Summer has commenced

Though the fact is still sinking in, grade 11 is officially behind me now! I finished my last exam today and to be honest, it feels odd to finally be free of everything school related. Perhaps a symptom of post-exam stress?

I can now kick back, relax, and read a book for 10 hours straight without having any guilt nag away at me. That’s my ideal day, you know, to be able to read a really good book for a day without any distractions and to have nice music for company. Before I depart for July, my goal is to re-read the HP series so that when the film premieres mid-July, I’ll be able to recall everything that has happened. I don’t want to be that only moron who shifts uncomfortably when she misses a HP reference, especially among the Quebec kids I’ll be going to see the film with. That would just be embarrassing.  

Before heading off to a month of fun, I have this week nicely organized. There’s going to be a lunch party of sorts with friends tomorrow (as well as a movie) to celebrate the end of exams, a council banquet and retreat that quickly follow, and some catching up with old friends. I’m also planning to get a pixie cut because sporting long hair during the summer is quite possibly one of the dumbest ideas I can think of. Overall, this week is going to be satisfying and I think I’ve earned it, after a week of intense studying (cramming). I can’t wait to recieve my marks this Friday. Exams, you are my only hope for a 91+ average!

I’m bouncing all over the place here but right now, I’m feeling really good and wierdly enought, optimistic. I’m on the verge of finishing “Nothing to Envy”, which marks my first non-fiction of the year, and the prospect of having more time to read more books puts me in a swell mood. I came back from Indigos with The Norkster an hour ago and discovered a bunch of cool new reads there that I’ll have to get to this summer.

And with Jonquiere coming in less than two weeks (!!), I can feel that this summer is going to be awesome.

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Hi, hello, hey. How are you? Let’s talk.

Not for long though, because despite the time, I still have to study and review my notes for two presentations and a test tomorrow (ISU season has commenced).

These two weeks have been less than satisfactory. I managed to lose both a school award and a contest, both of which I had hopes of winning. You may think that I might have been too presumptuous, but I had my reasons. Schoolwork, too, has been piling up at a pace I can’t seem to keep up with. Just today, I automatically lost 10% on an essay I couldn’t finish. I’m looking forward to getting tomorrow over with, simply because half of my ISUs will be done by then and I will finally get a chance to breathe.

I think it’s crazy how soon exams are coming. Two more weeks and I’ll be setting up my temporary home at the reference library to study. There’s 8 to face this year, and less time to study, so I;ll have to prepare a pretty damn good schedule if I want to ace any of my classes. Just thinking about it worries me, not only because does it involve me secluded with a year’s worth of notes but it also marks the end of grade 11. The final year seems daunting.

In other news, and on a much happier note, I signed up to go to Quebec this July to brush up on my French. Oui, je sais. Le prochain mois serait tres amusant! I will be completely independent, sans les parents, bien sur, for 5 weeks in a city where, according to statistics, 98% of the population speaks French. I will, of course, document every moment for you.

Speaking of the future, let’s talk about the past. What has happened in the past couple of months with me?

Fashion show, baby. It was incredible and a huge success. I walked away from the night with three awards, the most out of all the designers. It was, as everyone had said, stressful. I don’t remember doing any homework during the week before the show (and the week of). As I clearly recall, there were a lot of late nights, rehearsals, re-adjustments, and the sounds of the sewing machine. I do think, for all the adrenaline and confidence it brought me, worth all the pain. (Though I doubt I’ll repeat the experience next year)

A couple of other scattered events were also noteworthy. But I’ll leave that until next time. It’s 11:56PM and I need to get working on some French. Until next time!

I’m still a little shaken from a program that just aired on Discovery, called Staying Alive. Half watching tv and half surfing through the internet, I caught snippits of the show that immediately captured my attention.

This episode, specifically, revolved around the hijacking of plane Pan Am Flight 73 more than 20 years ago. Over 300 passengers and crew members were held hostage for more than 14 hours in Pakistan, which ultimately resulted in the gruesome death of 20 and numerous injuries.

Though the hijacking was absolutely horrible to watch and hear about, it was not so much the nature of the event that chilled me, but rather the personal accounts given by the people who were involved that day.

Michael John Thexton was a British citizen on board the Pan Am Flight 73 that day who, thankfully, survived the attack. He was interviewed for the experience he underwent and I am completely baffled as to how he managed to give detailed descriptions without flinching. Out of more than 300 people on board, he was selected to be shot if the request of the terrorists was not satisfied. He knew so much was at stake because just moments before, a man was shot in clear view.  After several hours, he was, through some miracle, released back into his seat without being hurt. That was not the end because what followed afterwards was terrifying. He gave a scary account of how the hijackers started to shoot passengers randomly when the power went off in the plane and how loud it was, with screams and cries piercing the air. When the bullets stopped, everything was silent. He was confused then, because the crying and screaming should have continued, and though in reality it might have, what he heard paled in comparison to the merciless killing rampage that took place moments before.  Something that stood out to me was the thoughts that went through his head while he was picked out to be shot. His mind flickered from memories of his dead brother to his parents to his friends as he silently said goodbye to all of them. He decided that he would not die being angry with the hijackers. He would even forgive them in fact. “I would not let them get the better of me,” he told the camera 20 years later. As he did this, it really got me thinking about how ungrateful I was about how privileged I was and how lucky I had it in this world. “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone,” immediately popped up into my head. This painted out, what I guess, a greater picture. I need to be a lot more appreciative. In his closing statement, Thexton said that his everyday is a bonus. He shouldn’t have been alive, but he is, and he is grateful.

