Afterparty

Today, Im saying goodbye to this part of my life. This is the last day, that is my new normal. Tomorrow, everything is going to change again. Tomorrow, we are picking up my family from the JFK airport, NYC.

I feel so incredibly happy to have been able to do this. The good times and the bad times, all mix in to one year that I can without doubt call the MVP of my life so far. I am not who I was when I came, but at the dame time, I am exactly that.

The last week of school was celebrated with the Lawn Ceremony, where all the upcoming seniors aka my class get pulled onto the “senior lawn”, the lawn on campus that only the seniors are allowed on. It symbolizes the official transition from junior to senior. Then, the graduating seniors line up in one long line and the rest of the school in another. Then, you go through the line and hug every senior at the school, all of us. It takes a while, but at the end, everyone in the school has hugged every senior goodbye.

This was when it hit me, I am not coming back. I am leaving all this, and even when I visit, it will just never be exactly the same. It would be a blown out lie if I said this year has been a dance on roses, it took me what felt like an eternity to built what I had in the end, but what I had, because of all the people around me, ultimately felt like a twisted kind of perfection. I loved every day of it, and cherished every second of my last weeks. During lawn ceremony, I cried and cried out of love and gratefulness for all the people I have been lucky enough to get to know.

It has been bittersweet, seeing the seniors graduate and leave campus, taking my final exams, packing up my room, all the while watching the population on campus become smaller and smaller. I left campus two days after my last exam, so that I could spent some time just being with everyone close to me before I had to go. All the goodbyes I said the last few hours, were happy ones. I decided that no tears would run down my face this  time, all these were going to be “goodbye-for-nows”. I am determined to come back to visit all my looooves again.

I packed up my whole room, and left on a Friday to go home to the my host family, the Marencos. It was odd, being my room for the year striped down to what it looked like before the chaos that was me and my roommates incredible mess.

My year is not over yet, but the afterparty has started.

Much love,
Your Jo

 

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Formal and Prom

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I was lucky enough to get to go to both. For anyone who does not know, formal and prom are dances that schools organize but they are slightly different. Prom is fancier, usually with long dresses, professional hair and makeup, fancier suits, sometimes dinner, so its basically an all-day commitment. Formal is just a dance, at Westy with shorter dresses and more causal suits. Westy does not have a prom but a formal, which was this monday. I think they have it on mondays to make sure students don’t stay up too late or do anything stupid. I was asked to formal by Chris with this awesome sign

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Going off of me and Becca’s song for Cabaret, take a chance on me by ABBA. My music teacher made us sing it in chorale class and suddenly Chris pops up singing the chorus with the sign! Anyway, it was a fun time, pictures and then a dance. I love the flowers he got me.

I was lucky enough to get asked to prom at Canterbury School, another coed private school, by a guy who is friends with the guys who asked Becca and Indy. The six of us ended up having a really great time together, and “American prom” was pretty much what I had hoped and expected it to be. Me, Becca and Indy got our hair done professionally which I’ve never done before and I was more than happy with the result!!

I got to borrow this absolutely gorgeous dress from Ally’s friend Cara, who I’ve gotten to know. I am extremely grateful to her for that, it really is a dress of my dreams. I bought shoes and jewelry that I loved, and then a rose boutonniere for my prom date Lenny. When we met them, they had corsages for us, matching the color of our dresses, which is the only thing we told them about our outfits. It was all so formal and really special, those little details! haha

It started with pictures, of which we took a bunch, then we had a cocktail kind of mingling with the other people, I think we were about 150 in total. All the dresses were absolutely stunning like individual pieces of art. We then had a dinner and a dance for hours with a DJ who I must admit crushed any and all of the Westy DJs… At 11 PM we went to a place called bounce, everyone took their heels and dresses off and but their sports clothes on, ready to jump around in an indoor trampoline center! Good end to the night! We stayed the night at Beccas and returned at 6am in the morning to Westy with approximately four hours of sleep. Luckily, I had a double sleep in the next day.

Thank you so much to everyone who made this possible for me to experience. I will remember the formal and the prom forever! Thank you to Mr and Mrs Gavel for driving us and putting up with us so much! It is much appreciated and never goes unnoticed.

Now, there’s not much left. It seems totally irrational, but I’m slowly trying to take that in.

