Out with the anticipation of school, and in with the confusion of it all. It astounds me how different school here is to school back in Jersey! First of all, our schedules change everyday. Some days we even have to go in an hour early and Friday we have and extra class at the end of the day, so we stay until 3:30. I can’t keep it straight!

I have two choices when it comes to transportation to school: a 20-minute walk with a 15 lb backpack (uphill) or a crowded metro trip. That’s right- no big yellow school busses here- just me and my constantly, dirty-city feet. At least the walking compensates for the all bread we eat . . . at breakfast, lunch, AND dinner. But anyway, the point is that here you have to make an actual effort to end up in a place you inevitably dread.

By the time I get to school, I’m usually sweaty and flustered from running up and down stairs to catch my metro. Then, I’m in the same classroom all day with the same 37 students. I haven’t decided if I prefer this or the way they do it in the US (the whole chaotic process of switching classrooms- so basically running around the school like a chicken with its head cut off). For now, I think the way things are now is best for somebody as green as I am.

I don’t think my teachers understand the word ”nada”. I made sure they were all aware that I am an exchange student and, at the rate they’re speaking (light speed), I understand almost nothing. But they proceed to speak to me like that and then look surprised when I tell them over and over I have no idea what they’re saying. Ugh!

During the school day we technically only get one 20minute break for snacks and what not- but I have three! The “recreo”, and two English classes! For those periods, I feel like I can actually breath. That’s is until its time to defend America against the stereotypes of one teacher and for the other to lecture me on the differences between British and American English- basically that they add an extra “u” in some words. They would be my least favorite classes except for the fact that I’m not totally lost. I can handle a few rude comments . . . as long as they’re in English.

The good thing is I’m finally making friends! In the beginning, I thought they were all rude because they didn’t even acknowledge me, but now I realize its because they thought I was Spanish. After the first English class- when I volunteered to go up to the board and write as the teacher dictated and figured out that I was fluent and from the US- they all had so many questions. Where am I from? Why Spain? And my favorite: Is America beautiful?

Once I let leak that I am from New Jersey- well you can guess what they asked about then. Jersey Shore, of course. I guess we’ll never get rid of that horrible representation, not even outside of our country. But hey, it helped me make friends. Lately, I’ve felt like I’m in kindergarten- if only sharing my Goldfish would work here . . .

-Bella