Either it’s really been two years or I actually have invented a time machine

Okay. There’s no point in trying to be humble and whatever. I’m just going to come out and say it. If there was such a thing as the Procrastinator Olympics, I would win hands down. I mean, who else could put off writing a blog post for a near two years? (I would quickly like to point out that, as I’m writing this on the WordPress blog platform, both “WordPress” and “blog” have a little red squiggly line underneath them and I find that ironic enough to point out. These are valuable behind the scenes moments, people.)

Since my last post on 22 August 2012 my life has certainly been busy. Not so much outrageously exciting but some highlights from the past two years are:

  • I’ve finally mustered enough confidence to promote myself as a singer and  I am now a rather prominent member of the vocal performance community at my school. At the last concert, my Maths teacher told me that I “come alive on stage” which, I suppose, compared to my aliveness while sitting behind a desk, staring at a pack of Trigonometry notes isn’t exactly hard to do but I’ll be damned if I said I didn’t feel alive on stage. Which I do. I really do. And I regret not finding my confidence sooner in my high school career. But I’m having fun now and that’s what counts, right? I don’t really know what happened between now and two years ago but I think it had something to do with the fact that at some point I realised that peer pressure really is an unnecessary part of one’s life and I don’t care much for it. (My advice to anyone in a similar position to mine from two years ago is to, quite honestly, ignore anyone who tries to laugh at you, tease you, degrade you or downright bully you for being you because trying to please them just is not going to happen and it’s a waste of time. And don’t be afraid of potentially being laughed at, teased, degraded etc. either because you’re wasting a whole lot of “coming alive on stage” time being afraid.)
  • I went to Greece and totally got tanned! (and terribly, horribly sunburned but that’s not unusual). I also saw some of the most beautiful ancient structures– including but not limited to: the Acropolis (which was so much bigger and more majestic than I thought it would be) and the Amphitheatre at Delphi (the view from which took my breath away. Then, my breath was literally taken away when I ran down the hundreds of steps for a reason that I won’t explain (you know, to keep it mysterious and make you think I’d do such a thing for a valid reason like fitness or something).
  • Oh! Well, I reached my final year of high school. I actually finished my last first school term yesterday. It only took writing 3 500- word essays and a handful of 3-hour exams to get here. But I did it, didn’t I? Let me tell you, two-years-ago me did not have enough faith in herself to think she could accomplish things like 3 500- words essays. If I could travel in time I would definitely go back to her and, putting my hand on her shoulder, say, “Oh ye of little faith.” I would then proceed to tell her the next two years’ worth of winning lottery numbers. You know, because why on Earth not?
  • I also got to dress up all pretty and Victorian princess- like for our Matric Dance which was one of the best experiences of my entire life. Ah, it was so so SO much fun. I’m waiting on a royal wedding invitation from the 19th century so I can wear that dress again. I seriously need to invest in this time travel idea. It could solve so many problems.

Whoa. I think that’s enough nostalgia for one post.

Actually, no.

In my last post from 22 August 2012 I promised that I would tell some stories from my trip to Europe. There are several. I might have to dot them in every now and again over a course of, let’s say, two years? But for now I’ll share this gem:

I single-handedly caused a traffic jam in Amsterdam. That totally rhymed. Anyway. When we arrived in Amsterdam, we had only an hour in which we could hire and ride bicycles because we arrived at our hotel in the early evening and the bicycle-renting shops happened to close, most inconveniently, at some time around early evening. So a small group of us went in search of one of these inconveniently closing shops and rented the required number of bicycles to satisfy the person-to-bike ratio. (We hired them for thirty minutes for the price of hiring them for three hours but that’s besides the point.) Those thirty minutes were definitely worth it. We rode around in Vondelpark and along the streets which had specially constructed bicycle lanes! With bike traffic lights and everything! This was outrageously cool in my opinion however the coolness was more than slightly dampened by the fact that these lanes were lined with waist-high, spear-topped fences which could potentially impale an innocent bicycler who had been in such a rush to hire a bicycle in Amsterdam that she had hired a bike that was too big for her and so every time she stopped for a traffic light on those busy busy streets, she would see her life flash before her eyes as she wobbled off her bicycle and onto said fence. This happened. To me, in case you didn’t get that. I injured myself on a spear-tipped fence after falling off a bicycle in the middle of the street at rush hour in Amsterdam. When the traffic light turned green I somewhat freaked out because I could not get back onto my overpriced mode of transportation without help. We were also rushing to get back to the inconveniently closing shop in time because if we didn’t get there in, like, seven minutes, we would have to pay extra for having the bikes after trading hours. A lady dressed in a black, smart, too-tight-to-be bicycle-riding-appropriate pencil skirt started loudly encouraging me to move out the way. Her encouragements, I’m sure, were peppered with a colourful array of Dutch swear words. This did not help. It took me until the next green traffic light to remount the oversized, two-wheeled vehicle which provided plenty of time for half of Amsterdam’s smartly dressed working population to pile up behind me and start encouraging me loudly. It was thoroughly embarrassing.

I haven’t ridden a bicycle since which should give a good indication of the level of trauma I went through.

