It’s been close to a year since I last posted anything and in that time, a lot has happened.
I’ve finished school. SATs, GCSEs, A-Levels… the whole shebang and now I’m experiencing life on the other side of the educational fence.
The gap year.
This means, gone are the 7.30am wakeup calls, sayonara to the plethora of essays beginning with ‘To what extent…’ and ending with ”To conclude… kill me now,” (or something to that effect), and hasta la vista to the back breaking backpacks filled with paper, pens, the weight of the world, my future and books, books, books.
Now, I’m ready to welcome change. So hello lazy WEEKDAYS (a revelation), the working world and free time galore!
In my free time, between grappling with UCAS, volunteering, catching up on tv that i shoulda, woulda but couldn’t watch, I’ll be delving back into my base interest in young people, culture and opportunities, starting with the pesky, age-old question of London 2012 and legacy.
Somewhat slow to start with tentative minds not looking to offend, it looked as if it was going to be a fairly agreeable evening. Queue, the panel with a mixture of backgrounds that ticked off countries across the globe and a sense of humour that set the evening’s funny bordering on sharp tone.
After the interval, spirits were high and we began to question the idea having to choose between different nationalities if indeed we had to choose. And finally tackling the panel with who they themselves are supporting at the Olympics.
Gemma Cairney was an accomplished host, adding her own anecdotes to enthrall the audience.
Despite my reservations at sharing my poem to such a large audience, after watching live poetry performances I was both glad I’d shared mine and a bit intimidated. I was thankful that I wasn’t going up against the other poets who had shared their works at the event but I also felt that as there were two accomplished poets there, if i had also performed my poem, the evening would be laden with poetry performances. I felt that my poetry presentation added a new dimension to the evening. I was also very nervous at displaying my poetry to my largest audience to date but I felt that the reaction I got was really positive and I’m glad I did it.
The National Anthem won’t sing itself.
As I returned from Turkey, I walked through the airport somewhat amused and confused. Gatwick is filled with motivating slogans to get the British public to supporting Team GB. As witty as they are, I feel that they don’t exactly welcome supporters of other countries entering London for the 2012 Games. This sentiment could extend to the Opening Games, where many believed that they weren’t part of an inside joke shared by all in London.
In 2010, when we arrived at the Vancouver airport, I remember being greeted with adverts and displays that was very typical of Vancouver but also welcomed visitors to their Winter Games.
I admit that I’ve been rather absent this week as I’ve been taking up a role as a spy, of sorts, in Turkey looking at how they responded to our games. Perhaps it is easier to describe me as an insider outside.
As desperate as I was to watch the Olympics and become consumed by the spirit, it was virtually impossible in Bodrum, a city I was sure that were not even aware of the Olympics happening. So I was left to crouch in front of a small flat-screen with around 50 other Britons as we attempted to cheer on Our Greatest Team. The support seemed to work as I left London feeling proud albeit disappointed with our 2 medals and came back to 22 Gold medals, 13 Silver medals and 13 Bronze medals. Wow.
There are of course moments that I’ve heard about that I will need to watch for myself such as Jessica Ennis’ gold medal win but what I had to go on was based on hearsay. For example, I still can’t determine whether one of the members of the Australian team actually smashed up a kebab shop or if that was a product of a far-fetched Turkish man’s imagination. Although having typed ‘australian kebab olympics’ into google, I’m pretty sure the event occurred but was not well publicized.
I think what I learnt most importantly about London’s take on the Games was that it certainly is a more inclusive and culturally diverse city. I was labelled a number of names, perhaps in jest, such as “Janet Jackson” and “chocolate,” which made me more aware of my surroundings but in London, you get the sense that despite the cluelessness about directions, people feel at ease in London.