To be continued…

Jo

 

 

 

 

Arts and Music

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This might sound weird to some Westy students, but I used to be mainly an athlete. I suffer from a knee injury that does not allow too much physical activity right now, which is why I have let my other interests really flourish on Westy campus. I play golf right now which is a ball, but I have really made a huge effort to let my artistic side come out here. Arts and music, it is. And I have really loved it. They have both been huge parts of my life since as long as I can remember, but maybe not to this extent.

Last week, we performed for SPACE, which stands for Student…. pomthing aomthing comething eomething I really can’t remember, but its basically student organized plays, songs, performances etc. I acted a little bit in one of the plays, written by my peer Julia (Jules you are amazing), and I sung in one of them, written by Mr Aber, a teacher at the school. I keep doing these kind of things, even though I’m used to being on stage, I really have not performed solos, acted, or anything close to dancing on stage, but what better time to try it that here?? Am I right! It is really a great time, especially working with such passionate people. Thank you so much to the SPACE crew, it was a great time working with you.

School wise, things are really slowing down now. A bunch of “lasts” are happening, last game, last test, last chance to do this and that. They have now put up posters in our bathroom with what to think about when cleaning out your room before leaving for summer vacation. We 5th formers still have the exams left though, so I’ll be completely done around June 3rd. And then my brother and mom are coming here from Sweden June 4th!! It’s so soon!?

I have started preparing for hanging up my art pieces for a spring exhibition here at Westy. I do not know how I have had so much time to paint, but I have painted more than ever here! I think I have just been more inspired than usual. If you’re reading this, and are on Westy campus, make sure to come check out the exhibition on May 27th, the graduation day!! I might put some of my pieces up for sale, it depends on the permanent exhibition I’ve been offered to hold in Gund (!!!) and what pieces they want to hang up there. So if you are interested in owning any of my pieces, make sure to come take a look! Here’s a sneak peek…

I include down below a ton of photos, mostly from Cabaret but also from SPACE, the musical and the play. I look terrible in some of them but I included them anyway, its for the memories!!

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Cabaret Week

 

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Cabaret was one of the most challenging performances I’ve ever been a part of. I am very  well educated in choir singing, especially classical music, but this time I got to sing several solo pieces in front of a crowd, and I had soooo much fun I can’t even explain it. Me and my roommate Becca together sang Take A Chance On Me by ABBA, so I got to spread some more Swedishness! We had a blast on stage, and we also went dancing with some people in the audience. I got to sing a solo from the musical Pippin, acting out the scene of the manipulative mother in the song Spread A Little Sunshine. The dancing went pretty well, and even tough I had a tough cold I managed to sing most of my tunes ok. To the Cabaret crew, thank you all so much! It was a blast working with you all and I will forever remember it! All the rehearsing was so worth it and I hope you had as much fun as I.

I spent this weekend at my host family’s, to watch the Kentucky Derby! It is the worlds most famous horse race and personally I don’t think I’ve actually watched one ever. The race was over soon after it started, and everyone was screaming and cheering. We had about ten more people over and tons of great food. I got to talk about my Swedishness again, since whenever I met new people they’re always so curious. So, what country do you like better? Johanna, how do you pronounce your name? Are you happy to be going home soon? I don’t know I dont know I don’t knowwww. Hard questions. But it was fun mingling with everyone since everyone always has something to say or ask me.

This weekend was reunion weekend on the hill, which means former students can come back to Westy and say hi to current students and faculty. I was however busy taking the SAT on Saturday. I think it went well! Comparing my feeling after the PSAT to this one, I think I did good! If you do not know what the SAT is, it is sort of the American equivalent to Högskoleprovet.

That is all I can think of at the moment!

Much loveeee

Jo

 

Assist Dinner and Hill Holiday

This Saturday was the Spring Assist Board of Directions dinner, and if I remember correctly I wrote about the fall one on my blog in.. was it October? Time flies, and this time most conversations went towards what we liked about our year and what we hope for the future. I was asked, “How has your year been?” On which I replied, “Don’t say it like that! Like it is already over!” It was a great time and I got to meet so many people I haven’t seen since the beginning of the year. The students that are invited to the dinner are the ones who happen to be close to the Assist headquarters, and the dinner is more for the board of the organization. Speeches were held and good food and drinks was served. We students who were there got to answer a few questions about diversity, and the core ideas and hopes for our exchange year and the time after it.

