November in Retrospect
November was a bit of a transitionary month because I finished my A levels and am now no longer in school. It is so good to be done. ‘Officially’ I’ve started my gap year, although I have been tired after the long slog of revising and it hasn’t felt very ‘gap-yeary’ so far – it feels like a holiday. I have been really enjoying the down time. I’ve been reading the first Lord of the Rings book and made tiramisu. I’ve strummed the guitar, slept in most days and watched a lot of tv, and I haven’t thought about contract law or Parson’s theory of education once. It has been delightful.
At the end of November we went home to my grandparents in Scotland and so I filled my gazes with all the beauty of the Highlands. I really enjoyed trying my hand at a new level of photography by using my parents Canon camera and I look forward to learning a bit more about how to take photos and learn to edit them later in my gap year. Quite possibly a few of them will find their way onto this website! As a family we hung out a lot with my cousins, meeting in the skate park to eat snacks and drink hot chocolate from a flask and half freeze to death. It was great fun and as an early birthday celebration for my brother we bought a cake on one of the occasions and he blew out candles around a park bench and we ordered pizza! Possibly the coolest, most spontaneous birthday party any of us will ever have.
Once we were in Scotland I began taking some more driving lessons to get test ready. Some of these ended up being with my dad in a rented dual control car and I felt so blessed to get that experience. I realised afterwards that I had had a small pang of sadness the week before when I realised that because we always get big cars when we are in the UK, I never went out driving with my parents. I love that God knows me so well that he answers prayers I don’t even think to pray. So much about my driving experience in November had God’s hand on it. One moment in particular, I thought I was going to have to cancel my test and I was standing thinking ‘I feel like God is asking me to trust him to work this out for me, but there are no good options, so how can that be true?’ but I reluctantly tried to trust God anyway and the next day we found out about the dual control cars and a lady who turned out to be the most amazing driving instructor agreed to take me on last minute.
I ended up taking the test on the 1st December. I went into it knowing I could drive well, but only thinking there was maybe a 50-50 chance that I’d come away with my license. Sadly I didn’t pass and failed on such a silly thing in the last few minutes. It showed I was certainly ready, but the fact that it was so utterly avoidable is very frustrating! However, a day or two later the frustration has mellowed enough for me to be mostly just happy that I got the opportunity to get so much practice in and to enjoy it so much.
In a way this shapes my plans for this next year. I am travelling with my family to Egypt in this first week of December and that is going to be lovely, but I am now thinking I might try and come back to the UK at some point to retake my driving test and maybe do the NPLQ which is a qualification for becoming a lifeguard as this will be a good option for me for a university job.
I’m still planning to apply for university in January in order to start in September 2021 and most likely I will apply for joint honours, Arabic and Linguistics courses in London, Manchester and Edinburgh, but I’m still considering whether to apply for any other courses and I still might have to rethink my plans after results day. Results day for my A levels really cannot come quick enough!
My foggy plans for next year are slowly formulating, but right now I am really looking forward to returning to Egypt. Admittedly, I mostly miss my bed, but I am also excited to see my friends and to properly start my gap year. I imagine in December this will mainly involve writing my personal statement for university and helping make Christmas cake, but Arabic lessons, music practice, painting and lots of writing and reading are also waiting for me. I feel so ready to really give my brain to Arabic and to (hopefully) make great strides in my instruments. It’s such an amazing privilege to be able to give an entire year to all these creative things that I love.