/ livet /

life round here

i've been trying to draft a blog post for the longest time now. already have a half-finished post among my drafts but it all just fell into pieces. i hope my creative block would do the same. i need to write now. need to pour out everything inside me. apathy deciphered into math class with tears in my eyes. haven't felt this way in a long time. 
 
#1: it's february and spring is right around the corner
 
back home, february is snow melting as it hits the ground; an ice cold wind unraveling my scarf as i trudge through the slush to get to the bus station, too lazy to bike into town. it is spending afternoons huddled in cafés with a cup of black coffee, too cheap to get anything fancier. it is waking up before the sun and getting home after it sets, my exposed ankles numb from the wind hitting the signature roll-up of my black jeans. it is the gray and the black and the whites surrounding the pastel pink houses in my quaint little university town that i love so much. lund and my sheltered winters, my humble protections found in the soothing chatter from the café sofas and the clatter of shiny wet dr. martens through slush. wool mittens and rosy cheeks, and
 
the eternal wait for the brightness of spring, with its chirping birds and stopping by the pink cherry blossoms in lundagård on my way back from school; the pink petals falling slowly to the ground in the low afternoon sun. the breeze still chilly but the pink whirl an indicator of rebirth; a hint of happiness. a reminder that the outdoor serving outside ariman will soon be filled; behind it a crowd soaking the day's last sunlight behind domkyrkan. that the indecisiveness in glasskulturen and the sitting on stortorget will come again. and the walking home barefoot in the 4am sunrise. a reminder that happier days are to come.
 
it is a sunday afternoon when i talk about this with simen. simen, my little norwegian firstie that i love so much. that offers me espresso at 10pm and comes over with honey-spread bread. that never fails to listen and that looks out for me. his constantly worried look and fluffy hair and "hvordan går det?" in the hallways. it is a sunday afternoon and i have just watched him play the golden goal in frisbee, tired after a 6h climbing day developing a new area by the wifi boulders. "i think a lot of my mood depends on the weather", he says. i look out on the sunny campus benches outside his window; the new mexican sun faithful to its bright blue backdrop. i nod.
 
i always seem to write about the montezuma sky; its orange sunrises and lavender sunsets. its clear blue sky above days soaking on the field and the milky way during late summer nights on the water reservoir. there is nothing i love more.
 
in montezuma, february is that cloudless sky with a blazing sun that shines its morning beams through the blinds of my windows. it is a sky always clear blue, but now somehow brighter, bluer, and broader. or so it feels. it is the warm breeze cooling down the gap between my tennis skirt and crop top and lying on the sunkissed floor in my room, eating nectarines with libbie. it is walking across campus, murakami book in hand and annika norlin's lyricism streaming through my headphones on repeat; romanticizing my dull everyday life. it is the changing outfits five times a day because, still not having mastered the art of layering clothes that is required in the desert. and the afternoon light hitting the tall tree tops behind the castle; their shadows stretching over the trail like an abstract painting. it is a campus livelier than ever, with music streaming out the windows and bare legs running to class.
 
yet, getting out of bed deems a five-star mission. 
 
#2: montezuma you're changing, and so am I
 
i've been climbing a lot lately. spent every single afternoon with chalky hands and a determined mind. 
 
i've missed the outside. have spent too much time butt in chair and pen in hand. i've missed the frisk air and the chirping birds and the sunlight sipping through from behind the boulders. i've missed hiking muddy trails with feet covered in my old nike's, the ones with the right sole burnt off from that wilderness bonfire somewhere sometime. that bonfire that i miss so much. have never longed for wilderness as much as i have now; craving the freedom it has to offer. i've even missed the dry thorny bushes crowding the trails and the prickly pears around every corner. and every other beautiful plant that the high desert has to offer.
 
