That Time I Nearly Didn't Graduate High School

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Yep, you read that right. And it's not clickbait or anything. This is the actual story of how I quite literally nearly did not graduate from high school. This is a pretty lengthy story, so I'd suggest grabbing a cup of tea or coffee or hot cocoa (yum) and getting cozy. Comfy? Okay, let's do this.

Basically, this has a longgg backstory, so bear with me for a sec.

So my high school was a bit of a shit show when it came to course selection. And by that I mean that course selection was less of selecting the courses you would take the following year, and more of listing off the courses that you had hoped to take and then praying that you would be able to take it. They should've named the whole process something more fitting, like "Course Lottery". There was not a single year, save for grade nine, that I got into all the classes I had planned for. And not because the classes were full, or because I didn't have the prerequisites or whatever. Nope. It was because the classes I wanted to take kept getting the axe. Literally, at least five classes I had selected were dropped during my four years of high school.

It was the same thing every year. I'd get called down to the office at the end of the school year, weeks after sending in my course selection, and I'd come to a conference room full of other unlucky students, sheets of course outlines strewn across the table, and a few guidance counsellors there to inform me that, yet again, the courses I'd chosen for the following year were no longer available. Imagine my reaction when I walked in one year and had them say, "You've got it the worst out of anybody - three of your courses have been dropped. That's a new record!". Three out of eight courses in one year had to be replaced. I should've received a gold medal for Unluckiest Student of All Time. I spent a half an hour trying to decide on courses while every single person in the room stared at me sympathetically.

Forcing me to choose new courses in a limited amount of time without my parents there to consult on it was kind of a death sentence. It usually ended with disastrous outcomes, like taking grade eleven Chemistry, after failing the chemistry unit of my grade ten Science course. However, the real prize winner was grade twelve, when I was called in individually to my guidance counsellor's office to choose a new course. She basically informed me that I had two options: 1) to take a course at my school, out of the few available courses: gym (no), chemistry (GOD NO), and exercise science (was she even trying??), or 2) to take a course online, through another school district. Wait. I could do that??? Apparently! The world was my oyster - well, at least, Ontario was. So she showed me a bunch of courses that I could take and, feeling the pressure, I decided on Philosophy. Did I want to take Philosophy? No. Did I have any idea what Philosophy was even about? No x2. But hey, it wasn't gym. My guidance counsellor got in contact with the other school, which was in London, Ontario, and set up for me to take this class online. I got a login and a website URL and I was sent off to figure it out on my own. What could go wrong?

The course itself was surprisingly fine. I wasn't about to become the next Socrates or Descartes, but I did get a 90% in the end so I felt pretty good about myself. I had a few issues with the teacher, who claimed that I didn't hand things in when I had proof that I did, but it was sorted out eventually. I started to suspect that something fishy was going on when I realized that my grade for the course hadn't shown up on my midterm report card. I went to the office to tell them and they assured me that they received the mark but it wouldn't show up until my final report card. Okay, sure. They just reminded to come to them to make sure they'd received my mark at the end of the semester. So that's exactly what I did. And they said they got the mark and all was well.

Flash forward to graduation. I had this weird feeling all day. Yeah, I was anxious because I had to stand up in front of all the kids I went to high school with on a stage, in high heels, which is a disaster just waiting to happen. But there was this weird feeling, too, that I couldn't explain. Our graduation was held at a performing arts centre in the downtown area of our city. When all the students arrived, we were guided upstairs to this really big room which was used as a makeshift dressing room, where we would receive and dress in our caps and gowns. They had these long fold-out tables where staff were handing out packages according to our names. Basically, you got your cap, gown, and a little cue card which had your name on it. On the back of the card, it stated whether or not you were an Honours student and if you had any extra awards. When you went up to cross the stage to get your diploma, you'd hand the card to the announcer and they would say your name and awards. Pretty simple, right? So I get my little graduation set and join my friends to start getting ready. All my friends are talking excitedly about the awards they'd received, so I look at my own card. And there's nothing there. All it says is my name. I just kept flipping over, back and front, praying to god that I missed something. But nope. At this point, I'm panicking, hoping this some sort of a joke or something. I turned to one of my friends and said, "There's nothing on my card - no Honours or anything" to which they replied, "Well you clearly just didn't get Honours." So, peeved that the assumption was that I didn't get the grades and that this wasn't a mistake, I just said, "Uh, I finished with an 89%. I definitely got Honours." I was horrified and embarrassed because now I was the only one in my group who didn't have Honours and no one even though I got it in the first place. I worked my ass off in grade twelve. What was going on???

