Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Council Moon Cafe

     As I mentioned in my last post, this past week UWC-USA has been hosting the International Council and the heads of each of the colleges. And it has been incredible! Not only has it been fun for us as an international community to get to interact with others, but it's been like a mini experiment on the students. When my mom came to visit a couple weeks ago she said something along the lines of "I just can't believe that everyone here is so friendly and so willing to stop, introduce themselves, and speak with you. At your old school, this never would have happened; the kids shied away from strange adults as though they were aliens." (That's paraphrased, but you get the idea) This in no way is meant to reflect poorly on my old school, just to point out that UWC is a very different community. 
     Meeting people from across the globe is no big deal here, we're very good at it; and in a community of about 250, it's exciting to meet new friends and share stories! And we do, all the time. Students were more than happy to converse and share with our guests, and we learned as much about the adults as they learned from us. I met individuals from six continents, of different ages, backgrounds, and positions; one of them had even been to Wichita! As our VP says "we're the coolest school in America!", because, hey, where else could this happen?
     One of the ways that the students wanted to share our community with our guests was by putting on a "cafe". Every so often, students organize informal performances called "cafes" (with a moon theme- so the first one was "new moon" and the last one of the  year will be "blue moon") where anyone who wants to can perform anything they choose. And you would not believe how much talent we have on campus!
     So we organized "Council Moon Cafe" last weekend and I, along with six other students, performed a song- Something Salty, Something Sweet. We had voice, cello, drums, an electric guitar, an acoustic guitar, a bass, and piano. We didn't have too much prep, at most 24 hours and at least 20 min. (no joke, the bass joined two hours before and the acoustic guitar joined twenty minutes before the show), but, if I may say so myself, the result was pretty decent. And we weren't the only ones. There were 15 performances total and they were all really impressive. I'm including our video- so that y'all can have a taste of UWC talent. Enjoy :)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Let's Play Catch (Up)

     The past couple of weeks have been CRAZY on campus and between classes, activities, and sleep (or lack thereof) I haven't had any time to sit down and fill you guys in (sorry). So here goes:

Southwest Studies: I went on the food and culture trip to Santa Fe with ten other students and it was really fun, even better than I expected!
* drove to Santa Fe- It is such a pretty drive!! Our campus is right on the edge of the mountains and forest, and as you drive West it just gets better and better.
* Once we got there we visited two international markets, Target, and Starbucks (STARBUCKS!!!!! It was really exciting).
*We made fajitas for dinner (yummm)
* first stop: Farmer's Market- really cool, there were some seriously delicious foods and A and I met this really sweet woman from the UK who gave us a jar of organic lavender honey that was wonderful.
* Drove to Albuquerque to visit Talin, another international market. it. was. HUGE. I even found some Russian treats :)
* lunch at a Mediterranean restaurant- boy have I missed hummus!
* drove back
* dinner- Caribbean Macaroni Pie- yummmm
* Morning shopping trip and more Starbucks (!!!!)
* Lunch- Senegalese dish with rice, fish, and vegetables- really good, and I don't even like fish, so that's saying something
* Two more international markets
* Protest at the Roundhouse (the Capitol) for shutting down the San Juan plant here in NM. It's a big energy plant which uses coal and lets out a TON of emissions which are not only bad for the environment but also for the local people. It was really cool, I've never been to anything like that. We also got to see a lot of the second years and some other first years and it was really exciting. I hadn't realized how close we'd all gotten in one month and how weird it was to not see people for just two days. I don't know what we're going to do over Christmas...
* Movie night!
* Morning of Service at the Food Bank- it was fun and we were very productive!
* Senegalese lunch- another rice dish with vegetables and shrimp, but different from the first- also really good
* shopping!!! (we went a little crazy... but hey, it's our only chance to shop this semester!)
* Dinner- Indonesian fried rice and apple cobbler- yummm 
* Cleaned up the house we rented
* A's birthday- I baked her brownies :)
* some more shopping at the outlet mall. two words- NIKE OUTLET.
* lunch at an Indian restaurant
* drove back

So basically we did a lot of cooking, eating, and shopping, but I think we all learned a lot about each other's foods and a little about New Mexican culture. It was good!