i've missed long afternoons spent in the woods; chalk in my backpack and scraped up hands hugging the cold rocks. peeling pistachios and drinking coffee on top of sunny boulders, getting to know selina. rushing down hills in the sunset with hugh, talking about cities and indifference and cosmopolitanism. listening to andrew's crazy stories, mocking pro-climbers and stompy bouldering guys, his sunshine in form of a black dog licking me in the face. the bonds and the people and the smiles they put on my face, but also
 
being alone. truly alone. leaning my back against our own little legacy -- the wifi boulders; reading among the pine cones, listening to the gust of wind invade the trees above me. a determination to finish a project and warming my feet in my backpack inbetween climbs. tyler the creator in my headphones, and hiking down with scraped up legs and bruises forming purple galaxies on my knees. 
 
and then coming back to
 
laughter and frisbee throwing on the field. t-shirts and shorts weather and people soaking in the sun. sunglasses covering the traces of unfinished homework and too little sleep. and my own heavy eyelids and cup of black coffee on the field, watching the rugby players as i finish each chapter of the book i'm reading. and to the right, my best friend in his rainbow bucket hat, head buried in catch 22.
 
this is the montezuma i love, and this is the montezuma i missed,
 
but i don't want to be here anymore.
 
#3: on (in)dependency
 
i talk with zsuzsa after biology one day. it's morning break and i'm making coffee. zsuzsa has been talking about leaving ever since our second year started and this day we are talking about it again. at first it broke my heart but now i understand. montezuma is beautiful but its intensity is tearing me down every single day. it's strange getting back into routine again.
 
coming back didn't feel as exciting this time. it felt like coming home, but coming home like you come home every single day, not coming home like coming home after a long break from everything and everyone you love. it felt like coming home to a familiar bed and taking a long nap in solitude. it didn't feel like coming home and hugging your entire family and eating homecooked food for the first time in a long time, and sending out that "GUESS WHO'S BACK!?!??!!?" text message. coming back felt like coming home after a long day of work. all i want to do is lay in my bed. 
 
me and zsuzsa talk about friendships and how they spiralled down into peculiar family ties. it's weird because that seems to be how friendships work here. i try to explain how i've been feeling off lately, that on a superficial level i've seemed to cut off a lot of people from my life but deep inside there is no one i love more than them. there is no one i care more about than them. they are family to me. family i see around every day but also family that i don't necessarily feel the need to be around all the time. that i'll only update maybe once a week; much like how i skype my parents every sunday. except my family here doesn't live 5000 miles away from me and whereas i miss my family back home i have no reason to miss my family here. because they're here, too. yet, there seems to be a trying to get away. a trying to move out. a trying to be independent. perhaps. i don't really know; haven't really figured it out myself yet.
 
and this is what i try to explain to zsuzsa too, as we drink our morning coffee and talk our way through break. i tell her i feel disconnected; dazed; disoriented; and 
 
terribly lonely.
 
and how that somehow ties in to the doormat i braided out of 5 boy t-shirts that i've fallen asleep in many nights. there is something intimate about boy t-shirts; a piece of their identity; a means of self-expression; and drowning in that. drowning in bare skin and wrinkled sheets, a soft snoring in my hair and kisses where my shoulders turn into neck. and waking up embraced by a safe arm and ten fingers intertwined to one; ruffled hair and the little i-just-woke-up smile; tracing jawlines with my finger tips and silently counting birth marks. nights knocking on unfamiliar doors and mornings carefully closing them, walking back to my dorm room before anyone else has woken up. sunlight hitting my abandoned pink moomin bed sheets.  ;
 
a dependency when i promised my self to be independent. a leaning back on when i need to support myself. a getting lost in isolation.
 
me and zsuzsa end up getting to math class 15 minutes late. 
 
