A fresh blog and a messy picture

Tada! New Year, new blog!

My intention with this little impromptu overhaul was simply to make my site more easily navigated. I was constantly getting frustrated by the lack of an archive and bio panel, like the one now to the side, as well the inability to see visibly how posts are organized. I was getting confused and it’s my blog! I know all the little ins and outs and how to find things, so I can only imagine how difficult it was for others to find archives, recent posts and even a simple search bar. I hope this update has made it easier!

The other reason was because I wanted a cleaner, more professional look. I was getting a little tired of the yellow graphic at the top of the page and this theme allows me to have the focus on content and not unnecessary clutter.

It’s still not perfect, but I’m liking it at the moment. I hope you do too! This blog is always changing and evolving as I learn how to use the site better and figure out what I want it to look like. Thanks for bearing with me!

Lastly, a quick note about the photo I’ve chosen as the header. For the longest time, I’ve had a shot there of myself sitting on a wall in Lausanne, Switzerland looking out over the water and the mountains. I LOVE that picture, I really do. That day is such a sweet memory and it reminds me to keep looking forward to new adventures. With my new theme however, I could’t get it to fit quite right and I took it as a sign to try something new. After an annoyingly long time, I finally chose this one.

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It’s from a train trip Amen and I took in Interlaken. Again, a wonderful adventure and fond memory. But that’s not why I chose the picture. I picked it because it’s far from perfect. There are wires everywhere disrupting the view. Amen was calling for me to hurry up and the train was actually in motion when I snapped it. It was cloudy and there are several safety signs making an appearance; not exactly photography gold. Let’s be real, it’s not a great shot. But there’s something about it that screams adventure to me. It’s real. It’s motion and blue sky and messy composition.

It’s adventure. Sam’s Grand Adventure. A name chosen because it sounded regal and, in my humble opinion, rather epic. Grand adventures don’t have to be sailing seas in high winds and climbing mountains with good friends (although that does sound exciting). Grand adventures are long and have many ups and downs. They are chasing trains and finding dusty books in old stores. They are laughing over tea until you have tears in your eyes and worrying about what you want to be when you grow up. Life, life is a grand adventure. And that picture up there, is just one example of how messily perfect grand adventures can be.

I hope you like the new layout. I really wasn’t intending this post to be more than a few words but then again, sometimes words seem to spill out of my fingertips like they have a mind of their own. Maybe I’ve been reading too much Lord of the Rings and have my brain all tangled up in what it must be like to set out on an epic adventure.

Until next time,

-Sam

Late Night Thoughts and Thanks

One last Sunday afternoon roadtrip
One last Sunday afternoon roadtrip

To the teenage boy I saw full out singing along to the radio on the highway today, who smiled and waved and kept singing when he caught me staring, thank you. You made my day a little bit brighter. I think we all might be happier if we were that carefree. And you made me think of this video

Thanks to Amen for making me smile by trying to plan a surprise party that fell apart at the last minute. I know you felt terrible because you wanted my last free day to be great. It was anyway. You’re absolutely the sweetest and I can’t believe we have to say good-bye soon. You’ve made my exchange absolutely incredible.

Thanks to my host dad for saving the day and taking us for one last road trip and picnic today. You are always doing things for other people.

Thanks to my host mom for making packing just a little bit easier and not making me do it all alone. You’ve made me feel so at home these last few months

Best host family ever!
Best host family ever!

To my Marmee, thanks for getting my room ready for me to come home and just for being great, you’re the best. I can’t wait to hug you when I get home.

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To my Daddy, I couldn’t find any recent pictures of us but I wanted to thank you for giving me diverse interests and adventures growing up. Because of you I enjoyed museums and train rides here more than the average kid haha. Oh and thanks for holding shopping bags for us girls 🙂

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Mallory, my little sister, expect a running tackle hug when I get home. I’ve missed you more than anyone

My non-twin twin <3
My non-twin twin ❤

To my amazing friends who have keep me in touch with life back home and made sure I knew how much I was missed, seeing you all is one of the only things making leaving Switzerland less sad. To the other exchange students, it was amazing to always have someone to talk to who understood what I was experiencing. It was so much fun laughing and bonding over all our #exchangestudentproblems. And to the friends I’ve made here, you will never be forgotten. Thanks for not laughing at me when I couldn’t say what I wanted to say and making me feel welcome.

