01 décembre, 2008

Quadrice Turkey Days


No, I still have no clue what comes after thrice, but then again, I didn't actually try to look it up either. Ah well, quadrice(or fleetine!) works just fine for me! So, last week was the week of Thanksgivings. I have never eaten more than one Thanksgiving meal ever before in America. Ok, that's not entirely true, I guess you could say two meals actually if you count the leftovers the next day! I had one T-giving in the afternoon on Thurs which was arranged by my school. Pretty sweet. A few of my coworkers actually brought in some decorations and made little quizzes for people to answer about the history of Turkey Day that were placed on each table. It made me very thankful to be a part of a pretty awesome program and team. The Frenchies seemed to be willing(except for that guy that got fries) to try the meal(they had an alternative option) and everyone said how much they enjoyed it. An added bonus was discovering I'm now getting even more of a discount than before on my lunches at the school(thank goodness considering I eat there M, T, R&F and it's not cher, but it can add up!)

Thurs night which is the scene of the pics above was a minigiving/thanksmini at Yuri's place. It was nice to do an actual meal on the day of and in someone's home and Yuri had the wonderful idea, so how could we not take her up on it? It was a smaller scale thing because we all were going to another big T-giving the next night...so I bought some English cranberry sauce, made my cornbread mix and made garlic bread. We had escalopes of dinde, mashed potaters, gravy, corn and a broccoli casserole. For dessert, we had brownies and those patisseries you see above. We were only 5.5 people(1 came later hence the half) so, needless to say, not all of those puppies got eaten. No they weren't actual dogs, excuse the dad language! It was a nice, relaxing meal entre amis.

Fri night was a big shindig with about 25 people that was fun, but not really Thanksgiving-y. Plus, I made stuffing, but didn't have time to cook it beforehand and on top of everything, I ended up being extremely late, so the stuffing didn't get cooked enough and wasn't all croustillant like it should be. Tant pis. On Sat, I headed to Fougeres to a T-giving hosted by a coworker and her pacse. I was glad to be invited(we were 15!) and everyone there was very nice, although I realized at one point that though there were two other girls by themselves it was only because their counterparts stayed home and that meant I was the only single person there. Kind of blechy. But, I didn't have time to focus on that because, as you can see...food galore! Real turkey, real cranberries(and even the fake kind with the can rings...love it!), mashed potaters, green bean casserole, 3 kinds of stuffing(I made a second batch of mine and it was properly cooked this time and delish, thanks to Karina for the recipe I've used 2 yrs now!), sweet potaters, green bean casserole, cornbread(with cranberries!) and even biscuits! For dessert, apple pie and yummy pumpkin pah as well! Many laughs were had and games were played. Turned out to be quite a good night! So, voila, there is my "remember the time I had 4 Thanksgivings in 3 days" story. Hope your T-givings were as bons as mine!

24 novembre, 2008

Top ten...


Reasons why I CANNOT wait to move...

~Fishy smelling kitchen because the oven fan isn't put on.

~Roomate being in the salle de bains at the EXACT moment every morning that I need to be in there...I know he knows...grr.

~Cleaning&organization all according to me...mwahaha!

~Decorating!!

~Exciting plans!!!

~Kitty can have free reign of the apt and not be enfermee in my chambre when the others are here.

~Having a place for my parents to stay when they visit me in the spring!!

~No more dishes piled up...and if they are, it'll be all MY fault!

~Singing out loud to my heart's content!!

~Wearing pyjamas on the weekend for hours on end and not having to feel like a lazy bum!!!

Things I'm thankful for this holiday season...

~Moving(sorry, couldn't resist!)
~Rennes' current development(the big new movie theater, all of the construction of apt buildings, the renovation of facades as well as many other changes.) Rennes is a happening spot!

~Celebrating Thanksgiving not once, not twice, not thrice, but FOUR TIMES!!

~The fact that it's almost Thanksgiving and we all know after T-giving, Xmas celebrations begin!

~Xmas decorations in my room and classroom(ok, so I started a bit early!)

~Sending out my homemade Xmas cards!

~Xmas lights up and soon to be lit around the city!!

~The American goodies waiting to be brought back in my bedoroom at home that I couldn't fit into my suitcase(s)!

~My job(s)!!

~My family, friends(espec my new enlargened group of anglo buddies in Rennes) and kitty!!!!!!

17 novembre, 2008

Random comme d'hab

video
I think I'm supposed to be eating dinner with my colocs ce soir which is about as tempting as punching myself in the face, so instead I choose to blog. I know I'm still almost as absent as ever, but for good reasons. What with teaching, preparing for teaching and lotsa socializing(note vid above of the third of three Soiree Raclettes in the past 2 weeks), I really just haven't had the motivation/inspiration to sit down and blog. My brain is constantly thinking of about a bajillion things at once and blogging is usually not one of them. High on the list is moving plans and thinking about allllll of the things I will have to purchase when I move. I mean, I have the bare minimum furniture-wise(a couch, 4 chairs and a bed!), but if I were to make the list of everything else I'm missing, it'd be pretty dern long! Though I did more than double my salary from last year(which was pretty meager to begin with, so I'm definitely not rolling in the dough by any means), I've had a lot of stuff to pay off. 140 for a mattress+sommier, 110 for surcharges of our EDF/GDF, 130 in Taxe d'habitation, 500 for a plane ticket home...that's 900 easy euros gone right there. Thank goodness for the bank loan I got because there's no way I would have been able to get by otherwise. And by no way I mean no way besides asking the rents, but I want to avoid that if I can because I am a quasi-grownup afterall.

So, I won't be buying out any expensive furniture store anytime soon, but I will be hitting the Trocante, Ebay and a couple places I've heard of in Rennes where you can get new products with not-so-grave defauts(like dents, scratches, wrong colors) for way cheaper. Although I don't want to get too much before I move because that's just more stuff to have to move! I think I'll wait for a)the soldes which tombes bien because I'm moving end of Jan/debut fev, so I can hopefully grab some of the bigger, more expensive things then. But, I'm thinking even the little things I don't have are going to add up fast...vaccuum, broom, mop, toaster, microwave along with all the cleaning supplies I will have to buy as well. My detail-oriented personality(read:a touch of OCD) makes me want to do things like guesstimate prices of aluminum foil+mop rags+windex=?? I guess I shouldn't think about it too much in detail because it might, maybe just maybe, stress me out a bit. I think focusing on the caution, first month's rent and agency fees are quite enough, thank you very much. Plus, not all of what's on my lists(yes, you read that right, that's lists with an 's') is really priority. Take cheese grater for instance, I can live without it. Yes, my lists are specific. I should do that for a job except that I don't wish to organize other people's lives, just my own.