#4: a tsunami of self-doubt and how to see in the dark (jan 25th)
 
my friends are getting into college, offers from UK schools, contacted for interviews, and i'm growing increasingly anxious about what the future holds in store for me. i'm incredibly happy for all of them. but, it's hard. i'm stressing out over everything at times like these. it's a down-spiral hell-hole. i don't want to go back to sweden. i don't want to live a stable, ordinary life. i don't want to be content. i don't want to live my life not worrying about anything. i don't want to live my life not working to become better. i don't want to live a life in my comfort zone. i can't go backwards.
 
still the thought is always there. like that's probably what i'll end up doing. suddenly a tsunami of self-doubt, some kind of convincing that 'hey, that's fine too'. some kind of trying to justify a life that i don't want. and then the loveliest mini-guide from my english teacher on how to manage my time and "Fuck college. You're smart, creative and awesome and if they don't want you, then they're deprived and hopless Trump supporters. Let them wallow in that". i'll wallow in that, but
 
i know too little still.
 
-

i spend a lot of time with mihir. he drinks the cold coffee on my window sill and i fill the room with radiohead. i sit in his bed eating indian snacks while he plays the smiths. one day i take a nap while he watches a bon iver live concert by my desk. he leaves a little post it note that says "thanks for the coffee and the company... and for being my friend. - mihir". another day i lie on his chest and cry for the first time in a long time. "i feel so lonely" i tell him. he lets me wet his t-shirt with my tears. "i'm so happy you're still my best friend" i tell him before i leave. i really am.
 
at assembly, president victoria mora is talking about her vision for uwc-usa, for this place and its people. it's a long presentation, filled with repetition of the words "mission alignment". about a vision of living the mission: something that we often seem to forget. something that seems to be too easily pushed away; hid behind; not emphasized enough. i close my eyes as victoria talks about how this school has the potential to be the most important one in the entire united states. how we should be constantly reminded of our mission. VISION and MISSION. "montezuma it is", she says. i open my eyes and i smile. and then she talks about our amazing student body. the strong community. everything that everyone always seem to say about this place. everything that's everything that ever seems to matter. and then mihir texts me:
 
"Fuck this shit
Who did she even talk to
 
I don't see optimism I see people crying in my bed, wanting to go home"
 
and that's part of the story too, and it makes me indescribably sad.
 
because what would i do without you, my magical montezuma with your misty mountain tops and your bright blinking stars from my bedroom window? what would i do if i never got to know you and the warm yellow sunlight that peaks through my blinds and shines on the left side of my bookshelf every morning at 7am? if i never got to know your cream yellow walls that i hate so much? the ones filled with memories from my predescessors and drinking tea with candles lit in the window. the ones that i hate but that i came to love. the ones that i made my own.
 
what if i never got to have that discussion on the dwan light with mihir two years ago? the one on the night of a day it had just rained, where we talked about free will and the size of the universe. the one that introduced a best friend and his nihilism; the one that led to lots of music recommendations, complaints about life, and sitting in the MB stairs.
 
and what if i never got to go on that hike in the middle of the night? the one with lázaro leading the way. what if i never got to spend 12 days in wilderness with him? what if i never got to know my favorite little mexican? the one that comes with on 7am walks with lulu and sits on the end of my bed and talks about life. the one that gives the warmest hugs and the worst cuddles. my best friend.
 
and what if i never got to know libbie and her wool socks+birkenstocks combo? how she's put up with me for half a year now, and how grateful i am to have her as my roommate. what if i never got to know her and her snyde comments at boys? her presence lighting up my life. coffee crisp, hand-made stickers and the cutest christmas decorations; and her laughter filling up the room.
 
and what if i never got to know the girls: my saviors, my best friends, my sisters. what if i never got to know the empowerment of sisterhood and the love shared during midnight-tea conversations? how else would i know how to love so deeply.
 
montezuma, sometimes i lay in my bed unable to get up. sometimes i lay in my bed wanting to go home. but oh montezuma, you are home. and what would i do without you?
 