 

Thanks to the ladies in city centre giving out “free hugs”. You made a lot of people laugh and smile

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And to God for making such an incredible, diverse world and letting me experience it. I handed this whole experience over to You back in August trusting that You would work it out and You did. Thank you for your faithfulness. Because of You I never felt lonely.

He is an amazing artist
He is an amazing artist

So many people in my life that I’m so grateful for, I’m lucky to be so blessed. Tonight I finished packing to go home and I was really sad but I decided to look at the good rather than the bad. I couldn’t sleep so I decided to write and this is what I ended up with.

 

 

 

Happy

I know, I know, I just posted a blog this morning! But I don’t want to forget today because it was a particularly good one 🙂

As I had mentioned, it was a day off school and Amen and I had quite a few plans. This morning we got up and we (read I hehe) made fudge which turned out quite well and then in the afternoon we went to the Salon des Livres which is basically a huge book expo, right up my alley as I’m sure many of you know. It was cool to see Sarah and meet Oriane who I had heard lots about as well as meet their friend Lino who I must say was a very good sport as he doesn’t speak English and we were flipping into it a ton. So hi guys if you’re reading this! Anyway, it was a really fun afternoon and this is me and Sarah with a Canadian flag we found!

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AND THEN. Tonight Amen and I met up with Olivia and Louisa and went to the Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye show and it was just absolutely amazing! Although it’s kind of bizarre seeing people you know through Youtube perform live peoms you know so well. Olivia and I knew almost every one and we were sooooo excited to get to meet Phil and Sarah afterwards. The show was really last minute which meant it was pretty small and I felt really lucky to have gotten to go! I also can’t wait to start reading my signed copy of Sarah’s book “No Matter the Wreckage”. Also, very tempted to retry my hand at poetry, something I haven’t done in forever. The whole spoken word thing really appeals to my inner drama kid heheh.

Also today I found out through another blog I follow about the 100 Days of Happy Challenge! I’ve seen some hashtags mentioning it on Instagram but wasn’t really sure what it was all about. Basically it’s a project meant to encourage more people to see the good in their everyday lives and notice the small things that make them happy. Each day for a hundred days, you take a picture of something that makes you happy. It can even be something small like your morning coffee or seeing a friend. Anything you like! And then if you make it all hundred days, you get a little book with all your pictures in it which is pretty cool! So I’ve decided to try it starting tomorrow because hey, I like smiling and if I can find more joy in the world, why not? If you want to check it out, the link is below, have a lovely day 🙂

100 Happy Days

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Where’s The Pause Button??

Zermatt 191 Do you ever just wish you had a remote that you could use to fast forward or rewind or pause time? That’s what I’ve been feeling lately. Somehow, I feel like the last ten weeks have absolutely flown by and I can hardly believe that I only have…hang on I’ll check…5 days, 9 hours and 6 minutes left until I will be at the airport and heading back to Canada, back to my own bed, and my puppies and my family and my friends and everything I’ve missed. As excited as I am to see everyone, on the other hand I am kind of tempted to hide out in the mountains so I don’t have to leave (I’m channelling Elsa, I won’t goooo, I won’t goooo hehehe) tumblr_inline_mz93wv1FgP1qz65iu As my exchange is starting to come to an end, it’s becoming very bittersweet. I’ve come to love this country and the language and my host family and I am going to miss it soooo much! Yet I also feel like I’m ready to go home. If I was here for longer I’m sure I would love it and be fine but I’m so excited to get back to life, especially because I have so much to look forward to in the next little while! Overflow is a week and a half after I get home, I’m stoked to see my friends in FAME at the end of the month, I’ll have tons of homework to catch up on and then I’m be spending my first summer as staff at one of my favourite places on earth, Kitchi! Which, I made sure to rock my Kitchi sweater in the mountains! So even though one adventure is coming to a close I have lots to still look forward to!

