our grad trip ~ Valerie

 It’s been exactly 30 days since we got back from our graduation trip, and it’s also been 30 days since I’ve been meaning to write this post (that is how bad my procrastination gets). I think I keep putting it off because I don’t know how to sum up nine days of pure bliss into a few paragraphs. And I still don’t know how to do so, but if I don’t post something soon I’m worried Vic will actually murder me, so I’m just going to try.

Just for some context: 21 of us from our graduating class of 43 people went to Phuket, Thailand, two weeks after finishing our IB exams. We all stayed in a huge villa that looked like this:

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We did a bunch of adrenaline-filled-bucket-list-worthy activities such as ziplining,

 

quad biking,

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(sitting behind Vic while she was driving really wasn’t the best idea-we rammed into a tree not just once but twice and also nearly overturned)

white-water rafting,

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& island hopping.

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The thing is—while all the the above were exciting once-in-a-lifetime things I thoroughly enjoyed, they weren’t really the highlights of the trip. This is probably the most clichéd thing to say but it’s true: what made the trip so unforgettable was the company of the friends I’d grown up with from the start, and the simple things we did together that made me treasure the bond we shared. 

I’m referring to all the times we spent in that family room: to playing Saboteur and Monopoly Deal and Charades; to the stupid (and immature) things we came up with to pass time such as creating fake drama and staging a fight in the group chat; to the dabbing contests and impressions of French and Scottish and Surfer Dude accents for three straight hours; to the late nights we talked about everything and reminisced about the years gone by.

I’ll miss running through the pouring rain just to get the banana-nutella ice cream rolls, riding a pimped out tuk-tuk through the streets of Phuket, singing during the long coach rides, and playing hide and seek (and hiding in the same spot four times just to mess with people’s heads). I’ll miss playing childish water games in the pool and only getting out when the shattered glass posed a safety hazard (Vic I’m looking at you). I’ll miss swimming in the ocean, nearly drowning, and having to get pulled back to shore by a lifeguard. And I’ll miss our pathetic attempt at movie night–we argued for half an hour about which film to watch, and promptly fell asleep ten minutes into the movie after finally deciding on something. 

Then there was the element of domesticity where we acted like a real and dysfunctional family, be it dinners where we’d all sit together at a long table and talk and eat and compete to see whose food would come the quickest, shopping together and buying not only entire carts of junk food but also Adult-ing and getting cleaning supplies, or making eggs and French fries and cutting dragon fruit at 3am. You’d think that 21 teenagers living together in a villa would be a definite call for some sort of disaster, but we probably could have lived there and functioned like a true family for months on end and still be fine. I WISH we could have lived there for a month, because the 9 days passed by way too quickly.

I remember the last night of the trip like it was yesterday. We were all sitting in the family room, crammed like sardines on the couches as usual. We went in rounds confessing things to each other, and then played truth or dare and laughed till our stomachs hurt and we couldn’t breathe. I remember looking around and thinking “we’ll never get to do this again we’ll grow apart and all be in different places and it’ll never be the same.” And I remember the next morning sitting at Kamala beach on a log (after having been on an extremely illegal motorbike ride) watching the sky turn from black to orange to pink to baby blue thinking, “this is actually it” and feeling that horrible sense of finality.

But, as I’ve said, it’s been 30 days since getting back to Hong Kong. I did go through a few days of mild post-trip depression, but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been (I was luckily distracted). I definitely still miss Phuket, though–the other day Vic came over for a sleepover and all we did was go through the Google drive of photos and videos from the trip (we have no life). I don’t know when this grad trip will fade into thin wisps of memory, but I hope it never does. I want to forever remember one of the best weeks of my life when I felt like life was at a peak unable to get any better, surrounded by a family that I truly loved. 

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Valerie

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