I know I haven't posted in a while-since the road trip- but that's only due to the fact I have been so incredibly busy with such amazing people that the internet has not been super important to me. However, here is what has been going on in my life the last week.
Last Monday, I finally arrived to UWC USA. Not a second had past by when I stepped out of my car before I was trampled by second years who were screaming and shouting in joy. One in particular came up, hugged me, and proclaimed that she was my room mate from Japan. Now two things were running through my mind: one was why were there so many teenagers surrounding me all wanting to greet me while the second was "OH MY GOSH MY ROOM MATE IS FROM JAPAN." (I have obsessed with Japan for a couple of months now- to the point I have taught myself some Japanese- and plan to live there one day so it was an absolutely perfect match.) We then drove up to the castle- that's right, a castle!- where we were greeted by more cheering teenagers all wanting to greet me and I just went along with it trying very hard to say "Hi I'm Caroline from California" and not "Hi I'm California from Caroline." It was incredibly overwhelming but it was such a fantastic experience and an amazing first impression.
The rest of Monday was pretty relaxed. My room mate gave us a tour of the campus, I unpacked, I met more people, and then I said my good-byes. Now as cold-hearted as it may seem, I did not cry when saying my farewells. Actually, all I remember is saying "okay. I love you. I'll be fine. I love you. Good-bye" or something along those lines. No it's not that I don't love my family or anything, in fact, it's the complete opposite. I do love my family very much and my friends back home. However, I know that they will always be there for me and I for them. That's what family is for. It is time for me to go out and live the adventure I have been waiting for and for them to find their own paths in life. We may be separated by miles and whatnot but we will always be together because we are family. I don't believe in good-byes.
After my family left I was then constantly asked whether I was okay-which I was because I didn't feel any sadness or longing to be home, just excitement. I even got told that I was strong which I don't know if it was a compliment or not. Oh welp.
I later met my dorm mates and definitely wanted to become a family with them which I do feel as though I have become incredibly close to some of my dorm mates. My problem is that I, being incredibly shy of people I admire, am to scared to approach my dorm mates and get to know them. Hopefully it gets better with time and I socialize more with my second years.
The rest of the week was orientation time! We registered for classes, learned about the rules, visited town, and all that fun stuff. My favorite part of orientation by far was wilderness. We were separated into groups of first years with a couple second year Wilderness Leaders and sent off into the wilderness to backpack for three days and two nights at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico. Not something the average school does right?
Those three short days I spent in the wilderness with my ten person group (including myself) were the best days of orientation and such an amazing experience. My love for the wilderness grew there (As a Cali girl, I find myself to be quite the camping/hiking person. My dad's love for camping has also had an incredible influence on me-thanks dad!) and I grew incredibly close to the people in my group. They are the people I trust and can approach for anything. I know so much about them and I feel as though I can trust them with anything. I do hope we stay close and continue to hang out with each other even if it's not in wilderness.
My time in the wilderness has led me to want to hike more and more so I have taken advantage of our lovely campus and walked around a few of the trails around. I also plan to be adventurous and hike the Grand Canyon for five days with my school. I definitely love the wilderness and this is such a perfect place for me!
The rest or orientation was workshops to learn more about the school and each other. Although orientation has yet to end (three more days!), I can clearly see the sense of community the school strives to establish and the close relationships that will form as time passes.
That's been my life currently-insane, busy, and absolutely amazing. I would not change this experience for anything. This is were I belong. This is who I am. I'm home.