That was the last day of Europe Tour. So many more exciting things happened over those two weeks. I felt like a travelling celebrity (the group of 50 South African teenage girls running for the number 32 bus at 10pm in Milan certainly turned the same number of heads as a celebrity would have.)

Salzburg was my favourite city (although, to save myself from engaging in a half-understandable argument, I had to tell all my Italian cousins that Venice was my favourite). I have the most spectacular memories from there. From gardens filled with artistic fountains of trickery to seeing a crowd of people walking around in evening gowns at 5pm on their way to a showing of an Opera in the central square– it was all incredible.

Hey! Maybe I should just wear my Victorian dress to an Opera in the square in Salzburg. Inventing Time Machine is too much  effort anyway. I’d rather write another 3 500-word essay. Of course then I’ll never get to see what crazy train Freddie Mercury was on when he wrote the fantastic song ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’… but oh well.


 

“Have you ever wondered how nostalgia isn’t what it used to be?”  ~ Jasper Fforde.

 

Ciao! Guten Tag! Dag! Ajoy!

I’ve finally found a pocket of Free WiFi fast enough to visit my beloved blog! This won’t be a long or particularly exciting post but I’m just here to prove to the Internet that I’m still on planet Earth.
Tomorrow is the end of Europe Tour. I’ve had the most amazingly unforgettable 2 weeks.
Six countries in two weeks… It’s been phenomenal.
When I get back to my laptop I’ll recount all my favorite tales to you.
One big issue in my life at the moment is the fact that my clumsiness is getting out of control. I made a woman’s day in Lake Como when I walk smack-bang into a pot plant. Her inability to hide her snickering was terribly rude.
Also, in a Sephora shop in Prague, this young, non-English speaking woman handed me one of those paper sticks with perfume on them. At first I declined because, well, this stick is kind of useless to me but she insisted and eventually I took it. I sniffed the stick and, after smelling nothing whatsoever, I nodded and hummed appreciatively, saying, “That’s really nice.”
What else could I say? Nice is a safe adjective.
I will never forget the look she gave me. Gently, she took the stick from me and said, “It’s on other side.”
Meaning I’d smelt the wrong side of the stick and pretended to smell their new perfume.
It was heartbreakingly embarrassing. I’m blushing just thinking about it. This one-less-sense thing needs to be sorted out.
Alright, I don’t have time to read over and edit so I apologize for any mistakes and autocorrect errors… I’m on my iPod.
I’ll also add a quote later on.
But now I’m in Amsterdam and I’m spending the day exploring the works of Van Gogh, Anne Frank’s house and some other museum of which I forget the name.
Think of me and be jealous!
Just joking.
Actually, you seriously wish you were here.
xo

That time I was a ghost…

I can’t believe I haven’t told you this story yet!

 It encapsulates my sense of humour in such a fine way… The sun shining on the prettiest flowers couldn’t make a bigger impact. In fact, maybe photosynthesis should now occur as the result of plants absorbing my radiant humour instead of UV light. Of course I’m being obnoxious. I’m aware of that fact. But I so enjoyed the event about which I’m going to tell you that my obnoxiousness can be overlooked for now.

Near the end of last term (Wednesday is the end of this term so this was a while ago), my school was very busy. Our school was in the production stage of the movie the drama department were making, auditions for a massively awesome Battle of the Bands were being held and all the teachers were fretting over report comments; however this story only concerns those of us involved in the first and second events.

There are rumours that the school is haunted. There is a painting of a little girl holding a cat that used to hang in the hallway which was moved to the Geography classroom on account of its acclaimed “scary eyes”. Apparently, they do a Mona Lisa and follow you wherever you go. They might do that; I’m not an art expert, but I seriously doubt they do that because the girl in the painting now haunts the halls. I’ve walked past that painting at least seven-hundred times and all I ever see is a little girl holding a tabby kitten, while everyone else kind of speeds along, afraid to be “followed by her eyes” and haunted themselves.

There are also rumours of a ghost that plays piano in the chapel after hours and of the French classroom accommodating a vengeful alumni who used to have a swing in there (really, a swing in a classroom?) and doors that miraculously open and close by themselves do freak me out time to time but I’m not falling for any of the paranoid poltergeist stuff. I don’t believe in ghosts– or at least, if they are around,  I believe they have much better things to do than to freak out the living. Like, attending once-in-a-lifetime Broadway shows, for example, and watching attractive individuals shower (the teenage girl in me has to shine through occasionally).

Anyway, I’m losing the plot here.

Because the school was so busy, many girls stayed late– until nine sometimes several nights of the week and because of this, many of them started claiming they’d seen spooky beings moping about while they were moping about. I teased them repeatedly. They insisted what they’d seen was legitimate and that I was going to be cursed for being a non-believer etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

So when the opportunity arose for me to teach them a lesson, I grabbed it greedily by the ankles and exploited everything it had to offer:

I was at school late one evening for our band’s audition– we performed well but didn’t go through because the standard is so freaking high even my sense of humour wouldn’t have gone through. The final bands were amazing, just saying– and by the time I started packing up it was past six– prime ghost time! Apparently. While I was walking to get my bag, I noticed (we’ll call her Bethany) Bethany’s bags in the corner, meaning she was still here for the movie’s set construction along with a whole bunch of other people who had tried cursing me that week. Her pencil-case lay on the floor a little away and I had a lightbulb moment. (The kind from Despicable Me- Liiiightbuuuulb!)

