Being the new girl in class is nerve racking. Being the new girl in class and country is scary. Being the new girl in class and country with a mother like mine is a recipe for disaster!
I was starting Sixth Form and was relieved to hear that I didn’t have to wear a school uniform. I did have to wear a navy or black skirt suit though. I was thinking corporate America but mother dearest was thinking SU (scripture union). “It’s a very strict catholic girls’ school. Look at the girls in the prospectus. All their skirts are below their knees,’ she wailed, ‘you want to go there and look like a prostitute?”
The last thing I wanted was to stick out like a sore thumb. Suppressing my inner cool kid, I allowed my mother convince me that an ankle length, ill fitting skirt suit was the way to go. I looked ridiculous but it was okay, everyone else would too right?
As soon as I walked through the school gates I knew I was in trouble. I felt like an idiot…and looked it too! The only girls I saw with skirts below their knees had their heads bound in scarves. For them it was a religious requirement. What was my own excuse?
I reported to the head teacher’s office and after giving me a quick tour of the school, she escorted me to the Sixth Form common room. ‘Girls, this is Os… She’s just moved to England from Nigeria. Please make her feel welcome.’
‘O what? Oh-say? Oh-see? Oh-sah?’
Great. I was the ridiculous looking girl with the name no one could pronounce. I needed to come up with a plan and quickly too. I decided the best thing to do was to blend in with the wallpaper. I scuttled to a corner of the room and ignored everyone. When anyone tried to talk to me, I gave them the sorry-I-don’t-speak-English look. I must have looked even more foolish but I had it all figured out.
As soon as school was out, I raced to the mall. Money was not an issue; my reputation was at stake. I bought the funkiest skirt suit I could find; navy blue with light blue pinstripes (from Dorothy Perkins). I will NEVER forget it. The jacket fit like a glove and the skirt…let’s just say my mother would have been horrified. Right, we’ll try this again tomorrow.
Day two. I turned up in my snazzy skirt suit, head held high. Walking into the common room, I spotted a group of girls in a corner. Whatever it was they were laughing at, I wanted in! Walking up to them, teeth on display, I said (in a voice a few octaves higher than normal), ‘Hi, my name is Osayi. It’s my first day here and I haven’t met anyone yet. What’s it like here?!’
‘Hi, my name’s Vanessa. Donna. Claire. Maria. Tasha. ’
None of them looked like they recognised me from the day before.
Pic is copyright of Manoj Nav (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:A_boat_in_India.JPG). Let nobody sue me. I have not the funds to partake in such activities!