Monday, June 30, 2008

New year, new school

I went to go see my conseillère pédagogique at the circonscription (school district offices) today to make the plan for my new contract. She wants to keep me at my same schools: Nice Directeur School, Madame New York School, and Directeur Napoleon Complex School. However, there was a problem between the French intervenant and the teaching staff in another neighboring town this year, and since I can get there by bus I will definitely be at that school. We'll call it New School.

Now, I can do New School plus my other three schools without going over my 12 hour contract, but because Crazy Intervenant still wants to teach English just at a different school, she may end up with one of them. She was at Nice Directeur School last year and requested to go back there. Otherwise she may be at Madame New York School, but my CP is trying to offer her a totally different village. We'll see what happens. I told my CP that if Crazy Intervenant is going to make a fuss about it she can take Nice Directeur School, so we'll see what happens. I'll definitely be at New School, and I think I'm pretty secure at Directeur Napoleon Complex School. It's the other two that aren't certain.

And have I mentioned yet that Madame New York is going to be the new directrice at Nice Directeur School? Nice Directeur is retiring. A change is gonna come next year! Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if Crazy Intervenant ended up there instead of me. :P

I had my last day of teaching at Nice Directeur School today. It was just to give little end of the year presents, which I kind of regretted because they were seriously little monsters today. But I can't really blame them, it just isn't normal for kids to still be in school this late! Unfortunately I completely forgot to take pictures. Had my camera with me and everything, and just totally forgot. Tomorrow I'll be at Directeur Napoleon Complex School for the last time. I know, I know, my contract is over as of today, but I felt so rushed and busy last week that I decided to go an extra day to have a real "last day". Hopefully I'll remember to take pictures!

It's so weird. I don't really feel like it's over. I haven't really come to the realization that next week I won't be getting on that bus to go to school, that I probably won't see most of my CM2s again, and that next year will be different than this year.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Where to start....

So much has happened this week that I am really enjoying a day to finally relax and sit and catch up on emails, blogs, etc that I missed this week while I was running around. To break it up into small chunks:

Tuesday: Fete de la Musique rehearsal in the morning. Afternoon teaching. Skipped out on surprise retirement party for Nice Directeur. Went to country music show, conplete with line dancing, a saloon, a rodeo (or something... didn't stay for that) and a concert. One of the funniest things I have ever seen in my life. Check out The Next Adventure for an idea of what it was like. And imagine it all happening on the grounds of a ruined 14th century gothic abbey. Awesome. Then had serious girl time with D, who is having problems with AP. They're kind of broken up, but she wants him back, but she's kind of angry... it's complicated.

Wednesday: Had lunch at the house of an English intervenant whose son lives in America with his family. Lunch took three hours, no joke. Then we went to visit some local sites: Septmonts, the outside of the ruined abbey at Longpont (it's only open for visits occasionally because it's privately owned), and the chateau of Francois 1 in Villers-Cotterets that is unfortunately in very bad condition (and also not open for visits while we were there). Met up with D afterwards for our usual Wednesday café chat. More problem solving.

Thursday: Taught all day. Ran around during lunch break doing errands (like buying food so I didn't starve). Ran to a bus stop a mile away because the bus doesn't stop in centre ville for the 1:30 drop off at school. Taught. Had an hour to prep for the Fete de la Musique. Did Fete de la Musique. Felt like a tool because I was dressed in concert black and white, like the directeur said, and no one else was. Kids sang really well, I was so proud of them! After they sang in English they presented me with flowers and a book about Picardie, signed by all my students and the teachers I work with. Had a big shindig for the retiring directeur. Two of my kids gave me flowers because I'm a special teacher to them. Could you just melt? Fete lasted until like 10, then we cleaned up, then we drank, and I got home at 11:30.

Friday: Parc Asterix with the CM2 from the same school. Was with a group of kids who didn't want to do all of the big rides, or basically any rides at all, which was disappointing for me, but whatever. They were happy to play on the playground all day. Came back to celebrate with D at a café. May have accidentally flirted with her ex-boyfriend who she is still friends with. Not sure if she cared or not. She didn't say anything about it and didn't seem to care, so I hope I didn't do something bad.

Today: slept in! Relaxed! Got more food so I don't starve! Did the soldes a little but didn't find anything I really liked. Continuing the celebration/D needs to get over AP tonight in Reims, to which one of her string of guy friends (this one is not an ex-boyfriend) who is also newly single invited himself.

