Round and round we go

Yesterday, in celebration of the end of our exams, a bunch of thrill-seeking teenagers headed off to Thorpe Park to pass the day high- in the sky- shaking about the brain cells that they would not be needing for a few months.

We were not the only ones with the same idea and many other teenagers, donning the same Leavers’ Hoodies as us, had decided upon the same day to visit the theme park. This influx of visitors creates a very serious problem and the one thing that I hate the most about theme parks: queues. I almost wish for it to rain just so that everyone, but me, will go home and leave me to the rides.

Fortunately, the queues were long but endurable and the longest length of time we had to wait was 45 minutes, which is relatively short if you consider that this waiting period can easily go up to 2 hours later on in the summer when most schools start going on trips and during weekends. Queuing up is such an integral, but hated, part of theme parks that they have evolved into something more than just the original straight line of people. Now they are tricky and deceptive, as they wind around hidden corners, behind ruins and into caves. The queues are now mazes of slow-moving people, that create false impressions and hopes that are overcome by groans of dread at the discovery of hidden rows of people.

The option of paying to skip the queues by buying Fastrack strikes me as slightly immoral but it was unnecessary as according to the some of my classmates, they needed the waiting time to digest their food, or coax a wimp onto the ride. Far from being bored, a game of ‘Mathew says’, provided some entertainment as restless teenagers queuing for SAW- The Ride, mindlessly hopped and hi-fived each other on demand, in response to an invisible voice, reflecting the nature of the SAW movies, of which I have only watched the third.

Due to the mostly short queues, I managed to go on just about every major roller coaster, and even had time for the little boats and the spinning tea cups! I am not scared of heights and whilst most people scream on rollercoasters, I can’t help but laugh. In every single one of the theme park photos, I was smiling, and not just because I always made sure to be ready for the flash. Nothing scared me.

Not SAW- THE RIDE,

Saw Rollercoaster - Thorpe Park

or the new SWARM.

Well, almost nothing scared me. The thrill and excitement that had me cackling in hysteric joy up in the air was not present when it came to the most childish but diabolical ride ever to be created.

The Rocky Express:

With time to kill between roller coasters, my friends and I had a go on this small train ride, that quickly went round and round in a circle, over a series of bumps. Though it was a therapeutic massage compared to the bigger rides, it made me extremely nauseous and I couldn’t wait for it to end and to escape my bright red train carriage.

Unfortunately, that was not so. Despite unanimous protest, bar one, the controller gave us another nostalgic go. Bearing my teeth and holding my poor stomach, I endured it and when it finally stopped, I felt ready to kiss the ground- had I been allowed to reach it. For again the evil controller refused to stop the ride and around we went for a few more infernal minutes as she laughed on with a manic smile. At least on a roller coaster you have the benefit of knowing that in 20 seconds, it will all be over, but on this ride, we were not sure when or if we would ever be allowed to leave. No one would hear our screams over the mind numbing cowboy music. Three consecutive rounds were enough to satiate the sick urges of the controller and her smile illustrated her twisted sense of humour as she allowed us the room to escape, angry and green in the face. All our anger was turned onto one of our own as we found out that she had been in cahoots with the controller and that the sly nods of her head, had been the signal for the commencement of our torture. Betrayal in its purest form.

I have never been on so many stomach juggling rides in one day and it was with 15 minutes left to spare that my stomach had finally had enough. The bus ride back was absolute agony. Shattered, I closed my eyes to sleep but the movement of the bus had my mind twirling, tumbling and looping as if I were still on a roller coaster. Then, the road bumps, which the unsympathetic driver took no care with, were torturous. Even as I closed my eyes to sleep at night, I could not rid myself of that falling and swirling sensation.

Who came up with the idea of strapping a person to a piece of metal and tossing them about viciously in the air anyway?

The End

Today marks an end. A chapter in my life has closed and as much as I would like to put a bookmark in it, nothing can stop natural progression. I’ll miss that old chapter, and I’ll remember the general contents, although the exact words may evade me. My favourite characters will be remembered fondly and may be carried on with me to the next chapter and others will die as an idea within those pages but all will have an impact on the rest of the book; my life.

Analogy over and done with, let me return to the basics. Today was my last day of school. I have been in this school for five years. Five years are a long time. I will return only for exams that will end in mid-June. I will see my classmates only in states of nervousness and then we will depart onto bigger things, farther apart.

It seems strange that I won’t be waking up at 6.45 each morning to wear the same uniform to take the same journey to get to the same school, as I have done for the past five years. I’m glad to be finished but also sad. I didn’t realise how much I loved my school until I was leaving it, how much the teachers cared and how the students weren’t all that bad after all (most of them).

I’m not going to get all emotional in text, I was incapable of shedding a tear today. So, as everyone was bawling, even the known sociopath, I was taking pictures of their teary moments. We showed the entire school a video montage of out time, gave small speeches and left the teachers with one last surprise. Ellen’s Dance Dares!

