September 6, 2011

Never Drop Your Fountain Pen

It explodes. Okay, that was a really minor thing today but I needed a title. Anyways, today was the longest day in the world: AKA the first official day of school. So crazy and confusing. I asked so many questions, but I didn't understand the answers I got... so in the end I just had to sit tight and pretend to look like I knew what was going on. The day started early at 7 in the morning. My host parents have to drive me everyday because the school is a bit far. Again, I was shocked by the mass of students outside the school, but less so than yesterday. First, I had literature with Madame Massy again. Hardly understood a word. A word. Maybe we have homework? Maybe I'm supposed to read fifteen books in French by next month? Maybe poems are cool? No idea. I asked Manon, the class president and one of my first friends here, but she spoke really fast and I didn't understand. She sat by me in every class. I think it's her job for the first week or so...

We went for our individual pictures in the middle of Literature. It lasted for less than two minutes. In America, pictures always take a long time to get it right. Here, you sit on a stool, say "bonjour" to the photographer, *click*, then "next"! I really hope my picture turned out well. :P Also, every time a class finished, Jennifer Lopez's song "On the Floor" played over the loudspeakers. It was cool :) After Literature, we had English! Yayy finally a class that I understood. The teacher is super super nice and funny. She speaks and teaches British English which is a bit different than American English. It was bizarre to watch the students struggle with simple phrases like "Can you repeat that, please?" It made me think of my French class and how hard it was to remember certain phrases. It's very interesting and fun to observe the class. I am going to help the teacher, Madame Lemaire, sometimes with teaching the class. Kind of like a sidekick; an assistant.

Next we had a quick little recess and I saw Céline, Marie, and some of their friends. They're supeeer nice. I talked with another girl name Liddy, whose also in my class, and she's super nice too. After the break we had science–chemistry/physics–... bleck. But we only have it once every two weeks. It was the first class with a guy teacher. His name is Monsieur Bardoud and apparently he has a Syrian accent with his French. It's all the same to me. I didn't understand. But I know he talked about the US and how the buildings were really big... and he talked about lenses... and eyeballs... and how our eyes are like cameras... and how we must take notes. It's weird writing down notes that you don't understand. I learned about eyes in English so it was a bit easier for me, despite that the terms for the gushy stuff in an eyeball are completely different.

Then I went home for a nice two hour lunch. Usually it's only one hour, but today it was longer. My schedule is very complicated, but since I'm not taking a certain class after lunch I got to stay at home. Most people go home for lunch. I wish people did that in the US. Also there's tons of time called P.E. which is basically study hall, but I'm not taking it now because I don't have much homework. So I have lots of gaps in my schedule. Not for long though. During lunch Marie-Armelle and I went to the bank to open my French bank account. The details are really confusing, but I will get my card on Friday. After lunch, I met up with Manon and her friends to go to "Heure Vie de Classe (HVC)." Not only did I not know what I was writing for my notes, but I had absolutely no idea about what the class even was. It was with Madame Massy again and she talked super fast about books. Later I found out that it's a time for extra information basically. It's not a class. Since I'm in the literature séries, it's about books for me. If you're in the science séries, your HVC is about math, etc. I have to read so many French books so I'm nervous :P After that we had another short break before the last class of the day: History/Geography. It was with other students!! Boys and Girls! I like the 12 girls in my class, but it was really nice to see other faces. 30 other faces! Except we arrived kind of late so Manon and I had to sit in the very very front so I didn't get to see who else was in the class. I told the teacher that I was American after not understanding a short assignment. Some other students heard and when one of them accidentally bumped into me they said "Excuse-moi, erh, sorry!"... From their limited English vocabulary :) I have Madame Botte for that class and she's really nice.

After school, my English teacher wanted to speak with me, but she was still teaching for awhile so Marie-Armelle bought me an amazing patisserie while we waited. I talked to Madame Lemaire about a lot of different things that I could do in the English class. I really want to take advantage of all the different opportunities here so I signed up for music class (I'm gonna get back into playing my clarinet!), Italian, and to be an assistant for two English teachers. On top of that, I'm going to start horseback riding and theater lessons. Too much? Nah. I'm going going to try them all and if I don't like them, I can always stop. Mostly I want to take those other classes to meet other students besides the 12 girls in my class. If you don't really like something, you have to figure out another way by yourself. That's what this exchange is all about. Finding your own way in a completely new environment. Scary, confusing, and exciting.

On a side note, I noticed that there's a cross in every room and that none of the classrooms are decorated because the teachers rotate out of them to teach in different rooms for different reasons. Very different than some of the very personalized classroom in my high school back in the US. It was confusing to find my classes so I just followed the other classmates.

Also in the evening, my sim card arrived! My French cell phone works now! And I already have a bunch of numbers. The French keyboard is super confusing because all the letters are in different places. I was exhausted, but I figured out how to change a couple settings. Everything is in French so it's a bit harder. Everyone texts here, so now I can join the party. Whoo!

Tomorrow is going to be a long day. I don't get to come home for lunch because I have music class. I also have 4 hours of English and get to start school at 10 :) Let's hope it's awesome!


  1. Really like your blog:) so appreciate your effort to up us in the loop:) You'll be fine. Be patient, everything will come together for you. By the way you look great from IChat :) it's funny I don't hear anything about veges:) keep blogging. Much love to you, xoxo.

  2. Jealous!!!! Keep the blogs coming :) By the way, which pictures did you show the rotary club? I still might come to Spain! Oh and I saw the French exchange students but I haven't talked to them. I only have a class with one and she sits across the room from me. Everyone misses you here! Can we skype, or do I need iChat? Love, Terra :)