Thursday, August 5, 2010

Living Up to Expectations (2)

Anime_schoolgirl_fav638_edited… High school in Indonesia was so different.

In Indonesia, it was okay to be smart and nerdy. If you were smart, almost everyone wanted to be your friend. If you could speak fluently in English – which was something they wished they could do – you were totally cool.

It didn’t take me too long to fit in. I was “the new kid”. I was a like a brand new, flashy, expensive toy and so everyone wanted to be my friend. I was in the top strata. Unfortunately, I still had too much individualism in me. I had the thought ground into me that I shouldn’t expect much from people and the important thing was survival. So it was typical that some of the kids thought that I was a snob. I didn’t always say hi to people passing by, even though I knew them. I didn’t talk too much. I liked doing things by myself. After a while, eventually, I had to adapt because the snide remarks were getting annoying.

So then I tried again to survive to the current conditions. I became sweet and cheerful. I became accustomed to the culture in how the kids avoided being confident because it was often confused with arrogance. Everyone was so scared of being a snob. So everyone was constantly undermining themselves and acting pessimistic, even the smart kids. It was something contagious… I caught it.

I got through junior high well, being the typical good student again. I competed in a lot of competitions just because the teachers told me to. I didn’t have much of a say. Sometimes they came to class, asking for me, and before I knew it that day I was being escorted to a mathematics competition without any information beforehand to prepare myself.

But I did have a lot of nice memories about my friends. I had a gang of 7 girls. We called ourselves “Grup Pelangi” (rainbow group… hahaha) and we were quite popular, consisting of the smartest and prettiest girls in school (it was what they thought. I thought it was an exaggeration.) . It was just like on TV. When we walked, the others stared and made way. The guys liked to flirt with us and some even made bets about who could succeed in asking us out. It was quite silly actually-,-“. Anyway, those things weren’t really important to me. What was special was how we always hung out together, slept over at each others places, shared stories, and even held parties. There were laughter and tears, we had some fights, but they were the main people who made junior high school a nice experience.

In summary, I had great friends. I didn’t have to be scared of bullying at all. I even felt how it was like to be popular. I was on the top of the food chain.

Senior high school was similar, but with a more distinct flavor…

- to be continued -

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