I believe one of the hardest things to do is write about yourself, but I’ll give it a go.
My life has been one adventure after another since I was born. On the 21st of January 1992 in the not so sunny city of Aberdeen, Scotland, popped out me, a little ray of blonde sunshine. Being an ‘oil baby‘, Aberdeen will always be my home.
Just like that though my family was relocated to London when I was 3, and moved to a place that I would now class as the middle of no where and my dad called ‘The Village of the Damned‘. It was here where I remembered playing games like ‘kiss chase’ with friends at school, and having my first nose bleed in the ball pit at a party. But just like every place I’ve ever settled into, I soon had to leave to be relocated again – this makes me sound like I’m in the witness protection program.
Our next move sent us to Alaska. Of all the places in the world we we’re moved to Alaska. Being 6 and surrounded by Americans I soon acquired the accent, which I have never fully lost. Alaska has to be the best place in the world that I have ever been. Constantly surrounded by nature and most of the time, snow. It was here I learnt to ski and snowboard to an expert level, not to blow my own trumpet…maybe a little. A few memories I have from Alaska are: getting my tongue stuck to a chair lift pole because i was naïve, being chased by a moose up my drive way, and experiencing a day when the sun never went down.
When I look back at photos of when I lived in Alaska, my parents always say it was my ‘ugly duckling phase’, this is the polite way of saying ‘you were a fucking ugly kid.‘ I basically looked like Bugs Bunny in drag. Because of my bunny/beaver/buck teeth, I was a metal mouth from the age of 6 -14……yes, I would laugh at me too right now, so no hard feelings.
We soon over stayed our welcome in Alaska and were once again moved by the company in search of oil. This time to the opposite end of the spectrum, Texas. As the saying goes, everything is big in Texas, they really weren’t kidding. The cars, the shopping centres, but mainly, the people. JEEEEEEZ. Texas was the first place where I realised the amount of pressure parents (not mine, they’re normal) put on their kids in schools. To even get into my school, I had to sit a 6 hour entry exam. Who does that to a 9 year old kid with the a small attention span? The amount of sport we had to play was excessive. I love sport and exercise, but in heat where you can literally fry an egg on the pavement, is just stupid. Yet, like normal, just as I got comfortable and had a great group of friends, we were moved again.
So, here I was, 12 years old, in Egypt… Now I have mixed emotions about my time in Egypt. Prepare for the sob story part of my life, but every story needs it. I wont lie, living in Egypt opened my eyes to what the world really is, and how cruel people can be. In Egypt was the first time I experienced being bullied. The sad part is, the reason why I was bullied, was because of my hair as I was the minority. My hair is naturally this blonde, and my parents will never let me dye it, but in an Arabic country… You could see me a mile away like a lighthouse bulb. I couldn’t go anywhere without being stared at because people thought I wasn’t ‘real’. The bullying wasn’t only coming from the other children in my armed guard surrounded school, but their parents. A rumour soon spread round the school that I was ‘bad influence’ by a parent, which then led to all the other parents telling their children to stay away from me. Its still upsetting, but its made me a stronger person.
On a better note though, it was in Egypt where I received the best gift I could have ever asked for, Tanya. I have never loved, or ever shall love, something so much in my life. My dog is my life, my best friend, and sadly in Egypt, she was sometimes my only friend. She is an Egyptian street dog, a balladi, one of the prettiest I have ever seen. Rescued from the streets of Cairo after being found abandoned, is my number one fan, who uses me as a scratching post until she gets her way.
Now, I could not write my life story with out mentioning Ashley. Ashley was a dog that adopted us, and followed us round wherever we went in Egypt. Ashley was part of our family, but unlike Tanya, Ashley could not be made domesticated. She was wild through and through and would rather raid a bin than be fed from a bowl. Ashley was mine. I adored her joining me on the way to school, and meeting me on my walk home. One day, a girl tried to come into our garden, and Ashley was having none of it. She did not bite the girl or harm her in anyway, but my parents couldn’t run the risk of it happening again. They took Ashley away to the other side of the rail road tracks, but being the smart street dog that she is she managed to find her way home. So, we had to take her further away. Out side city of Maadi is a place called Wadi Degla which is an old quarry where you can go hiking. We took Ashley to the gates near the guards and left her there. As we drove away I turned around to see her, but instead, all I could see were the armed, animal hating guards watching her in disgust. I knew then that she wasn’t going to make her way back this time.
Once again we were told we had to move. However, I was now at the age where my parents wanted me to have some discipline in my life as American schools lack in this department. My Dad was relocated to Azerbaijan, whilst I went to a boarding school in England. Many people associate boarding school with a prison, but mine was quite the opposite. I had never seen a place quite like it. The images I had created in my head whilst reading Harry Potter became a reality. The school was beautiful but maybe a little over the top. I never really understood why it was necessary to wear a blazer and a kilt, specially in an English school. I loved my school. I went on a school trip to India when I was 17, I got to play in the first girls football team, and then captain it, and play field hockey which I had never even heard of. I even got my first tattoo when I turned 18, it was a great excuse to get out of inter-house swimming which was an excuse to judge everyone half naked. I made some amazing friends at boarding school, but it was soon time for me to decide where I wanted to move to and go to University.
When it came round to A-Level results day, I was overjoyed to find out I was going to the party city that is Leeds and attend Leeds University. The past 3 years in Leeds have been the best. I have met so many people, made so many memories, and experienced things I could have only imagined. Never have I been happier in one place, or drunk to be honest. If Leeds has been good for teaching me anything, its definitely been how to drink, be sick, then drink some more. And for that I salute you.
Now I’m 21, destroyed my liver, ruined my lungs ,and tried to fill my head with knowledge, but had little success. I’ve been the ‘Lad’ and the ‘girly girl‘ , I’ve even been a Chinese Takeaway Box for a night. Yet it’s now time for me to realise that this lifestyle isn’t forever. This is up to the current moment. Tomorrow, May 31st, is my last day in Leeds, then I’m back off to be the ray of sunshine in the grey granite city of Aberdeen. I’ve done a round trip now. But I can’t wait till I can do it again, or become a crazy cat lady….