High school Flashbacks… the worst kind.
Alright I am kind of joking. My high school experience was not that bad.
Before high school I had attended the same small local school my entire life. I had known most of my classmates since Pre-K and we all lived close by. Yes I was usually busy with gymnastics but I loved my friends and school. I was a total nerd, always got straight A’s and barely uttered a word. Although I was intensely shy, I was friends with everybody because we had known each other for so long. But by no means was I popular. I just kept to myself and my school work, dreaming of the popular boys. You know how it goes.
Then came highschool. Suddenly I had to drive 30 minutes across the bay to Tampa. My class grew from 30 to 130 kids. That was a mind boggling number of students at the time. I had no friends. I had to start from scratch. That first week of school, I spent the morning drive doubled over with intense stomach cramps due to anxiety. If I got to school too early, I would hide in the bathroom till the bell rang.
But I began to make friends. A nice group of mostly Asian girls took me under their wing, allowing me to sit quietly, listen, and have somebody to gossip with in the halls. I was ecstatic. My classes were more challenging, I was learning more, and I worked hard to balance honors classes and daily 3 hour gymnastics practices.
In 10th grade after too many injuries and too much pressure, I quit gymnastics. It was so liberating. Suddenly I had the opportunity to join sports teams and belong to clubs. I could hang out after school instead of driving straight to gym. I joined JV soccer, juggling club, Singers, student library proctors, Masala Mix, the diving team, etc. And finally I began to blossom. I mean that emotionally and physically. It’s amazing how the intense training of gymnastics stunts your growth! The year after I quit, I literally grew so many inches up and out… Hallelujah!
I started to make more friends and become more confident. Unfortunately the group of girls who “took me under their wing” became cliquey, mean, and jealous of my branching out and took it out on one of my best friends. I was too oblivious to know or understand. I wish I had paid more attention. But in the end, you always know who your real friends are. This has been true in many stages of my life.
And this weekend I was blessed to see one of my best friends!
Mariana and I met in Singers class and bonded over torturing poor Rob Redei and participating in our school musicals. From Les Miz, to West Side Story and Bat Boy, we simply loved singing together. She was the cool drama kid who seemed way too cool and beautiful to be my friend. I still think she’s way too cool and beautiful. She did an SCA internship like me and is now working for the National Park Service. COOLEST JOB EVER. Read her blog and you will see cool and down to earth this girl is.
She will probably kill me for posting these pictures but she is so beautiful! Here are some high school throwback pictures because they are so fun. I also failed to get a current picture with her this weekend so there. We both have shorter hair and I am WAY less blonde and tan.
If you know High School Musical you will understand. If not… don’t judge us because we’re awesome.
Like I mentioned in my last post, I met up with Mariana and her boyfriend, Austin, this weekend. Friday night I drove over to Citrus Mall to meet them for dinner. Being at Citrus was another crazy highschool flashback. This is the movie theatre where I would meet most of my friends on the weekend since we all lived scattered across Tampa Bay. This is also the theatre where I had a couple of my first “group dates”. Although I never said a word to my crush at that point so I doubt I can call it a date.
Citrus Mall is like the breeding ground for bored Florida teens and preteens. It must have been 50 degrees out and this 15 year old girl wearing shorts and a tank top was arguing with a mall cop. Living on the edge my friend. This is middle-of-nowhere fun in Florida.
Despite our nostalgically awkward surroundings, we had a fantastic dinner at a Brewhouse in the mall. We then headed to World of Beer to meet up with Mariana’s parents. Yes they are awesome. Mariana and I separated from the group to catch up at the end of the outdoor patio. We enjoyed our beers in the chilly air, screaming over the loud music, sharing stories both old and new.
Recently I talked to Peter about the power of friendship. We decided that best friends are the people you may not see for years but when you meet again, it’s like no time has passed.
Mariana is definitely one of my best friends. And with that…..today I would like to wish this friend a very HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Till we meet again 🙂