This week marks our first academic week of the semester. It’s no longer name games and long talks on rules and expectations. We are finally in the swing of things. This week also marks the time when we will have to choose whether to run a half marathon, or swim four miles. As a group we are all experiencing a lot of emotions right now. It was a hard adjustment at first, but now everything is falling into place. This is our new home. Michael Brown
This year was not the first I was away from home on my birthday. Last year, it was the first Saturday class day at my boarding school, and my dorm sang me happy birthday and ate the cake while I was in the shower. Apparently they didn’t know who I was, being a new freshman, and assumed I was there. This year I had the good fortune of getting to celebrate my birthday at the Island School, and it was a Sunday! I got to sleep in and then lazily stroll to the dining hall for a mixed bowl of granola, chex, and cornflakes (which is really yummy). Then the whole school hopped on boats and zipped out to the sandbar. The sandbar is this isolated chunk of sand in the middle of the ocean surround by crystal shallow water. The weather was perfect, just a few stray white clouds. We frolicked in the water and some people played Frisbee. We went back for noon circle, and when we were supposed to sing the national anthem (which I did start singing) the whole school sang me happy birthday. After lunch I went on exploration time. First I went to the Marina store and then I went out with a group of friends to the golf cart graveyard, and abandoned kitchens and storerooms in the inner loop. We then went and found one of the Banyan trees. It was down an overgrown path where we had to dismount and walk, but when we found it, it was so cool and I was amazed by the strong and numerous branches. Later I hopped in current cut, but after drifting about ten feet down I heard thunder, and had to struggle back up to the start. At dinner there was supposed to be cake, but the kitchen ladies accidently locked my cake in the fridge and left, so no cake on my birthday again. It was okay though because we had it for lunch the next day and my birthday celebrations got to last a little longer, which was fine by me.
If you ask my mother what my favourite part about her is, she would tell you I only love her for her food - which might be partly true. And when I go to new places food is what I judge the hardest. Being at the Island School I thought I would not like any of the food and would be extremely homesick because of it. The cooking team here at the Island School makes each meal with such flavor and wondrous appeal, that I was shocked as my mouth erupted with flavor. The first full meal I had here at the Island really helped me to combat homesickness and I will forever be grateful to the cooking team for their meals.
It has only been fifteen days since we arrived in Eleuthera and started our journey at the Island School. It is so amazing to think how my opinions of this place have changed already. Since the beginning of my application process to the Island School, I was fully invested in training for the half marathon because I thought that I could never swim 4 miles. After two weeks I’ve already changed my mind about the swim and so many other aspects of this semester. Switching to swim track has made me so excited to accomplish something so incredible. I wake up excited to swim and see how far I can continue to push myself. Something at the Island School that I already love is when we combine swim track and run track into run-swims. Run-swims have become my favorite exercise even though they seemed so daunting before this place became my home. Before coming here I would never have imagined myself scaling a wall while watching the sunrise. It is actually crazy to think about all the things we do before the sun rises. We wake up with the stars and moon shining, gather around the flag pole at dawn to sing the Bahamian National Anthem in the dark, and are in the ocean swimming while the sun starts to peek out from behind the clouds. This morning in particular as we finished the anthem, there were streaks of raspberry pink coloring the morning sky. Each morning I wake up happy to be here and I can’t wait for the next 83 days.
Coming into the environment of The Island School was a difficult change. It’s something that’s very scary for the first couple of days. The vast amount of differences between The Island School and home change your perspective. At first the change is really difficult but I started to realize that the change is good and it will help me develop in life. So far it’s been an amazing experience and I’m ecstatic to continue my journey. I feel fully aware of the things that lay ahead that will be challenging. I feel ready for anything that crosses my path and I’m looking forward to exploring the island more. One of the best experiences I’ve had so far is playing basketball with the locals. It was fun to compete with them especially since they were very talented. It was a different way of communicating with them and it was easy to understand that in many ways their culture is similar to ours. They were all very open to letting me play and they were very friendly as well. The feeling of being welcomed into their game was great and I had a great experience shooting around with them.