31 décembre, 2007

2008's a comin'

Just wanted to say that I hope everyone had a great Chrismahannukwanzaakah and I wish you love, happiness & health in 2008!!!

PS-In case you were wondering...I am, in fact, vivante and the reason I haven't been blogging or reading most of your blogs is because I've been so busy having a blast at home. I'll be back in about a week, though. See you then!

18 décembre, 2007

Insert sarcasm here

Here are a few things that have gone through my head recently:

Yes, of course you should go over to the newly open register before me, lady in line behind me at Super U with a basket-full of things and me with three things TOTAL...
Thank you so much for moving out of my way when I'm carrying a huge grocery bag and 9 Liters of water, couple taking up the entire sidewalk...
I heart coughing so hard my throat burns all night long and, therefore, losing tons and tons of sleep, it's my favoritest in the whole wide world...

It's the best EVER when my cat wakes me up at 7 AM in the morning and then once I let her out, scratches to get back in approximately 2 minutes later...
I really, really, REALLY appreciate you leaving my loofah on the shower floor when you knock it over every single time you shower, thanks oodles and bunches...

It is so mind-blowingly amazing how you manage to get spices and oil all over the stovetop after I have just cleaned it and, what's more, you never clean it up yourself, thanks sooooo much....

I also love so, so much how you get bread crumbs behind the sink every morning, it's my favorite to clean that up since you never do, I guess you must not realize that you can cut the bread on a plate or maybe over the sink? It's my favorite cleaning that up...

I'm so glad, as well, to get all this experience in of taking out the trash, recycling and really weightless bag of glass. I also am loving doing the dishes and picking up other people's messes in the living room. What an excellent thing to be able to put on my CV....

Saturday cannot come soon enough (umm, that one actually isn't sarcastic.) I CAN'T WAIT TO BE HOME where people are in good moods, respectful of queues and personal space and at my house, where things are clean and in order!!! Ahhhhhh, sounds heavenly!

12 décembre, 2007

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

Our so-called Christmas tree that Roomie#1 put up this year. Gotta love the fake snow on the fake tree. You can tell how I feel about it, haha. I love the smell of a real tree...Balsam, Douglas Fir, Fraser Fir...doesn't matter, give me a real tree over a fake one any day. You may say, but isn't it wasteful to be cutting down precious trees? Well, those growers part of the National Christmas Tree Association say differently. Let's just say this is a subject close to my heart. So, I urge you, blog reader, if you're debating buying a fake plastic Christmas tree, please don't!
Here is one of the reasons why my sister is the best. Ok, maybe it doesn't look like much from this pic, but my lovely sister sent me a Christmas Tree in a Box!!! Which, of course, made me think of this from Christmas 2006 because I couldn't help myself!
Anyways, I tore open the package and started putting it all together and this is what the final result was...

It's a 3-dimensional(which you can't tell from the pic) paper tree. It is awesome and made my day! I will be saving this xmas tree for years to come and when I am, one day, ready to part with it, every last bit of it will go in the recycling. It's a very green Christmas, indeed.

10 décembre, 2007

Quoiiiiii?!?!? moment of the week

I randomly overheard this at the pharmacy the other day, I do not tell a lie:

"Mais les preservatifs ne sont pas faits pour les chiens, mademoiselle."


05 décembre, 2007

Merry Christmas to me!

I am now the proud owner of a shiny, new carte de sejour. Go me! Magic happened and I got my convocation yesterday in the mail, so I rushed my fesses on over to the evil Prefecture(yes, it is still evil even though it came through for me) and waited in line(because they changed the system and now you have to wait on Tues 14h-16h and Wed 9h-12h and 14h-16h if you're picking up your card) and got my beeeeautiful new carte. And, by beautiful, let me just say the picture is ridiculous amounts of HEINOUS because I look like a very hot(not in the attractive kind of way) deer in the headlights as I had just run to the nearest shop(not very near) to get change and then run back to take pictures because I had forgotten the fact that I had already given one away and so I only had 3. Then, in the photomaton, I managed to close my eyes for the first two takes of a maximum three, so to ensure that my eyes were open, I stared bug-eyed until the flash went off. Result= not so pretty. But, all that aside, I gots me my carte de sejour!!! I'm too excited, yay!

PS-Speaking of exciting things, go ahead and check out Episode 100 from the Katia and Kyliemac Podcast!

04 décembre, 2007

Hey good-lookin, what you got cookin?

I really, really like to cook. But, it's not the actual cooking part that is so wonderful, it's the satisfaction of a yummy final product(usually.) I also enjoy cooking for its social aspect, I had a great time this past T-giving for example, chatting and joking around with my fellow cooks. It was a blast. Not everyone is enjoyable to cook with, however, as I have encountered people that get bossy, stressed and/or very serious. For me, I like to be able to take my time(or else I will get stressed) and remain calm by chatting with friends, especially because I can be a bit of a perfectionist sometimes when it comes to presentation and quality(although being po' can easily change that!) , so it helps prevent me getting stressed. For me, I have the same take on cooking as I do on presents, I love to give. I like to keep the meal a surprise and I love for people to love what I have made them. I make a lot of "concoctions" which means I throw things together not knowing exactly what quantities to use and what the taste will be like...sometimes this ends up very interesting to say the least. I also am lazy, so I like recipes with not a ton of ingredients and also, things I usually have on hand or at least are easy to buy anywhere. So, with all this said, I'd love to share with you all a couple recipes of mine as well as some other fellow bloggers. Enjoy!

Tarte au thon courtesy of Emily's food blog
Stuffing from Milk Jam in the Kitchen

1 cucumber
4 cups plain yogurt
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp. lemon juice
4 tsp. salt
4 tbsp. olive oil

Peel cucumber, remove seeds, cut into small cubes and place in bowl. Drain yogurt of excess water and combine with cucumber. Add in minced garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Stir well to mix all ingredients together. Lastly, fold in olive oil and voila, tzatziki!

Chicken Curry
2 tbsp. butter
2 onions
1 red pepper
2 chicken breasts
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp. curry spices*(you can use more depending on your tastes)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c. milk
1 tsp. flour
1 tbsp. sour cream

Melt butter in large saucepan on low heat. Add chicken, peppers and onions, stirring frequently so as not to brown. Add finely chopped garlic, curry spices, salt, pepper and half of milk. Let this mixture simmer for about 45 minutes-1 hour. Then, add flour and mix constantly to obtain a consistent texture. Lastly, add the rest of the milk and the sour cream. Miam miam!
*I use the Ducros : Cuisinez a l'indienne spice mix for my curry spices

Also, here are some of the Thanksgiving recipes I used for those of you that are interested:
Green Beans
Baked Mac&Cheese
Mashed Potatoes

Bon appetit!

26 novembre, 2007

What's in a name?

Thanksgiving yumminess

Back to the title of my post. I started teaching English to 4 classes of little 5 and 6 year olds at the beginning of November. Boy, is it draining! You can really see the difference between the two levels of schooling in the fact that CP is where they first start sitting at desks and start to get better at staying seated. Those little 5 year olds are constantly wanting to move, bite/push/hit their neighbor, cry about something and I find myself enjoying teaching the 1st graders a lot more than those kindergarteners. I do, however, miss the fact that the CPs can't read yet because it limits a lot of what I can do with them and I can't use a lot of material I already have prepared from last year.

Why don't I limit what ages I like to teach even further? Ok, I will. So, I taught 3rd-5th grade as an assistant. I found the 3rd graders too babyish sometimes as well as too exciteable and some of them were lucky they were cute. No, I'm not kidding. The 5th graders could be little punks and thought they were too cool for school. So, my favorite? 4th grade! Haha. No, but I seriously think I could handle 1st-5th grade kids. A lot of it also comes from experience, I'm sure. But, thank goodness I only have those 5 yr olds once a week for a half an hour per class because I would seriously go folle otherwise.

