Happy Days

I got the approval from the doctor on Thursday. I am now able to do activities again! I have had a stress fracture from my soccer and put me out of both tennis and soccer practices for eight weeks. I am so excited to start playing tennis now again – it is the sport I’ve been wanting to play ever since I came here to Indian Springs School in Alabama.

The spring holiday ended approximately one week ago. Our choir here at Indian Springs went on the annual choir tour. There are some certain cities that the school visits and performs in, but I had the luck to come this year, when we all went to New York City. The whole choir, which is roughly 40 percent of the school student body, and 120 people, packed onto three buses and headed from our school and started a too short long journey up to New York City. It took us 22 hours to reach our destination. I would get bored sitting in a car more than 2 hours usually, and this journey took 11 times more time, but it was in no way discomfortable. I enjoyed sitting on the bus talking to my friends and having a good time socializing while we were on our way.

In New York City, we performed at Cathedral of St. John the Divine, St. Bartholomew’s Church, a friend school and some other places. St. John the Divine is the biggest cathedral in the world, and we could really hear that. An F4 for the guys and a high F for the ladies in fortissimo gave a resonance in that amazing building for about 11 seconds. I had never heard anything like that before.

After the performances we had some time exploring the Big Apple. I went to a jazz club called Birdland. Even though the food was bad, the music was awesome. The only jazz I knew from before was maybe “Mack the Knife”, a song I learned in choir just about a month before coming here.

Another night we went watching the musical “The Phantom of the Opera”. My only comment is that you have to watch it if you are in New York City. Like, you really do have to watch it.

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Indian Springs vs. Altamont

This friday we had the most anticipated game of the year at Indian Springs School – the beat Altamont (our rival school) game in basketball. The school and team spirit was on the top, and we had the greatest support. The whole crowd of Indian Springs School were up and jumping, screaming “I BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN!!!”, making animal noises and just having a great time while cheering on our school. The boy’s game itself was also very exciting. As the game was going to end, people were thinking that it would go into over time. And so it did. Three times. The two teams were so close, that as the real play time ended, the first extension ended, and the second extension ended, the score between the two teams were the same. Finally, in the third extension, with 50 seconds to spare, the Indian Springs School scored a three pointer and won the game. That was the most exciting game I’ve ever been to.

Inauguration!

This week I was in Washington D.C. and went to the inauguration of president Obama with my host family. Since I live on Indian Springs School in Alabama, and we took the car up to D.C., it took plenty of time to reach our destination. We arrived late at night on Saturday, after picking up my host brother’s friend in Atlanta, earlier that morning. Even though we had a long ride, it was fun and we had some stuff to do (such as me writing this, on our way back home). The inauguration was itself a great opportunity and I was so happy that my host family gave me the opportunity to go with them. The first day we went running after tickets in the state buildings, and I was just amazed walking around in the Capitol buildings – since I am interested in architecture – and just enjoyed every minute of being there. The next day was the inauguration. An approximate numbers of spectators at this event was around 600 000 people. I had never seen that much people gathering at the same place and time, and that was one big event that I will never forget, as the situation itself was so intense and exciting. With a lot of people, there were some problems actually seeing the orators or the president talk. This was a bit of a pit but there were big screens that showed what we only could distinguish as a small bunch of people on the stairs beneath the dome of the Capitol building. Even so, it was fun and I was excitingly clapping my hands for everybody and their speeches, not that much for what they said, but for the excitement of that moment. Afterwards, we went sightseeing in the city. Since Washington D.C. has the monuments of the government and the nation, we could not leave it without going watching them. We hired some bikes and went around and visited the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, the Capitol and various other buildings.

A little reflection over the past semester

During the first half of my stay here in America, I realized how good friends you could make on a boarding school. I have some really close friends in the dorms, and I am for sure going to cry when I am leaving the school. Though now I have a reason for coming back to America and visit!

The first months were somewhat unstructured, learning to build a routine for that specific place. I either took too much time on friends, putting the effort of learning to know people, or trying what my school had to offer. Suddenly, when I found that I had found my place and what I wanted to do, it was already Thanksgiving. Even though I felt that my first three month had been as an onion – pursuing to find the inner core of it, my place at this school, as the layers of time went by without me noticing. Then came Christmas, and between my host family’s parties and family gatherings, I realized that I the time hadn’t really gone past. I had taken the moment into account and what I had essentially done was making the most out of the moments this semester. With this happy thought I made a New Years Resolution – to make the next semester even better.

