Autumn

SNOW

SNOW

This week was the last week of the German course. I think it says a lot about me that I’m going to miss the long, early morning train rides and the three franc cappuccinos more than my new friends. I guess I just found it hard to socialize so much with people who are, on average, eighteen to my fourteen. I’ve never really thought about my age a lot- I think I’ve always naturally gravitated towards people who are older than me, and I kind of have this mentality that age is just a number. But being around people who are really surprised to find out that you are just fourteen, and then offer you vodka at a party is sometimes difficult. I don’t know. It’s not really that big a of a deal. Also, I’m going to be fifteen next month, which is really properly teenagery thingy wow gosh I feel old shhhh.

The last day was pretty fun, though. At lunch I accidently spent 23 francs on lunch because I didn’t realize that you paid by plate weight. I was kind of in a haze all day, though, which might explain it- if I ever meet Mother Nature, I will first thank her for making me the [superior] gender that I am, and then punch her in the face, for making me the [painful-and-inconvenient-incidents-causing] gender that I am.

After we got our test results [31 out of 45 for me, about average] they bought in a bag of candy and we sat and watched the beginning of Four Weddings and a Funeral, while the teachers tried to figure out why the projector was cutting half the movie off. About ten minutes they gave up, and said that we could go. A group of about six of us took the tram, in the pouring rain, to a bubble tea shop in Zurich somewhere. I got a free tea from someone’s loyalty card, which was good because I was still upset about the 23 francs. The tea was fantastic- I’d never had one before. It’s quite a weird drink- basically literal bubbles of flavor in sweet liquid. I had a cold berry one. After that I took the train back to Zurich Mainstation, and then home. I didn’t really end up saying goodbye properly to any of the others I was with- but it was raining, and I had to run. Thanks for the free tea, guys!

Also at some point in those last few days we visited a library in Zurich which I could get a free membership to [there were lots of books in English] and it had a giant catapult shaped swing outside.

Anyway, the classes at Kantonsschule Glarus continue to be okay- it’s trigonometry in math, which, despite apparently having not much to do with other areas of math, still makes f*&$ all sense to me. I guess I should use my weekend to Google Basic Trigonometry, but I also have an Agatha Christie novel and it’s sunny outside, so…not really a decision at all.

PE is freaking awesome. The school basically has it’s own private gym room, filled with flash exercise machines. Is that like a normal high school thing? I don’t know, but it’s cool. Especially when someone plugged their iPod into the speakers- everything is always better with music.

In Biology and Chemistry i’ve been jotting down ideas and possible storyboard sketches for a film which I would love to make while I’m here. We’re learning about evolution in Biology, by the way, but he’s only mentioned Darwin once so I don’t really have much to contribute to the class.

There’s snow on some of the distant mountains, and it’s two weeks until the autumn holidays. Mum and the boys are home now. It’s weird, because my home here feels so much like home- there’s this feeling of familiarity and safety that only ever comes with a home- but I can still close my eyes and trace every single step of my home in New Zealand, and then I get really sad because even though it’s not even that nice a house I still miss it, and Ashhurst, and my room…and my family, of course. Top of the list of things I miss, obviously. Very certainly. Ahem.

There are chickens in our back garden, now. Apparently. And my room is white. I can’t picture that. I can’t even picture our garden without the guinea pigs. But they aren’t going to be there when I get back.

Ah gosh darn it folks, I’m getting all emotional. Cue the abrupt goodnight.

PHOTOS

Cucumbers. I'm not kidding. BABY CUCUMBERS

Cucumbers. I’m not kidding. BABY CUCUMBERS

Gabriela and Flicka- tonight after dinner.

Gabriela and Flicka- tonight after dinner.

SNOW

SNOW

Bubble tea.

Bubble tea.

Bubble tea- I forgot to take a picture before I drank all the liquid.

Bubble tea- I forgot to take a picture before I drank all the liquid.

One the giant swing.

