Sunday, August 24, 2014

Summer, Flashback to Thailand and College-life


It's summer! 
And as if that wasn't pleasant enough, I started mine end May and I'm only starting college mid-September. So that makes my summer break twice as long. 
People keep asking me; "so what did you do in summer". Well, I know I went to India to study, but that doesn't make my summer break more 'exotic' or 'exceptional' than other people's. For me it was mainly sun, beach and friends. Although sun is a subjective concept in Belgium... First month I spend most of my time working so I could earn some money before holidays and college. Considering that my friends were still passing their exams, I couldn't meet up with them yet. 
My parents also organized a surprise-birthday-party for me. It was nice to see that everyone made some time from studying for their exams to come. I had an amazing time and it felt good to be back home. As soon as my brother and sister were done with their exams, we left to spend out holidays at the beach. There it was just a "chill" holiday where friends and family came occasionally to visit us. 
Here are some pictures of a weekend with friends at the beach. You can see we had fun ;)
 With as main activity... cooking (and eating ofcourse)

And going to the beach no matter the wind of Belgian beaches

So except for that nothing special or worth telling.

And finally... as promised... Thailand!!
Yes, I know, there was a gap, but I never promised when ;) 
So in MUWCI last year during travel week, me and a group of friends decided to go explore Thailand. We convinced our teachers and principle and started making plans. As we only had a week, we realized it was impossible to see everything. Therefore, we made priorities (which in a group of 5 people was harder than it seems). Although we wanted to relax and lay on the beach occasionally, we wanted to visit culturally and take up some Thai traditions. 
So we decided to go to Bankok, Pattaya and Phuket. Even if Pattaya and Phuket seem like two 'party-and-beach-only' places, there were a lot of temples to visit. Honestly, in general I can say that Thailand is an amazing country. The people are warm and welcoming and always ready to help. One time when we had to get to a bus station to order tickets for the next day, a servant in the restaurant helped us by bringing one of us to the bus station and ordering the tickets and then fixing a taxi for us to get to the bus station the next day. Although there was a language barrier I can thus say that the people were lovely and extremely helpful. Except for that the country is amazing. Everywhere where you walk there are beautiful buildings, cute little shops, streetshops, little markets,... In other words: cuteness level 100. 
Visiting was exhausting as we wanted to see as much as possible in one week, but it was wonderful and a great experience. We saw some of the most beautiful temples we'd ever seen in Bankok (where we sadly enough weren't allowed to take pictures), we saw some of the most white beaches and blue sees around Phuket (where we did a boat-trip to see the islands) and we had to face the cruel reality of sex-tourism in Thailand that is obviously seen in all corners of Thailand. I cannot explain how wonderful it was, I would just advise you to go to Thailand when you have the opportuinity and see it for yourself. Here are some pictures of us in Thailand... 
A beautiful wooden temple in Pattaya (which we couldn't photograph from closerby) with Bianca (Mumbai) and David (Costa Rica)

A pictures on one of the islands around Phuket
A little Budha in Bankok

A big budha in Bankok

Another of the islands around Phuket

A tuktuk (litte like India) in Pattaya with Bianca (Mumbai), David (Costa Rica) and Alvaro (Guatemala)
So that's it, I don't have a lot of pictures of this trip sadly, but I repeat that I would totally recommend it to anyone who's planning a trip in Asia. 
So now I am getting ready to start my college life at Glasgow University. It's exciting as this is said to be the best time of your life (although they say the same about a UWC-experience so I wonder which one will win), but at the same time it's scary. Even though it might seem like compared to India this is nothing, I will still need to adapt, start over, make new friends, get used to a different life and life-style. It is at the same time weird to see MUWCI profiles filling up with pictures without us, second-years, and with new, unknown people. I don't feel the 'after-muwci'depression' people have yet, but I can say it's a little weird. I'm skyping with my friends, keeping in touch, but at the same time I'm realizing that I will lose touch with most of them and that each of us will start having a new life in places all over the world. I hope about certain people that I will keep in touch and that in some miraculous way we end up back in the same place at some point in our lives, but we will see what the future brings. For now everything just feels like a long break and not like a goodbye ;) 
So, as you can see, I will try and keep the blogging up and keep you all posted about Glasgow. 
No more MUWCI-adventure for me on this blog soon, but other adventures to come...

Lots of love,

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Stopped counting weeks, started counting days.

