the time I had finished it, I was nearly asleep. I had been drugged.

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