Waving flags in Montezuma

18 Aug

After returning to campus I began unpacking all the boxes filled with inter alia clothing, posters, books, notebooks and flags. Flags with strong, personal and incredibly sweet notes. I got them from my second years, at the moment they left the campus in June. On their own country flags they wrote poetic words of appreciation and gratefulness. A mutual feeling.

Two months passed since the moment of goodbye in June. The giving and receiving of flags is a tradition at UWC-USA, at the end of the school year. The wonderful words of my friends repeat themselves in my head, while I celebrate holidays with my family and friends in the Netherlands. “Tienertour” with Pien, Lotte and Anne formed a highlight, between other activities. I saw Yvonne, Irma and Inge on a couple of parties. Adrian, Fini, Hannah, Bieke, Eleanor and lots of others made Totaalfestival for me. The theatre animation acts with Iris felt as a great success! My brothers and parents found quality time with me, during our road trip through the wild west of the USA. Summer holiday gave me joy, rest, time to process my first UWC-year and to prepare for the second.

The first three days of the new school year, the campus was only filled with old first years. Tangible in the emptiness and literal space, I experienced that our second years, while giving out their flags, had left Montezuma Castle. I immediately intended to decorate my room with their flags, to keep them close to me the whole school year.

The three days passed by. We chatted about our summer breaks, had meetings about the upcoming orientation weeks and decorated the hallways of the dormitories. On Thursday we welcomed full of enthusiasm our new firsties. While hugging I talked to Olaf, Charifa, Beatrix and Szymon from the Netherlands. The spontaneous joy I had with my roomie Ana from Venezuela came as a nice surprise.

Now with the new wave of UWC-USA’ers we, fresh second years, feel our responsibility grow. We are the experienced experts giving an example. The presence of the new students is tangible in a new energy. New friends, new conversations and new ideas are there to discover. Lines between people seem to be different than last year.

In general, a new generation are innovators of a culture and they make changes happen with their fresh ideas, also in the UWC-experience. They make sure the social system in UWC-USA gets refreshed. In other places, there is also a need for new generation every now and then. A volunteer organisation can also use fresh influences and changes on several moments. The adding of a painting to the collection of a museum or new neighbours in a residential area makes innovation happen.

A rolling tear over my cheek, a strong hug and a smile. While I am saying goodbye to my parents and my brothers, I take a decision. I give my parents a plastic bag filled with flags. They store them in my Dutch home, so I can always cherish them. At the same time, I give space to a new school year that begins, a second year full of UWC-experiences… While the waving flags in front of Montezuma Castle will be welcoming every day.



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