Morning Running


It’s almost been a month since I started going on daily morning runs at school. I started this activity by telling myself that I’d be going on a minimum of 400 meter runs every morning at 7:45 in order to warm myself up for the day, stay active, get into a routine and build my willpower. But by now, I’ve raised my minimum distance to 1 kilometer and decided to come in early, in order to wash myself up and change.

Eventually I started to log the runs using my watch, in order to check the statistics of my runs, and to see compare them to each other. For example, yesterday’s run was really challenging, I had told myself that I would run around 2 kilometers, and greatly struggled to go that distance.

  March 23rd run stats

March 23rd run route

Most of the runs are really nice. I’ve been taking it slow, and trying to find a comfortable pace at which I could really enjoy the run instead of try to force myself through them. They’re less of a chore now, and more of a pleasant rush of endorphins.

There are always some birds flying around which make the runs more enjoyable. For example, last Wednesday there was a group of parakeets flying from goal post to goal post, bringing with them their cheer and playfulness. One of them even climbed onto the net and started bitting it with their beak.

Parakeet biting the football goal net during morning run – Photo by author

Red waddled lapwing sitting on the field – Photo by author

Learning outcomes:

LO4 Commitment and Perseverance in CAS experiences

  • I’ve consistently run every morning at school ever since I started without fail. Even though some times I felt like skipping out due to being exhausted.
  • I’ve woken up earlier than usual in the morning in order to get to school around 7:35 and have more time to run.

LO2 Challenges undertaken

  • Pushed myself to meet my minimum goal in each run, and procedurally increased that distance over the weeks since starting.
  • Developed my willpower by accomplishing the goals I had set out for myself, such as running 2 kilometers on last Monday.

DP1 WWW Day 1


We finally had our Week Without Walls trip, and went down south. We left the school around 9 in the morning, and rode for 4 hours. Twisting and turning in small streets made for tuk tuks or cars in a massive bus was quite entertaining for the first hour of the trip, before taking the highway.

Boys Cabin at Kahandamodara – Photo by Mr. Lockwood

When we arrived to Back of Beyond at Kahandamodara, we received our roommates, and unpacked in our rooms. The ride was tiring and we got some time to unwind. We had a great Sri Lankan lunch, with some dahl, what we thought was potato curry but turned out to be another type of tubercle, and fish curry. We weren’t too hungry from all the snacks we shared on the bus, but the food was good enough to get seconds.

Afterwards, we had an hour or two to relax before we were going to the beach. Some of us went for a dip in the pool, with an ideal temperature thanks to the sun (not too hot, not too cold). But I decided to explore the area and start taking photos. There were goats with HUGE droopy ears, 2-3 times the size of their heads, the flowing lagoon filled with mangrooves which connects to the sea, and some lovely wildlife.

While looking at the lagoon, I noticed a flying black dragonfly which kept returning to the same place in the air, it was a good 3 to 4 meters from me. I was intent on taking a photo of it. Setting my my zoom to manual and my shutterspeed to 1/800, and started to try and find it. due to its small size, it was hard to see where it was through the camera, which made focusing on it really difficult. But, after a good 10 minutes of struggling, taking the photo and checking to see if the iso was high enough, or if the shutter speed was right, I finally took some clear photos of it. One thing I would have done differently now, is increase the shutter speed to maybe 1/1000 or 1/1250, just because the wings are a little blurry.

Black Dragonfly near the estuary – Photo by Author

Afterwards, something happened that really changed the whole trip for me: The shutter malfunctioned! I have to say, I feel like I went through the 5 stages of grief during the trip. I was hopeful, I turned off the camera and back on to see if that would fix it, I tried to maybe adjust the focus, to remove the battery even. But as I troubleshooted, the dreaded realization that maybe it was not just a simple issue dawned on me. Mr. Lockwood gave me some advice in regards to troubleshooting, but to no avail. Still, I was hopeful that it would be resolved by the end of the day, by maybe looking at some guides online. A shame I wouldn’t get to take photos with it this afternoon (oh, you naive soul, it only gets worse..).

We headed down to the beach on foot, with an aura of exitement. Upon our arrival, we were greeted by the water. We took of our shoes and went for a dip. Unfortunately, I didn’t bring a swimsuit, so I could only get knee deep in the water. Those of us who stayed outside ended up playing ninja, where we would take turned making one movement in order to tap another person’s limb. Only while we were moving could they move. It was a blast, you could choose to play it safe, since after your turn, the person you attacked could easily counterattack.