Hi everyone,

I am terribly sorry for not writing for so long (oh waw, this is like the entry sentence of every blogpost). I got caught up in enjoying my last days. In exactly 13 days I will graduate and in 17 days I will sit on my plane back home. Or on my plane leaving home? They say UWC's are like second homes. I couldn't imagine what this meant before coming here, I found it pretty cliché and cheesy. But now, after two years I can understand. I lived in this place for two years. I laughed, cried, had crazy amounts of stress, had crazy amounts of fun and met some of the most interesting people. It is really hard (actually impossible) to realize that some most of these people I won't ever see again. Especially considering that most of my closest friends will be going to the US and I am going to University of Glasgow (Scotland). Others will still be in MUWCI. [although I'll probably meet many UWC alumni as statistics say that 25% of UWC alumni are married to other UWC alumni and 50% of the married UWC alumni are married to other UWC alumni.. #LittleLikeIncest??]

I will be honest with you; there were times MUWCI was hard. It is obviously not a perfect place, things were difficult sometimes, we have incredible amounts of work compared to the available time (believe me, I did Greek-Math in Belgium, but never had as much stress as in MUWCI), people tend to over-analyze everything you say, we found out recently the admin was pretty corrupt, there are similarly to 'normal' schools gossips etc, sometimes it is extremely annoying to not have any time or place for yourself to think or just to relax for a bit, it was extremely tiresome to not get enough sleep all year round, and (especially in the beginning) it is extremely difficult to have to concentrate 24/7 to understand all the different English accents (and English in general), it was hard to live in a country so different from mine (no offense to India in any way!). 

But even though there are these aspects, it is a wonderful experience. There will probably never be another opportunity for me to sit on a table with a Norwegian and American teacher, Indian, Polish, Nepali, Nigerian, Australian and Pakistani students. I will probably never again be able to just walk into anyone's room when I feel bored or alone. I will probably never again be able to go cry on my teacher's schoulder when I'm dealing with a lot of shit (sorry for the word). I will probably never again be so close to a Polish, Korean or Indian roommate that I don't even need them to respond to know what they think of what I'm saying. I will probably never again be able again to know someone so well that I can write their diary for them because they are to lazy. I will probably never again be able to have a wada concert in the middle of the exams where an entire community is sitting together to listen to eachother sing and perform poems even though everyone has crazy amounts of work. I will probably never again have firstyears (or students younger than me) preparing ice-cream, fruits, brownies and other delicious meals for me and my coyears during the exams as they want to support us and sing goodbye songs. I will probably never again be able to walk outside my campus for 1 hour in nature without any busy city (although sometimes that would have been nice). I will probably never again get to taste International sweets and other delicious kinds of food as people get packages. I will probably never again cook fried rice in 1 pot together with a Bruneian, Indian and Polish student at 11pm even though we have to get up at 7am the next day for the exams. I will probably never again have an English class where we discuss how the teacher's kid will look like as they will be the mix of an Indian and a orange-hair (dont know how to call it in english) American. I will probably never again be able to learn a crazy language like Hindi without even having any classes. I will probably never again meet people who are India's youngest pilot or other great achievers. I will probably never again be in the class with people who when you google-stalk them turn out to have their own ted-talk when only 15 years old. I will probably never again have parties in a little courtyard of less than 15m^2 with more than 40 people. I will probably never again be able to interupt anyone on campus at 4 am to sleep with them as there is a mouse in my room (although I would've rather not have had that mouse in the first place). I will probably never again be able to stand up in a college meeting and express my opinion knowing that everyone is actually listening. I will, in fact, pobably never again have a college meeting where everyone is allowed to express their meaning no mather how ridiculous it sounds. I will probably never again get to wake up/be woken up at 6 am to have a mudfight. I will probably never again to live in a country with monsoon and dance in the rain with friends. I will probably never again take an Indian train and have a 'short' 24 hour journey to a city to stay one day and go back. I will probably never again travel around India with a Mauritian, a Polish, a Finnish and a Bangladeshi student, not knowing what we were doing and without any adult supervisor. Similary, I probably won't visit Thailand anymore with a Polish, CostaRican, Indian and Guatemalan student fearing that we would at some point see some protests (more about this travel later :D). 

