Thursday, 8 November 2012

Why isn't my life a romantic comedy?

I was raised by my dad and my brother so I've not really done many girly girl things. As the only female in the family, I kind of felt I needed to assimilate or die. So I am more comfortable driving a manual car than baking a cake. I've changed my own oil in my car but I have never changed a baby's nappy. I'm deadly accurate with a gun but I fail miserably at make up. These masculine tendencies extend to my film habits. I've honestly never seen 'Dirty Dancing' but I did cry at the end of 'Terminator 2: Judgement Day'. That pretty much sums up what I'm saying here.

I've never been one for romantic comedies. But now I have a sister (in-law) and I'm starting to feel a bit more at peace with the fact that I am a girl and it's ok to hope a man will sweep me off my feet, despite my awkward, unlucky-in-love nature. I'm allowed to think Vivian Ward (Pretty Woman) is just as awesome as John McClane (Die Hard). (But I will never, ever accept the message that Sandy Olsen sells females! Honestly, do women actually watch 'Grease' and realise how she gets the man in the end? By stultifying herself and smoking!)

Tonight my sister and I watched a movie called 'New in Town' starring the super gorgeous chick flick staple, Renée Zellweger. She moves to a new town for some work and some guy who she seems to fight with more than she flirts with ends up being the love of her life. And it got me thinking, why doesn't that happen to me?


I'm a waitress just like Julia Sullivan (The Wedding Singer) but no oddly handsome singer who lacks self-confidence but makes up for it with a guitar has ever serenaded me on a plane. A guy did write a song for me once. But he recorded it onto CD, with a piano-keyboard backing track and him playing guitar... It was called 'Fire' but I didn't really get the lyrics. It wasn't on a plane. And Billy Idol wasn't there.

In high school, I may not have worn glasses and a ponytail and had *gasp* paint on my overalls, like Laney Boggs (She's All That) but I did wear pigtails every day for a year and weird cartoon character socks. I also made my own jewellery out of wool and beads, which is kind of like making my own prom dress, à la Andy Walsh in Pretty in Pink. The dreamy quarterback never realised I was actually quirky and pretty with a beautiful soul... Maybe it's because I went to school in Australia and there was no quarterback (and I'm not sure I'd describe any guy I went to school with as 'dreamy' anyway.) Or maybe it's because my life isn't a romantic comedy.

I have been a journalist just like Rebecca Bloomwood (Confessions of a Shopaholic), Andie Anderson (How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days), Bridget Jones (Bridget Jones's Diary), Jenna Rink (Suddenly 30), Josie Geller (Never Been Kissed) and the poster girl for journalism and love, Carrie Bradshaw (Sex & The City). But I have not had even one date thanks to my journalism. Not one. Let alone met the love of my life in hilariously unlikely circumstances.

I currently have blue hair like Ramona Flowers (Scott Pilgrim vs. The World). It's not a stretch to compare my scooter to Ramona's rollerblades. I could probably even muster up seven exes, if I included high school and despite the fact that I did break up with most (if not all) of them, I don't think they'd fight some guy so he could prove his love for me. They've moved on. And in the interim, no adorably dorky geek has had a prophetic dream about the awesomeness that is me. Though honestly, I'd prefer if Young Neil fell in love with me anyway.


I'm comically accident-prone, just like Cam Wexler in 'Good Luck Chuck' but no gorgeous Dane Cook look-alike has ever suddenly declared me his one true love. Remember my most recent first non-date? If you've not read this post, you can't possibly understand just how unlucky and clumsy I really am. But rather than being endearingly cute and charming, I fear I am seen as a hazard and threat to life and limb.

Why, oh why can't my life be like a romantic comedy? My life can and does often resemble a comedy. Perhaps a comedy slash tragedy. But it's not romantic. There's no romantic comedy that my life mirrors or holds parallels with.

Oh, wait. Yes there is. 'He's Just Not That Into You'. And I'm Gigi.

"Girls are taught a lot of stuff growing up. If a guy punches you he likes you. Never try to trim your own bangs and someday you will meet a wonderful guy and get your very own happy ending. Every movie we see, Every story we're told implores us to wait for it, the third act twist, the unexpected declaration of love, the exception to the rule. 
But sometimes we're so focused on finding our happy ending we don't learn how to read the signs. How to tell from the ones who want us and the ones who don't, the ones who will stay and the ones who will leave. And maybe a happy ending doesn't include a guy, maybe... it's you, on your own, picking up the pieces and starting over, freeing yourself up for something better in the future. Maybe the happy ending is... just... moving on. 
Or maybe the happy ending is this, knowing after all the unreturned phone calls, broken-hearts, through the blunders and misread signals, through all the pain and embarrassment you never gave up hope."
Miss SAMawdsley xx

Questions:
  • Does your life, or the life of someone you know, resemble a romantic comedy?
  • If you're life was a movie, which one would it be?

Friday, 26 October 2012

I Heart My Body 2012

It's that time of the year again. Time for the "I Heart My Body" campaign & beautiful women everywhere, of every shape and size, to tell the word not only that they heart their bodies, but also why.

I participated in the "I Heart My Body" campaign last year and for the most part, received nothing but positive feedback. But I dedicate this post to the haters from last year. Why? Because I'm doing it again. Because I do heart my body and in the spirit of the campaign, I am shouting it from the highest mountain top I have: My blog.

I love that my body puts up with the beating I give it - football and scootering down huge hills... It may not always serve me so well. It's terrifically unco. But it keeps on going and keeps on being beautiful! This year, I am highlighting my favourite parts of my body.

I heart my body!

I heart my stomach. It may not be perfect but it's the part of my body that makes me feel sexiest

I heart my stupid little middle toe on my right foot. I don't know what its deal is but like the rest of me, it's not perfect and a little bit quirky for no good reason.

I heart my freckles. It's taken me a loooooong time to get to this point after years of teasing, but I do. Especially the three freckles on my right knee that spell out VIP. Can you see them?

I heart my smile. This is another thing that has taken me years to love. My smile has always been my most complimented feature, with the words "Your smile just lights up a room" being the most common compliment I receive. But after 13 months of braces, I finally see what everyone else has always seen and I heart my smile.

Miss SAMawdsley xx

Questions:
  • Name three things you heart about your body!
  • If you have a blog, join the I Heart My Body campaign here!


Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Adventures on first non-dates

One of the joys of being an Australian working in an English pub, especially one that isn't on the tourist trail, is I am a bit of a novelty. I say joy, but sometimes it gets tiring. I get asked a lot where I'm from & I have the same conversation with customers three or four times a day.

