I received a very passive e-mail from my granny expressing that she had not heard anything from me since Saturday....I apologize to any of you that have been sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for me to post ;)
There are a few more differences that I forgot to talk about in my last post.
Driving. Of course the driving here is very different. Cars are tiny and so are the driving lanes. But what I did not know was how expensive it is to drive here. To obtain a driver´s license, they have to pay $1500-$2000 for a license. Before you can get a license, you have to take ten driving courses with an instructor at over $100 each. You have to pay for a parking pass for wherever you want to leave your car. My family parks their car underneath the school. The rules for parking here are very strict and expensive. They also have a lot of toll-booth´s. I definitely remember when we had a .50 toll expense to drive to Bowling Green when I was younger. But the tolls here are around $7.00! My family has an electronic device that they set on their dash and there is a lane at the toll-booth´s that automatically read it (like a credit card for tolls).
Underground. The buildings here amaze me. I thought that the school we are at was only six floors tall. That was until the day that Emily and I decided to search for the swimming pool. The teachers told us to keep going down the stairs because it was below the ground floor. We went to the ground floor and started to descend. We went down one flight of stairs and did not see anything. We went down another flight and found some empty rooms. We went down another floor and found a kitchen. Then, after going four floors below the ground, we found the swimming pool and gym. I really can´t believe their usage of space here. Roads even go underground quite often (a lot of tunnels).
Technology. Maybe it is the family that I am staying with and just the school that I am teaching at, but there is not a very widespread use of technology (compared to the US). My family´s apartment here has one small TV and that is in the parents bedroom. They do not play video games or surf the internet at night. At my school, there is a chalkboard in each classroom. I have only seen three ActivBoard´s in the secondary section of the school (this is an interactive board that is very common in American schools, usually located in every classroom). These ActivBoards are located in three different classrooms and teachers have to reserve it in advance to use it. I was shocked when I saw that all teachers use a chalkboard in their classroom!
Raw Food. I know I have mentioned before that I do not eat anything that looks like it might still be alive. I have alwayssssss been like this. When my host family cooks, they do not cook the food all the way. When my real family cooks, they basically cook food until it falls apart. This has been very interesting for me. My host mother was preparing salmon the other day and asked me if I liked my salmon cooked. I thought, what kind of question is this?! Of course I like my salmon cooked! Haha :) It turns out that they like to barely cook the outside and leave the inside raw. It tasted fine (at least it wasn´t red meat, right?). But then for dinner one night, my host mother prepared hamburgers. She asked me how I liked my hamburger cooked, so I said well done (hahaha). She served me dinner and I began to eat. When I cut into the hamburger, I swear I think it mooed at me. It was completely red on the inside (RED not pink!). I did my best to eat it, but I eventually just started eating the outside of it. My stomach and I both (surprisingly) survived!
Body Temperature. Sometimes, I am hot-natured. That is just part of who I am. But I usually consider myself a pretty normal temperature (lol). I do not know why, but there is a huge difference in how hot I think it is compared to the locals. I will go outside in a t-shirt, shorts, and flip flops (I´m American and there is no point in hiding it). But when I look at all of the locals walking down the street, they are in long pants, shirt, sweater, jacket, and scarf. It´s amazing. I really do not understand. Maybe they will warm up soon (hopefully). I am not even going to try to dress like a European (I would have a heat stroke and die).
The differences are hilarious to me, but it is all part of being engrossed into a new culture. My students are funny and they LOVE to say hello to me in English. I hope that Spring is in full bloom at home!!!