Half Way There

Hi all!

So as I’m writing this blog post, I’m attempting to deal with the fact that the Half Yearly Exams for my last year in high school are coming up soon. And like many other thousand students in the state of NSW, I feel completely unprepared.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a bad student. I’m just nervous. I’m currently completing five subjects:

  • Standard English
  • Physics
  • Legal Studies
  • Ancient History
  • Mathematics Extension 2

And like any other person who manages their time unbelievably bad, I’m just as equally fearful of the exams. Last year, I completed Chemistry and Mathematics Extension 1 and regrettably, I slacked off throughout the year. Fortunately though, it had no lasting impacts and ended up doing generally well in the accelerated subjects. But that isn’t quite the point – the point I’m making is, if you’re going to have an exam soon, study for it.

It’s like a race – you can’t expect to succeed in something you have very little practise in. Running occasionally for the train isn’t exactly training, is it? With that somewhat lame analogy aside, today I aim to start studying 4 at the very least 4 weeks in advance. And if you’re studying in Australia, you definitely have been informed of what’s going down for the English exam.

English for me is an ‘okay’ subject, but quite upsetting. To be honest, I don’t quite understand the point of getting students to memorise multiple essays and test them on it. What are they comparing exactly? The memory of students? I just don’t get it (It would be greatly appreciated if someone did explain it to me) and frankly, until I do, I’ll participate in collective hate for the subject with the rest of my peers.

I know that the fear of the half yearly exams will eventually fade, and so will the importance of whatever mark I may get. But after that…
There’s the actual HSC.


Australia Bound! (Part 2)

For Part 1 of this “Life” post, click here.

By the end of 2003, the land of Australia was fast closing in. Dad had left a few weeks prior to our own departure, leaving us to say farewell to our family members. It’s important to know that when you live in a Spanish family, life can be a little… crowded. But alas, family is family right? We spent our remaining time in the warmth of our family – the days reserved for the odd family member we would see every once in a while, the nights being used to spend time with our grandparents.

But it was soon over. With a bag full of clothes and a handful of English phrases in tow, I boarded a plane for the first time. It was a rather ordinary flight but as you could probably guess, it was amazing through the eyes of my 6 year old self. I remember having the window-seat, and so I spent the next 24 hours staring at clouds. The excitement of being in a plane soon faded as the day turned into night; the white clouds into a dark sea. I shortly fell asleep.

I awoke as my mum nudged me in the shoulder, the newfound sunlight seeping in from the window. The plane was flying lower now, circling around the city of Sydney. It was something I had never seen before – high rises, buildings, bridges and roads stretched as far as I could see. As the plane started it’s descent, it became harder and harder to contain my excitement. The aircraft came to a pause, people shuffled their way outside and I suddenly found myself in the cold, neatly paved parking of the airport.

Dad had been waiting for us with a bright red minivan (which sadly, we don’t own anymore). We hopped on and 2 hours later, we had arrived in the middle of Australia’s suburbia – the Western Suburbs. At the time, I had a very little idea of how the world worked, how Australia worked and how long I would be staying here.

It never occurred to me that I would still be in the same suburb, 11 years later, writing about the same day.

Watching: Muriel’s Wedding (1994)

Although I watched it as part of the English curriculum in school, Muriel’s Wedding is a surprisingly loveable film. With a range of distinctive characters, nostalgic ABBA soundtrack and both humorous and touching plot, this movie has become one of the greatest films to come out from Australia in my opinion.

I had already known the plot of the film before going into it. Small town girl stands up against the world to build her self-confidence. Simple I thought – it was a simple plot ergo, a simple essay that I had to write. But within 15 minutes of watching the dreary, depressing and unfortunate life of Muriel, those thoughts were blown away.

The story follows Muriel Heslop, a woman considered the laughing stock; the ugly duckling by the people of Porpoise Spit. Living at home, jobless and without anyone to provide any real sense of support, life for Muriel is understandably depressing. Using ABBA music and her dreams of getting married to escape the real world, Muriel later learns to stand up against those who stomp on her wishes and becomes perhaps what we all yearn to be – happy with herself.

Muriel’s journey is arduous and ultimately a metaphor for the sense of belonging everyone wants to achieve. P. J. Hogan, director of the film, creates an incredible sense of isolation within modern society, as well as the barriers many are confined to as a result of being labelled a misfit or an outcast. The soundtrack for the film, which was mainly comprised of ABBA hits, was considered to have revived ABBA’s own popularity around the world but mostly within Australia. Escapism and reality is explored within the film through Muriel’s character, as well as the lengths an individuals will go through to obtain a sense of normality or complacency in their lives.

At the beginning, I had already judged the movie in a negative light. In a way, I’m happy it did as it was able to break down and surpass my expectations. Although the film itself is a decade old and filled with music unknown to our generation (This may actually be honest though), Muriel’s Wedding  is an emotional masterpiece from start to finish. If you’re willing to put yourself through any romantic comedy, then I sincerely suggest to give this movie a go – You won’t regret it.

Bry Rating:  4.5/5
Recommended? Definitely
Country of Origin: Australia

Australia Bound! (Part 1)

Hi Everyone! So for the first “Life” related post on this blog, I decided to talk about my travel from my home country Ecuador to the land down under, Australia. I’ll be making the overall story in parts, so check them out every week.

The farthest back in my memory I can go to is the age of 4. I vaguely remember moments before this age, but this was around the time I became conscious of the world around me. My family lived in a four story building which my grandparents owned and much of my childhood was spent playing in the outdoor area on the second floor.

My mother, who had left our country to look for a new place for us to live, has a very little role in my early childhood memories. My grandmother instead had taken that mantle  – “Mami Chenita” being what my two brothers and I called her. Our grandfather (who was adequately named “Papi Ramon”) was perhaps the person I felt most close to though. I was very similar to him apparently, a younger version many would say (I have him to thank for the green/hazel eyes). I would play away the days with my younger brother, the older one much to old to concern himself with us. Looking back now I had a very happy childhood. Yet in spite of this sunshine-filled existence, I was completely and utterly oblivious to what my mother was going through in finding a new place to call home.

My memory is very sparse between 4 – 6. As far as I think I know, mum had come back to us when I had turned 6 with our new step-father in tow. It was an interesting year – my mother had placed a larger interest in English and talked of an “Australia”. Now I had no idea of what Australia was – I think I thought it was an ice-cream flavour rather than a country. I do remember thinking I was great at English though, or at least enough to authorise me to teach my grandma the language. In any case, by the end of the year “Australia” became all that dad and mum would talk about. The wonderful land of Australia.

Australia, Australia, Australia…