If this new phenomena has not yet trended near you (Antarctica?), the rules of the game are simple: sneak up behind people, dance, don’t get caught and catch it on camera. Being the daredevil I am, I got behind two teachers and busted a few moves, and being the darling angel I am, they did not see it coming. The result was a hilarious collection of unsuspecting teachers going about their normal, daily routines and a band of sneaky, hoodied-up leavers waving, bopping, shaking and anything else that would classify as dancing. Unfortunately, we failed to get the headteacher. She was never around when the camera was out, or perhaps she was watching us on CCTV and knew to stay away.

It hasn’t really hit me yet that I am leaving. I still remember being in my first year and watching the year’s leavers say their goodbyes, thinking that they were so lucky to go and that I still had ages left before being set free. I did that every single year for four years and now it is my turn, but, I just feel like holding onto the chains, even as they loosen to let me go. I really am going to miss my school.

If I’m not going to cry, the least I can do is write to express what sadness I must be feeling. I know I am sad, I just don’t feel sad. I say I’m sad. I just don’t feel sad. It must be because I know I’m not really leaving. I shall, not by choice, be popping round for exams from time to time and then, any feelings of sorrow will be overshadowed by nervousness and panic. Even then, I’ll still pass by every once in a while. I hope.

*Exams coming up. I might have to use my computer for more productive activities. Pray I do well. The future of many mentally unstable people depend on it.

Facebook Withdrawals

I have deactivated. My Facebook account is closed until further notice. I am coping.

The same way I followed the big crowd in, I followed the smaller crowd out. My mum seems to have managed to make herself believe that she has a life outside the social network and my friends have also deactivated, as is the norm at approach of the exam period. I follow in their steps for neither reason, but because it seems to me like a genuinely good idea that I would surely have come up with on my own and would certainly have done anyway.

I used to spend a lot of time just staring at my news feed on Facebook, even though nothing changed and people had nothing new to say. I have about ten friends, a pathetic number compared to those who boast hundreds, but in my defence I am selective and can confidently say that I have met everyone on my friends list. Still, it was time wasted and my account is only a way for classmates that do not say a word to me at school to suddenly acknowledge my existence, ask me for the homework and then tell me they love me. Classy. I have no need for it and anyone who genuinely wants to contact me can find other ways.

Nevertheless, some things take time to get used to. The familiar blue and white homepage greeted me each time I opened my browser and my mouse automatically went for the link on my favourites, without me even telling my hand to move. It just knew to do so. If you do something for long enough (average of 66 days) it becomes a habit. Now that my account is no more, my hands don’t yet know not to do so. I still open Facebook each time I go on the internet, unconsciously and without even wanting to as well as knowingly, just for the familiarity of the white and blue page and the its iconic logo, ingrained in my daily patterns.

My Facebook account will remain closed until at least the end of all my exams, if not longer, but until then I will enjoy the benefits of extra time and seclusion- especially from people I have no desire to talk to.

Facebook is becoming outdated. In fact, I am considering getting a Tumblr. So, in a few months time you can expect a post similar to this one: Tumblr Withdrawals.

I do it with flair

As the end of the school year draws closer, particularly for my class of seniors, it comes naturally to start the reminiscence and remember the old days of braces, big nerdy rucksacks and best friend squabbles. Oh what larks we had! (Peak times, innit?)

It started off just recalling teachers’ catchphrases and habits that although we made fun of at that moment, we were sure we would all miss. When would you ever meet another person who promised to shove Tipp-Ex down your throat if you didn’t put it away?

After every teacher was done with and all their words quoted and exhausted, it was our turn to pick out each other’s catchphrases. These were words that we were known for, often repeated and were predictably ours. I’m cool like that. Yeah bro. FML.

Many people had more than one catchphrase, some were digged up from old times and as for me; I had none. Seventeen girls sat in a circle, knocking their heads together, and they came out blank. What does Yasmine say? Understandably offended, they assured me that is was not for lack of personality, I just say so many things and do not repeat myself often. As a form of appeasement, their compliments were void. Surely, I must say something more than once. I can not be the only girl without a catchphrase.

Then, finally, not because I was whining, someone came with a suggestion. A phrase that I do not say often, but I do recall saying once or twice, and had not even remembered until that moment: I do it with flair. What a curious catchphrase. It sounds pompous, obnoxious and all types of swottish but I have said it.

My friend (or so she calls herself), once commented on my manner of walking, resulting in my self-conscious tiptoeing and retarded, robotic movements. She told me I walked funny and once someone tells you that, it’s hard to walk the way usually do. So, in need of reassurance, I asked around and learned that I do not drift, I walk with purpose. “What do you mean?” I asked, eyebrows furrowed with a puzzled look on my face. You walk as if you are going somewhere. Tired of cryptic answers, I went to my teacher and she briefly summarised that I have good posture. Really? I went back to my friend and I told her: I don’t walk funny. I do it with flair.

So, what is everybody’s catchphrase?

The hugging procession

Every single morning, it is customary in my class to walk into school and hug every girl lining our lockers’ corridor, starting, of course, with those nearer to you and moving along, skipping she who you may be arguing with.

I am well-known for not taking part. Fortunately, I am always the first to arrive which gives me great reason to avoid the ritual and when I am offered my daily hug, I am teased by my lack of enthusiasm and very minor co-operation. Apparently, I remain stiff and simply lean an inch forward. What can I say? I’m just not the hugging sort- I accept hugs (at times enjoy them) but I do not reciprocate the action. It is not a lack of confidence, just personal preference and laziness on my part.