When I come home on the 28 of May, I will litterally step into my adulthood as the 29 May is my birthday. I have had moments in MUWCI that I just wanted to leave, but looking back, I wouldn't have wanted to end my youth in any other way. Even those moments have taught me to be strong, to keep going and to see the positive in things even when everything seems horrible. Moreover, after I watched a tedtalk about a 9-year old girl who changed the world as she wanted to stop slavery (I would advise you to watch it: I realized that in MUWCI we don't actually do anything. Instead, we learn to be openminded, we get so much experience and, what I like to call, 'social' knowledge that helps us to be able and to believe that we are able to one day do these kind of things. MUWCI is in a way a tool to help us achieve our goals. Goals that we might not even have set yet. Honestly, so many of us are confused about the future. For example, I came to MUWCI wanting to become a lawyer, I started doing Philosophy in MUWCI and Im going to study Psychology in college. I'm not even sure this is what I want. That way so many people here don't know what they want to do now, don't know what they want to become, don't know what they want to or will become, don't know what they are capable of, don't know how they will pay of their debts they are already dealing with, don't know how they will handle all the problems life brings. But we all know that in the end, we have one thing we can hold on to: our memories from MUWCI. We know that whatever happens, we can say we went to MUWCI. We know that wherever we find ourselves (like, litterally wherever), we can call one of our friends and visit them and stay at their place for free. We know that we met some of the most amazing people in the world. And maybe later we will tell our children that that famous actress, great physician, amazing singer, brave protestleader,... was once our classmate and that together, we ruled a school on the top of a hill in the middle of India. 

The future is terryfing, we will have to pay our own lives, we will be responsible for our own mistakes, we won't have that many people anymore to rely on when we are breaking down,... But I know I have friends everywhere and that MUWCI prepared me so well. Moreover, this experience made me realize that the more I grow old, I will everytime move and make/lose friends. However, I know that there is one group of people I will always be able to count on: my family. I don't mean my MUWCI-family this time (as, being realistically, I won't see many of those back even though I want to), I mean my real family. Whenever I was in stress, I could call them and whenever I go back home it is as if I never left. So, even though I don't do it often, I want to thank them for everything. I know how much effort it was for them to send me here, and I am so grateful for everything they gave me and did for me. 

I think this was about what I wanted to say for now as the end is approaching. I know some of this might sound a little cheesy, but everything here was written impulsively and from the heart. I am not proofreading it (so sorry for mistakes) and Im just going to post it. I know some stuff in here sounds negative, but I hope it is clear that I am not trying to make MUWCI sound like a bad place. I'm just expressing how I experienced it and that new applicants should keep in mind that it is not perfect. 

Lastly, I would like to put here a poem writen by my Indian friend Bianca Kavita Pais about her experience with MUWCI which I really liked. Especially the last sentence. It might sound controversial or confusing, I won't explain here as I think poems are for own interpretations, but think about it. 

 "I am not ready yet to leave this kingdom of idealism, cynicism and pure apathy.
I am not ready to leave our safe realm where we can start a revolution and take a day to just talk. Just talk, to people from more culture - country permutations than I will ever know. I am not ready to shut-up and realize that no one cares. I’m not ready to be told that I’m special and I’m not ready to realize that I am not special after all.  I am not ready to leave our sanctum of hand-expressed disapproval and aggressive acquiescence. I am not ready to lose our “I have so much work” battle cry.

I am not ready to have a wada concert in my bathroom by myself. I am not ready to explain my intense homesickness of that which wasn’t actually my home. I am not ready to inhabit the library of some college somewhere, reminiscent of times when everyone that surrounded me secretly wanted to change the world. I am not ready to say goodbye to people I have only known for two years but I really have for my whole life.

Our little hill in the middle of breathtaking rural India ruined my life for the best."

