Wednesday, March 7, 2012

first week of class: is this a captcha?

"So," the professor was saying, "how many words can you recognize from the passage on your worksheet?"

I looked down at the sheet. It looked like a very long captcha.
Pa laeg se graega wulf pe bewiste paet heafod, and mid his twam fotum haefde paet heafod beclypped, gaedig and hungrig, and for Gode ne dorste paes heafedes abrygan, and heold hit wid deor.
And... for... and God. And then maybe something about being very hungrig. Old English is dead for a reason. The rest of the class was looking as baffled as me. Some of them were trying to say the words out loud. They sounded like a meeting of Ents. After ten brutal minutes of unsuccessful translation, our professor finally helped us out. Apparently this story is about a wolf holding a saint's heafod in between his fotum because Gode told him to protect it from the deer. My head felt like it was going to explode.

That was my first class of the week.

First of all, this is called "Uni." Nobody says college. If they do, they're talking about high school. What weird backwards ways. Classes at this university are pretty different from the ones I'm used to at Wooster. First of all, kids get to class fifteen minutes early. And the lectures start 10 minutes early. Those who walk in late are scorned and get the nosebleed seats in the back of the hall. My average class size here is about 100-200 students (compared to 20-25 max at Wooster). But the professors are really engaging and all seem to have the dry Kiwi sense of humor. I've never laughed so much during a lecture than I have this week when my English professor said the word "penis" 8 times in reference to an Old English poem. There are about 3 hours of lectures every week and a small tutorial group that meets for an hour once a week. The only people who speak in tutorials are loud American girls. The bookstore is quite adorable and posh-looking, but the books generally cost about a trillion dollars a copy. There also a cafe on campus that opens at 9:00 every morning with beer on tap all day long. Only in New Zealand.

I'm also in a Maori language class, muddling my way through simple pronouns and a couple slippery nouns that I can't quite remember yet. And then I've got a class in Children's Literature, where we get to read Alice in Wonderland and Harry Potter. Magnificent.

Figuring out my schedule's been a little hectic so far. I've made a bunch of stupid freshman mistakes, like wandering through the wrong building and trying to go in the out doors. But I think I'm done getting lost by now.

It was clubs week, so I signed up for five or six clubs that lured me in with free candy. I only actually intend to join up with the tramping club to get some slammin discounts on hiking trips and a rental tent so I don't have to freeze in my hammock alone anymore.

Speaking of tramping, my friend Lauren and I almost have our Easter break plans all set up. More on that later. I've got to go fill my heafod with knowledge and meet up with the ladies' mountain bike group after class.

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