It's also a conversation starter with guys which can be a good thing. It can also be a bad thing.

Well last week it was a good thing when a guy decided to try his luck chatting me up. I hadn't noticed him to be honest as I was in work mode where all customers are equal. But he had noticed me & despite having no interaction, stayed behind to talk to me while his friends went to their table. I now know it's because he thought I looked "interesting", whatever that means.

So when I turned to help him, he didn't want a drink or anything, just to talk to me. He heard my Australian accent & said he wanted to guess where I was from based on said accent. I don't believe you can do that so to prove it, I let him try. For the record, I am from Brisbane. So the following conversation then took place.
"I think you're from Perth."
"No."
"Well then you're from Sydney."
"Look, you can't tell where an Australian is from based on their accent."
"Yes, you can. I mean,  I know you're not from Brisbane!"
So even after that cringe-worthy opening, he persisted in talking to me. Turned out we were both from Brisbane - about 15 mins drive apart. He's a vet & we chatted easily. Obviously I had to get back to work soon after & he said it was nice chatting to me & we should "catch up" sometime. I thought nothing more of it.

As his party was leaving, however, he came to the bar to say goodbye.
"It was great to meet you, Samantha."
"Thanks, you too."
"Like I said, we should catch up sometime!"
"Sure."
"So... can I have your number?"
"Oh... ok!"
So I turned to grab a bit of paper to write my number on.
When I turned back around, he had his phone out. That's how often I do this, I completely forgot people have phones.
He was a bit shocked but covered with, "Oh! Old school! I like it!"

I scribbled my number down and gave it to him. As he left I realised two things.
1) He probably thinks I gave him a fake number so he couldn't do the creepy "Ring and check" thing. (Guys, don't do that. Ever!)
2) I've not given my UK number out before and what are the chances I gave him the wrong number by accident?

Well 15 hours later he texted me and we arranged to "catch up" tonight - my first available night thanks to working all the time. But what does that even mean, "Catch up"? Catch up on what? Everything that happened since last Wednesday? Or maybe the last 27 years when we hadn't known the other existed? "I was born in 1985, on a warm Spring morning..." What a stupid thing to say. But what he didn't say was the D word - date. At no point did he mention going on "a date". And nobody ever does.

When did the date die out? I don't think I have ever been on a date. I've been on things that looked like dates and very well might have been, but they were never called that. I've also been on things that looked like dates and were not. That's the worst. It's painful and you can feel your heart being ripped out of your chest when you come to the sickening realisation that the person opposite you has absolutely zero interest in you as a member of the opposite sex - and you'd done your hair and carefully chosen an outfit to impress them and still you were rendered a genitalia free Mattel product. That ****ing sucks.


So I never assume anything is a date. This jaded cynicism has served me well so I do not apologise for it at all. Tonight was no exception. I acted as if it might be, but never assumed, lest I be disappointed.

If you've ever wondered what I'm like on "a date", this is it. I'm awkward. I talk about a million things and randomly interject with useless facts. The guy mentioned December 8 tonight. I interrupted to tell him that was the date John Lennon was shot. I don't know why. I just blurted it out. Then I was eating dinner and I dropped my knife. It just plumb fell out of my hand. It clattered off my plate and headed towards the floor. The guy gallantly tried to catch it, but so did I. I got there first, bumping him away, knocking him off balance so he threw lettuce all over himself. So I end up bright red, clutching a greasy fork with lasagne all over me and he ends up looking shocked covered in lettuce. That's what I am like on a date.

But it can't have been too bad because he invited me back to his place to meet his housemates. He lived across the road from the pub. I accepted, happy to meet more people. Plus there was a puppy! Well we all sat in the lounge room talking, listening to music and watching YouTube videos. Then his housemates discovered it was his birthday - I know, right? So one of the girls offered us some berry liqueur she had made. She poured it into six shot glasses. We all said cheers and clinked glasses. I then threw the shot into my mouth... mere milliseconds later, my eyes began to water and I nearly choked. It wasn't a shot. Everyone but me knew this. They'd all sipped delicately. I was stuck with a mouthful of burning alcohol and big juicy berries, unable to chew or swallow from pain and humiliation as everyone laughed their asses off at me. The guy, once he realised what had happened and that I clearly was not coping, gallantly went to get me a glass of water. Everyone else told me I could spit it out, but by then, I'd managed to choke the liquid down. The berries were still there, so I couldn't talk. But I couldn't chew either. It was horrible.

I eventually got it down and once again, found myself bright red and looking decidedly inelegant.

I was having so much fun, I missed the last train home. Here in London, the trains stop at midnight or something stupid like that. The guy offered to let me sleep on the couch, or his bed. We were talking later when he asked me if I understood that he wasn't looking for anything serious. And that this wasn't "a date" because there's so much pressure when you put labels on things. So... yeah. I understood. I had my jaded, cynical guard up anyway, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't wound me. Each time I feel that disappointment, no matter how much of a defence I have put up, my armour is still chinked. And I felt used. Why bother talking to me at all if you don't want "anything serious"? And if you don't have "anything serious", what do you have? He'd told me he was leaving for Australia for a few months already and he moves around a lot doing temp / contract work in his profession. So I had my suspicions. But still...

But as a grand finale to the spectacle that is me, this happened. I called myself a cab. It arrived and I said my goodnights on the back step. I turned to make my graceful exit, leaving with my head held high and dignity in tact - when I slipped on the wet stairs, shrieked, fell on my ass and bounced halfway down the stairs.

Lucky it wasn't a date or I might have been embarrassed.

Miss SAMawdsley xx

Questions:

  • When was the last time you went on "a date"?
  • Was it specified as "a date" or not?
  • Have you ever been a victim of the "non-date" or "the event that looks like a date but is not, actually a date at all"?

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Dear Mum, I'm sad on my trip of a lifetime.

This is an actual email I sent to my Mum this morning. I guess this is the honest side of my adventure.

Hey Mum,
I wish I knew why I seem so 'not myself' to you. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said I'm "very tired and a little lost". I think because it's "Seamus & Carol" I feel a bit like a third wheel. Not in the bad way, just that there's nobody here who is just for me. A friend or anything.

I don't think I'm homesick because like you've said before, I just didn't have much in Australia keeping me there. I mean, I miss certain people of course, but not "home" so much. Home isn't even there anymore. That was demolished during my first week of being here. I even managed to have a moment about that.