/ livet /

on the three past weeks and the year that passed

it's time for the yearly reflection. the one written traveling in solitude, crossing oceans, finding homes on different continents. it's 2017. another year has passed.
 
sigh.
 
i read through my 2016 diary. 41 pages in a locked up word document. 16 681 words on life. thoughts and reflections-- and feelings. lots of feelings. i read through it all and i can't believe that it all happened during one single year. it felt like a lifetime. at the same time it went by faster than any year has ever done (even though i seem to feel that way every single year). so much that happened, so much that was done, so much that was dreamt about. 
 
as i read through my 16 681 words my heart gets increasingly heavy. i think a lot about how much my thoughts and feelings -- and in many ways, the way in which i view myself -- was based on the judgement of others. how i let myself be defined by others. how i should've processed those definitions better. how i shouldn't have internalized so quickly. how i could fall asleep next to someone every single night, to realize months after that i was being treated like shit. how that happened over and over again. how i let that happen. maybe it was just easier that way. i guess it's just easier letting other people define you. letting them decide what they like and don't like and deciding what to project and what to hide. alone i know nothing, yet i know everything. it scares me.
 
#1: seven minutes to midnight and feet buried in sand
 
new years always makes me feel gloomy. this year, i'm sitting next to carlie on the beach, watching the waves crash onto the shore. we arrived in puerto escondido yesterday. spent the day at playa carrizalillo, had dinner at the hostel, and then hitch-hiked to the beach on the back of a pick-up truck. playa zicatela. it's seven minutes to midnight and our feet are buried in the sand. around us people are lighting fire crackers. grace, benja, josefine, and the australian girls from the hostel are chatting in the background. "i always feel super gloomy on new years for some reason", i tell carlie. "why do you think that is?" she asks. i'm not sure how to describe it. still am not. "it’s like.. what the fuck are we celebrating?" i say. "another year passed. so what?". "yeah, i get that...but at the same time, that’s the point, you know? you made it through another year. congrats".
 
congrats.
 
we get up and go back to the others and at 11:58, people have a countdown. "but wait!!! there's two minutes left!!" we yell. too late. josefine has already popped the champagne and is spraying it all over the beach. we shrug our shoulders. whatever. two minutes later, i kiss carlie and we shout "FUCK BOYS!!!!", find a dog at the beach and have our first dog pet of 2017. i'm so happy to have her as my best friend. she's one of the best people i've ever met.
 
we head to kabbalah, and after an argument between ben and the bouncer, we cave in and pay the 200 pesos entrance fee they have just for this night. angrily we head out to the dancefloor. "sorry i aint got no money i'm not trying to be funny but i left it all at home today". we laugh. how ironic. we sing along to the crappy songs that are playing. "you're on a different road, i'm in the milky way, you want me down on earth, but i am up in space. you're so damn hard to please, we gotta kill this switch, you're from the 70s but i'm a 90s bitch. i love it".
 
and then we dance our asses off. i don't care, i love it.
 
i meet a guy from germany. his name is philip and we dance to enrique iglesias together, his snapback covering his bright blonde hair. he tells me he's volunteering in puerto escondido, learning spanish and surfing and teaching little kids. i never ask him what. i meet a guy from cali, who looks like the biggest surfer dude cliché ever. his hair is long and dirty blonde and he is dancing barefoot with a denim jacket. carlie has just talked about him and when i see him, i just know. it's the guy. i grab him and i shout "you're carlie's friend!!!!" and he looks at me with a confused look. after some small talk he swears in crappy swedish, tells me he has a swedish friend, and says "swedish people are all just intelligent and beautiful yeah? free education hell yeah!!!". before he leaves to find his girlfriend he says "you are a beautiful beautiful lady. high five!" and then he wanders off. i never get his name.
 
at 3am i have lost both of them but found ben, who has just gotten hold of one of the club's new years decorations, a papier-mâché horse, and is contemplating bringing it back to the hostel. we find grace and then we scream our lungs out to pitbull. yeah, yeah, que no pare la fiesta, don't stop the paaardey. i find carlie sitting among the waves crashing onto the shore and then follows a silent cab ride and scrambled eggs at 5am in the morning.
 
