Unwanted Attention

June 12, 2013 § Leave a comment


So my week has been crazy.

My Mom went to America for three weeks last Wednesday and my Grandparents are here to watch us.

Anyway. Last Monday, which is where I have Biology, was bad. Because Mondays are always bad and Biology is always bad.

That’s just how it is. I’m sorry.

But I will say this: it was not as bad as I was expecting.

It was the dreaded group project, which is never any fun. We were drawing the world for our poster that we’re making, and it was kind of painful. The girls ignored me completely and then when I went over and tried to be social and helpful (be proud) they talked to me like I was a newborn who had never seen a colored pencil before. They wanted me to color in the water blue. That was it. But they spent about three minutes explaining the concept to me. I understand coloring. I just do. But they don’t really believe it.

So we worked on the project and such and then we got to leave.

Then this past Monday we had to actually present the projects we had been working on. Presentations are currently the worst part of my life. But actually not, because there are a lot of bad parts of life right now, and I don’t want to commit to a first place winner just yet.

I am so depressing, oh my goodness.

Anyway, when we first started deciding who should say what, one of the girls came over to me and said, “I think it would be best if you say the shortest thing we have.”

I would have been offended if I wasn’t so darn thankful.

So they gave me two lines and I was so nervous I couldn’t even stand it. I mean, I’m not a huge fan of public speaking, but it doesn’t usually bother me too much. It’s when it’s in a foreign language in front of people who are perfectly fluent in said language that I start to get nervous.

I actually wanted to just leave. And never come back. But I have that feeling every day, so it wasn’t really a shock or anything.

I did it, though. I said the things. And they laughed at me. I know they were laughing at me too, because the girls in my group laughed too.

I will never get rid of this accent. It’s so crappy.

So once the presentation was over we did a section for comments and questions and then the teacher gave us our grades. However, before that started, the teacher said this (loosely translated by me), “Before we start the comments and questions, I need to say something: CLAIREiss. CLAIREiss, good job there! You did really well.”

This is a prime example of the kind of attention that I am sick of. I have had enough awkward attention because of my obvious deficiencies to last my whole entire life, even if I live to be 39,872,308 years old.

So that was horrible.

Then on Tuesday I had a field trip to a theme park with the Polish class. It was OK. I mean, it was fun, but I don’t really have any friends since all the girls who are my age are Polish and they hang out together and speak . . . Polish. And no way am I learning Polish, thank you.

So it’s just frustrating because most of them are pretty nice and I think we would get along really well, if it weren’t for the fact that we can not communicate in a functional manner. The other thing is that even though our German is good enough that we would probably be OK, they’re never gonna stress out over the German just to talk to me when they could just stick with each other, which I totally don’t blame them for. I would do the exact same thing. So I was stuck with the Italian girls and the Polish outcast girl who is actually really irritating. It was not enjoyable.

I actually had this really sudden and horrible desire to be Polish just so I could have someone to hang out with. I mean, the Polish girls are always together and they hang out after school and I like them a lot. Since I moved here I’ve sort of wished I was Polish, but it was really bad yesterday. I guess because it was a social field trip and everyone was just hanging out. I also think I am getting really worn out after ten months of this. There are also just a ton of Polish people here and they don’t get made fun of out on the streets because people are used to hearing Polish a lot. They are not used to hearing English, and therefore I am openly mocked and people throw things at me.

There is currently no positive to being American. I know that in the long run it’s “better” to be American and English is a much more useful language to be fluent in, but it’s not doing too much for me right now.

They just looked like they were having so much fun together and I know I haven’t just run around with a bunch of friends and just hung out in at least a year. And that should just not be.

So that was more depressing stuff, but this is a big thing for me right now. It’s also weird because it basically started yesterday afternoon and I’ve been obsessing over this since then and it shows absolutely no signs of letting up which is frustrating.

Then today when I was biking to school one of the German girls in my class pulled up next to me and started biking with me. We talked for about ten seconds and then we both got quiet. And then it was really awkward because none of us were saying anything. We also are both kind of awkward people and it was bad.

So that was typical.

And then there was Math, which is miserable because the teacher is straight from the depths of the underworld.

She was doing this game thing that involved splitting us up into teams and then dictating math problems to one person from each team. The first person who got the problem right won.

When it was my turn she looked at me really hard and then announced to the entire class, “I think I’ll write it on the board this time. I’m pretty sure the numbers are really hard for CLAIREiss.”

GEE WHIZ, ATTENTION! Can you even believe it?

This is another example of the type of attention that is showered upon my head. No one seems to understand that it drives me crazy.

The teacher then told us that we were going to have an extra period of Math with her since she was having a classroom visit from people who are going to decide if she can become a fully qualified teacher, since she isn’t yet.

Of course, in the extra period she acted like an angel and was all smiles and frills. I wanted to stand up and yell, “SHE’S NOT USUALLY LIKE THIS!”

I really don’t want her to become a teacher.

Then when I biked home I stopped at a park because I was kind of about to have a mental breakdown and so I just had about 20 minutes where I sat there and it was lovely.

But then once I got myself together I got on my bike and as I was biking down the street, there were three teenagers on the corner who were probably 16 or 17. While I was still halfway down the street I heard them yell, “HEY, IT’S THAT AMERICAN GIRL!”

Then as I passed them, they started shrieking things like, “Hi, yes, it vas a wery nice day!” and then, “You are can speaking ENGLISH?!”

Yes, I am can speaking English. I think that you are not can speaking English.

Yet another example of attention.

Why can’t anyone just leave me the heck alone?

Even that boy from the field trip months ago still says hi to me every time he sees me at school. Will someone please tell him that we are not friends and he can ignore me like everyone in my class?

I feel like everyone either completely ignores me to the point that they won’t even wave at me, or they shout things at me in broken English and obsess.

Why is no one here normal and friendly and not three galaxies beyond psycho?

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All my Issues

June 1, 2013 § Leave a comment


So, last time I posted I ended on the spit story, which occurred on Friday. I did not write about Monday because to be honest, I was a little too unsettled. Also, the spit story is sort of dramatic and everyone likes to end on a dramatic note, right?

So now we have to have the great pleasure of discussing Monday. Here’s my problem with Monday.

It fully ruins Sunday evening, OK? around 5 pm on Sundays, I get into my Monday funk. This is where I mourn going back to school the next day. Without fail, my Dad asks me what’s wrong and do I want to talk about it. He has still not learned that this is a routine procedure and perfectly normal.  Or, perhaps not normal in the regular sense of the word. But it happens every week.

So that’s my one problem with it. The other is how early school starts. Why does school have to start at 7:55? Why can’t it start at 8:55? What’s so horrible about 8:55, I ask you? Or possible 11:55?

But no, we have to be up and at ’em before the flipping early bird!

Here’s my other problem with Mondays. Now, this one is really just my particular Monday. I give you one terrible, fear-striking, gut-wrenching, horrifying, powerful word: Biology.

That’s right.

Mondays inevitably bring with them Biology class, a once-a-week horror trip in which every fiber in my being calls out for mercy and slowly withers away into nothingness until I mentally perish, never to rise again. Which is ironic, since it’s a class about life.

The very classroom in which we have Biology is a place of destruction, where all your dreams, hopes, and sanity can (and will) be crushed in one swoop.

Usually, when I write one of these little rants about school or the Polish, I finish it by saying “Just kidding, it’s not that bad.”

Unfortunately, I am unable to do so here. Biology is really that horrible.

Anyway, I went to die to Biology on Monday, and it happened to be the day of a massive test. Now, I had looked over the material and such, and my conclusion was that I knew about two of the words of all the things I was supposed to know and so my plan was to talk to the teacher before the test and just tell her that it was too hard and I wasn’t going to be able to do the test.

Now, what I didn’t factor in was the amount of terror that this woman strikes into my heart and how much courage it would take to go talk to her.

I finally summoned the courage up and told her. It was a little awkward, especially since the entire front row of the class went really silent and sort of just stared at us. It was worth it in the end though, since she told me that it was OK and she wouldn’t grade my test.

