My last three months: work, study and UWCers

Bussum, The Netherlands

Hoi.

I am back. Back alive. Back on the internet. I know you have all been wondering what I have been doing these last couple of months since we spoke to each other for the last time, it was August, I believe. Well. Not as much as you think I did, but I was still kind of productive. Let me think back, to my last appearance on this blog and what has happened after.

August 26th, was the last time I published something. At the time I was still laying in my hammock outside on the patio, in an atmosphere that reminded me of India – even though I have never been there. It was the end of summer and real life had started again for most people, but not for me. I was (I actually still am) working in a small restaurant next to a playground close to my house to earn a bit of money and to have a reason to get out of the house. One day I actually went out for something else, because Marijn and Thea were in The Netherlands and we had some breakfast together!

The most amazing selfie you have ever seen in your life

But, they were definitely not the only UWCers I met! Siri also came to The Netherlands and we spent the week together. Unfortunately, she came right in the middle of a super stressful time with an EE and TOK deadline hanging above my head. Oh yeah, right, that was also a thing, school… For the people who have no idea what those abbreviations mean, EE stands for Extended Essay and is a 4000-word long essay which is supposed to become your passion and life work. I wrote mine (and now it comes) about how authors portray rebelliousness in their main characters in the book Pippi Longstocking from Astrid Lindgren and Matilda from Roald Dahl. I can promise you, this was not my passion or life work or whatever. It was a cool investigation, but I got really sick of it and I am glad I am done (if I pass at least). TOK stands for Theory Of Knowledge and I still do not really understand the subject but maybe that was the purpose of it. At least, this subject let you question everything. Everything.

But okay, cool, I finished those. I only had a TOK presentation and a chemistry exam left and I would be done with IB. I gave my presentation about Donald Trump (who else) in front of a class at UWC Maastricht – super duper scary, but they were nice people, I hope my presentation was as nice as them. In the meantime, I went to the open air cinema with Noor (we are still talking about the beginning of September so there was still nice weather) and I applied to become a Junior Trainer at the UWC xperience and luckily, I got the job!

The UWC xperience is an initiative from a Dutch UWC alum who wanted to spread the UWC to more people in The Netherlands except for the +- 20 people our national committee sends every year. So, he created UWC xperience and we, as trainers, give workshops to classes all around the country. These workshops focus on personal qualities, comfort/grow/danger zones, the perfect society and many many other things. The first time I had to give a workshop was terrifying, but the second time went better and the third time was my best workshop until now (I only did three).

So, now we go to the end of Septemeber where I took a plane from Amsterdam to…. LONDON! I went to see Tao for a couple of days and it was amazing! We walked through the streets of London, went to cosy cafes to drink Tao’s favourite beer, tea and to draw things. We also talked a lot and watched some Star Trek. One day, Tao was sick and I went on an adventure on my own and I went to Shoreditch, an area in London that was originally for the immigrants, so there are a lot of Indian shops and other cultural cafes. Now it has been discovered by the ‘hipsters’, so the place has been taken over by vintage and second-hand stores. It is a weird combination, and very interesting to walk around. Next to that, I loved the street art there, there were so many small details and you could walk around endlessly. I also made a small trip during my trip, to visit Philip and Kip in Manchester. We went to a footballmatch from Manchester United together and it was nice to see them again! My last evening in London Tao and I met up with Erik as well! It was so good to be with Tao and other UWCers and ‘live’ again. Thank you Tao!

Philip and Kip in the stadion

Why not take a picture in the London Bridge Underground station?

When I arrived in The Netherlands, I took the train to Amsterdam instead of going home. It was the first of October and UWC The Netherlands had it annual alumni dinner in the Heineken Experience in Amsterdam. It was great to see some of my co-years and other alumni! My UWC feeling continued and it was so nice! On the first picture of this blog you see me and my co-years who showed up! From left to right: Annelie (UWC in Mostar), me, Tirsa (below – UWC Robert Bosch), Mar (UWC Red Cross Nordic), Ronit (UWC Mahindra), Eva (UWC Costa Rica) and Floyd (UWC Costa Rica).

Back in The Netherlands also meant back to real life. I really had to study for my chemistry and physics exams coming up. Next to that I worked a lot in the restaurant and visted several information days from universities. When I went to one of those days for the first time, I had the biggest culture shock of my life – even bigger than coming to UWC. The people around me were…. they were so not me. They did not care about others, voluntary work and aaah, I can barely describe my frustrations. It was a painful reminder of why I left The Netherlands. I guess I have to get used to it, I mean, if I want to study here again. And maybe I should not make that big of a problem of it…..

Other things I did were volunteering at the ‘Night of the UN’, which was cool and there were a lot of  cool people! I also gave a presentation about UWC in Tilburg with Ronit and had a nice dinner with my friends to welcome Sophie who came back from backpacking in Asia. I had two flash visits from Katrine and Ulrikke who both came back from Argentina. It was great to see them!

Mar, Katrine and I in Amsterdam

My second visiting Dane coming from Argentina in one week!

Then, eventually, on the 14th and 15th of November I had my final IB exams. I stayed at Toni’s in Maastricht and I have no idea how my exams went, I am done at least. If I pass.

Between my chemistry exam and my physics exam (I did the Dutch physics exam) I had 15 days to learn 3 years of physics and my brain did not really want to study anymore, but I had to, so I studied hard core and the first of December I had my exam and if I pass that as well, I am officially done with high school. I also had Noor’s goodbye dinner who is going to Austria to give skiing lessons (read her blog here) and I went to a concert from Seafret with Eva which was super duper amazingly awesome.

Oh, I also met these cool people while they were on November Break in Amsterdam. F.l.t.r.: Adrian, Shaim, Elodie, Rodrigo, Liv and Azlin. I also met Edson, Julia, Bento and Luca, but they are not on the picture.

And now we are back to the present and I just came back from work and I have to work on my so called ‘surprise’ for one of my friends when we celebrate Sinterklaas (Dutch Christmas but then with black helpers and everybody is making a fuss out of it).

Sooo, now you are pretty much up to date on my life. And hopefully I am done with school now, so my gap year can really start.

Emma

Ps. This movie has been made by current first years at RCN. I am homesick. I miss this place and mostly the people.

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