25 November 2013

Letters to my teenage self {Part 1}

This is a new series exploring some of my experiences as a teenager moving away from the only life I'd known and having to suddenly grow up...


I know you think that your life is over right now. That after ten years living in Papakura, having to leave because your father’s pastors job demands it is quite possibly the worst thing that can ever happen to you. You have made a life for yourself here, with lifelong friendships at school and church that you absolutely can’t bear to leave behind.

It's not that far as the crow flies, you’re only moving to Morrinsville, a tin-pot country backwater town an hour and a half away from Auckland by car, but to you it might as well be the end of the earth. You’ll end up going to Hillcrest High in Hamilton that first year so you can continue your Japanese studies which is what you’re most motivated by right now, but the school itself which promises so much will be wildly disappointing. Starting a new school in sixth form wouldn’t be easy for anyone, but the cliques that have formed by now with so many well-heeled children at this school wearing designer mufti clothes which you can’t afford make it nearly impossible to make new friends with everyone looking down their noses at you the whole time. The fact that you are still too young to get your driving licence and have to travel half an hour by bus every day is a further limitation on making friends and spending time with them outside of school hours. These things combined make you plead with your parents to allow you to continue your Japanese studies by correspondence so you can at least attend the local college in your final year of school. This turns out to be a good decision. The one good thing you do take away from this disaster of a 6th form year is the decision to start studying Accounting which although not very meaningful now will become so later in your life. Hold onto this thought.

You make good your promise to your parents that your grades won’t suffer by changing schools and study hard all year gaining an A Bursary with scholarship marks in English and high marks in Japanese and Accounting too, which is enough to be awarded the title of Proxime Accessit (2nd student in the school). But.....this last year at school comes at a cost, as the sheltered life you’ve led so far, insulated up until now by mostly socialising with other church youth is about to change. There is a complete lack of other people your age in the small church your father is leading. This means the only option you have is to socialise with school friends which brings with it many new experiences - drinking, parties, and boys who don’t hold the same beliefs as you. It’s not ideal but you want to fit in and make friends, and so you wonder f it’s the price you have to pay. It’s a million miles from the life you were living just two short years ago, but it’s the world where you now find yourself and you feel as if some of these things might actually be required to survive. You still keep in touch with some your friends from that other world, but many just fade away with the natural passage of distance and time and you’re saddened that this chapter in your life is no more, and wonder how His glorious plan for you could possibly be reconciled with where you find yourself now, without the closeness of friends who value what you have always valued.

To be continued……

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