It’s really frustrating to not be able to understand anything, let me tell you. I have never actually wished I could take a test, but that’s what Germany will do to you, I suppose. I find myself sitting in class, staring at a worksheet, saying, “Gee whiz, wouldn’t it be great if I could actually fill this out?”

So that happened.

I was sure that it couldn’t get worse after the test fiasco. I mean, what could possibly be worse?

I’ll give you a second to figure it out.

Probably only those of you who are currently students will have gotten it.

Group project.

The only words strong enough in the English language to describe the crushing terror that is a group project aren’t super lady-like, so I’ll go with a German word.

They are completely beschissen.

Now, here’s the thing about that word. It’s kind of a swear word, but kind of not, so go figure. Lots of “swear” words in German are like that. I mean, little kids go around saying them and it’s just not a big deal. I also am not totally sure if that’s because the words aren’t that strong, or if small children just curse a lot here. Sometimes I get really confused.

A group project. Why? Why do teachers love group projects so much?

And it’s not even just that we have group projects. It’s that they actually let us choose our own groups, which, you know, if you have what the masses call “friends,” is probably great. You possibly don’t even have to have friends, actually. Probably if you’re simply not generally hated, it works out super well for you.

However.

I am not generally hated, and self-appointed group projects therefore suck.

Just saying.

So everyone got into their groups and were super happy and frolicky and everything.

My group was the only one that didn’t seem too thrilled.

I wonder why.

And for the record, I’m not just saying that they seemed irritated to throw myself a pity party here. The teacher came over and actually told us that we “didn’t look to happy.”

So there. Validation.

By the way, my group just ended up being the girls who sit at my table. We’re kind of actually the social rejects of the class, but just to put this in perspective, even those girls won’t talk to me. So let’s not get all excited about a whole group of social reject friends, here. This is not a cheesy Hallmark movie. This is real immigrant life.

I’m sorry.

I’m bitter because my life is not a cheesy Hallmark movie. Why is my life not a cheesy Hallmark movie? Can someone look into this?

I’m sorry. We were talking about dying group projects, right? So I’m in this group and we’re supposed to bring materials for the project in on Monday. However, I didn’t understand what the teacher said last week, so I don’t actually know what we’re supposed to bring. I messaged one of the girls on Skype and asked her what we had to bring on WEDNESDAY NIGHT and she still hasn’t replied.

We had Thursday and Friday off (glory be) so I couldn’t ask then and I didn’t get a chance to ask before earlier.

I’m frustrated by this.

Because here’s the thing: it’s not that I’m stupid. OK? I just don’t know what people are actually saying to me because I speak the wrong language. If I did know what people were saying to me I would be able to do it and everyone would see that I have more than two brain cells.

That’s basically what this comes down to. I CAN’T LOOK STUPID IN FRONT OF ALL THESE PEOPLE WHO IRRITATE ME!

Why is that? I should be able to let it go. Someone should look into that as well.

Then it was Tuesday. On Tuesdays I have Gym. We played soccer, which I feel like is a really stereotypical German sport. I promise we’ve only played it once or twice since September or so. Wait, why am I defending them?

Anyway.

We played and I realized something about myself which, now that I actually think about it, ties into the not looking stupid in front of people I don’t really like. I played way better soccer when it was against the girls in my class I particularly dislike. I was more aggressive and had no problems stealing the ball and such.

And it was just because I was letting out all of my real-life irritation at these people.

I have so many unhealthy anger issues it’s embarrassing.

Spittle

May 27, 2013 § 1 Comment


I had Monday off, which was lovely. However, I got sick on Tuesday and Wednesday and didn’t go to school. Heart-wrenching, I assure you.

On Thursday I had Religion. It was pretty boring. The teacher has told us that she will take us for ice cream one week, but the catch is that the weather has to be nice.

Now, in Germany, nice weather is about as rare as American hot dogs or really good Chinese food.

Extremely rare.

I’m not sure we’ll ever actually be able to go.

Then on Friday, one of my teachers wasn’t there so I only had two periods of school. I had Math first, which was pretty uneventful. The math that my class does is really simple, so I am almost always the first one finished and sometimes I think the teacher thinks I cheat, but it’s really just that I’ve already done all the stuff we’re going over.

Then I had English class. Now, I have always had a problem with my English class. The teacher seems to simply live to call on me and make me translate things from English to German in front of the class. This is a lot more difficult than going from German to English, since you have to know every single word and where it goes in the sentence. Also, in German, articles and adjectives get different endings depending on how they’re used in the sentence, so you have to know that as well. When you go from your second language to your first, you just have to sort of get the gist of the sentence and then you can basically figure it out from there.

Therefore, it is much harder for me to do the translation than it is for the kids in my class, and yet the teacher loves to call on me.

Half of the reason that this is so stupid is that it’s during English class. This is a time that I feel should be used for the class to learn English instead of for me to learn German. I spend the entire rest of my time at school doing that, thanks so much.

But whatever.

The point is that I’ve been talking with my parents about it and my Dad emailed the teacher a little while later asking him to take it a little easy on me, I suppose.

The biggest problem was when we did translation in class and we didn’t do any of that on Friday, but I have English on Wednesday, so maybe we’ll do it then.

After English on Friday I had a question I had to ask my teacher and as I was walking up to his desk I decided that I was going to ask in English. This is because I am lazy and speaking German to my English teacher sometimes just seems a bit stupid. So as I was speaking with him in English, the next class that was using the room came in and dropped their stuff off in their seats. I didn’t recognize any of them except for one of the boys, who was in one of the other German as a Second Language classes last semester.

While I was still in the classroom some of the boys started making fun of me speaking English. I’m honestly used to that by now. There’s a lot of things about being an immigrant that I’m totally not used to yet, but people noticing and mocking the English is definitely something that just does not bother me anymore.

This is really convenient, since it does happen just about every single day.

Anyway, they were making fun of me speaking English and I ignored them because that’s supposedly what mature people do.

However, once I left I had to go down a flight of steps because that’s the way out of the third level of hell school. As I started going down, I noticed that some of the boys who had noticed that I was speaking English before were standing on the landing of the steps and talking. I hoped that they wouldn’t notice me, but if people never noticed me I wouldn’t have any good stories.

They did, of course, see me, and I heard them saying to each other, “Hey, look, it’s the American!”

They got really excited about this for a second, but then it went really quiet. If I have learned anything from having little brothers, it’s that you never want it to be quiet. That means that either they’ve just done something horrible and they’re trying to figure out how to fix it, they’re planning something, or they’re dead.

I wanted to look up to see which one it was, but it’s a good thing I didn’t.

They spit on me.

In that moment, the amount of hatred that I feel for my school on a daily basis was beyond justified. In my opinion, anyway, but I suppose I’m biased.

The next time someone tells me to be nicer to people at school or give my school a chance or be more social and approachable or more friendly or anything of the sort, I will have to direct them to this post. Just so that they can see that they’re lucky that I don’t go around with a gun.

I don’t really like ending posts on the gun note, but I feel that I have no other choice here.

Short Week

May 17, 2013 § Leave a comment


Weirdest week. But then again, I do sort of feel that way after all my weeks.

And actually, the week is not over. I am writing this at a very odd time in the day, but we’ll get to that at the end.

First, I need to tell a story because it happened a while ago now and I keep meaning to write it.

So, a couple of weeks ago a boy who I have never met before messaged me online (I know, Stranger Danger. Just let me finish the story.) and told me that we go to school together. I looked very closely at his profile picture, but I couldn’t really place him and my school has almost 2000 students and I swear, half of them look the same. I think it’s because every teenage boy in Germany gets the exact same haircut when they hit the age of 14 or 15. I’m not kidding.

This is it. The exact haircut they all have, and that boy looks so German it’s not even funny.

So anyway, he had this haircut (this is not the boy who messaged me, by the way. This is some person from the internet) and I didn’t recognize him, but I sort of tentatively messaged him back.

He asked me if I knew someone named Jasmine. Off the top of my head I said no, but then he said she was in my Religion class.