Everyone at the beach – Photo my Mr. Lockwood

We stayed at the beach for a good hour before heading back. Upon our arrival, we went to our cabins and took turns using the shower, from which the top of our heads would stick out. We got changed and headed to the main area to relax before dinner. We started a game of One Night Werewolf, but were interrupted before we could finished by the news of dinner.

After dinner, I used Mr. Lockwood’s phone to research methods of repairing my D90.

It was now time for our frog watch, or rather, creepy crawlie watch. We saw some termites and a praying mantis in a spider web, who managed to break free after struggling (the act of which ended up scaring everyone). As we were moving along, a small snake sneakily slithered up to us, before disappearing in the grass. We ended up stopping and looking up, to see the beautiful night sky, free of light pollution.

It was almost spiritual. We tried to identify some constelations, but only got as far as Orion’s belt.

Learning objectives:
  • Demonstrate that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process.
    • I challenged myself with taking a photograph of a small, moving dragonfly, which kept moving out of my focus. I developed additional patience, better tracking skills with my eye through the lens, improved manual zooming and focusing skills with the DSLR camera, and a better understanding of the ratio between lighting, shutter speed, and ISO, in order to paint a clearer picture of what I was photographing.

Reconection with Nature

I went back to Vichy, France during the winter break to visit my grandparents. They live in the center of France in the countryside, and have some land with a garden, and lots of plants.
After getting off the plane, and the excruciating 3 hour drive from Lyon to Vichy with my grandfather, who should have his licence revoked (he never fails to make me throw up after a ride), we arrived to my grandparents’ place. I remembered my childhood memories, playing with sticks in the garden, creating imaginary stories, breathing in the fresh air. I was hoping to escape from my digital lifestyle and to get back with nature.

The fire has been lit – Photo by Author

And I did, we made fires in the fireplace every evening, following the patronising instructions from my grandfather, adding wood to the fire as it was burning out, giving it nudges with a poker to ensure it was getting enough air, feeling the fire rise up to my hand and burning me slightly. Finally, feeling snug next to the fire. I learned how yo make a fire, and a good one at that. I also learned how to save a fire that was badly set up (by me), and appreciate the effort put into it when it finally takes off and burns with less effort.
Of course, the wood for the fireplace wasn’t infinite, we had to go to our little forest (our property) and collect fallen branches to bring back to dry. This was fine for smaller pieces of wood, which were used to start the fire, but for larger ones that would burn with the fire, this was not a good method. For those, we had to cut wood, with and axe, an old-school seesaw, and bent knees.

De-rooted tree cut by author for further processing. – Photo by author

My grandfather has cherry and other fruit bearing trees on his property, which last a lot of years, but after a while, pass away. Wether from the recent drought in the region, or the harsh weather, a cherry tree died in the summer, was derooted and had a replacement planted in its place. and was waiting on the property to be turned into firewood. We cut that tree together, among other deerooted ones, in order to get the thicker wood, and to allow space for smaller trees to grow. It was a surprisingly fun activity, hitting a large piece of wood over and over again with a blunt axe. Maybe it was the slow but steady sense of progress as a small piece of wood came off with each strike, but I was hooked.
After spending the whole break cutting wood, I had gotten used to the proper posture, the only thing that was still difficult to adjust to was the weight of the axe. My favorite activity overall was taking care of living things during the break. My Great-Granmother’s American cactuses needed tending, to be placed In larger pots to allow for more growth. I ended up really enjoying taking care of cactuses, and ended up bringing back a bud to plant in my indoor garden, hopefully it adjusts well to the new climate.

Me and the best sheep: 000003 and 001677 – Photo by Author

The best thing was going on walks with my grandmother and feeding these two sheep that were near the path. They would walk up to us every walk and demand to be fed. We obliged and became their humble servants, who would be rewarded by getting to pat their heads and fluffy coats.
I returned back to Sri Lanka with new plants to take care of, and new memories to cherish. I took my time diligently adding my cactus into my pot, so it could coexist with my previous ones. I’m looking forward to getting new pots and dirt in order to have it in its own pot with it’s own decoration. I’m hoping to integrate this nature into my life, and benefit from the added responsibilities.

