19 August 2013

Summer round-up

Last night, Jack messaged me saying, "Do a blog post." And I replied, "Yeah, I really should. But it's been ages and I don't know what to write about." That was a really shit excuse, to be honest. I've had a busy summer doing quite a lot of interesting things and I can't even think of a single thing to write about? Really?

"Just do a summer round-up," he said, which was surprisingly quite a good idea (and not exactly unobvious, either). So, to make a change, I'm going to do as he says. Summer round-up let's go!

Except if I were to write a really long and detailed post about all of the stuff I've done, the only person who would actually find it interesting would be future Shanti, and that's what diaries are for. Instead, I am going to condense my summer down the most memorable bits.

1. Posing with this shop sign

I've been meaning to do it for ages.

2. My eighteenth

For so many reasons. My friends and fam planned a hectic day brimming with surprises, from a driving lesson to a picnic with my favourite things to a fancy meal at a fancy restaurant to getting a CAR. Highlights of the day (besides those listed above) also include stalking a hot gay guy through Castle Park in a rosé-fueled attempt to set him up with Jack.

3. Ibiza: Jack hallucinating and mistaking Emma for a bin

Imagine the circumstances: we're in Ibiza for our post-exam, pre-university holiday and it's the middle of the week. Everyone is tired but running on Sex on the Beach cocktails, the free bread and garlic butter combo offered at our café of choice and the electricity of the atmosphere. The night gets off to a good start: our bodies become canvases for Emma to decorate with her body-painting talent, we have chilled-ish pres in our hotel rooms and then set off to a party at an abandoned zoo.

We dance in bear pits, climb in cages, mock thirty-year-olds for paying 50 euros to look as though they've rolled in paint and glitter and steal people's drinks with really long, bendy straws. Then, Jack goes into breakdown mode and starts thumping his hand with his fist, counting in fives and repeating how difficult life is because he has to "do everything in fives." He kisses me five times whilst Bex eats two hefty burgers back-to-back to avoid throwing up there and then. She manages to make it back to the hotel room before proceeding to spend the next hour getting friendly with the toilet bowl.

A little while later and Jack feels better now. He suggests we go out but everyone says no. Then he says he wants to go out on his own and gets offended when told that it isn't a good idea. Then he manages to convince me that I want to spend the remainder of the early hours of the morning wandering down the strip, and so we set off. I'm not one hundred percent sure how the rest of the evening's events unfold. One thing that's for certain is that Jack gets impossible to look after: he's crying, lying down in random places, refusing to listen to anyone, confusing Emma with a bin, hallucinating dragons and running off.

Pretty surprised he made it back without getting lost, kidnapped or run over, to be honest. 

Other highlights included this:

Nicola also tried swimming through the sand in order to rescue Emma's lost bag. 

And this:
Watching the sun setting at Sunset Strip. We drank cheap cocktails from the bar next to Café Mambo and it was so romantic. 

4. Post-Ibiza: Brisco eating kebab off the pavement

I don't think these pictures need explaining, but this is a new low. 

5. Holiday in Ölüdeniz, Turkey
My (probably) last family holiday was lovely and memorable for a number of reasons. 
It's pretty clear why from this photograph of me paragliding.

I ran off a mountain really high up and the views were a m a zing. Also, making small talk at however many thousand feet with the crazy-haired guy to whom I was strapped makes for quite an entertaining memory. 

Also, I went in a mud bath...

 Sunbathed a lot...

And didn't buy anything from this shop...

6. Results

I managed to forget all about results for the majority of the summer: I was too busy to really think about it. The night before the big day, however, I was ridiculously nervous.

Finding out that I got ABB and GOT INTO UNI was a bloody great feeling! I logged in to UCAS to see this:

 The relief was immense.

And now...

It's been a good one, but the summer is drawing to a close. So I guess that makes this the beginning of my gap year? 

11 June 2013

All change

After months of no posts (I beg for your forgiveness) and no opportunity to do stuff besides revising without feeling enormously guilty, I finally finished school last week. Not in the breaking up for summer holidays kinda way - for good. I had my final exam on Thursday afternoon. I ate my last jacket potato with tuna and salad in the canteen.