#2: one last goodbye, snowy ski slopes, and sunsets over 9th avenue
 
so that was new years. that was the transition. let's re-wind.
 
on the 14th of december, i say goodbye to montezuma for the third time. i listen to beach house on the bus and fall asleep on othmane's shoulder. when we get to the airport, dewey is sitting by the check-in. i run up to him and hug him tight. one last time. our flights don't leave until six in the morning so we gather a group and do an IHoP run. me and sabo share 'swedish crepes' (pannkakor med lingonsylt!!) and when we walk back, me and dewey talk about life. before i board, i hug him one last time. "i'm so grateful to have met you", he tells me. i nod. "i love you so much. we'll talk soon, okay?". and then i'm off.
 
i sleep all the way to JFK. then i sleep on the subway all the way to port authority. when i knock on the door i'm met with familiar faces and embraces. it's so good to see my family again, and it's so good to have us all gathered for christmas, for the first time in what? five years? i fall asleep to my father's heavy snoring and the blinking lights of the city.
 
the next day, we leave a slushy nyc and drive to vermont. and then, spending four days overcoming fear of ice patches when snowboarding, long mahjong games with my parents and big brother, and sleeping in wool socks. 
 
we come back to a sunny new york and then starts a balancing college work and family time. when my family heads out to central park on christmas day, i stay in and write supplement essays. when they head off to get groceries i'm finishing up my common app. everything seems a little easier with my computer in front of the new york city skyline. on the day before christmas i wander the city by night, looking for christmas presents but also just breathing the pulse, the diversity, the hasty atmosphere. it feels weird. so different from what montezuma has to offer outside of our campus bubble. nothing like the lavender skies over sebastian canyon on that day before we leave when i go bouldering with hugh, joey, and elias. nothing like the trillion stars over the hot springs when i sit there with lázaro and simen. i'm not sure how to feel. i end up spending three hours outside with nothing to bring back. 
 
 on the 29th i submit six college applications feeling eternally relieved, but also anxious. i'm so scared about what the future will bring. that afternoon we eat in flushing. haven't had good chinese food in soo long. and then me and my brother go climbing and i attempt at breaking in the new climbing shoes he gave me for christmas. i end up with huge blisters on my feet but at least i send my first V4.
 
the day after, i leave the blinking lights from the taxi cabs and the jet-lagged sunrise over hudson river. this is the last time in a while that my family will be assembled, all together. soon scattered across four different places. me in new mexico, my big brother in new york, my father in germany, and my mom and little brother back home, in sweden. leaving my family leaves me with a heavy feeling.
 
and then i take the subway through a sleepy 10pm new york city. 
 
#3: patterned pants and pretty palm trees - puerto escondido and seven days of paradise
 
 i arrive in mexico city at 5am in the morning. i'm supposed to meet my friends for breakfast but i end up getting stuck in the airplane for 2h instead. when we're finally let out, i'm met by the most confusing airport i've ever been to. "hablas inglés?" i ask in shaky spanish. nope. ok. 
 
my connecting flight to puerto escondido is delayed, but it doesn't say until when. i end up waiting for 12h before we board. when we finally get on the plane, i have managed to find josefine. getting out from the airplane, we're met by palm trees and the warmest breeze i've felt in a long time. we get in a cab and pay 35 pesos for a ride to the hostel, vivo escondido. grace and benja run out, hug us, and then simon takes us on a hostel tour. vivo escondido is amazing; it's white walls covered in colorful art work and the roof top crowded with hammocks and morning yoga. the pool still warm from the afternoon heat, and the bunk beds painted in a bright turqouise. benja and grace has cooked pasta with tomato sauce for us. at 10pm, we decide to take a nap and head out by midnight. me and carlie end up in the roof hammocks and plan to nap. instead we talk about life, about college, about compassion and the importance of listening. about how hard it is sometimes. but she understands. listens patiently. 
 
we never end up napping. grace comes up and asks if we want to go out. benja and josefine apparently won't wake up. we all end up going to bed instead. oh well.
 
the rest of the days in puerto are just clustered together. mornings (noons) met by intense morning heat, sticky clothing, and watery coffee. dips in the pool and then walking to the beach. coming back after sunset, getting dinner, and getting ready to go out. 
 