So yeah, I've got moving on the brain a bit. Plus, exciting plans for when I do actually move(Yur, you know what I'm talkin bout!), so I'm looking forward to actually getting stuff sorted. The sooner, the better. It's a maladie, I tell ya! Sur ce, here's a little meme that I've wanted to do for a while but for aforementioned reasons, I never got to. Taggees, find your names at the bottom.

Six things you probably don't know about me:

1) I only give myself 30 mins in the morning to get ready. I value sleep too much, so I take showers at evening or nighttime and I oftentimes wake up with yesterday's makeup(yes, I know this is bad.)

2) I am very sensitive to certain noises(what's interesting is that my sis is like that with smells and can't go near a perfume shop.) I was that girl that stood inside watching the fireworks from afar because the sudden BOOM! just didn't bode too well with me. I've gotten more used to it as I've gotten older, but it still bothers me a bit. It's now translated into standing far away from people opening bubbly wines or champagnes, although that might also have to do with my fear of things going into eyes.

3) I can tell when meeting someone for the first time if they are someone who I could be good friends with. I haven't been wrong yet. Bizarrely enough though, unless it's blatantly obvious like they are a jackface or a creepster, I have a hard time placing exactly what it is about people that just doesn't rub me the right way.

4) I have a strange fear of falling into open spaces. My mall back home has its' second floor overlooking the first and I avoid being near the railing like the plague. I constantly think about what if someone accidentally bumped into me or what if I was leaning on it and the glass broke. This goes for sewer grates, metro stations and any cavernous space of any sort pretty much.

5) I can never remember who I tell what to. For instance, now that I'm thinking about it, I might have mentioned my fear of falling into open spaces on here before, but I'm not sure. In some ways I have a really good memory(like useless random facts or memorizing things), but other times, I have a hard time remembering very specific details of a general thing if that makes sense. I did well in high school for instance because it was a lot of memorization(which is a big part of why languages came so easy to me), but college was more difficult because I am not so analytical and it takes time for me to organize my thoughts.

6)I am random. I start talking about one thing and then end up in a completely different place. Hence the blog. Oh and speaking about organization, I am so organized sometimes I forget how organized I am and try to do things like a normal person. Say I'm going to use the same photocopy for 2 different classes. Well, I will do something like make a photocopy and put it in the folder for each class, so that I can have the copy in the 2 places I need it instead of having to remember that I need to transfer it from one folder to the other after I'm done with the first class. Then I file the orignal away because I like to get $h!t done. Then, I proceed to forget that I have done so and spend time looking for the original(that I have already filed away) so I can make copies for the second class and then remember that I am so ridiculously organized that I already not only have filed away the original, but also have the copy that I need in the folder for that class. Yeah, so that probably only made sense to me. What was I saying about being random again, I forget if I mentioned that here or not. Cycle vicieux.

Je tagge: Fellow Canuck, Going to Episode 200!, hopefully also going to Ep. 200!!

10 novembre, 2008

Two outta three ain't bad!


So, the apartment hunt has officially begun. While I've been checking out ads on the internet for a couple months now, I was waiting until I actually sent out my lettre recommandee with accuse de reception and got the confirmation that my proprio got it and then hurdled the task of telling my current roomies. Well, now that that's all said and done, it was time to tackle the beast of going to the agences to see what's available since not much is online for when I want to move. I headed out today not knowing how it was going to go since I've never been to the agencies before as I found my colocation on the internet. I decided to go to the three places near me figuring that a)since I want to stay in this hood, they might be the best bet for that and b)since they're close by, if I ever need to stop in for whatever reason, it would be very convenient.
First agence-I walk in and two younger girls are at the accueil. They both are very friendly and when I say that I know it might be a bit early(seeing as all the annonces they had outside were for at least a month before I want to move), one tells me it's never too early to search for an apartment. She takes down my info as well as my general preferences and says that the woman who takes care of this is busy today, but she'll give me a call once something comes up. I then proceed to the second agence.
Second agence-I walk in and the lady at the desk walks away, umm not really a good sign. Luckily, she redeems herself by calling out her colleague's name saying there is someone waiting to be helped. Phew. New lady gets down to business and takes down the details of what I'm looking for. She then tells me the person is out today who would be able to help me, but asks for my name and number so that she can contact me once she has done some recherches. She writes down Mlle Leah until I correct her and say Leah is my first name, umm duh. On to the third!
Third agence-I walk in and lady is on phone. I patiently wait for her to finish and remark on how freakin hot it is in the place. Me hates the heat. Strike one. The lady finally gets off the phone and I explain that I'm looking to rent an appart etc and she directs me to her collegue in the next room. Collegue says hi and then just sort of waits for me to talk. Awkward. Aren't real estate agents supposed to act like your new bff so they can get your money? She should learn a lesson from the bankers. Strike two. So, I am awkward and say c'est vous, Christine? The lady at the reception didn't tell me her last name, though! Oh well. I go on to say I'm looking for an apartment a louer in a little under 3 month's time. She looks at me like I have two heads and says and I quote " c'est beaucoup trop tot pour chercher" and then tells me she only has 1 appart that she knows of that is even dispo then and that I should come back at the earliest at the end of December. I say umm ok, I'll repasse a ce moment-la. Thanks for the help(or not.) Strike three.
I'm an organized person, I can't help it, I like to get $h!+ done. Coming from the two places where they didn't hesitate to take down my info and where one girl even said it was never to early to look for a place, I thought it was pretty lame for the lady(from a reputable company, btw, that exists in the US) to look at me like I was crazy for already getting started with my search, then tell me she did have a place(ok, just one, but still, it's not like there were none!) and then not even take my info. It doesn't really make me want to go back there and actually I was hoping to get this sorted before I go home for Xmas anyways. Is that like super crazy of me? Now, I'm just hoping to hear soon from the other ladies and if I don't hear from them within a week, I'm thinking I'll go elsewhere just to leave my options open. Wish me luck!