We were piled up into the theatre a bit later, where we sat in alphabetical order by last name until our row was called to line-up to cross the stage. My group was eventually called and we went to cross. I handed my card to the announcer and as they called out just my name, I gritted my teeth and tried not to cry. After a minute or so, they brought us out to the lobby to collect our ~real~ diploma (opposed to the fake one that they give you on stage) and the picture of our graduating class. I got my folder and headed back to my chair. As soon as I sat down and looked at the folder, I knew. I didn't even have to open it to be absolutely sure that there was no diploma in there. Just a thin sheet of paper. I sat there for the rest of the ceremony, trying to act cool in front of my friends, all the while trying to hold down a panic attack. To add insult to injury, they tossed their caps while I was outside, not getting my diploma. As the ceremony came to an end, my parents - who were sitting a few rows up, diagonally from me - turned around and gave me a thumbs up, as if to say "You did it!". I just looked back and shook my head.

You can tell by my face that i'm not impressed lol

You can tell by my face that i'm not impressed lol

When the ceremony was over, the students exited first, followed by the parents. I got out into the lobby and the first person I saw was my boyfriend. He walked up, all happy, and I just kept shaking my head, saying over and over, "I need my parents. I need to see my parents." So my parents come out, along with my boyfriend's parents, and as soon as I saw them, I burst into tears. Right there, in the lobby at my graduation, in front of all my high school classmates. I just kept saying, "I didn't graduate." So they're all confused like wtf of course you graduated. I handed my dad the folder and was like, "It isn't in there. Please look for me. I can't look at it." So he took out the sheet of paper which basically said, "Congratulations on graduating from ---- Secondary School. You technically graduated and all, but we're going to hold onto your diploma until you send us proof that you completed your online Philosophy course." I swear to god, I have never seen my dad so pissed off in my life. He stormed off, looking for my principal, while my mum and my boyfriend's mum tried to comfort me. I refused to take any pictures for a long time, as I was feeling pretty sorry for myself, standing in front of everyone sobbing (not that anyone actually noticed). But then all of a sudden, I just wiped my tears and said, "Okay, let's do this." My boyfriend and I took a bunch of pictures together and you'd never be able to tell that I'd been sobbing five seconds before. #talent

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In the end, my dad gave my principal a LOT of shit for it. They tried to blame it all on me at first, saying that by taking an online course in another district, it was my responsibility to make sure that my school got the grades. Which would've been a fair point, had I not done exactly that months prior to graduation. They had even confirmed that the school had the grade in their system. So they apologized and said my dad could come in the next day to get my report card, my diploma, and my Ontario Scholars honours diploma. What killed me the most though was the fact that instead of getting in touch with me beforehand, and saying that they hadn't yet received the mark, they decided to instead let me fake graduate and make it all way more convoluted. Cause that makes sense????

In the end, I graduated with an 89% and I was an Honours student, and all was sorted out. And it's something to look back on and laugh about now because it was so perfectly ironic that my school had to do just one last crazy thing to me before I graduated. But it's still pretty disappointing that I didn't get the satisfaction of standing on stage in front of all my peers, with someone announcing that I got Honours. It's like there was nothing to show for all that hard work that I'd done - isn't that what graduation is for???

So that's the story of how I nearly didn't graduate! Super stressful day but a helluva story now, haha. I don't do a lot of these storytime sorts of posts - or any at all - but I hope you enjoyed it!! Let me know in the comments if you want more posts like this :)

Felicia x

Friday Thoughts: My First Car

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Happy Friday, everyone! Hope you've all had a lovely week. It's been a bit of a surreal, crazy week for me. Between everything, especially with trying to get back into the regular swing of things, I haven't been able to devote much time to my blog - hence the missed post on Monday. Hopefully (fingers crossed!) things will be much less jam-packed next week!

  • My boyfriend and I finally pummelled through the last few episodes of Riverdale on Monday night, so now we're fully caught up (minus the mid-season premiere). I'm def interested to see where they go with this storyline for the rest of season 2.
  • My online order from Joe Fresh came in earlier this week and I've been so pumped about that. I love Joe Fresh, as the clothes are very feminine and classic, which is very much my style. Unfortunately, the items I bought - this shirt and this dress - are too light for this season, so I won't be able to wear them until the spring.
  • I'm becoming way too obsessed with purchasing books. I seriously end up at Indigo at least twice a week. I'm not even done my TBR for January, and I've already bought two books for February haha
  • It would be wrong of me not to share my most exciting news of the week... I GOT MY FIRST CAR! It was an absolutely amazingly generous gift from my parents. On Tuesday night, they went out for a "bank meeting" (aka buying my car) and came home with the news. I spent the week picking up some essentials to put in the car and tonight (Friday night), I picked her up. She's a slightly used 2017 Kia Soul EX+, in a dark grey colour. I've affectionately named her Maggie and I'm in love.