It hasn't really sunk in yet, I don't think. I'm not quite sure how I'm going to adapt to the routine of having no obligation to wake up at 7.15am. I give it until the day in September when all of my friends go to uni and my brother is starting sixth form and trudging reluctantly to the bus stop with a new school bag and fancy pens and a fresh haircut: that's when it will really hit home that I won't be doing those things again. In a way, I'm really sad. It sounds like the generic, cheesey "ahmagaaawwdddd I'm going to miss it all sooooo much" kind of bullshit that everyone churns out after any sort of nice time, only to go home and never bother to make contact ever again. But honestly, whilst I am excited and happy, I'm also genuinely sad that it's over. I haven't cried yet, but I probably will.

To draw a line under the 'school' section of our lives we had a good few celebratory events and whatnot - a nice dinner and ball at a fancy mansion, a dress up/muck up day where Emma and I dressed up as Bill & Ben the Flowerpot Men and we filled main corridor with hundreds of balloons and confetti just before break time and a little get together in the local church with follow-your-dreams speeches and lots of awkward photographs of everyone squeezed onto uncomfortable wooden pews. I went to see my teachers to say good byes and thank yous and got a few good lucks in return and then we all went to the pub. All in all, I couldn't have asked for a nicer way to finish it all off!

Me and Ems with Bethy as Little Weed
Bloody hope I never forget this lot
Ends and new beginnings are really quite scary but this is something I've been waiting for for a good few months now. It's a strange thought that Bex and I will no longer have any need to spend afternoons stuck in Coffee #1 revising, we won't 'face check' in the school toilets ever again and it's the end of the 'tea free' era, but I think I've had enough of the whole structure, routine and safety of school life and the prospect of change, though absolutely terrifying, is so incredibly exciting.

Now I've got no more exams or stresses to be worrying about I can settle into a routine of having no routine and concentrate all of my energies on having a good summer! I'm sure I can manage it...

25 April 2013

Life without social networking

Chances are that, because I can't spam the link to this on people's dashboards/home pages due to my self-inflicted temporary social media ban, no one will read it. Anyway...

I'm 2 weeks and 4 days into my no Facebook or Twitter challenge. I'm not doing it as an exercise of self control or because I hate the internet with a burning passion but instead because it was completely screwing with my brain. After a strange break down, a lot of getting very stressed out and a week of permanent tiredness, I decided that wasting half of my life procrastinating in front of a computer screen reading about other people's equally unexciting lives in the months leading up to my A level exams was a combination that just was not going to work. 

Conclusions from my experiment so far:

Downsides of not using Facebook and Twitter
  1. Being out of the loop and not finding out about really important stuff straight away. For example, I didn't find out that JLS had split up until A WHOLE DAY after it happened
  2. People forgetting that it is actually possible to communicate in, like, real life. The Facebook tool for creating events is a lifeline now and it's apparently become impossible to let people know what time we're meeting for drinks in real life/via text. Links back to aforementioned point about being a bit out of the loop
Upsides of not using Facebook and Twitter
  1. Being in the loop (a different one). Rather than reading the Twitter feed over breakfast (and lunch and dinner and snacks and in between, too), I've been waking up and reading the BBC news app on my phone. I am once again part of a much bigger, much more important loop.
  2. Free time. I don't think I realised quite how much time I was wasting refreshing screens and waiting for something exciting to happen (it rarely did). Result of this is that I'm less stressed because I have more time and less tired because I'm actually going to bed a bit earlier.
  3. My procrastination has become a little more productive. I now waste my time on more interesting websites.
  4. Levels of self-consciousness and worrying have plummeted. It sounds ridiculous but not having to waste subconscious brain energy wondering if I should Tweet something or change my profile picture blah blah blah is so nice.
  5. I've been reading actual books again! It's great.
Bex and I started together but she has caved in and therefore I win. Besides a bit of curiosity regarding messages and photos I've not been finding it hard - in fact, in all honesty it's a welcome change and a bit of a relief!