Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Dorm Retreat by Elanie F.


We Want Snow!

The one night annual retreat of OES Dorm took place at Menucha, a retreat center in the Columbia Gorge during MLK weekend.  Snow played a big part of the event this year; it brought both excitement and depression to the community.

“We want snow at OES!”

The OES Dorms have been a warm residence for both international and domestic students. Also, retreats at Menucha in previous years left the seniors with fun memories, but the winter doldrums and the expectations of snow drew people’s interests away from the excitement of going out as a group. On the day of departure, many students got up early at eight to see the amazing landscape of snow. The depression created by the rumor of cancelation of the retreat only existed for a short time. When the dorm parents went around and knocked on each door to remind students of the departure time, the mood in the building was exuberant. When the bus finally arrived, the snow had already stopped. Students, especially international students from Asia, who rarely have the chance to see snow in their motherland, were depressed about not being able to enjoy the snow. In addition, everyone was hoping for no school! Here is a haiku written during the retreat that reflects a student’s innocent wish:

Snow covering, Portland
Should be white, too, with no school.
Students prefer breaks!

 “We want snow at Menucha!”

Unsurprisingly, when the dorm bus reached Menucha, the hills were completely white already. Some impatient students soon tried to run outside and start a snow fight. Normally, dorm parents offer exploration sessions in the afternoon of the first day as well as the morning of the second day, including fun activities such as juggling, making paper planes, playing card and board games, and so on. However, this time dorm parents considerately adjusted the choices and added in special snow events such as sledding and snow fights that attracted an overwhelming amount of students. One super brave girl even decided to spend the night outdoors in the snow. In comparison, there were also students who preferred staying indoors, sitting in front of the fire on the carpet and enjoying the view of the icy hill while roasting marshmallows. In order to keep the memory of snow, a dorm group photo was taken outdoors. Throughout most of the retreat, snowflakes fell at Menucha, creating  the sense that the Wright Hall, while looking out from the patio, was isolated from the world. The poetry group in the retreat received a lot of inspiration from the frozen water, so I produced another haiku expressing the strong bond within the community reflected by the heavy snow:

Origin doesn’t
matter. We are here with you, 
in this icy weather.



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