IMO Diary Part 3: Post Contest Adventures

10th of July-11th of July

We had two days of excursions
As such are the traditions
So that the teachers could correct our papers
With no distractions


After two days of examinations
We set the alarm with precision
To catch the bus that will take us far away
2 hours to our destinations

Long bus rides were such an exertion
And the mountain roads were no relaxation
The boredom was the worst part because
There ‘ain't any activity of gratification

Normally at times with no occupation
We memorise a math olympiad question
And reason and calculate in our heads
Or lay down a few equations

But now everybody was in a state of exhaustion,
Our brains too ill to function
Anna sitting on the left side was just too car sick
To start a conversation

Why didn’t we play games for recreation?
But it’s so hard to reach a decision
When you’re in a hot, stuffed car
near the state of suffocation

Poker had been a temptation
But we do not wish the affliction
Of crawling around in a moving car looking
for a card scattered in an acceleration

At last we were here, to our alleviation
And where, exactly, were the tourist attractions?
This time Salt Mine Turda and Alba Iulia
Places of fascination

Only, only we were part of the exhibition
As people took photos and documentations
Of a group of weird people in similar attire
Walking around with no sense of direction

All the fame and reputation
Have no reason for glorification
For they still forbid us to get on the ferris wheel
Due to the age restrictions

Despite the various limitations
We still found delectation
In new bonds formed, new friendships made,  
During the socialisations

And ice creams made perfection
I’ve had several, despite parents’ prohibition:
“At most 3 per 2 weeks!” But who cares?
When I’m out of their domination




Ah, I’m being a bit unfair there, the excursions were very enjoyable, if I say these two days were a little low point of the entire trip it was because the rest of the days were just too marvellous. The bus rides were indeed a bit tedious, but we did work around it in some ways. We also made loads of new friends, and that’s the best part!

12th of July

Today was the closing ceremony and farewell party. So I should probably mention the results now.

We got our results after the trip to the salt mine. When I got off the bus, I saw our deputy leader at the front door. I could feel my heart skip a beat, and I pasted a smile on my face and went over slowly. I knew that I did not do well in the exam, and I had an expectation of a really really low score in my head. So all of us walked up to her…

And she went: “Ok now you got 5, you got 5… we tried very hard to get you more marks but we couldn’t get it higher than that, we think your answer is definitely worth more, though.. You got 16, well done!! I think you have a good chance of getting a medal…” And now she turned to me: ”You got 3…”

Now what happened was I BEAMED!! I was so happy I was actually jumping up and down. Our leader was very kind and caring, she obviously thought I would be disappointed or sad so she was very gentle and tried to sooth me and comfort me, but after a few seconds I think everybody realised that my lunatic behavior was actually from the heart, not trying to appear strong or something.

Lucas patted me: ”There, there.”

Not realising this as a joke, I said: ”No, I am GENUINELY happy that I didn’t get zero!!”

So that’s that. No more anxieties and worries now that the dust has settled, the only thing left was to enjoy the every last minute of the remaining journey.

This morning, we walked around the city under the sunny sky, fed the pigeons, ate traditional Romanian food, went into bookstores after bookstores…it was bliss. I could not have had a better morning than this.

We had to go back for lunch and the closing ceremony in the afternoon. We all knew what the closing ceremony would be like, so we just sat back and secretly read books.

Afterwards, it was the event we’ve all been waiting for: the farewell banquet! We had some prior knowledge about what will happen— in short, a disco.

We had a beautiful dinner together, sitting together with the TTO team. The main dishes there were a little bit weird to my Asian taste, but the desert was superb…I had two creme buleés.

Meanwhile, a band was busy setting up on a stage and soon there was music. People started gathering at the foot of the stage and moving with the music. I was awkward at first, but soon I got comfortable as more people joined in. We were gathering together and lining up and forming circles all the time— I was constantly pulling people into the dancing, and I tried with every effort to pull the Chinese team in. The teachers were very supportive and loved to take part, and followed me into the crowd, but the teammates were less active and only one of them tried it briefly. The teachers confessed to me later that they were mindblown to see this kind of festivity.

I should give a clarification here: My “dance” basically consisted of jumping up and down as long as I could, and lots of other people on the crowd couldn’t dance either. We were just moving together because of the immense force of energy that was flowing around us.

At one point, I had just come down to have a rest when this guy, with his T-shirt soaked in sweat, came up to me and said: ”I don’t understand, why are you not dancing??? I don’t understand why ARE you not DANCING???” I protested ”But I just came down and I was dancing for the last 3 hours…” But he won’t listen, so he pulled me into the crowd and I pulled Anna into the crowd and Anna pulled the TTO team into the crowd and so we started again.

It was one of the best dancing experience I’ve ever had, dancing came so naturally, and moving was like an instinct. There is something about the math olympiad discos.

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