Indoor garden – Photo by Author

  • Demonstrate that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process.
    • I challenged myself with making fireplaces, and in the process improved my determination, as one of the fires was starting really badly, but I kept assisting it until it could sustain itself.
    • Overall, this trip had a lot of responsibilities towards taking care of other things. Such as the fires, the sheep, the plants, I challenged myself with properly taking care of these living things, and in the process, came out more responsible, as one foul step with the fire could cause it to crumble, and more caring/nurturing, with me dedication towards making a comfortable place for my plants.
    • Overall, I am hoping to utilise these new skills to improve my daily life. Taking care of the plants should help me developed a new routine, and keep me more focused on managing them while helping me grow my responsibility. Finally, it will help me replace bad habits and disconnect me from my digital devices.

Science Trip and DP1 Orientation in Kitulgala – Part 2


Morning warmup led by Sam and Liam – Photo by Mrs Harrison

We woke up in the cold morning and got ready for the trip. The evening was cold (just like the water haha) and I struggled to sleep, but I felt refreshed in the morning, maybe it was something about the activities we did the day before, or the disconnection from any screen, whatever it was, it was good. I soon discovered that I got up much later than the others, as everyone was already at the main hub of the camp, chatting and getting ready for the morning activities.
We all gathered around and participated in a warmup led by Sam and Liam. The guides told us afterwards, that they had volunteered to lead the warmup, and I thought to myself I wanted to lead the warmup the next day. After the warmup and the games, I found myself in a river bath, going upstream with everyone else, and then letting the current take me back down. The cold and rushing water against my body was refreshing and made me feel awake.

Quadrat sampling with Filip – Photo by Mrs Harrison

We headed to the rubber plantation with the Biology group, our equipment in hand. making our way to the top, and fighting off terrible leaches, we reached the site where we were going to do our quadrant sampling of the plant coverage and type. I was paired with my bestie Filip, and we did our sampling in the next-door tea plantation instead of the rubber one. The main thing I realised here, was how much work professional scientists put into their research. The data collection was somewhat tedious, time-consuming and somewhat difficult. It brought out the worst in my and Filip, where we were arguing as to whether or not to include this plant in our quadrant, since the plant was present in the quadrant, but its stem was outside of the area. In the end, we knew it was pointless to argue under the increasing rain, and instead, calmed down and has a simple debate, which was much more efficient. Finally, once we got to our third quadrat, we were working efficiently.
I collected some flowers off the ground (dead ones, no life was harmed) and returned to camp with the rest of the group. We knew that we would be exploring a rainforest in the afternoon, and that filled us with excitement. We had our lunch and we were on the way. The bus dropped us after 30 minutes, and we had to cross a river with a ferryman to get there. in the rainforest, we did some lichen sampling and anti-leech warfare. The sampling was stressful, as every extra second, you spent standing still made you feel like you were a meal presented to the leeches on a silver platter. Unfortunately, even while we were rushing, by the time we got back to the ferry to cross the river, the tide had increased, and the sandbags that led us to where the ferry would pick us up was underwater, except the ones that were too far away.

Crossing the River with the Ferry, and Dry feet – Picture by Mr Duncan

That is, too far away from where we were standing. The water looked dirty, and I wasn’t going to get my shoes wet just now. I looked to my left and there was a steep muddy dirt wall, with trees, too steep to go back, but it was feasible, to use it and sort of wall-climb across to the rice bags. So I went for it. I jumped up onto the wall and hooked my arms around the tree trunk. I slipped a few times, but I held on tight and made it to the next tree, and then the rice sack. I felt, pleased, and encouraged Federico to do the same, which he did with a lot more ease. We got to the other side with our dry feet and made it to a hotel to have some tea.
We were talking about the secondary trees in the forest, including ones from Brazil. We had a good time and the tea was good too. It was a nice respite from the leech war (which they won).

Tea TIme – Picture by Mr Lockwood

We returned to camp to have dinner and reset our pitfall traps. Not before another river bath though. Afterwards, we relaxed in the main area and started singing along to songs, and dancing like fools, really just having fun and enjoying the evening. We finished it off with a long dance train and headed to our cabins for the night. This time I was prepared for the evening. I was wearing long pyjamas, socks, long sleeves and a jacket. Still cold, however. So so cold.
The next morning, We were outside for the warmup, and the guides asked us if we wanted to volunteer to lead this time. Yangki and I went up and lead the warmup, I’ll admit, a little worse, but I felt good doing it then, and I feel happy now that I did it. We finished it off with a fun game where we were running in queues and the last person had a tail which needed to be caught. after that, however, we had another, you guessed it, RIVERBATH! Which was great.

