As of next week (Thursday in fact) I will be a temporary resident of Australia. For the next year I will be living and working Down Under in my Gap Year. I will be working in a School called Kinross Wolaroi, which is in Orange, about 4 hours drive from Sydney. Why am I telling you this? I hear you ask. Well mostly in the name of context because I expect that my entries over the next year will be slightly more personal and related what I’m up to. I feel that I should explain exactly what it is I’m doing first so you don’t all get horribly confused.
Don’t worry however, this will not mean a radical change from what I’ve been doing for the last 2 years (almost). I will still be updating weekly on weekends, although bare in mind that I will be in a wildly different time zone, so update schedules will be odd (not that I have much of a schedule anyway). Most of my entries will still be a selection of rants, reviews, fiction, current affairs and what-not, but there will be a little more about me for the next year or so. I’ll be tweeting my updates anyway so be sure to follow me if you don’t already. I don’t doubt that I’ll be busy, so I may start getting even later than I usually am and there may be the odd no-show, but don’t worry, I will try as hard as I can to post something every week.
If you know me or are particularly quick witted you will note that me going on a Gap Year means that I must have finished school. For those that don’t know, I have been at school at Kind Edward’s in Birmingham for the last 7 years. This era has now come to a close and I am moving onto pastures new. Inevitably this is an interesting time and often emotional time, but it is also a time for reflection and remembering.
I am incredibly lucky that I have had the chance to go to one of the best school’s in the area, if not the country. I am also incredibly lucky that I have met some truly wonderful people, some of whom may even be reading this right now! Although the school has done much for me and given me the opportunity to have some truly memorably experiences, it is the people who have made my last 7 years so fantastic. Indeed it is the people who make the memories so memorable.
I have been asked in the last few days whether I would take another year at school if I could. My answer has always been a very immediate no. I am frankly bored of the regimented days, the institutionalised, petty self-obsession that those who rule the school like their own little kingdoms display, the façade of relevance that is showered over sports results and the general attitude that there is little of importance in the world beyond school itself. As a young boy of 11 with 7 years at the place ahead of me these things mattered, but now it all seems rather false and painfully irrelevant. I feel that I am ready to move on.
However I always add onto my prompt rejection of another year at school that I would gladly have another year with the people, indeed I would gladly and other lifetime with the people because I have made some truly wonderful friends. All my fantastic memories of the last 7 years have been made by the people around me creating those moments that will stay with me forever. Inevitably my mind filters out the mediocre and only holds the best and the worst of times, but I am deeply thankful that there are for more of the best of times than there are of the worst.
So the defining movement of my childhood has come to a climactic and devastatingly enjoyably end. I do not doubt that a unique and memorable interlude is about to begin. Like all great symphonies this movement has gone by far too quickly and I regret that it is over, but I have been swept up in the torrent of time and so I am ready and willing to move on. If these last 7 years have taught me anything (and I should hope that they have given that I’ve been in a bloody school), they have taught me that no matter what you do, no matter how much money you spend, no matter how well you plan something, what makes an experience memorable, what makes your life wonderful is the people you surround yourself with. Happiness is not bought it is reciprocated by people with whom you share a common interest, passion and friendship. As with a great work of art, it is the people, not the piece, who really make life what it is.
On that soppy note I shall finish my final entry from England for 12 months. Next week I shall be in Australia. It is a scary thought, but one that also holds a great opportunity. I cant wait to tell you all about it!