I digress as usual. Back to the point of my post. When I started learning the kids names, which could still take me a good bit as I only see them once a week and there are 100 of them, I noticed a large amount of them had pretty old-sounding names. Like, I'm talking mamie and papi old. It is a private school in a nice area of the city and apparently in those parts it's all the rage to be naming your kids the equivalent of: Pearl, Bea, Maude, Ignaceous and Ulysses. There are also some other "interesting" names that aren't necessarily old-sounding, but just "different." So, I have compiled a list for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

Here are some of the more interesting names (and by interesting I mean some of them are from circa prehistoric times) of the kids I teach at the primary school:


Here are some more names followed by my personal translation I think to myself every time I call on them and what I fear I will one day say out loud:

Quitterie=Quincaillerie=Hardware Store
Callista=Clarissa...explains it all

...and my personal favorite: Anatole!!!

Because why wouldn't you name your child after a well-known 19th century writer?

19 novembre, 2007

Mysteries of Rennes

I'm still not that inspired to write out what's se passer-ing in my vie at the moment, so instead I will share a picture of one of the Seven World Wonders...of Rennes. This wonder which I refer to as "The Ice Cream Statue" is actually located down the street from me and I see it almost every day on my way to the bus stop. I feel like there really should be a story that goes along with having a giant ice cream-shaped statue on your terrasse. Former owners of an ice cream shop? Fan of ice cream and won it in a contest? A prank played by friends? Unfortunately for me, I don't think I will ever know the true story of the Ice Cream Statue. My guess? It's a toy for a giant baby! What do you think?

18 novembre, 2007

Too funny

I saw a link for the above test on Kari's blog and thought it would be fun to try for my own blog (knowing full well, bien sur, the ridiculousness of my writing) and I was not that surprised to be awarded this...

Hahahaha...I'm so proud.

16 novembre, 2007

Randomness comme d'hab

I don't have anything that interesting to say that wouldn't require me to write a mini novel, so I will spare you the drama of my life for the moment(trying to be positive here, people) and instead, I will share the above photos that illustrate the Frenchies' love of my chere mother tongue gone wrong.

12 novembre, 2007

Random act of kindness in France...say whaaaaaa?

I find in France that it's so easy to be negative and let the bad stories be the ones you remember. I personally try to fight this temptation by thinking of how lucky I am to be back here again and how if I were in the states, I would be longing to be in France and dwelling on all the negative things at home. That works about 0.5% of the time as I still clearly delve into the negative by boring you all to tears here on my blog. My place to vent out all my frustrations. Oh, the stories I could tell of rudeness, selfishness and mean-spiritedness(is that a word?) I don't like being so negative, I really don't.

Just this past weekend, my (anglo) friend was moving into a new apt with her bf and so she had to carry a lot of stuff. At one point, she and the bf were carrying their fridge which was super heavy and awkward. She told me that as they were approaching the elevator, a man walked by and made a snide comment about how girls shouldn't be carrying such heavy things. Then he continued on his merry way without stopping to help or hold the elevator door for them. What was the point of his comment? To take a dig at her bf for having her, a girl, be carrying such a heavy thing? To take a dig at her for not knowing she shouldn't be carrying something heavy as she's a girl? Rudeness for no reason, I guess. If that same story took place at home, I just know that most likely it would start with a polite comment and end with that same man helping to carry the fridge.

I remember three years ago when I went to London to visit friends right before Christmas break when I was going to go home and had an enormous suitcase, a carry-on, my laptop and a big purse. I was in the tube struggling down the stairs on the way to my friend's place after having just gotten in from Paris where I had drug my bags up and down tons of metro stairs. I was exhausted and I'm sure it showed. I only had to go down a few steps before a father and son came by and without even thinking about it, said "let me help you, love"(or something British to that effect) and grabbed both my bags and took them all the way down to the bottom of the stairs. I thanked them tremendously and they just smiled and shrugged it off. I really was so grateful for their help as I was very tired after NO ONE had helped me at all in the Paris metros. It was something that they did not need to do, but they saw I was struggling, their hands were free and they were also stronger than me.

This all brings me to what happened today. I was coming back from the grocery store with a big, heavy bag and my 9 liters of water and definitely struggling. Normally I put my sac cabas on my shoulder and carry it like a purse and, if I have water, I carry it in front of me like a bebe. But, this time, my bag was so heavy that I had that in one hand slicing the skin off my fingers(it felt like it at least) and then I had the water in my other hand slowly breaking my hand off at the wrist. My apt isn't that far from the store, but it sure felt like it with all those heavy things. I saw someone walk past me and then turn around to make a comment. I thought immediately that I would have a similar story to share with my friend when he said "that's heavy, huh?" But instead of walking away with a smirk planted on his face, he said "do you want me to help you carry that until the stoplight?" Como se dice, 'huh'? That's right, folks, this man who was probably 65+ offered out of sheer selflessness to carry my heavy stuff for me. And he was totally nice chatting about the weather, how everyone's sick now, etc, etc. I don't know how many times I thanked him and, despite this, he acted like it was no biggie. We exchanged a bonne journee and an au revoir and we went our separate ways. I bet he would never guess that something so simple, so selfless would make this americaine's day! Who woulda thunk?

07 novembre, 2007

Would you like some cheese with that whine?

I feel like all I come on here to do is whine, b****, moan, complain, blah, blah, blah. You're probably all thinking, "Put a cork in it, Leah!" I know I certainly am. And why would I put a cork back in the wine when I can just drink it? Sorry, the wine distracted me. I must have a case of Katia and Kyliemac ;-D

Anyways, many things about France are getting on my nerves at the minute plus right before every time that I'm about to head home, I seem to get very anti-France and pro-USA. I could talk about many a thing that's on my mind right now and believe-you-me, I gots a lots going on in my tete. But, instead of creating Blogging Snooze Fest 2007, I will just go ahead and shut it and provide you with a meme I was tagged for by Victoria.
So here she blows:

"List one fact, word or tidbit that is somehow relevant to your life for each letter of your first or middle name. You can theme it to your blog or make it general. Then tag one person for each letter of your name."

L is for Laughing. I heart laughing. Anyone that can make me laugh gets an A+ in my book. I love to make people laugh and in my family, two of my cousins, my sister and I are known as the kooky ones who will re-enact SNL sketches, crack jokes and just be goofballs in general. I'm kinda the bees' knees. And, yes, I do know how to laugh at myself in case you're wondering with that last comment.

E is for Emotional. I cry at Hallmark commercials. No joke. I like to call myself a "softie", but basically it means I cry easily and heavily. Haha. Is it just me that gets touched by stories of heroism and generosity? Bueller?

A is for Anti-social. Ok, not really anti-social, more like timid or shy. Why isn't my name LETH or LESH? Maybe because that's fugly? But, it would make things easier and I wouldn't have to cheat! Anyway, as I was saying shy or timid. I can be a rather shy or timid person when I first meet people, but it depends on the circumstances. It's hard to describe really because I'm different if I meet just one person and I'm by myself than if I meet one or several people and/or I'm with 1 or more friends. I'm already more of a group person when it comes to friends because I feel more at ease and let my guard down. So because of this, many of my friends have thought I was totally one way when they first met me and once they got to know me, their opinion totally changed. I've become better about being myself right away over the years and being a foreigner in France has helped enormously, but I'm still nowhere near where I would like to be. It's just funny because people in my classes now I'm sure think I'm nice, but kinda quiet and probably don't think I would be a funny person. But, if they were to see me when I'm more at ease, they would be blown away by how hilarious I am(as well as modest!)

H is for Holidays. I love holidays whether it be in the British sense of holidays aka vacances or American sense of jours feries. Vacances-what can I say against them? And as for holidays-my favorite by far is Christmas, although my birthday(yes, it's a holiday people!) and Thanksgiving come in as close seconds. I just love the holiday spirit you can feel at Christmas, I love being around my wonderful family, I love the decorations, I love the songs(I've already started with those!...my rule is Nov 1st is the first day I allow myself to start aka because Halloween is over), I love the traditions, I love the food, I love the scents, I LOVE CHRISTMAS. Have I convinced you enough?

So, apparently I have to tag four people according to the rules of the meme, so I'm gonna go ahead and ask Crystal, Jennie, Nicole and Joy Suzanne.

