Sleep, Studies, and Socialization.

On Monday after Deutschkurs I went, with most of my class, to one of my fellow student’s birthday party. Her host family lived in a tiny farmhouse, which is directly above the cowshed. At first we were in the dining room/kitchen, which they had decorated with streamers and balloons and laid the table with candles. The mum said that this was most people she’s ever had in the house; when the second lot of us arrived from the train station we had to move outside. Rain spattered lightly down at one point- the dad [an Egyptian- met the mum in Egypt three years ago; they have an  ADORABLE baby daughter] put the awning up. Everyone drank Coke and I drank apple juice and talked to the other Kiwi girl and the Aussie girl, who started a debate about the word capsicum. Apparently Kiwis say it like “capsicun”. She Googled it, and proved us wrong, but obviously the internet is just wrong…right? The ginger French boy sitting next to us tried to ask what a capsicum was- the American said that they call them “bell peppers”. The French looked even more confused, and absent mindedly patted Jax. Later he asked if I had naturally red hair- is that just a boy thing? Because my roots are very obviously a different color, as pointed out by the Colombian and Aussie girls. Meanwhile, the birthday girl came out of the house in tears because her host family had given her a present- or she had talked to her family back in Santa Cruz- there was a lot of hugging and Spanish, so I just hope they were happy tears? I guess?

At about seven, after a dinner of Nutella and M&M birthday cake, I walked back to the train station, trailing behind a couple of others because I was listening to my iPod [Fall Out Boy now] and thinking up camera angles. I may have a short film in the works oops hey guess what Hannah, you’re meant to be doing your homework…

I got home about ten thirty- because I missed the fast train and had to wait for half an hour somewhere, but it was okay because I had two other exchange students to talk to [Dominican Republic and NZ!] so that was cool. I did my homework on the train. It was cool. And yeah, I’m exhausted right now, but I still have some emails to reply to, and some vocabulary homework to translate, and some glittery olive shaded eyeshadow to remove, but I’m kind of really enjoying just writing, you know? 

Oh, and just to write this in a non linear time fashion, last Friday we went on a tour around Zurich and there are some photos of that cool beans.

It’s a cool city.

The human statues moved when you put coins in their cups.

 

PHOTOS

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Zurich Course

So it’s Thursday, and I’m nearly finished with my first week of the Zurich Course, as I’m calling it. AKA the exchange student German language course that I will be attending for another month (albeit for three days a week from now on- the other two days at Kantonsschule Glarus.

So far, my week has gone…interestingly.

Monday– up at six, on the train by quarter to nine. I love train rides when I’m by myself. Listening to music (Kayne West’s latest album- pure genius) and looking out at the early morning Swiss countryside. Bliss.

I get to Zurich Mainstation, and meet with the rest of the exchange students. Everybody is milling around, asking “What’s your name? Where are you from?” Everybody is sociable and it’s fascinating how many different countries are represented- Brazil, USA, Dominican Republic, Spain, France, Paraguay, Indonesia. I’m the only Kiwi- there aren’t even any Aussies. I’m asked what language we speak in New Zealand. My joking answer is totally lost on the [Spanish? I’ve lost track] person who asked.

We are sorted into classes and go on the trams to Klubschule Migros. Migros is the big supermarket chain in Swissland, and they sponsor buildings that house all sorts of courses and classes. Our classroom is a few stories up from the Migros restaurant, supermarket and self service bar. They do really nice salads.

We get a tour around the supermarket- mandatory, of course. The teacher explains how to scan items of fruit, which I scoff at before I remember trying to buy a bag of walnuts my first week here. I had to ask like three different people.

There are about fifteen people in my class. We learn to say “my name is… and I come from…”. We get homework- some worksheets, some vocab memorization. And then it’s hometime. I follow everyone to Zurich Mainstation on the trams, and then I catch the train home, arriving at five, in the rain. It’s beautiful.

Tuesday– Wake up at three in the morning. Stagger to the bathroom to throw up. Spend the day in bed with a hot water bottle and herbal tea. Scheisse.

