Concord offered a ‘staycation’ over Christmas for those boarders who weren’t able to return home. My mother did not want to expose me to the virus by taking flights and going to airports, so I remained in campus for the entire month.

It was quite a lonely time for me. All of my closest friends had returned to their home country, but I remained in Concord instead. Time differences did not allow us to call often, leaving me alone without family or friends with me. I had found some people I could be with, but it simply just wasn’t the same. Every time I went out, it would be bleak and gloomy, with barely any sunshine or light. I would jog in the windy night in hopes of escaping the biting frost, and feeling chills inside me, I thought:

“What a cold, silent, and horrible night this is. I wish it was over already.”

Concord tried to provide a fun time for the students with the Christmas dinner, formals, and many small activities every day. They were small fleeting moments of happiness which were quickly washed away by the weather. Everything became mundane and boring, and eventually I stopped going for those too. But one night, I had a sudden urge to go outside for once, and just walk around and maybe sit somewhere with some food. Perhaps I just wanted a breather from the cramped stuffy atmosphere of my room. I went out and as usual, it was a dark foggy night with only a single lamp to light the area around it. Holding the hot chocolate in one hand, and a cookie in the other, I stood alone as snowflakes descended around me, forming a blanket of white fluff on the ground. One landed on my nose and promptly melted as my breath formed mists, and I looked up into the night sky. The Christmas lights were twinkling, and the sound of leaves rustled in the wind. I stood there, tasting sweet chocolate in my mouth, and feeling really warm inside, I thought:

“What a cold, silent, but beautiful night this is. I wish this would last forever.’ 

The snowflakes that fell all around me have turned into cherry blossoms petals. The grounds that were once covered in white sheets and littered with pinecones, were now covered with beautiful, sprouting flowers and colours. The campus was now bustling, chattering found everywhere and buildings filled with people. I sat on the same table as my friends, laughing as they recalled their stories of their adventures while they were home. Everything was back to normal, and I was happy.

But sometimes I do think back into the peaceful nights I had as I trudge down the path through the snowfield, with the soft Christmas lights and glowing snow. The monochromatic lights had a certain charm to them, which, within me, brought an enchantment of deep relaxation. And to be honest, I was glad to have these small moments of respite. I could just wander around, without the looming fear of Saturday tests or prep work for classes. All of this made me realise – the warmth I was looking so hard for shouldn’t be something external. I had to be happy and let the warmth come from within myself. Fleece jackets and wool blankets will never work if one did not produce the body heat themselves. So, I decided to accept and enjoy the present, and be happy with what the world has to offer.

To appreciate what I have no matter what – It was a difficult thing for me but yet something I needed. For now, I will be enjoying the springtime and the cool weather (for all those with allergies – sucks for you!), and will look forward with a smile on my face and hope for what comes.

Andrea – 6.1

Christmas Dinner

Edna Ferber once said, “Christmas isn’t a season. It’s a feeling.” This is exactly what Concord’s Christmas Dinner is about. Dressed in formal suits and beautiful dresses, teachers and students enjoyed a stunning meal prepared by the kitchen staff. The evening started with the reception in West End, where students were given a great opportunity to socialize and send snapshots of the night to their family back home.

The students then made their way to the dining hall, which was beautifully decorated with gifts and ornaments. Dinner began with a moment of grace, followed by horrible Christmas jokes from Mr Kerslake. The main course was a choice between four different dishes, including pan seared salmon and roasted turkey. A selection of deserts was also served, each garnished carefully to match the Christmas theme.

However, the night wasn’t all about food. There were quizzes to prove who knew most about Christmas, Santa running around the dining hall sharing sweets and my favourite part – carol singing. There was also a disco held in the West End after dinner, where an external DJ put together some modern hits.

The night will definitely become a fond memory to many students. It really reminds us how warm and close the Concord community can be, especially when we are a long, long way away from home.

Audrey Adeline 6.2

German Market

Following last year’s success, Concord’s proficient kitchen staff again succeeded in setting up the spectacular German Market. From pretzels to lamb goulash, a great variety of traditional German cuisines were prepared for both students and staff. It was a great opportunity for students to try dishes from another country, as many of us are from different parts of the world where German food is pretty rare. “This is my first time trying German food. It’s very different from the food we have back home, but I really like it!” says Claire, a 6.2 student from Singapore.

The German Market is only one of the many events that the kitchen staff put together this year. Some others include the Fajita Night, Sushi Day and Christmas Dinner. What I personally think is really special about this particular event is the cosy atmosphere it creates – students sat together in circles, creating a feeling of togetherness, which is just what we need before the busy week of exams and interviews ahead. Ultimately, there is only one word that best describes this year’s German Market: “Köstlich!”

Audrey Adeline 6.2