Family time in Melbourne

tours of MelbourneEvery once in awhile my parents decide that we are going to have some good old fashioned quality family time. I think they freak out that we all spend too much time on our phones and don’t really know each other to the point that I could be a serial killer and my sister could secretly be really into tennis or something like that. This time round they have decided it would be great if we all went sightseeing together. When I first heard this I thought, ok that’s not that bad at least we get a holiday out of it, but no I was wrong. When they say sightseeing they mean Melbourne sightseeing. We live in Melbourne! I tried telling them that going sightseeing in your own city isn’t really sightseeing but they argued that we take living here for granted and it would do us all some good to get out and experience the city’s splendours. Unlike them I don’t drive everywhere so I experience the city’s ‘splendours’ everyday via the bike lanes and tram lines thank you very much. Alas my arguments fell on deaf ears because next weekend we have all been booked onto not one but two tours in Melbourne. My main problem here isn’t actually with spending time together, I can, despite their beliefs, see the benefit in hanging out with family. My issue is with the chosen activity. I’d rather go for dinner with them, or go take a hike out in the country, I just didn’t see the point in being shown around your own city. I told them I could give them the same tour of Melbourne and they could pay me but again, deaf ears. Eventually just to shut me up they agreed we could go out for dinner and I could choose the tour if I didn’t complain about it anymore.

An OH&S nightmare

roofing repairs MelbourneSo unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past couple of days, then you probably know that Melbourne has been experiencing some pretty crazy weather. Flash floods have been raging on all around us for days, clogging drains and creating puddles too wide to leap over. But that’s not the only thing they’ve been doing. In a city that’s been as dry as Melbourne for this long, when it rains this heavily, there’s bound to be a little bit of havoc wrecked. Apparently, my school was not quite strong enough to stand against the full force of the storm.

While we were sitting there in homeroom this morning, the wing and the rain howling around outside, the roof began to drip. It’s an old building, and it hasn’t been renovated since the seventies, but when Claire McDuff started to get dripped on during a class, there was a moment of confusion. In our hesitation, we watched as the roof began to collapse, running for cover as plaster dusted down from the ceiling in large slabs.

Even though I’m trying to relate this pretty calmly, at the time I was in full panic mode. It was only afterwards that we found out the school had neglected getting roofing repairs done until Melbourne holidays, but it was too late for that. Only a week out, the rain had destroyed their plans and created one heck of a PR / OH&S problem. I definitely don’t envy head office trying to clear up that mess. What’s even worse, though, was that they’d noticed the leaking roof, but repairs in Melbourne have to be done during the week, when the classroom needed to be in use. They knew there was a problem and they’d ignored it! Personally, I think it’s all pretty hilarious, but I did really appreciate getting the rest of the day off school.

The younger generation get all the best stuff

city sight seeingOkay so here’s probably the most unfair thing I’ve ever heard about in my life.

My sister is in year 9. She’s just been away for a whole term doing this super fun live-out-of-home program that our school offers. I did it when I was her age, it’s a blast. A bucketful of fun from start to finish. You find yourself and learn how to be responsible (ish) and make a ton of friends who you keep with you forever. There are literally no downsides to it and, frankly, it’s an experience that every grumpy moody little teenager should have the fortune to experience.

So naturally, when you re-enter the world as most of us know it, a drab, dull, on the whole boring place, there’s a certain restlessness you just can’t shake. Besides, since the camp is only eight weeks long, there are several weeks of school left to go after you arrive back and before the holidays. When I was in year 9, those weeks were pure torture. They would always try to teach you the syllable, but in the end, most teachers just gave up and put a movie on instead.

In my sister’s year, however, the teachers have recognised the futility of their struggle, so she and everyone else in her year at school are just being let loose in Melbourne. Well, they’re on tours, which are then supposed to enhance their understanding of the heritage of the blah blah blah who cares? They certainly don’t. Bella was telling me her class just wandered through Chinatown the other day for no reason whatsoever. How unfair is that? When I was her age, I would have killed to do that. Where I had to be bored out of my mind doodling in the corner of my notebook, Bella’s busy exploring the city, sightseeing and travelling all over Melbourne. It’s just unreal.

Freezing schools

central heating needed

It’s here. It’s finally, finally here.

I don’t know what you know about Canberra, but if you don’t know this, you’re about to learn something. It may not be anything particularly valuable (I’m not really in any position to evaluate the way you evaluate information) but it is something true. Canberra, over the winter, gets freaking cold. Like, you can see your breath frost up in front of your eyes every single day for at least two months. All this fine, provided you’re somewhere with half decent central heating during the Canberra winter.