What exactly are we celebrating? I might have gotten some good news yesterday.....

.... I'm renewed for next year!

Monday, June 23, 2008

I got plenty of nuthin'

Not a whole lot going on in my neck of the woods these days. Still waiting to hear back about renewal. Last year everyone in my département got emailed around this time, so I'm hoping that I'll get some good news soon. Still no real progress on getting home, because I'm kind of waiting to hear about coming back. Still no real travel plans, although I'm at least thinking more about those. Baby steps, right?

Today was my last day with one of my classes, the CE1 class at Directrice Madame New York school. Those kids have really grown on me over the course of the year. I only see them once a week, so it was hard to get to know them, and I'm ashamed to say I still don't know all of their names (although I do know almost everyone). But they are super sweet kids and they try really hard. They were my best listeners when we did Apples and Bananas, they could picked out all the words in the song! Unfortunately I forgot my camera so I don't even have any pictures. Maybe I'll make a surprise visit sometime in the next couple of weeks to snag a few.

Last week and this week at Nice Directeur school we've been getting ready for their Fete de la Musique this Thursday night. The CM1 will be singing When the Saints Go Marching In and Are You Sleeping (mixed English and French). The directeur also asked me to teach them Here's To You by Joan Baez in English because they are singing it in French. I have no idea why he wants to sing this song. In my opinion it's nice for kids to sing happy songs at their concerts, but whatever, he's retiring, he can do whatever he wants.

This weekend I spent La Fete de la Musique (the national, all day/night long music festival all over France that was Saturday) in Reims with D, another teacher from our school, and D's boyfriend, who I've decided to call Ameriphile, or AP for short. He's super curious about America and always asks me questions. And get this, he likes American football! It's almost like being back home, except that we speak in French. He's like the older brother that I never got (thanks a lot Mom and Dad. Well, just Dad really. He's the one who was married for 12 years and never had kids).

So how would the blogging world have answered these questions:

- are Mormons viewed as a cult?
- why are Scientologists so powerful in America? Why don't you think they're a cult?
- isn't John McCain just four more years of Bush? Why don't Americans realize that?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


My contract is over on June 30 - you know, 12 days from now. I may or may not get kicked out of the lycée when it closes on July 11. I want to travel before I go home. D and I want to celebrate our birthdays together (13 and 15 of July respectively).

Have I made any travel plans? No. Do I have a ticket home? No. Have I asked the lycée if I can stay past the 11? No.

What's with this total lack of action? Does this mean that I don't actually want to leave France? I have to leave, I can't just stay here. Even if I get renewed, I have to go home to get a new visa!

Somehow I've carved out a life for myself here. The longer I stay, the harder it will be to finally leave. I don't think I want to stay in France forever. I can't imagine raising my kids here, I can't imagine not living in America with my friends and family. I have a life at home, I have plans at home.

But it feels right to be here right now.

At what point will my life be in France? At what point will it feel more normal to be here? At what point will I change my plans to stay here? How long does that take? Will that happen if I stay another year?

My mother will kill me if that ever happens.

So I need to make a plan for leaving for the summer. Step One: tomorrow afternoon, ask the lycée when I'm getting kicked out. Step Two: Figure out travel and departure and where to stay over bday in the case where I am kicked out.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Soleil 2, Administration Bureaucracy 0: With the bureaucracy on the brink of elimination, Soleil begins to relax

Today was Call the Rectorat Day. I was on an outing with Directeur Napoleon Complex School, which involved running around in the woods with kids on a photo scavenger hunt. It was pretty fun. Anyway, we got back to the school with not a whole lot to do at 4, so I took advantage of my free time to make some phone calls.

Phone Call #1: The DARIEC. This is the person in charge of all international stuff in the academie. She didn't really seem to know what the deal was, so whe passed me off to the woman who coordinates assistants.

Phone Call #2: Véronique. Of course she couldn't just transfer my call, I had to hang up and call again. But, it was totally worth it. She knew who I was, and was the one with the most info and the most positive stuff to share! She said she knows I'm very motivated to return, and that they had recieved an avis très favorable about me from the CIEP yesterday. She says she is the overall coordinator for the program but not directly in charge so she passes me to another coworker who leads the assistantship program. Then she also tells me that she thinks it's going to work out for me!