Just call me Heidi #booknerd
Just call me Heidi #booknerd

Buttttt it isn’t over just yet and I plan on enjoying every last second! And I had a wonderful week last week so I’ll fill you in on that! So last week was a week of vacation for Easter and on Monday we went to Zurmatt for a day/night which was totally awesome. We drove to the foot of the mountain and then took a train up to the village because cars are forbidden there which was kind of cool. We stayed in a really cute little hotel with a view of the mountains and went hiking and ate fondue and it was kind of my one little trip of super stereotypical Swizerland.

Eating fondue for the first time in the mountains
Eating fondue for the first time in the mountains

The Tuesday we took another train up to the very top of the mountain and then hiked most of the way down. Amen and I had a lot of fun taking pictures, rolling down the hill and trying to push each other in the snow! It was really surreal though. Like I was just wandering through the Swiss Alps on a Tuesday afternoon and on one side I could see the Matterhorn (AKA the Toblerone mountain) and the mountains on the other side were Italy. LIke how is this my life?? Honestly though, this trip has made me realize how badly I want to travel. Not just week long trips where you stay in a hotel and go on excursions with 100 other tourists. I want to take a backpack and go explore and speak to people in their native languages even if I look like a fool and get lost in cities I don’t know and make new friends and see the real world. I don’t know. Just a thought I remember having when we were hiking. It was sort of, “Wow, I need to see more of what this earth has to offer. This HAS to be just the beginning”

Wednesday we were back in Geneva and it was a beautiful, warm, sunny day! We ended up at this massive park with walking trails with a bunch of friends and crashing the picnic of some more friends and playing volleyball and cards all afternoon which was lovely. The only semi bad part about the day was that I almost got into trouble with the Transport police but used my Canadian charm and my bad French accent to talk my way out of it 😉 #crisisaverted

The park empty at the end of the day
The park empty at the end of the day

Thursday and Friday were pretty low-key and kind of rainy so we just hung around and didn’t do much. And then on Saturday I went out with my friend Grace, another Canadian exchange student and we just walked around and chatted, went on a terrifying carnival ride and basically caught up. It’s cool having other people like Grace and my friend Emma whom I’ve mentioned before who are going through the same exchange experience and can relate and understand all the weird ins and outs and ups and downs! Speaking of other exchange students, tomorrow, Thursday, Amen and I are going to be meeting up with two other pairs of exchange students tomorrow for two different events. Although I was back to school this week, tomorrow is a Swiss holiday (not exactly sure for what to be honest) and school is closed. In the morning Amen and I are planning on making fudge, in the afternoon meeting up with Sarah and Oriane  and in the evening with Olivia and Louisa to see a Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye spoken word poetry show. Which is not as lame as it sounds, I promise and I am super excited! If you’ve never heard of them, you should check out this video.

So, that’s about it. I also visited the Transport musuem in Luzern and had had to start saying goodbye to people here which sucks! Overall, I had a great vacation and am trying to make the most of my last Suisse week! Here are a few photos to leave you off with from my walk to today as I’ve started saying goodbye to my favourite places as well.

That’s all folks! Thanks again for checking out my blog. Also, pretty much totally unrelated, I’ve started thinking about some ideas for what to write about after my trip is all over and done because I’m really liking blogging and I think I’ve got some ideas so stay tuned 🙂

I’m Not Dead And Neither Is Jesus

I’m back! Hellllo everyone! It’s been a while, I know and I’m sorry. I’ve been a horrible blogger lately and an even worse journal keeper…opps. I know that I’m hurting myself more than anyone else since I really want to remember as much of this trip as possible but it’s difficult between school, weekend adventures and all kinds of other fun stuff. Also, I just wanted to mention, Happy Easter! As you can see from the title, not only am I back, today so is Jesus! His return is  a billion times more amazing than mine and today I am grateful to have a Saviour who loves me as much as Jesus does. Hope you all had a great day with your families and whether you are religious or not, are grateful for the things you’ve been blessed with.

