Monday, September 9, 2013

First Day of Classes

I woke up at six o'clock Monday morning to get ready for school.  We left the house at seven ten to drop off  Adeele at kindergarten, and then we went to Miina Härma to drop me off. Aksel wasn't with  us because it was his first day of school and he didn't have to go in until eleven.

I brought only a notebook, pen, and pencil because I didn't know what the policy was on bags. When I walked in the door, I followed the steady stream of people down into the coat room and looked for my class's. Thankfully there was someone there who I had met the day before there who told me which it was. I left my coat there and then headed upstairs to find my first class. I met up with the other exchange students in front of the classroom and we hung out for a little while until it was time to go in.

I ended up in the back of the room, next to Erick. The teacher came in and class started. The girls in front of us lent us on of their math books so we could follow along and try to do the math. I had thought that we would have an easy day of going over what we would be covering that year or reviewing what was learned last year, but instead we plunged headlong into the subject. Erick and I muddled along and the teacher came over frequently to check on our progress, or to explain the objective in her inexpert grasp of English. She is a wonderful teacher, "normal" (cool) as one girl told us. We found that she laughed a lot and were told that she laughs more and more as tests get closer.

After an hour and a half, we were finally done with Maths, and went upstairs for Physics. There was a rush to choose seats for Physics and I ended up next to Clara, the YFU exchange student from Germany. In this class too, we jumped headlong into the subject, but there was no point of familiarity for me in this one. The teacher spoke a mile a minute in rapid fire Estonian and scribbled diagrams and labels frantically across the board in the hasty scrawl that seems to be the hallmark of science teachers everywhere. I understood not a single thing.

After Physics one girl was nice enough to show us the library where we could get textbooks for math and physics, but the line was too long so we went off to English class. Each of us was in a different room. I was in room 212. The teacher was very cool and employed sarcasm in a quite humorous way. She did, however, have everyone in the room ask me a question in English, which I then had to answer.

After English I met severally other exchange students in the library and two got all their needed books and us other two just managed to get math books from the grouchy librarian. Then we met the fifth of us in room 119 for Estonian class. There were just five of us so it ended up being a rather informal class. That day all we did was drew abstract representations of things that define us and then the others had to guess what they signified. No one was particularly good at guessing, especially Erick. We also had to introduce ourselves in Estonian.

After that class it was the end of the day, so we went back to the library and those of us that needed books were able to get them. Then I had to call my mother, but it took me ten minutes, frustrated growling at the phone and competent help from Erick to get the phone to turn on. Once I called, I then got my coat and waited outside for her.

We had lunch, then went back to her office and I hung out in the basement for three hours watching crime television, before it was time for the Rotary meeting.

We went to the restaurant where it was being held and had dinner at two packed tables with the other Rotarians, before getting tea and heading upstairs to where the actual meeting part was being held. During the course of this, I noticed one lady who had my kind of dress sense. She was wearing a colorful long shirt with Chinese ties, and she was, according to my mother, an architect.

The meeting itself was very long and dull, since I couldn't understand anything at all really. There were papers constantly circling around for Rotarians to sign themselves up for things. I also entered myself into a photography competition that I still don't know the rules of. That's what I got out of the meeting really, but it was still a bit interesting, if only for the fashion.


  1. Molly thinking about you and trying to learn physics in a foreign language. Shelley

  2. Dad and I sure got a chuckle out of your blog. Good luck with the physics!

  3. Relax, it's not like first-year physics is generally hard or anything. For me, the first couple of months were all about applying equations that I probably could have figured out anyway. I assume it's still algebra-based physics?

  4. It's not first year Physics. Everyone else has been learning it for three of four years.