Phone Call #3: Aude. Again, had to hang up and call back. Aude doesn't seem to know who I am, but she looks me up on her list and says yes, I'm on the assistant list now and she had sent it off to the Inspection Académique (ie, my buddy Pascale). I ask her what happens next. She says that the IA are the ones in charge of primaire assistants, so the thing to do is talk to Pascale.

Am I going to talk to Pascale? Not right now. She knows that I want to come back, and when I spoke to her last week she said she'd definitely try to get me back. So I feel like it would be overkill to call her again and say "hey I'm on the list now! do you have a spot for me?" She did give me the whole I can only get a post if someone drops out when I spoke to her last week, BUT the fact that Véronique thinks it will work out for me to come back gives me hope that maybe she knows something about available posts. Who knows. Basically at this point, I feel I've done what I can do. I made it back on the list, and now it's in the hands of someone who I know wants me back next year. And now I don't want to invite the evil eye by saying anything else. We'll see what happens....

Other news: thinking about going to Paris tomorrow because I need an Indian food fix. Luckily the grève of today wasn't well followed, nothing changed in my region in fact. And if there's a metro problem tomorrow, the cheap Indian place is within walking distance from Gare du Nord. Seriously, lunch plate for €5. Not quite as good as Indian buffet at home, but still pretty darn tasty.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

In which Soleil encounters French stereotypes

D and I discussed Sex and the City over our usual Wednesday afternoon café meet up. As I already shared, I didn't think the movie was amazing but I'm glad I saw it. D really liked it, and she said that her favorite part is the fact that this group of women are always there for each other and always solve their problems together. So I took advantage of the opening to ask if French women really are as hard to be friends with as everyone says. The stereotype is that they are always jealous of each other and constantly competing for men, and that it's just very hard to become friends with them. She said that's absolutely true, and mostly because of the jealousy part. She told me some stories, and it almost sounds like French women are jealous of the happiness of their friends. Bizarre, non? D is definitely not like that at all, she's along the Sex and the City American girlfriends model. I guess that's why we're getting along so well.

Yes, they smoke A LOT. Of all the new people I've met through D in the last several weeks, only two are non-smokers. One of my favorite things is walking through the crowd of parental smokers outside of the schools while picking up or dropping off their kids. I feel like I should get a chest x-ray to make sure I haven't developed lung cancer. I'm not joking. It's so, so much better now that smoking is forbidden in bars and restaurants, but really, you'd think they would get the hint that it's time to quit!

The French are always surprised when I tell them that Americans think they all cheat on their significant others, and then say that it happens just as often in the US, except we're more hidden about it. Which may very well be true, except I can't even tell you how much gossip D has related to me that involves someone getting cheated on .....

Last week one of the other teachers told me that I've lost a lot of weight since coming to France. I didn't tell her it's because I'm getting off the steroids, i.e. medication from hell, and that I'm actually back to my normal size.... but anyway, to continue with the story, this then led to her telling me how much healthier France is than the US, you know, the usual tales about how we never excersize and eat French fries and chips all day long in front of the television while chugging gallons of Coke. I would say that she's right and France is healthier than the US (which is changing as they adopt our bad habits), except that I definitely eat a lot worse in France than I do at home! In the US I never eat French fries, and yet I get them alllllll the time here. I also make myself nachos more often than I care to relate. Luckily I have to walk everywhere so I'm not packing on the pounds where I can see them, I'm just clogging up my arteries so I'll have to get open heart surgery in the next five years.

Sadly I have yet to see anyone wearing a beret while wearing a striped shirt, holding a baguette and a bottle of wine, and smoking a cigarette. And standing next to their bicycle. With a dog. That has pooped on the sidewalk. But I'll keep my eyes peeled.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Soleil vs The Assistantship Bureaucracy: Day 1

I had a surprisingly non-frustrating and fruitful afternoon battling the powers that be today! Non-frustrating as in everyone was very sympathetic to my situation and willing to help me. I was planning on having to make a case for myself, but today things were pretty smooth.

So for anyone looking to overturn not getting renewed, here are some steps:

Mission: find out why I wasn't on the list of assistants who are eligible for renewal in the academy. Get on the list. Get renewed.

Step One: get info from the secretary at the circonscription. She was very kind and helpful and helped me come up with some alternate ideas for staying here and working. One was to change my request to the secondary schools, since the list of renouvelees was all secondary assistants (except one!). Our other plot is to check at the private Catholic school in town about working there next year. We decided that the first step is to call Pascale, the conseillère pedagogique in charge of langues vivantes at the Inspection Academique.