 

February in review…

Because I might as well.

 

One of the disadvantages of dragging a post to write for later is forgetting what your original post was going to be about. Similarly, though February, from what I do remember, consisted of many exciting events, I neglected to record them down, which leaves me to stare blankly at the computer screen while my brain desperately searches for the missing pieces that made up last month. Let’s do this step-by-step, consulting my school agenda for some extra help.

Feb. 2: What should have been a Lunar New Year Eve celebrated at school turned out to be a Snow Day, the first one since 1999 and a very unecessary one if you ask me. Though I admit to being a complete school-lovin’ nerd, my opinion is not prejudiced and completely justified. If the thin layer of snow that couldn’t have exceeded 5cm that day just doesn’t cut it, what will? I’ve seen worse. Heck, I’ve walked to school in worser conditions. The Board had probably just gotten a scare from all the stories the weatherman had been telling and acted on an irrational whim. The stupidity of it aside, the Snow Day did buy me an extra 6 hours to work on an ever-piling load of homework.

Feb. 10: The second report card distribution day brought me a terrible wave of relief. After the first humiliating incident of which we shall call “The first report card”, I couldn’t be more glad to see that my grades have gone up. Though my average did not increase significantly, it was enough to please both my parents (somewhat) and me. If I do the math, and keep up the “good work”, I should be able to hit the 90-average mark by next term (fingers-crossed!)

Feb. 12: Signed up for SAT. No turning back.

Feb. 17: The Junior Achievements Stock Market Challenge was definitely worth missing school for, which is saying alot since “*Insert whatever*” and “worth missing school for”, according to my philosophy, should never be in the same sentence together. I was a bit reluctant at first, seeing that it was held by JA and during the day, but the fact that it was a half-day at JCI that day made it somewhat more acceptable. Our team of 4 dressed up in fancy schmancy business attire and along with some 25+ other teams, went to the TSX to play a round of the hypothetical stock market. Buy low, sell high was the only strategy we had, and it managed to place us at 11 at the end out of 27, which isn’t half bad. We peaked at rank 2, but alas was quickly overtaken by some more hardcore players. It was a lot of fun. I ended the day at a meeting with Chesa at the Toronto General Hospital to discuss issues of the Camp Reality. The fact that I had spent half my day at the TSX and the other half in a hospital office chatting with professional made me feel quite grown up myself. The day was quite satisfying.

Feb. 18: And so Helen turned 17 years old. She celebrated with friends at Mandarin and recieved a plethora of presents, some of which made her feel super cool to have in possession. It was a cheerful day which turned out to be more fun than my past birthdays, which usually consisted of inviting over my parents’ friends’ kids, some of whom I am friends with, and some of whom I am not, and eating whatever my mom cooks up. I ended the day at the Council meeting, feeling once again, two days in a row, great. Did I mention that my birthday fell upon a P.A Day too? Awesome!

Feb. 19: This marks the beginning of a period where I continued receiving presents. New glasses (black framed Prada), boots (plural!)… The weekend was busy. With what…that, I unfortunately, can not remember.

Feb. 22: Bubble Day resulted in me “bubbling” in:

English-Gr. 12 Uni
Advanced Functions and Calculus-Gr. 12 Uni
Chemistry-Gr. 12 Uni
Physics-Gr. 12 Uni
Biology-Gr. 12 Uni
French-Gr. 12 Uni
World Issues-Gr. 12 Uni

It’s the Asian 5 pack, only one course shy of its more famous, if not, hardcore counterpart, the Asian 6 pack. Let’s hope I can handle this course load next year.

Feb. 24: At the beginning of the year, my math teacher told our class, “it is mandatory for the enriched class to write the math contest,” so I promised myself I would. I’d even sign up early! But that, to my dismay, did not work out the way I had hoped. I missed out on the sign up deadline, which ended with me dragging myself around, begging friends who may not be interested to give up their spots for me. I was so lame.  In the end, I just went, and for some miraculous reason, there were extra contests no one had picked up, which meant, yes, I could write contest. Yeah, cool story.

Feb. 25: February ended off with one of the biggest events at JCI-The Vow of Silence, which I helped organize! Though I do feel like I cheated by playing charades with those whom I tried communicating with, I did keep silent…until I was somewhat forced to start whispering by 4pm. It was such an exciting day, despite the nature of the event. 7am to 7pm at school was something you don’t do on a daily basis. The Vow did leave an impact on me later that night, and the next morning. Each time I wanted to speak, I thought first, and with the assurace that the Vow was indeed over, I begin to talk. It’s crazy how difficult it is to not talk for a day. There are too many things you need to get out, even the most irrelevant details.

 

And such was my month. There were some more but I’m tired. And so should you be after reading through that. I promise my future posts won’t be as lengthy, not only to not bore you, but because I usually don’t have this much to say. My life seems way more exciting than it really is when the details of my month are squeezed into one post. Good night!