Or, Memories of My 17th Year.
I was in Lower Six studying Biology, Physics, and Maths1 at Queen’s College, Guyana, and for reasons unknown, I found the Krebs Cycle fascinating.
My friends and I hung out in the Bio lab because the teacher was fun. There was a non-poisonous snake that someone found and brought to the lab, I don’t remember if we named it, but I do remember the boys trying to stuff the snake down the girls’ shirts2.
Before classes, my friends and I would help each other with homework, and play games – mostly chess. I also was a part of the Library Club, just in case you doubted I was a geek. I was a Prefect3 assigned to a Form One class, where most of the responsibilities included helping the Form Mistress and making sure the class behaved – with the added benefit of being called “Miss” by the lowerclassmen.
Around this time we finally got hooked up to the internet at home – it was a dial up modem. I wasn’t allowed to go on until after homework, but I figured out how to mute the sound of the dial-up and snuck on a few times4.
ICQ was the thing to use. Even if it wasn’t the thing to use I’d probably have still used it because I liked that they had such a smart acronym5. I used it to chat with my friends at school – and random chats.
One of those randoms was a guy from India who couldn’t believe I was a 16-year-old girl because I didn’t talk about things like “hanging out at the mall” or “teen magazines”. He sent me an eCard from 123greetings with the Backstreet Boys “Quit Playing Games” midi in the background. I don’t remember the content of the card, but I don’t believe I ever chatted with him again after that6.
I loved the song Lately by Divine and secretly loved Hanson’s MMMBop. I still liked JTT and Devon Sawa, and still watched things like Saved by the Bell, Sister Sister, Growing Pains, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Family Matters.
My love for books started at a young age, I was still a huge Famous Five fan and loved Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys novels – especially the combos. I read my first real romance novel that a friend from school let me borrow. It was more historical than the contemporary type, but I decided that I preferred mysteries. Around this time I read my first YA novel, written in the first person7. Of course, I don’t remember the name of the book; there was no Goodreads back then.
I would often practise playing the keyboard. I believe I also started playing the guitar, mostly because a keyboard wasn’t portable and for some reason I pictured myself needing an instrument that I could take on the road with me.
This was a transition year for me. My family had started the process of migrating to the United States, and I knew that it was my last school year (so I didn’t take it as seriously as I should have) before moving. It was strange, still going to school but knowing that I would never graduate with the friends that I had, some of them since I was 11 years old.
I could go on, surprisingly I remember a lot from this year of my life, but I’ll finish this here. Exit; pursued by a bear.
1 I think I also took English, but I can’t remember my English classes, so I’m going to assume I studied those three subject.
2 Of course, at the time, it wasn’t funny, especially to someone who is afraid of snakes. However, looking back at the memory now, I never felt threatened by the boys, they weren’t malicious, just teasing and being, well, boys.
3 Probationary, as Upper-Sixers were usually the full-fledged prefects.
4 Sorry, dad!
5 “I seek you” – just in case you didn’t get it.
6 What he didn’t realise was, I was into pop culture, but wasn’t interested in chatting with someone across the world about something that “everyone” talks about, I was more interested in what life was like in India.
7 The book was on my shelf for a while, but I couldn’t get into the first-person writing style the first time around, I enjoyed it the second time around.