Oscar Olivera is a Bolivian activist working for the de-privitization of water in Bolivia. He visited out school last week and spoke about his experience. Basically, the government sold the water companies to private groups, who pushed the prices to extremes- as far as 1/5 of a family's income goes to water costs! It's crazy (they even made collecting rain water illegal) and has caused a lot of health problems and deaths in the country. Olivera and his organization have been fighting this for years and, though it's been a long and hard fight, they have made some progress and hope for more just conditions in the future. He also spoke completely in Spanish and I was excited because I actually understood almost all of it!

Family! My mother and little sister had the opportunity to come out and visit me here at school and it was soooo great to see them! I stayed the night with them once and filled them in on a lot of funny stories and crazy personalities that we have here at school and they were happy to meet a lot of my friends and teachers throughout their stay. They also brought me some Russian food from home and honestly, I never appreciated home food as much as when I didn't have it anymore. It. Was. Wonderful.
     I gave them a tour and they loved the campus and surrounding area- it really is beautiful, I invite all of you to come visit! It ended up raining pouring/hailing/storming the first day, so we drove to Santa Fe and did a little shopping (...it sounds like that's all I've done lately, but I promise it isn't!). Saturday we participated in Crop Walk, a local event where individuals raise money for global hunger by hiking through the canyon next to our school. Again, my mom was very impressed with our campus :) We spent the rest of the day in town, where we have a cute little square in the middle of historic Las Vegas.
     Sunday we drove back to Santa Fe for church. Sash and I had gone there before with my godparents and we were very, very warmly received by the community- it was incredible and I realized it was another experience I missed from home. Just walking into the building and smelling the incense nearly stopped me in my tracks. And the people were so nice; they've offered to set up a system to pick up me and the other two Orthodox students on campus once in a while. It was great!
     Unfortunately, I had to say good-bye "see you later" to my family, but I am so grateful that they came to visit, love you guys!

Buddy Dance- This is UWC-USA tradition and its a little crazy, but really fun! Basically second years pick a first year (boys pick girls and vice versa) who they don't really know and get to know them! The process involves submitting to two second year planners a list of 5 first years, then you're assigned one of those. BUT the first years don't know who their buddy is until the night of, and half the fun is sending/receiving hints/presents/"assignments" to/from your buddy. For example, the week before Buddy Dance I received a spongebob party hat in my mailbox and had to wear it to dinner one night, take a picture with it and some kool-aid i got, and I got several emails and some chocolate. So the whole week everyone's going crazy wondering who their buddy is and then... the night finally arrives! Most of the second years sent their first years on scavenger hunts around the campus to find clues about where to meet our second years (this was NOT fun in the dark in high heels). My buddy (E, and several of his friends) decorated a room in the castle and made us all dinner (which was really rather impressive for teenage boys) and we played games and hung out before going to the dance. It was really fun and definitely a great way of getting to know people you may otherwise never have talked to!

The Council- Every year the entire UWC International Council and all of the UWC Heads get together in a big meeting. They alternate locations and this year its USA's turn! Since Tuesday, guests have been arriving and it has been really fun. While they're pretty busy throughout the day, the council members have meals with us and sit and talk and are really interested in this college as well as us as individuals. I've met one woman who's British and went to Atlantic College but lives in Spain, the Headmaster of Costa Rica and his family, and the Executive Director of UWC International (he sat next to me at dinner and I didn't even know who he was until afterwards!) as well as many others in passing. They all have great stories and experiences to share and its fun, as always, to share our school with others :)

So it really has been a very busy couple of weeks (this week is midterms too :P) but now you know what's been going on. Hope all of you are well!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Fear Not

Hey, everyone!
   I've heard back from several people that they've visited the blog and I haven't posted in a couple weeks now; I know, sorry! It's just been really crazy here in the Land of Enchantment, but I pinky promise to do my best to post soon and catch y'all up :)
Thanks for being patient!