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.