Here’s the thing, though. Until way, way, way too recently, there was an almost complete lack of central heating at my school. Or any kind of heating, in fact. It was more of a barren, frozen wasteland where you were forced to wear layer upon layer of clothes just to avoid getting frostbite. Okay, well  maybe it wasn’t quite that bad, but it still sucked. Talk about failing to provide a decent learning environment. Being cold like that just made everything harder. Have you ever tried to understand differential calculus while simultaneously trying to get even just a little bit of feeling back in your toes? Believe me, it’s hard.

Having heating in Canberra is basically an essential, which is why it’s even more ridiculous that the school didn’t have any. It’s not even like the school can blame it’s frosty interior on the fact that it’s old, either. Canberra was only founded in 1913, they would have known about central heating by then, right? Anyway, pretty much everywhere else here has some kind of hot air circulatory system that blasts heat through it in the winter to keep it nice and toasty. There’s simply no other way to survive the winter. Unless you want to keep all your toes, that is.

Time to leave

TMakeup courseshat’s it. I’m done. Today was absolutely the last straw. I’ve had enough of this stupid school, with it’s stupid teachers, and it’s stupid students and I’m ready to do something else.

I guess you could say I’ve never exactly been a stellar student. It’s not because I’m stupid, it’s got nothing to do with intelligence, really, it’s just that I never liked to study. Hated it, even. I’ll spend days watching youtube tutorials on curling my lashes before you’ll catch me putting pen to paper. I realised pretty early on that I’m just not cut out for school. I mean, in year seven and all that, it’s pretty easy. Just listen in class and you’ll do okay, but getting older, I just started flunking everything and no one could really understand that I just didn’t care.

It was at the end of year ten that I started to talk to my parents about makeup courses. I guess you could say they’re both pretty successful, and when I brought up the idea of maybe not finishing year twelve, they both completely lost their minds. It was actually kind of scary. So I decided to go back to school in the summer, not because I thought it would do anything or change anything, but because it would make them happy. Stupid of me, I know. In the meantime, I spent the hours trawling through websites for different makeup courses in Melbourne, working out what I was going to do when I inevitably flunked out of school altogether.

Not that it’s going to come to that. Today, I’m not really sure what happened, but something deep inside of me just snapped. Like a twig. All of a sudden I’d had enough, so, without a word to anyone, I just grabbed my bag and left. I didn’t just leave the class I was in, I left the school and walked all the way home. And I’m not going back.

Group work is rubbish (literally)

brisbane dumpI hate group work. At school we occasionally get assignments in groups where we have to collaborate on a project. The latest one is about disposing of green waste. I mean honestly why do I care and why is this important. I nominated myself to do all the photos needed for the final poster. At least that way I didn’t have to do any writing or research, just show up and click. So obviously the class nerd got put in my team and got super involved in the whole thing. He even made us all visit the Brisbane dump to see how damaging it was to the environment. A trip to the dump with a bunch of nerds. Yippee. Anyway turns out there is a great sustainable alternative place where you can take all your vegetation and green scraps and it’s even cheaper than the regular dump. I didn’t know rubbish could be so exciting. I am joking. Anyway I had to go this green place and photograph all the old trees and grass being sustainably disposed of. It smelt way better than the regular rubbish tip, Brisbane has a whole lot of garden waste it turns out. I was there for an hour taking pictures of rubbish. Lord kill me now. I sent the photos through to king nerd who is honestly just way too excited about this whole thing. Apparently rubbish is a major global issue and dumps are killing the earth. Turns out we did get an A+ which is the highest grade I have ever been given so I’ll take it but I’ll stick to my C’s if I don’t have to deal with nerdy mcrubbish anymore. When my mum read my report card she got super into this whole sustainable green waste disposal thing and made me take her to recycling centre! Honestly I just want all this rubbish to be over. I do not care.

Potentially poisonous pretzel

So Food packaging some people might think I’m completely crazy for saying this but the other day mum gave me a packet of Mini Monkeys in my lunch box (yes, I still have a lunch box, it’s a very practical way of storing food) and when I noticed the food packaging I realised something was awry. While the food packaging itself was totally and utterly normal, I realised that it was open. Unsealed. That some one or some thing had opened my packet of Mini Monkeys before it got to me.

Who knows what could have been in it? Rat poison? An unstable government engineered chemical designed to make the human race more docile? Gluten!? The packet of monkeys now posed a threat I had not foreseen and was thus in no way able to deal with. Particularly since at school, I don’t have access to any of my usual plethora of lab equipment. Here, there’s little possibility of analysing a sample of anything, short of bribing the lab-hand into giving me access to the science labs.