Felicia x

Friday Thoughts: Getting Back into Things...

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Hi everybody! As lovely as my holidays were, it's definitely nice to be back to blogging on a regular schedule. And to end off my first week back to blogging is my Friday Thoughts post!

  • Monday was an absolutely crazy day. My family and I walked outside of our house to find rushing water throughout the entire garage. It looked as though we'd had a gas leak. We went into full-on panic mode - grabbed the dog, called 911, and ran across the street. One hour and two firetrucks later, we found out it was actually a water pipe that had burst and was mixing with gas that was leaking from a can my dad uses to fill the snowblower. It was so terrifying but thankfully it wasn't anything in the end.

  • This dreary weather has already begun to get me down... I'm so eager for spring weather. Thankfully, we've had a huge bout of rain and warm-ish weather which has melted most of the snow. This summer-lovin' gal is soo over winter.

  • I've been recently binge-watching The Royals with my boyfriend and mum, and New Girl on my own. I had started to watch The Royals awhile back but then forgot about it. We've finally nearly gotten caught up. But I've been especially into New Girl. I love Zooey Deschanel, and especially love her as Jess Day.

  • On Wednesday, I got a chance to go out and have brunch with my very close friend who I have not seen in well over a month. It was so lovely to catch-up over my favourite breakfast, eggs benedict. I always love reuniting with friends, especially when I haven't seen them in forever!

  • My mum got a chance to rummage through my grandma's old photo albums this week whilst visiting her in Hamilton. She took some pics of the best ones, and that night we took a trip down memory lane, where I realised from photos like this one that I've got the same hairdo now as I did when I was a kid lol

Lil me

Lil me

Well, that's it for this week. I hope you all have a marvellous weekend!

Lots of love

Felicia x

Reflecting on 2017

Happy New Year everybody!!

2017 is officially behind us. Hasta la vista! My final year of being a teen is gone. Yikes.

Every year, as a new year is upon me, I like to reflect on the past year. It's always good to reflect on the good times, even the bad ones, before you move on. I thought I'd share some of my favourite and some of my not-so-favourite moments of 2017 with you guys!

1) Moving House

The first half of this year was a whirlwind. It was full of moving boxes, tape guns, and bubble wrap as I packed up all my belongings and prepared to move out of my house. The move was a huge adjustment. It's always going to be a hard time moving out of the house you grew up in. I was so uneasy about the idea of leaving my house, leaving my hometown, and the life I was so familiar with. But, in the end, moving away was such an amazing decision for myself and my family. It introduced me to a town I absolutely adore. I'm so in love with my house. It's been such an incredible experience, all around. My family's so happy!

2) New York City

New York City. Wow. One of my favourite cities in the whole world. I immediately fell in love back when I visited for the first time in 2009, and ever since my last trip in 2010, I've been dying to return. This past spring, my family finally booked another trip back - but this time with my boyfriend, an NYC newbie. I was so thrilled to see New York again, especially since this time I had the opportunity to show my boyfriend around.

Read about my travels: here, here, here, and here

3) Anxiety

This year, my anxiety was at an all-time high. I spent the better part of this year suffering from severe anxiety, social and general. After many, many years of battling this disorder, this was the year I finally said, 'Enough is enough'. It was time for me to focus on myself, and take a step forward in bettering my mental health, for the first time in pretty much ever. It's been a hell of a hard time, but I'm glad to have finally taken this step, and I'm ready to see what I can accomplish in the new year!

4) Disney

Of course, Disney has been a huge part of my year, just like it has been for the majority of my life. I think my love for Disney grew immensely this year - if it's even possible for it to grow any more! I have found a new admiration for the parks, the resort, and all things Disney-related. For the first time in nearly a decade, I got to stay on property at the parks, at Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter Resort in August. I stayed with my boyfriend and it was our first ever trip together alone as a couple. It was so fun to show him around, as he'd never stayed on property before, and to experience all the things about staying at the resorts that I loved so much as a kid. We're already saving up for our trip in 2018!