However, my inability to hug does not make me an unfriendly or cold person, it just means that I express myself in a different way, through different means and with different body parts. So, today as my friend quickly dragged herself along the line of uniformed bodies, stopping and hugging, my turn came and as she opened up her tired arms for an habitual hug, I stuck out my hand and offered it for her shaking. I did the same for the next few people and was pleased to see my friendly handshake trending among a few other class mates.

My new initiative has come at an excellent time, what with all of us awaiting interviews for school admissions. A debate ensued on how to give the best, firm handshake and before I knew it, I was standing in a sea of interlocked hands. Apparently, I shake hands like a fairy; I am not yet sure if I should take offence but if I were to, the time has passed for a witty comeback.

Tomorrow, I will rebel against the hug and shake hands, as I will the next day and the day after that. This will continue until it becomes an established daily action and all around me do the same. It is hard to break such an old tradition but as soon as one person starts, others will follow and slowly, little by little, the shake will be school-wide!

Out with the hug! In with the shake!

Indian Summer to the Max

Mid October, and the news reporters are calling it an Indian summer and because we are not easily influenced by the media, us girls headed off to the beach. With winter jackets and my father’s best wishes we were off. Always the optimist, he shook his head in disapproval and announced that he would not be buying anybody medicine when we all came back nursing dreadful colds.

With that in mind we cozied up into the car and enjoyed the lengthy 2 hour view, sleeping against each other and cringing at my mothers version of Queens’ Bohemian Rhapsody. She made for a terrible singer and a most interesting travel companion. She takes the prize for quote of the ride, which surprisingly was not are we there yet, but “I miss the London pollution.”

Once we had passed the motorway, we drove through the New Forest, and saw wild horses in their dozens; black, brown and white; bathing in the rays of sunlight peeking through small clearings in dense forest. We hurried a few snaps as we passed the brave mares at the roadside, inches away from the open windows.

Then, we drove through a quaint little village, complete with thatch roof cottages and funnily named pubs. We exclaimed at all the village sights that one does not see on the London High Streets. Oh look, it’s an apothecary. Oh look it’s an old sweet shop. Oh look it’s a tea room. Oh look it’s a Costa coffee?

Oh look it’s the sea! My mother spotted it first and we all squealed in excitement, anticipating the waves crashing against our bodies as we jumped up and down, getting ready to the build the tallest sand castles.

Well, not me. I didn’t even touch the sand.  I lay my pink snuggly blanket down on the rocks, and slipped into a book. Yes, I could have done that in my garden but the fresh breeze, salty smell and symphony of waves created a better reading atmosphere. I entertained the thought of dipping into the freezing October sea for the duration of an entire page but rid myself of it as soon as I imagined the sand sticking to my wet skin as I tried to get changed under a flying towel. Not worth it.

I was content to just to watch my sisters splash about in the water and return not shortly after, teeth chattering and jumping into their dry clothes. Anyway, I got up to my own fifteen minute adventure, looking for fossils in the cliffs with the only tool available, a fork. No luck, except for a few pin sized shells, but I couldn’t really expect to find the ancient remains of an extinct species on my first go. Maybe on my next.

My week of unpaid labour (work experience)

This week saw me swapping the classroom for the office as I had my first taste of the working adult world. It’s not as tough and harsh as everyone makes it out to be, leading to me think that maybe the ‘big bad world’ waiting for us outside is just a myth made to motivate us lazy teens into concentration in class and generate better exam results.
 
From my experience, every single day of it, working is not particularly difficult, only boring and monotonous. It sucks out every last drop of creativity from your colourful mind, dampening  it into an empty shell of black and white. Definitely not worth 7 years in primary school, 5 years in secondary school, 2 years in college and if you go to university, an additional 4-6 years and a couple thousand pounds worth of debt.
 
But nevertheless, whilst at my alternate learning habitat I did learn many valuable lessons and make many new friends. They were all very welcoming at the law firm and I was made to feel right at home .However, it may have just been the corporate environment but I found that many of my new friends were quite, how to put it, robotic? They lacked personality and I sometimes felt as if I were talking to a machine.

 

Here are a few of my new amigos:

The Shredder

I met him on my second day of work. I was quite intrigued by his unusual appearance when we were introduced and after a few complications and malfunctions we got a long just fine. Everything I gave him, he just took in.

 
 
 
The photocopier         

This one was quite a complicated relationship. Weak and somewhat unintelligent, she relied on me for everything. Not that I minded but she was always copying my work. I understand that I was a newcomer in her territory but that was no reason for her to take advantage of me and copy my hard work. I’m not complaining, simply voicing my discontent.

 
The Computer

Last but by no means least, my best friend. My constant companion. I relied on her for all kinds of support and was helped through all my tasks. She was a bit slow but she served me well.

 

 
 
 
 
The friends I made were a definite highlight of this week. Not a day went by without me spending time with them. We became so close that I think I may miss them when my compulsory weeks of unpaid labour are up.