Step Two: call Pascale. She was also very kind and helpful, as she always is actually. She thought the trying to change to secondaire was a good idea, so she had me write her an email stating that I prefer to stay in the primary schools but I'm willing to change to secondary schools in order to get renewed. I sent that out, and she forwarded it to the appropriate people, ie the CIEP and the rectorat. She told me that the CIEP is responsible for generating the list of assistants who they think are good candidates for renewal, and then the rectorat takes over once the list has been created. She also said that if there are any no-shows she would try to get me back here, but that there's no guarantee and I should have another solution for next year.

Step Three: call the CIEP. I spoke with Claire Jacquey, who is in charge of all the anglophones in the program. She tells me that I am nowhere to be found on her list, and that they must have never recieved my renewal document! I have to say, somehow I knew it, I just had a feeling that they had never recieved it. But, she tells me it isn't a big deal and if I send her my renewal form she will re-make the list of assistants eligible for renewal in Amiens to include me! Then, she says something very interesting. She says that if I get renewed will depend on if they have any places still available. This means one of a few things: either the same old line that renewers are only renewed if new applicants drop out, or perhaps that the academie can reserve places for renewers, or perhaps that because Amiens is so unpopular the number of assistants who are placed here is a lot lower than the number of positions allocated by the CIEP so the renewers have a really good chance of getting renewed because there are usually still positions left. Anyway, I ran back to the circonscription with my renewal form (thank goodness I photocopied it! always photocopy everything!) and faxed that baby off. Claire also gets big points in my book for being helpful.

So I'm feeling good about what I accomplished today. Obviously this is not at all a guarantee that I will end up getting a position. But, the fact that the CIEP made a new list of renewable assistants because of me, plus two different attempts by Pascale to get me hired, plus my evident desire to return would seem to indicate to a logical person that I should be renewed. Then again, logic has never once entered into the French bureaucracy, so I can't really pin my hopes on that. But I do have hope! And I'm really glad it wasn't a big hassle. I honestly thought that I was going to have people telling me "c'est pas possible" all day long. I guess when it comes to exploited workers in Picardie, no one is too picky about the rules. Or that the rules don't really exist and this program really is as random and bizarre as we all think.

Stay tuned for next week when I harass the rectorat!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Disappointed but not defeated....

I found out today that I didn't get renewed. I'm disappointed and sad. Apparently it was almost exclusively secondary assistants and it sounds like it's still a waiting list of people waiting for spots. But I haven't given up yet. I did decide that I really want to stay here a little while a go, so now I'm going to go for a full court press against the rectorat. I will call, email, run all the way to Amiens for a personal interview, whatever it takes! I am going to get renewed. Anyone who was named to Amiens this year had better watch out, because I will be back in the US this summer and I might be really desperate. Lock your doors. ; )

I guess I can offer to change levels to secondary, even though I much, much prefer working with the little kids. This isn't a staying in France at all costs kind of thing, this is more staying in a job that I like in a place that I like with people that I like. Other options: finding a last-minute FACC visa sponsor, convincing D to PACS me (not sure what her boyfriend would say about that), forcing le Rémois to PACS me (he does owe me €20 for that completely pointless round-trip voyage to Reims), contacting Stalky McStalkerson and convincing him to move here and PACS me, getting the bus driver to PACS me, paying one of the two homeless guys in front of Monoprix to PACS me, paying one of the creepy bar-brasserie guys to PACS me, paying anyone in town to PACS me, living in the school all summer and just starting work again in the fall and hoping no one will notice the immigration problems, forging an arreté (that shouldn't be too difficult, actually), convincing one of my students' parents to hire me as a nanny, becoming one of the homeless men in front of Monoprix.

Favorite options? Other ideas? Any viable options?

And I actually do have a serious question: does anyone know if I can apply as a recruté locale while my CDS is still valid and then get it renewed immediately if I get the post?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sex and the Langue Française

Last night D and I went to see Sex and the City in French. I was so positive that I wasn't going to understand anything, but somehow I did! Clearly there were things I missed, but overall I knew what was going on, I knew what they were saying, and I could laugh at the jokes, the few that there were. I was disappointed in the movie. It didn't have any of the light-hearted charm of the series. It was sad and serious and completely obsessed with consumption of clothes and shoes and bags. The way Carrie's wedding spun into an out of control 200 guest death star was ridiculous. Miranda and Charlotte were turned into caricatures of their carefully nuanced personalities from the series. And the S.O.s were hardly ever on screen! I felt like they really departed from everything that made the series so great. But I'm really glad I saw it. It's not that I hated it or didn't enjoy it, I just think they could have done a better job.