03 novembre, 2007

Thank you for not smoking

I have been a smoker for a little over two years now. Last year, France told me I could not smoke in lieux publics. I don't always follow the rules because no one really seems to care, so why should I? In January 2008, smoking is supposed to be banned in bars, boites and restaurants. I wouldn't be surprised if they get an extension again. Otherwise, how will I be able to ruin other people's meals by blowing smoke in their faces? How will I be able to make other people's eyes sting so bad that they have to leave the bar? How else will I be able to make other people's clothes and hair stink of cigarette smoke? I mean, that's just not fair. I really don't think the opportunity to create an entirely unpleasant dining/bar/clubbing experience should be take away from me! What's the fun in not putting other people's health in danger?

Oh, by the way, did I mention the kind of smoker I am? A secondhand smoker. That's right, people, by being in France for two years now, I have unwillingly become a smoker. I have had to deal with disgusting smoke at 7 in the morning at the bus stop. I have been given the evil eye because I moved away from smokers(ME as if I did something wrong!) I'm so sick of it, it's not even funny. I'm sick of choosing to wear not as nice clothes out because I know they will get all smoky and gross(I even have two specific coats I wear just to go out anywhere.) I'm sick of getting smoke blown in my face when I'm eating my yummy food at a restaurant. Most of all, I'm sick of putting MY health at risk just because you want to smoke a cigarette and not bouge your fesses outside.

For those of you that are smokers out there, I understand it's a personal choice to smoke. However, it becomes a very unpersonal choice when you are affecting other people around you who are not smoking. It blows my mind how selfish a choice some people can make. Although not surprising here when you consider people's attitude of "every person out for themselves." I cannot wait for the smoking ban to take a effect, although I can't imagine a France sans smoking. I'll believe it when I see it. Rant over.

31 octobre, 2007

Happy Halloween

More like Happy Blahloween. It's Halloween, I'm all sicky and I'm hosting a H-Ween fete tonight! Plus, I'm en vacances...thank you kindly illness gods for the wonderful timing!! I woke up Tuesday morning after being up all night with a stomach ache which I thought would be gone by then. No, not only was it still there, but it also had evolved into coughing due to a sore throat as well as my nez coule-ing up a storm. I was better yesterday during the day-why is it it's always the worst in the morning and at night, anyways? But, then this morning, it is even worse with a headache added in just for fun. Yay...or not. I will be staying in all today in hopes that I can be better for ce soir. Either way, Halloween will be celebrated even if I have to do it resting in my lit. So, Happy Halloween to all of you out there, drink some OJ for me!

30 octobre, 2007

I heart Friends

So, I've been wanting to post this clip for awhile now, but I was always too scared it would be too complimicated for my non computer-saavy self. Well, it was easy peasy! I'm en vacances this week, but not completely as I'm still working as well as doing my homework all due after this mini-break. I thought I as much as you all could enjoy a break and I invite you to enjoy this little tidbit! Toute de la froute!!!

26 octobre, 2007

Update time

I haven't blogged in forever and a day, yes I know. I've just been so busy, busy, busy with school, homework, FOUR jobs and trying to keep up a social life. Excuses, shmexcuses, I know. I've also had a friend staying with me for the past week. Did I mention I had a case of rubella? Not believable? Can't blame a girl for trying! Anyway, moving on, here are some things that I have been up to in recent times:

-Trying to understand why my classmates seem moyennement interested in getting to know me. I'm the only freakin anglophone and I know if I were in the reverse situation studying to be a French teacher in America and there was a French student, I would want them to be my ami. It's hard getting integrated when people all seem to already know each other either from their Licence in anglais or because they were studying for the CAPES last year. I've gotta make more of an effort to make some classmate amis, but this will happen eventually, so I'm not extremely worried, more confused.

-Yearning for all things home. Beautiful New England Autumn scenes, candy corn, Christmas decorations, family and friends. Christmas can't come soon enough. Not being at Thanksgiving already pulls at my heartstrings a little. The first family holiday since my Aunt died this past May. This year has by no means been smooth sailing and, if anything, has shown me how important family is to me. Also, I miss life where everything isn't such a struggle, where people don't smoke my face off, where people don't push me out of the way and then give me the evil eyes, where it's not an "every man for himself" kind of attitude, where things are organized...sigh. But, that is a whole nother post for another time!

-Coming to terms with whatever life brings me in terms of staying in France for a bit longer as passing my big test at the end of the year is seeming increasingly more and more out of reach. I can't be away from my family forever whether I pass or not. Plus, if I had my choice, I would absolutely choose to teach kids in primaire. But, alas, this cannot be. If I have to go back to the states at the end of this year, I will be sad, but I will be ok(though I waiver on this sometimes in both directions!) I'm not 21 anymore, free to just figure my life out later...I want to settle into a place, a career, a life...it is time. But, only time will tell.

-Trying to mentally prepare myself for my good friend's departure in two weeks that I kind of still haven't really admitted to myself. It really will be sad to see her go as we've been really good buds here in Rennes for over a year now. I will miss her tons. My chere copine rennaise.

-And, finally, making my Halloween costume which will remain top secret as I know of a certain little birdie who reads my blog who is hanging out on H-Ween and I want to surprise people. But, I will tell you one thing-it is all kinds of awesome! Oh, also I will tell you it'll most likely be slutty. But, if there's one time a girl has an excuse to ho it up, it's Halloween. Bonus points for making things that are so completely non-hoish into slutty masterpieces(slutty librarian, anyone?) I figure this is my last year to dress up for HOLLAween until I have kids, so I'd better live it up!

That's it from me for now, just to let y'all know I'm vivante and I've been(pretty much) keeping up on your blogs, so I thought I would share the love!

18 octobre, 2007

It's called "pardon"

TO: Too many French people
FROM: Not a revolving door

In the street, on the bus&metro, in the apt building, at school, in stores, in restaurants&bars, I am bascule-d. Remember the time I was actually a human being and not a revolving door for you to plow through nor a domino for you to topple over? Oh, also I'm not that into Rugby that you should try to smash into my shoulder as hard as you possibly can(in case you were wondering.) Yes, I know some of these cases are accidents. Either way, I think there's one little word that seems to be missing from a lot of people's vocabulary. That word is pardon.

Excuse you, lady, in Eurodif that decided to cut in front of me and proceed to bump into me and give ME the evil eyes. Me? Umm, I forget was it you or me that bumped into me...oh, that's right, it was YOU. And, you, lady in the grocery store line behind me, how about you back up enough so I don't feel like you're my long-lost siamese twin? And, you, couple that is taking up the whole trottoir, do you not see me coming with my huge grocery bag and my super-heavy bouteilles of eau? Oh, sorry, let ME just move out of YOUR way.

Ok, so that is people who need to say pardon as well as those that need to bouge their freakin culs out of my way. But, still, they enerve me!

15 octobre, 2007

Tousssin' and tournin'

Last night I got the teensiest amount of sleep because my apt is FREEZING cold as the heat is controlled for the whole immeuble and, therefore, we will be getting ours turned on in, oh, about quarter to never. I just could not get warm and if I'm cold, I can't sleep. Especially cold feet are the worst(no, not that kind of cold feet!) Then later, I found myself touss-ing up a storm for some odd reason. Odd because I've been sicky, but more the cold/sore throat kind of sicky with a minimum amount of coughing. Anyway, Roomie#1 and I were having an impromptu coughing contest at 2 AM as she is sick like me(prob caught it from me, actually) plus she has the gastro(yikes.) Sidenote: could the Frenchies be any more dramatic about being sick? Coughy McCougherson actually said she was going to go to the hospital because she had marre of being sick. I mean, yeah it sucks being sick, espec a gastro, but you have a bajillon medicaments and you just have to get it out of your system. And, ps, the attrap-ing froid business that they say could not be any more ABSURD.

Anyhoo, when I was up for the coughing sing along, I suddenly realized kitty was nowhere to be found. She was not at my side, at my feet or in any of her normal corners. So, I checked under the bed and in her kitty house(aka carrier) and still no Sienna. Well, much to my amusement, when I looked at my armoire, this is what I saw:

So cute!

11 octobre, 2007

Gettin my French on

I've lived here in France, specifically Rennes, for a total of two years now(spread out over time, but not important to my point) and there are obviously many things I absolutely love about France and the French as I would not be here if that were not the case. There are also things I strongly dislike, but that's a post for another time! Anyhoo, there also for me is a whole other category of things I encounter frequently and more than liking or disliking them, I find myself being like say whaaaa? every time I come upon them. However, I guess two years is the magic number. Two whole years is when things that used to astonish and shock you before become part of your everyday life. I have to admit, mes amis, I've started to become a little French.