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 “For you have been my hope O Lord, my confidence since my youth” – Psalm 71:5

That all being said, here’s what I’ve been up to! If this is random, choppy or weird I apologize. It’s late, I’m tired and trying to recall these things from a while back!

Two weekends ago I went to a chocolate festival on the Saturday and on the Sunday I visited a  town called Interlaken and took a train ride through the mountains! Also, I am obsessed with The Voice France and if Team Mika doesn’t win, I’m gonna be rattled. That is my every Saturday night. The train ride was seriously so cool and I got some of the best pictures this trip. Amen and I made an attempt at a vlog but it’s literally just me asking her “Et maintenent ou allons nous?” or “Ou sommes nous?” like 20 times, not interesting at all. So these photos will have to do! Overall, it was a fantastic day and I love mountains.

I’m going to tell you everything I do during the school because, to be honest, it’s really not all that interesting! I go to school, just like in Canada and in the afternoons, I work or play on the Internet or go for walks. One interesting thing though was that I went out for dinner this past week with my English class which was fun. I’ve got to say, they are probably the most interesting group of people I’ve met. Between 10 of us, I think there were 12 different languages that could be spoken by at least one person? And also just very nice, friendly, funny people so that was fun.

Last weekend I went to a party with Amen for one of her best friend’s birthday which was interesting to say the least…I think I’ll leave it at that. I also just hung out and read. I’ve finished the first Harry Potter and am well into the sixth….don’t ask why number six, I don’t know. Then on Sunday we went to a pretty little town in France and wandered around for a while. There was a castle and a beautiful lake so I loveeeed taking pictures there even though it was sort of cloudy and rainy. Here are a few (or as many as I can manage to whittle it down to hehe) of my favourites. The first few are actually from a walk I went on!

So that just about catches you up, I am now on vacation for a week for Easter which I am very excited about! Tomorrow we are going to Zermatt for one night which is like the most famous mountain in Switzerland which I’m excited about! We might go skiing or we might just explore, we’re going to play it by ear! Hopefully this super long post didn’t bore you. Oh and one more thing (plus a few more pictures) I went and got a closer look at the famous water jet so those are the pictures. On a bit of a side note, I’ve noticed my French is steadily improving which is awesommmme. It’s not as good as I wish it was but it’s coming more naturally now and I’m catching my own mistakes before other people correct me. I’m not sure if I can call myself fluent since my grammer is still terrible but I can communicate…it’s a work in progress. Au revoir for now!

I Found My New Favourite City

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Château Chillion

I think I’m jealous of my own life. Is that possible? I’m not sure exactly how to explain it but it’s like today was so wonderful that I’m jealous of my former self. I can’t go back and live today again so I’m jealous of myself today. I have no idea if that makes any sense at all but it’s not a bad feeling. You know you’re doing life the right way when you wish you could redo your day right? Looking through all these pictures makes me want to rewind!

So today I went with my host parents (Amen had to stay home and study again *sad face*) to a town called Montreux. which is on the edge of Lake Geneva and faces a group of mountains. It’s absolutely breathtaking. I’ve passed it on my way to other places at least 3 times now, to and from Berne, to and from Zurich, to and from Sion. And every single time I’ve had the same thought; I have to go there before I leave. Today was finally that day and it was even better than I imagined. It’s the first place that I’ve been able to see myself living so clearly. All day I was thinking “I want to live here one day. I can see myself living here.” That and “Holy cow I’m blessed. Is this real life?” Haha, it’s an adorable little town and I loved it. Apparently it has an amazing jazz fest in the fall too. It’s probably one of my favourite places I’ve visited right up there with Dublin and Old Quebec City. One day, even if I don’t get to live there, I want to visit again 🙂

There’s also a famous château called Chillon right on the water that I went and walked around in with Laye. It’s amazingly well preserved and you actually feel like you’re in past. The best was the incredible views of the lake and the mountains you got when you climbed to the top of the tower! We also had a picnic lunch by the lake and then drove to the next town over, Vevey which (fun fact) is where Charlie Chaplin died! I know, I should let other people tell me they’re fun. If you didn’t get that reference, we can’t be friends sorry. Just kidding! 😉

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Me and my good friend Charlie

 

In Vevey we walked along the water front some more, visited the Food Musuem (yes, that is actually a thing) and competed in the fork contest. There is a giant fork in the lake and you had to take a picture with it…here’s mine.

