imma touch the sky

Thursday, July 29, 2010 2:29

NB// Say what you want, but I think Kanye makes good music. At least, when he’s not “trolling” people during the VMAs.

So yeah – first off, new layout! YM’s been too dark too long, and it’s nice to see more hints of #ffffff, to be honest. xD Again, it’s a premade; but I’ve modded it to use my own (unofficial) “logo” rather than just plain ol’ typography, and changed the shades of colors in the text. I’m glad you like it, Jackie; I sketched the stick-figure (yes, she IS a stick figure) myself! :) I officially declare the pen tool as my bestie :P

To be frank, I’ve sorta given up on being able to reteach myself how to code a WP theme from scratch – properly – just because of the niggle that is my life. However, having discovered that there’s this pretty new malarkey called “Child Themes”, I think I just might give it a go…but not till I consolidate what’s been happening with my life so far, first! xD

Indeed, it’s surprising how much has happened with my life, in the span of just under two months (be warned, the next part of my blog post is long – making up for the drought, methinks? xD):

  • A-level exams have come and gone (results mid-August, holy guacamole!) I think I did alright in most papers, bar that b*tch of a Mechanics I exam (and Physics I somewhat)…here’s hoping? Although as a very last resort, there *are* retakes!
  • Jerry has been to Wisconsin and back for an international problem-solving conference/competition; his team’s project had to do with community problem solving (cleanliness of public eateries.) Back in 2006, I went to the same conference, albeit with a different team and for Future Problem Solving (not community problem solving.) My lil’ bro has come a looooooong way! (Both literally and metaphorically, that is.)
  • We’ve wrapped up the production of Bugsy Malone! Plenty of splurge, sweat and tears were involved; but it was one of the best productions the lower school have done to date (definitely beat last year’s dud of Dickens’ Great Expectations.) Even the school’s hottest male gym teacher (washboard stomach!) – AND the school’s headmaster (he had penguin boxers on, oh my days…) – made cameos as boxers who proceeded to challenge Leroy at the end of his scene xD
  • Dad is so much more at peace now since this malarkey; in fact, he and mum seem to joke around soooo much more. I heard it during our weekend phone calls for the rest of summer term (I was God-anxious to get home), and I definitely see it more during our humdrum daily life. Making more time for your wellbeing (not that his was pits-awful!) surely can’t be a bad thing!
  • On another brighter note, he’s going into a different career path – instead of managing (unruly) teams of call center agents, he’s flying solo (somewhat) and training to be a financial planner/advisor. I’d have to dedicate two posts and a humongous cow to explain it all in depth; but in a nutshell, this career + mindset change involves someone new taking a chance on him (the owner of the practice and now his mentor), his willingness/aptitude at learning new things + skills, plus bucketloads of support from just about the world and his wife. I couldn’t be prouder – it’ll take him a while to learn all the ropes and be “certified” (6-12 months?), but hey!
  • I turned 18 last week.

Yes – on the 21st of July, I’m now supposedly “legal” in the UK, a bajillion American states, and then some. Why, I don’t even know what that means! </slight sarcasm>

I know that turning 18 (turning 16 also, even) means a LOT, thus spurring a slew of semi-big birthday bashes, a bucketload of prezzies, and then some…even for those who can’t afford it, the day you turn 18 is supposed to be muy important to the extent that it warrants family and friends doing something slightly special on that day.

In my case, however, I didn’t get that. You see, I’d been signed up to go on my school’s biannual music tour to the Rhine, Germany in the 1st week of summer break; even before dad lost his regular income, it was still considered a pretty penny. But my parents thought the experience would be amazing (go figure!), so they said that they’d put down the deposit. I then asked them to consider that my birthday gift and to not bother with getting me anything else.

Heck, even before I started school in England, I haven’t had a “big present” per se from my parents since being a teenager. That is, if you discount the special dinners that mum cooks/the folks take me out to as a “big present”. I haven’t had a “proper birthday party” (they’re pricey and a lotta work, meh) in FOREVER, and I’m 100% cool with that ;)

So no *wrapped* gifts from the folks, but the Rhineland trip was such a blast; more educational and fun than an entire season of My Super Sweet 16 episodes put together. xD We toured, we shopped, we played concerts, we sweated, we swam…and since the legal drinking age in Germany is 16, we older ones drank. At varying degrees. ;)

I do know that for the whole week I was there, there was plenty to do from day to night – well, at night, I was the “designated sane person” (we didn’t need to drive! :P) whilst all of the 6th formers were getting compromised. Yeah, I drank; but oh-so-slowly and not enough to get me tipsy! I was the one snapping oodles of pics and looking after my subsequently-drunk roommates xD

What I found highly amusing, however, was the very last night of the tour: 3 of my friends who look more grown-up than I do (but are actually younger) ordered cocktails at the same time, but were given non-alcoholic versions by the bartender. In my case, however, I was tempted to tell the (same) guy to ease off the vodka and cointreau when he made my Sex on The Beach. And I had flowers painted down the side of my face from our visit to the theme park. Hmm.

