Another Monday has come and gone, getting into my fourth week of school here. Mondays are kind of underwhelming, as i only have 2 classes. I'd rather have my long and difficult days early on in the week but instead monday, wednsday, and friday are all fairly uneventful with tuesdays and thurdays being long and painful. I missed all of last week due to my crippling cold, so going to school today was filled with more confusion. Two fridays ago a boy from my class showed me around Hengelo after school, and we ended up seeing a movie. AS FRIENDS. I explicitly told him that nothing more would come of it. Of course I go to school today and had to fend off rumors left and right, which would be a whole lot easier if I could actually speak Dutch. High school is pretty much the same everywhere, apparently.
Other than that my social life here is pretty quiet as of yet, kind of nice after my crazy last weeks in AK. I went to a party last weekend held by Floris, the first person my age I actually met here. His mom, Angeline, is Paula's best friend. Anyway so people came to his place around 9 or so, and after hanging out here for a few hours, drinking, talking, listening to music etc. we headed out to a bar in Hengelo around midnight. There we did the same thing, a bit of dancing thrown in :) A few people from school were there as well, good to see them in a different place!

So every day at school has a different schedule. Most classes I have only two or three times a week, apart from the P.E. class. I'm taking the mandatory one plus the extra class, BSM, because... actually I'm not sure why. I just am. But here's a rundown of those classes:

Nederlands: Dutch. I really don't do anything in this class, because he just talks and the students read packets he gives them. I probably won't really be able to participate for a couple more months, so I just read a book or something. Right now I'm splitting my reading between Love in the Time of Cholera and The Places in Between, written by a British guy who walked across Afghanistan. Both are really amazing. I'm told I shouldn't read English here but please tell me, what am I supposed to do otherwise?

Wiskunde: Math. So I'm in VWO 4, and in the regular level of math. This means that I'm doing Algebra I, so I don't have much trouble doing the work, or even reading the problems in the book. The problem is that the boy who sits next to me is the one who showed me around Hengelo and he won't stop talking about it - and not just to me, to everyone else. I mean, he's a nice guy. I should be grateful that someone is taking an interest in me. But, somehow, being an antisocial and mean person I kind of wish he wouldn't. hahaa I'm rambling on about little things. Over all, it's not too bad. It would be nice if I could have participated in a higher level class so that I have some preparation for SATs and ACT. But you can't have everything, right?

Engels: English. Another class where I don't have to do much, because we just have workbooks that we do excercises and vocabulary in. It's actually kind of useful because I get to brush up on my grammar and word tenses and things. It's funny that you never actually get taught these things when it's your first language but the others are learning stuff I've never even thought about. I completely share their pain, above and beyond. It's nice though because I can help other kids, so I can return the favor of having them translate stuff for me in the other classes. Plus, our weekend homework is to watch English-language television. We have a TV log. No joke.

CKV: It's like Art History. Sort of. It's also an introduction to modern art, and to critiquing and understanding it. I've only been once so far but the teacher is really young and cool. We have to see at least 4 performances a year, so if I go to a play or art opening or something I write about it or take pictures and get credit for it.

Drawing/Art: I have this for three hours on Thursday mornings, plus another fifty-minute period on tuesdays. Our first assignment was to design a child's chair, sketch it, and then build a 3D model. Very fun!

Science: I forget what it's called in Dutch. It's a sort of combination of biology, chemisty, and physics. Right now we're studying deadly diseases, such as polio and leprosy. It's not really as hands-on a class as I'm used to, we read out of the book independantly and fill in a worksheet. Actually, most of the classes here are like that.

Maatschapijleer: I can actually say this now, I couldn't remember the whole word for ages. Anyway it's Social Studies, or something like it. We've been talking about different kinds of media. For some reason she talked about Bill Clinton's sex scandal for about half an hour, and I still have no idea why. Mysteries.

Levensbeschowing: Religious studies. I have a feeling that I would adore this class if I could only understand what he was discussing, the teacher is an amazing guy. He had me talk about the death penalty, because they don't have it here, and about euthanasia because they do have it here. It's supposed to be about world religions but I think it's really more of an ethics class. Proably the most difficult class for me to follow because of the discussion and vocabulary but of what I've understood I've really enjoyed so far.

BSM/L.O.: These are both gym classes and there's no difference between them except for different teachers and different classmates. BSM is the 'step-above' class where you learn more about the rules of the games, it's like sports ed. For those who want to be gym teachers or something. I really don't want to be that, so again I'm not quite sure why I'm taking it.

So there you have it. It's a lot of classes, but I end up having the same amount of periods as usual because each class only happens two or three times a week. None of my teachers have had exchange students before so no one really knows what to do with me. Classes seem kind of loosely structured, but that might be because I have no idea what's going on most of the time. It does make me miss school at home where classes are a lot more involved. Here it's mostly just lecturing or individual work. Hopefully as the year goes on and my comprehension grows, the objectives of class and what's expected of me will be clearer. Right now it's strange going to class and not learning anything. At least, not of what's being taught!

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