Playing Catch – Photo by Mr Duncan

The Bio group headed off to do some sampling in the river while the Physics and ESS group went to visit a cave. We went back to our original canyoning spot where we were collecting samples in the water. When we were done, we started playing bug catcher with the others and used our nets to catch bugs. I got pretty adept at catching damselflies, and some of us caught waterbugs. We returned to the camp and did another sampling where we had the river bath (a recurring theme).

Damselflies caught by me – Photo by Mrs Harrison

We got to packing and placed all of our luggage in the hub area, and had one last meeting by the campfire, where we reflected on our trip and left to return home.

Meet up next to campfire – Photo by Mr Duncan

This was an unforgettable experience, and won’t be like anything I’m going to be experiencing soon.
Learning objectives:
  • Demonstrate the skills and recognize the benefits of working collaboratively.
    • Working with Filip over the course of this trip deepened my bond with him and allowed me to understand what was necessary for teamwork.
    • Overall, interacting with my peers is a much more enjoyable experience than doing things alone, and I hope to continue doing so in the future.
  • Demonstrate engagement with issues of global significance.
    • We talked with Mr Lockwood about the conservation of the rainforest we visited, and the way the wood had been used for industrial purposes in the past and needed to be conserved today, also focussing on the invasion of foreign trees. This significantly ties in with Science, Technology and Environment Global Issue.
  • Demonstrate that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process.
    • I challenged myself to volunteer to do things, even If I didn’t necessarily want to. I usually procrastinate and try to do as little as possible, but doing this allowed me to enjoy the day to its full potential.
    • I also grew as a leader. By taking on the responsibility of directing people, and describing the actions they needed to do, I got more comfortable in my communication and in my responsibilities.
    • I’m glad I decided to volunteer.

Science Trip and DP1 Orientation in Kitulgala – Part 1

Borderlands Cabins Overlooking the River

View overlooking the river from our Cabin at Borderlands – Picture by Author

After a long delay, we finally had our DP1 orientation Trip at Borderlands – Kithulgala, an Adventure sports centre, located on the Kelani Ganga River. It was awesome.
Looking at the list of items we needed to bring on the trip, I was kind of excited. You could tell that you were going to have a thrilling time if you needed to take water shoes to the mountains. I was excited about this mix of adventure camp and science trip.
It was a long trip to get to Borderlands, filled with packing, carpooling, and bus riding for 4 hours in the twisting and turning mountains, but, we finally arrived at the river. It was COLD, really cold. They gave us some helmets and life jackets and walked us through the safety precautions. As we would slowly move into the river, to practice floating, you could see everyone’s faces of discomfort, as each additional inch of water meant an additional inch of skin that was frozen by the water.
They asked someone to volunteer so they could demonstrate what t do if you fell out of the raft, but everyone stayed silent. It was natural, who would want to leave the comfort of the warm shore, to fall face-first into the freezing water. It was another guide that ended up demonstrating, but that moment got me thinking, “I should participate in whatever I can volunteer for since I didn’t come here to be comfortable but to experience things, and if things don’t go well, it will make a cool memory”

Going down the last rapid, Lucca (front-left) fell in the water – Photo by Wade

It wasn’t time to volunteer though, it was time to get rafting. We rushed down the river rapids with speed and motion, each wave rocked our raft from every direction, It felt like going over 20 speedbumps in a row. On our last rapid, Lucca fell out of the raft, I reached for him as he was falling but it was too late, he was in the water. We pulled him out of the water and checked if he was ok. He was laughing, he even jokingly said that he was pushed into the water by Iason (on his right). Though I saw from behind him that no such thing happened.
We then proceeded to go canyoning. After trekking up the canyon next to the river, we arrived at the top and decided to have a break for lunch. Arvin had the genius idea of using his life vest as a floating table on the water. It was finally time to descend the canyon, and this time, they asked us if anyone wanted to volunteer, so I raised my hand, this time, I was going to take action, without knowing what I had to do.