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So anyway, that was my lovely day. I hope you all a had a lovely day too. I took a lot of pictures but I’ve figured out this fancy new way to display my pictures in a pretty gallery so I hope you enjoy them! If you click through, you can see the captions I’ve set for some them. Montreux and Vevey were both incredibly picturesque and worthy of having lots of pictures taken! There are also a few from yesterday when I went for a horseback ride at a farm and for a walk downtown to take typical touristy pics with the famous Geneva fountain! That’s all for now, school tomorrow which I don’t  think is something to be jealous of! But hey, make the most of everyday right? 🙂

Spring in Suisse

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Normally, I would say spring is my least favourite season. I might even go as far as to say I hate it. But Canadian spring is not like it is here. In Canada, spring is wet and muddy and cold and gray. The snow melts and then we get more. And then you start to see grass and the next morning it’s covered in frost. We kind of skip over any kind of nice springtime and head straight to summer by the time the weather warms up. Spring here in Switzerland is the kind of spring Canadians dream of. It’s warm (most days at least) and sunny and you can see the regrowth everywhere. It’s fresh, it’s full of new life and it just makes you happy because everywhere you turn there are flowers blooming and trees budding and literally birds singing all the time. Walking to school is like walking through a rainbow, the blue sky, the green grass and trees and flowers in yellow, purple, pink, orange and white. Add in the mountains in the background and the old looking houses with iron gates and I feel like I’m in a fairytale. All. The. Time. Nope, actually scratch that, Heidi. I feel like I’m in Heidi. I’ve always associated mountains with that story. #BookwormProblems (By the way if you haven’t read Heidi, go read it. It’s by Johanna Spyri and it’s a classic, wonderful book)

Suffis to say, the weather has been amazing and I’ve spent countless hours reading out on the back porch (in French of course!) and going for long walks in the sunshine. Even this weekend when it rained I didn’t really mind because spring rain is a special kind of rain which much to Amen’s chagrin, I love! The sound of it hitting the ground and the roof, the warm earthy smell, the warm, humid air after it stops is just wonderful. And again, much to the shock of my host family I went for a walk, in the rain. I can’t explain exactly why  I love it but it’s like the earth is getting refreshed and I am too you know? I’m not sure if that even makes sense. Overall, what I’m trying to say is that I’m loving spring.

Image The view from the balcony

This weekend I went to the Geneva Museum of Natural History with Amen and the did a little bit of shopping on Saturday. On Sunday I went to the Botanical Gardens which were amazing. I only got to see part of them so I am definitely hoping to go back. I took so many pictures! Also today, I went for a run/power walk which I know will be a shock for everyone who knows how lazy I am. But seriously, with a view like this, how can you complain?

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Believe or not, this is right in the middle of Geneva, the second largest city in the country. I discovered it completely by luck, walking straight out of a residential area into what appears to be the middle of nowhere!

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So, to sum it all up, it’s been a good week. Here are some of my favourite pictures. I hope you’re having a lovely day, until next time my friends 🙂

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Museum of Natural History

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Central Park and Botanical Gardens 

 

20 Differences Between School in Canada and Switzerland

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Hello everyone! Today I am writing about all the things I’ve noticed that are different about high school ( or collège ) in Switzerland than they are in Canada. I’m obviously not going to explain the entire schooling system because it’s very different from ours and a bit complicated (it’s taken me this long to get it all straight) but there are some very obvious dfferences! Sorry if it’s pretty random, I’m just writing them as I remember. Also, none of these things are meant to be negative. Different doesn’t mean better or worse,  just…different! 🙂

1. Number one is the reason I’m sitting in my bedroom on a Thursday morning at 11 am writing this blog post! Forget supply teachers, if a teacher is sick, class is cancelled and the students are free to study in the library, go home or really do whatever they want. No French class for me today!