04 novembre, 2008

Nouvelles


Well, after my bit of drama a la Gossip Girl, I'm ready to share some major news with you people that I'm very excited about. I'm mooooooving! That's right, after over 2 years in the same ol' apartment and 5 different roomies later, I'm ready to casse-myself. I've always told myself this would be my last coloc and that the next place I lived would be my own appart. I wasn't in a rush to get out before, though, I mean it is gonna take a decent amount of sous to do this afterall. However, I think that the fact that my newest roomies are not people I ever see myself being friends with has really given me the extra push I needed to see this thing through. I told them last night which was a huge relief because for whatever reason it was making me nervous. But, I'm giving them plenty of time plus I already know of someone who might be interested in taking my place which means they could be set pretty soon and without paying 1 centime on appartager or any other roommate sites.

I, on the otherhand, have to actually find this magical, new apartment. I've been looking for about a month online and have seen very few things open for when I want to move. So, I'm thinking I'll have to go to the agencies and see if they do actually have stuff dispo and they just haven't put it online(thinking it's too early) or what. I really would love to stay in the same quartier I live in now-close enough to walk to downtown, lots of buses if I need to take them, but at the same time pretty calm seeing as I can hear ducks coin-coining as I write this. The only other place I would live would be centreville, but that usually means an apt that's either super cher or the size of my pinky, so on verra. In any case, I'm very excited and can't wait to find my new place and get all the perks that go along with it. Plus, decorating, hello? What could be fun-ner? So yeah, that's my big news and I honestly CANNOT wait!
PS-Go Obama!

02 novembre, 2008

Secrets, secrets are no fun


So, I've always been one to believe in being honest with people. Honesty is the best policy, they say. It might sound a little Gertrude Goodie Two Shoes, but it's me. Yes, I've told some white lies in my time, but bold-faced lying just isn't my thing. I guess I can't say I've never done it before either, but it was when I was much younger and now I'm older and wiser. Or so I thought. Is it lying if you just purposely choose not to tell someone something? You know, just leaving something out. And is it good to tell the truth knowing it will make you feel much better(to have whatever it is off your chest), but make someone else feel much, much worse? How do you decide when someone needs to know something? Should you let time pass by and wait to say something? These are questions I find myself facing. I won't go into details, but help!

29 octobre, 2008

Vacation, all I ever wanted



Hightlights of my holidays so far:

Watching ridiculous amounts of Gossip Girl

Running errands up the wazoo

Finalizing a very important decision that will mean a big change for this lady

Getting together my Halloween costume bits and pieces-just know that my costume involves a boa and a sparkly flower in my hair, details to follow later

Shopping for school supplies and magic pens!

Picking up my Tarte de Mes Jours!!!



And vacances aren't even over yet! I still have 4 more days plus a very exciting Halloweener party on Friday!

PS-Isn't that pic of the Go-Go's so deliciously 80s it hurts?

26 octobre, 2008

Long time, no blog!


Howdy partners. It's been a while, eh? I've just been busy, busy with work life and social life and didn't get around to blogging. But I am now, very thankfully, en vacances so I figured this was the occas to get my bloggin on. I do have some exciting plans to share with you, but I will wait a bit until it is 100% set in stone. In other news, here are a few random tidbits of news and happenings from the past two weeks:

-Taught ex-Roomie#1 how to say "to drink one's face off" aka se bourrer la gueule, hilarity ensued when she could not remember the order and said things like "I'm going to drink off your face." Ouch, that sounds painful.

-I was wearing my normal comfy French shoes(the shoes all French people wear that aren't sneakers/tennis shoes, but just shoes) and one of my kiddies in a Moyenne-Grande class remarked "my brother has the same shoes, Leah!"...this encouraged the rest of the class to tell me that their brothers, fathers and uncles had the same shoes as well. Just because they're brown doesn't mean they're boys shoes, geez!

-Went to an anglophone party in a bar on Thurs night...one drink free and 2 drinks half-off, this meant I paid 4 euros for a demi, vodka orange and a pinte. I think I will be going back, umm, every Thursday. Especially because besides the cheap booze, it was so random, I couldn't help but heart it. A bar after my own heart.

-And probably one of the best bits of news of them all...I got my little slip of paper saying I could go to the dreaded Trefecture and pick up my Tarte de Mes Jours!!! Yessssss, victory is (almost) mine!

PS-Can YOU guess where I'll be on December 6th?

13 octobre, 2008

Sans voix


Ok, this is going to probably be a lot of random ramblings aka a normal post from me...oh wait. So, I have officially lost my voice for the second consecutive October. And as we all know when something happens more than once, you can use the word usually. So, when I usually lose my voice(you know, every October and stuff), it really blows. Whisper-yelling just does not have the same effect on the chilluns when I'm trying to tell them to shut it. I seriously think it's because I go all summer being calm and not singing songs every 5 seconds and then the rentree comes and I jump back into being a source of enterntainment 5 days a week for approximately 5,000 hours. My voice just can't handle the strain and I lose it. I guess maybe the soiree from Friday night didn't help either...but, I know that's not the only reason. Since I've been back here for part trois of my life in France and I've been the main English teacher in my schools, I've also found my voice just gets worn out from time to time. I also feel like it's scratchier than it used to be, but that's probably just from all that lovely second hand smoke that has been poisoning my lungs since circa 2002.

