A Beautiful Memory

This paper reflects the research and thoughts of a student at the time the paper was written for a course at Bryn Mawr College. Like other materials on Serendip, it is not intended to be "authoritative" but rather to help others further develop their own explorations. Web links were active as of the time the paper was posted but are not updated.

Contribute Thoughts | Search Serendip for Other Papers | Serendip Home Page

Web Papers
On Serendip

A Beautiful Memory

Eugenia (eebs)

There was nothing special about my clique in high school, well, apart from the fact that it didn't have a label. We weren't the jocks, or the geeks. We were everything. Everything.

All through senior year, at 7:50am everyday, the usual faces of my so-called clique invaded the senior couches. On the single "big daddy" couch, there was Steven- The Computer Game Addict, and to the right of him, sitting on the arm of "big daddy" was Barb- The Drama Queen. On the three-seater, there was always five people: Rachel- The Emo Kid, Ru-Xin- The Kid Who Skipped a Grade, Christiana- The Hardcore Journalist, Nick- The Guy Who Had More Girl Friends Than Guy Pals, Elaine- The Girl Who Got a 4-Year Scholarship, and Roohi-The Fashion Addict. On the love seat, there was Mike- Star Athlete, and Jason- The Musician, and Eugarry- (the term used by the entire school to describe me and my then boyfriend, Lawrence/Larry). Of course, when Eugarry ever separated, it was Larry- The Jock/Artist, and Eugenia/Eebs- The Community Service Junkie. Hunter was also part of the group, he never sat around; he was always busy running to some meeting or another: Hunter- The Class President THIS was our clique of thirteen very different individuals. But for one reason or another, we all had one common interest- Archie Comics.

The most beautiful thing about my clique is that we were reminiscent of the Riverdale gang from Archie Comics. As surreal as it may be, everyday of our lives was filled with the laughs, the horrors, the embarrassments- moments so similar to those of the characters in the comic strip. One of most beautiful experiences I have ever encountered tells a story very similar to the Riverdale gang's- my experience of beauty was during our graduation trip.

By the end of the first semester our senior year, the entire group, had the worst case of senioritis possible. So instead of studying all through winter break, we spent the two weeks planning the perfect graduation trip- a week at Phuket, Thailand. The sun, the beach, the seafood, all parent-free! With Phuket in our minds, there was little room for studying, let alone much else.

Everyone imagined the trip to be perfect, and by perfect, I mean perfection at its greatest. I still have pictures of our group sitting around our version of Pop Tate's imagining all the wonderful things Thailand had to offer us. Given a chance of a week at paradise, we had water skiing, scuba diving, hang gliding, boogey boarding... everything planned and organized to do it all. We anticipated the best (insert profanity here) trip of our lives.

Like most stories from Archie Comics, things did not go quite as planned; for the most part, the entire week wasn't exactly perfect. The cheapest flight out of Shanghai to Phuket was at midnight, and of course it got delayed. The seven girls on the trip (myself included) whined and complained for the entire three-hours of waiting for the plane, only to get on the plane and complain again about not being able to sleep. Needless to say, that flight was THE most horrific experience for the five guys who just nodded their heads and sighed, "pms" under their breaths.

.. and it rained when we arrived. Apparently we had booked the trip at the worst time possible. Apparently, it was typhoon season.

Fortunately, or maybe unfortunately, the entire gang decided that they weren't going to let their $100 flight go to waste. The very next day, the thirteen of us spent good 12-hours of the beach sans sunscreen thinking that UV rays could not penetrate through the clouds and occasional rain. It still amazes me how everyone seemed to forget that Thailand is located smack between the Tropic of Cancer and the Equator and that the sun would still be intense. We all walked out of our bungalows the next morning looking anything but beautiful- everyone was sun burnt and everyone had some strange shape of 'un burnt' skin on themselves. Everyone looked like a "crime scene" in a way: Roohi had white areas around their eyes. The cause? A pair of shades. (For her this was a total fashion disaster). Mike and Jason both had an untanned "U" area on their faces. Visor. Steven had a tan shaped like a flared jean leg on the middle of his chest. That's what happens when you sleep with your shirt unbuttoned. And the rest of the group had the ugliest, nastiest case of heat rashes from neck down. It was one of those horrifying experiences you read in comic books and laugh about, but never expect in real life. Well, it happened. It felt like one of those stories trying to teach you a lesson. Our lesson: Always wear sunscreen.

The next couple of days rained. We all looked at the bright side and thought of it as a chance to rub aloe vera all over each other, heal, and binge on cheap Thai cuisines. It wasn't that bad. In fact, it also gave us a chance to hang out right before everyone left for college. That's one of the harder things about life in Shanghai.

Going to an international school in Shanghai isn't all that great. The hardest part about Shanghai was watching people come and go as their parents' contracts for Company X ended and moved elsewhere. Because of the ever-changing economic situation in Shanghai, Shanghai is never "home" to anyone. Sure, you could live there for 10 years like me and call it the "closest thing to home", but you never know where you will go next. After high school, 'going home for break' didn't necessarily compute to 'going back to Shanghai' for everyone. That week in Thailand is all we had left of each other.

Now this whole concept of separation doesn't exist in the world of Archie Comics; they have been in high school since 1941 and they will probably stay there forever. We realized that for us, never again would all thirteen of us ever be together, not here, not in Shanghai. Not anywhere. I think that one thought made me change the way I perceived my graduation trip- no, it wasn't perfect (in addition to the bad tan lines and heat rashes, we all caught a cold) but we were together. We were happy.

The last day in Thailand was the hardest to deal with. For the entire day, we all just sat along the beach (with sunscreen, of course) talking about our movie-nights, lunch table jokes, study groups, and every other memory of the "us". As the sun started to set on our last day in Thailand, Christiana (Hardcore Journalist and Photographer) took a picture of the group sitting on the beach watching the sunset, and named us, the "Thailand Crew". We finally had a name.

I still keep that picture of all of us sitting at the beach; I keep it with the rest of the pictures of the Thailand Crew. The trip wasn't perfect obviously; we didn't get to do half the things we planned out to do. But it still brings a smile to my face whenever I think about the hideous tan lines, or whenever I look back at my photo album during my procrastination pangs every now and then. The memories of my friends and my experience with them remain picturesque and beautiful, not quite like a landscape painting, but like every page of Archie Comics where the aura of a strong friendship is unavoidable.

Now, I can't exactly put into words the mixture of feelings the picture of the Thailand Crew evokes... I don't think anyone can. I think beautiful experiences and memories like that are best left for the artists' to express.

As Bryan Adams sings:

"...You told me it would last forever
Oh the way you held my hand
I knew that it was now or never
Those were the best days of my life
Back in the summer of '69"

Though it doesn't have the same ring to it, for me, it was back in the summer of '04.

WWW Sources

Photographed by Christiana Lilly.

Works Cited
Adams, Bryan 'Summer of '69' from album "Reckless". 1984

| Course Home Page | Course Forum | Science in Culture | Serendip Home |

Send us your comments at Serendip

© by Serendip 1994- - Last Modified: Wednesday, 02-May-2018 10:51:35 CDT