one night we go to a raggae bar on the beach. la punta. apparently it's one of the top ten beaches for surfing, according to our new-made italian friend, charlie. after a while, they light a campfire, so me and carlie go and lay down beside it. the flames warm our bare legs and the sand feels nice against our backs. we stare at the stars for a while. carlie points out orion, the three stars forming his waist always visible. then dog pets at the dance floor and "we can't leave now, we need to leave on a good song". we end up leaving on 'jamming' and then walk into the waves crashing onto the shore at 2am in the morning. me, benja, and carlie. hand in hand. 
 
another night it's ladies night on kabbalah. free drinks for all girls from 10-12. me and carlie wear the matching pants we've bought at the market earlier that day. mine are blue and hers are red, and on top we wear black crop tops. ben buys a dirty martini and after he finishes eating his olive, we pour our free drinks into his glass. on thursday we end up there again. the world's best piña colada and two jorge's: one with long blonde hair, one with a heart/skull tattoo on his chest. both of them 22. both of them super nice. what a coincidence.
 
other nights we spend at the hostel, playing buffalo and getting to know the amazing people there. so many travelers, backpackers, wanderers. people who left everything back home to get out into the world. who ended up liking it in puerto escondido and just... stayed. one night we eat pizza at an italian restaurant in the corner and our waiter, rex, or if it was max, tells us that he came to puerto to stay one night at this one hostel and that it's now been two weeks and that he has no idea what he's going to do in the future. all he knows for now is that he's builidng a house on the hostel roof. it makes me wonder what life should really be about. because what is life, if not this?
 
i leave the crystal clear ocean and swaying palm trees with heavy heart and dreams of salty hair and sand underneath my finger nails.
 
#4: "some people are just assholes" and angry greyhound drivers
 
right before i left home last summer, i failed my driver's test. twice. the first time, i actually did fuck up. that was on me. the second time? no. even my dad, who sat in the car, said i deserved to have gotten my license that time. i did everything perfectly. the reason i failed? one of my mirrors was turned slightly too inwards. and the fact that i was an asian girl who had taken no classes and only driven with my asian dad probably also played a big role. i came home with tears in my eyes and when my dad tried to comfort me, all he said was "some people are just assholes". and that's what i keep repeating to myself half a year later, as we're trying to stop a greyhound bus in el paso.
 
so. we've spent the night at carlie's friend daniel, in his place in juarez. we crossed the border in the morning, and arrived at the greyhound station half an hour before departure. we don't have our tickets printed, but hey. it's 2017. since when do you ever need printed paper copies? we tell the lady in the counter that we need to print the tickets. it says on the website that you can do that in the counter. she tells us she can't do that. sends us off to the public library, which she claims to be open. it's closed. as me and josefine run into hotel el paso and get them to print our tickets, the greyhound bus is boarding back at the station. we run back with our printed tickets and wave them in front of the driver, who is just leaving. he shakes his head over and over again. me and jose stand in front of the bus so he can't drive and beg him to let us on. we're here. come on. please sir. after getting demeaning glares from his co-workers on the parking-lot, he finally opens the door. "what the hell is wrong with you folks?" he says, over and over again. we have no time to explain the situation until benja tells us our luggage isn't even on the bus. well, shucks. we get off as the driver yells after us. "who do you think you are?!". jesus, sir. just give us two minutes. breathe. 
 
some people are just assholes.
 
we end up spending 7h in el paso. poor dani has to take us around everywhere. at 5pm we finally board another bus to albuquerque. when we get back to campus, it's already past midnight. 
 
