Monday, September 23, 2013

Awkward Anecdotes

Now it's time for me to recount an embarrassing event that happened to me today... that will hopefully make some of you blog readers smile (at my expense.. you are welcome).  Also before I begin I would just like to point out that as an exchange student, struggling and trying harder than most people should to fit in to a new country and culture, you constantly have embarrassing moments.  Exchange is not for the meek or faint of heart, and one of the most important things is being able to laugh at yourself and your situation no matter how embarrassing or shocking or ridiculous it may be!  If you can make light of any situation, you are on the path to a successful year.

And with that being said here we go...

Today in the afternoon I had 3.5 hours of DS (which when expanded and translated means "surveyed homework", and if I were explaining it to a Canadian I would say it's set up and treated the exact same way as end of year exams.  Only it happens once a week, every week, and can last from 1 to 4 hours).  Started with 2 hours of math, and afterwards had 1.5 hours of physics.  After the 2 dreadful hours of doodling and open-eye-snoozing (because no way is my French good enough yet to even attempt to comprehend DS) that was the Math part of DS, we had a 15 minute break.  I spent the first couple minutes listening to my friends nervously discuss who found what difficult, and then I left by myself to go to the bathroom.

Excluding the mini bathroom in the canteen, as far as I have seen there's only one girls bathroom for a high school of 2000 students (there could be like 8 other bathrooms that I am oblivious to but my exchange student brain is aware of just one) so the bathroom is always hustling and bustling with lots of chatty French teenage girls.  The sinks are all gathered in the middle of the room when you walk in, and lining the walls are the "stalls" (which are more like little cubbies) for doin your thang.  They're like tiny tiny little rooms because the walls on either side go from floor to about half a foot from the ceiling.  And the door is the same.  Not really anything like the stalls that North Americans would be used to.

So anyway, in I walk and make my way into a stall, and can't help but notice that I really really had to shove the door of the stall to get it to close.  Way down deep in my brain there was a little voice that said "uh oh" but my need to relieve was a little greater so I didn't think twice.  Then "the situation" occurred.  My shoving had done quite the job in sealing the door shut because in trying to exit the stall I found that it had reached the wasn't-going-to-open-not-even-if-I-power-stanced-and-yanked-on-it-while-consciously-engaging-all-muscle-in-my-body point.  That was kind of funny at first. Then I tried again.. and again.. and again.. honestly using as much pulling force as I could muster and I could not get the door to budge.  Well great.  Because there I am, I have a DS starting up again in 5 minutes, none of my friends were within yelling distance, and the bathroom is full of French speaking Frenchies who would probably not find it normal to see a bizarro Canadian launching herself over top of the stall (this would be normal at my high school back in Canada...).  I sent a text to Sixtine telling her I was trapped, and hoped to god she had her phone on her.  Then I was faced with a dilemma.  Do I wait it out and hope someone comes looking for me? Do I trust that Sixtine got my message and is coming to my aid? Or do I Tarzan myself over the stall and risk the awkwardness of trying to explain in broken French what I have just done and why I did it while at the same time trying to preserve some pride and dignity for Canadians worldwide.  During this thinking process I took the opportunity to take some selfies with my phone of me trapped in a French bathroom.  Never miss out on capturing an exchange memory! (The photo was dark and terrible quality and won't make it to the blog sorry folks).  Anyway, I soon realized that as much as DS was far from what I wanted to do for the next 1.5 hours, it ranked higher than rotting away in an old stinky French bathroom.  So I put my Canadian insecurities behind me, climbed onto the toilet, got my feet up onto the sides of the wall, and launched myself onto the top of the stall door... terrifying the approximately 7 or 8 girls who were surrounding the sinks.  My triumphant jump had just finished happening when Sixtine walked into the bathroom with Ana and burst out laughing as the first thing she saw was me hanging with half my body over this high door, and the French students looking up at me in shock and horror.  Sixtine told me to get down and then within 10 seconds she'd opened the door with the help of one other girl (see it wasn't easy!).  And then we proceeded to laugh for a good 5 minutes at the ridiculousness of what had just happened.  I laughed to heal my wounded pride mostly, but also because it was such a  ridiculous scenario and of course it happened to the newbie Canadian.  I have feeling that there will be many many more such events to come.  Yay Exchange!

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