Missing my Home at UWCIssue date：2020-05-21
Residential life is an exciting and important part of the UWC education model. At UWC Changshu China, students are grouped into different houses. Each house is composed of about 50 students from different countries and regions, a Head of House and Advisors. Due to the pandemic, Gabriel, a DP2 student from Venezuela, could not return to his House on the campus which he regards as his home. While seeing his peers helping him packing his belongings at his dorm, he wrote a letter to express his feeling of gratitude and share how much he missed his home, his friends and all his family members.
May 8th, 2020
Beloved members of my family,
Today was a day that I thought I would live in a different scenario, and not through the screen of a computer. But life takes the paths it wants and we have to face them whether we like it or not.
I started the beginning of that amazing journey of more than 56 hours carrying two pieces of heavy luggage, filled with my possessions and a lot of hopes and dreams, from my home in Venezuela to the arrival gates of PVG. My 18 years old self, going into that incredibly busy corridor full of strangers started walking around the airport trying to find the people coming to pick me up; and I knew in that exact moment that I finally found them, there was no way back and I had to do my best, no matter what, to make the years the best of my life so far.
A lot of time has passed since then, and it can’t be explained with words the feelings that come to me while I’m looking at my empty bed and the corridors of my House. It’s unavoidable to feel some parts of my heart broken, and some tears making my eyes wet with sadness. I have to swallow some saliva before speaking to my roommate who is incredibly kind and has offered to pack for me. All of these things make me feel deeply touched and immensely emotional. That night before going to sleep I had to ask my pillow why everything has been so unfair for us and I get no answer.
But I should focus on the good things, because the reason why you are all reading this is because each of you made my time there, everything that I had dreamt and more. Every night that I spent studying or talking in the common room, every morning that I woke up and went for an energizing Econ class or an entertaining wellbeing session, every afternoon when I chilled on the grass circle or enjoyed a tea time in the glasshouse, those were the moments that made me truly learn what life about. And at least for now I won’t have the chance to pay you back, all of that, with a hug, with a present, or with a kind and warm “I will see you soon my friend”. I have been waiting anxiously for the time when we will be told, you are now allowed to come back, and everything will be like before, but it hasn’t come.
During my time there, I once told someone that I do know a lot of people, but not all of them are my friends. A friend, at least for me, is someone whom you know well, that you enjoy being with, who makes something inside of you flourish and grow, that you care about that much that his opinion about you matters and affects you, and most importantly that he is there for you whenever you need him, and I did have some friends, yes! But not with all of you and that’s something impossible, because making friends takes time, energy, effort, patience and love, tons of it! Anyway, I said that, not because I don’t want you to think we are not friends, (I also learned the concept is different for everyone), I just want you to know that I tried my best to be friends with all of you, because you are all special, awesome, and that’s something that amazed me every single day. It was simply unique finding that coming from such different places, we could have so much in common.
Each of you made my UWC experience, because you walked with me, and helped me when I doubted or deviated from my path, with a nice tea with lemon and a warm couch, with a banana milkshake that came out of nowhere, with food, cookies and Nesquik, with a bike to rush to the village for rice or supplies, with attention and respect on my first Yushan Challenge, with a beautiful dashiki, with passion and discipline for table tennis, with extraordinary and unconditional support from those that I consider my parents at the school. You made the House feel like home, and gave me the chance to share with you who I am.
Right now, I have each of those things you gave me, and will try to take them with me on the next journey that is coming. I feel more prepared, stronger and happier than ever.
I hope to see you as soon as possible and that we scream Efieooooooooooo as loud as we can do it. With LOVE...
Gabriel Contreras 李小龙 （GG）
May 8th, 2020