But I am having fun. I've been to a Liverpool game. I've been to Tower of London and London Dungeon. And I've reminisced about our adventures. Remember how we found London Dungeon to begin with? That was so much fun and a story I love telling. Last night we went to see Rhod Gilbert, a comedian & I laughed so much.

I've made a friend, I know I've told you about him, & he texts me every day so I don't feel so alone sometimes. And if I do, I can talk to him about it. He was really good to me last week. Texted me for hours telling me everything would be ok. Said I could call him - but I wouldn't because I was crying. He made sure I was ok. Walking into the pub the day we met him was the best decision I've made since being here, I think.

I know that makes it sound terrible. Sometimes it all gets too much. It does. I admit that. But I'm ok. It's also hard because like last night, Tuesday night, I said good night to Seamus & Carol. I said "Good night, see you... err..." And we figured out I won't see Seamus until Friday and Carol until Saturday. That's how I live. So even though I live with Seamus & Carol, I get really lonely.

I don't think I've made you feel any better about me writing this email. But I just want you to know I am ok. I am having a blast and I'm starting to make friends - with people from work and strangers from Twitter. It's the twentieth century! Or the twenty-first...? I can never remember.

I'm going to make a list of things I want to do on my days off so I have things to look forward to. I can wake up, look at my list and say "What am I going to do today?" And I think I'm going to ask work if I can drop back to four days a week. Four nine hour shifts is still 36 hours a week, so I can still have my pocket money working those hours. At this rate, I'm earning money with no time to spend it, which is great for my bank balance but bad for my sanity! :P

Anyway, I love you lots and I'll talk to you soon. Sorry I wasn't able to talk yesterday morning. I was off to work...

Love, Sammy Seal
xx


At the Natural History Museum! Dinosaurs! 

Traitors' Gate!
Tower of London: My favourite place in London! 

Shooting stuff. 11 out of 12 stuffs! 

You'll never walk alone!
At a Liverpool game! 

Wembley Stadium for England v Ukraine!
My two best guy friends have gone now... :( 

Miss SAMawdsley xx

Questions:
  • Have you ever been sad when you're meant to be happy? 
  • Have you ever had people sense you're not OK when you yourself can't even verbalise why you're not OK?

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Of hot pink scooters & teal blue hair

So here's a fun fact. I've been to England three times in my life. In that time, I managed to visit the Accident and Emergency department before Saint Paul's Cathedral. That has to be some kind of record. Albeit, not one I deserve any sort of kudos for.

So I moved to London three weeks ago. No big surprise there. Back in Australia, I used to injure myself a lot. Maybe a small part of me had hoped that this was something about air pressure, my relative position in correlation to the sea level or my distance from the equator. Or maybe just the amount of football I played. Apparently it's not. It's just me.

Week one of my new life in London found me with a double barrel shotgun in my hands for the very first time. This would give people who knew me cause to seek cover or flatten themselves in an attempt to preserve life and limb. But you see, I'm not uncoordinated, just unfortunate. Only I came off injured from my first ever attempt at clay pigeon shooting. That means the target is not only small, but moving through the air at a very fast rate. I shot 11 of my 12 targets before retiring with recoil injury. The trainers were stunned into shock and awe, I'm not exaggerating. My military trained brother only shot five from 12 so, you know, I think I can say I am a natural with a shotgun - as long as I don't have to shoot it any more than eight times or I am in severe pain for days.

Week two started on a positive note! I got a job at a lovely pub! I was so full of energy I went home and washed the dishes from last night's dinner - and promptly sliced my pinkie finger open across the knuckle on broken glass. My brother was very ill and I like to think he would have taken me to get stitches if he wasn't a mere shadow of a corpse. Instead, he cleaned the wound and patched me up while I put on my brave face (read: cried & curled up on the couch in the foetal position).

I did not let a minor flesh wound dampen my spirits however and sought a mode of transport. I took this task very seriously. After all, I am 27 years old. I am a published author. I have new employment in a prestigious pub on top of the second highest hill in London. So how did I choose to get to work?

On this.


Don't worry, it's made for adults. Or kids that weigh up to 100kg. Whatever, I fit on it, ok?!

And this was fine for my first few shifts. It was better than fine, it was fun. It was a conversation starter with my new coworkers and the patrons at the pub. Oh, and the feeling of flying down the second highest hill in London, daring myself to hold off on the brakes, feeling the wind in my (now blonde, purple and blue) hair was simply breath-taking.

Going home on Friday night / Saturday morning at around 2am and realising as I neared terminal velocity that I had no brakes thanks to a light dampness on the ground was breath-taking in a completely different way. In a split second, maybe even less, I had to decide whether to chance it with actually reaching terminal velocity before careering out on to the busy road this hill intersects with and hoping I could control the corner at full speed (if I made it over the speed bump alive, that is) and that no cars, trucks or buses would be wearing their usual path down that main road - or abandon all faith in a safe passage and simply abort the mission there and then.

Well I made my decision and I stand by it.

Ok, so I didn't stand for long.

My feet couldn't keep up as I tried to run at the speed my body mass was travelling at. Basic physics. Or gravity. Whatever, I stumbled and hit the bitumen. Hard. I ripped open my new shoes, tore three holes in my woollen tights (and the skin underneath on my knee and my ass cheek), grazed the heels of my palms and the pièce de résistance, smashed my entire shoulder into the ground as the lower half of my body collapsed. My skin was saved by my work shirt and Edgar Allan Poe hoodie.

Aptly, my iPod played "Goodbye yellow brick road" and Sarah Blasko mourned her own sad story about a painful road through my headphones. I sat in the gutter and cried. My hot pink scooter lay abandoned and skewif in the middle of the road. My hair, once free and windswept, started to matt to my face in a mixture of tears, sweat and light misty rain. Finally, with all the dignity I could muster, I picked myself and my scooter up and limped back to work.

My coworkers haven't known me long but even without my expressive face, it's not hard to tell when a girl hobbles in, mascara streaked down her face, hair a mess, holes in the uniform that minutes ago was pristine and dinosaur backpack hanging askew, something went wrong. As Wayne, the head chef put it to my boss, "Evel Knievel here didn't make her jump."

No Wayne, she did not.

I haven't been back on the scooter yet, but I will. It's too much fun. I will however, be purchasing a helmet. My mind boggles at the lack of laws here that allowed me to ride legally without a helmet. I also marvel at my own stupidity that I thought I was too cool or too invincible to wear one.

