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There’s nothing like watching the sun set over the vineyards while you go outside in your bare feet. I love the feeling of grass between my toes. This doesn’t feel like February. It was 19 degrees out today! It’s so beautiful! To all my Canadian friends rejoicing in their snow days, this is superior. Sorry, just is…

I’m loving having grandparents. Each Thursday and Friday we eat lunch at their place. Yesterday I had a nap there before going back to school. I even have another toothbrush which I leave there full time. It’s awesome.

Today my class brought a cake to English for me. It was so cute! 😀 They sang for me. In English. It wasn’t really English though, but VERY endearing! 😀 Then of course that’s followed by kisses from random strangers.

English prof: “I don’t have a sense of humor. I have a sense of homework.” Meanwhile, we joke about putting feelings in pie, like love, fear, rage.

We were analysing Casablanca as an English class, and when asked if anyone had seen any of it, I was the only little voice at the back saying “oui!”. (they’re looking at you, kid.) Boy I’m thankful for the time my dad forced us to sit down and watch 10 minutes of Casablanca telling us it was inexcusable to be unaware of what Casablanca was… 😀 Play it again Sam.

Yesterday I had my first gym class. It’s mandatory for all students, twice a week. Everything is so different. It’s not gym in the traditional sense of running and exercising, although that’s included. It’s way more comprehensive. We did volleyball, bar (like gymnastics) and rock-climbing. Yes, they have a rock climbing wall in their gym… We also study a unit of circus, with tight roping and juggling. I was a little bit trepidatious about tight roping, because there’s no batting your eyelashes and not doing it. Fortunately that was not on the menu for today, but somewhere in the near future. We can’t evade our fears forever. The prof thought that I was German and greeted me with a resounding “GUTEN TAG!” followed by some other German something or other. I was also reprimanded about wearing a watch in gym class. It’s a no go. Why? I still don’t know, but I’m remembering that for future reference.

I miss my guitar so much, but listening to Gordon Lightfoot makes it all better.

Me: (french) my guitar is really missing me.
Exchange partner: Is that what you meant to say?
Me: Yes of course!

I’m going louging in the mountains on Sunday. I don’t know why. I just thought I should say yes. I mean, how hard could that be. Some people say it’s dangerous. Other people say not at all. Yes, I am aware that we had an athlete die this way. I don’t know why I do this to myself. I’ve got a long track record of biting off more than I chew, and then defiantly racking up the dental bills incurred therefrom.

Another at hand example: I signed myself up to explain the system of politics in Canada. I’ve got to present for 10 minutes in French in my history class about Canadian politics. I don’t even know that much about Canadian politics [BUT YOU CAN’T DEFEAT ME I HAVE GOOGLE and google translate]. The only remarks which my profs and my family hear out of me is “well, presenting’s not a problem for me in English, so it should be alright in French also. Besides, it’ll be good for me to practise under pressure.”

I guess you could say I overestimate myself. I don’t really think it’s overestimation though, because I push myself to do it anyways. I’m like a bad mix of a mad scientist/athlete (minus all the athleticism :$ ) /psychiatrist hooked on self-medication. Every once and a while I wonder, why do I do this to myself? Why do I stretch myself in so many different directions?

When we got a bus pass for me at the post office, they gave us chocolates in these little bus packages. So cute! 😀 And unlike Canada, they come shamelessly with hazelnuts inside.
It’s funny that I went a whole week without a bus pass. All I had was the innocent look on my exchange partner’s face as she explains, “this is my correspondent”. The expression on the bus driver’s face softens as she says “from Canada”.
She told me that the moment they hear I’m Canadian they double in graciousness. I think she’s right.

Me: (french) I have a lot of women.
Exchange partner: What do you mean by that?
Me: (french) I really have a lot of women.
Exchange partner: Maybe you should tell me in English?
Me: (English) I’m hungry.

I make friends with librarians. Always.
I guess I endeared the librarian at my school, because she gave me free printing, saying “Welcome to Switzerland!”

My French prof [who also has a key to the library] took me to the library when it was closed, and let me take out a magazine to read in her class. She gave her class some sort of occupance, and then brought me there to choose whatever. I must admit, I was a little like a kid in a candy store.