Despite the whisper-yelling, being sans voix does have its' advantages. Par ex, I can get out of talking to people. Now, that might sound anti-social of me, but you're forgetting one thing, I am indeed anti-social. No, I'm clearly kidding...ish. But, there are some people that I just don't feel the need to waste my ever-so interesting conversations on. Oh, and that prof that was always closing the window that I had previously opened because I was 500 degrees from all the singing and bouge-ing actually opened the window for me today when she saw how overheated I was at trying to talk/sing despite my lack of voice. A lady after my own heart. Not for serious, but I definitely have grown to like her a lot more than I thought I originally would. It's funny because there was one teacher I was told to "be careful of" as she is a bit of a sheister and had taken one of the people who worked at NS before me "under her wing." Basically, she made her buy her groceries for class. She apparently looks down on teachers that don't have the official French teaching certification and comes off as really nice, but is secretly kind of evil. The funny part is that I confused two of the teachers' names and I was "being careful" of the wrong teacher for 3 or 4 weeks! Glad I cleared things up with a coworker! Their names are similar to be fair to me, I'm not a complete idiot afterall!
What else to update on? Well, the bilingual kiddies are still as adorable as ever. It's so weird for me to hear American kids in Rennes. It's such a shock to my ear and then it immediately reminds me of home and it turns into a comfort. Plus, how cool is it to be a truly bilingual child? I wish I had grown up speaking two different languages! My chilluns(if I have some) are definitely going to be bilingual, preferably in French. Maybe I'd better first get started working on a way to get those chilluns in the first place because I don't think the Immaculate Conception is going to happen to me any time soon. In other news, it's Yuri's bday this week. Yay! And I'm hosting her party at my apt. Double yay! And my roomies will be gone. Triple yay! To be honest, I've hesitated on having people over because my apt has kinda had the fun sucked right out of it since the new roomies moved in. No, that's not right, I shouldn't say that, what I meant to say is that my apt has DEFINITELY had the fun sucked right out of it since then. I do really miss my old roomies, it is true. Le sigh. Oh, and other funness is that my English friend, Jenni, is coming back to visit soon. She's been in Rennes as long as I have(aka when the dinosaurs roamed the earth) and was an assistant with me in 2004. She came back in 2006 and stayed until Aug 2008 when she went back to Engers to do her teacher training. I miss her tons and tons, so I'm wagging my tail in excitement at the thought of my lady back in town! On that note, I'd better be off to finish my lemon tea&honey and then straight to bed! Or, I'll be watching ANTM on youtube, you take your pick!!

07 octobre, 2008

Smarter than a first grader


So, as I am now on Week 6 of the rentree at New School and Week 3 at OS, I have been reminded of some extremely important things all thanks to my lovely students:

Farts are funny. Admit it, you know you want to laugh. Also, making farting noises is almost just as good.

People dropping things(namely me) is also hilarious, it is funny to see your teacher look like a fool.

Sometimes you have boogers, often times you cannot be arsed to do anything about it.

When your teacher says the letter 'p', don't hesitate to repeat the word pipi over and over again. It is honestly one of the funniest things ever. Don't forget about "zee", what word would be funny to formulate using that letter? Oh, and don't you love how 'q' sounds like cul?? I know I do!

Also, tiger sounds like ta gueule and six sounds like...I'll leave you to figure that one out. It might be a toughie!

Yes, kids will be kids anywhere you go. I actually do have a bit of a difficult group in one of my first grade classes. They kind of donnent me envie to m'arracher les cheveux. I finally (along with their prof) had to lay down the law with them and make them realize that I mean business. They showed up the next class with drawings asking for my forgiveness for their rude and boisterous behavior. Whilst this was appreciated, I would just like you to NB some of the things they wrote...

pardon lia pour n'avoir pas ete sage
je m'aiscuse pour avoir rigole
lille morise(l'ile maurice)

...and that, mes amis, is why I'm smarter than a first grader!

01 octobre, 2008

A Tarte de MesJours Haiku


Good surprise arrives
Wait of four hours, babies cry
Leave with blue in hand

Did you really think I could write just three lines? Of course not! So, I am happy to announce success is mine, mes amis! I was waiting for something in the mail which I luckily got this afternoon(after going back to give them a prioritaire SASE to replace the economique one I had given without thinking) and I rushed off to the dreaded Trefecture throwing all my official docs in my bag and leaving my wet laundry I had just taken out of the washer behind. On a whim, I grabbed the yearbook portraits I (for some reason unbeknownst to me) got from New School when I took my picture for my teacher card just in case my mugg shot-like photomaton pics didn't cut it. I got to the Tref at about 11:45 and my stomach did somersaults and had butterflies because I wasn't called until 16h(when it closes.) I luckily landed on the same lady who gave me my changement de statut carte last year who actually is capable of smiling and I showed her the list her coworker had given me 2 weeks prior of everything I needed and she seemed to think I had everything. She did take a second look at my mugg shot pics and said she didn't know if they would be ok for my actual carte because the top of my head was a tiny bit cut off. I handed over my yearbook pics and she said those would definitely be ok. Phew! I even made a joke about how I was better off with the yearbook ones anyways because the other ones were pas non plus tres jolies. She actually laughed and joked back which makes me think she might be human and not, in fact, a robot like the rest of them. I think the nice people at the Tref are starting to outnumber the meanies which makes me happy. Adios, droids! So, all that to say I have a brandy-new recepisse in my mains and all is bon for now!

27 septembre, 2008

Chill and Chili


I am sure you are on pins and needles(tenter hooks?) waiting to hear about how I used my paprika. My life is just seriously THAT interesting. Before I get to that, a little update on my CDS situation. Well, basically, it's looking more positive than negative. I have a RDV on Monday morning and by Wednesday, I should have what I need to go to the dreaded Trefecture and get a new CDS. Then, in theory, the school should be providing me with a new one in a couple months once all the paperwork has gone through at the Labor Dept which is what was supposed to have happened 2 months before I started working. I know this couldn't have gone any differently and I don't believe on dwelling on the past forever and ever because ca sert a rien, but I will say it sucks that I ended up getting a bit F'ed over having to do all the work and pay myself en plus. But, it makes me feel better that the school is still planning on getting me a new CDS for this year. I did say planning, so we'll see how that goes.

I will miss some classes because of these RDVs which sucks, but the school is on board seeing as none of us really have any other choice. I had a meeting on Friday and had to cancel my last class of the day with my CP2 class, but instead of just cancelling their 40 min class and doing an entire 40 min class with the CP1 class, I did 20 mins with each class during the time the CP1s have class. That way, they'll both have learned the same amount. Then, on Monday morning, I will be missing a class of PS and PS/MS, but I figure that since they have class every day, it's not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things and I can always just not teach anything new on Monday to the other PS class I will have. Unfortunately, I will also be missing a CE2 and CM1 class, so I need to figure out what to do about that. I think I'll make a pretty light lesson plan for the other 4 classes of CE2s and CM1s and then give the teachers of the 2 classes I'm missing the material to give to the students. More practice than learning, quoi. I know the CM1 teacher does English with her kids, so that shouldn't be a problem. The CE2 teacher doesn't(it's another CE2 teacher that teaches all the CE2 classes), but I know he does speak a little English and I will just make the lesson simple. Reviewing stuff can't hurt. I really can't have some classes ahead of the others, so I think that's what I'll do in the CE2 and CM1 levels. Et voila!

