Throwback + Cakes

So, Thursday marked a year since prom, the next batch of grade 12s just had their graduation ceremony today and... I feel kinda oldish. 

Graduating from high school left me feeling just the slightest bit empty, and very much excited for what was to come next. As the months went by and the next chapter began, I found myself missing sjii more and more - in the weird, little ways. I think it's the knowledge that things would never be the same again, and that you'd be stepping out from your little bubble into the world. I miss the routine of the school day, and the structure of our timetable made lessons a lot easier to tank. I even miss our uniform (the senior school one), which was simply a polo shirt and a skirt, and comfy as hell. Not the Monday one though, and up till today I still don't know how to tie a tie despite wearing one every Monday for three and a half years. 

One of my favourite things about sjii was that it provided you with so many opportunities to try new things. I played frisbee, continued with tennis for a bit, somehow got involved in the drama club, and so many other things! What I am grateful for is the freedom to explore, and to start up/dabble in random activities with no pressure to produce results for the school or anything of the sort. I liked how the emphasis was never on results, but rather on the effort put in and the courage to put yourself out there and have a go. The encouraging and supportive environment is something I really miss, and I do regret not having the courage to try out more, or being too lazy to do more. Hahah. They put a lot of trust in us as well. Not many schools would give you the chance to plan a "holiday" with your friends to fulfil your CAS requirements (hmm). But challenge week was definitely one of the best weeks of school :-) The teachers are also some of the most caring people I've met, and they always treated us with respect, and we respected them greatly in return. The students and teachers had a pretty good relationship, on the whole.  I guess the worst part about an international school is that the teachers are constantly changing, and I think at least half of the teachers I had one year ago have since left. 

I'm thankful that I'm still friends with my crew/clique from sjii, that our group is still active, and that we still bother to meet up every once in a while. Same for the other friends I've made whom I don't see or speak to as often, but are always there. I guess I'm also thankful that life has showed me which friends are worth keeping as well, and the importance of treasuring and valuing the ones who are. I miss the daily bridge sessions at our table before, during and after school and well, I miss our table a lot actually. The actual table, the one we "inherited" from the seniors. And the grass patch next to it which was good for photos, though I hear a new block of classrooms has been built over it. I was really sad when I heard that. I miss walking across it every morning at 7am, and then running 2.4 with the guys (for fun, for me and for them, for ippt training). Certainly don't miss the showers, though I have to say they were a lot cleaner than the ones I've seen in local schools. I miss running away from school at 1pm on Mondays, because that's the day I ended early but we weren't allowed to leave school early until grade 12. Hence the running - which was too often done literally. I miss cafe-hopping after school (usually on a Tuesday) and studying at One Man Coffee. I even miss the journey home from school, despite the burden that is 156, as the company always made it worth it. I was really lucky to have most of my friends staying in the same area as me. 

I certainly don't miss things like ridiculous black leather shoe rule (which I didn't always follow but it doesn't matter anymore), or that we weren't allowed to order food in without a teacher's permission, or the ridiculous sweater rule. The last one always got to me. If you know me, you would probably know that I have a (slight) addiction to sweaters - I'm usually wearing one in school. The thing is, we weren't allowed to wear non-uniform sweaters but the thing is, we didn't have one for the longest time. This rule wasn't even stated in the rulebook, which obviously made me question its legitimacy - but there was this one teacher who was extremely particular about it. She even went up to every single person who wasn't wearing a "proper" sweater during a geography exam once to tell them off and record their names (needless to say, I was one of them). I even had my sweater confiscated once, now isn't that absurd. 

But all these things are inconsequential in the long run, and all they do is leave us with memories to look back on and laugh at. I do believe I left sjii with more good memories than bad ones, and although everything seems better in retrospect, I feel like you never know the value of a moment until it's gone. Obviously I have had moments when I wished that I could get the hell out of there but I suppose such moments will occur wherever you are. I don't miss prom or the actual graduation itself very much, but I guess what it symbolises is really a lot more than what it is. I do have a lot of things I wish I'd done differently back then, in school all the way up to prom, and beyond - but it's way more important to focus on what you did, and what you learned. High school was a place for us to grow, and I suppose if you didn't make any mistakes in there you didn't really do it right after all. Honestly, I don't wish that I could go back and do it over again, because the experience just wouldn't be the same and I feel like I left at the right time. I'm contented with that.

On to cakes... 

Baking is something that I've enjoyed doing since high school, but it's always been just a hobby to me. I have toyed with the idea of selling cakes and stuff before, but never seriously. But a few weeks ago, during crim class, I received a DM from someone on insta asking me if I took customised cake orders. I didn't really, but I was open to the idea - and so I had it: my very first cake order. 

It's a kinder bueno cake: a chocolate cake with crushed kinder bueno between the layers, with hazelnut praline swiss meringue buttercream and topped with a chocolate ganache. 

The next week, I received another order from a schoolmate who wanted a cake for his helper's birthday :-) For that, I baked a salted caramel cheesecake! I encountered multiple problems along the way and even had to redo the cheesecake and the salted caramel sobs but I am quite thankful that it turned out alright in the end hehe. 

It's basically a regular cheesecake with a digestive base, salted caramel topped with crushed lotus biscuits (because who doesn't love caramelised cookies...?) 

And a few weeks ago, I was asked to bake a birthday cake for an old friend of mine, Ben! We were in the same geography class since grade 9, and sat at the same table in grade 11 and 12! Oh, fun times. Our teacher used to call him Sunshine because he always had a smile on his face. He was always really fun to be around and talk to, and he definitely played a part in brightening up our geog classes. 

This cake was hella fun to make!!! I made a simple chocolate cake with nutella swiss meringue buttercream, and decorated the edges with some valhrona chocolate pearls and silver dragees, and the lettering was done with nutella. There's definitely a lot of room for improvement but I'm looking forward to future challenges :-))