I really did think about doing what I did before I did it. I stood there for minutes on end, weighing up all the pros and cons of my actions but eventually the phantom in me triumphed. Its logic was: You can’t not do it. It’s so perfect that it’s a crime if you don’t do it. So I dug through Beth’s bag for an exam pad and grabbed a blue marker out the pencil-case. Beth’s a really good friend of mine so I figured she wouldn’t call the police or anything. And it wasn’t like I was threatening her… This was a little month-early April Fools prank. That’s all.

I thought about how I would write the note and eventually decided to summon my long-forgotten Cursive skills. Halfway through, though, I realised my handwriting is quite distinct so I panicked and changed to print for about three letters before changing my mind again and going back to Cursive.

Then I got a message from my mom saying she was there to pick me up so I threw the pen back in the case and carefully balanced my note on Beth’s bag before grabbing my own and leaving. All the note read was: Do you believe in ghosts? The “gho” were my little letters of handwriting hiccup but it just made the note look more freaky so I didn’t change it.

Hours later, I’d forgotten all about my little bit of cheeky fun. I only remembered when I saw the statuses:

“Guys, that note was freaky!”

“I’m sure the note was a joke…”

“Sleeping in my parents’ bed tonight! So scared.”

I could not contain my hysteria. I lay in bed and laughed myself to sleep but not before I told my parents of my joke, received a lecture about making sure I didn’t bully anyone, and resisted the agonising temptation of asking Beth and the other girls what the story was about. I wondered if that was what thieves feel like when they see a news story of the robbery they committed. In less extremes, obviously, but in essence, the same thing.

I slept easy that night knowing for sure the only ghost around was wearing blue teddy bear pyjamas and had a sinus infection.

I arrived at school the next morning to find a crowd. Initially, I was befuddled but then I saw several girls gawking at the note. One girl even started analysing the handwriting!

“They made it look all old in Cursive. But look, they lost it here…” They said, pointing to my hiccup.

“It was so weird,” a girl said. “We were talking about ghosts and everything while we were walking up, and then we saw this note. It’s just too freaky.”

Oh it was the most painful thing holding back my pride at what I had achieved– I’d made even some matrics feel worried. All I wanted to do was yell, “It was me! I’m the ghost! I had hot chocolate and read Seventeen magazine before bed last night– are you terrified yet?” But I had to let them suffer a little longer so I pretended to be concerned, rehearsed my Oscars acceptance speech (because seriously, my acting was sublime) and debated sending more letters. Which I did.

Sort of.

I wrote another saying, “You really shouldn’t” and slipped it in my Biology file before the lesson so I could slip it in Beth’s bag afterwards. It was break so in my mind I had a plenty of time.

I waited until I was almost the last person out the classroom. Thankfully this isn’t an unusual occurrence so I wouldn’t have looked suspicious; due to my embarrassing clumsiness, I’m often one of the last people out the room because I always find a different way of running into the desk and falling out of my chair. I swear the teachers think I’m some sort of drunkard. In my defence, the desks are trapezium-shaped which makes it extra easy to walk into their pointy corners, crippling myself.

After the lesson, as planned, Beth’s bag was still on the shelf and so I slipped the note into her Afrikaans book because I knew it was her next lesson. With a smirk, I spun on my heels and went to enjoy break.

Then disaster struck.

As I looked over the balcony, I saw Beth standing in the bag area, sliding her own bag off her shoulder. I froze. Whose bag had I haunted then? I still don’t know whose, but I do hope it was someone about to make a really bad decision and then they saw my “You really shouldn’t” note and stopped. At least that way my note would have been somewhat helpful and not just a stupid failed prank.

I took my gargantuan mistake as a sign and as I passed Beth on our way to our sitting spot, I said, “What lesson is it after break?”

“Whatever you have for Green,” she replied. I actually have Geography as my Green subject– the same Geography in which the spooky cat girl painting resides.

“Thanks.” I smiled and began walking faster. I waved my hand nonchalantly. “Oh, and I’m the ghost.”

She was a bit confused at first and then she started swinging her lunchbox at me like a deranged gorilla and I ran in fear of losing a limb. “How did you know we were talking about ghosts?”

I replied that it was all they’d been talking about for the past two weeks so naturally, I guessed and then prayed and been right. In actual fact, I hadn’t even thought about whether they’d be talking about ghosts or bright yellow ferrets in bikinis. I’d just wanted a laugh and I laughed plenty that day.

Mission Accomplished.

I probably blew the story out of proportion with all my obnoxiousness and excitement, but I must say I had fun doing it, telling it and reading over it and I guess that’s all that really matters.

And the fact that no-one believes in ghosts anymore.

________________________________________

“There’s something liberating about not pretending. Dare to embarrass yourself. Risk.” – Drew Barrymore