As 2010 begins to draw to a close, I thought I’d take some time reflect on what, for me, has been a totally crazy year.
As those who have been reading for a year or more would know, my father decided that a fun Christmas present last year would be cancelling my entirely booked six week dream holiday to Canada and the USA and instead make me move. This time last year we were frantically house searching and buying, packing and saying goodbye to everyone, while I was still hobbling around on crutches.
So I moved at the end of January, leaving my beloved (uh, cough) high school and best friends behind. Thankfully, I only went two hours up the road, but still, it’s a big change going from seeing someone every day to seeing them once a month, or twice if you’re lucky.
I had to start a new school, of course, which was one of the most nervewracking experiences of my life. While I was by no means popular at my previous school, I was comfortable. I had my few super close friends, my rank in my classes, and my parents on hand to give me gossip or emergency money when needed. My first day (or you know, my first month or three) I barely talked. I sat quietly in class, only speaking when called upon (in comparison to the singalongs I used to start at my old school) and though I found a group of friends, they probably thought I was totally bizarre as I didn’t speak to them.
I turned sweet sixteen (and never been kissed) in March and had a party with my friends from my old town as I hadn’t really become close enough to anyone yet at my new school to invite them. It was a quiet affair, with movie marathons, Mexican food and my mum’s trademark chocolate cake (aka it was like every other birthday I’ve had since the age of thirteen, except this year Simon was added into the mix).
After that things got better at school. Apparently talking helps people to like you. Friends were made and suddenly going to school each day was less of a task.
I got a job at KFC and suddenly I had something to do other than sit around and use the internet. I became the master of the burger station, not gonna lie.
I also got my L’s, but after a drive or two I soon discovered I actually detest driving and only managed to clock up 30 hours before I left the country.
In April or May the Public Speaking Months began and suddenly I was back debating and entering public speaking comps. Debating helped me make more friends, as we bonded over car trips and prep times, and celebrations after continuously winning (until the day before I came to France when we lost to my dad’s team, much to his joy and our humiliation). My talent for Public Speaking shocked the English teachers at my school as though they knew I was clever, they thought I was more the quiet, shy type rather than someone who adores getting up in front of a room full of strangers and ranting for eight minutes.I made it to the State Finals in two separate competitions, the SMH Plain English Award and the Rostrum Voice Of The Youth. Both ended in tears. The Impromptu did me in at the SMH competition, with three minutes to write a three minute speech on something I had no idea about and therefore ended up babbling for around two minutes before sitting down and sobbing through the rest of the speeches and then the train ride into the city and while walking through the QVB. I only stopped when my mum promised to take me to the Apple store and buy me the macbook pro I’d been eyeing for so long. On reflection of this humiliating day, I have to give myself some credit. I actually aced the long term eight minute speech, and was the only year ten competitor there; the vast majority were year twelve students and I was competiting against the entire NSW senior debating team. At Rostrum the tears came from sheer frustration at receiving second place. Petty, I know, but it was one of those times when you knew you’d aced it, knew you’d done everything amazingly well, when people were telling you you were the best by far and for sure were going to get first place and you were absolutely glowing with their praise…and then your name gets called out as runner up. No, I didn’t cry in front of everyone, I do have slightly better manners than that, but as soon as I was in the car I sobbed. Yes, sometimes I am allowed to act like a spoilt brat, thank you very much.
Around the times I headed to Sydney to compete in these competitions, I was also heading there to complete my work experience. I went to Girlfriend for the first time which was an absolutely amazing experience, even though I was so starstruck at seeing some of my favourite journalists I only managed to babble to Sarah Tarca and not speak to Rob Moran at all. Yes, champion public speaker, right here. I had a great week and made sure I signed up for next year as soon as applications were open. I also headed back to Dolly for a second week, which was even better than the first time I went. Everyone there is outrageously nice, and because I’d been before I knew the ropes and was slightly more confident. Even though all bar three or four of the Dolly Girls I got to know have now moved on, I’m still in contact with them and have two weeks booked in for next year. This year I also found myself (well, more my blog) featured in a few magazines which was a pleasant surprise, and also had a dream come true with Erica asking me to do the teen reviews for Girl With A Satchel. Even though I’ve been away from the teen mags whilst over here, she’s been kind enough to let me submit a few guest posts which I’m forever grateful for.
In between my trips to Sydney and my hours spent asking people if they’d like to upsize their meal, I kept busy with homework (if by kept busy you mean did everything the night before it was due) and developed an extreme addiction to tumblr and team starkid, though you can read all about those, and my other obsessions, over at my 2010 obsessions post.
Of course, then suddenly it was August and I wasn’t ready but somehow I found myself crying through airport security and on a plane to France wondering what the hell I’d gotten myself into. I made some amazing friends at camp, then moved to my town and started at a school and made some more amazing friends and the fact they were from english speaking countries and therefore meant my French got stuck in neutral barely fazed me for a second. Then things went wrong with my first host family and I allowed myself to cry and then started at a second one and things were better, for a while at least. I’m not really suited to exchange in a country that doesn’t speak English to tell you the truth, I’m hopelessly awkward and nervous to the point where I honestly start having mini panic attacks at the thought of having to speak to people. I was even a bit like it with my exchange student friends at first, but ohwell. I’ve learnt a lot and although it still sucks my French has improved amazing amounts and I just have to get through thirty seven more sleeps and I’m on a plane home and I can skype my friends and go visit them in Canada and America and New Zealand and maybe even Brazil and Norway and I can tell stories that start with ‘when I was in France…’ until everyone gets annoyed and I shove it to the back of my brain and thinking about my six months here will become the exception rather than the rule.
Some other stuff happened in the middle there. I have a few folders of photos on facebook where my best friend is dressed as Harry Potter and from parties where we (we being the Marauders who you will never be as cool as) ended up attempting to play quidditch or sitting in a tree singing wrock songs or just generally being cooler (and slightly more antisocial) than everyone else. It’s funny, most of the people I consider myself closest to today I hadn’t met this time last year, and the people I considered myself closest to this time last year are now, sadly, acquaintances (of course, excluding the bff, the sub-bff and the epic melbourne girlies.).
So 2010 has been a big year and I’ve changed an awful lot as a person (in a good way). Here’s to 2011 being just as big, if not more amazing. I have a really good feeling about next year, I don’t know why but I just feel big and totally awesome things are going to occur. Just wait.
frangipani princess xoxo