Being a student at Indian Springs School

I seem to finally be able to glimpse an everyday at Springs, the new experiences that came with each day are less frequent, and I get used to how things works. I feel the same as Alice: my days have flown away and I almost cannot believe that I have already been in America for nearly six weeks. The days go on with the intense schedule: doing homework, doing sports, being with friends and getting way to few hours for sleeping.

During this first period of school, I emphasized on getting to know some new people. I put much effort in getting to know the day school students, since almost everybody were Americans. Of the Indian Springs boarder’s population, almost everybody is international students. This has both advantages and disadvantages. We’ll get to know different kinds of people, and learning a lot from them. Being as immature as I am, I learned cursing words in German, Chinese, and Korean –and let people know Swedish ones. Some problems are however that the countries with lots of students represented on the school often keep together and form a national click. Sometimes we only hear Chinese spoken in the dorm.

Being a boarder is such an experience, and I really love being one. I am around friends all the time and we do all kinds of fun things during the evenings and weekends. So becoming friends with boarders was not a problem, it happened naturally. When it came to day school students, it was however a bit different. I am doing cross country at the moment – doing so until the tennis season begins – and our team is really nice. I cannot stress enough how important this group was for me, when I first came to the school and did not know anyone. We found each other in the group and became friends.

The cross country team runs every day save for Sunday. We compete against other schools about once a week, as is customary for all kinds of sports here on Springs. I have been doing two races at the moment and I will join another one today.

The choir rehearses every school day and twice on Monday. About 45 % school is enrolled in choir, which makes it sound astounding. Each year, which I have not yet experienced, the choir makes a trip to another city to perform. This year we are going to New York. How perfect isn’t that? Being in the choir and perform in New York… I am really looking forward to this! I am in Spring’s chamber choir as well. This year the chamber choir will go to Switzerland and perform there. I do hope that I may join, but since I joined the choir a bit late, I am not sure. Apart from that, the chamber choir tour will be after I go back to Sweden. I’ll see how that will turn out!

My personal goal of being an ASSIST student is to make this time count (and of course spread friendship, love and peace (which I always do anyway!)). So my emphasis lies on doing music, sports and making friends. I started taking weekly piano lessons on the school, and I found out rather quickly that my teacher was a brilliant pianist – so I am very glad that I took the chance of continuing playing the piano instead of choosing the violin or cello as I wanted.

Apart from the piano, I also take voice lessons. Since I am in the two choirs of the school, this was a good thing to do. I get a lot of chance of singing, but for improving it I get some time each week. At home, I never had as much music as I have here: choir six times each week and a voice lesson on top of that…

Alexander H.

Link

“Looking for Alaska” by John Green

John Green was an Indian Springs School student some years ago. He is a writer and one of the books he has published is based on his experiences on Indian Springs School. The name of this book is “Looking for Alaska”. If you want to read a book about a boarding student’s life, I can recommend it (although don’t do everything he did…)

A reflection of the Orientation

Hi fellow ASSIST scholars,

First of all I want to thank every one of you for the amazing Orientation – and the fact that we all did it to such a memorable event. As many have commented and described in the ASSIST Facebook group, I personally thought that it was one of the best moments in my entire life. Although, now when it is over, I feel that it could have been a bit longer. There were many people that could have become great friends, only if we had a bit more time. Even so – when I left Pomfret School to the airport I felt that I was very sad. It was peculiar though, since I was not really longing for my parents or friends at home. I knew that I would meet them once again when I come back to Sweden. The reason of my sadness was that I was leaving Pomfret School, and with it an almost nonexistent chance of meeting the ASSIST scholars of 2012-2013 ever again. In other words, I was not home sick – but ASSIST community sick.

As I scrolled through the messages on Facebook today I did however notice that people were feeling the same thing as me. It was great. It showed that people cared a lot of this past event, and that there were people wanting to meet once again after this exchange year (which of course did not surprise me, but the confirmation was a great relief!).

Therefore I would like to summon all of us sometime after this year. Maybe before we go home to our respective countries? The logistics is the problem and we will have to see what everybody wants to do. However I am very open to these kinds of ideas and would love to further pursue a meeting or doing something fun together.

Good luck to you all in your different places all over America and all the best from Indian Springs School, AL.

Alexander H.