Friday, September 9, 2011

Six Years in High School

I survived! Despite the school being set up like the blocks owned by a temper-tantrum-prone child, I think I know where all my classes are. All ten of them. My classes are set up rather absurdly--Mondays are full days, from 8:30 to 4:20, Tuesdays are 8:30 to 1:00, with a one hour break at 10, Wednesday is from 9:20 to 1:00, Thursday is another full day and Friday is from 9:20 to 4:20. I have an hour for lunch, which I pack in the morning. The school is a 15 minute walk from the house, and I haven't figured out what outfit will keep my warm in the morning without making me overheat in the afternoon.
The girls in my class are really nice. I'm in the Belgian equivalent of Junior year, so everyone at the school is younger than me, which doesn't really matter because I'm too slow to keep up with most conversation anyway. I've been adopted into a group of friends in both Junior and Senior year, and they've all been extraordinarily helpful. I've developed a strategy of following the most familiar person to the next class (usually we have the same classes) and it's only not worked out for me a couple times. I've already lost my schedule, and considering the variation of classes it was pretty much a death sentence. I had to go in early and figure out who to ask for another copy--it took asking four people who all sent me to someone else before I found the right one. I repeated "Hi, I'm Audrey Wood, an exchange student, and I lost my paper with the courses and buildings on it..." so many awkward times it was ridiculous.
My courses are as follows:
Math - 4hrs
English - 4 hrs
German - 4 hrs (I know. Insane. It's German III, too, so I have no idea.)
Physics - 2 hrs
Bio - 2 hrs
Chem - 2 hrs
Gym - 2 hrs (The first month of gym is jogging. JOY.)
History - 4 hrs
Geography - 2 hrs (I have to re-learn all the countries in french.)
French - 4 hrs

The sciences are fine, especially bio (AP FTW). Physics is okay because I took it last year--today my friend explained to me how to solve an equation in French, and I understood. Perfection. AND THEN IN PHYSICS, the teacher looked at my work to put on the board (not all the teachers know I'm an exchange student; if they do they know not to call on me for anything serious) and I was right! It was a glory moment for the confused exchange student.
Math is difficult--the last math class I took was in Junior year, two years ago now, and was calc. I've forgotten a LOT of trig, but the math teacher is really very nice and likes to happily poke fun at me and call me "mignon" (cute) whenever I mispronounce a word.

Lunch is one hour long, and everyone (all 3,000!) has it at the same the same time. The ages range from 9 to 18--so the lunch room is CRAZY! It's a lot of uncomfortable pushing and shoving to get huge sandwiches or whatever the hot lunch is (today: boudin). Insanity! We also have a twenty minute snack time between classes at 11, since the lunch is at 1.

I also started music lessons this week. Tuesday I went for my first lesson of "sulfage" or music theory. I was really nervous but it turned out to be a fun classes of singing and clap and such. It would be terribly easy if not for the fact that the notes have different names in french, which a difficult thing to wrap my mind around. Today I'll hopefully get my viola and play some music.

Last Tuesday I went on a bike ride with my brother into Waterloo to buy a frisbee. Now I just have to wait for it to stop raining.

Awkward thing: My English teacher, a nice if slightly...well, English-teachery in a french way keeps bringing up 9-11. I don't really like to talk about it in Belgium, because it kind of makes me feel like an outsider...or maybe it's that I feel like the only INSIDER, looking at something that had a great impact on me and those around from the perspective on an outsider. And then they started talking about the war and how bad it was, which made me SUPREMELY uncomfortable--what do I say to that?? It's not like I support it, but I can just be super anti-American...bizarre. Anyway, I just wanted it to end. She also told a story about how she was teaching an english class on Sept 11, and a french boy said that he thought Americans were too cocky, and someone should just shoot them, and then she went home and saw what happened and thought it was "Amazing". Like, "What a coincidence! How silly!"
Anyway. Uncomfortable.

I am a huuuuuge fall lover, and I need to bring this love to my family! I must learn to make
-Pumpkin Pie
-Carrot Cake
-Cream cheese frosting
-Pumpkin bread
-Apple crisp

Tell me if you have any other recipes or ideas!


  1. Uncle Kelly or my mom would have Grandma Wood's pumpking pie recipe for sure! I attempted it once and decided to let that remain my mom's dessert! :) I can email you apple crisp its super easy. I don't have a carrot cake recipe but i do have an A-mazing pumpkin cake recipe with cream cheese frosting I can send you as well.