On Tuesday I went back to school and joined a grade 11 class, or also known as 3 Medio. Already having graduated high school in Canada it was a little weird to think that I will be going to school with kids a year younger than I am, and oddly I wasn't nervous at all to start at a new school where I don't know the language. But all the students in my class and the teachers were so welcoming, they even had a little party for me during Math class - although I didn't realize it was for me until the end! School is really, really different from Canada.
First of all I now wear a uniform, something I have never done throughout 13 years of public school. On the first day we started off with English, we just read over some irregular verbs and I corrected pronunciation while everyone in the class did their own thing. Then we had Math/a party and then a church service/powerpoint presentation on evolution. Sometimes I understand the topics my class should be talking about like same-sex marriage/adoption and evolution vs. creation, or even some biology and anthropology since I've already learned about it. I really wish that I could understand and speak the language because I want to give my opinion as well. Another thing I'm not used to is breaks in between classes, again in Canada we had 5 minutes to get to each class and then one hour for lunch, and here it's like having recess again multiple times and I never know when! In the afternoon we had other classes like Linguaje (Spanish), and I can't really remember the others now because..., well..., I don't really do anything in the class, I just try to understand and communicate with my classmates! Another difference which is so surprising to me is how relaxed and lax school is. Everyone is always talking, walking around, changing seats, answering cell phone calls, just doing whatever and the teacher doesn't care. It's quite funny and makes for good entertainment and fun for me because everyone tries to ask me questions and I either try to respond in broken Spanglish, say "yo no se" or "no entiendo", or look for help from the few students in my class that know some English. Some of the most popular questions that I've been asked are "do you have a pololo? (boyfriend)", "what kind of music do you like?", "what sports do you play?", the usual teenager stuff but its hard to respond when you have to explain obscure sports like cheerleading and field hockey. I've also had a lot of compliments on my eyes and hair and I'm now used to having my hair being touched randomly, it's really weird standing out so much at school but again it doesn't bother me as much as standing out on the metro.
Speaking of the metro I rode it by myself for the first time today! Ok, it may have just been to the next stop over but still... I did it! Three girls from my class thought I wasn't going to be able to do it so they walked into the metro with me and made sure I went to the ride side - so sweet! I met up with a friend and we went to the big mall again and went ice skating. Something I never thought I would do in Chile, and may not do again. I swear the ice wasn't "Zamboni-ed" in a few days and the skates made you slip all over the ice, but since I'm Canadian and all, I was one of the best skaters there, not bragging or anything.
I'll be posting pictures soon of my uniform, I still don't have my falda (skirt) yet and I've been wearing my "gangster-chic" gym uniform, baggy comfy sweatpants and all!