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First day of school unlike any other

Tuesday was my first day back at school. The night before I picked out my outfit and I checked to see how it would look on Zoom. My mom trimmed my hair and I felt ready for the new normal school day.

Our Zoom class began at 8:30 in the morning. I was surprised and happy to see that almost all my schoolmates were present. My teacher discussed what the next nine weeks would look like. Then suddenly, at 10 a.m., we were done. We had an assignment to write about anxiety, due Thursday.

At 10:30 my friend’s mom called to see if I was OK and if we had evacuated. I had no idea what she was talking about so she explained that there was a fire in an area called Quiet Village, about eight blocks away from our house. The winds were blowing like crazy in all directions, the night before all of my mom’s plants and outdoor furniture had tipped, fallen or broken all over the deck. My friend’s mom suggested we evacuate.

I walked around not being able to think, picking up one thing or another to decide if it was important enough to pack. My heart was beating faster than it ever had in my life. I was so scared.

Around 11 we called my mom’s friend to pick us up, because there were no Ubers or taxis available. The I-5 freeway had just been shut down. We got the last hotel room in town, three miles south away from the fire but on the way there another fire started close to my mom’s friend’s house. We had to turn around and stop to get her things.

There was a traffic jam and it took us an hour to get to the hotel. We arrived and got our cats situated. They loved the hotel room. We ordered some food and read the news. My mom and I are still at the hotel and we can’t go home yet because the fire prevented us having electricity or water or Wi-Fi. I am scared to see what happens next, but I have my family and my cats and that’s all that matters.

Iris Liv Serbu Vrang, 11, lives in Ashland.