Some are worse than others, but here goes a list of some of the things I've been up to that are unforgiveablely French:
-Complaining that I only had an hour for lunch instead of my normal 2 hours.
-Thinking that it's the end of the world when I'm sick, but all I have is a tiny cold.
-Taking up the concept of "every man for himself" when boarding the bus(with the exception of old ladies, people with children and/or strollers, handicapped people and odd people that I would rather see where they go and then sit far, far away.)
-Complaining that the University only has 1 week of vacation for Toussaint. Remember the time I lived in the states and we had only two big breaks?
-Highlighting, red-penning and white-outing my notes whilst in class.

One reason why I could never fully convert(there's something hidden!):

For I believe that
Is an awesome
Person and she will never
Learn to accept
Or act like
Peepz here think they

PS-Some of you might recognize this pic as the one from the Facebook Bloggers in France group and it is indeed the very same one. As a sidenote, if you are on Facebook and you are a)a blogger in France b)not already part of this group, I encourage you to join! Bloggers in France unite! :)
PPS-To avoid all confusion- I am not, in fact, turning into a FrenchMAN.

09 octobre, 2007

Trouble with a capital B

Imagine the scene:
I awake to the sounds of cute little birdies chirping and get out of bed fresh as a daisy. My sweet kitten waits at the door to be let out of the room. I head to the kitchen and prepare myself a breakfast of pancakes and maple syrup with a tall glass of refreshingly cold orange juice. Roomie#2 enters the kitchen and we chat away seeing as I have all the time in the world to get ready and head to class. He wishes me a nice day by giving me a kiss on each cheek and I gladly accept the kind gesture. I slowly meander towards the spot where my private car awaits.

Wait, that wasn't believable? Man, I knew the private car thing was one step too far.

Yeah, so here's what really happened:
It's 8 AM and I have already been awake because of the stupid freakin ducks that have been quacking away since like 6:30. So, I decide to roll out of bed because my cat is drivin me frickin crazy scratching and meowing to be let out of my room. I drag myself to the kitchen to pour myself a bowl of cereal because that's all I have time for. I realize Roomie#2 is in his room getting ready and think I am golden and won't have to deal with the dang bisous...good morning bisous of all possible annoying bises. Dammit, he finished getting ready before I could get out of the kitchen. He asks if I slept well and I say "umm, not really" thinking this might ward him off. But, no, he comes over and gives me freakin good morning bisous and wishes me a bonne journee. Does he not know that I don't like to a)speak when it's so early b)get the bises especially not in the morning. I walk hurriedly to the bus stop because I (of course)leave late and pray that I make it on time.


02 octobre, 2007

Sealed with a bisou

Yeah, so I've got a problem. My roomate that I've had since September is a biseur. That's right folks, your lovely Leah is getting bised up a storm. He does the bises when saying hello, goodbye, 2nd hellos, 2nd goodbyes, etc, and the worst of them all(dum, dum, dummmmm!)...the good night bises. You might ask, what's wrong with this? Well, dear reader, by constantly giving the bises when I'm about to hit the hay, I feel like I can never fully relax in my own room. He ALWAYS goes to bed before I do and so either the light in my room is on or my door is ajar. To him, this means, come on in and bise me up, Scotty! There are just some times that you want to be in your room and tranquille. Espec since he seems to be super observant and into what you're up to at the time. I dunno. I realize it comes from him being a fine, upstanding gentleman, but it's starting to P me off. Anybody catch my drift or am I just as bonkers as you originally thought?

Not Bizy McBizerson

01 octobre, 2007

Busy little bee

Well, last week was my first full week of classes and boy was it full, alright! I just love my wonderful schedule that is clearly such a great match for finding time during the day to have a job(insert sarcasm.) Wonderful, me arse! I now have three, count them, three jobs that add up to a measely 11 hours of work. A job tutoring a 5 and 8 yr old, a job tutoring a middle-aged woman and a job at a private primary school teaching two classes of CP and one class of CM1. There is a possibility I might get to add on 1 or 2 hours to the job at the school depending on how things go, but even still, whoop-dee-freakin-doo. I'm extra bitter because a college I sent my CV to this summer called desperately trying to replace the person who quit and the directrice was super interested in having me there. But, since they already have an American there working 6 hours, they can't hire me since I'm only a measely AmeriCanadian and instead have to find someone from the EU, Australia or NZ. Did I mention the position needing to be filled is in the section Franco-AMERICAINE??? Yeah, that's right...americaine in English means British...I forgot! A friend of mine who is an assistant in lycee said her school was also desperately looking for someone, but they could not be American. Get this-they could be CANADIAN. Absurd!

Anyway, besides scrambling to get mulah so I can support myself, I have been awaiting the dreaded Trefecture call. I have not yet heard from them which means one of three things: a) things are fine and I will get my convocation to get my CDS very soon b) things are not fine and they will let me know very soon c) things are not fine and they don't give a flying f*** and I will have to go back in about a month's time to deal with them where they will say my dossier is a)bloque because of the visa problem or b)lost and they have no idea where it is. I despise them lots and lots.

Moving on to better and more interesting things, I had a fun weekend both fete-ing and relaxing. Friday was my friend's b-day, so he and his American gf(K) prepared an apero dinatoire at their apt with quiche, spinach dip, veggies and other yummy nibbles. K had made brownies and his best friend had "made" him a foret noir cake(that he clearly bought at Super U) complete with ALL 26 candles on just the cake itself. We chatted about birthdays in the US vs France and us Americans couldn't help bringing up the fact that when it's your birthday here in France, it's YOU that brings in the sweets for everyone to eat. I'm not talking about in school because we did that too and I think that makes sense. But, like, to your workplace. We concluded you might as well also offer your friends presents on your birthday because, well, it's almost the same thing. Sidenote: I found a 10 euro bill on the road at around 20h30 when I was walking to my friend's apt that was clearly lost by someone. Without telling you what I decided to do, what would you do? We had a big debate about this Fri night when I raconted my story to everyone. Anyway, all in all, it was a fun night with good conversation and we ended at a bar de nuit dancing our tails off. Fun times had by all.

On Saturday, I met up with my Assistant friend who had just arrived back in Rennes and we went on the great apartment hunt 2007 traversing the city to find apt ads so she can get settled and start all the lovely required demarches administratives. It was so good to see her as it had been about 9 months since I saw her last and she is good times. After the hunt, we decided it would be nice to do a night in and settled on the idea of making a pizza and watching an episode of America's Next Top Model that she had downloaded. So, we invited over K&A for a fun little girls night and enjoyed a couple slices of yummy chorizo-red pepper-emmental-mozzarella pizza and a third slice of American reality TV. At one point, we had to remind ourselves we weren't, in fact, in America because take away the chorizo we used instead of pepperoni, we could have easily been back home. It was a nice feeling. We watched our ANTM episode and chatted about things like what someone could possibly do with a $1000 shopping spree at Old Navy. Buy 1000 t-shirts, for example? Funny cuz it's true!

So, that is it from me for now, just wanted to update you all on what I've been up to since I had been so MIA. This week, I have an interview with a couple chefs d'etablissement who will either give me the go ahead to teach in private secondary schools or not. I will be VERY nervous for that! I am also en stage this week at a lycee which is mostly observational, luckily. I'm off now to try and find something to wear so that I don't look 17 like people often think I am! In the words of katiaandkyliemac: ciaoooooo!

25 septembre, 2007


It is Day 2 of my full day school week and already my cabeza is about to explode. I'm at that point where you just feel like you're at information overload and are completely overwhelmed by the task at hand. This year is gonna be crazy difficult, me thinks. To begin with, I'm supposed to have already read four ginormo books(but didn't because I didn't know of my acceptance until 3 days before classes started and I really did not know if I was going to get in or not and did not have the money to be wasting.) Ok, maybe they wouldn't be ginormo if I had read them one at a time this summer, but they sure seem like that reading them all at once! For my classes, I have to read Pride&Prejudice, The Grapes of Wrath, The Tragedy of Coriolanus and La Devolution des Pouvoirs a l'Ecosse et au Pays de Galle. Oh, the joy. I have in fact read the Cliffs Notes on P&P to tide me over as well as watched the 2005 movie(we also have a class just on the film.) Yikes. I'm so out of the whole "school thang" that I feel exhausted just at the thought of all the papers, practice exams, student teaching and final exams that lie ahead of me. I already have a student teaching internship next week! Ahhhhhhhh!