Wow, I'm sure that was as interesting for you as it was for me. Moving on to the paprikaness. Thank you again to all of you for your wonderful recipe ideas, I will have to try some of them out in the near future. If you haven't guessed it already, I decided to make chili of the vegetarian sort. The veg part was only because I prefer chili with ground turkey and not ground beef, but I might try chicken chili at some point. I can't even imagine how much chili I would have had had I added meat, though. As it was, the recipe made enough chili that I definitely could/should have froze it to eat later because I'm a bit chili-ed out by now! Anyhoo, here is the recipe that I came up with based on a fairly simple basic recipe that I added to. I love how making chili just means throwing things into a pot and crossing your fingers. Haha, no it was good, though! Enjoy!

Leah's Veggie Chili
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion
1 cup celery(I used 4 stalks)
1 small red pepper
1 tbsp garlic(I used 3 cloves)
2 cans(16 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can(8 oz.) sweet corn
1 can(16 oz.) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. sugar(or cinnamon!)
2. cups chicken stock(I used 2 bouillon cubes and some water)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. each basil, oregano, thyme, paprika, cumin, chopped bay leaf

Add olive oil to skillet on medium high and saute onions, celery, red pepper and garlic until onions are translucent.* Add all other ingredients in order and stir well. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add some sour cream(creme fraiche), fresh chives and/or cheddar(emmental) to garnish. Mange it up!

*This is where you would add 1 lb. of ground turkey or beef if you're making a meaty chili.

21 septembre, 2008

Cooking Cuestion


So, in my quest to be a real live grown-up, I have recently been adding to my spice collection. I kept it basic for a long time with just the herbs and spices that I used all the time. Whenever I needed something for a recipe, I would buy it, of course, but I didn't have things just hanging around au cas ou. One of my recent additions is none other than paprika. I decided to buy it because I thought, hey my mom has this, so it must be good for something. I clearly neglected to think about the fact that my mom has spices from circa 1970 that just sit there collecting dust. Ok, I miiiight be exaggerating a tad, but you get the picture. She's a great cook, but she def has some spices she uses more than others. So, I find myself asking the question, what DOES one do with paprika? I know I can look online, but I'd love to hear from you cordon bleus out there that already have experience using paprika and maybe even have recipes on hand that you'd like to share. So, bring on the paprikaness!

19 septembre, 2008

Que dire, que dire?


Yeah, so I've been absent as I'd predicted, but it's been for good(and bad) reasons. One being I've been really taking the time to get used to New School, new kids and new curriculum. When I'm there, I feel like I'm constantly running up, down and across three floors with not enough time to do everything because I'm late or the class is late from recess or the kids are not getting something I thought they would(although only because I'm unfamiliar...they're English is incredible!) This being the first year and having now prepared classes for many different grades all at different levels, I'm not yet adjusted to what they know. Also, I'm trying to develop rituels with them of my own as well as use some(many) of the things they've learned over the past few years with the person I replaced. It's an adjustment for everyone, some of the kids still call me the other teacher's name(although some of them just were doing it because they thought it was HIlarious) and I have about 450 kids' names to memorize. Holy fa-reakin cow! That's just at NS, btw. At Old School, I believe I'll have about 100 more. The students at the Uni can just forget it, quite honestly. There'll probably be about 50 of them which adds up to a ridiculous total of 600 students. Kindly picture me punching myself in the face right about here. Although, thank goodness for etiquettes on their desks telling me their names, well minus my 7 maternelle classes, but whatev. You learn the bad, I mean, poorly behaved kids' names pretty fast.

I start at OS next week which I'm not too worried about because I can do what I want and a lot of what I did last year, I can reuse. I will just have to add on some more subjects because I started a few weeks later last year. Also, it was the first year that they started English in GS, so I ended up teaching the GS and CP classes the same vocab except the CPs had more words to learn as well as a few questions/answers. So, I will review with the CPs what they did the year before for a few weeks, but then I will have to do completely new things since they are the old GS kids and obviously they're not going to learn the same things over again...duh. But, I have the freedom to do what I want, it'll just be the issue of taking the time to prepare. Sunday is going to be my preparation day for all of my students. Well, every Sunday for NS and then every other Sunday for OS and Uni as I will plan out 2 weeks' worth of lessons for OS since I only see them once a week and then the Uni classes will all pretty much learn the same thing. I have what the person before me did with the Uni students, so that will help, but I think I'm the most nervous about teaching in front of them. I mean, I'm not used to teaching a group of students and they're franchement not gonna be that much younger than me. It's not like I can distract them by singing Old MacDonald and I somehow doubt we'll be playing Duck, Duck Goose. Oh well, maybe they'd go for London Bridge? It's a bit more sophisticated, IMHO. No, in all seriousness or something close to that, I will be scared about teaching them because I'm just not used to it and I can't predict how it will go. Also, I'm glad it's based on teaching them about CVs, interviews, etc in the anglophone world, but there will no doubt be some grammaire mixed in there which I do not personally enjoy or feel entirely capable of teaching. But, ca y ira. I'm glad, en tout cas, to have these two week breaks between everything starting up and then at the end of Oct, it's Toussaint, baby! Yes, I am already thinking about my vacances, can you really blame me?

