Kenna van Steyn

Greetings from Gordonstoun! I have been in the land of the Scots now for two weeks. It has already proven to be so unbelievably unique and different from anything I have ever Kenna 1experienced before. The flying alone was a sixteen-hour adventure filled with sick babies throwing up on my neighbor’s lap, extremely short layovers where the security man thought that I was dangerous and searched my bag for quite some time, and finally arriving at school jetlagged and not knowing a soul.

I am staying in Plewlands House, as Gordonstoun is primarily a boarding school. I share a room with two lovely girls, Gina and Dana, who both have wonderful Scottish accents and love to chat all hours of the night and day. Plewlands houses 70 girls total, Kenna 2from all high school ages and from all areas of the world, but mainly the UK and Germany. Students address their teachers and housemistresses by their surnames rather than the ‘casual’ first name that many people like about Athenian. I do think that people with accents just have a way of sounding more polite and formal.

There are two other girls’ houses and nearly every weekend there are inter-house competitions. I played squash, a popular sport here at Gordonstoun. It is played in a four-roomed court with a small racquet and an even smaller rubber ball that is hit against the walls and back again. It is a complicated game. The scorekeeper actually had to change the rules for me and my opponent because we were obviously unexperienced and probably would have been playing for ages because neither of us could really hit the ball where it was supposed to go. My house won, which was very exciting, and resulted in a victory brew, or feast of junk food where British people call American chips crisps and French fries chips. (Although British and Americans all speak English, the English that people speak in the UK is different.) I also learned how to play netball, or tried to play. When the ball was passed to me I took off running down the court with the ball, which is completely wrong, but allowed for a lot of laughs.

Kenna 3

Every day I wear the school uniform and I am thankful that our school does not have one. Wow, is it uncomfortable. The uniform consists of a scratchy and oversized blue sweater (which here they call a jumper), a white polo shirt, black flats, and a wraparound skirt (that I was wearing backwards with the pleats in the front and for which I received a huge laugh). I also wore a kilt for the first time, as they dress traditionally for their Sunday chapel. A large difference from Athenian is that Gordonstoun has chapel/church every morning. It is a powerful time as people, both faculty and staff, get up and talk about world events and everyone sings hymns to the accompaniment of an organ.

A major difference here instead of Athenian is the weather. It is constantly cold, either snowing or raining, and of course muddy, so rain boots are a must. Since Gordonstoun in located in the northern area of Scotland, the daylight hours are short and it seems like the day is always in a continuous dawn or dusk. I miss California’s warm temperatures and not having to wear two pairs of socks and puffy jackets all the time.

Although I did feel a bit homesick at the beginning, for the most part what I can make out so far are all positives. I cannot wait for another nine weeks with my new family.

Xx (kiss kiss, is a popular way to end conversations over here on media),