Just after lunch – Photo by Huirong

We were going to jump into a hole to go down the canyon, and it was my job to explain how you were supposed to jump. I was a bit worried about the responsibility of doing this. They explained, If you jumped or slipped into the shallow part of the water, you could break your leg, but I felt like I was up to the task. By the end, I had gotten so used to the instructions it came like clockwork: Put my arm out for support, Tell them they can’t jump from this part of the rock as its slippery, hold your life jacket with both arms, jump as far as you can to fall in the deep side.
Afterwards, we got to a point where we could jump from 3 meters to practice, and then 5 meters to continue the canyoning. I had already done the 3-meter jump 2 years ago, and I remembered it to be ok. as I was looking down I thought, “well, this should be the worst part, after you jump it’ll be ok”, wasn’t. I would even say jumping was the easy part, it was the falling that made you feel like your soul was leaving your body. I did the 3 meters one a second time before proceeding to the 5-meter jump.
Wow, now that was something. I had to count to 3 in my head before jumping off. The adrenaline I felt was something else, my heart pounding in my chest when I entered the water, it is safe to say it was a great experience. We finished the canyoning and drifted back to camp on the river.

Chilling at the camp – Photo by Mr Duncan

Back at the camp, we talk to each other about this experience, over a bowl of burning hot soup, it was nice to be exhausted. We were all together at the main area of the camp, having dinner and relaxing, but this wasn’t just a DP1 orientation trip, we still had the science part of the trip. As Biology students, we had to set up pitfall traps while the other students were discussing their trip for the next day. With our broken spade, an orange slice and 2 cups, we got to work, digging 2 holes, one near the river, and one farther away from it. The idea was to analyse the difference in biodiversity between the two sites.
We discussed the following day’s rubber plantation trip and headed to our cabins. To our surprise, we had a joint one, where we could hang out with our friends staying next to us. We went to bed fast though, it was late, and we had a big day ahead of us.
Learning objectives:
  • Identify own strengths and develop areas for growth
    • I demonstrated growth, and I know what I need to do in order to improve myself. I realised, that anyone is capable of performing the necessary tasks, such as demonstrating how to fall in the water or leading a group. we all have the physical capacity and knowledge to do so, it’s just a question of mentality.
    • I adopted the idea of living for the future in a way. If I didn’t want to do something at the moment, I thought about how I would feel in a day, or even a few hours afterwards.
    • This helped me think more clearly and allowed me to undertake new experiences, make fonder memories, and live more fully during the trip.
  • Demonstrate that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process.
    • I challenged myself to volunteer to do things, even If I didn’t necessarily want to. I usually procrastinate and try to do as little as possible, but doing this allowed me to enjoy the day to its full potential.
    • I also grew as a leader. By taking on the responsibility of directing people, and describing the actions they needed to do, I got more comfortable in my communication and in my responsibilities.
    • I’m glad I decided to volunteer.

Service Goal


My service goal will be leading Eco Schools, the enviromental service group, as a co-leader. My reason for doing this is to improve my colaborative and team management skills. One of my main weaknesses is getting work done on time and avoiding procrastination. That is why, I will have to implement propper planning and create a structure that will help us work efficiently.  Mainly, I want to create a structure where we can work even when we are unmotivated to work, and where we can do as much work ahead as possible. In addition, I need to achieve the Eco Schools certification by the end of the schoolyear, by completing the 7 Steps created by Eco Schools.



Activity Goal:

My activity goal is to rehabilitate my right shoulder. My shoulder was injured 14 months ago, and recently I discovered, thanks to having an MRI, that I actually have a Type 3 acromion, meaning, the shape of a shoulder bone that I have is hooked when its supposed to be curved due to genetics. It interfers with the muscle structure, which increases my risk for injury and weakens my shoulder strength during movements that involve my infraspinatus. These overhand movements, such as washing my hair cause me to experience pain and weakness. In order to rehabilitate my shoulder, I need to either have surgery,and rehabilitation exercises, or, in order to avoid surgery, (because I dont want to have surgery) build upper body muscle, strength and improve my posture (in addition to the rehabilitation exercises). I will be able to measure my progress through monthly measurements of my fitness, overall ability to do activities that I wasn’t able to do before (such as washing my hair without discomfort), and (maybe) health checkups.

My service goal will be leading Eco Schools, the enviromental service group, as a co-leader.

My creativity goal will be to design my CAS blog, taking pictures and coming up with methods to study with my peers.