For the last four days I've been throwing up and at times, fighting in and out of consciousness. I've been in a lot of pain. I had to go A&E to get X-Rays. Thankfully and miraculously, nothing is broken. I have done severe muscle damage to my shoulder, will still be in a sling at the end of the week and have only today (Wednesday) managed the admirable feat of typing with two hands. Obviously, I haven't been able to work, thus haven't been able to get paid. I've relied on the generosity of my brother and future sister-in-law to keep me fed and looked after - including fetching my spew bucket and washing my dinosaur PJs for me when the fevers have rendered them unwearable.

In conclusion:

Expectation!


Reality.


And I'm going to Saint Paul's Cathedral before I kill myself!

Miss SAMawdsley xx

Questions:
  • What's the worst accident you've been in?
  • Do you remember the slow and painful process in a blow by blow, second by second account?
  • Have you ever been sick or injured in a foreign country?

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Adventures in red tape

In case you haven't heard, I moved from Brisbane, Australia to London, England last week. Bit of a change if I'm honest. I quit my comfortable, safety-net job and landed in London with a plan to live with my brother and his fiancee and hope that... well, hope that everything turned out ok.

The most daunting part of this whole expedition (other than the flying part, of course) was getting a job. Europe has made no secret of its tough economy and from what I read in the media, jobs are few and far between. So my plan has always been to get a bar job and study to attain my referee's certificate and start refereeing football.

I signed up for my referee's course before I left Australia so I had already outlaid £130 in the hopes it would lead to steady work (and, in all honesty, career advancement to say, refereeing the women's world cup!?)

So you can imagine my surprise when I found a pub that I fell in love with, cheekily asked if there were any jobs going, was asked to drop off my resume and attended a job interview where I actually answered the question "So how long have you been in England for?" with "well what day is it? Tuesday? Then one week and one day!" I got the job.

Turns out that was the easy part. I am a British citizen thanks to my lineage so I am entitled to work here. I am also entitled to not work here and claim benefits. But I've never claimed benefits in Australia and so I don't plan to do that in England either. Upon being offered a job, it became apparent that I needed a bank account for being paid and a national insurance number (NIN). Back in Australia, this is like a tax file number, I guess.

Making the call to get the NIN was horrible. The woman on the other end of the line sounded a special breed of mind-numbingly bored of her job and very suspicious of my motives.
"And why do you want a NIN, miss?"
"Because I want to work. I've been offered a job and I'd like to take it."
"And why don't you already have a NIN, miss?"
"Because I've only just got to England."
"So when did you get to England, miss?"
"A week ago. September 3."
"A week ago? And you say you already have a job, miss?"

Not the best response, apparently. So I have an appointment with them on October 1. Might have been earlier without the attitude, I suppose. But today I got my letter explaining when my appointment would be and how I needed to bring proof of identity and proof of address.

I got excited about this letter coming today because I planned to go into town to open a bank account. This letter, sent to me at my address from a government agency would be great proof of address to get my bank account. Or so you would think. I chose Barclays because they sponsor the English Premier League and I've always wanted a Barclays account. They turned me down because my letter from a government agency was not sufficient proof of address. I needed something more - you know, like a bank statement. The lovely Barclays' guy, who saw the obvious redundancy of the situation since I was sitting with my brother, who I live with and who has all the proof of address they needed, had a minor coughing fit that sounded something like "Go to Lloyds of London. They'll probably give you a bank account but do it today before this bank account application denial goes on your record and nobody will give you a bank account." I hope he feels better soon.

So on a hunch, Seamus and I went to Lloyds. Barclays guy was right. They didn't care that all I had was a letter of confirmation of an appointment with the NIN people as my proof of address. Not at all. But they were not taking my word for it that I had a job lined up. No sir. They wanted a letter from my future employer stating they would be letting me work behind their bar. Seriously. To open a freaking bank account. Not a credit card, I didn't want their money, just an account for my own money to sit in and the bank to earn interest on. But of course, I didn't have this letter of employment yet because I needed to provide my future employer with some bank account details for them to complete my employment. Oh yes. Bureaucracy gone mad!

So I had to traipse up the hill to my pub to get my future manager to write a letter saying "Yes, Samantha will be working for minimum wage pouring beers for the good people of London. Please, for the love of Batman, give her a damn bank account so our patrons can get beer!" Or something to that effect.

I returned, letter in hand (with a With Compliments slip stapled to it, for that official touch) to finally get a bank account with Lloyds of London. Now I can start work at The Castle tomorrow.

On the way home, I nearly died of laughter when I realised something.

The NIN people mailed me a letter demanding my proof of address.
I opened a bank account using the NIN people's letter demanding I get proof of address.
I will get a bank statement with this same address on it.
I will take this bank statement, obtained using the letter of demand to get proof of address, to my appointment with the NIN people and use this statement as my proof of address.

Red tape. Not half as sexy as it looks.
Miss SAMawdsley xx

Questions:
  • Have you ever been the victim of bureaucracy gone mad?

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Where I belong...

I was bullied in high school. I was a social outcast. It hurt, it destroyed my confidence and in a way, it crushed my spirit. While I know the initial bullying was for something stupid and outside of my control (my family & I did a milk run... I know, right?), my overly-enthusiastic, somewhat offbeat & eternally optimistic personality seemed to bait my bullies into damaging my self-esteem as much as possible. Even teachers recognised I was a little bit odd. In the last English lesson of high school, my teacher gave out a literary quote, hand picked for each student to reflect her feelings for us as individuals. Mine?
"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away." 
---Henry David Thoreau---
And that's what I have always done. I'm still overly-enthusiastic. I'm still somewhat offbeat. And I'm still eternally optimistic. But I'm also still very insecure that all these qualities I possess combine to make one really irritating human being who "deserves" all the bullying she got.

Until I joined a football team in 2011.

My cousin suggested I join & promised me that all the girls were a great & it was a very supportive team. I trusted her & honestly, it was the best decision I ever made. I was terrified going to the first training session. Dad, who just plain loves football, came with me. I was convinced that everyone would hate me, that I would just be "the new girl" and that I would not fit in.

I could not have been more wrong. Dad was straight away asked to be the assistant coach and the girls welcomed me as one of them. Not a single one treated me like I was anything but a friend and much appreciated teammate - and I mean for my personality, not for my (questionable) football prowess.

