Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Happy Holidays

I just wanted to take a moment to wish you all a happy holiday season :)

I'll get back to blogging probably when I get back to school (early January), so until then, warm wishes from Kansas! <3


Monday, December 10, 2012

Let it Snow

It has finally, finally happened. It's snowed. And it is beautiful, and bright, and very, very cold. And, once again, the UWC version of a not so unusual occurrence has been a completely new experience and, quite honestly, one of the best days we, or at least I, have had here. 
     Saturday night the majority of the student population stayed up late for "Blackout"- a party tradition where everyone wears black clothing and the entire party takes place without any (or very minimal) lighting. It was really fun (and dark) and, as a result, most people stayed in bed pretty late on Sunday morning. We did finally roll out of bed for breakfast and all of us looked forward to a full day of prepping for exams. (No, really, so, so excited to study...). But the weather had other plans.
     What started with a few flakes around 1pm ended in more than half a foot of snow. And boy were the students of UWC excited. At the very start of the snowfall, about half of the campus gathered between two of the lower campus dorms to celebrate (or in the case of some of the Caribbeans, Africans, and Asians who'd never seen falling snow or any snow at all or been in such cold temperatures, to lament) and yell and dance around in the snow. This was closely followed by a game of ultimate frisbee out on the field, and then the snow festivities really kicked off.
     Imagine this: you're a student at an international boarding school in the mountains with 200 other teens and you could spend you're afternoon prepping for finals, or you could celebrate the snow. But hmmm... how to do that.... oh. duh, silly me. Let's go to the hot springs! In all honesty, I was completely against the idea in the beginning, but I'm so glad I decided to go- the hot water felt incredible. Some of the braver members of our group even dared to jump into the river several times between soaks (they're crazy, I know). We spent maybe half an hour to forty minutes soaking in the water, which felt heavenly contrasted with the falling snow covering the ground all around us, and then decided to go back to the campus. In the time we'd been chilling (or rather warming), it had snowed a good inch and a half. And our clothing and shoes were sitting out. And they were almost completely covered in snow. And coooold. And we still had to walk all the way back to campus! Oops. (at this point I know that my mother is dismayed and worried that I'll get sick, so I'd just like to take a moment to reassure her that it really wasn't that bad and that we immediately warmed up and put on thick socks and we're eating our vitamins and staying healthy :))
     We did finally make it back to campus, took hot showers, put warm clothing on, and enjoyed some lovely peppermint hot chocolate and watched the snow from the window (which my Bajan roommate much prefers to actually touching it). Oh but wait. That's not all.
     I know I've described some pretty crazy traditions in which we engage here at UWC. Here's another one. But you'll need the back story first: When the school first opened, the dorm that I live in (Kilimanjaro, Kili for short) was a boys dorm and, after the castle was finally restored, Kosciuszko (Kozzy for short) was a girl's dorm. Fairly recently, the boys decided they should be able to live in the castle as well and the dorms switched. So every year, at the first snow, the boys run down and "reclaim" their dorm. Oh but that's not all. For whatever reason the tradition continues with the girls running out of the dorm dressed basically in swimsuits, boots, and coats, into the snow and the boys showering inside the dorm and then running out to ambush the girls. BUT, Denali (another boy's dorm and Kili's "brother" dorm) comes out and attacks the Kozzy boys and protects the Kili girls. At which point the girls run in, hide the boys' clothing, change into regular clothes, and then meet the Kozzy boys (who by now are quite frozen and desperate to get their clothing back) for a nice little reunion and speech. It's hilarious and so fun and a good dorm bonding time. And I can honestly say I'll probably never get to do that anywhere else ever again.
     After my second swimsuit snow run of the day, I was just about ready to climb into bed in fuzzy socks and cuddle up and get a good night's rest for finals. Oh, but that would be too boring, don't you think? Sometime after 11pm I hear a knock on my door and, thinking it's Z or A because usually no one outside our dorm visits me that late, I just yell "yeah! come in!"
And then I was ambushed by snowballs.
In my room.
By four boys.
And there was snow all over my room, and in my bed, and on my desk.
Very funny, boys.
     In actuality, it was quite funny, though quite cold and wet, and a festive end to the day of snow cheer. I even got some studying done for my finals today and I look forward to getting to play in the snow (and maybe cross country ski!) later this afternoon. Yay! :)

 The view from my window last night-

 Post Hot Springs-

Monday, December 3, 2012

'Tis the Holiday Season

      In my last post I wrote about Thanksgiving and, just like that, we've now moved into the holiday season. As we're finishing up lessons and preparing for finals, the students of UWC- USA have also been looking ahead to the holidays. There have been several "big" events in the past week to get us in the spirit and we've been reminded again that we live in an extremely diverse community with students from both similar and different backgrounds.
* Dorm Day- On Saturday afternoon each of the six dorms got together for some quality dorm time and to celebrate the beginning of the holiday season. My dorm (Kili- the best dorm on campus :)) got together at our RTs (kind of like our dorm parent) house downstairs for some delicious pizza, salad, desserts, and home-made apple cider (yummmm), some campus charades, karaoke, Secret Santa gift exchange, and to share how we celebrate the holiday season at home. It was so fun and a great way to spend time with our dorm-ies. And hearing about the holiday traditions was incredible- I hadn't thought about how many traditions we have around this time of year. We talked about Christmas (and the wide, wide variety of traditions throughout the world), Hanukkah, St. Nicholas Day, New Years, Chinese New Year, Russian Christmas (we celebrate on the old calendar- so on Jan. 7), Diwali,  and others. The most interesting thing was how many of the holidays were based on similar events or principles and yet are celebrated so differently. Once again, a UWC moment of realization :)
* Love Cafe- I've mentioned cafes before. This one is a tradition where each performance is dedicated to an individual or a group. It was really fun and the performances were, for the most part, really good and/or really funny. I performed along with Z, A, and M. We did Dog Days by Florence and the Machine and I will try to post a video when I get it from G.
* Winter Concert- another Castle Concert, but this time with many more group performances and fewer individual performances. They were incredible- as always! And some of the holiday music definitely got us in the holiday spirit. Check out the livestream: 
* St. Nicholas Day- tomorrow at assembly some of the Europeans and I are going to talk about St. Nicholas Day which is celebrated on Dec. 5, 6, and 19 throughout Europe. We'll talk about the traditions surrounding the holiday and the legend behind the saint. Preparing for this has been a great opportunity for me to learn a little about my own culture and tradition and compare it to others', which are both surprisingly similar and surprisingly different. I won't tell you too much about it because it's a surprise for the  rest of the school, but I may fill you all in later.

I hope y'all are also excited for the season- Happy Holidays! :)