Well, this weekend was orientation weekend for AFS Netherlands and the week prior was my first kinda full week of school. First I guess I'll start by giving a run down of the first impressions I have of all my classes...let's see here...
French: The first thing right off the bat that is different for me is that the class is all in Dutch! Maybe that isn't surprising to some people reading this but I am accustomed to a French class where I've been speaking French in class for like two years now (And I can really tell it paid off, thanks Madame!). I do like it though because it's one class I don't have to be clueless in besides English but I mean everyone expects me to know English, with French I think it was a nice surprise. The teacher is really funny and animated and yeah it's just fun. This is like the one class I have books for. Oh well.
Dutch: So I figure for about 3 - 4 months this class will be useless. I sit there and he rambles on in Dutch and they've already scheduled a presentation of sorts which I shall take no part in (I'm ok with it). We had to write letters about myself so the teacher could get to know us and said I could write mine in English because the point is to get to know the student and my expression is limited in Dutch (makes sense).
History: My history teacher is pregnant. I know that's like, not an academic point or anything but I think it's interesting. She's a very nice lady and the history that we're studying is like Industrial Rev stuff and eventually we'll progress like through the 1800s and stuff to present time. Woo. Most teachers don't understand at all why I'm here, I think my history teacher falls somewhere in between. She was really welcoming and nice but Friday after class she approached me and apologized for not being able to speak more English in class. I had to inform her that was not the point and I'm content sitting and translating some of the words on the notes here and there but besides that not doing much. I asked for it.
Social Subjects (?): I don't really know what this class is called and it's too hard in Dutch to understand so I just call it Social Studies. It's like a government/politics class so I hope when I learn Dutch it will be pretty interesting. The teacher is also really nice and is always cracking jokes. The one thing he did inform me though was that "There should be a Supreme Court in the Hague to try Bush for what he's done." All you can really do is laugh and say you understand. Not trying to go there sir. Once again, I share my mentor's books in this class and pretend to understand what's happening. Sometimes he asks me about American Government and I feel useful.
Geographie: I haven't been to this class. But I won't finish this entry before I leave for school in ten minutes and have to go to that class so I'll write about it later!
English: I feel a little bad because the English teacher doesn't have a clue what to do with me (would you?). I've only had one lesson but she talked to me for a little bit and the kids did some reading and stuff. I felt bad a couple times because I had a huge smile on my face the entire class and had the church giggles when they couldn't pronounce some English words. My b.
Gym: Not too different than American gym really. We played soccer - I straight sucked, shake it off. Then I learned how to shotput in Dutch (that's right, what did you do today?). It was pretty uneventful although I don't love it. Gosh how universal gym can be.
So those are all my classes. Pretty nice, huh? Ok so now onto the weekend and other practical things about living in the Netherlands:
After school on Friday I got picked up by Catherine (Can) and then we got Chok (Thai) and went to the train station to meet Ivy (NZL) (do you like these nationalities in parenthesis? we'll go with it for now). We took a winding mess of trains and buses and finally arrived at a typical AFS location (hostel/camp style place with lots of outdoor room). Meeting the other kids was stupendous and I'm pretty syked to travel with them to Berlin in a little over a month (And Amsterdam in two weeks!!). There were typical AFS activites and Dutch lessons, we got to talk about the cultural differences we've seen here thus far (I got my piece in about how I don't like Dutch toilets).
Of course there were amazing kids from around the world and I throughly enjoyed my weekend. I learned some valuable lessons though. First one, during a quiz about Dutch culture they asked if we knew their queen (I did, it's Beatrix), after which I tactlessly asked if we could call her Trixie. Didn't go over too well. Luckily it only reached two Dutch ears (four? two pair? whatever.) and I will never say it again, sorry. I also learned that I can eat bread with chocolate sprinkles for days and it will not fill me up. I didn't really take any pictures because I knew everyone else would take them - I was right.
So now I mostly just go on with my week. This Friday is contactdag (contact day) for our class. Meaning we do something to get our bond on and then at night there's a party in the school. The weekend after is Amsterdam for Saturday with AFS and then I honker down until Berlin which will be buckwild.