Autrement, the vie has been se passe-ing bien. Repas, soirees, cremailleres, all sorts of fun stuff. Well, minus my current dilemma with my CDS. I don't want to delve into it toooo much, but let's just say things aren't going as planned and the original type of CDS I was supposed to get is not looking like it's gonna happen. Time was not on my side, unfortunately, and most of what's happening now couldn't have been prevented. However, I'm waiting to hear back and every day that gets closer to my CDS expiring, makes me want to gerbe. I will have to keep you posted because I really don't know what's going to happen and I'm not trying to be dramatic, but things could possibly go very awry. So, please croise your doigts and doigts de pied for me because I might soon find myself in lots and lots of merde. Sorry to be a Debbie Downer, but it's true!
Sinon, my new roomie moved in about 2 weeks ago now and things are going ok enough. I like her more than I thought I would, but she's just not gonna be my BFF or anything. I was hoping she would actually be around more to befriend Correcty(boy roomie), but such is not the case. Hopefully that changes soon because Correcty is still as lourd as ever. I also decided on top of being annoying, he's also not a very interesting person. Yes, I'm mean. No, he's not a bad person, but I just really miss my old roomies who may have gotten on my nerves with the boy's lack of doing dishes/cleaning and the girl's plan cul one room over, but we were good friends and had some pretty darn good times. Memoryyyy, all alone in the mooooonliiiiight, I can smile at the oooold days...ahem, no one else like a good "Cats" song? Ok, mes amis, I do believe it is time for me to be off...dinner and sleep are calling my name. But, as has now apparently become tradition(I say tradition because this is the second time I've done it...like how I say "usually" as long as something has happened twice), I will leave you with a list of some of the more "interesting" prenoms I've noticed at school and what I think of them. Many of them are the equivalent of say, Gertrude, Bea, Pearl, etc then there are the ones that sound like they should be preceded by "Count" and "Duchess" and, course, the ones that are a bit bizarre. Enjoy!

Capucine-reminds me of Capsicum aka the way to say bell pepper in Australian.
Gaspard-Gaston from Beauty&the Beast?
Marin-Aye, aye, sailor!
Bertille-Berthillon, the good ice cream place in Paris.
Hermine-Hermione
Ambroise-Haven't I been there before? Also, NB, this is a boy's name.
Louis-Alexandre-Wasn't he king or something?
Suzon-like Suzanne, but not
Aubert-Oh, Bert
Thelma-and Louise?
Salomon-umm?
Ombeline-this name is made up...take Ambre+Emeline and what do you get? Ombeline!
Theophile-Did you really have to add on the phile...Theo would have been just fine!
Philippine-Philippe, girl version
Auguste-does he know Napoleon?
Solange-My new computer's name...and also lots of mamies.
Hortense-Hortence...yikes.
Hippolyte-I don't even know what to say to this.
Foucauld-Last name as first name
Marceau-marteau
Prune-who names their children after fruit? Oh wait, forgot about Apple Paltrow...
Come-rhymes with home
Armand-Armani, Giorgio
Ethel-like Estelle, but new and improved with a lisp
Germain-German with an "i"
Flamine-Flamel, Nicolas from Harry Potter
Anzor-I don't know where they pulled this name out of...
Pia-rhymes with Leah and also, a fake name
Blanche-from the Golden Girls
Brune-what if she decides to go blonde?
Eugenie-Eugenia? Yeesh...poor kid!
Titouan-titeuf...those kids love that stuff
Dominitille-Domicile
Klervi-Claire vie
Louis-Rodolphe-A king and a reindeer all at the same time.
Astree-Ash tray
Sixtine-no, seventeen.
Anselme-similar to how a French person would pronounce handsome

14 septembre, 2008

V-Town and Blabberings


It's been awhile, bloggy friends, n'est-ce pas? Unfortunately, I don't see that trend changing anytime soon. I've been busy, busy, busy preparing for 8 different levels at New School with class for different amounts of time and different number of classes per week. For example, my PS, MS&GS kids have class 4 times a week for 20 mins. My CP&CE1s have class 2 times a week for 40 mins. Last but not least, my CE2, CM1 and CM2s have class 1 time per week for 30 mins. You know, just to complicate things more. Though I do have the general curriculum and materials used in the past 3 years to follow, I do still find it difficult to know exactly what their levels are. I've been reviewing questions with the older kids and I had to look through what they did last year to see which questions they did. I guess I shouldn't say difficult, more like time-consuming and a little annoying as I'm used to being the one who knows where the kids are at and not following someone else's curriculum. I shouldn't complain because it's hard work coming up with what to teach from scratch and trying to make things progressive-that would have been a toooooon of work with all those levels of kids. It just will take time to get used to and I'm sure I'll get the swing of things soon. Like how exactly does one teach 2.5 yr olds who barely speak French? The youngest I've ever taught is 5 yrs old and I remember what a challenge I found that to be at the beginning. But, like I said, it just takes time. Now, 5 yr olds seem like a breeze to me. I'm sure I'll get used to what works and what doesn't for those little 2.5 yr olds. And, I think it will also get easier for them as well. Now, they're just starting school for the first time ever and they still have doudous, accidents and are missing maman, they will grow up a lot in front of my eyes, I'm sure. For now, I'm just chugging along and sweating through the entire morning because of a)nerves and b)the freakin stuffy school. I love when I crack the window open just the teeniest bit and the teacher closes it, courants d'air me arse! That is not how you attrape a cold. But, I digress...

So yeah, it's difficult, but it's definitely doable. I just need to get organized and either plan out the week's classes on Sunday(je me connais, quand-meme!) or plan out Mon/Tues on Sunday and Thurs/Fri on Wednesday. Thank goodness I didn't start everything at once, I would have gone folle for sure!! I start Old School in 2 weeks and then Uni in 4 weeks. My CDS expires in 2 weeks which makes me want to gerbe when I think about it, so my oh-so-intelligent solution is to try not to think about it. Genius! I signed a bunch of paperwork on Fri that first gets sent to the dreaded Trefecture and then the Labor Dept. But, I have a meeting anyways with the admin lady at the school because I'm not sure what I have to do on my end of things at the Trefecture. I think once the Labor Dept approves my stuff, I automatically will get convoque'd for a visite medicale and possibly an integration day, but I think that will take awhile and I will have to get my recepisse before that point. But, the lady at the Labor Dept told me some conflicting info which is why I need to talk to the admin lady at the school. I really, really need to get going on this soon!