It was a lucky thing that I've been studying slang - if I hadn't learned "cinglé" before I saw the movie I would have missed out on a huge plot element!

Other news: end of the year show at Napoleon Complex Directeur school this weekend. The only reason I know about it is because the kids have been asking if I'm coming. Thanks for inviting me, co-workers!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

French Pouring Out of My Ears

Yesterday I hung out with D, her boyfriend A, their friend F, and a couple other random passers-by (she knows everyone!). I had a great time, including lots of giggles over astrology charts. But it involved listening to lots and lots of French all day long, and lots of "qu'est-ce que ça va dire?" I'm going to have to really step up my efforts to learn more French vocab if I don't want to be the annoying dumb American who doesn't understand anything forever. I don't think they mind explaining to me, but I imagine it would get old after a while... The hardest part is all the slang, because it's not like I can just look it up in a dictionary. I really like Jennie's site, which now has fun learning games included!

I might have to start carrying a notebook around with me. Some words from yesterday: chiante, ronfler, vache, vedette. I know there were more, but that's all that stuck in the pudding I call My Brain. I'm going to have to be able to learn a lot more than four words per day if I plan on catching up!

I'm doing my own teaching of English at the same time. So far I've taught awkward (best word in English), sketchy (second best word in English), and booty call (it came up during the conversation, and I felt compelled to give them a better expression than "amie de sexe"). You know, just the important stuff.

And no, I don't mean vache like a cow, I mean the slang version. Thanks for the vote of confidence in my French level. :)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Dreaded CM2 Exam

Next week I'm giving my CM2s (fifth graders) their final English exam to place them in sixième next year. Actually, I think they take another placement exam when they start sixième, so this basically says.... nothing. Well, I guess it evaluates how well I taught them/how well they learned/general status of English education in the elementary schools.

The tests are standardized by the education department of the région, and I was so ecstatically happy when last week out of nowhere we were sent a totally new exam! Not the one that's been on the website all year! I've known all year long that there was no way I would be able to cover all of the stuff they were supposed to lean, so since March I've been making sure we cover all the stuff that would be on the exam... And then they changed the exam, and I had to scramble this week to cover things we haven't covered (like prepositions). I'm very concerned about how they are going to do on the exam. One of my teachers was very nice and told me that the results aren't going to reflect on me, but that region-wide people are going to have trouble with the different exam and that is what the results will show. I know that other English teachers are upset about this, but I just feel like yet again the fact that I'm a lousy teacher has been brought front and center.

No, I don't mean lousy teacher. I honestly think I did the best that I could in the given circumstances. I have no teaching experience or training and yet I was thrown into a situation where I had no resources and had to come up with an entire year's English curriculum and lesson plans on my own. It took a long time to get used to. Since mid-January I've hit one groove where teaching got easier, and even since March it was like a whole system of progressions and how to teach one thing or another magically appeared in my brain. That's one of the reasons I want to come back next year; to proove that I can do a better job. I also think that the French English program is a load of baloney and ridiculously ambitious. My kids take forever to learn anything and they remember very little of anything they did the year before. Everything has to be reviewed again and again every year to develop a real base of knowledge, and there's no room for that in the curriculum as it stands, which is about shoving new stuff at them contantly. I don't know who they think actually learns that quickly. Robot children maybe?

On the other hand, since March one of my CM2 classes has been really exciting and gratifying to be part of. This is at Nice Director School. We learned the conjugation of be and have, along with clothing, personal characteristics, adjectives, etc, and the kids are so excited to be able to make real sentences in English! Instead of using formulaic phrases like "where do you live/I live in," they get to say real things that mean something and can be produced spontaneously. Even the kids who struggle in English get excited about this. It was so cool on the bus going to Boulogne sur Mer when my kids all of a sudden started making up sentences in English for fun! I was so proud of them. It's really enjoyable to see them being so creative and smart. And the memory of that is something that I can take with me no matter what happens with renewal or the test results. I know that they can use English.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Obama! Obama! Obama!