#5: familiar faces and fake facades
 
it's strange being back on campus. for the first time, i feel ready to leave. that's all i'm going to say.
/ livet /

on best friends, bureaucracy and borderline breakdowns

it’s been the weirdest 48 hours ever. like taken out of a movie scene. flash flash flash scenes flashing before me, rolling faster and faster and faster and in the end it’s just one big blur of rolling film that just flashes in front of my eyes. it’s strange and i don’t like it.

it’s weird how fast things change around here. i’ve always said that if i could choose one word to describe the UWC experience with, it would be intense. it really is. ”highest highs and lowest lows”, i always say. it really is. a couple of day ago this community hit one of it lows, and I, one of my lowest lows.

one of my best friends left campus yesterday. it feels surreal. i don’t think i’ve quite grasped it yet. 

the morning everything is turned upside down, i sit at brunch stressing out over work. ”come visit ima crash for a little while again” he texts me. 20 minutes later i walk into his room and ”i’m ignoring work so hard right nooowwww” i complain. we talk about life. i lay down on his fleece blanket, the one he puts over his sheets so that no one’s dirt and germs ever get onto the space he sleeps in. no one has ever gotten to touch his duvet or pillow except for himself. not without the fleece blanket over it. last year he wouldn’t even let me up on the bed. not to forget the taped line he had by his door that indicated where you needed to take off your shoes before you entered his space. the afternoon after everything was turned upside down, i lie down on top of his duvet and let my eyes wet down his pillow. the fleece blanket is tucked into the corner of his bed, much like all his other things: scattered across the floor and pushed into places where they’ve probably never been before (knowing what a clean freak he is). 

”ahhh.. dewey”, like all the teachers say when you say his name. ahh, dewey. it’s been one hell of a ride. i miss you so much, already.

on the day that everything is turned upside down, i play ultimate frisbee. we play from 3:30-5. halfway through our game we hear the fire alarm go off. ”ahh MB’s fire alarm just went off!” someone laughs. i crack up. ”incense 2.0?” i yell out. think back of that one time dewey accidentally set off the fire alarm last year.

at 5:45 i’m heading up to the castle for winter concert rehearsals. i’m playing with the string ensemble. mozart and a capriole suite. i find him outside MB. one sentence changes everything. i give him a long hug before i have to rush up. ”i love you so fucking much dewey wtf” i text him. ”it was the unluckiest chain of events ever” he replies.

after the concert, i sit on the fleece blanket in his room. he tells me what happened. ”talk to doug”, i tell him. and he goes off into the dark. i sit in his room with elias. we listen to blonde. i think back to orientation. this was how we became friends, me and elias. i laid down on dewey’s floral fleece neatly laid across the bed, and he sat by his desk, and we listened to blonde together. where dewey was, i can’t remember. tears roll down my cheek.

the morning after the day that everything is turned upside down, i message him as soon as i wake up. ”any updates?” i ask him. ”i have a meeting at 12.15” he replies. i bring him a capri sun, and give him a long hug. ”i love you and you got this”, i tell him. he’s in his signature bathrobe. ”i’m so fucking nervous” he says.

i go to the village meeting we are holding in the auditorium. ”what are some of the happiest moments you’ve had here since you came?” the head of school asks us. a lot of people raise their hand. they all say the same thing: this community. 

we talk about how beautiful this community is. how strong it seems to be this year. how much everyone is looking out for each other and what an amazing support system exists here. when the meeting is wrapped up, it is wrapped up by the words of a promise: a continuation of growing stronger; together.

after the meeting i go to dewey’s room. he’s gotten out of his bathrobe and into a smart casual attire. and his signature salmon pink raf simons x adidas.

i go up to lunch. i don’t feel like eating anything, but i have a cup of tea. the rest of the time i sit in josh’s room in silence. when the little dot turns green next to dewey’s name on my phone, i text him. ”dewey?”. ”sup. come by” he tells me.

i run down the stairs and fly open his door. ”so?” i ask him. he points to the suitcase on the floor. ”no. no. no. fuck”. i embrace him and we cry together. ”it was bound to happen” he tells me. ”it is what it is”.

and the rest of the afternoon is one big blur of emotion. i can’t believe it is happening. 