Then I knew who he was talking about and he proceeded to tell me that he’s in love with her (??) and NEEDS her Skype name. Now, I have literally never spoken a single word to this girl and I was therefore unable to help him. This information, however, did not actually stop him from continuing to message me for two hours, and multiple times a day for about three days after that. He’s finally stopped, but it was pretty hilarious.

This was made even more ridiculous by the fact that during our first conversation a boy from my class got online and we started talking. As we were chatting, the boy who I don’t know (we’ll call him Psycho from now on) begged me (literally begged) to ask someone for her name. He would not stop asking and I was sort of scared he would find me if I didn’t. And kill me.

So I asked the boy from my class, just so that I could tell Psycho that I had asked someone. As luck would have it, the boy in my class was actually able to find her name and gave I gave it to Psycho. I felt kind of bad for the girl, but then I remembered the amount of people at my school who know me and have my Skype name although I have never given it to them. So then I just went ahead and sentenced her to her doom.

The next day, Psycho messaged me again and after a little while, he used a text-talk abbreviation for something that I didn’t understand. Up to that point all our conversations had been in German and he hadn’t made any comments about my grammar or anything like that.

Well, once I didn’t know this abbreviation and mentioned something about my German not being very good, he said this, “Oh wait! You’re the American!”

Yes. Yes I am.

He then proceeded to tell me that he was ALSO American and we could speak English as well. Now, I’m no dummy. I have met enough people and lived here long enough that I can spot one of these when then make such an announcement.

As soon as he said this, I looked over at mom and told her what had happened. I then said, “I bet you anything that either one of his parents is American and he’s never set foot there, or that he moved over here by the time he was three.”

He moved to Germany when he was two.

I am so good.

But that opened up an interesting conversation, to say the least. Unfortunately, he has no idea why his family has moved here and his English isn’t much better than the Germans’.

The last I heard from him, the girl had not accepted his contact request on Skype and he was pretty crushed.

I give him three weeks.

And now we talk about Monday. My class was not at Biology, as far as I could tell. This happens frequently, and I’m not sure why. I’m technically supposed to go up to the secretary office and ask what the heck is going on, but they’re so rarely helpful up there that I usually skip that step and just go straight home. I know. I know. I’m horrible. But you don’t know how terrible this class is, you really don’t. If you did you would be right behind me, probably dragging me behind you in your eagerness to get out. You also would probably forget to unlock your bike in your haste to leave. I forget this part more often than not, unfortunately. The Germans think it’s pretty hilarious.

So anyway, I just came home a couple periods early, which is always amazing.

And has actually happened every single day this week, with the exception of Tuesday. Bizarre, right? But there’s ALWAYS a good reason, I promise. Really, I don’t just leave because I don’t feel like going to school anymore or anything like that. It’s usually actually the teachers’ fault. Well. That’s extremely debatable.

Then Tuesday was weird, but Tuesdays are always weird because I have Gym class and it’s some sort of law here that Gym class MUST be strange.

We started out with running with the other two classes.

A few minutes in, I happened to glance over and who should be next to me but the Psycho who messaged me. He didn’t see me, but I was kind of irritated at the whole situation.

This week I think we were actually graded on our running, so that was a little nerve-wracking.

Then the teacher told us that in the middle of Gym we would be having a fire drill and she was going to let us out early so we could get changed and get all our stuff together. In the States they never told when we were going to have a drill, but they do things differently here, I suppose.

So we had to wait in the changing rooms for the bell to ring, and once it did we all processed to the nearest designated “safe place” and waited there for a little while. It happened to be the same place that my English friend’s class was at, so we hung out a bit together. Most of the kids from my Polish class were also there, although they were all actually with their German classes.

It was pretty hectic for a little while there and I’m surprised that everyone made it safely back to their classrooms.

On Wednesdays I have no classes with my Polish class and I have to stay with the Germans the whole day. This is because of the mistaken impression that my teachers are under that I actually understand what’s going on. They have therefore deemed me prepared to stay with the Germans for long periods of time.

Anyway, I had Math first, and usually I sit in the very front row with some of the nicer girls. This Wednesday there was no extra seat there, and I had to find somewhere else to sit. Since there is assigned seating at my school and I came later in the year, I don’t have a spot and so I’m just left with wherever the last chair is. This week, it was at the very back table with one other boy.

The only redeeming quality about this situation is that be refused to speak to me, so I was left in peace. On the other hand, he and his friends decided to throw cut up pieces of gum at my head, so it was still not a great situation.

Then I was supposed to have three periods of German and English with the same teacher, but he was sick.

My class has a huge Physics exam coming up, and they’ve been having extra periods of Physics for about a week now. They were going to Physics for the first two periods and for the last one they were going to have a substitute.

Now, I’ve been to Physics with my class. After about the third time I said no more, and I now refuse to go. The teacher is atrocious and it’s so complicated that I really can’t understand a word. It also is all projects and hands on things, so I’m generally just stuck sitting there while everyone else builds telescopes and such. It’s extremely painful, and I figure that I already have Biology once a week for this purpose.

So then I met my friend from England who told me that she had four periods of substitute teachers. We decided to leave because in Germany (I don’t know how it works in America, I’ve never been to school there) substitutes are just people who sit in the classroom and yell at you for whispering. There will be no reading, or writing in your notebook, there will be no going to the bathroom, there will be no getting out of your seat, there will be no playing tic-tac-toe, there will be no nap taking, there will be no laughing. Happiness is under no circumstances admitted and staring out the window is punishable by death. Do not LOOK at the teacher or expect to be screamed at. Get a tissue out of your backpack and the sky is falling.

It’s not that bad, but the first part is all true. You basically have to look out the window for multiple hours, and if you’re really brave you can ask the teacher if you might be permitted to do your homework.

Substituted lessons here are clearly miserable, so both of us were really just looking forward to getting out.

On Thursday I have the first four periods with my Polish class and the last two with my German class.

I arrived at school for Polish class and lo and behold, the teacher was absent. She was also absent on Wednesday, it just didn’t affect me because I don’t have any classes with her on that day. Since I was supposed to have a full four periods with her, I went back home. I took a nap and it was a much nicer use of my time than sitting in school, I must say.

Then I had to go back for Religion. This week we got back our tests that we took a couple weeks ago and I actually managed to get a 2+, which is the equivalent of an A-, believe it or not. Incredible right?

Now, I was happy with just the girls at my table knowing and being proud of me. The teacher, however, felt that this would not be sufficient. She decided it would be a genius idea to announce my grade to the whole class and make them applaud for me.

I could have slid into the ground.

I mean, I get that she’s impressed or whatever, but honestly, just tell me I did a good job at the end of class or something. Everyone was very nice about it and everything, but I wasn’t thrilled.

We also get general grades in each class, and today she read everyone’s grades out. Apparently, I’m getting a 2, which is a B+ or thereabouts.

She’s fully delusional, that’s all I have to say.

She remains my favorite teacher though, because the rest are just going to fail me, which is fine because my grades are protected for two years, which is saving my butt. I’ve always been pretty much a straight A student, but you  know, Germany changes people. Just kidding, going to school in a foreign language changes people. But also probably Germany a little bit.

Anyway, Religion class. The teacher does this really awesome/odd thing where when she gets irritated at us she switches to speaking English.

I know.

I think it’s bizarre as well. Not as bizarre as giving me a B+ in a class that I do not even really understand, perhaps, but still pretty weird.

She also always stops about halfway through and checks with me to make sure her grammar is correct.

Yesterday she just started telling people to shut up and then asking what part of shut up they didn’t understand.

I promise, she’s not that scary.

Then today I showed up for Polish class and the teacher was still “sick,” so I decided to come home. We have Monday off school, and I think she’s on vacation.

I have to leave in about five minutes to make my next class, so we’ll see how that goes.

In summary, I’ve basically been to about half my classes all week.

I’m not Dead, I Promise

May 13, 2013 § Leave a comment


OK, I’m back. I’m not sure what my deal is with being physically incapable of posting anything during the week, but oh well. I think that, as much as I fight it, I actually have things going on in my life, such as guitar and Spanish and, hello, German, so it actually takes up some time. Also, I’m kind of very lazy and that does NOT help with posting on a regular basis. Working on it, OK?