Autrement, when I'm not busy working or preparing for school, I've had the chance to profite of the vie. Last weekend, I made an unexpected trip to V-Town, which is ksam's old stomping grounds. I never had made it out there before, so I said pourquoi pas and accompanied her for a tour around the town and took in all of its' cuteness. It did rain a bit, but it wasn't enough to ruin the day by any means. Later, I made my yummy poulet curry and we enjoyed some vin. A little too much vin, d'ailleurs, because I was out of commission all day Sunday. Remember how I was hoping beer was on tap last time I posted? Yeah, I got some of that too. We ended up going out on the town because, well, il faut profiter quoi and we spoke some German(not really) to a guy who believed us-proving that there was someone drunker than us afterall! We got back and instead of drinking water and popping some advil, I crashed right away which meant I paid the facture on Sunday. The artist even tried to help me toss my cookies by showing me Palin's speech...I came close, but no cigar. If anything will make you vomit, that's it! But, helas, I wasn't much more than a presence for poor ksam. I bid her adieu that evening and prayed to the gossip gods that she'd get some good dirt. Despite my useless lump-ness on Sunday, it was still good times, I think anyways. So, that's that from me, here are some more pics for you to enjoy below. I'm off to prepare for classes and by prepare for classes, I mean eat mac&cheese!










03 septembre, 2008

What's on tap for this week


Does anyone else say that or is that just me slash my dad? Anyhoo, I usually hesitate to write updates until after I know the full story, but what the hay, I'll bore, I mean, inform you with what I know.

-I kinda forgot how worked up French people get over seemingly insignificant things and regardless of their importance, they tend to go on and on(and on)and on about them. Shut it, Frenchies. Seriously.

-I have once again encountered the joys of disorganization in France. While I normally am alllll for waiting til the last minute to know which classes I have, my schedule and my CDS status, I'm really not.

-I still do not know my schedule and I think I technically start on Monday, but one can't be sure.

-After I finish the schedule at New School, I have to schedule classes at Old School(hoping that they'll be free for the 2 end of afternoon times I have available on only 2 days.

-Yes, I'm teaching the college kids, oh wait I'm not, no wait I am, hold the phone, I'm not. That's how many times I've seen that change. That's been fun.

-The green card process has started on their end, I'm impatiently waiting for it to start on mine. I only have about 2.5 weeks before my old one expires. Yikes. I have to wait for everything to get approved by people outside of the school AND do a medical visit AND a journee d'integration AND go to the dreaded Trefecture AND get a recepisse. Yeesh and more yeesh.

-Note to self: stop saying yeesh.

-Yeesh

-Note to self: never listen to advice from self.

-I have 18 classes at NS(that's New School) and 4 classes at OS. That's 8 levels and 22 different classes. Oh, plus I have 3 classes at the university level, luckily they're doing pretty much the same thing as each other. But, that means in total I will have 9 levels and 25 different classes. Yikes and a half.
-I'm only going to do three of the five jobs in the end, I just don't have the time nor will I have the energy to do anything more.
-I did or didn't wear a small, plastic pink butterfly clip right smack dab at the top of my forehead that is owned by a 5 yr old whilst diagonally crossing the city of Rennes. Nor did or did not people on the street, on the bus, at the bank, at the grocery store and in my apartment building see me with said butterfly clip. I am the shame of Rennes.
-So, what's on tap for this week, you ask? Well, besides working out my schedule(s) and possibly green card stuff, I can only hope that beer is on tap...and lots and lots of it!

30 août, 2008

The Days of my Lives


Yes, yes, I'm aware it's not so much Sunday as Saturday, but this will just have to do. Pretend it's Sunday, you're creative, you can do it. Anyways, I just wanted to update on my situmacation with the new school. I called the other girl who will be doing the other 3 hours of the 7 total and I got the scoop. Basically, she was supposed to do all 7 hours, but because of a scheduling problem with another school she's working at, she just can't fit it in. Like I said, I'm sure they went to me last because there are 4 other people they could have asked and some or all of them already work at the college/lycee. So, I'm thinking they must not have room in their schedules, though I'm hoping this isn't the case in case I just can't do this. I have since calmed down a bit since my last post as I learned a bit more about what these 4 hours would entail.

Ok, here's what I know. It's working with a group of 20 6th graders who have gone through testing to be chosen into this special program designed for kids with a very high level of English. It is 7 hours per week all with the same class. They have a text book and will be using English not only within the whole linguistic scheme, but also to learn about American history and other subjects all in English. The history part is another teacher that would be doing that with them, though. Phew. This is a new program that is starting for the first time this year and it means the kids will eventually be able to go on and take a special BAC. I'm not sure if the kids also have English with their regular teacher, but in any case, this is definitely not your run of the mill, regular 6eme English class.

This all still scares me a bit and, I don't think I mentioned it before, my old school maybe wants me to do an extra hour and 15 mins more than last year. Literally the only time I have free is Wednesday 8h15-9h15(I found out the kids start at 8h15 and end at 16h30 and do Wednesday mornings) and Friday* afternoon from 13h30-16h30. However, if the old school wanted me to do an extra 1h15, the only place I could fit it would be on the Friday afternoon, meaning there would be no way for me to fit in those 4 hours the new school wants me to do. It's frustrating not knowing my exact schedule, though, because a lot of this is info I've sort of made up(the amount of time being the only thing I know for sure.) For example, the Wednesdays at the university, I said that it would be one week 10h-12h and the next 10h-12h and 14h-16h. This is not at all set in stone, it's what the guy estimated because he doesn't know yet when the university students will have free(I do know it will be on Wednesdays, though, at least!) If, for whatever reason, they had to move it to 9h-11h, I'd be F'ed. Also, I won't have my schedule at the new school until this Tuesday, so I know that I'll probably be with the little kids M,T, R&F mornings and I've taken it upon myself to try to squeeze CP&CE1 into 2 afternoons(that I've temporarily put on Mondays and Thursdays.) However, it depends on when the teachers can do it. Also, 1 class of CP and 1 class of CE1 have international students who have special classes with international teachers and I am supposed to work around their schedules, ie when they work with the international kids, I am supposed to work with the rest of the class, so that the entire class would be gone at the same time. Yeesh. Once I know my schedule at the new school, I have to make my schedule at the old school. As it stood before, I was going to do the old school in one afternoon when I was sure it was just 2h30. Now that it might be 3h45, I would have to do the 1h15 during the 4th afternoon which leads to the aforementioned probs with doing the 6eme classes. Not to mention not knowing the exact sched at the university as well as 2 families waiting on my sched info for tutoring their kids. This is probably not clear to anyone but me, but let's just suffice to say it's complique.