when he leaves at seven, we all walk down to the welcome center in the dark. he hugs everyone, one by one. the lights glaring from the welcome center and the dorms. but never as bright as the light and love from our hearts. i sit in the end of the circle and i never want him to make his way around. i don’t want to get up and hug him, because i know that’ll be the last hug i’ll have in a while. i have hugged him infinitely many times that day already but i can’t let this be the last one. avital helps me up. ”annerii” he says. i hug him harder than ever before. ”i love you so fucking much”. ”i fucking love you too” he says. and then he walks towards the car and the MB boys embrace him one last time and i run up to grab my last hug too. another last one. ”i’ll see you on the airport on friday, okay?”. 

and then he’s off. 

the days that follow are the days that i live and breathe now. it’s been a hell-hole of emotion. the night he leaves i sit down in the hallway with zsuzsa, avital, and josefine. and then we sit in linda and naomi’s house and talk about mental health. this place is a dark place, sometimes. after check, othmane comes over with a slice of nutella pizza and we talk about change and revolution. i never finish my EE.

and i wake up the morning after and i don’t want to go to class. the bags under my eyes are darker than ever before. my face is red from the non-stop crying from the day before. i hand in my EE, 8h too late. ”The important thing is that you got this done” my advisor tells me. ”Take care and get some rest when you can”. 

i go to social A and sit down next to mihir. the seat to my left echoes emptier than ever before. i am still waiting for dewey to roll up with his unsustainable(!!) paper cup from the caf, not even filled with hot beverages but his signature mix of lemonade and juice. and the ice would scramble as he walks in three minutes too late. and todd would glare at him and he would smirk and sit down and say ”sorry Todd”. 

but that never happened that day. 

”still waiting for you to roll up to social A” i text him. tears roll down my face. ”I can’t believe you’re actually gone”.

we talk about capitalism and it’s so weird not having him besides me chuckling about what is being said. no more examples about capitalist dewey on wall street. no more jokingly demeaning comments from marxist Todd. it’s strange. just different.

we video call later. ”my heart just fucking stings” he says. ”it just hurts so much. my mental health is falling to crumbles. i’m scared i will actually crumble” he continues. ”i thought i’d become a better person at UWC. i definitely left that place as a better person than when i got there”. i nod. ”yeah, you’ve definitely grown a lot” i tell him. ”i’m just so worried about my future” he says. tells me he’s not sure what he wants to do will suit him, will be right for him. i don’t really know what to say but it breaks my heart. dewey has always known what he wants. he’s always been so rational and dedicated and set in his goals. he’s one of the most hard-working people i know. and his honesty is something he should cherish. not be upset about. or fear.

he goes to eat breakfast. ”go to class.” he tells me. i can’t focus.

it’s strange how fast things change here. dewey has always been one of my closest friends, but even more so this semester. on the day that everything was turned upside down, i wrote him a letter. ”you are like a brother to me” i write. ”i don’t know if i’ve ever told you that before but that’s really what it is. you’re like the brother i never had here. the one that does stupid shit and that you roll your eyes at because they’re dumb and you hate them, but you love them so much, all at the same time. you’re like the little brother that’s naive and annoying, yet the big brother that listens and understands and that is always there for you”. it makes me sad because in many ways i feel like i took that for granted. 

dewey for me was a person who’s door would always be open, and one of the few people i actually made an effort to visit and hang out with this semester. all the times i’ve given him fashion advice, and him showing me expensive online shopping and online poker and my social A revision companion and all the countless times lying on his bed talking about boys. i could talk to dewey about anything. no-filtered. i was never scared of bringing anything up because i knew he would never judge me. not for real. he is one of the most good-hearted people i know, and i’m sad because that’s a side not a lot of people see of him, and that’s what i keep telling people, over and over again. ”he gets so much undeserved shit”, i say, although, to some extent, i might be wrong. actually, thinking about it, it’s definitely deserved. only an idiot would get himself off campus. it just happened to be the most brilliant one.

and it pains me that this had to happen to our community. i thought we were left with a promise of continual growth. together.