Yesterday I got locked outside of my math class. I had just been talking with the students who run the group for exchange students, and it made me a few minutes late. The door was locked. I knocked. Five times, then I felt bad for knocking. Frankly, I was just afraid of the police showing up. I sat outside the classroom the whole time. I remembered that I’d never seen any of my teachers mark me down on a list. Some of them only know my first name. The hope that I wasn’t on their lists, and the office wouldn’t be having a missing child scenario was my sole consolance as I sat in the dark hallway, reading my dictionary to keep brain from it’s worst case scenario planning. It’s not like I enjoy that class. The prof mumbles, never smiles, writes messily on the overheads about les vecteurs. I don’t get any of it! If the subject was in English, I think I’d sink my teeth into the fleshy rear of that beast and not let it escape me alive. I swear I would make myself understand if 1) I had been there from the start of the course. 2) I knew the language it was taught in. Later I found out that they were writing a test. Turns out that all tests are written in a different place. They have separate rooms for tests only. I think it will be cool to be inside one and see what it’s like.

Good thing for me we started a new unit in math today. I EVEN KNEW WHAT WAS GOING ON! AW YEA. I’m majorly indebted to my Data Management teacher. We’re doing permutations and combinations, and it’s written quite differently. Fortunately, because I know the formulas and they’re all encoded into my subconscious, I was able to relabel them in Frenchness. It’s weird to do math in a different format. Even the little things are different. The ones and twos are written differently. They don’t use parentheses for multiplication, they just use the dot in between.

I was pretty happy to understand this… Now that I have a foothold in the course, I’m going to try to keep up. It’s a new thing for me to have to throw in the towel in my other courses like Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. My profs only tell me to pay attention and try to follow along. They say some exchange students just block it all out. How is that even possible? For me, it’s a new thing to not understand everything around me. In Canada, even when I (rarely) put my head down on my desk, I’m taking in everything: the teacher, the conversations around me, and of course, I’m prethinking my next few hours. Here, my brain is hyperactive. Like, acting SO much. It never stops. In the morning, even though I’ve slept soundly, I hear the little noise of my door opening. I don’t move a muscle. I’m wondering if it’s my brother or sister waking me up today. It takes half a minute for my voice to come, but my brains already there. Why can’t my brain just stop. STOP? Where’s the brakes on this thing?

I got to explain to my class today what a poutine was. It was funny. The prof asks me, “so, is it baked?” [NO SIR IT”S FRENCH FRIES?]
The class stayed in silent awe as I explained how my family makes maple syrup. we drill a hole in the tree, and get the water from it. We boil it down, into syrup. It goes from being 40 cups of sap to 1 cup of syrup. I swear, I could be an Eskimo too for all they know.

When I’m sitting in class, I really need to pay more attention. I am able to follow, but sometimes I just sit by the window and look outside. I watch the planes land. [ohhhhhhgosh they’re beautiful. I love the small ones that come to this small airport.] I also look at the mountaintops. I see the sunlight on the white-capped chalets. I listen to the birds. I feel the fresh air. It’s cool how the Swiss people open their windows a lot. They think nothing of being in a classroom with the windows open. AND! there’s not a single classroom without a window. I know that listening to French and letting it wash my ears out is useful for my brain. It’s useful like walking down the road helps you improve your balance. Exactly. I need to pay more attention in class. I want my French to improve. I don’t want my ears polluted by that Quebecois when I get back. The French is beautiful here. It’s great to escape the North American self-centeredness, and realise that EVERY SINGLE KID IN THIS SCHOOL IS TRILINGUAL. Some are quatrilingual. I’m only bi-lingual. I will never complain about French again.

Learning English is mandatory for all students here. We have three English lessons a week. Three times a week we have French, Accounting/Economics, German, Math. Twice a week we have Phys Ed, Biology, Chemistry, History, and Geography. Once a week we have religion [epic fail sex ed sacrament of marriage], Art class, Art history, Law and Physics. It’s nice not being in only three classes. It’s more interesting.

This is why I never take art class in school. I’d be a mercy bump. My good behaviour would make the teacher reach into their long-lost dyslexia and round the 5% to a 50%.

All I can do in art is prove Thomas Hobbes correct. The state of nature is savage. Life is brutish, nasty, and short. Please no kind words. The photo is too kind already. It really does look horrible. I think the fluorescent green was my first mistake.

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