I was going through one of the worst periods of my life when I joined the team. I was actually suicidal and being part of a team that felt like they needed me helped save my life. I couldn't let them down when, by signing up to the team, I had made a promise. And I keep promises. Some of the girls knew about my troubles. They happily let me be number 7 to appease my OCD and it has been "my number" ever since. I "missed" one training session but what the girls don't know is I was actually there, in the parking lot, sobbing my heart out begging my dad to just let me kill myself. I tried so hard to be at training but I couldn't do it that night. But even despite it all, I knew, and I know now, that they would never judge me for all this.

Of course I signed on again this season. After our coach declined to continue, Dad was asked to be coach and he loves it - he genuinely loves all the girls and brags to his football team about what a great group of girls he has. Dad and I actually sold our house (after 20 years there) and moved closer to my teammates. Prior to this, we had lived 45 mins from my home ground. That's how much of a difference being part of this team has made to my life. Our biggest life decision in 20 years was made with the consideration of where my football team plays.

This season I tried to come off my Zoloft (which I am on for my OCD) and I became irritable and actually nearly got sent off in a few games. But my team understands me. They accept or dismiss my apologies as unnecessary and they love me anyway. It may be even because of my honesty. I don't know. All that matters to me is that they love and accept me.

I missed the last game of the season this year because my flight to England was 35 minutes before kick off. At my last game, most of the team agreed to come out to dinner with me to celebrate. I was only missing one game (and hope to be back in Australia in time for the next season) but they did the most amazing thing for me. After hearing of my Will Blog For Music campaign, the girls raised $100 to contribute and signed a huge card for me.




I cried. In many ways, I still feel like that bullied, outcast little girl, so to feel so accepted and loved by an entire group for exactly who I am, flaws and all, means more to me than any of the girls could possibly understand.

Today I spoke to Dad and he told me about the last game of the season that I missed to catch my flight to London. The girls, the amazing group of girls that I am so honoured to call my friends, wore yellow tape on their arms (the way other sporting teams were black arm bands as a mark of respect after a death) to show that I was there with them in spirit. I wear yellow tape on my football socks, that's the link there, but when Dad told me that, I cried. They didn't do it "for me", as in to tell me to make me happy, they did it "for me" in that they genuinely care about me and wanted to feel me there in spirit with them.

My team! See their yellow arm bands for me?
Since it was father's day, they also signed a father's day card for Dad and gave him a box of chocolates. Seriously. That's the group of girls I am talking about. That is my group of girls.

Even this post doesn't capture how I feel about my football team. How do you explain the way you feel for people who made you feel like a worthy human being, who welcomed you entirely for the first time ever and who, in essence, saved your life? I'm known for being quite verbose but in this case, I simply have five words.

Thank you. I love you.

Miss SAMawdsley xx

Questions:
  • Who do you owe thanks to?
  • Where do you feel the most comfortable?
  • What's been your experience with team sports?

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Saying goodbye.

"How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard."
~Annie
I leave for the UK in barely over a week. I will be gone for at least four months. So I have to say goodbye to a number of people. But goodbye seems so final, so inflexible. So one thing I make a point of when bidding farewell to people I know and love is to always say "see you later." If you know me in real life, it might be something you've noticed. And if you haven't, you probably will now.

I do this because I need that person to know I want to see them again. It is more a promise than anything else. Maybe a request or even a demand. And I do this fully expecting to actually see that person again.

I have said 'goodbye' twice, knowing full well it would be the last time I saw that person. They knew it too. One was my 80+ grandfather. The other was a two and a half day old baby. There was tears, heartache and a most surreal type of grief. It is something I wouldn't wish upon anyone, though I know it to be a stark reality of life.


But how do you word your goodbye when there is hope but you still know it may very well be the last time you ever see that person?
"Fare thee well! and if for ever,
Still for ever, fare thee well."
~Lord Byron
Tomorrow, I have to say goodbye to someone I know and have come to love and expect to be in my life. While I hope upon hope that it isn't the case, it is quite possible this person may pass away while I am overseas. I am devastated at the lack of support and hands on care I can offer. Together we fought this situation over the last year and we were told it was beat. And we rejoiced. But now, barely a week before I leave, we have been dealt the harshest of blows and the fight is back on. This time, with one less person to carry the burden.

A kind word and wishes for a speedy recovery mean a lot. Sitting by a hospital bed and being the smiling to face the greet the emergence from an anaesthesia means a lot more. I considered staying but it has been expressly forbade. Saying 'goodbye' is my only option.

But I've thought about it and I think the best thing I can do is to stay true to myself. Tomorrow I will say "see you later".

I request to see you later.
I demand to see you later.

I promise to see you later.


Miss SAMawdsley xx

Questions
  • Have you ever had to say 'goodbye'?

Thursday, 16 August 2012

If all else fails, read the instructions...

A Gummi Bear gave me some very good advice today.

Gather round and let me tell you a tale. Dad and I were reregistering my brother's car because I forgot to pay the rego. I'm clever like that. Dad was attaching the new number plates when I leaned in the car and realised it smelled damp. You know that wet dog smell? There was a Super Cheap right there so I decided to buy an air freshener in the hopes it would mask the wet dog smell. There happened to be one there called Cotton Candy and despite my car having having a completely neutral smell (except when 20 footballs are in the boot) I bought it for my car. I put one called Energy in my brother's car and Dad drove home. I put my cotton candy one in my car and drove to work.

To say my car smelled of cotton candy would be an understatement. The smell was overwhelming after one minute. I wound down the rear windows. I tried to focus on the rainbow road ahead of me and avoid the gumdrops cars. I was still in Candy Land when the Gummi Bear hitchiker I picked up back on Lollipop Lane asked if I was sure I had installed the air freshener right. I was offended. I may not have used air fresheners before but come on! How hard is it open a pack, take out the air freshener, hang it in your car and drive and enjoy the cotton candy aroma with your Gummi Bear hitchhiker passenger? (I believe he said his name was Cyril).

I humoured Cyril anyway, and looked at the directions. It turns out there are instructions for using an air freshener. You only take the air freshener out of the packet a tiny little bit more each week. This avoids potent hallucinations in which you're trapped in Katy Perry's California Gurls film clip.


This isn't the first time I've been caught out like this, either. Just this week I made my dad tomato soup (from a can, because Lord knows I am not a domestic goddess). At the shops, I bought him the single most expensive can I could find. After all, he was sick! I got it home and heated it up in a saucepan. So far, so good. When Dad began eating he said "Wow, this is really thick soup!" I proudly explained that I bought him the most expensive soup I could find! Nothing was too good for my sick father! He then asked me how much water I had to add to this brand of soup. ... ... ... err... none? Yeah, turns out soup is actually what is known as 'condensed'. This means "Just add water". One direction. It was right there on the can. "Empty can into saucepan. Fill can with water and add to saucepan. Heat." That was it, all I had to do. And I failed.

