Welcome to the inside of my head.

Posts tagged ‘Parent’

Grief

My phupho, my dad’s sister, passed away this morning. She had suffered with ill health for the majority of her life and if there is anything positive at all to take away from this, it is that she is no longer in pain. But she leaves behind two children, aged only 21 and 17 whose lives have been turned upside down in a heartbeat.

She was one of the most gentlest women I have ever known. She was never physically strong but she was a fierce mother.

We found out yesterday that she had been taken to the hospital and that things were looking bad. However this had happened several times before and we all prayed that she’d get through it again. But everyone’s body has a limit and she reached hers.

My family is stricken; the grief in my house is palpable. Today has just been a blur of tears, tissues and phonecalls, so many phonecalls. My dad is the rock of our house who always keeps a level head and he’s just broken. I can’t even look him in the eye; it hurts me to see him like this. My mum has been alternating between stories of my phupho and heavy choking sobs. And me. All I keep hearing in my head is her voice saying ‘Aliya beti (child)’ the way she used to. I find some comfort in tears but then a little while later someone says something and the grief hits me again like a tidal wave.

The only thing I pray for this New Year is that my phupho rest in peace and that God gives the rest of us strength.

Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi rajioon
“Surely we belong to Allah and to Him shall we return”

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127. My 11+ Experience

Over the last few days, my mum has been receiving results about how well her tutees did in their 11+ exam. It makes me feel old when I realise I was one of those kids more than a decade ago. For those unfamiliar with this exam, it is an entrance test to get into a grammar school or an ability selective school. These schools are sort of like private schools (minus the poshness and manners) without paying the money thus making it extra popular with brown parents.

It’s hard to say for sure what have been the most important moments of my life but I can say with confidence that passing my 11+ exam was one of them. I am so grateful for the opportunities and teaching I received at my secondary school. If I hadn’t passed, I would have been going to a local girl’s school and I’m sure I would have turned out rather different:

  • (even) more chavvy
  • not as good (but hopefully not bad) academically
  • probably uncomfortable around guys.

I’m not sure I would have made it to Imperial. Who knows if I’d even be studying Mathematics?! I definitely wouldn’t have had James (ewww a boy) as a best friend.

My parents only realised you sit the 11+ when you’re 10 about 4 months before the exam (who came up with that?) so I had limited time to prepare for it. Four months sounds like ages but it’s not uncommon for parents to start years in advance. That’s how fierce the competition is. I had 3 papers to sit: verbal reasoning, non verbal reasoning and maths. Out of the three, my preference was for Mathematics. I remember actually enjoying the practice papers. On the flip side I had to work hardest for non verbal reasoning which tests how well you notice patterns and sequences through images eg.

(I’ll post the answer at the bottom)

Preparing for the 11+ was the first time I really committed myself to something. My parents claimed that it didn’t matter what the outcome was as long as I tried my best. Total bull of course. We were all totally invested in it. And attending the opening evening for my secondary school cemented it further. I walked through the doors of the green and blue school building and decided that it was the place for me.

I don’t remember much about the day except that I had orange juice and a Penguin chocolate bar in the break. But I remember being really nervous… right up till the moment I started the paper after which I just focused on the questions. As the exam was multiple choice, I had no idea how well or badly I had performed. Whenever my mum asked I told her that if I passed, it would be a scrape and if I didn’t, it would be by a small margin.

I was quite anxious about receiving the results but not nearly as much as my parents. I was at school when my results letter arrived. My mum doesn’t believe the whole ‘patience is a virtue’ stuff and tore it in. She then promptly drove to my school, stormed in, found me waiting in the queue for lunch, dragged me into an empty music room and swung me around. One of the happiest moments of my life.

Turns out I did pretty good too. In typical fashion I dropped one mark on the Maths paper. When my dad asked me what I wanted as a present, I wracked my brains for the best possible thing I could think of and said… A FISHBURGER FROM McDONALDS.

Not so clever after all.

Over and Out!

(The answer is B)

66. I think my discomfort-meter just peaked.

lucaspeytontruelovealways

Good God, seeing something steamy on TV when my parents are around is one of the most uncomfortable feelings ever.

Picture the scene: Two characters will be talking and to my horror I’ll realise they’re flirting and the sexual tension is building. Two seconds later they leap on other, snogging the living daylights out of one other and ripping off each other clothes.

Here’s what usually happens when I’m stuck in this situation:

Avoid all eye contact
Look anywhere…anywhere at all, besides the tv screen. This is the perfect time to start counting how many flowers are on my wallpaper (126).

Fidget 
Do something, anything, so that it looks like I’m distracted from the shenanigans on tv. I usually feign getting more ‘comfortable’, patting the cushions or twiddling my thumbs.

Check my phone
Lifesaver! Remember that text I got yesterday that I couldn’t be bothered to reply to- well now’s the perfect time to reply with an essay. Check Facebook. Scroll through my photos. Change my ringtone settings- it doesn’t matter that my phone is always on silent. Just look busy.

Take a loo break
If I’ve seen the movie before and anticipate a steamy scene, I will just dash upstairs and have a pee. If my bladder’s empty, I’ll simply wash my hands and contemplate life or something.
I did this one time and I went downstairs feeling smug that I’d just escaped an awkward situation only to realise that my dad had pressed pause so I didn’t miss anything. Epic fail.

Head for the fridge
Fill the awkwardness with food. One time I searched the fridge but there was nothing decent to snack on. I didn’t want to come back empty handed so I took a tomato.

Awkward fast forwarding
If the show’s recorded, the natural thing to do is to fast forward. This is an awful time to lose the remote (I’m still scarred from that incident). The bad thing about fast forwarding is that you still ‘see’ everything…just very quickly.

Change the channel
If it’s not recorded, someone will usually change the channel and I’ll pretend to be really engrossed about some documentary about.. something. There have been a few times when my dad’s changed the channel and then changed back (often more than once) but they’re still ‘at it’. Cringe.
The worst time was when my dad changed channels to a programme that was also in the middle of a steamy moment. I could have cried.

Over and Out!