Anyway, on Monday I had Biology and it was, as usual, kind of painful. The teacher is just slightly too terrifying to put into words. She just emits fear and sadness. Kind of like a dementor. She always wears this heart necklace and it just makes me laugh because I’m pretty sure she doesn’t HAVE a heart so she has to wear a necklace to make up for it. I’m not sure about that theory, though, so don’t quote me, please. Since she learned that I’m not actually German a couple of weeks ago she’s been making a huge deal of making someone help me (secret attempt to make them hate me more? Probably) or asking (extremely loudly) if I’ve understood. So that’s embarrassing, but what isn’t? There’s a big test coming up and there are seriously almost ten topics we are supposed to study, but the teacher came over and reduced it to three, which was really nice of her, actually. Now, she glared at me the entire time she did this, so the kindness was somewhat hampered, but you can only ask for so much, really.

In Gym on Tuesday we had to run for about 12 minutes. Like last week they put the three classes together which is really annoying because when there’s so many people the gym gets really congested and for super clumsy people (me) this becomes a problem when you’re expected to actually navigate around these people. I end up just running into them and hoping no one gets irritated. The other annoying part of this is that one of the other gym teachers is my old English teacher and he enjoys yelling encouragements at me in English which is great and everything, but it earned me about 18 questions from some of the kids from the other classes as to why he was speaking English to me.

Lovely.

Because, obviously, I don’t get awkward questions like that enough, right?

Oh well, he IS a teacher, and as we’ve seen, teachers (at least the ones at my school) are not the most tactful/wise/thoughtful of people, so what can you expect? Not much, I’ve found.

Then it was Wednesday and I died inside! Not really kidding, unfortunately. Math wasn’t too bad, really. Theirs is way behind where I am so it’s all stuff that I learned a couple years ago, which is pretty nice because I can just worry about the vocabulary and not the actual concepts I’m “learning.”

The other result of this is that the kids, who have by now figured out that I actually understand these concepts by now, have started realizing that I don’t have the mental capacity of a six month old, but am, on the contrary, fairly intelligent for your average American teenager. I hope. I’m probably just kidding myself here.

Then I had double German. This is code for “extreme boredom punctuated with cries of ‘I think this must be extremely difficult for you, Clarice! Oh well, why don’t you try to answer this question for everyone: ghlwekj cnwickal woie hg qoeirjlokan widkna?'”

Sounds about right. Also, that joke is funnier if you try to say it out loud.

Then was English which was extremely boring in the beginning and within seconds turned into a nightmare as we were forced to translate a story. He made me do some of the sentences and I feel like for every word I had to say I should get one full day of sleep in exchange. Just saying.

Then I had Thursday and Friday off, since it was one of the many religious holidays.

On Saturday I went with my Mom to a grocery store at about 10:30 pm to pick up a few things. While we were standing in the check-out line a boy from my friend’s class walked in with a bunch of his friends and (naturally) saw me and felt obligated to shout my name across the whole store and wave animatedly.

My friend’s whole class (or almost her whole class) “likes” me, by which I mean they tolerate me and do not shun me on a day-to-day basis. It’s sort of unfortunate that I’m not in that class, but oh well.

I knew that I would see him at school today and that he would bring it up. This is because he (as exhibited) is not ashamed that he knows me. This is a quality I have recently learned to look for, because apparently, it’s extremely rare. It should probably actually just be classified as a super power at this point.

The perfect example of the social shame that automatically comes with knowing me (at least if you happen to go to my school) happened today. I was walking with a group of girls from one of the other classes and I was sort of a bit on the fringe of the group, Huge surprise, I know. I’m usually the life of the party.

Anyway.

As we were walking, we came across one of the boys from my class who knows the girls I was with. In Germany the standard greeting among friends is a hug. I’ve gotten used to it, but it really threw me the first few months. All this to say, they all started hugging and after they were all done I was left standing there. He sort of took a half step toward me, saw me, recognized me, and abruptly pulled himself back. He sort of shook his head a bit and lowered his arms.

That was not awkward. Just kidding, I felt extremely uncomfortable.

On the other hand, I saw the boy from the grocery store a few times today, and each time he (loudly) announced to everyone that we had seen each other in the store. Now, I’m pretty sure this just earned him brownie points from all the girls, who undoubtedly are now remarking upon how brave he must be to not turn on his heels and sprint for his life at the sight of me.

No, it’s not that bad. Sometimes I do wonder what fuels the refusal to greet me in the hallway, though.

Mysteries, mysteries.

Short Update

May 4, 2013 § Leave a comment


I suppose I should apologize for the depressing post on Monday. I’m sorry. It was just kind of a weird day.

So anyway, on Tuesday I had gym, in which they made us run around the gym for an eternity. They actually combined us with two other classes which was interesting. There were about 90 kids and I think I ran into about 87 of them. I’m kind of super clumsy.

So that was great.

Then I had a couple more periods of infinite boredom and frustration school and I got to go home.

Basically the best moment of the day is when the bell rings and I leave.

Wednesday we got the day off and it was amazing. There are about six random free days in May which is pretty wonderful, since, you know . . . school is really bad.

Then it was Thursday. This was kind of just boring, because I had four periods of Polish class and all we did was learn the body parts. There were so many different problems with this.

The first is that we spent so much time on it, and none of us actually needed all of that time, especially since we’ve been doing the body parts all week.

My other problem is that teenage boys are not the most mature people ever or anything, and when you give them a drawing of a human body and tell them to label the different parts, gaping holes begin to form in the plan. We’ll put it that way.

And as if labeling a stick figure isn’t bad enough, once we finished with that, the teacher decided it would be a phenomenal idea to pass out a picture of a naked woman and have us label that.

My mind is unable to comprehend the overabundant stupidity of man. Plus also that of some teachers. Not that she’s stupid or anything, but she is apparently a REALLY bad decision maker.

So that was a bad situation to put it mildly.

After that torture was (finally) over, I went and took a Religion test. There was some confusion where the teacher game me a different problem for one of the sections because she thought the original would be too difficult, which is probably fully true.

However, the rest of my class understood this to mean that I only had to do that problem, which was fully not the case. That took a butt load of time for them to understand.

I think I will get around a 4-3 on that test, which is barely passing.

Oh well.

Then on Friday I had four periods with my Polish class and two with my German class. In the German class I had Math in which I got my test back.

It was a 3, which I’m kind of ok-ish with. It’s considered a “good grade,” but I was hoping for something higher. But it’s not a huge deal because my grades are protected for two years.

The third year will probably be a slow and torturous fall back to reality.

Needless Crying

April 29, 2013 § Leave a comment


People. It was a bad day today.

I’m sorry. If excessive crying is gonna depress you or whatever, I would just probably not read this because I basically cried all day. I don’t really know why because it was all just stuff that happens to me everyday anyway, but I think I’m dealing with Spring Fever or something along those lines because I have been finding it a bit harder to deal with all these things at the moment.

Anyway.

To begin the story of the day I suppose I should say that on Mondays I have Biology with the teacher who never smiles. Last week she gave us all a sheet of paper telling us what we would be doing in the next two classes.

It was all in-school reports and worksheets to complete while in class and things like that. Very independent work/study-hall style.

I was feeling nervous about this because it’s a lot more difficult to write a report than it is to listen to a lecture on the theory of evolution for an hour and a half.

So before I went to school this morning I had my dad write a note to my Polish class teacher, asking her to have a conversation with my Biology teacher about not making me necessarily follow along, but maybe copying out vocabulary words or something along those lines.

When I got to school this morning, I had one period of Polish class, then one period or PoWi with my German class. After that came two more periods with the Polish and then the dreaded Biology class.

I had the first period of Polish class and right after that I gave the note to my teacher. She seemed sort of surprised that I was having such a hard time with the teacher there, and said she would try to find her before the class began. I then went back to my seat, because that’s what normal children do and sat through about fifteen minutes of the second period.