I also feel kinda thrown to the wolves because a)such is French university and b)I'm the only freakin anglophone in my group and maybe of everyone. I had unveiled this tidbit to only a couple of students, but in Phonetics class today, the teacher(who is, btw, adorably French with a very British accent) called me out on it.

AFBA: Lea? Is that how you prnounce it?
Me: Actually, it's LEE-AH.
AFBA: Ah, are you a native speaker?
Me: Yes, I'm American.(Frenchies turn around and stare)

Later, AFBA asked about what type of accent people have and the importance of being consistent with whatever accent they have during this school year leading up to the big exam. I raised my hand for American accent and AFBA and I had a chuckle, but the Frenchies, I think, maybe found me pretentious. A lot of them are redoublants meaning they are re-doing the course for a 2nd, 3rd time, so they already know each other from before and then the others seem to have either people they know from studying for their licence in English or they've just made buddies. There are a couple nice girls that have chatted with me a bit and then I'll be en stage with a couple dudes all week next week, so I'm hoping to get out of my little anglo bubble very soon because it's getting old fast. I hope the Frenchies don't feel weird about speaking English in front of me in class because even though I feel nervous in front of them, I'm just one person and there are a lot of them! At the same time, I will be annoyed if some of them try to insist on speaking ONLY English with me because I find that patronizing since I am actually able to speak the language.

Rien a voir, but I can't wait to hear all their different accents...American, English, Scottish Irish is what I've heard so far. It's SO adorable! My friend who's a lectrice at the University said there was one Frenchie with an Aussie accent...that I would LOVE to hear. Most of them I've heard speak very well with not too much of an accent at all, but some do have the cute French accent...ah, I just love it! What I also love is the fact that it looks like I have lined up about 8-9 hours of English lessons that will be starting this week. Bring em on, baby!

For those of you possibly interested in the CAFEP or CAPES or those bored folk(hehe), here is what my schedule normally looks like:

Mon: 14h-17h Theory at IUFM

Tues: 9h-10h Comprehension
12h30-13h30 Devolution
13h30-14h30 Synthese

Wed: 10h30-11h30 FDL
11h30-12h30 Version
14h30-15h30 Pride&Prejudice(BOOK)

Thurs: 10h30-11h30 The Grapes of Wrath
12h30-13h30 Theme
14h30-15h30 Pride&Prejudice(FILM)
16h45-19h The Tragedy of Coriolanus

Fri: 9-12 Theory at IUFM

One week of stage at the beginning of October.
One week of stage at the beginning of April.

So, Mon&Fri are theory of teaching at the IUFM which basically goes over how students learn, what types of teaching there are, and all this super boring theory stuff. These classes are all in French whereas the classes (so far) at the Uni have all been in English. As an anglophone, I got out of Phonetics, Language Lab and Oral Expression as they are clearly not something I would need to do as a native speaker since they are about practicing your speaking which I can normally manage.

In other news, I am expecting to hear from the dreaded Trefecture at any moment now saying that there is still a problem with my Tarte and I ironically just got a message as I was typing this and listened to it and it was not them. Phew! Quite honestly, as much as I hope that everything will go through ok with what I gave them, I don't think it's gonna happen. It would take a miracle. I am giving it two weeks before I will allow myself to stop being so nerved up about it. I'd best be off for now as I have to head off soon for my lovely 18h-19h Devolution lecture that I have at that time until the other Prof gets back from maternity leave. The class is with all the three groups of wannabe English teachers, so here's hoping this bubble breaks soon!

22 septembre, 2007

Thoughts of the week

I have a lecturer that looks like Gerard Depardieu in Jean de Florette...like maybe he could be his longlost twin brother separated at birth. Ironically, it was also "Talk like a Pirate Day" that I had class with him. Coincidence? Me thinks not.

It's not just me that thinks all this didactique(theory of teaching) shenanigans is hard as F...the Frenchie I was working with in a group project and I both decided thinking through this stuff was giving us a headache...phew, I'm not the only one!

It is really easy to just not listen to your didactique teacher and spend the three hours worrying about your visit to the Trefecture.

France and I have a love/hate thing going on here and, at times, the hate WAY overshadows the love.

It is going to take a miracle for me to get my Tarte de Mesjours and, by miracle, I mean someone really not paying attention to the fact that my visa I handed in is not only NOT a student visa, it is also from 2006...dammit, dammit, dammit! Not looking good, folks. I even entered the Trefecture's number into my phone for when I will receive a call from those bastards saying that what I gave won't work. Watch them send a letter this time. I hate waiting for imminent bad news.

Sometimes I really wish my hair was straight...it would make things so much easier a lot of the time. It takes me an hour to tame my wild mane if I want it to be straight. It'd be so nice to just wake up and go. Sigh, you always want what you can't have.

I'm really gonna have to get myself a cool trousse once I'm working which might be soon as I have a few different possibilites for English lessons. I hope it works out.

It's pretty cool how all the years of French have paid off enough that I can understand most of what goes on in a class about how to teach, how students learn, styles of teaching, etc with references to stuff that's happened in the past 150 years or so in France's history...all this in French! I was lucky to have had some good teachers whose love for the language and culture really struck me.

My cat is trilingual...doesn't she rock? Hehe.

19 septembre, 2007

Don't get me started

I am not even going to get into how annoyed and frustrated I am right now because I feel like that's all I've been talking about on this blog and while you all are so, SO nice and supportive, who wants to listen to me constantly rant and rave? I don't even want to do that myself! For those masochists out there, let's just say I am having a problem with something that rhymes with Tarte de Mesjours. I know it's a toughie, but I think if you really put your mind to it, it'll come to you. Hopefully my next post will be me back here with my problem solved, but for now I best be off do some research and pray to the Prefecture, I mean, Trefecture gods.

17 septembre, 2007

Events of the day


A tiny ruler clearly meant for underlining words whilst you take notes. And I thought I was anal! I do admit the tinyness of it was cute, though.

Some American girl that wasn't me in a room full of Frenchies nearly bust her a$$ on the stairs and almost die. Ok, I might be exaggerating a tad, but it was embarrassing in any case...for that girl, I mean.

Half the students at the Conferences with pencil cases. Pencil cases most likely marketed for ohhhh I'd say about 10 year olds. Though, the kid in me is kinda sad I don't have one.

After school(that sounds like I'm in middle school or something), tons and tons of impatient drivers take the bus lane when they coudn't just remain patient and realize that, yes it's trafficky, but by taking the bus lane, you're really just cheating and getting ahead of people because it turns into one lane soon anyways.

Leah getting on track with classes, paperwork and buying cheaper, used books for class. Talk to me tomorrow, though, after my visit to the dreaded Prefecture. That visit might be a whole new post in itself. Boy, I really hope not! Ps-I need a job and bad!!!

14 septembre, 2007

Step 1 of 3 on the journey to my CDS acquisition

So, I have both good and bad news. But, I will get to that soon. In the meantime, I will share my experience as a student for the first time in a few years.

I had arranged to head to the Pref(what the cool kids call it) around 14h with roomie as she was nice enough to offer and I was distressed enough to eagerly accept. I had my first day of classes this morning from 9-12 actually 9-12:30, well, because it's France. That was a long morning, let me tell you. I ended up with the teacher that is apparently less preferred by the students, to put it nicely. Her teaching style involves randomly calling on people in the class and she is CONSTANTLY asking questions. I managed to avoid this phenomenon by taking notes like a crazy woman almost the entire class(my hand is not used to all that writing and it hurrrrts!) She didn't call names from the roster, but by asking a question and then saying what do you think, toi? You had to be paying attention at every single moment and I was writing my hand off and trying to formulate answers to her constant questions and I swear I had a huge headache by the end of class. I was so glad to be out of there! She said our contrat as students meant we were obligated to interact. This statement makes me nervous. I am beyond shy in front of groups of people and just add in the fact that it's in French and I'm the only American who would prefer to remain anonymous for now, well, I nearly had a crise cardiaque.