Wednesday- School starts at nine this Wednesday. I catch the train to a different station- Zurich Weidikon, which is only five minutes walk from the Klubschule. Walking out of the station, I turn left instead of right. My watch ticks past nine. My heart freezes at the thought of being late.

Still lost when it reaches 9:30, I call the German course contact lady, and she calmly guides me all the way back, through the streets, past the train station, to the Klubschule.

When I get there, I realize that my pencil case is still at home. And I have a scheisse-load of homework to catch up on from yesterday. And I don’t know when you’re supposed to use ‘seid’ and ‘sein’ and I still feel a bit sick and eat lunch alone in the class room, catching up on some of the homework.

In Zurich Mainstation that afternoon, waiting for my train, I buy a juice, and dump it in the bin after one sip because the guy at the counter was slightly creepy and over friendly and asked me if I was ‘going to Paris’ and if I was ‘traveling alone’ and there are tiny bits of soggy paper floating in the juice, like the kind that covers disposable straws. I wasn’t using a straw.

I get home and go to the Migration Offices in Glarus, where they take down my photo and signature and fingerprint. And now I am going to be sent an ID card that confirms I am legally here. Cool beans!

Thursday -Today was a really lovely day. I had plenty of time in the morning to decide that I was going to treat myself and buy lunch today. I finished off my overload of homework in the morning train ride- there was a chill in the air and the sun was just rising over the mountains. I found the Klubschule with a minimum of stress. We watched an interesting short film about the Swiss- sure, cringe-inducing in parts, but touchingly patriotic and the political bits were fascinating.

I bought a salad and a bun shaped like a turtle and two fruit juices for 11.30 in the Migros. I ate lunch with Giovana, from..somewhere. We small talked about the exchange- Switzerland was her first choice!

After lunch we were told to take out work to a nearby park for an hour. I finished mine in half an hour because in my zealous attempts to catch up I had already completed two pages too many! The teachers came over with ice creams- strawberry and chocolate for me! It was such lovely weather- sunny, warm, but just autumny enough to be comfortable. Doing grammar exercises to the soundtrack of the slightly less grammatically keen joking around was heart warming, and the three girls who all spoke Spanish were probably talking about everybody else, and the guys from the USA were being made fun on for being obscenely patriotic, but then again, isn’t everyone?

Back to the classroom- for ten minutes, where we found out that tomorrow afternoon we’re getting a guided tour around Zurich [three old churches!!] and we have the absolute minimum of homework. We finished early, and everyone milled around for a while before moving in the general direction of the trams and eventually, Starbucks. I got a single shot espresso with twice as much cream, and downed it as me and Carol [Brazil, Dior glasses, super lovely] made our way down into the heart of the Mainstation. We talked about language and families, and then she took her train and I walked to mine. I finished most of my homework and the second of my fruit juices in the train ride home, and now…

Now I’ve just spent an hour catching up on cyberspace and there’s the smell of cheese and vegetable fritters drifting up the stairs. The curtains are partly drawn against the late afternoon sun, but I can still see the mountains, misty even in late summer, halo-ed by the sun. I wore blue eye-shadow today- it looked fantastic. I should wear blue eye shadow more often.

PHOTOS

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Probably Exaggerated

Put my hand up in Politics on Thursday when the teacher asked what a constitutional monarchy was [no translation needed- “was ist ein Konstitutional Monarchie?”]. My answer was correct. I think Politics is fast becoming my favorite class, mainly because all the words are rather similar to their English counterparts. Monarchie, Democratie, Republik, Diktator. Hitler. *frownie face*. Schweizland. *all students stand and start singing the Nationalhymn. They sing perfectly in unison. Their faces are blank. They are now chanting, and it grows louder and louder as I sit frozen in terror…*. Legislativ. Parlimentarische.

My other favorite classes are Music and Art. P.E is also quite fun because I’m missing the combination relay/sprint race event in two weeks time. I’ll be in Zurich! Cool beans.