One the giant swing.

Class Photo feat. Frau Troxler, our teachers.

Class Photo feat. Frau Troxler, our teachers.

Probably not doing our assigned work.

Probably not doing our assigned work.

The giant catapult swing at the Zurich Library we visited.

The giant catapult swing at the Zurich Library we visited.

 

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Settling In

Next week is the last week of the German course, and after that I’ll at the school full time. I think I’m kind of settling in- everyone says hi in the corridors, and I’ve had a couple of people ask if I want to hang out on the weekends. One of the invitations included weed and soft serve ice cream, but unfortunately I was in Zurich late Friday night, and had to pass.

I was in Zurich seeing The Great Gatsby with Runa and a friend. I’ve read the book a couple of times, and I’m actually re reading it now- it’s one of my favorites. I really love the atmosphere that Fitzgerald sets up in the book- the complete decadence and debauchery of the Pre Depression era- and I really like the narrator. His attitude towards most of the other characters is pure delight to read. The movie did a fantastic job of showcasing both those things, and the soundtrack is really good.

The weather has taken a sudden turn for the freezing- it went from 20 to 12 degrees pretty much overnight, and I got to wear my big puffy black jacket to school today- I was wearing a sleeveless dress underneath and was sweating when I got to school. There is snow on the mountains right now. It’s a good jacket. [Okay, the snow is right on the top and you can’t actually see it, but whatever].

I think I may have understood something in Physics today. Also, I have Art homework, so this weekend is going to be pretty chill, I think. Haha, weather pun. Did you- you got that, that was- i mean, by the standards of bad puns that was…pretty good yeah haha.

I laugh alone.

I had a babysitting job last night- a spur of the moment thing. A family that Gabriela knows. Their babysitter dropped out at the last minute, so the mum picked me up at seven thirty. They lived in a tiny but cute as heck house right by the rail way. I mean, literally spitting distance. They had laid out a little table with four different types of fruit juice and a bowl of chips and some chocolate biscuits, which was really cute and welcoming. I sat and read a giant picture book about the different continents to their 7 year old son for an hour, and then they dropped me home and gave me thirty francs.

I love this country.

[also at the beginning he watched ten minutes of a Swiss kids tv show- super cute and I understood most of the story, so…that CHF 1400 German course is working.]

PHOTOS

I found a beautiful film location- here is Flicka scouting for me.

I found a beautiful film location- here is Flicka scouting for me.

n o

n o

Mirror selfie because I really like that outfit.

Mirror selfie because I really like that outfit.

I have worn these boots for thirty two days solid. Good buy.

I have worn these boots for thirty two days solid. Good buy.

You probably can't tell from my expression but I love the long train rides.

You probably can’t tell from my expression but I love the long train rides.

It looks like God is playing laser tag.

It looks like God is playing laser tag.

She saw a cat.

She saw a cat.

What do you mean of course I pay attention in class.

What do you mean of course I pay attention in class.

My ego loves it when elevators have mirrors.

My ego loves it when elevators have mirrors.

Have a nice week!

Saturday Night Fever

So yesterday was fun…

All Thursday and Friday I had been in bed with the flu, or some sort of general sickness/fever/buckets of snot thingy. But by Saturday I was feeling much better, which was just as well because Saturday night there was a party in Zurich for all us exchange students, organized by the ones who had been here longer.

Facebook told me that it was to be a “Grill and Drinks Night”, so I bought a vacuum sealed pack of two corn on the cobs, and a veggie burger. And a fruit juice, because even though there was going to be lots of alcohol freely available, I was going to do the sensible thing and not drink. Also, alcohol makes me sleepy.

I got to China Garden [a park on central Zurich] about an hour too early, of course, so I hang around texting the people who were all meeting in Zurich Mainstation. And then my phone died. Oops. I had forgotten to charge it.

