** disclaimer: excuse my horrible english. feels strange to write in english. i guess this blog has just always been too much of a safe space for me to word-vomit in any other language than the one that feels the most homely to me — but hey, i tried **
thought 1: i’m a second year now and orientation flew by too quickly
i don’t know what to write. i just know that i want to.
i’ve been thinking a lot recently. there is so much to say and so many thoughts whirling around in my head one by one and then two by two and in the end it’s just one big blur. blur of thoughts blurry time a flurry time a hurry time. god damn. i’m a second year now.
I’M A SECOND YEAR NOW.
coming back felt so strange. i went to visit sam in chicago before returning. sam. an old lover an old friend the person that embodied everything that was home to me last year. the person that was uwc that was kili 205 and that was my pink bed sheets and kozzy 208 and sitting in the window sill studying. the person that was crying on his shoulder and holding hands through panic attacks and the person who was five minute study break cuddles and 11am brunch on the weekends. the person that was 4am talks about nothing and falling asleep on his chest. the person that was napping during free codes and listening to the moon song on the reservoir. the person that was so essential to my uwc experience. who made everything change.
I’M A SECOND YEAR NOW.
i come back on the 13th of august. i fly MDW to MCI and then i finally land in ABQ. sunport. ah. what an airport. i hate that place, but never had it felt so good coming back. i walk down the concourse to the exit wait for my bags but hey there’s omara! there’s fresia! there are people here that i know people that i haven’t seen for what seems like forever but also like yesterday. it’s so strange to see them again. like we were never apart. like it’s the most normal thing in the world. i exit to see the white and blue uwc-bus peak out the corner. i feel so relieved so content so at HOME. i realize now how many different connotations there are to that word.
i listen to telefone by noname on the bus back to campus while i watch albuquerque pass by through the window.
telefone-ication nation baby help me testify oh you know i hate goodbye bye bye blue
i watch the sky. it goes from a blue to a yellow to a burning orange to a pale peach and sets in pastel pink and purples and it’s the most magnificent sunset i have seen in a while. i am so grateful. so so so grateful. so grateful to be alive to be here to be able to take part of this experience.
somebody let the yellow end bye bye blue i’m gonna fall in love again
i’m gonna fall in love again.
i fall in love with campus for the second year in a row. they’ve exchanged the bulky small lights and replaced them with fake-london streetlights. they are so tacky but i love it. at least they tried. when i walk up the stairs to the castle i’m more out of breath than ever. damn you, altitude. it’s weird to be back so so so so so weird. my room is covered in boxes and HOW THE HELL DO I HAVE SO MUCH SHIT? i need to stop hoarding.
wilderness gets back two days after i do and wow does it feel good to have everyone back. i feel a hundred times closer to my entire year and it’s just so comfortable to be here. i have yet to realize that the second years aren’t coming back. that my first year uwc experience isn’t coming back, ever. that he’s not gonna be there with his brown curls and freckly nose and forehead scar and i have yet to realize that there is a whole new bunch coming soon. but in the now it feels good. it feels comfortable. it feels like coming home.
me carlie josefine benja anchor nacho avital zsuzsa and grace all gather in carlie’s room once everyone is back. it feels so incredibly normal. like they’ve always been right there right at that point and like that’s the only place i’ve ever known and loved and belonged to. my family. home. i realize now how many different connotations there are to that word.
hugh comes over one evening. he gives me a note to put up on the walls around my door to welcome my roomie. i haven’t talked to hugh in ages. we sit down on my bed and then he talks about his pondering thoughts on life. existential crisis. why do we exist if we’re not going to make change? is that the purpose? perhaps.
two days later, hundred new people stream out of white/blue buses and turn the entire campus around. there are handshaking and ”hello i am anneli from sweden” and forgetting names and faces and there is EXCITEMENT but also reticence. these are not the people they are wrong what are they doing here? they are not our second years. they are not sam in his red dunder mifflin hoodie or gustav’s quirky socks they are not mariana’s open arms and yftah’s welcoming smile. they make everything change.
one night me and carlie hang out. we talk about boys, about last year. anxiety jealousy misery. but we also talk about things in life that matter. inspiration contemplation consideration. we hear the last bus with firsties come in the distance. people chatting excitement stammering mixed accents a warmth a welcoming a comfort a safety a home. i realize now how many different connotations there are to that word.
another night i go to bed at 3 and the morning after my roomie leaves for wilderness. she wakes me up when she leaves, turns around and says ”you should get some rest”. ”have fun roomie” i answer as she walks out the door. i can’t believe i’m a second year now. that this is my life.
campus slows down so much when wilderness leaves. everything is so calm. it feels so strange. i feel so apathetic. and inhale in hell there's heaven and blonde on repeat over and over again. anything to stop feeling miserable. anything to feel something else. i end up in dewey’s room. i lay in his bed while he writes the 7th draft of his college application and whines about his ACT's and i'm so grateful he exists and that we're hanging out again. that home can be found in MB 211 as well.
