Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Day in My Notebook

I'll make you all a deal. Transferring photos is very slow here and I really do not want to look like a tourist whipping out the camera 24/7 so for now this blog will contain minimal photos but at the end of big adventures I'll post as many as I can. If you bare with me I just may have a surprise for you at the end :D Sound good? Awesome, on with the journey!

Notes or Nah?

This is what I do in school. Take notes, some about what we are learning but mostly notes on what to say in blog (or doodles, lots of doodles). All translated from Spanish of course! Join me on a day in my notebook at Colegio San Cernin.
Not my notebook but my favorite book, translated in Spanish!


Everyone has been saying how great my Spanish. All pride aside, I feel like that's just making the expectations so much higher. After a few tidbits about diffusion (surprisingly they are learning easy stuff too!) I developed two sides to the argument of whether/why I don't need to work hard in school this year. (Thank you to my English teacher, Mr.Jarocki for molding my mind into a debate machine)
  1. I can understand what's going on but that doesn't mean I want to study and stress like it affects me. This is my year of fun!
  2. I know me. I'm competitive, driven, can not sit in a class for 7 hours, doing nothing, without going insane! (Plus I have the pride of a pageant mom in my school work)
The first is easy for anyone whose been an exchange student or even teenager (whatever that is) to understand. If you don't have to do it why do it, bare minimum is the level we're going for. I've battled with this idea since the day homework stopped being coloring pages and everyone else grew out of the "Yay School!" phase. Guess I'm still there because I love work. Now don't throw me off the teenage caravan please! But seriously guys doing things, not pointless things like memorizing my times tables (Sorry 3rd grade math teachers multiplication was not on my priority list) but working towards something is the only thing that makes me want it more. If I don't try, everything stops being important.

Ok story time. In middle school there is this running test called the "Pacer" and you have when a beep goes off you have to make it to the other side before the second beep sounds. You only need about 30 to get a good grade. Every time I would tell myself "Ok stop at 30. That's all you need." But once I got to 30 something kicked in that made me want to do more, more than the girls beside me and more than the girl inside me shouting "One more! Everyone's watching, show them what you can do! GO GO GO!" (I know she is crazy) But knowing that crazy drive is always in me I really don't know how I believed I could take it slow this year.


Might I begin with, I have never taken a Philosophy class but here's something different, at the start of each class the students stand until the teacher allows them to sit (like in the movies). Then the teacher calls up each student and praises (rarely) or criticizes (likely) their entire homework. Harshh. I have too much pride for that kind of critiquing. But aside from the material, it's pretty different. Rows of students listen, write, listen, answer, listen. No discussion, no opinion.

It's not like anyone likes it that way. Really, teachers and parents here have both told me the system is outdated. But if everyone thinks that way they why is no one doing anything about it? I know it's not my place, I'm the foreigner here. If I got up and shouted "Viva la revolución de educación!" >Long live the Educational Revolution, everyone would dub me as Crazy American. (Not being surrounded by crazy Americans makes me realize how crazy American I truly am). But I'm Tanika Santos, the girl who loves to think, loves to challenge and is learning to love change. Change is life. I may not be starting a revolution just yet but it's good to know there's a bit of my mom's fight in me.


It's so confusing what to wear, chilly mornings, stuffy buildings and then that perfect Looks-like-fall-feels-like-spring weather! The window is open and I'm loving that fresh air but I can hear all the younger kids outside having recess. I want to play too! So much sitting! Sitting in class, sitting on bikes, I don't know if I'll feel my butt by tomorrow! (On a really funny side note I initially wrote "culo">ass and my English teacher read it and started laughing). At this point we started talking about the relationships between teachers and students. I was interested so I listened in for a bit. The question was who is more important or are they equal?

Being a student you know my answer, but it's not just that. Not to sound like a total flower child, but aren't we all students? I mean no matter how old you get there's always something new to learn. Then I go into a rather long but I would say insightful description of life, very proudly in Spanish. Coming to the conclusion that if we're all students in life the best of us start with teachers to give us that love of learning. In the end it's a cycle of human knowledge and with so many different ideas how could we not improve? I'm weird to have so much fascination in this conversation let us return to teenage rambling.

Ingles y Frances

I'll put these to together because I did the least in them. English I know almost everything, French I know almost nothing so it was the perfect time to take a midday break of thought. Until suddenly I heard "Vamos a preguntar la Americana" > Let's ask the American. Uhhhhh que? My goodness the first time I truly zone out today and I get the spotlight. But it was good they wanted me to have the honor of pulling out names for a project which of course I did not have to do. Whew fly through that one. Still with a French host dad and the beautiful country being so close it would be nice to learn more than "oui" "croissant" and "français" ( love that "c" with a tail)!

Quimica y Fisica

The two more difficult last classes of the day and I was pretty burnt out. Chemistry, I didn't like it in the US, I doubt I'll like it here. Truthfully I spent most of that class doodling. But the first physics class in my life I wanted to know how that would go. Little did I know physics translates into math on crazy pills, not to mention it was all in Spanish! Luckly this was the first class where I didn't feel like I was the only one out of the loop. Most of the class had the Wait WHAT? look that has become my Every-Math-Class face. I change my mind, today was my first and last day of physics!

Might I also take this time say that EVERYONE has been so nice here. It may be that I am a foreigner but wow I've talked to so many people that just want to know me! Thank you Pamplona!
A creeper picture of my first cute Spanish boy sighting! I told you there would be a surprise!

Well there has also been a fancy dinner, a soccer try out and my first taste of Pamplona nightlife. All is soon to unfold. Until next time!

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