My friend Destiny

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It was a Tuesday evening and I just got off the phone with Destiny.

‘Wow! You really are friends with Destiny?’ you’re probably wondering.

Actually, I am. At this moment I am friends with Destiny. Let me tell you a thing or two about her.

Destiny is a bit bipolar. Sometimes she is the embodiment of joy, other times she can be a bit dull or even a bitch (which is probably a family characteristic, being second cousin to my eternal foe, Karma, and all). As you can see, she likes to keep things in the right balance.

Destiny is unreliable, she truly is full of surprises. Destiny likes to live by the day, turning a different path when you least expect it. Yesterday we were ploughing through the mud, today she led me across a grinded road. That’s what I like about her, too; always on the road.

I remember the day we met as if it was yesterday. It was the twelfth of January, 2012, a fresh, clear Saturday. I spent the day in Utrecht, at the open day of UWC, to which hundreds of children and parents came to learn about. It was an important day, a day which I shan’t forget in years. I learned about the organization, its aim, its people, and I met a lot of them. One spirit in particular seemed to stick to me, her presence was everywhere in the air around me, she was easily noticed among all the other youths like me: unsure, curious, carefully touching an intangible concept of which they somehow knew it was special.

Now I won’t say that I “just felt it” or that I “knew this was the place for me”. Neither will I mention that I “had this gut-feeling pushing through the walls of simple logic, taking over my thoughts entirely”, just because it sounds so awfully cheesy as if I landed somewhere in the middle of a low-budget Hollywood film.

I will only say that I shred my timidity and got acquainted with the spirit that was comfortably waiting for someone to shake both her hands. And I did.

And that’s the beginning of a tempestuous friendship between Destiny and me. She’s a real punch, a sting, a pain in the ass, but always daring one to go further.

I met her just twice, the second time being the 18th of June. It was the overwhelming day of the scholarship award ceremony. As we danced, sang, acted and performed in front of an audience (among which the King of the Netherlands, many international ambassadors, sponsors and UWC-alumni), she was there, too, and this time I knew I was not the only one that felt it, especially when we orderly walked up to our places in the Peace Palace under an immense applause. It was a day never to forget. And even though that’s all behind me now, there are days never to forget ahead, so I expect to hear from her in the future.

~

Want to meet Destiny in person? Check out the open day of UWC on January the fourth, 2014 – in Utrecht. She always hangs about that place around that time of the year.

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Aside

It is a Thursday evening, and I am enjoying the last snippets of the scholar summer break.  Like most slow, summer days, I did not do much today. Got up early, did some reading, some staring up the sky, had a cup of coffee with a good friend of mine… That’s about it.

The latter always brings about some interesting thoughts, though. Nina and I are both dreamers, and we are both truly done with the bubble we are currently living in. Our seemingly small and familiar Amsterdam is holding us in its suffocating grip, but after sixteen years of living here, I have finally found the courage to shed my Dutch and petty-minded skin to emigrate to Swaziland for at least the next two years to come.

Wait, what? Yeah I know, I have some explaining to do…

Two years ago, a friend of mine told her mother about this organization that would send a couple of students a year abroad to finish high school, and her mum told my mum and my mum told me (see?! That’s the bubble I’m talking about). Back then, I did not even think about participating.

Two years and a lifetime of developing confidence and some braincells later I find myself being one of those lucky teenagers that is now a proud member of United World Colleges.

My best friends (most of them being dreamers, too) know what it took to get up here. They realize what I am about to go through while I do not even realize it myself, and they wish they were there with me when it all happens, like I wish they were. That is what best friends are for. And I want to give them the same opportunity so badly, I want to show them, everyone, what UWC actually is.

But first I have to discover the meaning of UWC myself. And with that, explore the world (yes, all of it!) what I want from her, and what I would like to give her in return.

One thing is for sure: I am getting out of this social bubble where everyone knows each other, whereto I know I will return in time and everyone will still be there without having changed.

Well, that may not be entirely true, but what I am actually trying to say: in about half a year, I am going to let go of this rigid way of living and thinking, and instead I will actually start a free living.

* ironic note: funny that I can only start feeling free and individually finding my way in the absolute monarchy of Swaziland, and not in the highly-democratic Netherlands…

Ever so comprehensive, Nina and I are, in this respect, completely the same. Being through with our good, safe yet dull little lives, we always knew a change of scenery is exactly what we needed. And yet, she will have to wait two more years before following Bilbo’s footsteps. So I am telling her and all those that can sympathize:

it is not like you are not going to get there without UWC, absolutely not! But it is wonderful. It is a wonderful, wonderful world full of surpises every day and full of motivated people that actually want to do something: boys and girls, Israeli’s and Palestinians, Christians and Muslims that want to make this life worth living and this world worth saving.

To let a dream become reality