There was the quirky "back row geek" and the delightful "ray of sunshine" which made me realise my prop was seemingly self-indulgent; what kept appearing in my mind was "strength in adversity" - which isn't the typical proposition for a reflection on your childhood. Bold and rather self-righteous, one might think, but I can't help feel the statement was true for those years growing up and not because I am either of those things.
I was the girl at school who was often absent either on extended trips to Venezuela - where half my family is from - or because I was sick or had managed to find myself hospitalised again (I had a bizarre spell of various hospital visits; suspected lymphoma, right knee surgery, dislocated right ankle, stitches in my left shin, ripped off toe nail(!), acute glandular fever... etc). I changed schools a few times because of my family relocating, then separating, then relocating while I refused to attend a girls boarding school for that very reason; it was only for girls. And yet amongst this instability I not only managed to find a solid group of smart and supportive friends who still feature in my life today via the virtues of Facebook; but I also remarkably achieved the highest grades in my year... even after I was told by more than one of my teachers not to get my hopes up at even passing. Huh-um... Thank you Mrs Joyce and Mrs Findley.
And so now, ten years on, I have a new found appreciation for that young girl because when adversity comes to revisit and prompts changes unplanned, a small part of my "grown up self" still knows that this is the chance to be strong and perhaps even do something surprising (yes the inverted commas are intentional).
These are my last two weeks in Sydney. After an incredible four years it is now time to move on to another chapter; the unknown. Like two weights on a set of scales one feels equally liberated and frightful at the prospect of venturing in to the unknown without a conventional game plan. My objectives are very simple: Family, travel, photography and writing... until money runs out.
My next stop? Japan. I can't think of a better place to be thrown out of my comfort zone and potentially reunite with my lovely Nitro snowboard as I spend my 27th birthday riding solo off-piste with monkeys. Besides India of course. That place sounds pretty intense. Which is where I'll be going after Japan.
I hope to continue sharing my stories, learnings and inspirations. Please feel free to join me on the ride. Seriously. Otherwise you can follow my hopefully-less-sentimental-and-reflective-on-my-adolescence updates here.