Of course, having conducted a preliminary sensory investigation I have been unable to detect any abnormalities, but that means very little in the wider context of potential malfunctions. The problem is, this kind of dilemma could be so easily avoided with the use of tamper evident bags. If only regular food was sealed in one of those security giving miracles, I’d never have to worry about the contents of my Mini Monkeys again.

Some would say I’m overreacting, and that I have nothing to fear from an unsealed package. Without context, I understand how they would come to that conclusion. Most fourteen year olds would have nothing to fear from a potentially unknown cocktail of chemicals concealed in a chocolate biscuit. But I am no ordinary fourteen year old. That, however, is a story for another time.

Get over the drains Mum!

Declogging drains

OK, so, either I am seriously missing something or my mum is completely crazy. I just do not get her sometimes. Last night was Bella’s birthday party and my mum knows that Bella is my best friend so she said I could stay late catch a tram home. It’s not a big deal I do it all the time and I’m basically an adult now anyway so I don’t really get her problem. I got home at like just after 1 am and she is standing there freaking out at me. She couldn’t even walk all the way down the stairs because she was shaking with anger. Turns out she had been up for an hour dealing with the drain camera, anyway, Melbourne public transport is super safe though so I literally just don’t get her concern. And what even is a drain camera?! I guess we had some kind of blockage and she was super stressed because these guys had to come and look into our drains with some kind of camera and then figure out how to go about fixing it. Not my problem. I just hate when she puts her stresses on me. I’m old enough to go out and get back when I want without having to constantly report to her. How hard can it really be to organise drain clearing in Melbourne? It’s not like we live in Timbuktu for crying out loud. She was honestly screaming at me telling me she has a hard enough time sorting out the drains and everything else that goes wrong and she doesn’t need the extra stress of worrying about me. I told her she was literally being ridiculous and that I am not a major concern of hers anymore because actually I am not 5 anymore. I stomped upstairs and told her she should just adopt the drains so she can worry about them instead of me. I am so over living with my parents.

Dropping out to pursue my dreams

BWeb design courses Melbourneeing a minor can be endlessly frustrating. It’s like I’m old enough to understand myself and know what I want, but I’m not really old enough to make any big decisions about my life. All I want to do is have the opportunity to make my own decisions, but maybe this isn’t so much a part of being underage but just a part of life. That there are always going to be things I’m ‘supposed’ to do, and that these don’t necessarily line up with what I want to do. I’m supposed to finish high school, but what’s the point if you know exactly what you want to do career wise and you don’t need to finish school to do it?

All I want to do now is drop out, and sign up for a web design course. Melbourne has a ton of different ones to choose from, I know that at least one of them won’t require my having an essentially useless high school certificate or whatever. It’s not like I’m learning anything at school that would help with this in any way, shape, or form. I know how to design instinctively and everything I’ve learnt about computers has been completely self taught. I know that the only way I could really hone my skills in any real, professional sense, would be by taking web design courses. Which is why I’m just so keen to do so.

It’s not even that my school won’t facilitate my dropping out – it will. The real obstacle is my mum. She has this idea that I’ll regret it at some abstract future point if I leave now, but what she doesn’t understand is just how passionate I am about this. She just assumes I’m as lost as everyone else my age, and I’m not. I have direction and I want to the opportunity to be able to follow it.

Skinnier mother

Liposuction MelbourneFar out this is so embarrassing. Ugh, it’s just one of those moments where you wish you could just sink straight through the floor into oblivion, or, better yet, never have been born in the first place. I just can’t even deal right now. Kill me, somebody please.

I go to an all girls private school. That really shouldn’t make that much difference to anyone about anything, but it does help explain this a little bit, and the truth is, it makes a lot of difference. Like, way too much difference.

This year mum and dad have finally decided to divorce (believe you me, this is better for everyone) and since dad’s overseas at the moment, I’ve been around mum a lot. I’d say she’s derailed a bit, but she’s always been a complete nutjob, so this is all really to be expected. Anyway, since dad’s gone she’s started dating this guy who’s apparently the best dermatologist in Melbourne. He’s kinda cool I guess, I mean he’s around here I lot so I’ve talked to him a couple of times, and he seems alright. He’s not the problem – she can pretty much do what she likes with her boytoys as far as I’m concerned.

The problem is that one of the nurses is a clinic where he works is a friend with one of the mums at school, and that nurse told this woman who told her daughter who told ultimate plastic girl Abigail Carlson that my mother got liposuction. Melbourne is generally a pretty progressive city with that kind of thing, but that progressiveness has never quite managed to spread to the cut throat world of high school politics. The fact that this twiggy Barbie doll was the one to tell me all of this, leaving me red-faced and stammering, is utterly humiliating. I tried to deny it, obviously, but no, Abigail had all the facts.