on the last day of orientation we have the welcoming ceremony. i walk in with the swedish flag and i feel prouder than ever. that's when it hits me for real. I'M A SECOND YEAR NOW. we do the string ceremony and i look up at the castle silhouette. the iconic montezuma castle. that holds so many memories dear to me. a year feels like a lifetime. i tell my string buddy to always remember to take care of herself. i tell her how intense this place can get and that she has to dare to say no sometimes. you can't be everywhere all the time TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.
i wish i could say that to myself too.
thought 2: i don't know who i am but i know i'm not gonna make it through this year
i write an old friend and i write:
"we had our first day of classes today. it was awful and nice at the same time. like good to be back on a schedule but horrible to be starting school again. all the teachers were just warning us about how rough this coming trimester is going to be and it was as if someone was poking on my mental health everytime someone would bring that up. i’m not sure how i’m gonna make it. feel myself stressing and freaking out already. haven’t done anything nothing at all and it’s so much internal assessments and extended essays and tok essays and individual oral presentations and process portfolios and all this IB lingo that i need to learn and re-learn and realize the importance of. at the same time there’s college apps UCAS commonapp ”write your first draft for next thursday” and meetings with melanie and i’m gonna collapse anytime now. it’s weird not having you around."
the future freaks me the fuck out.
i talk to doug one day. he's waiting for nandita outside the auditorium and i'm walking back after a successful afternoon trying to promote the newest addition to this school: rock climbing. we chat for a while and "are you going to college?" he asks. i tell him about having an ivy league alumn as my brother and high expectations from both myself and others around me. i tell him about thoughts of gap years but how i feel old. but at the same time i'm just so tired of going to school. doug recommends me a couple of schools, progressive, alternative, but selective. for people that are 'multi-interested and ambitious'. when i tell him my brother went to harvard he says "don't go there man". 'if you're gonna apply to an ivy, apply to brown. brown's cool.'. i appreciate doug so much. don't know what other adult figure would ever say that to me. he's the best teacher i've ever had.
yesterday we did this exercise by augusto boal during his english class that was quite interesting and made everyone close their eyes and rely completely on their other senses and we were there we were present and doug talked about how we should try to live like that. at least some times we should try. to live now. not five years ahead, not two years in the past. the now. right. now
and then he started talking about college essays and said that we are experts in ourselves. we are the only ones that can write our essays because we know ourselves the best. he preached about how we just have to show that one quality that makes us us in our 650 word essay and i kept tangling and untangling my shoelaces. kept twisting them around each other, pulling the strings, making the loops become larger, smaller, larger, smaller. anything to keep my mind off what doug was saying. anything to stop the lump in my throat, swallow swallow swallow. pull the strings. breathe in breathe out. pretend you’re tired rub those eyes. please let us go to lunch.
i walk up the stairs trying to fight the tears. "i just know how much i'm going to stress out this semester. i feel it already". grace hugs me. so thankful for her.
mostly i just feel lost. i think. i don't even know anymore.
WHO AM I???
how am i supposed to write a 650 word essay about myself when i have no idea who that is? when i see no quality of myself worthy to put into words. i feel everything and nothing all at the same time and i feel like i am everything and nothing at the same time as well. hugh tells me he doesn't understand me. that he doesn't understand how i think. that my thinking is beyond him. don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. maybe i'm just not thinking at all. i don't understand me either.
when i come back from class after the first day of school i cry. i cry because i don't know what else to do, what else to feel. other than nothing and everything all at once.
thought 3: boys are dumb and i'm so swedish
"I think maybe we should stop talking." i hit enter see the black vertical line blink over the faded "Type a message..." in the facebook chat. the check comes up. Seen at 03.16am. "why?"
"because I deserve better than feeling like shit all the time".
that's the first time I've ever said that. put myself in front of everyone else.
i read old diary entries. enter a gray fog. i'm so sad about how everything turned out to be and how everything is set up to become. how life turned out. that this is it. that i seem to live off of short sprouts of euphoria to later fall into a dark deep lonely depression. the darkness the fog the emptiness. it's like everything that gets me through life is short sprouts of happiness. euphoria. bliss. it doesn't even matter anymore.
during welcoming ceremony, i see the spaniards walk out with their flag in the dining hall and then i hear 'sweden' in the speakers. i walk beneath the chihuly's and my face can't help but crack up into the biggest smile. i am so proud to be swedish. to be chinese, and to be swedish. to be different. don't know if i've ever waved the swedish flag before but it feels right. like it belongs in my hands as i stride through the caf, alone. i'm happy that the swedish committee sent me to represent sweden. our country. my country.
i'm tired of people at the hot springs never asking me where i'm from because they always wanna guess and they always guess china. at lunch last week someone said 'so you're from japan?' and i said 'no. sweden' and he looked at me with a confused look. yes, even here. at uwc. i'm tired of people shouting things behind me, whether it is "ching chong" or "chicken noodles" or "i like asian porn!" or "annerrrri". like i would appreciate that? no.
i think a lot about growing up. how it made me question things. lots of things. stupid things. about my ethnicity and where i belong and as i was walking in with my flag that's when it hit me. i'm swedish. that's the first time i've felt that so strongly.
thought 4: it feels so good to be home.