Saturday, August 17, 2013

Tuesday, August 6

The first day of school. It’s a day any new student dreads, but at least most new students speak the same language as their new classmates. I didn’t have a uniform yet, so I just went in jeans and a warm jacket.
 This didn’t help ease the first day awkwardness (I didn’t actually get a uniform until Friday, the fourth day of school). Cristobal doesn’t have to go to school anymore since he is leaving for the United States, but he went with me on the first day. He walked me to the classroom and introduced me to a few people. People were surprisingly friendly. They all came up and asked me questions and I tried to answer and understand as best I could. During math class, they were taking a test so Cristobal gave me a tour of the school. It is a lot smaller than my high school in California, and it has grades K-12. During the next class, English, they had another test, so I went with all the other exchange students from Chile who has just returned from studying abroad in the US, Germany, and Belgium to the library. We talked a lot and they were so sweet. There are like 8 of them! Instituto Ingles has a very active exchange program. After we returned to the classroom, Cristobal showed me where my PD3 classroom is (all the core classes are in one classroom, and then there are 3 electives—PD3, PD4, and PE—where you have to switch classes).
For PD3, I have Chilean History, PD4 I have Spanish, and PE I have algebra (since numbers are the same in Spanish and English, I hope this class will be easier). After PD3, we had lunch. Cristobal brought lunch from home, but my parents thought I might like to eat in the cafeteria and choose my own food. There were people waiting outside my classroom to show me where the cafeteria was and eat lunch with me. They were super nice and welcoming, but I didn’t really like the food in the cafeteria. Also, the majority of my classmates bring lunch from home, and I wanted the opportunity to talk with more people at lunch, so I decided to switch to bringing lunch from home after that first day. After lunch, we had a class called “Consejo de Curso” which is kind of like study hall, and then we had English Laboratory, where we record ourselves talking in English. Finally, a class that is easy for me! After school, Cristobal and I walked out and he said he was impressed with how many people I talked to and that I didn’t need his help to meet people. I guess that much was true, but not because I am super outgoing, because they were so quick to help me and make me feel welcome. Sidenote—it is so cold here! I am always cold at home, cold at school, cold outside, and cold inside. They don’t have central heating in the school or at home, they just have a stove in each classroom (and in the living room at home), so everyone clusters around the stove to try and keep warm. My hands have been icicles for a week now and they simply won’t thaw. Nobody else seems to be as cold as I am, so I’m hoping that maybe with time I will adjust to the climate (but summer is coming in about a month and a half so maybe not). 
After my first week of classes, I would say that it is going about as well as it can be. I understand the general idea of what people are saying to me, and I understand a little of what the teachers are saying during class. Everyone is very friendly and welcoming. I know it will be difficult to actually make friends until I learn more Spanish, so for now I have to be content with friendly people who ask me questions about myself. When we are standing in a group and everyone is talking, I understand basically nothing, and I just sort of smile and laugh when everyone else laughs. It is frustrating, but I know I have to push through these first few months before I learn enough Spanish to really understand and communicate. I find it much more difficult to understand my classmates than it is to understand my family and my teachers, probably because they speak faster and use more slang. People are usually impressed by how much Spanish I speak and understand, and I’m always flattered that they think I speak well, but I hate the feeling of not being able to say what I want. I do think I’m really lucky to have such nice classmates here. I may not have actual friends yet, but I have a group to eat lunch with and I always have someone to talk to in class, and I think that making friends will be easy once I can actually speak the language. I don’t miss my friends at home yet (although I do love you guys and sometimes random little things that  I see or do will make me think of an inside joke of ours and make me want to text you to tell you about it), so I’m thankful for that. I feel like my life is here now, so I don’t feel like I’m missing anything back in California. I haven’t contacted any of my friends or family, so I think that has helped keep the homesickness away. Right now, I am happy, feeling safe and excited about my family, and adjusting to school.

No comments:

Post a Comment