Thursday, July 31, 2008

I'm baa-aack!

I got back to the US on Tuesday after wrapping up my travels in the South. I'm feeling a little bit of what I guess you might call reverse culture shock, although since I haven't left my house since I got here I don't know how that is possible. I've been a little sick and very tired, so a big update of what I've been up to isn't on the table for tonight, but I can promise you that when I do share it will be extremely juicy and interesting. Basically, you will all think I am completely insane and should be sent to a mental hospital.

Hope everyone is enjoying their vacances!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

No internet!!

Hey folks... I was surprised the other day by the internet at the lycée being turned off for the summer! So this is my first time with internet since last Friday. It's also probably my last time for a couple of weeks because I'm leaving for the south of France with D. Her family has an apartment in Canet so we'll be spending a few weeks lounging on the beach. I know, don't hate me. I will be returning to the US the 29th of July, hanging out with the fam, speaking English, etc, and then coming back to France the 22nd of September (well, the plane gets in on the 23rd).

See you in a couple of weeks when I have internet again!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Packing up and bringing back

I'm currently trying to wade through the packing mess that I have to sort out relatively soon. I have to figure out what I want to take home and what I want to leave here. Then out of the stuff I'm taking home, what I'm leaving there and what I'm bringing back. And I'm trying to sort through all my teaching stuff, which is really exhausting. It's just papers and papers of stuff!

I'm also making a list of what I want to bring with me next year for teaching. I want to bring a nice color map of the US and some pretty books to show the kids pictures, of course stickers and other prizes (I buy my kids' affection), kiddie song CDs, some leveled readers, some kiddie books to learn vocab with, and if I can find it some ESL stuff from the States because I'm so sick of everything being England-centric in France! Sure, they live next door to England but I'm an American darnit.

Any other suggestions for teaching supplies? Or other things for myself from the US that I'll miss like crazy when I'm stuck in France for another year? (unfortunately bringing a 24 hour Target that is open on Sundays isn't an option)

It's really weird that I'm only going home for a vacation and then I'm coming back here, doing the same thing and living in the same place. It's like I live in France now or something. And that is the strangest part of all.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The day I totally rocked my French speaking skills

Last night I was FUNNY in French! I'm still grinning about how clever I was. It was like the part in Almost French where she makes her first joke in French, except that hers was unwitting and mine was on purpose and about 20 times better.

Here's the scene: I'm out with Dorothée, her friend F who I already knew, and some guys she knows who I had just met. One of the guys, R, says that he knows everything and I can ask him any question I want. So I asked him why so many married French men don't wear wedding rings. This is a true phenomenon, by the way, and of course the first response that comes to mind is that they are trying to get away with something when they are away from their wives. But the weird part is that often times it's men who are in committed marriages. I can't figure it out at all. Anyway, R tells me that it is because of work. He works in heating, and he tells me this story about another guy he works with who stuck his hand in a heating appliance machine-y thing while wearing his wedding ring and impaled it on some metal part of the machine. If he hadn't been wearing his wedding ring the metal thing would have just slid (glisse) right across his hand. Okay, I'll give him the heating industry, but then I continue:

Me: So what about in the office?
R: There are lots of things that glisse in the office, like pens, pencils, papers...
Me: Riiight. It's the secretaries who glisse.

Then D and F started chuckling, followed by the rest, and I recieved the congratulations of everyone for my quick thinking and clever comment (and a few congratulations from myself). I am so proud of myself! I'm not the kind of person to toot my own horn, but this was really, really good and I feel really good about myself for saying it. It's the kind of joke the French love too because I was playing around with the language, it's sexual, and there are a few subtley different meanings of the verb glisser, so I feel really good about myself.

Except I also feel like I can never equal the glory of the first joke and if I do manage to make another joke it will probably be a total let-down. I may just rest on my laurels.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

I will start off by complaining: the internet and computers are all screwed up in the professor's lounge. I'm not happy. No graphics, everything looks funny, and formatting of web pages is all wrong - including blogger, which is seriously wasting my writing flavor right now. It isn't enough that the majority of interesting sites are blocked, but now the ones I actually can see aren't working right! The tech guys redid whatever programming with the computers this week and that's what created all these troubles. Aaaand we no longer have Firefox and I don't have the ability to download it. Thumbs down to the tech crew. Couldn't they have at least gotten us wireless while they were messing around with everything?

But I have to quit whining and get used to it, because it looks like I'll be here again next year. They have one small building with six apartments on campus and I asked about getting one of those for the assistants next year, but apparently they are all full. There are many more bonuses to living here than minuses: awesome location (right in centre ville so I can easily get to everything), the bus stop I use for work is two seconds from here, access to the computer lounge until 10:30, a cantine for when I don't want to cook, a small but adequate kitchen (if you don't mind working with one electric burner and a microwave), a big bedroom, elevator for taking my luggage and heavy groceries and laundry upstairs, the laundromat is two minutes away, and the price is right - €70 per month. I'm really lucky to have a great deal like this. I couldn't afford a place in an equally great location, not to mention what a pain it would be to del with electricity, rental laws, etc. So me and my buddies at Lycée Crappy will be hanging out for another year. And by buddies I mean the annoying lycéens who stare at me because I'm American.

Speaking of being American, for the first time today a random stranger called me out on the street as an American for no reason. When I first got here Pantsless Neighbor (remember him?) wrote an article about the assistants for the paper, so a couple people have said something to me, like the lady at the boulangerie and in a context that isn't really weird, you know, "ça fait 88 centimes... and aren't you the American from the newspaper?" But today I was walking down our main drag when one of the guys outside of the Sketchy Café where only sketchy guys go calls out "American! American Pie 3!" Unfortunately I turned my head, so he kept saying things in English in a noncoherent way. At least I think it was English, I really can't be sure. So I kind of half smiled and continued on my merry way. I guess it was going to happen eventually. In a town of 30,000 the dirt gets around.

P.S. I just signed in again to edit some spelling mistakes and suddenly Blogger is normal again. Rnadom unexplained events? Yep, still in France.