Monday, August 30, 2010

Opening Days!

Opening Days is the name given to the days dedicated to orienting Freshmen before the start of the school year. So on Thursday morning, a serene and unsuspecting Willamette campus was flooded with its 2010 freshmen intake. You can imagine the shock it experienced...and this is saying nothing of the shock that all the international students experienced when a campus that they had formerly shared with mainly football and soccer players who were back early to kick-start training (hardly an inconvenience ), was completely overrun by vast numbers of enthusiastic and nervy first years (and their equally enthusiastic and nervy parents). Horror of horrors!

Many of us internationals (as we are fondly known) are sharing rooms with included. My roommate is a sweet girl from San Francisco, California. Nevertheless, it is a challenge to share a room and to be sharing a bathroom with a whole corridor of girls, after having lived off-campus for nearly two years in a gorgeous home with an enormous bedroom. But, challenge can never be a bad thing! 

The last few days have involved lots of different activities, although they are mainly geared towards the freshmen, so us internationals haven't had to attend everything and most of the activities are optional. I attended the opening convocation (at which a neuro-scientist and author - Jonah Lehrer - gave a truly excellent speech), as well as what is known as the Matriculation Ceremony - which is a welcoming ceremony at which the student body president speaks (an enormous and very huggable football player by the name of Walter)  and everyone gets to shake the hand of the university President. Hooray! After the ceremony there was a ridiculous spread of variously flavoured ice-creams and toppings to be had. We (internationals) then went to a party off-campus - the second one in a row, which is why I gave last night's party a miss!

Saturday saw us hiking in Silver Falls State Park. Well, "hiking"...more like walking 3kms in the forest. Still, it was beautiful, with many waterfalls and pretty trees...and great conversation with different people. A few transfer students have joined our group, one of whom is a girl named Lisa (also from San Francisco) who has actually been living in Cape Town this year doing volunteer work and has a South African boyfriend! So it has been fun and interesting chatting to her about the beautiful city and her experience of South Africa. We were also hosted by Willamette alumni for dinner last night as part of our opening days (and this was done for ALL the different freshmen groups too...Willamette really does go all out!)

I went to church with my friend Scott yesterday (Scott was at Rhodes last year on exchange and is at Willamette - yay!). It was awesome to worship and hear the word. Church was followed by brunch on campus, and then I spent most of the afternoon practicing piano! Something that I need to be doing more of! It was great to sit at a piano for that length of time - I can't remember when last I did that.

Last night was the Decades Dance... a dance on campus that involves everyone dressing up in a costume representing the 60s, 70s or 80s. A bunch of us girls got ready together, and Heidi (an exchange student from Finland) did my hair...she created an epic 'bubble' (Carlton Cousin would have been impressed!), which matched perfectly with my 50s/60s look. The dance was fun, and mostly hip-hop and R&B music was played - my favourite! Sister Mary, we need to jam in the USA! :)

Watched a movie tonight with a bunch of the international students. There is a movie theatre in one of the buildings here (obviously used also for lectures, etc) where students are able to watch movies at their leisure. Wow! Oh ja, and if I thought the food was something to behold, turns out I 'aint seen nothing yet, since the menu they were serving during our orientation week isn't half as good (or varied! the variety is truly staggering!) as what they are serving now that school is starting. AND, get this, breakfast runs from 7am until 10am!!! So you can feel free to have a li'l lie-in.

Classes start tomorrow! Looking forward to settling into more of a routine! This past week has been great, but exhausting at times. It will be nice to have a  bit of normality thrown into the mix.

'Till next time...
P.S. I promise to try and post more regularly so that you don't have to spend hours wading through my entries!

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