Yesterday was a very long day. On Friday we have seven different subjects including double math, finishing with music. Afterwards I had made plans to go with some friends to the local funfair [which is just happening over this weekend]. We got there about an hour before it opened, and sat drinking iced tea and talking about religion, cars, cultural differences, boys, Hogwarts houses, the usual…

When all the rides opened I suddenly had the crazy idea to on as many as I could [there were about four. It’s a small town]. Here are the ones that I did go on.

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Fun and fast.

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Terrifying oh my god I have never been upside down more in my life.

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{hand held over so you can see it despite the sun being directly in front of me} It’s one of those big circle ones that spin around so fast and then tilt almost vertically and you are held on by the force of that gravity thingy I don’t really know what the specific name is. Anyway I really loved this one, it was kind of peaceful in a way. Also I wanted to throw up afterwards. Which is not so great. [I didn’t, by the way].

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Rebecca and Tiziana [thank you for convincing me to go on the rides it was very fun and awesome!]Image

That’s me with some delicious popcorn. And a cool Jane Austen bag [thanks mum!].

AND THEN

I got home about seven and immediately rushed out to help serve drinks etc at the WORLD PREMIERE of Hardi’s play, starring Runa + friends. I don’t know if it was actually a world premiere but I thought it was very good and sad and metaphorical. I also didn’t understand much of it, but the intellectual in me likes to think that that is because of the German-ness of it’s entirety, rather than me not getting the metaphorical bits.

I got home from that about nine thirty? I think. And then I watched half of Fred Astaire and Ginger Roger’s 1934 film ‘The Gay Divorcee’ which had some awful misogynistic bits but also some fantastic dance numbers so….yeah.

And then I went to sleep and woke up at lunchtime the next morning [today]. Twelve hours sleep. Cool beans.

Also posted a letter to Great the Gran and am feeling very…I was going to say organized but I mostly just feel lazy. Have a nice weekend everyone!

Hannah x

storybook highschool

So I’m starting a blog because I’m living in Switzerland for a year, and it’s a fun, easy way to let people know what I’m doing because I won’t be seeing them in real life for more than ten months which is basically a year which is a very long time and did I mention [no, I didn’t] that I will be attending SCHOOL here for most of those ten months?

Ahh, school. As a concept, it’s the troll that I laugh scornfully at; it’s the crisis that I don’t take seriously. In reality, it’s the foreign, yet blandly normal taste of butter- foreign because nobody just eats butter by itself- that’s gross and unhealthy. Stop it.

This particular school is, in my less than humble opinion, fantastic. Just look at the teachers:

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Herr’s Biology, Geography, German and Chemistry.

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Our math teacher- possibly moonlights as an air hostess.

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Our P.E. teacher- exactly the same, but nice. And competent.

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Actual photo of our Physics teacher- I have never seen him stand still for one second. And the stories, oh the stories-

[In one lesson he took his shoe off and used it to smash grind charcoal on his desk. Once he threw a stack of paper at the door to demonstrate motion, probably. Apparently, he jumped over a table, was like “agh, probably shouldn’t have done that” and jumped back. Once he accidentally took off his shirt- I don’t know how because the rest of the story was just giggling. } {as told by people in my class}

My theory is that he is just very enthusiastic about Physics.

My favorite subject at school is called Free Period. I don’t know what it is, some kind of Swiss lesson maybe??? But I think I learn a lot in that class and it’s really enjoyable and busy!

My subjects are as follows:

Math- hard and awful
Physics- hard and confusing because Herr Hyped-on-Party-Pills is drawing trees and cars on the whiteboard?
History- there’s a lot of it.
Politics- i thought it was going to be debates about same sex marriage and the right to vote but apparently if you throw litter on the streets in Switzerland you don’t get fined, so…
Music- not much actual music, just YouTube clips of Louis Armstrong.
English- EXTREMELY difficult.
Art- WE ARE GOING TO VENICE IN OCTOBER I’M SO EXCITED. It’s for an art class trip!
P.E- Surprisingly easy and fun considering I can’t do exercise for peanuts.
Biology and Chemistry and Geography some other stuff probably.

Well that’s basically my school, so…

yeah.

x