By this point in the morning, I had realized that I had forgotten the homework I was supposed to do, my Biology book, and the class I was supposed to go to in the second period. Which, by the way, is really hard to remember because the Polish class keeps going and I have to remember to leave the classroom and go to the other one. It’s not like everyone gets up and leaves. And my memory sucks, so this has actually happened once or twice before. I’m so irresponsible.

Not only this, but I was also freaking out about Biology class. Also, I have self-diagnosed spring fever, so how can you expect me NOT to spend the whole day crying?

What a pitiful argument.

Basically, at the long break in between the second and third periods, I made a dash for the bathrooms because that’s basically where I spend every break. I mean honestly, who even has time for dealing with people when you could sit on a (closed) toilet and contemplate the difference between the words “wenn” and “wann?”

In case you were wondering, I still don’t know and have given up all hope of figuring them out.

Never learn German. Voluntarily, anyway.

So all this to say, after I had spent the break in the bathroom and the bell rang, I obviously had to return to class. As I did so, I passed a group of about 13 or so teenage boys, around the age of 16 or 17.

Note to self: Never do that again.

As I did, one of them literally screamed, “OH MY GOSH, GUYS, THAT’S HER!” while pointing at me.

Now, I should be completely used to this by now, I realize. However, I’m fully not and the next time it happens I’ll probably just start stabbing people. With a pencil, of course. Apparently daggers are frowned upon by the faculty.

It is also way more disconcerting when the people in question are double my size and not a bunch of fifth grade girls who still don’t know that stripes and plaid do not match.

So basically, since I’m still not used to people randomly recognizing me as “THAT AMERICAN GIRL!” when I’m going about my day-to-day life, I was startled and looked over at them.

Note to self: Never look at anyone again.

They exploded into shrieks of laughter because obviously, someone reacting in some way to people screaming and pointing at her is simply ludicrous.

By the time I made it back to my classroom I was in tears. I still don’t know why, because like I said, it’s not like people don’t stare at me wherever I go. I mean, there’s immigrants all over Germany. You’d think they’d be used to it.

Although, as I will be the first to tell you, there’s not many Americans, so that is one interesting aspect. I still don’t feel that it’s interesting enough to elicit the lengths that these people go to, but whatever. Who am I to know, just a lowly and confused LAUGHING STOCK.

I digress.

We were at the part where I was in tears.

One of the boys from Bulgaria (who, as Mom helpfully informed me today, although I’ve known since about the second day I’ve known him, likes me. Glory. Why always the weird ones?!) came over to me and broke the news that I was, in fact, crying.

Thank you, for your words of wisdom. How would I have ever discovered this stunning pearl of truth if not for you? Perhaps because of the waterfalls pouring out of my eyeballs?

It took about three minutes to get him to go away. Why are people so clueless?

When the teacher finally came and started the class she told us that we would be going into town for the next two periods, in an effort to practice our skills at asking people for directions. We were each to be given the name of a store or restaurant, get ourselves hopelessly lost, and then ask some poor person for help.

As we were walking from school to the center of town, she asked me if everything was OK.

I, of course, lied, because what are you actually supposed to do?

I told her I was peachy (except not exactly, because that’s not what you say in German, but whatever.) and she replied by notifying me of the fact that she only asked because I “look really horrible today.”

Thank you. I was searching desperately for an insult today.

I just told her that I was aware of the situation, to which she inquired if she was allowed to ask what was wrong.

I told her no and that was the end of that.

I’m getting really good at this no-nonsense German business.

Since I really only live two minutes from the middle of town, I begged the teacher to let me run home and get my Biology book. Since I was still on the verge of tears, she just let me go and said she would wait for me at the train station. Let me tell you, my mother was quite surprised to see me tearing up the steps screeching, “I DON’T HAVE TIME, I NEED MY BIOLOGY BOOK. THEY’RE WAITING AT THE TRAIN STATION!

When I made it back to the group she sent us off and I found the shop within two minutes because I, unlike any of the other students who always take the train to school, like in the same town as my school, so I’m familiar with it.

The teacher wasn’t very happy when she found out that I didn’t ask anyone for directions, but found it alone. I feel like I should let her know that if I’m ever lost, I would probably give up and go home before I tried to ask someone for directions.

Then the Bulgarian boy thought it would be an ingenious idea to insert my name into songs. The problem is that they were all English songs and so he sort of didn’t know where the name should go and it all sort of dive-bombed. Not that the whole singing thing ever got into the air to even be able to dive-bomb in the first place, but you know. It was bad.

By the time we got back to school it was time for the torture that is Biology.

The Polish teacher had talked to the Biology teacher, so I didn’t really know what to expect.

Before the class started, the teacher came over and the first thing she asked was my name and where I’m from.

I’ve been in her class since January. It is now the very end of April and she still hasn’t even asked what my name is or where I’m from. So then we had the usual conversation; how long I’ve been here, do I like it here (always an awkward one), where exactly in America I’m from (then never know Pennsylvania. One person asked if it was a neighbor of California. I just have to just tell them that it’s close to New York.), blah blah blah. It’s a really boring conversation once you hit about the two millionth time of having it. Inevitably they don’t believe either that I’m only thirteen or that I’ve only been here 8-9 months. I would be flattered but it’s much too irritating at this point.

She set me up with the first problem she wanted me to work on and I was feeling really optimistic until she stood up and loudly asked the whole class who they thought the best student was in Biology. This says something about her teaching style, I suppose.

It was pretty much unanimous that this one kid is the smartest as far as science goes.

She then made him come sit with me and instructed him to “help me and answer any of my questions.”

She also encouraged me to ask him all of my questions. At this point I was actually embarrassed to the point that my tears simply overflowed.

Note to self: Cry in front of a teacher only if you receive a sudden death wish.

She then started asking if I was OK (clearly not, I’m basically sobbing?) and said she wanted us to go into the hall and have a conversation. I was pretty sure that one was a trick because who the heck wants to have that kind of conversation with their teacher? She was probably just checking to make sure that I wasn’t completely losing my mind. If I had said yes she would have had an ambulance there within the minute, probably.

Obviously, I said no thanks and moved her along.

Then she continued to question after my well-being (perfectly valid) and then assured me that if I ever had problems I could talk to her.

Well sure, and I could also be a contestant on Fear Factor. Will I? No.

Actually, I’m sure there’s some sort of age limit for that show, but you get the point.

Obviously, by this point you could have heard a butterfly’s wings flap and everyone was seemingly transfixed upon my riveting conversation with the teacher.

She finally left, but certainly not soon enough.

At the end of the class she told us that she’d given us all a certain amount of points depending on a number of factors.

There was how disruptive we were, how well we participated and worked with others, how much work we completed, and how respectful we were or something like that.

She read out the first ten or so, and everyone got around 2/3 points. Then she read this out; “CLAIREiss; 3/3!”

Apparently, I’m supposed to be proud of this or something, since this is the highest score possible.

However, since I clearly was extremely disruptive, what with the sobbing and all, fully ignored the boy sent to help me and all the other kids, completed about half the work the other kids did, and was not super respectful of the teacher’s desire to question my mental stability in the hallway, by my calculations I should have not gotten any points.

It basically was just sort of embarrassing because everyone just stared at me like, “How did SHE manage to get a 3?!”

Thank you, lovely teachers, for once again making me stick out WAY more than is necessary. Keep up the good work, or else I might actually start to feel like I’m FITTING IN for a change!

Not, by the way, that I’m obsessed with fitting in or being popular or anything. I’m just saying that I don’t even remember what it’s like to just be a normal kid who doesn’t worry about how a preposition affects the structure of your sentence 24/7.

It Never Ends

April 26, 2013 § 1 Comment


People. I know. Why am I so bad about writing stuff on the internet? I don’t know. I just don’t.

So sorry about that.

Anyway, on Monday I had PoWi (Politics/Social Studies/I don’t even know) and we were split into two groups. The topic was “Imprisoning Youths” and the first group was supposed to be for it, the second group against.

I spent literally the entire period attempting to figure out which group I was in. I’m serious, I just could not tell from the book! It was extremely stressful.

