I was sitting here thinking back on how old I have grown(not that I will ever admit to being too old. Society cannot allow us to just enjoy the fact that we as women can be happily a certain age) so I tried to dig deep into the well of memories that my life has collected and wanted to think on the ones that I treasured the most. Somehow my mind fell upon the days when my heart was wild and my hormones were acceptably volatile-my teenage days; my high school days. I guess we all have some sort of memory of our high school experience and I am almost too sure that there are things that we did that we would probably never do at this age. Now since the bloggers’ challenge is for seven days, I figured I should present a list of seven. We all have our own lists. Here is mine; My favorite memories about high school; in no particular order.
1.SONG BOOKS; Yes. I had more than one of those. Filled from cover to cover with lyrics and beautifully decorated with colourful drawings and lots of glitter. I do not know what it was about collecting song lyrics that made us feel cool but I jumped on that train and rode it high and proud until my very later years. I am not sure if the newspapers caught this trend from us or they were the ones who started it but conveniently so, they always had a cut out with song lyrics in the Sunday paper. My father was very proud of me when I begged him for the newspaper and insisted that he carry it on visitation days probably thinking that current affairs was my fancy; not knowing that I was collecting lyrics to songs I already knew by heart. Lyrics I was going to busy myself copying or gluing to the books that he spent his hard earned money buying for me to copy notes in. well, I guess those could also be called notes. Musical notes.
2. ‘APPETTA’ ; also infamously known to most people as APPETIZER. In simple terms it was a cooked mixture of a lot of oil and spices that we added to our food during every meal. I am still in shock that we consumed so much oil in so few years. some people would carry as much as 5 litres of oil per term; which would be refilled every visitation day with another 5 litres. (notice I do not call it appetta. Detachment issues I guess. Appetta was heaven to us but when you realize that it was actually a lot of spiced cooking oil, you can’t help but think, WHAT THE HELL?!?!)
3. DANCE GROUPS; almost every corner had these. It was cool to be part of a group that choreographs and presents ‘unique’ and cool dance strokes in front of the whole school(or another school if you are lucky to get on the list) or is even able to present the dance strokes exactly the way they were in that music video. I loved the dance group I was in.
§ MIMING; I decided to put this under dance groups because they sort of are all under performance. Luckily the schools that I went to never had the stomach for mimes as much as other schools but that in no way meant we were not accepting of them. Even embracing. Literally. Like when boys from SMACK, BUDO or NGO came to present a song by an overrated boy band and threw roses to us. I must confess, watching those boys on stage did give us shivers. the good kind (notice I mentioned names of schools. To this day I believe the names of the schools had a firmer grip on our minds-and hearts-than the boys therein.)
4. VISITS; no. not visitation days. Yes, those were much looked forward to but not as much as the visits from the other gender. See I had the privilege of being in single girls’ schools for all the six years of my high school and the minute we had the slightest information that our ‘husbands’ were visiting, the school went into an untold frenzy forever indescribable to people who had never experienced this. I wasn’t much of a social bird in those years but I enjoyed going to dorm just to awe at how much people can transform in so little time at the mere announcement of a visitation from a certain school. Do take note, there were some schools that visited and it was no big deal; There was no need to borrow the skirt of a form one student for that. But there were schools that visited and it felt like even the headmistresses were thrown into a feat to ensure that they were pleased with what they found.
5. ASSEMBLY PRESENTATIONS; this one I was actually quite grateful for because it equipped me with public speaking skills but that was not the part of the memory that I am fond of. I remember we had to rehearse days before with a song and dance routine that we would present to the entire school as entertainment during what was usually a very boring assembly. Good times,though. Funny times.
6. SLEEPING POSITIONS IN CLASS; the irony of even having sleeping positions in class is something to probably write about on another day. But we all had them. For particular lessons, of course. Like geography. Why oh why did I study about the Swiss Alps?!?! Anyway, back to positions. Some people were privileged enough to have tinted glasses that they would sleep behind without the teacher ever noticing. The rest of us, had to be much more creative. I was a back bencher and sat right next to the person at the corner. We were blessed because this corner was a blind spot for the teachers at the front especially if they sat next to the door; which they usually did. Sitting in the back was fun because people went as far as lying down on the ground without the teacher as much as noticing that they were not in class. This is why teachers should be the most celebrated people in our country.
Last but definitely not least.
7 7. THE EXCITEMENT OF RECEIVING A LETTER. It didn’t really matter from whom it was. Just walking up to the information prefect after she read your name out was a blissful feeling. Even though we could open them in silence and secret( like they are supposed to have been opened) somehow, opening the letter in front of an audience was the preferred route. So we waited for prep(after endlessly bickering about how that ka guy had finally written back), gathered our friends and opened the letter…this letter, if it was from that ka guy, would then be shared with the rest of the group. Now even though the letter that ka guy wrote specifically for one person could be shared by the whole group, this did not and should never be mistaken to mean the ka guy was also to be shared.
As I went through this list, I realized that there are actually so many other memories about high school worth writing about like;
Ø the awesomeness of being in school clubs like Scripture Union and debate club (both of which shaped my life a lot…the former more than the latter);
Ø the memory of seeing people store chicken that was brought on visitation day up to weeks after (how food poisoning escaped these people is still beyond me!)
Ø oh, and the sneaking in of food that wasn’t accepted in school. I should note that in one of the schools I went to, food or ‘grub’ was not allowed. It was one thing for us, the students to try and sneak in that box of cookies or powdered milk as we were coming to school but my gosh hearing your parents tell you how they were able to sneak food past the askari(who by the way was just the worst! Dude would check the car for food like your child’s last name was the kind that is stereotyped to be part of those who make things go kaboom.) I remember once, my crazy uncle sneaked in one of the smaller snacks in his socks just so he could look back at the askari with the ‘huh, bet you didn’t think to check there’ look! He got them out very happily and presented them to me and I was thinking, ‘haha. Wait, you seriously want me to eat these?’
Ø our language. No, I am not talking about the way young people seem to find it cool to use profanity. I am referring to how we managed to make slang an actual language so much that it became confusing what was the right word. Like the use of the word like in every sentence…oh but it got even more interesting. In one of my high schools, we created our own language; a whole other dialect with its own words and all that. It was pretty cool because the teachers never knew what we were talking about.
I guess the list really is endless, as they tend to say. I would most definitely want to go back to those days; days when I was ripe with youth. Oh, how I would love to be that age again, mostly because like I told you in the beginning, society just can’t let us women happily be a certain age…and that certain age is knocking firmly at my door!