viens avec nous.

It's Sunday, my first Sunday of the now-started school year, and I've been doing school work (or at least trying to), listening to music, and playing guitar all day. "Wait, how did you get a guitar? I thought you had to leave yours at home?". Well, I did, and I've been suffering from withdrawal for the past month, but I went to lunch at my neighbor's house today, and little do I know, their daughter plays guitar (and loves photography) so they let me borrow it until she comes back from Spain next Wednesday. The tips of my fingers never hurt so good :).

"So your first week of school, how'd it go?"
Well, honestly, I've never had so much emotional variation in a week, haha. My first day was actually the Friday before this past week, which was just a day to go over rules, organize, and receive paperwork. It was a day of cluelessness, and I was accompanied always by my ceaselessly racing heart. After having a kind of "home-room" session with my titulaires (teachers who you go to for help throughout the year), I had to go to 5th hour, which, as I looked at my schedule, was nothing. I then realized that lunch time follows the 5th hour, which meant I had 2 hours to do whatever I wanted. Awesome,right? Except for the fact that I had no friends and no where to go.

But before I continue, I'm going to explain the campus of my school:
I attend l'Institut Cardinal Mercier, which is a smaller school (consisting of 2 small buildings) on the campus of Cardinal Mercier. The other, significantly larger school on the campus is Collège Cardinal Mericer (which consists of, I think, 2 large buildings). Basically, students go to Collège unless they want or need to learn in a smaller class. In Collège, the class sizes are on average 20-25 students where as in l'Institut, there are about 15 students per class. But of course, the two schools share the same cafeterias (there's a café for 5th years and 6th years (juniors and seniors) which I'm a fan of) and sport center, and the students of both schools always mingle during recreation. There's a 15 minute recreation after 3rd hour and an hour recreation after 5th, plus free periods if you have any. During recreations, students aren't allowed in the schools (unless it's raining) and you can leave the campus if you want. It's so liberal that I feel like I'm in college, and it's refreshing not being stuck in the same building the entire day.
Also, here, teachers don't have set classrooms: they change day to day, which I find extremely confusing. It also results in the lack of a "home" feeling of the classrooms like in the US. There are no decorations on the walls, only graffiti (which is mostly in English). I am still surprised by the tolerance of the degradation of the school, which one can view positively since the school is focusing on education rather than fixing the school or negatively since the school looks more or less like a wreck in comparison to (most) schools in the US (as far as I know).

Okay, so back to my first day of school where I had too much time, no friends, and no idea of where to go. I sat down on a curb outside of my school, grabbed a pen, and began to write "I have two hours to do everything and anything I want, but what do I want? I want to make friends, but how do I do..."

"Jordann, ça va? Viens avec nous," a smile said to me. I looked up at my classmates, returned the smile, and marched along with the pack of them. I ended up straying away with two and having a decently good (thanks to my gesticulations due to my lack of words) conversation until lunch time. After hopelessly searching for her for about a half an hour, I ate lunch with my friend Savannah, who is another Rotary exchange student who attends the Collège.

I had hope, that is until I realized that my first class was French. The teacher seemed worried, yet willing to help; I was stressed as I could barely understand a word he said. But afterwards I had English (phew), which enlightened my mood.

Okay, so that's my first day. What about the first week?

Well, toward the beginning of the week I came home unbelievably exhausted, and I just wanted to sleep. Learning a new language consumes so much energy. I also felt so frustrated since I'm adapted to doing so well in school, and now it's the opposite. But by the halfway point of the week, I realized I need to learn to cope with failure. Before long, I will be able to understand French, and I need to do horribly before I can improve. After that realization, my days seemed a little brighter. It seems that I'm making friends pretty easily: a group of girls that I typically eat lunch with invited me out with them next Friday. Everyone in my class has made an effort to talk to me and to help me out when I needed it. Notre petite américaine préférée ! :D is what one of my classmates posted on my facebook wall. So all in all, I really enjoy school and being the "foreign exchange student" instead of the "smart one" at Mount Pleasant.

But it's dinner time now, donc au revoir!


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this is a blog

that you may find profound, deviant, or insipid.

It may teach you, inspire you and leave you lost in thought; or it may bore you and cause your eyes to drag slowly shut.

You may read it for an hour, or maybe not at all.

Maybe you'll get to know me, maybe in ways I don't even know me.

I left the United States in August 2010 as a Rotary exchange student. I'll leave Belgium in July 2011 as Jordann.

about me

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Braine-l'Alleud, Belgium
I follow the sun.