I'm so happy. I know there are still issues with uniting the party, what to do with Hillary, etc., but I am so glad he finally clinched the nomination. I called it back in 2006 when he won his Senate seat, I said that he would be a great president and man I hope I end up being right in another few months. Yay!

It's been a busy week so far. I was finally invited over for dinner on Monday night by someone who isn't my conseillère pedagogique (she's an intervenant d'anglais), which was really nice of her. Had some yummy home cooked food and got to watch TV for the first time since I got back from the US. Unfortunately it lasted way longer than I thought it was going to, and I didn't get home until pretty late, and then had to wake up super early in the morning to go to the aquarium! The field trip was fun, I had a good time hanging out with my kiddies. Unfortunately the aquarium was dissapointing for me, it's nowhere near as good as the Boston and Chicago aquariums. They didn't have very much of anything, not even normal fish, not to mention sharks and whales. They did have sea lions though, and I appreciated seeing a home town (errr, country) buddy. I also didn't find the explanations to be very well done, most of the time I still wondered what the heck I was looking at (labelled in English and French, mind you). Because we were super late getting up to Boulogne-sur-Mer we spent hardly any time at the beach, but the time we spent there was really nice, the sun actually came out for a few minutes! Overall, a good day.

Except for the whole seven hours on a bus with screaming children part. Obviously they couldn't help it, but really, that last hour before we got back was pretty ridiculous, and none of us had the desire to lay down the law. I was soooo happy to get back to some peace and quiet... at 10 PM. It was an extremely long day. I'm so glad this week that we have Wednesdays off!

Another note: why couldn't I have been invited for dinner and on field trips earlier in the year? Why didn't D and I become friends earlier? It's really fun now to go on trips and hang out with real Frenchies, but back in the fall when I was miserable it would have meant so much to me and really made a difference. At this point in time it's nice, and it makes me feel like I'm finally integrating into life here, but I can't help having the "why didn't this happen earlier?" feeling.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Look Both Ways

This weekend didn't turn out as planned. It might have gone something like this: I text before leaving on Saturday with arrival spot and time, which we had previously decided on. I get a text as I get to Reims that he is actually not in Reims today, sorry. I'm totally confused, turn right around and get back on the bus to leave because clearly there was no point in staying in the rain and the cold for no one. He calls about an hour later asking if I'm still there. I say no, I left because you said you weren't there. He says he's back now, and he can drive up to my town to see me. I said if you want, and then my cell phone lost reception. When I get reception back he's left a voice mail saying to call him, so I do, and he says he's going to see if his friend can drive me back to Reims that evening and that he'll call or text to let me know. I'm thinking at this point that he still wants to see me. Then I don't hear anything. At 8:30 PM I text him to see what's up. No response. Nothing heard today. Guess I was wrong.

D and I had to dish it out last night, of course. We've decided that he has major issues that relate to the reason he got divorced. That part is his business, so you're all just going to have to guess what happened. I don't "officially" know what happened either, I only know because D told me last week, and I already felt uncomfortable with his reason for leaving her but was thinkingthat I could help him through it. Unfortunately his issues go beyond what I thought, it's really a systematic inability to get back into the dating/romance scene. This whole thing has roots in that; basically he can't move forward or commit to anyone new because he's terrified and has a big self doubt problem.

I just feel really badly for him. I feel like he knows what he wants but he can't push himself to get it, and that's really sad for him. He pushes forward, then pulls back when he gets scared. For me, I'm not at all angry, and I'm not even hurt because I know this has nothing to do with me; it's his issue, not mine. The part that is hard for me is thatI really want to try and help him heal and reconcile all of this, but as I told myself today while I was debating messaging him again, I'm not Mother Theresa. I understand that he has a very hard time dealing with his situation but the fact of the matter is this was four years ago and he has to be an adult and find some way to move forward on his own (or preferably with psychiatric help). It's his loss if he can't, his loss in many, many ways. Coming from my background of having dealt with cancer, I know you have to realize that bad stuff just happens, and there's no reason and it's no one's fault, so you have to find some way to make peace with yourself about that and move on. And I really hope that one of these days he can comes to terms with this and will move forward with his life. But I can't help him, it's beyond what I can do.

And thus, although I'm sure I will have more juicy gossip and details because D is seeing his best friend, le Rémois quits our little story in France today. I really hope I can stick to my "not Mother Theresa" guns though. I might have to delete his number from my phone just to keep myself from getting all marshmellowy about this. I really just feel so bad for him.