This weekend I spent at my host family’s house, after the dinner. As time is slowly running out (!!?) I’m trying to spend as much time with them and just doing more things than usual, (which hardly is possible but anyway) and we spent it just chilling in the house and went out to breakfast. I had a great time with them as always.

golfing
I have not been golfing a lot this week, because my knees are just not feeling up to it. I don’t know if Im getting worse or better or it stays the same, but I’m doing everything to get rid of this as fast as possible. I really want to get back on the team and start playing every day again, so I’m trying to rehab hardcore instead of half- doing it and never really get better.

 

This past week we had a hill holiday! I spent my hill holiday eating, mostly. Because there is nothing better on the hill than the hill holiday brunch. I then went with two friends to try a 90 minute bikram yoga class, since there was a van from weedy driving there. One of my teachers swears by it, so I thought I might as well try it out. I enjoyed it more than i thought I would. apart from that I was nervous I would get dizzy and faint or something, I found it a relaxing experience. The day after my whole body was aching. That’s when you know you gave it your all! It was a great day and I had dinner at a friends house so I basically didn’t spend any of it on campus.

 

I have watched some games, but way too few so far, this spring. I’ve tried watching lacrosse because it’s such a big sport here at Westy, and I’ve never seen it before ever. It’s confusing but fun to watch, I’m starting to get the hang of it. I also really want to watch a baseball or softball game cos I haven’t really seen one of those either.

This week we have cabaret and I’m very exciteeeed and a little nervous but its gonna be a lot of fun if I don’t screw up my lines!

My family is coming to the states to pick me up before I go home to Sweden, they are staying from the 4-11th of June here in CT and then were going to NYC. We have started planning for fun things to do, if you have any suggestions, please don’t hesitate to tell me!

My best wishesssss

xoxo gossip girl

grass and music


 

Spring has finally come to the hill, and the snow is definitely gone by now. The weather is getting warmer and warmer and I have spent more time outside this week than I have in months and months. Me and my friends have found many new favorite hang out places on campus, now that the grass is green and dry and we can study outdoors. Stickball tournaments have started, where all the dorms play against each other in a game very similar to Swedish brännboll.

Me and two friends took a long weekend to my roommates house for easter, and we all got a haircut. My hair is shorter than like ever and it’s a little weird but I think I like it. We played golf, went to the mall and looked for prom dresses, because they both got asked to prom at another school where they have friends. Westy does not have a prom which is a little sad but we have formals at least. we also went to easter brunch with my friend’s family and got easter baskets which I never have before! We stayed out in the sun for most of the day since the temperature reached up to 28 celsius, it was amazing.

We also went to the movies and saw A Dogs Purpose. Midway through the projector stopped working and we got refunded but the first half of the movie was really good and we all shed a few tears. To every dog lover, definitely go watch it!

This Tuesday, a theater duo came and preformed on the Westy WCC stage, a play called Murder For Two. The actors in it were amazing, I was so impressed. The play included over ten characters, all played my two people. They were so talented. I have a small part in one of the upcoming spring plays. When watching people this good at what they do you realize how crappy you are yourself! But you can also learn from it I guess.

I have never played golf this intensely in my life for a longer period of time, and my brain feels kind of mushy from all the golfing but at the same time I am getting a lot better every week. It’s nice spending a lot of time outside.

Yesterday some students from Westy got to go to the Student Diversity Leadership Conference, SDLC, held this year at the school Loomis Chaffee. SDLC is a big event were over 600 students and faculty come together to discuss important topics to do with school and societal atmosphere. There were speakers, slam poetry, music and food. We were divided into small groups to bring up detailed questions. My group existed of people of different skin color, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic background. Every question we brought up, was discussed immensely and passionately. We discussed heavy topics such as race, abortion, mental health, money, privilege and discrimination. I really enjoyed the experience, to be in a place with so much love. Everyone was there to spread the message and promote a more accepting future. It was powerful and beautiful.

This week I have been thinking a lot about home. I think I’ve been more homesick than usual. It’s hard to tell, because I don’t feel sad or anything. I just find myself a little nostalgic or melancholic sometimes. I think it’s healthy though because it makes you more appreciative.

Me knees have been worse than usual, and I don’t know why. I was fine during hockey season and spring break but now I am getting worse again. I keep icing them and I am going to start wearing my braces so thats not exactly good news. I am surrounded by people who want to help though, and hopefully it won’t get worse than this.

I have started planning for the summer and were I’ll be, Torekov and Stocholm. I’m excited, its gonna be a great one!

Hugs

Jo