So then I had Biology, for which I was able to actually find my class for the first time in two weeks. I can’t say I’m actually super thrilled about this, considering the fact that I’ve never actually seen this teacher smile. Not ever.

She hates children. And probably everything else in the world, because seriously, what kind of person doesn’t ever even smile?

Although that is only a two period class, it always feels like I’m there for about three days.

The next day I had another period of PoWi, in which the teacher told us to push all the chairs against the wall because we were going to have a discussion about our topic, youths in prison.

I had to scramble to remember which group I was in again, and then she said that we were all supposed to have prepared 6-8 arguments for or against the topic, depending on the group we were on.

When she said this, all the Germans started rustling around in their seats and within 0.06 seconds all had procured sheets of paper with about 16 arguments each.

Now, I somehow missed the whole “prepare your arguments” memo and therefore was left sitting there completely argument-less.

The teacher, who usually completely ignores me, then turned to me and said, “I will just ask you a few questions about it in English.”

By this point, everyone was just staring at me, because obviously, I’m sort of a spectacle. So I was not thrilled with the whole, “Hey, let’s include CLAIREiss!” movement.

The result of this entire thing was that I was forced to give multiple opinions on both sides of the debate, while most of the kids in my class didn’t have to say a single word, since the class was basically split into three groups at that point. 14 kids who were for: 4 had to give arguments, 14 kids who were against: I believe that only three children actually spoke, and then me: 6 arguments, three for and three against.

I don’t like school.

On Wednesday I got my Math test back, which was sort of depressing. I got a 4, which I suppose is a C-, or whatever the lowest passing grade in America is. The problem with homeschooling is that you get no grades and therefore don’t even know what the lowest passing grade in your own country is.

Anyway. I’m not thrilled with that grade, but whatever. I’m consoling myself with the fact that while I may be retarded at math, I speak better English than my English teacher. That’s valid, right? I’m just going with it.

So after Math I had double German with the Germans. This is a really horrible class because I can’t understand a single thing and yet the teacher still insists on asking me multitudes of questions. He’s constantly asking if I understand what’s going on, and I have to just say that no, no I do not.

Then he “explains” it in German and I just get more confused. And then he feels like since he just “explained” it I should obviously be completely caught up and so he makes me try to answer the next question. And then he comes over to me after class and asks me why I look irritated.

Hence my observation that teachers aren’t necessarily the brightest species known to man.

Then there was one period of English. It was a bunch of translation exercises, which I fully suck at. I’m always really frustrated when people just assume that I must love English class because I’m American.

Actually, I hate English class because, ignorants, it’s not just about the English words, I also have to know the German words.

Which I don’t. Therefore English class is just painful.

Thursday was pretty quiet. Nothing really happened except I discovered that next week we have a massive test in Religion. Glory.

Today I had one period of Math where we basically retook the test that we did last week. I think I did better on this time around. I think she was saying that she will average out the grade of both tests and that would be the final grade we would receive. She did this because basically everyone in class got a 4 or a 5 on the first test.

At least, I think that’s what she was saying.

One can never be too sure about these things.

Then we had English where one of the girls asked me if this sentence is correct: “I sitting itself my homework boring.”

Oh dear goodness.

I wasn’t actually sure what she was even trying to say, so I just told her to change it to, “I am sitting by myself with my boring homework.”

I don’t really know. So then when the teacher was asking us to tell him the sentences we had come up with, she raised her hand. He called on her and she read this sentence, “I am sitting by myself with my homework boring.”

Which, obviously, is not what I told her to say.

So the teacher looked at her and said, “Uhm. No. That’s not right.”

Clearly, this caused a problem. She looked back at me with this horrified expression and said, “But… But CLAIREiss TOLD me!”

I had to count to ten.

The teacher’s eyes got really wide and he looked back at me and said, “Callous… Is that the sentence you told her to say?”

At this point there was not a person who was not pointedly staring at me. I slowly shook my head because really, what else can you do?

I tried to explain the confusion, but it was too late. Now they just think I’m a spazz who doesn’t even speak English, even though I’m from America. I can’t summon the energy to care right now.

That was fairly stressful, especially because the teacher had the audacity to make an announcement to everyone at the end of class basically telling the whole class to ask me all their questions about English. Because I’m clearly completely able to functionally explain things to people.

Have mercy.

The icing on the cake of that period was that as I was walking to my next class I saw the boy from the field trip a few weeks ago who wouldn’t stop talking to me. He tried to strike up another conversation but I was not exactly in the mood.

I’m excited for the weekend.

Stressful Times

April 20, 2013 § Leave a comment


It’s been awhile again and I’m trying to be better about blogging but it’s the type of thing where if I don’t have a schedule it just doesn’t happen.

Anyway, on Tuesday I had an awkward moment that was just so incredibly typical for me that I was almost laughing. It just was the EXACT kind of thing that happens to me on an at least weekly basis that I just had to roll my eyes at my own self.

Basically, I had killed my foot dead, so I couldn’t participate in gym. I did try in the beginning, where we were told to run until we couldn’t anymore and then the teacher left. The crazy part is that the children actually did it and no one said, “To heck, if there’s no teacher I’m not doing this.”

I feel like this is some sort of indication about a deep cultural truth, but deep things tend to evade me so I can’t tell you.

I also ran and was very proud of myself when I lapped all the girls for the third time because they are extremely slow. I also paced the fastest boy in class for a couple of minutes. I wish I had a camera to capture the look on his face when he couldn’t pass me. It was amazing. And he wouldn’t let it go, either. He kept pushing and trying to get by me, but I’m pretty stubborn and I wore myself down keeping him behind me.

I finally got really tired and gave up, though.

I’m used to gym class with a bunch of nerdy homeschoolers in skirts though, so it’s been kind of weird for me.

Although, I shouldn’t be particularly surprised because heaven forbid anything between America and Germany be remotely similar and I feel somewhere near my comfort zone! That might allow me to relax for a fraction of a second and we simply can’t have that.

But all of this to say, I was running and my foot was really hurting so I had to sit out. I am beyond clumsy so no one was surprised to see me on the bench.

While I was sitting there one of the girls came over and gave me a hairband that she wasn’t using and since we’re not allowed to wear any jewelry she wanted me to hold it for her.

Once the class was over and we were going back to the changing rooms she asked for her hairband back (duh) and I realized that I had left it on the bench.

I had to go back and try to find it and when I finally had it I had to try to get back to the changing rooms.

Here’s the deal, people. The gym is basically this huge room with a bunch of dividers through it to make different sections of said room. Every ten feet or so there’s a door and they all lead to a different set of changing rooms and none of them are labeled and sometimes you’ll be in a changing room and you’ll come out into the gym and you’ll be in the wrong section of the gym and it’s extremely confusing. Besides the fact that we’re in a different part of the gym every week and most of the time we have to walk into a different section to find the correct door.

The biggest thing to remember here is that they are not labeled and there’s about 3 billion doors. By the time I had retrieved the hairband the girls were gone and I had no idea which door I was supposed to go through.

I started aimlessly walking trying to find the door, but after the second lap they all looked the same. I decided to just start opening doors and hoping to stumble upon the right room. The problem with this strategy is the unlabeled doors thing. A couple of the doors I randomly went through were boys’ changing rooms, but thankfully no one was in any of them.

That would have been super fun to explain, I’m sure.

I did finally find the correct changing room and was immensely relieved. I just fail to understand how I manage to always be the person who does something stupid like that.

After school I had my first guitar lesson ever, and that went pretty well. I’ve had the guitar for a while, but I haven’t had any lessons yet. I liked the teacher, and he speaks English so that’s good.

On Wednesday I took a Math test that I’m sure I failed. It was just not good. The teacher has been bugging to get a calculator, and I finally did. So far I just use it to look busy when I have no idea what’s going on.

The test was basically all stuff that I did in the fourth grade and have since then completely forgotten.

There were a couple of questions that I just couldn’t understand, even with my dictionary.

On Wednesday I had two periods of German and one of English, all three with one of my less-loved teachers who also happens to be my homeroom teacher. He takes great joy in forcing me to translate many things in front of my entire class.