It started getting dark around eight, but no worries, because about fifteen minutes later a group of about fifty exchange students poured into the park from the bus stop, making more noise than probably jet engines and a herd of trumpeting elephants? but also possibly more. 

We all hung around under a big tree for five minutes, but then it started to rain and so we all surged back towards the bus stop. I managed to score a slice of pizza from someone on the way [birthday-party-girl Vicky] as it looked like my corn on the cob and vegie burger dinner wasn’t going to happen. Also apparently on that thirty second walk some people had already finished one bottle of straight vodka [bloody Russians!] and the usually wild and vaguely inappropriate American-Mexican guy warned me about underage drinking. I was pleasantly surprised at his concern. I was already half way through my fruit juice.

Waiting for the bus- time for selfies! In the olden days, when someone said “picture time!” everyone would group together and smile at the camera while the photographer clicked once. Nowadays, one person says it and suddenly the poor person who offered to take the picture has a thousand smartphones thrust into their hands- the more phones they accumulate, the more people slide into the picture, throwing up totally unironic peace signs because they aren’t as ‘cool’ as the American exchange students who laugh at them, and five minutes later, the pictures are all on Facebook.

On the bus the noise and commotion was, to say the least, overwhelming. One girl was so embarrassed that she hid her head in my scarf for most of the short trip to some place not far from the Mainstation. It was like a small square with a large, well lit pavillion in the middle- perfect. 

We all piled out again and made our way across the street. 

“Oh my god, everybody’s looking at us!” she said. I laughed. There is a strange feeling on anonymity when in a crowd. Also, being one of the few sober people in a group is interesting.

When we got to the pavillion, everyone settled down. Or settled up, I should say, because now the multi colored bottles of alcohol came out. Blue, green, orange, clear, yellowy-brown stuff.

I was slightly hesitant about talking about this, because hey, this is a public blog, but I’d rather be honest, and hope that you can appreciate that, and respect the fact that I am VERY sensible etcetera…

I did have a splash of vodka in my plastic cup of Pepsi. It tasted like you think methylated spirits would taste, from the look of it, which is actually quite a logical comparison. Don’t worry, no matter how many people offered me more, no matter how exuberant I was feeling, no matter what anyone said, I wouldn’t have accepted any more alcohol than that, and I didn’t leave my drink unattended for a second.

The party kicked up a notch when someone bought out speakers, and suddenly all the Latin-Americans [everyone who spoke Spanish, basically] was crowded round him, shouting out suggestions for them to type into YouTube on his smartphone, which was wirelessly connected to the speakers. God, I love technology.

There was a bit of dancing- my friend from the bus tried to teach everyone the AFS [the exchange student organization that everyone was here with] dance, which was like the hokey pokey. And then she tried to teach me the rumba. Which was cool. 

I did meet some new people, which was really cool. I mean, the conversations lasted about five minutes because really, there were like sixty people there, but I don’t think I was the only sober person there, and it was nice to see some of them quietly helping others who had maybe overdone it a bit on the drink. I guess that is kind of what happens when you put a bunch of teenagers together and give them what is, relatively, mostly complete freedom. I mean, I’m not condemning it, as someone who was an interested observer. Those parties, and that kind of freedom, is just a kind of life experience which, hopefully, was fun and not too dangerous and disappointing. 

I left at about ten thirty, because the last possible bus that I could take was at 11:12. I sat in the train station, clutching my Pepsi [i mean, hopefully it was just Pepsi] soaked backpack, and reading JK Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy, which, by the way, is a fantastic book that I should totally review at some point.

Waiting for my second connection in Ziegelbrucke, I bumped into a friend of Runa’s from school. It was just twenty minutes or so from there to Glarus, and Hardi met me at the train station.

And then I ate two slices on bread with tomato paste, because vodka is nice but it’s not a proper dinner. I’m pretty sure that there are some Russian philosophers who would disagree with me on that, but hey, variety is the spice of life.

Which really kind of sums up a lot in my life right now.

Have a nice week!