I luckily should only be exposed to this stress once a week, 18 more times(I counted!), so I'll be keeping that in mind each class whilst thinking don't call on me, don't call on me, don't call on me! I do get to work with the other teacher who I don't have as my group teacher, so I'm happy about that. I also learned of all the books I have to buy(barf), the conference that I will have to attend several times and the modules that I could sign up for if I wanted. I won't give my full opinion just yet on the methods of forming teachers here in France until I spend more time as a student and can fully judge, but let's just say that today only confirmed what I thought before and I think those of you who have either been a teacher or are knowledgeable about the system here will have an idea what I'm thinking.

So, after class was done, I rushed home to check email and have some lunch before leaving to meet roomie to go to the Pref. Well, I got a call from roomie. She won't be able to get out of work at 14h as planned, so I decided I should prob just head to the Pref myself anyway, grab a number and wait for her. I get to the Pref around 14h15 knowing that it closes at 16h, but I thought it should be fine, it's not Monday afterall when everyone goes. Boy, was I wrong! The girl in front of me at the ticket machine made the discovery for me that the machine was not working. Upon talking to the pleasant(lie) woman at the accueil , we learned that the service to the foreigners was closed. There were too many people. What the BLEEP?(Sorry, the Pref brings out the swearer in me and that was OF COURSE in my head that I said that.) So, the girl in front of me left and I headed to the guichet area not yet decided as to what to do. Not that many people, actually, and who was working at the main window, but the nice lady! Oh mannnn. It was destiny as she was the only one who told me it would be fine to change CDS and I felt, in the moment, that she was my only chance.

I went outside to call roomie who had not yet arrived and told her the sitch and, despite the fact that destiny was sitting only a guichet away, I hesitated. I explained that sometimes people take more than one ticket and will give you theirs when they leave. (Moral sidenote: I normally would never take someone's better number to be ahead of someone else if I already had one as I find this unfair, but since the machine was giving no more numbers and there weren't enough people that I would ever prevent someone from making it to the window, I thought this would be ok.) I also told her that they might re-open the machine to the public and it could be worth waiting to see. So, roomie said she would be there in 5. I took a seat far away from the mean lady who was working the second window and had been at the Pref yesterday to witness tearfest 2007 and waited for the ticketed people to be done.

Roomie meandered in 15 mins later in true roomie style and we waited...and we waited. Slowly, but surely the ticketed people were clearing out. There was a girl across from us who was waiting sans ticket as well and 3 people who had tickets that the number had already passed. Well, one of those people went up to mean lady when the next number was called saying he had been waiting since 12 and stepped out and his number must have been called. (Moral sidenote2: if that were me, I would have never left...gotta know the ways of the Pref!) Mean lady refused to let him stay. This prompted his friend to check out the ticket situation. THANK GOODNESS for that! When I noticed friend came back with two tickets and I saw that the numbers were way later than what we were on now, I practically sprinted to the ticket machine. Ca y est, c'est bon! I got myself a ticket and there were only 2 people in front of me. But, it was 15h30 by that point, the question remained, would we actually make it in? There were of course people there to drop off documents, ask questions and the worst of them all, the CDS picker-uppers that were eating up all the time. With 15 minutes to go, I was one number away. [Insert horrendously unpleasant beeping sound here] 596 was called...it's my turn!

Even though it's nice lady, I am nervous beyond belief. I give her a big smile and a friendly bonjour and say I am there to renew as a student. I first hand over my passport and student card to avoid an automatic "no" once she sees my CDS is an assistant one and patiently wait. She asks for the CDS. Moment of truth, is this going to work? I hand it to her and she says nothing! Phew, in the clear. I then hand over my justificatif de domicile and my justificatif de ressources. She takes one look at the JD and asks if I have a quittance de loyer. Yes, of course, Madame. It's looking good. She gets to the JR and this is where the bad comes into play. What I have provided is not enough. I get ready to argue my point and somehow, magically, she just says ben, je vais vous donner le recepisse quand-meme. HALLELUJAH, HALLELUJAH! What I came for, baby! However, the bad is that I a)will have to come back with a complementary justificatif de ressources and b)she also takes a second look at my CDS and sees that I was an assistant. I don't know what to say. No, I'm a student. Yes, I'm an assistant. So, I settle on: Yes, I WAS an assistant, but I am now a student. Unfortunately, she decides to note this on my dossier saying that it will be a voir because she doesn't know if I am technically allowed and she also notes that I will need a complementary document for the JD.

And now for the good news...I GOT MY RECEPISSE!!!!!! Which, btw, it was kinda dumb on her part if she wasn't sure if I was allowed to have it, but not like I care! Step 2 will be providing an adequate JD which should be doable. Step 3 would be going to the Pref, convocation in hand, to obtain my CDS...fingers crossed! My major worry is that between either Step 1 and Step 2 or Step 2 and Step 3, someone will look at my dossier and say that it is pas possible. Like one of those two Prefecture B*****s, for instance. I am just going to focus on the fact that I have to get my proof of income and that I have three months extra time than I did yesterday. It's gonna be baby steps, folks, but I definitely feel a lot better moving onto Step 2 as Step 1 proved to be such an enormous hurdle. Any advice from those that have had to provide proof of income to the Prefecture as to what to give them? Besides a coup de boule? Haha, just kidding!

13 septembre, 2007

Prefecture B*****s

Just so you know-I am not at all a huge swearer except when very, VERY mad and/or frustrated, so forgive any vulgarity that might come out on this post, but a lady needs to vent. On second thought, I'll go back after I'm done writing and sensor, so you won't have to avert your eyes.

OMG, I am BLEEPING fuming mad. I KNEW that this was all going along too BLEEPING well. I had been pleasantly surprised when the lady at the Prefecture a few weeks ago was a)nice b)helpful and c) didn't say that changing from an assistant to a student CDS would be a problem. That *&#$@ was wrong. I went today and waited for an hour eventhough I had a BLEEPING RDV because the computer system was "broken", so they had "lost" all of the names of the people with RDVs. I had been excited, however, because the same lady who told me changing CDS would be fine was there at the guichet. BLEEPING awesome. She must have been new because she got overwhelmed or something at one point and only the two guichets where you have to have a number were left. One was the lady I will soon discuss and the other was a woman I recognized and confirmed from watching her as a BLEEPING *&#$@. So, since my nice lady had hit the road, I waited for my number to come up(since I know France and its' ways, I had taken a number as well just in case something happened with the RDV.)

As my number approached, a new lady that looked stern, but nice enough came up to the window where my nice lady had previously been. So, those of us with RDVs lined up and I was third in line for that window, but my number for the other guichets was coming...closer and closer. Then, there was only one person in front of me at the RDV window and I was one number away at the guichets. I had to make the quick decision: if my number came up before the person in front of me finished, should I go? I decided that lady looked nice(WRONG) at the number window and that since it wasn't technically a first time CDS, but rather a renewal of sorts, I'm maybe supposed to go to the other guichet anyways.

So, I head to this lady I've never seen before at the number window and tell her I'm there to change my CDS from an Assistant to a Student and hand my CDS over to her. Oh no, Madame, you need to go back to the US and get a visa. What was that, f***face?(No, I didn't really say that, but I would have liked to!) I tried to remain calm, I was going to fight it out with this *&#$@ if she made me. I explained my situation...I had a visa to come as an assistant, my CDS lasts til the end of September, I signed up at the IUFM/Fac, etc etc. She basically said that it doesn't matter because it's the loi that you have to first have a visa blah, blah, nonsense, blah, blah. I protested that I had been here recently and her colleague that was there today told me it would be fine. She said non, it is not. I said, well how the F am I supposed to do this when my classes start TOMORROW? She said, go back to the states or go to the French Consulate in Belgium or Spain(???) The anger and frustration had been building and building and that's when I could take no more, so despite my resistance, the waterworks came on full force. That *&#$@ didn't even blink an eye. I said again that I was told by her COLLEAGUE that everything was fine, comment ca se fait? Oh, she made an erreur, my colleague. I repeated again that my courses start TO-MOR-ROW. She said nothing.

