Monday, May 19, 2008

Russian Last Bell Ceremony

I feel like I'm behind on this blog all the time. It seems like even though I'm done with school (Officially now) I've actually gotten busier in some ways. Oh well.

Before I start the main body of this post, I wanted to share a few pictures with you.

This is the view from my bedroom window. The water you see is in the dam and is actually considerably higher now. This picture was taken on May 16th at about 6:30pm.

And this is a picture of the same view on the same day. Except this was taken at about 10:30pm.

Now you know what the polar days are like. Hee hee.

We had our Last Bell Ceremony (Последний Звонок) on May 17th. It started at about 11am. We got done sometime after two. It's kind of hard to describe everything in the order it happened in because I was having emotional issues at the time. Okay, I'll admit it. I was crying. Which I found ironic because when I graduated from American High School last year, I didn't shed a tear. I was ready to get out of that place man. Get out and get to Russia. Here I cried, I think for a number of reasons. First because it was kind of depressing not having anyone i.e. Family there to support me. My parents have always been into coming to my stuff. Even when I didn't always want them too. I miss that. Secondly, It was hard because I realized that I'm leaving soon (Seven weeks and one day) and who knows if and when I'll ever see some of these people again. Let alone this city. So yeah, but enough of my emotional swamp. Let me tell you how the whole thing went.

When I first got to school, I was given a banner that said the Russian word for "Someone who's graduating." I then spent the rest of the day trying to figure out what the english word for this was, or if we even had one. I was settling on just saying "Graduator" (Though I also thought maybe "Graduee" would work) until last night I was writing in my journal and I was like "Wait, isn't the word for this "Graduate?' " I'm still not so sure about that.

Anyway so I wore my little banner along with the rest of my class and the two parallel classes and we all hung around on the second floor of the school until it was time to go into the auditorium. when entering the auditorium we walked across the stage and then to our seats. No, this was not like in American High School (From now own will be referenced as AHS) we just kind of went quickly and sat down.

The first thing that happened, is some announcer people from the 10th class announced the names of some teachers. These teachers then came up on stage and announced peoples names for various things, and you got to go up on stage and get a certificate. I was enjoying cheering for my classmates, when they called my name. Well that was a surprise, but I was very excited. I got up on stage, shook the lady's hand and recived a certificate for "Active Participation in the Artistic Life of the Gimnasium" or something like that. I call it affectionately my "I'm Foreign Award." I then went and sat back down to listen to the other awards.

The next part was the "Growing up" part. Here, the teachers from the first class got up and shared some memories of the kids in their classes and handed out little folders with some work the kids had done. Then, The Leading Teachers from fifth through ninth class got up, called up the Leading Teachers for 10th and 11th class and the five of them all made speeches. Naturally, I bawled when our Leading Teacher, Alexandra Nicholaevna, gave her little speech. One thing I learned is that we were her last class. After us, she's not going to Lead anymore. It's ironic but I've found out quite a bit about the school I've been attending the last 8 months in the last few days. For example, we are seriously listed as one of the best schools in Russia. How cool is that?

When that was finished, we had a "parents part" this was like the parents saying thanks you to the teachers and school. Flowers were given to basically every teacher, and there were a lot of them. On each Bouquet was a rhyme that included the name of the teacher it was for. Naturally every one of these had to be read. We kids stood up and clapped extra loudly for our favorite teachers.

After that, it was finally time for the part I'd been waiting for. Each of the three 11th grade classes, got up and did a little something. I'm a little prejudice, but I think ours was the best.

First up was 11А, the Mathmatics group. They had two people sing a song, while the rest did a dance thing. It was kind of boring. Sorry, but it was. Next, was us, the Humanitarian 11Б. We did a little sketch. Basically it was "The Adventures of A Foreigner" Bet you can't guess who was the Foreigner? I basically said some stuff in English which my classmate Dima, "translated". I got to say some stuff in Russian too. The rest of the class would do little things in the background. For example one thing I talked about was how the puddles around our school were so beautiful, deep, and majestic that they almost resembled Lake Baikal, my classmates all made swimming motions. It was a funny sketch and the audience laughed a lot. The only glitch we had was when it came time to sing our song at the end. We had this sentimental song about how the sun shines and the grass grows but a new door is opening and how they say we're adults now so everything's different. (Yup, that's basically the translated version of the chorus.) One girl, Anya was supposed to play the guitar for us but something happened and the guitar didn't get to her so we sang part of the song acapella. Bad Idea. It was horrible. But we made it through and got off the stage.

Then the last class, Universal 11В was up. They had two girls singing while the others came and put toys all lined up across the front of the stage. It wasn't bad, but ours was better. lol.

After all of this, it was time for the official ringing of the last bell. All the 11th graders were called up on stage. This little first classer took this bell and was carried of the stage, across the front of it and back up by two guys in my class. She rang the bell the whole way. Then, the bell was passed along the line of 11th graders who all took turns ringing it. (Unfortunately I didn't get too since I was in the back, it kind of missed me) When the last person rang it it was like "Yay!" but at the same time not.

And that's the ceremony itself.

When that got out, we were all congratulated by different teachers and parents and friends and all. Then, our class met in Alexandra Nicholaevna's room where we ate Chocolate and she presented everyone with little silly awards. I got a nomination for speaking "Rusofranglish" and was given three or four mini fairy-tale books in both Russian and English. So that was exciting. When that meeting broke up, we all headed for the park which is apparently the traditional place to go when you graduate. Our park here, isn't just a green park. There are like rides and stuff. So I Figured that's what we'd be doing. Nope. Basically a good chunk of the 11th class all showed up to stand around, drink and smoke. Now, drinking is a part of the youth culture here, and while I don't participate in it, I can often tolerate it to some extent. That day, I was really not in the mood to deal with it. So I was thinking about just going home, and relaxing when I ran into a group of girls who also didn't want to participate and were going to go get sushi. One of them was Anya from church. So I was like "hey, can I go with you guys?" And they were like "Of course! You need to!" so I went and we ate sushi and had a good time and I felt like I fulfilled my social obligation. Seriously though. I enjoyed it.

After that, I went home and crashed. And thus is the story of The Last Bell. SO I'm officially done with school here now. Basically have time until Graduation in June which I don't know anything about. I was going to write about our trip to see the ice in this post as well, but this has turned out to be really long so will have to save it.

Городская Классическая Гимназия -2008-

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