Keep up to date with my Disney travels on my Disney Instagram account: here

5) Friends & Family

This year, my relationships with my friends and family have become so much closer and so important to me. When you're struggling with a mental illness, as I am, it can be so hard to keep up with your friends as you're constantly feeling blah. But my friends have been so amazing this past year. They're the kind of friends that you know will be with you through thick and thin - you always know they're there for you, no matter what. I am so grateful for my friends, but also for my supportive boyfriend and parents. I honestly don't know what the hell I'd do without them :) haha

I am so eager to see what 2018 has in store for me. I'm not a firm believer in resolutions - in fact, I hardly believe in them at all - but I definitely have a few things I'm going to hold myself to in the new year, which I look forward to sharing with you all! I hope you all have a very fun, very safe New Year's Eve. I'll talk to you very soon!!

Felicia x

Friday Thoughts: Pre-Christmas Mayhem

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I'm so very sorry that this post is up late! I'd meant to have it out last night but it just wasn't meant to be. I've had such a crazy week, I just ran out of time! But better late than never, I always say!

  • Christmas is so close!! Good gracious. December goes by in the blink of an eye, doesn't it? I feel like I've a million things left to do. Christmas time seems to be largely about being busy for me haha

  • I've finally seen Star Wars: The Last Jedi!! The four of us (my parents, my bf, and I) went out to see it at the VIP theatre on Tuesday because tickets were super cheap and we love to have a ~special~ drink with our film haha. Leading up to seeing this film, we rewatched the original 3 films plus The Force Awakens, so we were pumped. Despite mixed reviews, we all really really enjoyed it! I thought they did a good job at staying true to the Star Wars storyline, without seeming so repetitive. I also liked that there were some humorous bits, like the first bit of the film (I won't say what it was for the sake of those who haven't seen it yet!).

  • My boyfriend and I had a lovely dinner with his parents to celebrate Christmas in the middle of this past week. We decided to meet at a restaurant about 40 mins away from my house and exchange gifts. We had a great time, and I was very spoiled by Steven's parents as they gifted me a super cute Roots poncho with a huge loose turtleneck (which I love) and a pair of adorable slipper booties!

  • I'm loving the snow. As I've mentioned, I'm all for a white Christmas. I had a bit of a worry at the beginning/middle of this week as the snow completely melted away. Like, I'm talking most of the snow was gone. I was so bummed out, I was hoping for a miracle at that point. And then it happened! Thursday night, the snow came and there is now a fresh blanket of beautiful white snow on my town. I'm major heart-eyes right now.

  • My grandma came by later in the week to celebrate Christmas with my family, which was so nice as we haven't seen her as often now that she no longer lives with us. Since my boyfriend had to leave the next day to spend the weekend at home with his own family, we decided to exchange our gifts on that night - and my parents were so lovely as they did not only a stocking for me but also one for my boyfriend to carry on one of my favourite traditions to us. Some of my favourite bits from the stocking were the Too Faced Lip Injection Glossy in 'Milkshake', the heavenly Soap & Glory The Righteous Butter, and afelt pennantwith my university name on it, which I've always wanted. My boyfriend spoiled me rotten this year - he gifted me a beautiful wine-coloured Kate Spade purse and a Beauty and the Beast 2017 Soundtrack Vinyl Record which made me legit emotional lol

I hope you all have a marvellous Christmas Eve and Christmas Day! I'll speak to you all very very soon! Happy holidays :)

Felicia x

My Christmas Traditions

Every family has their own Christmas traditions. I think it makes the holidays so much more special when your family has their very own ways of celebrating it. I always love to hear what other people do with their families to celebrate Christmas, so today I thought I would share with all of you my very own traditions!

Baking

A big tradition in my house for Christmas time is baking. My mum's the baker in the house so she has always done all of it, but this year I chipped in for the first time to help. Baked Christmas treats are simply the best, aren't they? Favourites in our house are chocolate chip cookies (from my mum's ~secret~ recipe), fudge, and gingerbread men.

Stockings

I'm not sure if it's so common to do stockings anymore? Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. But in my family, stockings have always been a staple. Until this year, I was the only one who had a stocking filled and placed under the tree. But this year, all four of us are taking part in the tradition which makes it so much more fun! Leading up to Christmas, we leave our stockings up to hang and then Christmas morning, they're put under the tree and it's the very first thing opened before any presents.

Florida

Since 2012, a huge tradition for my family has been visiting our vacation home in Orlando over the winter break. Every year, we leave for Florida after we've finished the festivities of Christmas morning, and stay until just after New Year's Day. I love our Florida tradition. One of the greatest parts of it is that we are able to experience all of what Disney World has to offer during the holiday season. As you all probably know by now, my family are huge Disney fans so it's hugely important to us.

Decorating

Decorating the house for Christmas is a huuuggeeeee part of our traditions. As a family, we love to decorate for the holidays. And especially now that we've moved into our new place, we've got even more areas to decorate! We went crazy with it all this year, but it looks incredible if I do say so myself :) My personal favourite addition is our Disney tree (the tree on the right, below).

