So far, my first 24 hours at Gordonstoun have been filled with new surprises and excitement (plus a little jet lag). Right now, I am writing to you from the common room (which is full of squashy arm chairs and bean bags) of Hopeman house, the place where I am staying while at Gordonstoun.
My journey began on Wednesday around 4:45 pm (San Francisco time) when my flight to London took off. I arrived in London around 10:40 am (Scotland time) and I just made my flight to Aberdeen which left at 11:40. Mr. Smit, the father of my exchange Hannah Smit (who is now at Athenian) and the Chaplain and ISC teacher at Gordonstoun, picked me up and gave me a ride to the school. I learned that I was “in the sticks” now, because our drive was in the country and filled with rolling hills, trees, farms, and quite a bit of sheep.
I was warmly received by both the Smit family and Hopeman house. When I got there, Mrs. H, the matron, brushed away my handshake and exclaimed that she only gives hugs. I was quickly given a tour by Erinna (for those of you at Athenian, she came from Gordonstoun on exchange to California last year) and was shown my room. I met all of the girls in my year in Hopeman, Year 10, as I unpacked and got settled. There are also two exchange students in Hopeman (Laura from Australia and Kate from South Africa). The Year 10’s were all very welcoming and friendly. I don’t have a roommate, because all of the girls in Hopeman have their own room.
After dinner in the refectory, all of the exchange students (I think there are 17, but more are arriving) at Gordonstoun had a “brew,” or a get together that usually involves some sort of food, in the library which is in the Round Square building. I met all of the other exchanges, which was really fun and interesting because we could all relate to one another. Mr. Reid, the headmaster, Mr. Ince, the Round Square coordinator, Miss Gibson, the Year 10 leader and English teacher, and other Gordonstoun students involved in Round Square came as well.
Lights out for Year 10’s is 9:45 and we are woken up at 6:50 in the morning, so I felt well rested after my travels the next day. After breakfast, the whole school went to chapel, which happens every day and is similar to morning/symposium meetings at Athenian. On Fridays, however, we sing hymns (which is not something we do at Athenian). After chapel, lessons start, but I missed my first one because I had to get my school uniform (pictures to come). I then had ISC, which is kind of like health class at Athenian. We then had a brief break and I tried treacle, which is pretty much just chocolaty goodness in a bar. After break I had Drama, which was very fun and different, and then lunch. After lunch I had Biology, and then for my Activity I did netball. Netball is sort of like a combination between basketball, lacrosse, and ultimate frisbee. I kept getting in trouble for closing out on people, because apparently you are supposed to be one meter away from your opponent when they are shooting (and that is not what you are supposed to do in basketball). However, there is a lot of strategy to the game and I think it will be fun to learn.
It’s supposed to snow this weekend, and I’m hoping I can ski sometime soon.