Halfway There

My first year at Waterford Kamhlaba is done. I'm writing this on the plane home. I've always loved the last leg of a journey back to my city - catching small glimpses of home in strangers. MEC backpacks, unironic flannels, hiking boots and ugly jumpers and silver jewelry. It's comforting, it eases me into the feeling of Vancouver before I'm properly back and have to engage in the often frenetic pace of the city.

The last term at school has been tough and I've been desperately homesick. For the last week of school, our IB2s were gone. I've been slowly settling into the idea of being an IB2 myself. I've been talking to new IB1s, hoping my advice is somewhat useful, hoping I manage to live up to my brave, brilliant, compassionate, insane IB2s, and hoping that the IB1s are as excited about coming to WK as I am to meet them. I've been packing and finishing last projects, (TOK presentations were a bitch, y'all) and having last dinners with friends and pro…

Finding Common Ground at Waterford Kamhlaba

There's a misconception about UWC. I think many of us held it before arriving here. The misconception is the idea of like mindedness. Many of our National Committees have leaned into this idea. The new idea of ' deliberately diverse' has come to mean liberal students who are passionate about politics, social justice, the environment. Students who are politically correct, try to cut down on meat consumption, want 'the UWC experience' . That's fine. I think that described me pretty well. But that wasn't the original purpose of UWC. Kurt Hahn didn't want to gather a bunch of kids from different countries who all thought the same - he wanted conflict. He wanted to gather people with fundamentally different values, stick them in a pressure cooker of an environment, and watch what happened. I think some of us have lost that guiding philosophy of UWC.

At WK, there's an annual event for the IB1s called 'Common Ground.' It's mandatory - it takes …

Exams, and end of year, and goodbyes, oh my!

I arrived at Waterford Kamhlaba on January 13th. WK (and eSwatini) have been my home for almost a year. I've done all the cheesy cliche stuff - found family, learned new things about myself and the world, stayed up till 3am with friends. I've cried and partied and been hurt and stressed and ate too much chocolate and cried some more and wrote a paper in the middle of the night. The year's almost over. Midterm ended yesterday - I spent it on campus, holed up in my room with my textbooks. It was a far cry from my first, wilder midterm in Jozi. Right now we're in the middle of two weeks of exams, and then it's four weeks until we leave. Until I say goodbye to my IB2s - people who have held my hand through the good and bad parts of Waterford, and laughed at me when I make dumb choices.

It's going to be really hard. Right now I'm in exam headspace, so not much else is getting through, but the fact that I'm almost done IB1 is absolutely insane. Exams for IB1 …

Update: Scholastic Endeavors

It's been a while! The last post I wrote was about my term break travelling through Southern Africa, and a lot has happened since. Essentially, the IB continues to ramp up! I feel consistently frazzled, and it's a reminder of how I felt this time last year when I was working for a mayoral campaign that was in the last stretch of the campaign period. But honestly I'm more stressed now. Exams start next week and I've not begun to study. Everyone is overwhelmed. I think part of the issue lies in the fact that all the projects I have now are longer term ones - my extended essay, which I'm expected to spend a minimum of 40 hours on, my 20 page director's notebook, a 12 page bio research paper, a 20 minute Theory of Knowledge presentation. And that's on top of CAS and co curriculars and friends and sleep and sanity. This course is a lot. I haven't cried yet this term, but it's getting to that point. And I still have over one year to go! I'm sorry that…

Trains, Buses, and Kombis: 5 countries, 3 weeks (Or, an epic trek in which I defied popular expectations and opinions by evading death)

The moon was high over the hills of Swaziland when we left the house, and the babe (Swazi honorific for an older man - literally 'father.' Pronounced 'bah-bay') driving the taxi seemed as tired as we were. I was worried about how big my backpack was, whether it would fit into the kombi, whether we would be charged extra. Mbabane was sleepy-quiet when we arrived but some drunk teenagers stumbled by, sobriety beginning to arrive with the rising sun and cold morning wind.

By 6am, we had found a kombi to Joburg and had wedged ourselves and our bags into the back. We were joined by bags of flour and bottles of oil, and a good number of tired looking people. However, the kombi didn't actually leave until 10am, because it wasn't full enough. The trip was uneventful - it was faster than our school bus, and the seats weren't uncomfortable. When we got closer to the city, I climbed up to the front to ask the driver some questions.

"Babe, where does the route en…

Continental Exploration

Term has ended! Well, technically it ended a week ago but I've been busy sleeping, eating, and working. It's been nice. I've been staying with my friends Shantzie and Martín - they have link parents who graciously took me in as well for the week, and we've been spending the time working in the sunroom of the house, drinking alarming amounts of tea, and eating all the avocado toast we can stomach.

On Saturday, Shantzie and I, along with our friend Julia will set off on the next part of our term break. The plan is to visit 5 countries in 3 weeks!

We leave Mbabane early Saturday morning, arriving in Jozi by the afternoon. We'll buy groceries and get US dollars for travelling in Zimbabwe. That evening we take a bus up to the Zimbabwe side of Victoria Falls, and spend the evening before travelling into Zambia to spend a few days. Then it's several buses and trains across Botswana before arriving in Namibia! We have several stops in Namibia, and we'll eventually …

Kamhlaba Cookbook

As I've noted in previous posts, the food at Waterford makes me deeply sad. Iceberg lettuce - previously something I would only consume if using a leaf for a lettuce wrap - now causes a great deal of despair and general melancholy. Pork chops were once something I would pan fry with caramelized apple slices, but now I can only think of the tough, blackened things served here. So I've been doing a great deal of cooking, assisted by my trusty mini fridge Alberta, my small pot that I bought at the thrift store in Vancouver for $7, and a small cache of condiments and other foodstuffs smuggled from the T&T grocery store back home.

So, for the sake of curiosity and hopefully future IB1s nutrition, I thought I'd talk a bit about food availability/recipes.

Maia's Noodle Stir Fry/Bastardised Lo Mein

To my delight, I was able to find very affordable 'Chinese noodles' in the instant noodle section. They're just wheat flour egg noodles, but I think they caused more…