A few weeks before that I was at a party. A girl was drinking Ribena and adding tonic water to it. I asked her why she was doing that. She explained it was just like adding water but fizzier. I asked her why she would ever add water. She looked at me like I was idiot (fair call) and slowly explained "That's how you drink Ribena. It's like a cordial. You add water." Want to know why I stopped drinking Ribena? Because I thought it was so ridiculously overpriced when you only got two or three cups out of each bottle. I never actually read the instructions...

So my new motto! No matter how self-explanatory or obvious it may seem, I am going to start reading the instructions on absolutely everything!



Cyril the Gummi Bear agrees.

Miss SAMawdsley xx

Questions:
  • Have you (or someone you know) ever ignored instructions?
  • What are some stupid instructions you've seen?

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

"911, what's your emergency?"

Have you ever found yourself in an emergency situation? One that you can't handle yourself so you need to call the professionals - ambulance, police, fire brigade?


I have, but because I was alone with my older brother, he was the one to call the authorities. We were home alone and suddenly I looked up and saw a man covered in blood standing in my hallway. My brother had let him in because he had come to our kitchen window begging for help. The people trying to kill him were outside and started banging on our windows, screaming for us to let them in. Seamus called the police (although an ambulance arrived too) and instructed me to run around the house making sure every window was secured. I was terrified, naturally, but my brother was the one to deal with the emergency and I just followed his orders.

Tonight, I faced an emergency situation on my own. I went to get chicken nuggets for dinner - because I'm 8 years old - and on the way, saw what I thought was a fender bender at the roundabout ahead. I moved into the right hand lane to go around but the two cars in front of me didn't move. The drivers were watching the activity beside us.

Two guys were standing at the driver's door of a Commodore. I watched as the two guys sauntered back to their car when suddenly one guy bolted back to the Commodore and tried to open the door. The driver reefed it closed again but didn't get it locked in time and the young man leaned in and started bashing the driver. Immediately, my brain screamed at me to do something! I picked up my phone to call '000' (the national emergency number here in Australia. Suddenly, and I wish I was making this up, my brain frantically argued, 'no, no! Call 911!! This is a real emergency!' Well done, Hollywood. Well done.
Thankfully, common sense prevailed and I called '000'.

As the phone was ringing, I got out of my car to go intervene. I don't know what I intended to do. I'm 5'6" and around 60kg but I couldn't do nothing! All of a sudden I noticed that the ringing phone was getting quieter. My fancy car's bluetooth phone system had my call and if I left the side of my car, I would not be able to summon help. So I began screaming: "Stop! Stop hitting him! Leave him alone! Just stop!!"

Finally a calm voice on the other end asked, 'Police, fire or ambulance?' I forgot they would do that. I thought the person answering would be immediately able to help. In a panicked voice I hope to never hear again, I pleaded for the police and gave her the suburb and state I was in. She put me through. By this stage, the man from the Commodore had half been dragged, half got out to defend himself.


The phone rang. The operator said she'd try another number. The phone rang again. The operator tried another number.

I watched helplessly as the attacker started sparring towards the Commodore driver. He raised his hands to defend himself. Then the attack got more vicious and he lunged towards the driver, punching wildly. The driver, panicked and trying to back away, tripped, landing on his back beside his rear tyre. The phone continued ringing. I continued screaming at him to stop! But he didn't. He leaned over the driver and began punching him repeatedly. The phone continued ringing. I tried again to make my way towards the incident, thinking I could run back to my car or scream my location to the police officer when they finally answered.

Finally a man from one of the cars that had obviously began to build up behind us came to the rescue. I couldn't hear him but I continued screaming, urging him to stop. I realised I needed details so I took this opportunity to take down the number plates of both cars using my phone. The attacker eventually let up and sauntered back to his car. Then seriously, both cars drove away. I know, right? Madness.

I considered telling the operator I didn't need the police anymore but I decided I should at least report what I had seen. And I was connected. The police officer I spoke to said I did the right thing. She insisted it was better that I wasn't able to leave the side of my car to intervene as much as I wanted to. Despite her assurances, I feel like I was useless. I know it could have been very dangerous and I could have been hurt but I really wish I was able to have done more. The officer was also impressed that I had taken the details of both cars. Unfortunately, due to the dark and the positioning of the cars, I wasn't able to identify the make or model of the second car. It was just a black 4WD that I didn't immediately recognise like I could with the Commodore.

So all things considered, did I do the right thing? I know what I did was right, per se. Sitting back and doing nothing would be wrong. But how did I really handle the emergency?

Firstly, I momentarily went to call '911'. That shows a clarity of thinking and presence of mind, right? Can you say 'panic'?

Secondly, I couldn't make my brain work enough to turn my car's bluetooth system off to enable me to make the phone call while simultaneously breaking up the fight. Between three huge men. But still! It's the course of action I wanted to take.

Thirdly, was that desire to intervene a mistake? If I was able to run over like my instinct demanded what would have happened to me? The likelihood is nothing other than some choice insults but the possibility ranges from damage to my property to serious injury to my person.

Fourthly, I thought about gathering evidence. I had my iPhone - as does much of the population - and what tools did I choose to use? The notepad. Seriously. I typed the number plates of both cars as a note.  When I got home, after I finished crying and blubbering about how much I hate the world, shaking and trying to ease my headache, Dad asked me if I'd taken any photos. Err... no. Why not? I clearly remember thinking 'Take note of what these people look like. Remember the scene. Focus on as much detail as possible." Or... I could have taken a photo. Why didn't I think of that?

Just take a second to consider how you should react in an emergency.

Remember to stay calm, make keeping yourself safe your main priority, focus on getting help and concentrate on obtaining and/or remembering as much as you can for future reference.

Miss SAMawdsley xx

Questions:
  • Have you ever had to use your national emergency number?
  • How do you think you have previously coped with an emergency?
  • If you've never been faced with an emergency situation, do you think you would be ok?

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

#WBFM Are dogs really man's best friend?

Do you remember in high school when you got an assignment and you would scan the task sheet for the essay topic? If it was hard you would feel yourself drown in a pit of despair. If it was easy, you would casually drop it in the bottom of your school bag to be completely ignored until the night before the due date. Come to think of it, that's what I did even if it was hard. Maybe that's just me. But this little task comes courtesy of one of the sweetest benefactors of my campaign, MK13.