The Polar Express

Ever since the film came out, my family has exclusively watched The Polar Express just once per year. It started off as Christmas Eve tradition. We'd come home from my Nonno's (Italian word for grandpa) house after Christmas Eve dinner and we'd put the film on. As the years went by, Christmas Eve dinner went later and later, so we eventually decided we'd watch The Polar Express once we got to Florida on Christmas Day. In the past few years, my boyfriend has been able to partake in the tradition as well which is so amazing. I love that we save watching it for only that night because it makes it so much more special.

What are your Christmas traditions?

Felicia x

Friday Thoughts: Love Actually + Approaching Holidays

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Happy Friday everyone, welcome back! Hope you've all had a fabulous week. This week has been chock-full and so exciting, I'm excited to share it with you all!

  • I hate road closures whilst driving. Detours make me so uneasy - I just don't like not knowing where I'm going. I had to drive my bf to his exam on Saturday and I pulled up to the main road I take to school to find it was closed all weekend. So, I followed the detour, whilst screaming. I genuinely had a moment of panic like "oh my god my bf is going to miss his exam" - despite the fact that we were like two hours ahead of schedule. I basically looked like this:
  • We got our first real snowfall of the season!! I've been dying for a good snowfall for like ages (I even mentioned this in last week's Friday Thoughts). It's been so lovely to drive around and see that thick blanket of snow on the ground and on rooftops. It was the good, fluffy kind of snow, too.
  • My mum and I had a girls' night out on Monday evening to see Love Actually play at the VIP movie theatre in Burloak. At first, I was worried we may not even make it, as there was a ton of traffic due to the snow. But all was well. It was a great evening of laughter and a few fun drinks.
  • CHRISTMAS IS NEXT WEEKEND!!! WHAT?? Next week is gonna be crazy busy. My boyfriend and I've got exams to finish up, we're seeing Star Wars: The Last Jedi in theatres (any Star Wars fans out there?), we're having dinner with my bf's parents, and we're having dinner with my parents and grandma. My boyfriend goes home Friday for his own family Christmas celebrations and then Sunday is Christmas eve!!! Time's going by so quick. Hopefully, I'll have a moment of peace to fill you guys in on how it all goes.
  • Did anyone catch Harry Styles on tv being particularly cute whilst filling in for James Corden on his talk-show?? I watched a bit online afterwards. Nearly six years since I first was introduced to One Direction, and I still find Harry so adorable.

Have a great weekend everybody! Hopefully, you all have a relaxing weekend ahead of ya :)

Felicia x

A Caribbean Adventure

As my first week of university has now come and gone, I look behind me at the summer that's gone by and realise just how great the past months were. My two-month-long holiday - which started in the final days of June in Memphis, Tennessee - went by so quickly that it seems like a distant, albeit amazing memory. In all of the whirlwind months in the sun, I lost track of time and neglected this blog, despite making a promise to myself to get back to regularly uploading posts. But when it comes down to it, there is, in my opinion, no better way to refresh my blog than with a picture-post (and short video) documenting my favourite part of my summer: the two-week Caribbean cruise that wrapped up my travels.

I've been on around 15 cruises in the twelve years since I took my first one, but this one made a case for being my favourite. The Carnival Magic lived up to the name and was enchanting the entire fourteen days that my family and Steven's family were aboard her. It's a been quite some time since I have taken a two-week cruise and despite being a frequent (and long-time) cruiser, there were still some ports on the itinerary I had yet to visit which made it exciting for everyone in our group.

To add to the fun, I celebrated my eighteenth birthday mid-way through the two weeks. At the stroke of midnight the entire bar sang me "Happy Birthday", the chorus lead by the bartenders behind the counter. Then on the way back to the cabin, I was approached by the cruise director, Good Reverend Dr. E (whom my family has become close with over past cruises) who had remembered to wish me a happy birthday. Those are just two of the ways that Carnival crew members go above and beyond to make a cruise special for you, which is why my family keep coming back to the same cruise line over and over again after all these years. Carnival doesn't just treat you like guests; they treat you like family, which makes the line so beloved to my family.

Over the course of the two weeks, Steven and I worked together to collect as many videos of our memories as we could, using a GoPro for a large portion of it. Now that summer has come to an end, I've put little bits of our film footage into a short video for a keepsake of our travels to share with friends, family and all of you. It was a tremendously exciting and adventurous two weeks, and I hope to be able to cruise again soon!

https://youtu.be/bHXX-Gr3EIw