Oh, about the thailand travel I will post later, because I am after all in the middle of my IB exams and I have to meet my conditional offer for Glasgow University, so I can't spend all my time writing ;) 

Hope you will like this :) Anyway, I'm happy about this post and I feel like it reflects MUWCI well, mayb best of all my posts.
[Orientation week beginning this year. I'm in the pink shirt]
And our crazy housepicture for the yearbook this year (one of the pics)

Friday, February 21, 2014

My prayers go to Venezuela

I know I haven't been posting much lately, I just wanted to share something with you. 
Living with a Venezuelan housemate, I'm very concerned of what is going on in Venezuela right now. From what I understand, it is not much spoken of in the news so I would like to share with you all this video and I hope you will share it with many people around you. 
Friends of my housemate, students, inhabitants of Venezuela are dieing for this. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

One last time

Hi everyone,

So firstly, don't worry, this is not the last post -which my title might suggest- but it is the last term in MUWCI *sadface*. As promised yesterday is here my blog post :) 
Firstly I want to thank all people who helped us to raise funds for the weelchairs. Here is a personal thank you from Sankar and his family.
It is incredible how fast we raised all the funds needed. However, if you still want to give money, that is still possible. All the money that we get now will be used for therapy for the two boys. I think it is amazing to see that in less than 24 hours we raised enough money. This proves that it is possible to achieve something if you really want it and if all nations and people work together. I would say; an extraordinary example of the effectiveness of UWC :)
Secondly, I would like to apologize (jeez, this blog is like a massive apology about not writing :D). This term I had a lot more of free time, so it's not like work was stopping me from writing. I guess I was just not used to it anymore. So as I said, the workload is now lower than last term (that is not very hard if you would know how much work we had last term). It is not lower than last year, but because last term was so heavy this seems so free. Moreover, I decided to procrastinate less and stop participating in the complain-culture of MUWCI. What do I mean by that? Well, people here tend to complain a lot about the work they have. This, together with the endless procrastination in MUWCI, leads to the feeling that you are working all the time. I decided to not do this anymore and enjoy my free time by having fun (without laptop) and meeting people. I must say that I have been enjoying of my MUWC-experience a lot this term. It is crazy that it is already the last term and that time goes so fast. Especially now that I'm enjoying more than before I really don't want to see May coming... 
So what happened this term? Waw, so much, I will again not be able to tell you ALL the details. However, I will try to show videos and pictures which should show you my time here... 
So during winterbreak I went home for 10 days and then travelled in India with my parents. We visited Delhi, Agra, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Jaisalmer, Chittorgarh, Ajmer, Pushkar, Amritsar and MUWCI (not in this order but whatevz). It was such an amazing experience. To be honest, I liked it way more than travelling with MUWCI-people because it was a little more comfortable. Obviously, MUWCI-holidays is also different as in that it is less cultural and more 'chilling' in Goa etc. I could tell you so much about my summer, but I think if you want to know more about that, you should just ask my parents back home or me when you see me :) I will show some pictures so you can get an idea of how it was. 

 So moving on, a few days ago there was American regional evening. I forgot to tell about African regional evening last term, so here are two videos; One of African regional evening and one of American regional evening. I think it reflects the basis of the evenings :) 

Well well :) That was nice no? Next up: THEATRE SEASON!!! 
So each year in February, MUWCI has a theatre season in which several plays are performed. This year I will be directing on that will be on 13 and 14 of February. It is a lot of work and it is pretty exhausting, but in the end it is worth it (I hope ;) ). Last year I performed in Information For Foreigners, and our play was together with Proof (the faculty-play) the best play of the whole season. I am still trying to get the video for that play... Once I have it I will upload it... :) For those of you who are interested in coming (or just want to know which plays will be performed), here is the poster: Theatre Season Poster (click here)

Another big event this year was the Masquerade Ball. Because Theatre Season falls on Valentine this year, we will not have a Valentine soirrée. That is why this year, we had a Masquerade Ball instead. It was very nice. Here are some pictures. 
Me and Aishwarya (Bangalore)

Me, Aishwarya (Bangalore) and Disket (Ladakh)

Aishwarya (Bangalore), Phuntsho (Buthan) and me

Sonia (Poland), Himaansu (Mauritius) and me

Me, Neel (Delhi) and Patricia (Portugal)  

Me and Shruti (Delhi)

Sonia (Poland), Himaansu (Mauritius) and me

Alvaro (Guatemala), Sonia (Poland) and me

Me, Shruti (Delhi) and Sonia (Poland)

Wardah (Pakistan) and me

Me, Aishwarya (Bangalore) and Disket (Ladakh)
 Finally, I would like to wish the best of luck to all new applicants. I believe the process of selection will start soon. If you have any questions, dont hesitate to ask me, I will (try to) answer. I won't give my email because of privacy reasons, but you can find me on facebook or just react on the blog. Here is a last video that gives an idea of what a  UWC is like :) 

Waw, this was a long post! :D 
See you soon,