7 Jun

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,
it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness,
it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity,
it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness,
it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair,
we had everything before us, we had nothing before us,
we were all going direct to Heaven,
we were all going direct the other way.

– A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens

The day my class graduated from Upper Secondary School in 2003, our teacher read this to us. It was the conclusion of a 12 year period of public education that started in blissful childhood and culminated in years of raging hormones, several identity crises, friendships and relationships formed and broken, limits challenged, journeys taken, experiences had and choices made.

Our class was a fairly mixed collection of people. We were the weirdos who had deliberately chosen the International Baccalaureate program; all classes in English, 20 final exams, advanced level maths (optional) and the dreaded Extended Essay (not optional). I only knew two people when I started; my best friend at the time and my best friend at present (both friends since aforementioned “blissful childhood”).

We have always been weird, and the freedom of being completely unknown by anyone went to our heads. We were surely responsible for furthering the reputation of “crazy IB people” in the school but we also had unbelievable fun, so we didn’t care one bit! Naturally we were not everybody’s cup-of-tea, yet we did attract a few other weirdos to join our group. But general oddness cannot hold you together forever, and alas, our group dispersed shortly after graduation.


Giggles in the classroom corner

Saturday was our ten year reunion, and when I arrived a bit late with present-best-friend, our two favourite teachers and half of our former classmates were already there. Incidentally, this was in the same place as we had our graduation party and it was like walking into the past. As we all hugged and smiled and said hello, I was astonished by how little people had physically changed in the ten years passed. As we sat down and started chatting, it became apparent that this to a large extent applied to personality as well. Unfortunately, not many from “our” group were present, but all the more chance to catch up with people we had co-existed with, but not really interacted all that much with due to above mentioned reasons.

Introductorily, we read aloud predictions we had written about each other ten years ago. Some hilarious, some far, far off and some scarily close to reality. Not mine – apparently I would be living abroad, working as a vet, but anyhow… As the hours passed we discussed and laughed about teachers and reading lists, rumours and reputations, old photos and of course ourselves and those who weren’t there – then and now. Although I say that people hadn’t changed much, there was one striking difference in all of us; we were all less self-important and had more self-irony. The atmosphere was relaxed, happy and amiable. All in all, a great night.

Even with the tons of schoolwork we reluctantly struggled through, our intrigues, drama and general teenage angst, I look back at those two years as the highlight of my public schooling both educationally and socially. But the intensity of that time, captured perfectly by the above quote, is forever gone. Thank goodness.


4 Responses to “Reunion”

  1. Rhys June 7, 2013 at 9:27 am #

    Really nice post Char. I do love your informal yet poignant style! Can’t wait for my schools equivalent, as unlike most years before and after mine seemed to get on quite well on the whole. Sure there’ll still be a few arseholes though.

    • Rhys June 7, 2013 at 9:28 am #

      P.s. I was a weirdo too! Surprised much?

      • Charlottes Net June 7, 2013 at 10:25 am #

        Thanks for your reflections on my reflections 🙂 I’m not surprised, indeed, I thinks there’s a weirdo in all of us, some people just hide it better!

  2. Rhys June 7, 2013 at 2:40 pm #

    They should let it free! At least, in moderation.

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