Well this topic for my #WBFM campaign (which you can still donate towards) isn't either of the those things. It's a little bit painful for me actually. My family has always had two pet dogs (with occasional weeks of having one dog). In fact, this is the first time in my life we haven't had any dogs. Dogs are awesome. Our main reason for owning dogs was the security. Not that any of the dogs we've owned have been terrific guard dogs. The best one we had was Sasha, a poodle x cattle dog who would bark incessantly at any stranger but would do so while backing up and remaining a few metres away. For that purpose, we could have got an alarm system. Or a 6' razor wire fence. The dogs were of course wonderful company who we loved dearly but as far as best friends go? No. No, not really.

Well in 2006, for the first time ever, I got my own dog. I wanted my very own pure bread tri colour beagle. I had saved up a lot of money to buy a Mini and I had a little bit left over. I decided I wanted a little boy puppy and found a breeder. My best friend and I drove out on Valentine's Day and I had my pick of the litter. But instead of the little boy puppy I had wanted, I fell in love with a gorgeous little girl. She rode home on Jess' lap and on the drive home, I decided to name her Luna.

Luna and I were inseparable. I took her everywhere I could. She would sit on the passenger seat of my Mini and we would listen to Michael Buble on the old school tape deck. I would sit on my back step and she would come bolting towards me and just leap, with absolute faith that I would catch her so she could settle into my lap (see photo). I bought her everything she needed in red - collar, leash, bowl, toys. She had a little bunny that she absolutely loved. I would even take her with me to Hervey Bay - a five hour trip one way in my Mini and she would sit patiently, even as a little puppy and watch the world go by. I would talk to her or I'd sing and sometimes, when we got settled on the highway, she would crawl over on to my lap.


I may make this sound like a long time but it really was only the space of twelve weeks. Because one day, she slipped out of the fence and was hit by a car. She didn't survive. I was at work. When I got home, I walked into the garage where Dad was and asked him where Luna was. The look on his face. I couldn't describe it but I know he spent the whole day dreading me coming home. I collapsed. I literally collapsed. I screamed. I howled. I became so hysterical that I became allergic to my own tears and my whole face swelled up. The only other time this happened was when my uncle died. I don't remember a lot of the time after this. I have a vague memory of sobbing in my work lunch room. I thought things I'm not proud of and showed weaknesses I wish I didn't have.

She was everything to me and I had so carefully thought about what my life would be like with Luna. I would have her when I got married. My children would have her as their first pet. She would grow up with them. I would always need to live where I had a yard for her. I made those decisions and was prepared for them. But it never happened. She would have been six now. And while I have a best friend, a best friend #2 and a best friend #3, Luna would still be a special kind of best friend. She would always be there for me and I would always be there for her. It's a different kind of reciprocal friendship to my human friends but I can't deny, Luna was one of the best friends I have ever had. When I get back from England, I plan to try again and find myself a new furry best friend, but there will never be another Luna.

Miss SAMawdsley xx


Questions

  • Do you think dogs can be man's best friend?
  • What was the best dog you ever had?
  • Do you prefer cats or dogs?

Monday, 23 July 2012

Honestly, I just have thanatophobia & OCD

I am an honest person by nature. I mean that in the sense that I am not deceitful or deceptive. But I also mean I am forthcoming and open.

Sometimes I worry that I am judged negatively for my honesty and that, in the eyes of an extremely negative or jaded person, I could be viewed as attention seeking. I like attention, yes. I am human. But that is not my motivation behind my honesty - especially in regards to my mental health.

People view the mentally ill in a negative fashion. They just do. They're seen as a little bit scary, unstable and weak. Depending on the type of mental illness, this attitude can vary but it's never exactly positive, is it? I don't want to have people feel that way about me. I don't want them to be on eggshells, wondering what is happening inside my head. And aside from that, I don't want to hide. I am not ashamed of my mental illnesses. I didn't choose them and I refuse to be ashamed of something that is outside of my control.

There is another reason for my honesty too. I want to help people. When I told my psychologist about my attitude towards my mental illnesses and that I refused to be ashamed or hide them, he told me he wished he could bottle my attitude and give it to his other patients. I want people to see that it's OK to be honest. It's not OK to be mentally ill in that you don't need to seek treatment or try to get better, but it is OK in that you shouldn't need to hide or pretend. I think this helps with recovery. I know it helps me with mine!

I also know that my thanatophobia is rare. And if it is not rare, it is rarely spoken of. And one is as bad as the other for a sufferer. So I talk. I share my experiences and my thoughts. I tell my story in real time. And I am honest.

And sometimes, something happens that makes me realise I am doing the right thing. Don't get me wrong, I have detractors. I've heard myself referred to as a narcissist, an attention-seeker, a liar and just a good ol' fashioned nut job. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. I am very slowly developing the thick skin needed to carve myself out a corner of the internet for projecting my voice from. And I don't feed the trolls.

Yesterday, an article was written about me in the Sunday Mail. I was interviewed about my job running the 100+ Club and the book that I have written (which you can purchase here) when the conversation turned to my thanatophobia. I believe the journalist had checked out my social media presence. Anyway, she was so fascinated by our brief conversation that the next day she asked if she could do a whole story just on me and my mental health. This would never have happened without my trademark honesty.



Well a flurry of people sought my Facebook page and in turn, joined my little support group, The Safe Space. They told me they thought they were alone - the only sufferer in the world - crazy. But reading my story helped them. Some, profoundly. And none of this, none, would have happened without my honesty! And my favourite comment is this one, from a lady named Narelle: "I was in tears when I was reading the write up in the Sunday paper this morning. When I started to read other people's messages and their own experience I couldn't believe there were other people going through the exact same fears as myself. It was almost a relief knowing I wasn't alone in this."

So judge away, world. Whisper behind my back, call me crazy and call me a narcissist. But I am making a difference in this world. I am helping people and I am damn proud of who I am and what I am achieving. Honestly.

Miss SAMawdsley xx

Questions

  • Do you ever hide who you are?
  • Under what circumstances should someone hide their true self?

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Happy birthday, BFF


This is a love story. Plain, simple, pure. A story of the person in my life who out of pure choice, I love more than any other.

Her name is Jessica. I know that now but when I first met her, I kept forgetting her name. My forgetfulness was so persistent that Jess wore a black jumper with her name written in glitter puff paint and fireworks. I still remember that. But there's a lot I don't remember. You see, we were very young when we first met. In fact, I was five and she was four. It was early 1991.

