Monday, March 7, 2011

The Mystery of the British Notebooks

Hm... that sounds like the title of some Boxcar Children or Nancy Drew novel, both of which I was obsessed with in elementary school.(See a funny video about the questionable quality of the Boxcar Children series here. Even taking all that into account, I still had dreams of living in a boxcar and eating only bread and milk like they did.)

Something I have noticed about around 95% of the notebooks here- they're all TINY. the cute Peter Pan notebook I got at Selfridge's in January is adorable, but only a few centimeters thick.

Cute, but not exactly serviceable.

This is pretty much the norm for notebooks here, and it's what causes me to hesitate buying the large amount of otherwise adorably designed notebooks. Because seriously... I write a lot. I still prefer to write my novels and plays in longhand first, at least partially, and a pad that only gives me fifty pages (25, double-sided) just seems pointless.

But not to my English classmates. When our teachers ask us to pull out our notebooks, the Americans pull out their giant three-subjecters (all identical, since they were literally the ONLY ones we could find.) The English kids, on the other hand, all take out their skinny little writing pads. Sometimes, they even take out those tiny back-pocket ones, the ones that make me want to go, "What are you, a reporter?"

Now, this mystery might be solved as easily as a Boxcar Children puzzle if the British kids didn't write any notes, maybe a sentence here or there. But that's not the case. I enjoy taking notes, and the teachers give us plenty of opportunities to exercise this nerdy pleasure; some classes, like my history one, are divided into two sections, one of them being an hour of strictly note-taking. And the British students take more notes than I do- sometimes I'm just sitting there listening to the teacher talk about something that has nothing directly to do with the subject and I hear scribbling all around me and wonder, "What are you writing down?!" So if they take so many notes, WHY are their notebooks so small? If I took that many notes, I'd have to get a new one every two weeks! My big one is only going to just last me the rest of the term.

The questions don't even stop with the size of the books. I haven't seen a single writing pad with college-ruled paper. I've refused to use anything but college ruled since about middle school, and it really bothers me to see all that unused space on the wide-ruled page.

Anyway, perhaps you're not as OCD about notebooks as I am, so I'll stop blabbing on about them. I suffered through another RT lesson today in which most of the class denied that they'd ever had fun at any theatre, ever, and never would (they seem to see laughter as some sort of mortal sin) and I did a lot of impatient sighing and clock-gazing. Only three more times in that class and then I'm FREE!

Some English words/pronunciations I observed today:

"Anti-clockwise" (a.k.a. counter-clockwise)

"Clagging on" (like "weighing down", "forcing upon")

Intergral pronounced "in-TEG-ral."

Controversy, pronounced "con-TRO-versy."

Now I'm off to make some dinner!


Anonymous said...

Speaking of clocks... do they turn their clocks "ahead" by an hour for the spring? We get to do that on Saturday night/Sunday morning.

Just wondering

CJ said...

Too funny! I love the "Difference" in words! My sister and I joke that they speak "British" not English!

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