26 Feb 2016

Stunningly gorgeous and successful at 23

Some people you're friends with because your families grew up together, or you were two girls who knew nobody else at the party, or all 30 of you were chosen to live together for the rest of high school.

If you asked me how I found boarding school, I'd probably say it was a little catty at times. Much drama; we were all trying to get out (although only one of us managed to escape), all trying to bend the rules, break the rules, jump the fence, stand up for the correct interpretation of The Yellow Book.

But I hold the four years with very fond memories. 
Everything in sepia. 

I learnt how to budget, where to find free wifi, how to fill in free time. The girls influenced my humor, taught me "to the windows, to the wall (to the wall)", taught me not to be the first to text and always first in the dinner line.

We created a culture, a sense of community and we were, and still are, proud of it today.

We were a little different than the rest of the girls at school. Our parents didn't own a house in the grammar zone, but instead they invested $12k+ a year to give us an education that was otherwise unavailable in small towns. We were different because we didn't bus home with our friends, we didn't come home to share our day's experience with an adult, we didn't really meet up at the mall or whatever teenagers do on the weekends. 

We were away from home and we only had each other.

Of course we were all unique in our own ways. Everyone had their own 'thing'. 
There was a cyclist champion, a tall blonde beauty, an artist who could touch the canvas with a paintbrush and take your breath away, one with a pet, a rower with firmest of all thighs, one who was always out running, one who was always running and getting fit, one who ate a bag of carrots a week, the only child, the kind and gentle spirited one... I was the only Asian (apart from the few international students) the whole time I was there. Not a lot of cultural diversity haha, no Indians at all either.
Around the table yesterday were nine stunningly gorgeous girls.

I look around and am in awe of how elegant, confident and successful we've become. And I don't mean CEO successful but there were Masters students there, a youth worker, a property investor, an engineer, a potter...

Did you ever do that thing where you guess who'd be the first to get married, to have a kid (Mrs Nice), most likely to become famous, become a doctor (Dr Duley)...?

I never thought I'd be the sick one. But when I did, they showered me with virtual hugs and kisses, blooming bouquets at my doorstep for a week straight, nautical knick-knacks and a hamper so big I couldn't get out of the car while holding it.

You need friends to get through life. God created people so we can build relationships and go through the years on this earth and stay emotionally sane.

At the start of each year, we'd look around for new faces after checking if our room came with a window. And we'd say hi, where are you from and before long they'll be signing out to go to the daza with us. We're a very hospitable and welcoming bunch.

My strongest 'first day' memory was in fifth form where everyone was just so excited to see each other again and we had the electrician fixing something in our hallway. But the electrician made the mistake of bringing his hot son with him so we were all sitting legs stretched across the hallway hyping up about "the electrician's son".

Last night we cringed at Alice in Wonderland, speculated about the terminated contracts of hostel workers, criticised sunglasses, laughed at kill-me-now long car rides and rejoiced over news of a miracle.

We talked about how the 100th school anniversary is coming up and how we'd thought we'd come with our babies, our tongue-twister job titles and our Ryan Reynolds-look-alike husbands.
But actually most of us are still figuring out how to tie the pieces together.

Much thanks to Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat. Now I can see your travels around the Mediterranean, your London lifestyle, celebrity events, and your adorable blonde toddlers.

23, much older, much wiser, yet still the same humorous beautiful people.


  1. Hi Elisa, What beautiful words and sentiments, I quite quite teary reading this. As Rhiannons mother I am very grateful for the wonderful friends she made at the hostel, it wasn't always easy and there were quite a few tears in the early days, but the love and support she got from you girls was what often got her through. We have always been very proud of our daughter and the kind, caring person she is and the beautiful young woman she has become. Living away from home is difficult, but it is this that is part of the reason you girls have all formed such a strong, enduring bond, no matter how far apart you all may live- you are in fact family and we are very happy that Rhi has such an amazing group of supportive loving friends. I wish you all the very best Elisa and hope the that the miracle you mention was your own. Wendy Strongman xxxx

    1. This has made my day! Thank you Mrs Strongman! I agree; very kind caring and beautiful and am so glad to have shared the experience with her. And yes; the miracle I mentioned happened to me :D

    2. Elisa, hearing that the miracle is yours has made my day!! The most fantastic news, I am so happy for you and your family and friends. Wendy :)

  2. Elisa!! This is so incredibly beautiful!! <3


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