It happened! After more than half a year of planning the project, editing the answers of people in United World College Changshu China, also known as my second home, finalizing conclusions and preparing for the big day, „In High School in China” has finally launched in Bucharest, Romania. Even though I have been working on this for such a long time, it is still unbelievable how quickly time has passed. This time last year I was saying good-byes before starting my 中国 (China) experience and now I am planning a summer full of IAs, EE drafts, college apps and other not really fun stuff. Among all of these not very summery expectations, the day of the launch of the book was a delightful experience, which only made me appreciate what I am living at the moment even more. Stick with me to read about the event through my eyes.
The day started with an interview at a national TV station in Romania, TVR1. No biggie, not nervous at all. Watch this here in case you want to practice your Romanian or just see my proud-mom-face (of my baby book). Last year I had the chance to have similar opportunities for other radio and TV stations and every time it makes me incredibly appreciative that I can share my process and my results to such a large public. Especially this time, taking stories from my community to my home country, my friends in Romania and my family and giving them the chance to get a taste of what our lives have become and the turn they took this past year.
After the interview, I rushed to the salon where Tory at Sofia Eleni Beauty Center did an amazing Chinese hairstyle in a short amount of time. Kudos! I couldn’t learn how to do that in all China’s history and it is a pretty long one.
Still slightly nervous but more excited than ever, I reached the location of the launch, Carturesti Verona, a beautiful library in the city center, where I would have never thought I will ever launch a book, let alone two. The decor was full on Chinese and I was perfectly fitting in with the background. Talking about the decor, I would like to take this opportunity and thank my mom, lovely grannies, and my life-long best friend and her mother for helping so much to set up the place. I am truly so grateful to have you.
There was a long list of speakers at the launch and each of them had something remarkable to say. Guests from tourism, from the Chinese Embassy and organizations connecting Romania to China, TVR1 presenter Marina Almasan, singer Jean Gavril, film critic Irina Margareta Nistor and others. It has honestly been such an honor to share such an important moment for me with these incredible people, which I appreciate immensely. Not only this, but having the opportunity to share this piece of work, the book, with them.
When it was my turn to speak, I chose to „wow” the audience with some words in Chinese (part of which I had to rehearse in order to remember it). I will admit I was nervous and I was trying to remember everything I wanted to say. Once I started talking, everything came naturally. I told people how I cooked Romanian food, salata de beouf, more than a couple of times in China, how it has become my second home, how much this book means to our community and that I hope it will mean something to them as well.
Some interviews and numerous photos later, I finally could say that I had made it!
The launch was amazing and I am extremely happy with how it turned out. Now back to the reality of the IB.
Now some words for my fellow UWCers. If you are a second year, third year, firstie, teacher, wherever you are from in the world and whichever UWC you chose or chose you, then this is for you.
„In High School in China” is a book with interviews with incredible people from UWC Changshu China about our international experience, differences between cultures and other similar topics. It started out merely as a continuation of the book I have published last year with the same style of interviews, „In High School”, except it was about Romanian young people.
While I was writing the conclusions for this second book, however, I realized how important it had become to me. That is because I ended up doing this for the people I love, for my community. I have struggled quite a bit trying to get it printed in China to hand it out to all graduates, but it worked out eventually. It made me happier than anything to receive messages or emails from my second years saying how much this book means to them and that they will hold onto it. This is why I believed in this project so much even though not everyone did. It makes me proud and it makes people who I shared a whole year with proud. Knowing that they will have this memory with them for a really long time. I am so grateful to have known you and connected with you in different ways. It was hard to let you go but we are very proud of you and of what you have achieved.
We, as your forever firsties, friends and (extended) family, have all the faith in you that you will achieve even greater things in the future. We love you very much.
At the same time, this book gave me so much hope in our generation. I know that us, as the second years of UWC Changshu China at the moment, will do just well this year. We are growing closer together and stronger. I am looking forward to reuniting in August.
Lastly, I know that everyone who contributed to the book received a copy, as well as our second years, so for the people who haven’t gotten it and want it, I am trying to think of a solution, so „donut” worry, 朋友们。