The only thing I can say about this BLEEPING *&#$@ is that she did go and talk to her *&#$@ of a colleague to confirm she was right and didn't press the button for the next person or wash her hands of me right away like they normally would. She did "listen", I guess. And she did "help" by saying I could go to Belgium or Spain. Gee, thanks. Lemme just spend more money to probably get turned down by some Belges or some Espagnols. Grrreat. Plus, even though she did seem to hear what I was saying and did actually respond, I know she didn't really care. I was just another pile of paperwork to her, not even a real human being. The fact that tears were streaming down my face and I was trying to still rationally explain everything? Well, I was proud of me for even being able to speak, but she could have cared less. And, I'm sorry, but if I had been on her side of that ridiculous glass wall, I would have felt bad for the person. I would have a least had the decency to mutter even a tiny, little desolee. Her? She might as well have been a some sort of French robot programmed to memorize and spit out information.

I am at a loss as to what to do. I am, however, not surprised as I knew things the whole time I've been here had gone too well with no major worries in terms of admin stuff. That's not normal here. I am beyond overwhelmed with the situation at hand and frustrated to a point of anger at France and its' ways and sadness at the thought of this all falling through. Any sympathy, empathy or words of advice are greatly appreciated. For now, I am off to look into this whole Belgium/Spain theory. Do any of you think that would actually be possible? Also, I'm planning on going back tomorrow and happening upon someone who either does/does not know the rules depending on what those rules even really are. ARG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Frustratedly/angrily/sadly/bleepingly yours,

12 septembre, 2007

Will I stay or will I go?

Ahem, so where was I? Ah, yes, of course:
Suite aux propositions qui m'ont ete faites par la commission d'admission, j'ai...
...l'honneur de vous informer que vous etes admis(e) a l'IUFM de Bretagne sur le site de RENNES.

Yayyyyy...I'm in, baby!!! And this means I'm gonna have to work my tail off to pass the exam at the end of this year in order to be able to go on and student teach next year. But, I am getting ahead of myself comme d'hab and for now I'm just thrilled!!!

PS-To all you Cheatin Charlies who already knew the answer and who shall remain nameless...let's just say Sam of you need to Jenuinely learn how to not Kareena to have the answer beforehand.
PPS-Don't think I don't know how you knew, you sneaky little people, you! :)

11 septembre, 2007

Oui ou non?

Somewhere deep down, I think I knew the answer was coming today. I could not fall asleep last night and my stomach was all tied up in knots. I woke up this morning at 9:30 and stayed up-that is not normal for me, I like my sleep. I was so nervous, I couldn't eat a thing, so I instead chose to organize random things in my room, on the computer, in the apart. When it finally reached 12 pm after what seemed like an eternity, I decided this was the time to go brave the boite aux lettres. I gathered up the garbage and recycling bags that I had compiled as one of my self-given tasks and I headed down the steps. Everything around me I took as a sign, like say one of the headless ducks that the neighborhood kitty no doubt slaughtered was no longer there, clearing my path to the mailboxes=good sign?(slash eww) The recycling bin was full=bad sign? I'm absurd.

Anyway, I head into where the mailboxes are and walk all the way to the end to find mine and peer inside as I always do to see if we've gotten mail that day or not. We had gotten mail today and what was glaring back at me right on top of the pile? You guessed it-a letter from the IUFM. This is where fear(and desire to vomit) instantly struck me. It was a letter. The lady definitely told me they would be sending me all the papiers. I took the mail anyways with the letter right on top, but could not bring myself to open it until I got inside. I did, however, try to peer through and catch some of the words or at least the format. There was no way to tell except for what the lady had told me I would be getting if accepted. Plus, I knew they send a letter either way because I specifically asked out of fear of waiting and not hearing anything only to find out I hadn't gotten in and they didn't think to tell me. So, I carried on and once inside, I threw down the pile of mail minus the letter and tore it open. It could still be either one, so I quickly scanned to find any sign of a positive or negative response. What was it going to be? So, I came upon this: Suite aux propositions qui m'ont ete faites par la commission d'admission, j'ai...


10 septembre, 2007

No news is good news?

Ok, so I didn't really expect to get a letter today from school, but I was secretly hoping I would to be done with the world's longest wait. Now, I'm hoping for tomorrow, thinking Wednesday latest as school would start on Friday and I would want to get things straightened out before then. We will see. Anyhoo, in the meantime, I will post a few pics from the wedding in Richmond to tide you over, dear readers.

That's right, her bridal shower gift was, in fact, an old school Nintendo NES and she LOVED it as you can see from maybe the best reaction face ever.

K and I made this based on this super cool PJ shirt the bride used to wear with a big poodle on it in her college days. It is a matching PJ shirt for her groom! Hehe. We had to go for a gag gift as well, we couldn't help ourselves.

The boys being silly and random on a visit to our beautiful, beautiful college. It's been so long!

The bride finally gets a chance to sit down and relax with some cake and wine. I told her to look sophisticated, job well done.

No Chicken Dance, no Bunny Hop, no Hokey Pokey, but you gotta have the Electric Slide(boogie woogie woogie!)

The bride gettin down. Too bad she could only move her top half because the dress was so tight. Good thing she knows how to rock the robot. You'd better believe the shopping cart, lawn mower, shower and sprinkler came out with a vengeance. Fun times! Her dress was beautious, btw, which you don't get the whole effect of in this pic, unfortunately.

07 septembre, 2007

The longest wait of life

Last night, I set my alarm for 10 AM as I went to bed at 11 PM, figuring that would be enough time to make up all the sleep lost over the past week. Yeah, I didn't really listen to that alarm and instead chose to get up when I felt ready which instead of 10 AM, was 11:30 AM and I totally could have slept more. Anyway, despite a bit of fatigue and a good amount of nerves, I felt ok about the interview because I figured they couldn't really say my English sucks. Well little did I know, the whole interview would be in French! Apparently whenever they have someone apply with a foreign diploma, they have to make sure their French is ok as it is required in classes as well as part of the concours and French writing methods are very different from American ones. However, I learned that this year, there were three anglos in the program and they all passed, so that made me feel better...although they might have been doing a slightly different version of what I'll be doing where the test score required is lower.

I could not have had a nicer lady to talk to and she made me totally comfortable so I just blabbered on about my cursus and why France pleases me(hehe, that sounds dirty when literally translated, but you know what I mean!) At the end, she said she couldn't give me an official answer, but she couldn't see why I wouldn't be accepted and that she wouldn't bother to continue the interview because she already knew my French would be fine. She also told me I'll get something in the mail either way next week and said that if there's a souci with my paperwork, to not hesitate to contact her. Nice and helpful person going out of her way? She must be anglo. Kidding...well, sort of anyway. So, I do feel good about all this, but I'm not yet going to get my hopes up because you just never knew. Plus, her saying she thinks it'll be fine is good and all, but I'll wait to jump for joy until I get those papiers in my hot little mains. Long live French waiting!

04 septembre, 2007

Oh, France and its ways

I found out earlier today that I didn't get into school. But wait, I didn't NOT get into school either. Actually, they are having me come in on Friday to test my French and English skillz as they want to make sure I am competent in both languages...gotta say I'm not so sure about English!!(I've been using awkward sentence structures and saying things like "you dream" and "he's a profiter".) If anything, this just makes things MORE annoying because I was looking forward to being done with all this waiting business and know for sure what is going to go on with my life. I mean, not like I'm not happy that they're not ruling me out all together, but who knows what else they'll want after the interview. Plus, school is supposed to START on Friday which just means more complications for me figuring things out for class and in terms of my CDS since I will have to wait longer if I were to ever get in. Am I surprised, you ask? Not at all(you can save that face for the Wet Bandits, Macauley!) If it wasn't going to be a no, I knew there had to be something else. So, that is my news for now and I will update again on Friday to most likely say they will next be requiring a unicycle performance for admission.

On an unrelated note, I am having a great time in the states and my friend's wedding was so much fun, it was great to see all my Uni friends, she looked beautiful and her (now) husband is so sweet. I'll go into more detail and post some pics if I can remember. Today will be my only full day at home and I will be going out to dinner(yummy Chinese) with the fam and meeting up with a friend later then I'm off again tomorrow! Ciao for now, keep those doigts croisé-d for me!!