Anyway, in the middle of the German class he just yelled out, “Clarice, I think this is very difficult for you.”

Now, this is a very nice sentiment and everything, but then he expects me to answer and I never know what to say. I mean, sometimes I just go, “Uhm. Yes?”

But other times I want to just say, “Well how about ‘no freaking duh?’ I mean OF COURSE it’s hard. I don’t even get this stuff in English, and I speak that language. Now go busy yourself with leaving me alone and keeping your opinions about my hardships to your own twisted self.”

But then I remember a lot of things.

  1. He is a teacher,
  2. That is disrespectful and my parents would have my head on a platter,
  3. I am a chicken and would never actually say that, and
  4. I can’t say that in German

So usually I just awkwardly nod my head and then wait for everyone to stop staring at me and turn back around. A couple of weeks ago the teacher actually had to say to one of the girls, “Celine, stop staring at Clarice and pay attention.”

This, of course, caused the entire rest of the class to stare at me even more, so that sort of backfired. I feel like they think I’m some sort of martian mutation who doesn’t know how to handle social situations and is about to spontaneously combust.

I would take extreme offense, except that it’s actually a fairly accurate assessment.

On the way home, a couple of boys came up behind me on bikes and I heard one say to the other, “Hey, watch this.”

They proceeded to pass me and jeer as they did so.

Now, I have a competitive streak that is deep inside me. This is displayed in the example of gym from above. It’s pretty deeply hidden and unless I’m in a particular mood it takes a bit to aggravate it.

The jeering was definitely enough.

I began to plan my revenge and started by letting them get far enough ahead to forget about me. I then sped up and passed them. They were pretty outraged and started to regain the lead.

I made it my life’s mission to not let them get ahead and am happy to report that they never did.

I should probably stop having races with random idiotic males, but it’s really, really hard.

On Thursday I had Religion in which the teacher informed us that there was money left over from our field trip last week and that she was going to take us out to ice cream. She then took us to a local park near a grocery store and sent two of the students alone to the grocery store to buy ice cream sandwiches for everyone.

During this time I found a lovely rock to sit on and read while simultaneously being embarrassed by my class and hoping that I was sitting far enough away from them that everybody else would think I wasn’t with them. The problem with this is that if you sit too far away, inevitably someone notices and either tells you that you’re too far away and to come back, or even worse, they make you tell them what’s wrong. This is traumatizing enough in a language that you have some command over, but in a second language it’s just impossible.

Well, clearly I was just a little too far away because one of the girls came over and made me come sit with her with the rest of my class. You would have thought I was some sort of wanted felon by the way everyone cleared out when I started walking over.

And they all wonder why I stick to rocks that are too far away to be socially acceptable. I mean, I’m sorry that I would rather read a book in peace and quiet than watch as people run like there’s a wildfire chasing them when I approach.

I don’t know, maybe I’m crazy.

While we were waiting for all of this insanity to begin, the Greek boy from the other Polish class who takes great delight in hugging me in the hallway and attempting to knock me down the stairs came over and struck up a conversation.

Apparently he has something of a reputation because one of the girls in my class who can’t stand me actually came over and asked me if I know him.

We sort of just looked at her and I wanted to be really sarcastic and say, “No, that’s why we’re talking in the hall and know each other’s names.”

But I’m trying to be more polite so I just said that yes, believe it or not we do know each other.

She then asked if we were neighbors in America, to which I also felt the urge to reply with, “Yes, we just ENJOY stumbling through German and thoroughly embarrassing ourselves in front of you all. It’s fun.”

I mean, if we were both Americans we would most definitely be speaking English.

But oh well.

Sometimes you just have to explain everything.

So I just told her that he was Greek and maybe threw in a little something about speaking English with other Americans if at all possible.

Friday was absolutely insane. The day before the Polish teacher had told us that she wasn’t going to be there and so we should go into our German classes the whole day.

Now, we all hate our German classes and so after an intense discussion with a few of the other students, we decided we would just go into the two periods that we usually do on Fridays and not the other four we were supposed to.

The trick to this is not letting the teacher find out, ’cause I’m pretty sure she would have us locked up. She’s always yelling at us about how these are our classes and we should be more excited about them and pretty soon it’s all we’ll have and so on.

She’s super encouraging and comforting.

So we, being the bad students that we are, decided to not do that and just go to two periods of school.

I actually ran it by my mother and though she was pretty skeptical, she let it slide. She has much bigger battles to fight, such as the fact that I am about as anti-social as my teachers are oblivious. Which is extremely oblivious.

I had one period one Math, in which we did a group project which was painful.

She assigned a word problem about five brothers who, between the five of them, had 107 years and you had to find the ages of all the brothers.

It was pretty dumb because honestly, who even cares about how old Hans was last year? But whatever.

The girls who were in my group got out their calculators and started figuring out percents and making charts and line graphs and all kinds of craziness.

I just assigned each brother different ages that corresponded with the facts given until it added up to the correct amount of years. It took about two minutes and when I announced that I had the answer the girl next to me wouldn’t actually believe me until she put it through her calculator.

Whatever. They’re kinda weird.

But then my answer wasn’t the same as the other groups’ answers. I wanted to ask the teacher but I’m actually beyond terrified of her so I didn’t.

Then I had English and I was forced to do about half of the translation even though I didn’t know about 60% of the words.

It was awesome.

Then the teacher went off on a whole German monologue and at the end of it all he asked me a question.

The whole class turned and looked at me and I had to just say that I had no idea what he was talking about and didn’t understand the question. He rephrased it into something that I also didn’t understand so I basically just said, “Oh. Well. Yes, probably something . . . Like that.”

I don’t even know if it was a yes or no question, but oh well.

About 7 trillion hours later the bell rang and I booked it out of there.

On the way home I passed the boys from my class and said goodbye. This prompted the shrieks and cries of, “Watch out, blind person driving! Look out!”

The group of strange German boys ahead of me found this beyond hilarious and took it as an invitation to ask for my phone number.

If I had my Dad’s number I would have given it to them and had a great story for my grandkids, but I don’t so that fell through.

Then we went to a German family’s house for lunch. We met them through a church we visited, but it turned out that they also know the English family that we’re friends with.

As we were driving up their street, I saw two boys on the sidewalk. I sort of did a double take, but I’m kind of paranoid so I ignored it. Then we passed them and hey, what do you know! It was two of the boys from my German class. One of them saw me so that will be an awesome conversation on Monday.

I had a miniature meltdown because no one should be subjected to that outside of school.

Later in the day the daughter of the family took me and my English friend to a party of a girl we had never met and it was kind of awkward. When we got there there was a girl who was laughing and talking with the rest of the girls, but as soon as we started chatting with people she walked away and wouldn’t talk to anyone.

Every time anyone went over to talk to her, they called over to me, asking for my name and then went back to talking.

She also kept shooting us looks and could barely be in the same room as us.

I think that I have some sort of extremely negative vibe that causes people to feel intense and immediate hatred towards me.

We stayed at the party for a little while and felt uncomfortable for about as long as either of us could stand and then went back to the house. As we were walking with the German girl who brought us there, she took us on a shortcut that went directly by the boy from my class’s house.

She then went over to ring the doorbell but then a dog came to the door and she decided to settle for running away and throwing stones around the general vicinity.

I have the feeling that we could be friends.

We’re actually meeting again on Monday afternoon so we’ll see how that goes.

 

A Few Tangled Thoughts which Make No Sense

April 15, 2013 § Leave a comment


Friday was sort of an interesting day in that I came home and announced that I wanted to go to the international school on Monday. Obviously, that did not happen, but I still am interested. I think what I want to do is finish the year out where I am and then go to the international school next year. I’m not totally positive, but that’s what I’m thinking.

Anyway, Friday. I had four periods with my Polish class, in which the teacher assigned us to write two sentences for each of the prepositions we were learning about. Then she looked at me and said, “But Clarice has to write three for each.”

I try to not feel anger in my heart. I really do.