2. So that last sentence was a lie, I actually have FOUR hours of French on Thursdays so I only got out of two. Why only on Thursdays? Because in Switzerland, your “program” changes everyday. Unlike in Canada where (if you go to a semester school like me) you have 4 classes at the same time everyday for 5 months, in Switzerland, you have different classes everyday of the week! It can be pretty confusing. For example, On Mondays I have art, history, French and English. Then I’m done with art and history for the week! Thursdays to contrast are English, French, Gym and French. (I have French almost everyday “yay”)

3. HALF DAY WEDNESDAYS. The absolute best thing about school here. At 11:30 on Wednesday, school is over and all the students are freeeee! It’s actually great because it’s like you start school on Monday and then it’s only two days until Wednesday. and after Wednesday, it’s only two days until the weekend! It make the school week that much more bearable.

4. Long hours. Enough said. No thank you, I would like to finish school before 4:30 in the afternoon. However, because of the changing programs, you can sometimes get out at 2:30, or not start until 10. My program however sucks and I don’t get any of that. I just love having more classes than my exchange partner! *not*

5. The actual school itself. Obviously not all schools are the same here or in Canada, so this is a direct comparison between JOA and Saussure. My collège here is pretty strange for me. Basically, if you disconnected all the hallways in JOA and stacked them on on top of the other, stuck the cafeteria underneath and the gym underground, you would have an idea of what Saussure is like. It is in total, 8 stories high and you can take the stairs or use the student elevators (just don’t use the teacher one by accident like I did, oops!) There are 4 gyms, and the library takes up most of the 3rd floor. It’s very different and easy to forget what floor you are on as they all look very much the same.

6. Gym class is taken so much more seriously here. Like I’ve been climbing ropes, doing handstands off a meter high board, flips, and balance beams and swinging on loops hanging from the ceiling. Cause we’re all gymnasts right? Also, it’s obligatory for all four years of school. Here are some pictures of my class.

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6. Speaking of obligatory, the kids here basically have no choice in what classes they take. You choose between German, Art or Music and you can pick Spanish or Italian. That’s really the extent of it. Enjoy chem, physics, math, english, french, geography, history etc for all four years. Collège itself however isn’t mandatory however and you have to have certain grades to get into high school. Otherwise, you can go straight into the workforce, get an apprenticeship etc.

7. You start/finish school one year later. I’m in a third year English class and they are all 17 and 18 (as opposed to 16/17 year old gr. 11’s in Canada)

8. You are with the same class all day, everyday. While the program changes everyday, the kids in your classes do not. With the few exceptions of art or Spanish (one of the few options) you are with the same group of students for every class for the entire year, much like elementry school. This makes catching up if you’re away easier I guess but if you aren’t in the same class as your friends it could be pretty sucky. There’s also the issue of gender imbalance as Amen’s class has only three guys in it and her friend’s has only 3 girls…who made these classes???

9. The marking system is odd as well. No precentages, you get a “note” between 1 and 6. Why 6? I have no idea. But you can only get a whole number or a half number. For example, you can get a 4 or a 4.5 not like a 4.8 or something. Strange but I guess it works for them. Oh and there’s no credits so you either pass or fail the entire year. About 40% of students repeat the last year at least once!

10. I know I already said gym was super serious, but honestly all the classes are. These kids do homework all night, every night, the workload is seriously crazy. If I ever hear anyone at JOA complain again…

11. Teachers are way more respected and have a lot more…authority I guess you would say. You would never talk back to a teacher here. All the kids sit quietly and listen and don’t talk in class. If you are talking, the teacher can just tell you to get out, I’ve seen it happen. In Canada, a lot of us (depending on the teacher obviously) are almost friends with the teachers, you can joke around with some of them and have fun in the class. There is definitely none of that here. It’s really strange. The only teacher I’ve meet here even close to acting like a teacher back home is my English teacher who I really like. The rest are very…cold I guess is a good way to put it towards the students and the students treat them extremely respectfully. Teachers show up 5- 10 minutes late all the time too and the class just waits but if you are late, the prof doesn’t have to let you in. Also, my French teacher looks exactly like John from Lost. That is all.

