Monday, October 12, 2009

Back with Class!

Monday October 12, 2009 – Back with Class!

First day of school…but not in the way you might think! For those who aren’t already aware, I applied for a teaching position many, many months ago for my year abroad and I got the job as an English Language Assistant at a high school in the suburbs of Paris. For the past week, I have been observing English classes and today I began to teach. I have my own classrooms, keys, pigeon-hole in the teacher’s lounge, cafeteria card, and have to make my very own lesson plans…apparently I am supposed to know what I’m doing! Ha. Ha. I almost forgot to mention, I heard my own “teacher voice” today, you know the one I’m talking about; it scared me a little.

So I teach 11 classes per week; four on Monday, one on Tuesday, and six on Friday. The way the system works is that a (real) English teacher can request an assistant (a not exactly real teacher) to work with their students. The classes are divided mostly in half and I take the group once a week to work on oral language and conversation skills. Today went really well…I wore my super professional Van Heusen dress that I bought during Grace’s Women’s Retreat last spring, perfect; kind of my equivalent to a power suit. The lesson I prepared went over well…I did do it three times in a row so that makes it easier. I tend to live in the teacher’s lounge or “la salle des professeurs” during the gaps in my schedule. I drink tea and eat fig newtons, not very French I guess, I need to work on that. But, I swear, it seems as though the teachers down at least 6 cups of coffee a day! This is the view:

Oh I almost forgot: my commute. Not very exciting right, well it does involve 3 metro lines, 1 bus and 5 stations….don’t forget the stairs, remember! And, of course, this:

That’s right 144 old stone steps all my own! Yes, this is the one and only stairway that leads up to my high school. When I do eventually reach the summit every morning, shedding layers and layers of clothing, as well as, 5 pounds of water weight in the form of sweat (I know, gross!) I get to greet my fellow colleagues and students after climbing 4 more flights of stairs once inside the building, face beet-red and out of breath. Jokes on me I guess. Thanks France! …PS that’s our new catchphrase! Feel free to apply it where needed during your stay, but you must only say it with a really stiff-slash-insane looking smile on your face. Don’t worry, it will come almost naturally.

My first University classes begin tomorrow, so wish me luck…at both ends of the classroom!

PS my apartment smells like a fart, not a healthy fart, like a rotten someone/someTHING has gotta be sick around here…I think I should stop… it’s only the cheese in the fridge and it’s “fresh” meaning it looked like this when my roommate’s French boyfriend bought it.

Now you know why I strictly live off of Nutella.

Sunday Afternoon

Sunday October 11, 2009 – Montmartre

So I realized that I’ve been here for going on two months and I still hadn’t visited Sacre Cœur and Montmartre… My tour guide was Trevor, my friend from San Diego. We took the funicular to the top of the hill to the Sacre Cœur cathedral.

Since it was Sunday, there were crowds of people everywhere enjoying the open market and some live music that included favorites like “Ticket to Ride” by the Beatles. One comforting thing about Paris, in spite of being so far away from home, is the music. I never go out without hearing a familiar tune that reminds me of sophomore year of high school or road trips trying to sleep in the Landcruiser back in the day. Oh speaking of Landcruisers, I actually see them quite often in a purely singular form: a tow truck. Since most European cars are so small the huge big rig tow trucks really aren’t necessary…they use a whole new form of beast below: (Photo dedicated to Dad and Doug, especially)

Anyways, Sacre Cœur was gorgeous and we found the most perfect Pride and Prejudice garden I have seen; I fell in love with it.

Speaking of love, we also saw The Wall of Love! See the “je t’aime” on the right side?

I’m not sure if I am correct, but there was an école des garçons or boy’s school nearby the funicular that had gates and stairways that looked identical to those in the movie the Red Balloon! That made me happy.

After traversing all of those stairs we were in definite need of a snack. What better place to enjoy a break than at Amélie’s café or le Café des Deux Moulins from the movie. We indulged in crème brulée and chocolat chaud! The group sitting in front us indulged as well, in a couple cups of coffee!

The Moulin Rouge, probably only presentable in daylight. On a Sunday afternoon.

PS I also found my dream home and the perfect bite to eat nearby!!

Who's with me?

La Nuit Blanche

Saturday October 3, 2009 – La Nuit Blanche

In high school, my French teacher explained une nuit blanche as “une nuit sans dormir” or “a night without sleeping”. Every year Paris throws a huge all-nighter called La Nuit Blanche, complete with various attractions and artistic exhibits all over the city that are open all night long. Overall, it was basically a Disneyland crowd all over the city of Paris; I swear I didn’t even know this many people lived here! But, we had a list of event s to see and started with a star exhibit in the Luxembourg gardens…it was a disco ball hanging from an orange construction crane with a spot light on it with a one hour line to “experience” it. Um moving along, we headed to Châtelet. Crowds everywhere!! In the midst of things, we find a most likely not sober tight-ish rope walker that was going to give me a heart attack! I know I’m such a mom!

We decided to get a snack at a café, you know, right in front of Notre Dame. I still can’t get over that I’m here. Notre Dame at night is so beautiful! Ahhh…

My favorite metro stop, Arts et Métiers: It is completely bronze plated with huge crank gears built into the ceiling of the tunnel. Please enjoy also the gentleman in the foreground…oh wait it was actually a woman! Ew.

Hôtel de Ville...and a few people.
Back to the exhibits, well since everything had a line that was at least an hour and it was freeeezing, we just accepted the fact that it wasn’t going to happen. But wait! The Kiss! The line is so short, why not! (Red flag) Okay, so The Kiss is a ten minute short film of a couple making out on a bus. NOT a Hollywood, celebrity good-looking, good lighting, and spotless tour bus kiss…no, more like your average TMI PDA moment on public transportation! Haha, at least we participated in something, right?
BTW TMI= too much information and PDA= public display of affection oh and BTW= by the way :)

Being the mom that I am, I was in bed by about 1a.m. Good night!