My friends, however, got much drunker than I did that night (the irony!)…I was the one making quick trips from the hotel to the bar to re-fill my water bottle. I also left early…so apart from a lack of sleep, I was alright. Some of them had pretty “impressive” hangovers on the journey back!

Alcohol-infused escapades aside, however; the trip was decent. I crashed at my friend Hannah’s the nights before the tour as we were going on it together; then the night after the tour because I needed a stop before flying home the next day.

I didn’t come home empty handed, though; I was given a few gifts and some cards to open when I got back. They came from the linen lady in my boarding house (who’s my surrogate mother of sorts), some friends, my boyfriend’s family and the boyfriend himself.

All of them were absolutely lovely…though this gift from the boyfriend (Jack) nearly had me crying.

Ladies and gentlemen...meet Howard the Harmonica! :P This Seydel chromatic is an absolute joy to play!

You see, I’m also a harmonica player – I picked it up when I was about 10 and my school was offering cheap lessons. My cheapy old harmonica, however, broke more than 4 years ago and I never got round to buying a new one because I couldn’t afford it. But in the last two years, I started to really miss playing it…and Jack somehow picked up on that.

I never dreamed or hoped that he would get me one, though – it’s a lovely surprise, and Howard’s an absolute beaut! Prior to this, Jack had befriended my brother on Facebook so that he could discuss this birthday gift idea with him (in May. MAY!); and also took the time to research what makers there were (read: he was absolutely clueless about harmonicas to start with.)

Howard and I have had a test run together; while I’m rusty, he sounds amazing. (More than 4 years, hello!) Methinks this gift’s one of the most valuable gifts I’ve received to date – sentimentally, that is! It can’t have been cheap, and Jack’s not loaded; which makes me appreciate it all the more. Gosh, I’m lucky ^^

Wellum, time for me to pipe down and focus on college application essays now…argh, the “pain”! I can’t believe that every college in the US asks for their own supplement (read: at least 1-2 more other essays) in addition to that in the Common App. Not only that, I’m also trying to craft one for UCAS (for UK apps) Ugh.

Till next time!

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2 Responses to “imma touch the sky”

  1. Jackie says:

    July 31st, 2010 at 2:09 am

    Boy, a lot HAS happened since your last post! First, I’m glad that your dad’s career has taken a turn in a positive direction. Second, I’m glad the play went really well! It sound like you all really worked your butts off for a great show. Also, kudos to your lil’ bro for the Wisconsin conference! I bet it took a lot of hard work to get to the international level! And finally…

    HAPPY 18th BIRTHDAY! Howard looks absolutely gorgeous! I’m rather jealous you know how to play a harmonica. I always thought it was totally B.A. when a guitarist whips out a harmonica during a show, hehe.

    Anyway, good luck with your college apps/essays! Does this mean you’ll be studying here in the U.S.?

    Finally, to answer your question, licorice root/extract can make your blood pressure skyrocket if you consume too much (i.e. eating licorice candy every day). The candy I eat only has a small amount of licorice extract and is flavored mostly with anise extract, therefore, it’s much safer to eat. Crazy, huh?

  2. Ariane says:

    July 31st, 2010 at 2:21 am

    Indeed, trying to “shepherd” a bunch of unruly 12-14 year olds (there must’ve been over 100 of them) was no mean feat :D
    Cheers for the birthday wish, Jackie! :) Ahaha, BA? :D The ones guitarists whip out tend to differ from mine; they’re much smaller and restricted to one key per harmonica (diatonic.) Their skills > mine though!

    Thanks – I might just need some of that luck, seeing as I’m applying to some rather selective schools (but they’re much more generous with financial aid for international students; and realistically speaking, I need at least close to a full ride to get anywhere :/) But yeah, assuming I even manage to get in, it looks likely that I’ll be studying there come fall 2011 ;)
    Right…make that one of the list of treats to ban my dad from (his blood pressure and cholesterol can be a bit dodgy :|) I don’t really like licorice, though the red ones (which use fruit flavoring like strawberry instead) are not too bad. Crazy, indeed!