12. This is pretty irrelevant but they don’t really ever use lined paper. It’s all graph paper. And it (the binders) have only two holes, close together in the middle. As I said, irrelevant but still something I noticed.

13. Almost everyone smokes. I hate it. But there are little balconies on either side of the building on every floor specifically for that. It’s also legal to smoke and drink at 16, just thought I’d add that. But you have to be 18 to drive so haha!

14. No lockers. There are a few but they are less then a square foot and you have to pay to use them.

15. Because there are no lockers as mentioned, the walls are bare (okay not bare, they’re actually covered in student paintings which is cool) and so everyone just sits down in the hall. People walking just step over/around. It’s completely normal for an entire class to just be chilling on the floor outside the class.

16. “Poses”. I love this. Halfway through class, a bell rings and everyone gets up and leaves for a few minutes to get a drink, use the bathroom etc. It’s great because you get a nice little break. However, because of that, you can’t ask to leave in class for anything, you have to wait for the pose. AND THE BELL IS LIKE IN GREASE. Sorry, side note. The bell is like ding, ding, ding! Just like in the movie Grease when the principal wanted to make an announcement! Anyway, I like that.

17. No uniform! This only applies for Canadian Catholics school kids like me but is still awesome enough to mention!

18. The caf sells fresh pastries. Enough said #painauchocolate

19. PDA is over the top. Ew.

20. And finallllly. Everything is in French! Shocker! Sorry, I just didn’t want to have an uneven number of facts :p

So that’s about all I can think of for the moment, although I’m sure I’m missing some. Some of these differences are big and some of them aren’t, some are probably specific for JOA or Saussure and some could probably relate to every exchange student. Overall, school here has a very different atmosphere. Much more serious and in some ways I think students here have less freedom than back home. I know this was a longgggg post and some of it probably wasn’t very interesting…and no pretty pictures, sorry ’bout that! I’m still new to this blogging thing! Hopefully you made it that far and are left feeling grateful for the education you got/are getting because that’s what being here has made me! While I really like being here and school is interesting for a few months, I miss JOA and have come to appreciate the school system back home a lot. We have a lot of choice and are more allowed to be individuals.

Anyway, that’s the end! I’ve got to get back for gym class soon, pray I don’t break anything! Also shoutout to my sister for being awesome! If you’re reading this, I miss and love you a lot Mal! Have been thinking about you today and how proud I am to call you my little sis! Can’t wait to get back to our Thursday night sister dates, annoying each other, talking about life and forcing you to hug me 🙂

Hope everyone has a great day today 🙂

P.S. I’m reading Harry Potter en fracais and am rattled by the fact that “Hogwarts” has been changed to “Poudlard” Not impressed translator man, not impressed

Today, I Fell Down A Mountain

Salut! Wow, these last two weeks have absolutely flown by, I’ve been super busy. Not even busy per say, more just settled into life I guess which is always busy. There have been however several occasions that probably called for their own blog post but I’ve just been lazy/unmotivated/otherwise occupied to write. So here it is! The summery of the last two weeks, abridged! (And then you can laugh at today’s embarrassing story)

First was my birthday on the fifth. One of the best things about my birthday was that even though I wasn’t at home, I had a bundle of letters and cards to read through from some of my friends and family which made it extra special! Thank to Mom, Dad, Auntie Susie, the Quinns, Moriah and Victoria, you guys rock! I also came home after school (half day Wednesdays are amazinggg) to a special lunch and presents from my host family! 🙂 Skype with some family back home and lots of Facebook messages made it an overall great day! Seventeen and still can’t drive hehe #SamProblems. Then again, I AM in Switzerland, not a #SamProblem There was also a joint birthday picnic by the river for me and Yandira on the Saturday which was lots and lots of fun.