29 août, 2007

Tic toc....t-minus 6 days

Six days in which I will go CUCKOO! I will know whether I got in to school or not in 6 days. Honestly, I don't have a grasp on what my chances are, but I'm preparing myself for the worst. The guy at the school said there are always spots available, but it depends on if they find you qualified or not. So what are these criteres they ask for, you may wonder. The first two you have to have and the rest just give you priority over other candidates, the more you have.

Well, I've compiled a list for your(and by your, I really mean my) pleasure:

Two years of higher education studying English.
I gots 4 and it was IN English, will that work?

Six months abroad in an anglo country is highly recommended.
Let's see...carry the 1, minus 5, plus 3. So I have umm...276 months, is that good?

Well, I took AP classes in High School and had a decent GPA in college...but, of course you had to have proof, so even though I wrote it, they prob won't count it.

Maitrise or master 1 acquired before submission of application.
Well, licence which is 2 years is equal to our 4 year degree, so this one's a no unless they are somehow unaware of that.

Assistantship or lecture position in an anglo country.
Yeah, I kinda did my assistantship here in France. So, again no.

Teaching experience.
This I have and it was in English for two years, so that's good to go. Plus, I tutored English and French for 1 year, although as I have no proof, this doesn't count.

Modules of preprofessionnalisation et/ou de...
Yeah, let me just stop that right there with a big ol' NO.

Language training sessions.
No, as I don't think my 8 days of stage for the assistantship would count so much.

So, do you see why I have all this confuzzlement? Luckily I am spending the day tomorrow(I get up at 4:30!!!) flying back to the states and then this weekend is the wedding and I don't get back until late Monday night. So, I will be very distracted up until Tues when roomie will call in for me and email me the answer(yikes!!) It will be nice to be back, but as it works out, I only have one full day at home with my fam and the rest are just parts of days or late nights. If only I could stay a bit longer, I know my parents and sis are pretty bummed about that. But, I had to buy a ticket leaving Wed night in order to get in Thurs morning to get to Rennes Thurs afternoon to be here for Fri morning in case I ever get into school and have to start. Why they have to start on a Fri, I do not know. Classes at the Fac would start Mon, Sept 24...grr. Oh well, can't change anything, unfortunately.

I have been absent for almost a week at this point. And, guess what? I will be absent again for a week after. My apologies to my dear readers aka I'm probably just apologizing to myself. I will update on University status next week once I know the answer, so keep those doigts croise-d because I still have a bit of a wait. Please wish me tons of merde(eww, sounds gross!)

24 août, 2007

Drumroll, please

.....................................I am happy to announce that:
a)I made two friends at the Prefecture which made my hour there(even though I arrived right at 9 AM) go by much faster.
b)I was right-I didn't get my carte de sejour and who doesn't like being right?

Ok, totally kidding about b I would have taken being totally wrong and admitting it to the world any day over not getting my CDS and being left in this uncomfortable and anxious state. Ugh! I buttered that lady up at the Prefecture as sweet as a freakin slice of pain de mie. I laughed when she did, I smiled when she did, did I maybe even wink at her? No, I didn't really, but I would have if that would have given me the CDS I wanted.

What's funny is that the reason I didn't get the CDS was not AT ALL one of the gazillion reasons I conjured up in my head that I saw as obstacles. I could change CDS status WITHOUT having a visa, the letter of pre-inscription was perfectly fine, the lady was unexpectedly pleasant and smiled...SEVERAL TIMES! No, all would have been in my favor had I had in my possession a freaking CARTE D'ETUDIANT which of course I won't have until I know if I'm accepted or not which won't be until after I leave France to go back to the US. Arg! She explained that now they insist that you have to have the carte d'etudiant and then lowered her voice to share this secret with me "there used to be so many people who were signing up for school and getting a CDS etudiant just so they could legally stay in France." I shook my head in disbelief as I grasped the paper saying I had only signed up for school and was not yet admitted. "How could anyone ever do such a thing?" Errrr...yeah, I totally agree.

After I had buttered her up, made up something about me not being able to get a carte d'etudiant right away because everyone was gone en vacances(thanks, Sam!), offered my student card from the US and my CROUS Student Number...I just gave up. I am not good at talking people into things and I had really maxed myself out and I didn't see it advancing no matter what I offered her or how nice I was being. Her niceness was GREATLY appreciated and I cannot stress this enough because I now know of two ladies at the dreaded Prefecture who are nice instead of just the one, so I now have more of a chance of talking to someone nice than before. I did go through my documents with her and she did make a suggestion to add another document to my justificatif de ressources so as to be sure to get approved when/if I come back to get my CDS. She was also like, "don't worry, your CDS expires at the end of September, you have time!" Ah, if only she knew.

As nice as she was, I was not about to explain that I didn't know whether I was going to get into school in the first place and that I'm leaving for the states next week which complicates things what with leaving my cat, monthly bills and my stuff behind and not knowing if I will come back for good or not. And that I might possibly have to buy a plane ticket just to come back and take my stuff with me. All in all, there was no vomit nor tears which is always good, I only waited an hour(could have been 3 or 4 just to hear no), the lady was super nice and I now know what I have to have. I'm trying to stay positive, but I'm super bummed of course. If anyone has any suggestions on how I could finaigle a carte d'etudiant before I find out if I'm accepted, I'm all ears, baby! Should I try to apply to the Fac? When I studied abroad, I remember not getting my carte d'etudiant until like 2 or 3 months in, but maybe that was because it was a study abroad program? As is with everything here, on verra bien.

23 août, 2007

Luck be a lady tomorrow?

Tomorrow is IT. Tomorrow morning I will be at the Prefecture with freaking bells on. Despite the fact that so far in Project Edumacate me, France is up by approximately 5 gagillion points to my 1 point, tomorrow will be winner takes all.
I now have in my hot little hands the following documents:
Translated Birth Cert+copy
Justificatif de domicile+copy
Justificatif de ressources+copy
Attestation de pre-inscription+copy
Certificat de visite medicale+copy
3 HORRIFIC identity photos

I will also be bringing my life in paperwork form with me, of course.

I'm a good person.

I have a good feeling about this.

I still have yet to toss my cookies or cry my eyes out.

Another girl in the same situation already tried to change status and they told her she HAD to go back to the US. Uh oh.

Everything paperwork-wise has gone really smoothly for the most part and I've been waiting for some sort of nightmare. Double uh oh.

Bad things come in threes and I've already had two majorly bad things happen this year. Triple uh oh.

I'm not actually accepted into the school yet(which brings up a whole nother set of worries!)

I will probably end up with some nasty witch(replace w with b) who hates Bush and, therefore, me.

France doesn't care that I'm a good person.

Wow, a good feeling? That's promising(insert sarcasm.)

The vomit and the tears are soon to come!

As is tradition, I am expecting the worst so that I can hopefully be pleasantly surprised. But, like I said, everything has gone smoothly for the most part except with the *@&$!%^# rectorat, so I have been just waiting for whatever lucky charms I have fallen upon to fail me at any point now. I know it sounds pessimistic, but I just don't want to get my hopes up and be crushed if it doesn't work out(I literally just almost typed when it doesn't work out, you see how I am?!) So, I will give it a go and please wish me luck because honestly, I think that's the only thing that will guarantee me the opportunity to stay here and get into school. Yikes!

22 août, 2007

Luck be a lady today?

Remember that teeny tiny miniscule possibility of me being able to stay here in France? Well, I'm about to head off soon to try and get some more info. So, here's hoping a)it's open and b)that I can even finaigle them into giving me some info. I feel like I'm going to gerbe because I really just don't know what's going to happen and I'm a bit(understatement of the century) stressed. So, wish me luck because I'm scaaaaared!

Bad news-I cannot find out any earlier than debut Septembre.
Good news-I did manage to get an attestation of pre-inscription and the guy I talked to was shockingly very nice and seemed hopefulish for me.
Worst news-I have to go to the dreaded Prefecture and see if I can convince them to give me a carte de sejour without having gotten a visa first for a school I might not even get into.
Best news-I have not yet tossed my cookies.

I think this deserves this much luck-wishing...