Dancing Queen

Haylee! (& my cake)

I’m 17 and have experienced my first MUWCI birthday. At 12am on the 2nd of September my beautiful second year, Haylee, made me some sort of “cake”, breaking the Wada3 microwave in the process.

There was a long line of people who gave me hugs and wished me a happy day and a great life along with the occasional second year lamenting that I, at 17, was already older than they were. People just kept coming, many of whom were introducing themselves as we hugged. There was just this overwhelming sense of community.

Leonor (Portugal), Andrea (Norway, Jesse (USA) and Lara (France)

Earlier this week, as per the long held MUWCIan tradition, us first years organised (a term here very loosely used) and performed THE FIRST YEAR SHOW; which among other things was a show full of salsa dancing Italians; a traditional Armenian dance; a sax playing Dane; Sinatra performed by a Nepalese boy, a Turkish boy and an Italian; and, with possibly one of the worst renditions of “Mr Brightside” ever played, an Australian and an Indian’s ukulele duet.

The following night showcased many of the incredible talents of our second years. A highlight of the night was one of the teachers, Ben, in a quasi-Beatles style, reassuring us that “All You Need Is Four”.

Last week I attended the Buddy Ball – a dance party complete with coordinated partner costumes.

yes, that is my tiedye shirt….

My second year buddy Stuti (India) and I deliberated extensively one hours before the event and decided on “Pikachu and Ash”. We looked pretty fab as did everyone else. There was a lot of dancing and a lot of music. Both of these seem extremely frequent at MUWCI.

…no, I don’t own a yellow turtleneck…

There’s been a karaoke night which resulted, once again, in multiple burst of uncoordinated dancing from me. There are some really talented singers here but nothing could match the enthusiasm in which the Latinos performed “Bailando” and “Gasolina”.

me, Ciro (Spain), and Andrea

There has been lots of tea. I’m not forcing people to drink it – there are actually others who share my enthusiasm. For a midnight tea sesh, Andrea, Jesse, and I walked to the Art Centre and shared Norwegian “stickymen” and a thermos.

from the treehouse

The beats of the prayer drums from down in the valley reverberated up the hill and we just talked and listened to the bells and crashes while sipping masala chai.

Yesterday I walked back from my overnight “homestay”. With Joyti from Mumbai, I stayed overnight in a village about an hour from MUWCI. It was a really interesting experience. We were constantly surrounded by kids – none of whom were particularly impressed with my one class of Beginners Hindi. My fingers are still recovering from the seemly endless stream of thumb wars; I think they realised early on that I was an easy win – the word passed around quickly!

plantin’ trees with Idai (Zimbabwe) and Jesse
It was such a weird experience to sit in a very traditional Indian household, drinking chai so sweet it was almost candied, while watching Masterchef Australia – MASTERCHEF AUSTRALIA!!! AccordingIMG_1961 to my host family it is a big thing in southern India – they had all the episode recorded.
So, as we were watching Georgia try to cook the perfect egg (will she, or won’t she??), the mother invited us to watch her prepare dinner. I tried (and failed miserably) to shape a chapati and watched in awe as the mother rolled out perfect circle after circle.

It’s a normal sized ukulele I swear – Vilhelm (Denmark)
After dinner (absolutely delicious and soundtracked with a swinging televised ABBA tribute band) we went down to the temple and watched the drumming. It was crazy to stand so close to something I’d only ever heard from up the hill. And we were close, very close. I wasn’t able to hear or regulate the volume of my voice for three hours after. The drummers were incredibly skilled (not that I was able to watch them for too long – too busy scrimmaging through thumb wars).
Six of us girls from MUWCI, – me, Joyta (India), Eleanor (Canada), Anika (Bangladesh), Cecelia (Denmark) and Aurelie (Luxembourg),  + the 3 host sisters and their 4 friends slept in one room. We woke up fairly early as:
1. we wanted to get walking before the heat ramped up, and
2. there was no way in hell we were being late for brunch

Before we left, the family insisted we have breakfast. So we politely wolfed down bowls of rice, milk and sugar (lots of sugar) while a montage of soft focus Freddie Mercury photos filled the TV backed with the weeping vocals of “Only the Good Die Young”. We said our goodbyes, played a final thumb war and walked back to school.

Rickshaw rides with Sanjina (India) and Jesse
Lucas (Brazil) though it would be a great idea to take a shortcut up the elevated school drive – it was hard work yet we emerged from the scrub cut, red, dripping with sweat and victorious. Brunch really never tasted so good.IMG_1965
So, to summarise my last two weeks…I have: danced far too much (my dignity is long gone), sat in a foreign registration office for three hours with two Canadians, a Bosnian and a Vietnamese boy, had my first Pune experience which included being yelled at by an angry rickshaw driver, started classes which I’m really enjoying (ahhh the naivety of a firstie), dived deep into my psyche (“Who am I?”) and that of my co-years (“Who are you??”), and watched Pirates of the Carribean on the roof of my house with a Norwegian, a Dane, an American and a Thai girl. IMG_2132
I am missing home though.
Leave more lovely comments!!!
Peace and love,
Anna xx

8 thoughts on “Dancing Queen

  1. Annnnna ! So excited to see some photos and hear some news. I’ve just received a survey from MUWCI enquiring about your sleep habits ……hmmm ! Looks like Haylee’s birthday cake is up there with the memorable “volcano cake” baked for your 12th birthday! xx


  2. Fabulous blog post, Anna! Glad all is going well although where amongst all that dancing and midnight chai do you manage classes? I do love Chai tea and I have a lovely wet mixture I buy called PraniChai. I’m sure you will learn how to make a sensational mix! 🙂 Take care and best wishes, Fiona aka Barton’s Mum. xx


  3. Oh Anna – what fun you are having! And it sounds like you are meeting so many wonderful interesting people. Glad you were spoilt on your birthday! Keep up the blogging – love reading your news. Love, Caroline xx


  4. Hi Anna … I liked your story. I think I would like to go to UWC one day … maybe in the castle in Wales. I have just been camping at Uluru with my friend Jasper and Dad. It was fun and I liked seeing Uluru up close. While we were walking around it, we read a story about a blue-tongue lizard man who stole some food. When we finished the story, we turned around and there was a blue-tongue lizard on the path. Love Jono


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