The last day of school was moving in many ways. It was not only the fact that we had to say goodbye to our roommates and friends for (only) three weeks, the memorial ceremony we held in the auditorium for UWCs Honorary President Nelson Mandela also made us very emotional.
The African students had prepared a wonderful ceremony with tributes to Mandela. After a great video giving an overview of his life, we proceeded with poems and songs. The entire assembly hall was filled with the beautiful voices of our co-years singing his favorite songs, and then with Pelly’s voice reciting his “I am prepared to die” speech. We all had goose bumps and stood up to sing the beautiful anthem of South Africa after clapping our hands to the loudest. I realized how happy and lucky I am to be part of the UWC movement and to have had such an incredible man as Honorary President. He was and always will be inspiration for all of us.
The day went by quickly and after the memorial ceremony I spent most of my time cleaning up and reorganizing my room with the help of my girls. Both my roommates from Hong Kong left early and when it was time to say goodbye, we were all sad and gave each other long long hugs. Just a little after that it was time for Miranda (from Singapore/Hong Kong/Canada) to leave and after a long farewell, we walked her to her taxi. As one by one friends were leaving, it felt as if our beautiful LPC puzzle was falling back to pieces.
It’s only three weeks… however, after these three weeks it will be time for a new chapter, a new term. A few hours later I was the one to grab my suitcase and walk to the gate. My friends and second years came with me and countless tight squeezes later Jessica (Lebanon/Slovakia), Houssam (Morocco), Sana (Iran) and me walked to the bus station, each of us carrying one suitcase. Sana and me were on the same flight and hence took the same bus, that we almost missed while buying water, if Houssam had not run after us while Jessica was keeping the driver busy. And just after we had jumped in the bus, Maria (Mexico) and Sophie (Colombia/Chile) followed us. It was a long and shaky bus ride and once we arrived at the airport, all of us were so carsick, that we had difficulties pulling our suitcases.
The flight went well. Sana and me were seated in the middle seats of the middle row (which I will definitely not do again). Since we had enjoyed a lot of tea with our Italian salad, we had to search for the WC quite often, which left our (mostly sleeping) seating neighbours quite frustrated. After 9 hours of mixing sleep with movies and conversations, we finally landed in Doha. During our three-hour layover, we discovered the beautiful surprises that come with wearing the LPC hoodies that have a huge UWC logo in the back. We had just sat down on the floor beside a plug to charge our laptops, when a boy approached us and said “hello”. He was a from UWC Atlantic College! And just as it is when you meet fellow UWCers, we instantly bonded and ten minutes later it felt as if we three had spent the past weeks together. We talked about our UWC experience, about the IB and shared fun facts about life on campus. An hour later it was time for Sana to continue her flight to Iran. After we gave her a squishy goodbye hug, we moved a little closer to my gate and then continued our conversations. His name was Mueez and he was from Bangladesh. Of course he knew my co-years Sakib and Shuchi and thus we talked a little bit about the Bengali students that went to UWC, the difference between LPC and Atlantic and much more. I ended up boarding my plane 10 minutes before the gate closed. It was just wonderful. No long waiting line, no stressed people pushing you around to find a seat. The flight was very pleasant. I sat beside a German lady who worked in Nepal and we shared our stories. Since I could not sleep, I ended up watching two Bollywood movies – I discovered that I have fan-potential, and now my idea of visiting India seems to have become a decision – and one Arabic movie. No English. I watched them in Hindi and Arabic. My love for the Middle East was sparked once again and I became very sad that my layover in Doha was not long enough to go out and explore.
My arrival in Germany was almost as spectacular as my arrival after my time abroad in the U.S. I tackled my parents and they returned hundreds of hugs and kisses. That same evening we went out for dinner with family and friends to celebrate the reunion and my mom’s late birthday. It was a cute restaurant, picked for me, with ocean décor and tropical ambiente. We enjoyed delicious Turkish food and live music, while watching my mom and all her friends dance.
I have been back in Germany for three days now. Term 1 has been unforgettable, filled with wonderful memories, ups and downs and great moments. Reflecting upon all the things I experienced, I decided to write a blog post about the highlights of this term. Since 1 blog post will not be enough, it will be split into parts. Stay tuned 🙂