Both our dads played football and were on the same team. At the first game of the season, Jess' dad said to her "why don't you go play with that little girl in the park?" So she did. And other than the fact it took me a while to learn her name, we soon became inseparable. Our families became friends and we soon spent all the time we could together. I wish I could remember what we talked about. We went to different schools but I came to learn all about her life outside of the time spent with me. I knew all her school friends' names. She would talk about Jason and I would talk about Thomas - our "boyfriends".


For a while, every year we would go to the Lord Mayor's Christmas Carols. I would bring my school best friend and she would bring hers. The four of us would dress up like idiots and sing all the carols. We made up "Daddy-Daughter Ekka Day". That's how we pitched it to our dads and they totally fell for it - taking us to the Ekka, handing over money and rolling their eyes as together we yelled "Thanks, Dad!" and took off, leaving our fathers to wander the Ekka together. In 2001 we made going to Leyburn an annual tradition! We actually spent a lot of time at motoring events with my dad.


We made up our own secret language. We wore matching clothes - but with Jess in purple and me in blue (Glitter fairies?). We learned how to put on make up together. When Dad taught me to drive, I taught Jess to drive.
"Sam, you're going to hit that tree."
"No, I'm not."
*hits the tree*
"I told you so."
"Uh oh..."
We started a band called M & M (we can't explain it to this day, but it was before Eminem) and wrote our own song...
"I work on a milk run for $12.10It don't but much but it pays the rent.I work all day and I work all night.Trying to make a living, it's an endless fight. 
It's liiiiiiiiiiife! It's liiiiiiiiiiiife! It's liiiiiiiiiiiiiiife. It's life! 
I work as a babysitter, minding someone's kidby the end of the night, I've flipped my lid.I work all day and I work all night.Trying to make a living, it's an endless fight. 
It's liiiiiiiiiiife! It's liiiiiiiiiiiife! It's liiiiiiiiiiiiiiife. It's life!"
Lyrical genius, right? Yeah, we were like 12. We knew nothing about life.


In 2001 Jess' family decided they were moving to Townsville. To say I was devastated was an understatement. I cried. I told Dad I was moving to Townsville with them. Jess cried. She told her family she was staying in Brisbane and living with me. Neither plan eventuated and they moved anyway. She came down to visit me in the school holidays - her flight was booked with Ansett (remember them? But they collapsed just before she left!) Then we caught the Sunlander to Townsville. It ended up being over 24 hours on a train. Super fun! But for us, it really was. We rocked Townsville.

Her family moved back to Brisbane before school went back in 2002 and her family said she could go to any school she wanted. She chose mine! I could not have been more excited but Jess is almost a year younger than me so while I was in grade 12, she was in grade 11. Naturally we sat together at lunch time and my friends all became her friends. Sadly, that meant the grade 11s assumed she was snobby and did what bitchy teenagers do.

We'd always planned to live together in an awesome unit in the city and have awesome city jobs. That... never quite happened... But we worked together at two jobs. Jess got me a job as a waitress at 'The Tavern'. I got her a job as a waitress at 'The Hotel'. 

In the ultimate demonstration of our love for each other, we got matching tattoos. We have four leaf clovers. Jess has it on her left hip (as she is left handed) and I have the mirror image on my right hip (as I am right handed). How do I know Jess is my BFF? She volunteered to go first. a) She was 100% on board with the idea and b) she trusted that I would do it after her.



We've been on holidays together. She came to stay with me in Bundaberg when I moved there for uni while she finished grade 12. We've shared almost every birthday with each other. I threw her a surprise sweet 16 birthday party. We've even spent Christmas day together.



Today is Jess' 26th birthday - the 21st birthday I have shared with her. I have a million stories I could share - the time we went to Rainbow Beach and watched the sunset from the dunes. And the dolphin jumped over the sun. Oh, wait. That was a dream - the time I had a grooming and deportment photo shoot at school and I convinced the teacher to let Jess come even though she went to a different school - the time we went to a movie marathon to watch three movies we had no interest in just to watch the fourth movie, Harry Potter, because we got into Harry Potter just after the first movie finished screening - "Hey there good looking!" "What?!" "...Want some chicken?" - the time we nearly lost my puppy down a storm drain and Jess, quick as a flash and with no regard her her own life (and the fact it was a gross storm drain) leapt in after him and saved Cujo - the time we were part of an actual world record breaking game of 'cram people into a mini' - the time we went to Goomburra for two nights and got completely lost and then when we finally found it we had no food and the lady who ran the place had to give us her own frozen steak and the next day we stole a sunflower to thank her and then proceeded to melt her tupperware while trying to cook microwave popcorn - but instead, on this auspicious occasion, I'll tell you about the time we went to Toowoomba.

I was meant to be on the absolutely compulsory senior camp. So naturally I didn't go. Instead, Jess' parents let her have the week off school too and we went to stay with my mum in Warwick. Mum had an appointment in Toowoomba so she dropped us off at the local shopping centre. We watched Dracula 2000 and wandered around the shops. When we finally got bored, we decided to explore Toowoomba - a pretty small little town. We ended up at a school.

Now remember, we were meant to be at school so students were there and we were dressed for shopping. At 15, 'dressing for shopping' meant tight jeans and tiny, sparkly tops. So there we were ambling around this school when we saw what looked like the office so we brazenly decided to go in. With much flourish, we pushed open the double doors and took a step in. Only it wasn't the office. It was a classroom. Full of students. Many startled, staring students.

We hightailed it out of there. We were giggling and breathless when we saw a very determined and official looking person. And he was clearly looking for us. We decided to face him. I mean, we weren't students, what could he do? We hurriedly chose our cover story.
"Can I help you girls?"
"Yeah, hi! Um, we're new to the town and Mum told us to go have a look at schools we like the look of. So maybe we would like to enrol here?"
The man, who we figure was the principal, looked us up and down.
"Well this is a grammar school. And it is an all boys school. I suggest you leave and enrol elsewhere."

I've known you for 21 years and you have been there through
absolutely everything. When I say you're my best friend,
I'm not just stating a fact, I'm not just shamelessly bragging, I'm
making sure everybody knows that they better not encroach on
my territory - that you are my best friend and I am so proud
and so thankful that I can say that.
Happy birthday, Jess! Love always & forever, Samantha xx

Miss SAMawdsley xx

Questions
  • Do you have a best friend?
  • How did you meet and how long have you known each other?
  • What is your favourite story you've shared with your best friend?
<3 Happy birthday, my Adam. Eight years old. Gone but never forgotten. <3