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Goldsmiths' Official Student Magazine

That Time on my Gap Year When…

8 March 2015
Remember when you were a child and your mum told you not to do something, but you did it anyway? It turns out that even at the prominent age of 21, that childish desire doesn’t leave you. I burnt myself once, on a 30 ft giant skipping rope – which was on fire, I might add.…

Remember when you were a child and your mum told you not to do something, but you did it anyway? It turns out that even at the prominent age of 21, that childish desire doesn’t leave you. I burnt myself once, on a 30 ft giant skipping rope – which was on fire, I might add. Then I did the exact same thing two years later, but a whole lot worse.

Fire based sports and alcohol clearly don’t mix. Let alone Thai buckets and the excitement of being on the other side of the world at a beach party with 20,000 other people.

I’d previously jumped in that fire rope, this partnered with falling out of a moving tuk-tuk and scraping my knee on coral whilst diving accumulated into coming home from Thailand with a horrible horrible infection.

So this time, after numerous buckets and wild dancing, I boldly jumped under the rope, skipped for a few minutes and safely jumped out – unscathed. When I jumped back in, someone else followed and on their first skip, tripped over the rope. This time I wasn’t ok.

The rope hit me across the face. I fell to the floor in shock and then, stupidly, ran to the sea . All I could smell was the putrid stench of burning skin and hair.

I had nothing on me, no bag, no phone, not even my room key. Just some Baht stuffed into my tiny fluorescent shorts. I scoured the crowds for my friends; they were nowhere to be seen. I was lost on a beach surrounded by thousands of people.

My adrenaline kicked in and I saw a red tent with a cross on it. I ran over, knowing it was a medic tent. I asked a girl how bad it was, but she took far too long to tell me anything slightly reassuring.

I was sat down in front of a huge bottle of clear alcohol. Some sort of badly first-aid trained woman produced a huge cotton wool bud, soaked it in alcohol and rubbed it over my wounded neck. I had to hold on to the table leg to kerb my screams and swearing. Then I was subjected to a ridiculously tight bandage around my neck, so tight I was almost instantly sick over the offending first-aider.

I had a seven-inch burn from the left side of my chin, diagonally downwards across my neck.

Bandaged up, I sauntered off to find my totally un-worried friends. When I found them, they all laughed at me. I nearly cried.

The worst thing was we were leaving Koh Phangan that morning. It was full moon and we’d decided to party all night, check out and head for the boat. This was hell.

My neck got worse and worse. The skin was tighter, I didn’t have time to go to the doctors. No one knew what to do and it was going green. The sheer tropical heat was the worst thing imaginable.

I was supposed to work in Bristol after flying home. I obviously couldn’t and had to ring my mum when I got back to Bangkok. Knowing I was flying in a few hours, she was cautious as to why I was ringing.

“Mum, I’ve got to come back home, I’ve had an accident,” I said.

“You’ve been in that fire rope again haven’t you,” she said. My mum knows me too well.

At A&E they told me I needed plastic surgery. Instead, I drove two hours home, not being able to move my neck, having to move my whole body to cautiously look both ways. The nurse at home gave me a huge can of spray-on Vaseline to keep my neck moisturised which I even used in night clubs while explaining to people, no, I hadn’t tried to commit suicide….

The lesson learnt is: always listen to your mum. Trust me.