Pirmdiena: First day of school

Exiting the stage (so you can all appreciate
my first-day-of-school outfit, and the fact that
I braved 7 degree C. weather in a tiny cardigan.
I have big feet. Size 10 American, 42 European. Apparently shoes in Latvia don't fit my big American feet. Almost every exchange student says they brought too many formal clothes and fancy shoes and not enough sneakers and casual wear. Well, they didn't go to Latvia. Heels are casual footwear here. I only brought flip flops, Converse, Doc Martens, and a pair of silver Nike ballet flats that are more sporty than they are dressy. I desperately ran around Valleta (Valmiera's shopping mall, always affectionately called by its proper name) and found no shoes in my size. Apparently a few stores do stock 42s, but they usually only get one or two pairs that sell out immediately. So on August 31 I found myself without a pair of formal shoes.
Yesterday I tried on a run-through of my outfit (a blouse, black miniskirt, and black tights) and decided to wear the Converse since I had nothing else. Plus, Converse with skirts and tights are adorable. Then Gatis walked in the room. His jaw literally dropped. "Vat are you vearing on your feets?!" We had a long conversation/argument about whether or not it was acceptable to wear informal shoes with a formal outfit. I said that the contrast was fashionable; he said that "while it may be okay in the US, in Latvia it will be the death of your social life! People only wear those shoes for sports, and rarely walk on the street in them - not to mention with a skirt!"  I replied that if I wore a miniskirt and heels I'd look like a hooker. His reply? "No, you'll look like a Latvian girl!" Priceless.
Waiting awkwardly onstage

Ultimately, Mama Zane dug up an old pair of basic black kitten heels that were too big for her, and I wore those despite the fact that they were too small for my right foot and too big for my left foot. (My feet are deformed, apparently.) So, the first day of school... my school started the earliest of anyone's (at 8:30). Mama Zane made Gatis babysit me - he walked me to my classroom where I met my teacher, and then we followed her to the front lawn where the assembly was. I found the other exchange student at the school, Katrin from Germany, and we stood together and were both mutually baffled by the proceedings. Some highlights: the band (they wear neon yellow pants) playing Down by the Riverside, the horse-drawn carriage that took the band director for a ride and then returned to pick up the elementary school's director forty minutes later, the gifting of the umbrella to my teacher for her success in "sport dance" (can anyone tell me what that is?), and another umbrella gifting to Kristaps or Kristobal (that's Spanish...) or Kristofer Something, who won the European BMX championships and went to the BMX world champs in South Africa. (I call him umbrella boy because I can't remember his name.)
If you look closely, you will see a horse and carriage.
Yes, this is my school.
Then they announced that they had two exchange students, and called Katrin and I to the stage. We stood there awkwardly and then had to make brief speeches. I'd prepared one in Latvian, but the director wanted me to speak in English... so I did. The director then handed Katrin and I plastic shopping bags that say "Valmiera" with a map of Valmiera inside, and a picture of the school. We left the stage, there were more songs, and then it was over.
Gatis left to talk to someone from the school about my science classes and whether I can take them in 11th class (I'll be taking Chemistry and Bio - I need both to graduate), and I went back to the classroom with my classmates. The teacher selected a girl who spoke good English to show me around, and I sat next to her.  I talked some to her, and also the the girl sitting on the other side of me. The poor girl had a really bad cold but was very nice and helpful, etc. Our teacher gave us our schedules and ice cream, we sat there for a while, we went outside and took a class picture, and then we were finished. The two girls (Maja and Marta) walked me home. It was actually a really fun first day, probably because it only lasted about two hours. My feet are killing me from the shoes... I can't wait to wear Converse and jeans tomorrow. What a lazy American I am.

Anyway, here's my schedule:
Period 1: 8 - 8:40
Period 2: 8:50 - 9:30
Period 3: 9:40 - 10:20
Period 4: 10:30 - 11:10
Period 5: 11:20 - 12:00
Period 6 (Lunch): 12:10 - 12:50
Period 7: 13 - 13:40
Period 8: 13:50 - 14:30
Period 9: 14:35 - 15:15
Period 10: 15:20 - 16:00

Tuesdays and Wednesdays I don't have to go to school until 8:50, and Wednesdays and Thursdays I finish at 3:15. All other days, I go to school from 8 to 4.  Somewhere in the bolded periods I'll have Chemistry and Bio... or maybe subbed for an English class... who knows. I'm still waiting to here back from the director, but here's my preliminary schedule. We go to most of the classes except for optional ones (Russian, Ethics, etc.) with the same 25 people... I think there's only five boys in our class, sadly.

Edit: Because my daily schedule isn't that interesting, I will instead list the classes I am taking. Some are 6 times a week, some only once. All in all, there are 14 different subjects. Intense.

Latvian and World History
Business Economics

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