Then a little later we were doing a little chant with hand motions to remember some words we were learning. We went around the room and each person had to do the chant. It was at the very end of the day and the teacher told us that we weren’t allowed to leave until each person did it. Now, everyone naturally did it as quickly as they could, including me. I was one of the last to go, and she had already passed a bunch of other people who did terribly. My hand motions were a little bit sloppy, but not too bad. Apparently though, she picked me to nit-pick that day and she made me re-do it THREE TIMES.

So that was irritating.

Then today I had the second period with my German class. It was supposed to be PoWi, but one of the girls came over and told me that we were going to have math instead.

She listed some reasons, but I didn’t actually fully understand them, so that was not super helpful for me.

I don’t like the math classroom as much because with the way the tables are arranged, someone is forced to sit next to me.

As much as I’m trying to not care if they hate me or not, and for the most part it doesn’t bother me, sometimes when I look over and see five people fighting over who has to sit a couple feet next to me, it hurts my feelings a little.

Woah. Emotion. I know.

So yeah, that was annoying, made more annoying by the fact that the assignment for the day was a GROUP PROJECT.

I’m used to being the person who does all the work because of these things called MOTIVATION and COMMON SENSE that no one except the very select have.

So what I’m trying to say is that it was odd for me to be in a group with people who were actually working together. It was kinda fun. I think this is what teachers hope will happen when they plan group projects, when in reality what they usually get is one person who does everything because mankind is incompetent and a bunch of other people who lay around and mooch A’s off of hard-working people.

Is this what real life is like?

This time around I was in a competent (if often horribly rude) group of people and we had a pretty good time with it.

They still made me do all the math problems since at some point a few minutes into the class they discovered that in the time it takes them to set up a problem in their calculators I’ve already completed three with my stone-age pencil and paper.

Today they asked me what percent 20 is of 40.

71.9386%.

Just kidding, it’s 50% for all of you out there who aren’t quite sure what you’re doing.

Honestly though, they put that through the calculator! I wanted to shake them and say, “When I was your age we didn’t even HAVE calculators! Do you know what we did?! We had to write it out on PAPER. Except not when it was ‘What percent is 20 of 40,’ because we actually knew the answer to that.”

Except I actually am their age and I don’t know how to say that in German. So probably not.

And let me just say that I’m not trying to say that they’re stupid. Their poor brains are too full of trying to remember German articles and sentence structures to leave room for much else, I’m sure.

So that was sort of an interesting class.

Then I went back to my Polish class for another two periods. While I was waiting for the class to start I saw the new girl that we have been waiting for sitting on the bench outside the immigants’ classrooms with her mom. I went over and said hi. I asked where she was from and her name and all that stuff.

She really doesn’t speak a word of German and when she heard that I’m from America she asked if we could speak English. We switched but I actually found it really difficult to remember to speak English to her!

I think it’s because I’m used to talking with Germans and only speaking English when I have absolutely no idea how to say what I need to say in German. I always feel sort of imposing when I speak English with people, so I try to switch to German whenever I can. Since the conversation was limited to how long we’ve been here and the people in our classes it was all things I’m able to say in German. My instinct is to speak it whenever I’m able because like I said, I feel uncomfortable “imposing” English on people and it drives me crazy when I’m forced to use it with non-English/Americans.

All that to say, I ended up switching to German a bunch of times, since in my twisted mind, I was being “considerate of her and speaking in a language that was easier for her.’

Except that actually, she speaks much better English than German and I was just being annoying.

About halfway through me interviewing her, I realized something. When I first came to school here, there was another really annoying immigrant class that kept coming into our classroom and trying to talk to us and also flirting with us girls a little bit.

But they were basically just really irritating and everyone was annoyed by them.

I AM THE OTHER CLASS.

I now understand where they’re coming from! They were just taking an interest. Although to be fair, they were way more aggravating than I was. Because if we didn’t understand them they laughed at us and I just tried to make her understand a different way. So there. I AM more considerate than the teenage Brazilians.

Anyway, she seems really nice and stuff.

Then the bell rang and I had to go into the classroom and it was painful. At the next break the youngest Greek boy in my class came over to me and said he had something he had to tell me. He proceeded to tell me that every time I pass him on my bike going to school, which is quite often, he yells after I’m gone, “WATCH OUT, BLIND PERSON DRIVING!” or “HANDICAPPED DRIVER!” and that everyone else (a lot of people since there’s always other kids going to school) on the sidewalk laughs at me.

And that this has been going on for about three or four months.

Then I dealt with a Bulgarian boy who was flicking me with spitballs for about forty minutes straight.

I jabbed him in the shoulder with my extremely sharp pencil. He told the teacher and I didn’t even get in trouble! It was wonderful. I love when you do something wrong and you don’t even get in trouble. It doesn’t happen that often to me, but that makes it so much sweeter when it does, I suppose.

Then the teacher took us outside and made us go around and talk about various outdoor objects together. The weather has been so beautiful lately that everyone’s trying to take advantage of it.

In fact, in the middle of the class today a Greek boy yelled out, “IT’S A MIRACLE! THE SUN IS SHINING IN GERMANY!”

The unfortunate part of this exercise was that our teacher has no concept of things that are excessively humiliating, and so she took us over to a group of students until we were standing just a couple feet away. Incidentally, one of these students was the American guy that I semi-obsessively stalk.

She then said to us, “What do you see here?”

At this point, I was hiding behind my notebook in attempt to disappear and never return.

A few awkwardly silent seconds later, one of the boys raised his hand and said, “Uhm. Students?”

“Very good! And what are they doing?”

“Well. They’re sitting. And she’s sleeping. And he’s reading. Yeah.”

Then we were permitted to leave. I ran.

Then we went to the soccer field and met another Greek boy who is friends with the Greek boys in my class. One of the Polish boys and the Greek boys maintain that the two of us are dating and will not lay off.

This led to a discussion which was, unfortunately, conducted entirely in Greek and I was therefore unable to supervise any of the things that were said about me.

One of the boys was translating for me (which was pretty decent of him, actually) and told me that the boy that I will allegedly be marrying in a few years said something along the lines of, “Of course we’re together. Why would you think anything else?”

I’m not sure if they can be trusted in their translating, but at some point in the chit-chat there was an unnatural of catcalls and laughing, so I wouldn’t be too surprised.

These are situations that are impossible enough when they are playing out in a language you speak.

Once you start throwing in Greek and Polish and German and all kinds of craziness it gets slightly complicated. I’m trying. Not super hard when it comes to the Greek and the Polish, but I’m still trying.

Then we went back into the classroom and the teacher passed out a paper informing us of an upcoming movie afternoon in which my Polish class will get together, make pizza, and watch a movie.

I’m hoping that if I beg enough my parents will not make me go and all will go well with me. I’m scared that they will instead force me to be social and I’ll be stuck watching some zombie apocalypse movie in German with Polish subtitles.

And also with people who I feel mutual irritation for.

Today I had the final two periods with my German class and it was Biology.

I got to the classroom and they had already gone in. So I knocked on the door since it’s locked from the outside and a teacher opened. It was not, however, my teacher, nor was it my class. He was fairly aggravated and snapped at me. A thousand pardons.

Since this is what happened last week as well, I decided that this is probably going to be a theme that I should educate myself upon and so I’m going to ask my class’s teacher as soon as I get the chance.

It’s sort of a shame, because it’s nice to have a couple free periods on a Monday.

Oh well. Most nice things seem to end fairly quickly.

Such as the group of people who I see just about every day tolerating me. That ended really fast.

But enough.

Let’s talk about the fact that it was about 75 degrees here today and how happy that makes me. Funnily enough, that is ending at the end of the week so it’s probably not a great example, but it’s still lovely.

It’s just amazing how some warmth and the sun can boost your happiness level by about 8,264,783 points.

I have also been deprived of almost all natural light for over a half year, so I can see an LED lightbulb and the voice in my head goes, “I have no memory of this thing. What do you call it? Light?”

I think my legs were legitimately glowing this afternoon.

Last week a Polish boy walked up to me and stabbed my shoulder with a sewing needle.

Just as a parting thought.