My best friend and I have created what we call “Ananda and Sophie’s Summer Bucket List.” It’s basically a list of things we want to do together before the end of the summer. So far we have eight things on the list, and we’ve achieved three of them.

1. Go to Bournemouth.
2. Go to Thorpe Park.
3. Go to our year 11 prom.
4. Get Sophie drunk.
5. Go camping.
6. Chocolate fondue.
7. Get our ears pierced.
8. Make at least two videos.

So far we’ve completed 1, 4, and 7. Getting our ears pierced was a pretty impulsive decision, as we hadn’t even thought about doing it before about one week earlier, when we’d been shopping at Claire’s and were overwhelmed by the dizzying array of earrings for sale.

We planned to get it done last Thursday, but when we got there we were informed that we needed some official form of identification or a parental chaperone. We were crestfallen, but we returned two days later with some official form of ID and Sophie’s mother and got beginner studs shot through our earlobes from an earring gun. If I really let myself think about it, it’s pretty ridiculous, impaling our body parts to try to look more beautiful/fashionable/what? I could go on forever about everything we’re expected to do to meet someone else’s beauty standards, but that’s a discussion for a different day. For now, my main point is: Our ears look pretty.

At the end of this week, we’ll cross off item number 3, which will place us solidly halfway through our list. It’s weird to compare this summer to last summer—some of the people I was hanging around with this time last year don’t mean very much to me now, and the people who now mean the world to me, I barely even knew back then.

This week, in case you’re wondering (because you are), I’m writing this on my bed, with my laptop overheating on my lap, while listening to the soundtrack to the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It is currently 11:30 PM in London and I think I hear my dad watching the World Cup in the next room.

Thank you all for your warm welcome last week. You’re all absolutely fabulous.

And talented.

Also hilarious.

And so, so beautiful. ♥♥♥