Yesterday was our day, the day of celebration for us, the LPCUWC Class of 2013. Yesterday was our opportunity to do whatever we wanted to our Firstyears (in a more or less harmless manner, of course) – and what a coincidence that it was Water Festival Day in Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos at the same time. So when throwing our Firstyears into the pool, hosing them down not he roof, or blocking the bathrooms with dozens of cups of water, we were not only celebrating our PRANK DAY, but we were also celebrating international understanding and culture exchange! ;) (UWC Values for the win!)
Prank Day 2013 started early in the morning, for us Secondyears at six, for the Firstyears at six twenty in the morning. Already the evening before, we Secondyears had all sufficiently scared or “tortured” our roommates; the Block 4 boys being possibly the most wild ones: They locked their block’s Firstyear boys onto the roof, hosed them down and then threw flour onto them, while simultaneously stealing their mattresses and blankets, so that the poor firstyears ended up spending the night cuddling together on the floor. Catherine and I started “expressing our love” in the evening, too, packing all our roommates clothes and shoes into big plastic bags and hiding them, as well as stealing their mattresses, so that they had to sleep together on the couch. I slept on three mattresses that night – comfort at its best! During the night, the Block 3 Secondyears had filled dozens and dozens of plastic cups with water and occupied the bathroom with them – getting to the toilets in the morning was a pain for the firstyears, especially since there was always one of us Secondyears in the room, threatening them to lick up whatever they spilled, “so that we don’t waste water!”
We woke up our firstyears at six twenty, drew hearts onto their cheeks and ordered them downstairs in front of the block, where the other Block 3 girls were already ordered into a line by us Secondyears. We were holding bamboo sticks and had war paint in our faces, screaming at our firstyears – who could not decide whether to yawn, giggle or complain. We tied their feet together and let them march up and down the campus road, with the boys running by every once in a while and splashing water over them.
Together with the other blocks, we brought all Firstyears into the Courtyard for some “communist morning exercises”, inspired by those that Chinese school children have to do every morning, too. We let the Firstyears stand in lines and move to the music. “Up! Down! Up! Down!”, we yelled at them, and stamped out bamboo sticks into the floor. Whoever didn’t move, got an individual load of cold water right over their head, to “wake them up”, additional to the many other buckets that our boys splashed down from the second floor. We Secondyears had a lot of fun – I’m not too sure about the Firstyears, but many of them came to us afterwards and said that they had quite enjoyed it!
The pranks continued throughout the day. As soon as the life guards were on duty, one Firstyear after the other was grabbed and thrown into the pool – those who couldn’t swim into the shallow area, those who could, into the deeper water. In the last minute we would take off their mobile phones, cameras, shoes and sweaters, then they’d land head, bum or belly first in the cold pool, crawling out dripping wet and under the roaring laughter of us spectators. One of our more unfortunate firstyears landed in the pool on his stomach (ouch…) but another one made a spin in the air before splashing into the water.
But Prank Day would be altogether far too boring, if it were only the Firstyears that were tricked and joked on. No, of course, we had to include our lovely teachers in this day of celebration, too! At break time, we gathered them in the courtyard to play games: Three-legged race and Egg-And-Spoon. We separated the teachers who had agreed to play into two groups and set them up at opposite corners of the courtyard. Then we gave each team a spoon and a raw egg and instructed them to carry the spoon in their mouth around the courtyard and pass it on the the next teacher of the group, like in a rally. For the three-legged race we tied two teachers up at their legs and made them run around the courtyard together. Oh the noise and the laughter and the screams and the joy! Watching their teachers do all these ridiculous things was a relief to our Firstyears who could thereby take a rest from our constant threat.
At the end of break time, we Secondyears all came together as a group and sang a song to the teachers, which two of my Co-Years had come up with to the melody of Cee-Lo’s “Forget You”, and that addressed all the shenanigans we had come up with over the last two years, and thanked the teachers for their patience, dedication and teaching: “So we’re sorry, for the canteen parties / and all that dorm-check nudity / so we make noise, like really loudly / but we’re still a community! […] I see you walkin’ all around / the academic block and i’m like / thank you (oo, oo, oo!) / When it comes to teaching the IB / you guys are the bomb, so we’re like / thank you!” (lyrics in the video description:)
And that’s how we concluded Prank Day. We had great fun, both Firstyears and Secondyears and even teachers. This was our last day of high school, we will never have classes again – until university. Now the weeks till I come home will be marked by studying, studying and more studying: From now on, I have two weeks of study leave, three weeks of exams – and then I’ll fly back to Germany! There are 41 days left of my LPC experience – but the adventure and spirit of UWC has only begun. Long live the LPCUWC Class of 2013!
[Photos 1, 2 and 3 by © Michelle Kwok)