On another note, can we just quickly address the fact the BAGELS DON’T EXIST IN EUROPE. Personally, I think that’s a tragedy so I made some for my host family, they were both confused and amazed and wanted to know why I was boiling bread and putting holes in perfectly good rolls. Now however, they love them and I have a feeling I’ll be baking them again soon! (Also, you can buy yeast in a gas station in Europe)

I also went on yet another adventure this week, by train and with a bunch of people who, for once, speak English! Woo! Who you may be asking? The other exchange students of course! Wow, that last sentence sounds way lamer than I thought it was going to but I’m leaving it in anyway wanna know why? It’s my blog and I can sound lame if I wanna, lame if I wanna. Okay, sorry. Please don’t leave and never come back. I’m getting to the funny story about my public humilation soon, I promise. So right, Bern! Or Berne, depending on if you speak French or German. Which for the record is a very interesting sounding language.

I got to meet up with a bunch of the people I had met on the flight, SPEAK ENGLISH for a whole day (!) and basically catch up on everyone’s experiences while touring the Capitol City of Switzerland. Combine that with getting to miss school for the day and you get a good trip. I feel bad for everyone else who was in our train car because a bunch of kids who have been barely able to communicate for weeks are VERY loud. We all were talking over each other and yelling every time someone said something relate able! There was also a Harry Potter incident that resulted in tears…

To sum that day up, English, friendship, laughter, cathedral, museum, more laughter, more English, shopping, Toblorone McFlurries, bread, annnnnd to all of you who wanted to be mentioned, Sarah, Olivia, Grace, Michael, Owen, Alex, Chelsea, Eva, Valerie, Tori, uhhh yep think that’s everyone 🙂

And finally the moment you’ve all been waiting for (I hope you all realise I found a productive use of my embarrassment by making you all read my blog heheh sneaky). Today Amen and I went to France to do some skiing. With my florescent pink snowpants, and Canadian mitts, it should have been a great day. But then came the too small ski boots dun dun dun duhhhh. I told the guy they didn’t fit but did he listen? Noooo. On second though, maybe my French is just so bad he couldn’t understand “trop petit!” But I decided to trust the professional. Afterall, I hadn’t work ski boots in years, maybe they were supposed to be that tight? Right?

Wrong. I could feel my feet by the time we got to the top. After only 2 runs my legs were literally giving out on me from lack of blood (When I later took the boots off, my feet and lower legs were actually blue). But I didn’t want to ruin the day so I just grinned and bared it. Until I couldn’t. Because although I realized today that I actually still am quite a good skier,  when your feet are numb, it’s kind of hard to keep control. And so down I went. Please keep in mind this is not Snow Valley. These are the freaking Alps. But you know what I was okay. I stopped grabbed the ski that had gone flying and tried to put it back on. And that, my friends is when I REALLY fell. Like head over heels, half rolling, half sliding, unable to stop and trying desperately to hold onto my poles and remaining ski. I crashed into one guy and he went down, crashed into another which send me going backwards. Wanna know where I finally came to a stop? In front of the packed ski chalet, where there were probably 50-80 people staring at me and laughing. Yep. I probably have the worst luck ever. Amen came and helped me up after she finished laughing and some guys had picked up my dropped equipment for me. For the record, not hurt haha so that is one bonus. And that was the end of my ski day. I returned the stupid too small boots and headed out. Sorry, one tumble like that is enough for this girl!

I was pretty frustrated that my day hadn’t gone as planned but you know, everything happens for a reason. I will never know the reason God didn’t want me up on that mountain this afternoon, but it was probably a good thing with my track record haha. Anyway, hope you guys back home are all doing well 🙂 Missing you, but having a good time. That’s all for now, enjoy your snow and this large and random assortment of photos from the last two weeks…take a look a what I’m expected to do in gym class, handstands and balance beams and front flips oh my!

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