International Week and Valentine’s Day

International week was last week, and the intent was to celebrate the diversity and many cultures here at Gordonstoun. All of the refectory meals were from different places all over the world, including Mexican food, Italian, Chinese, Indian, and African. We also welcomed two new exchange students, Bella and Laura (both from Germany). So far at Gordonstoun, I have met people from Australia, Germany, Spain, China, Pakistan, South Africa, New Zealand, Scotland, England, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Wales, Russia, Nigeria, Italy, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Austria, Kazakhstan, Greece, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, France, and Switzerland. The internationalism here has really been a highlight for me, as I’ve made friends from all over the world just by traveling to one place.

The inter house cross-country race was on Tuesday, which Hopeman won! We ran the 3K cross country track. Although it was a sunny day, the track was quite muddy. We ran up to the Headmaster’s house, around the lake, up Dead Dog’s Hill, and around and down the North Lawn in front of G-house.

On Wednesday it snowed all morning, but turned into dumping rain after lessons ended. After netball and dinner, the CBs (color bearers, aka prefects) put on Olympic-type games for us to play in the light of international week, instead of our usual nighttime activities on Wednesdays. The CBs also played international films throughout the week.

Thursday was Valentine’s Day, and it is quite a holiday here at Gordonstoun. Students can purchase carnations or Barber Shop songs to send to other students or faculty. The Barber Shop is a group of Year 13 boys who go around and sing to people throughout the week–it can happen at meals, during class, or even at chapel. Though I didn’t get sung to, it’s pretty funny to watch, as the victims are made to stand on a table, chair, or pew (depending on where they are on campus) as the Barber Shop sings songs to them in front of everyone.

Friday was National Dress Day, and everyone paid a pound to the Round Square club to dress up in their own clothes (all of the money being raised went to sponsoring students at Starehe and the charity Facing the World Nearly everyone participated, and it was really cool to see everyone in what they would wear at home. I tried to wear what I would usually, and wore yoga pants, an Athenian sweatshirt, Uggs, and a Giants hat. The Hopeman girls also had face paint.  I painted  two USA’s across my cheeks, and carried my American flag with me all day to be patriotic. Students and faculty got really into it; I saw a matador’s costume from Spain, flags from all over the world painted on faces, a multitude of traditional hats, dresses, and trousers, and much more. Friday night a group called Blazin’ Fiddles put on a performance, and a few Hopeman girls and I went to watch. It was authentic Scottish music, and was fun to listen to.  After the first half, people started reeling and dancing in the pews.

Saturday we had another netball match, which we lost by 10 although we played significantly better than the match in Glasgow. I’ve picked up the game pretty well by now, and it is really fun playing a team sport while on exchange, especially because I’ve gotten to know girls who I wouldn’t have otherwise. Saturday night was the Valentine’s Ball, which took place in the sixth form center in G-house.

On Sunday the weather was a toasty 11 degrees celsius (around 50 degrees Fahrenheit). It was sunny and a bit warmer for the first time, so I celebrated by wearing shorts, flip flops, and a t-shirt down to lunch. We also had inter house badminton, and continued our domination in inter house competitions and won! It was also Hopeman’s house show that night, and the Year 10’s put on a number to contribute. The common room was jam-packed with people. Overall I’ve heard that our show was really good. (We have a lot of musically talented students in Hopeman.)