Basically, I need to call the old school on Monday and see if the prinicpal knows how many hrs they would want me there. Also, if he can tell me if he knows if there is an afternoon the 4 teachers can absolutely not do. Then, if he says it's 3h45, I'll know I can't do the 6eme classes. If it's 2h30, I'll have to set my schedule with the maternelle&primaire teachers and then see if there's a way that I could end class around 16h10 instead of 16h30 to be able to still work with the bro/sis. And, then somewhere in there, I'll have to decide if I want to do the 6eme classes and be really squeezing everything in together for something that I don't necessarily want to do, but would help out the school that's providing my CDS. Ok, because I'm now SURE none of that made sense to anyone, I'm going to do a mock schedule for you, dear reader, and me both.

NS=New School
OS=Old School
U=University
T1=Tutoring bro/sis
T2=Tutoring sis/bro
*=Possible
__=free

M T W R F
8h __ __ __ __ __
9h NS NS __ NS NS
10h NS NS U NS NS
11h NS NS U NS NS
12h __ __ U __ __
13h NS OS __ NS OS*
14h NS OS U NS OS*
15h NS OS U NS __
16h NS OS U NS __
17h T1 T2* T1 T1
18h T1 T2* T1 T1

Now do you see what I mean? Plus, not included in there is travel time and photocopying time which as it is will be tight and have to be done either before school or during breaks. So, to add 4 hours would be kinda nuts. I've got some serious schedule organizing and figuring out to do. I'll keep you updated on the days of my lives in a moment...

29 août, 2008

Yeesh


So, the new school keeps adding on to my hours which, at first, was a very pleasant surprise. More teaching time with varied levels=more experience as well as a better salary. However, I really don't know how it's going to work out. I don't think it's actually possible. Plus, while I'm glad to be teaching from Petite Section through CE1(aka 5 levels aka 2.5 to 7 yr olds), the latest addition would be teaching 6th graders which does NOT dit me at all. I found the 5th graders to be already getting towards that middle school attitudey age towards the end of the year, so I can just imagine 6th graders. Plus, even more important than that, I don't really like teaching lots of grammar. Plus, plus, that's a HUGE responsibility to be in charge of their learning English...I don't know anything about the curriculum nor do I have experience. It's just so different fromn the little ones. Ay, ay, ay. On top of all of that, I wanted to keep my bro/sis tutoring students from last year which I wouldn't be able to do because I have to be at their school AT 16h30. I'm already not able to do my tutoring of the mom/son which I feel bad enough about, but I at least told her I didn't know for sure. I told the mom of the bro/sis kids that I could do it which I would have been able to still even after I got those 4 more hours on top of what I was originally told. Now with 8 hours it wouldn't even be possible.



Oh merde, I just realized, do college kids have school on Wednesdays? Or do they have half days? This is getting to be so complique! I have a committment starting in October and it's for classes at a university which would be something like 10-12 one week and 10-12 & 14-16h another week. I could, in theory, do 8h-9h on Wednesdays and then 13h30-16h30 on Fridays(of course the kids would have to be free then and I don't know when they have school til.) I don't even know how it works, though. I know there is someone else doing 3 hrs with them. So if 7 hours means 7 classes once per week, that would be fine. However, if it was 7 classes and twice a week, then the other teacher and I would have to share some of the same classes since I could only do 1 hour on Wednesdays and that's just not the best idea in the world. The school has a special program, so I can't really research it, unfortunately. So, I am slightly (and that's clearly a huuuuuge under exaggeration) flipping out. Because if I could fit it in and they can't find someone else, it's gonna mean I'll be working 9h-18h30 4 days of the week and 9h-16h30 the other day. Yes, there are breaks in there, so it's still under a 35 hr workweek, but still, teaching all that time is exhausting. I probably shouldn't complain as my American counterparts have to work many more hours than the French teachers, but still, 30 hrs of teaching is a lot for me. I really think I'm going to have to politely decline, it just seems like I'd be really sacrificing a lot of things for something I don't want to even do in the first place. But, I'm thinking they only offered it to me (someone new and only at the primary level) because no one else could do it.

I hate to cause problems before I even start, but I'm gonna have to let them know asap because the principal said I'd be starting next Friday! She also kinda didn't really give me a chance to say no by casually throwing in something along the lines of as long as ca me convient. I did say that I was still working at my old primary school, so I couldn't do it if that was at jeopardy, but that's only a few hours. I clearly didn't really think it through until after (hence this rant) and now I'm stressing. I just can't, though. I already have to prepare stuff for 5 levels at one school, 2 levels at the other(these kids are less advanced, so they'll be learning different things), 2 different fields of study at the university and then tutoring stuff for the bro/sis as well as possibly another sis/bro. Admittedly, the tutoring stuff is just a question of taking the time to go through my materials and copying a few things that I could use with them, so it takes little planning, but stillllll. I think I will try to email the girl who's doing the other 3 hours and get some info from her about Wednesdays and what time they start and finish school. Feels good to let this all out and I guess I should consider myself lucky I even have all these jobs to consider in the first place. I wish I could give some of these away!

Butterflies and kitty torture

Though from my posts it sounds as if I did little to nothing when I was at home (ok, maybe I didn't do thaaat much, but still), I forgot to mention my little outing with my maman. Towards to end of my trip, my mom brought up the idea of going to Magic Wings which is a place in Western Mass. that's a covered sort of greenhouse where butterflies live and you can walk around. To be honest, I wasn't that keen on going at first since I'm not specifically butterfly-ey in any way. However, I decided to tag along since I only had a week left with my mama and wanted to spend some Q time with just her.
To my surprise, it was actually pretty cool, you walk in and you're literally surrounded by butterflies. They're flying directly in front, behind and to the left and right of you. They even will land on you, though usually briefly, as they're so used to humans. My mom had one on her toe and I had a few land on my head. I was actually a little scared to walk/move as I feared squishing one of those little buggers by accident. No butterflies were harmed in the taking of these pictures, though, don't worry. I would definitely go back, especially when there are fewer people around and I could just sit in one of the gazebos or on one of the benches tranquillement and just enjoy nature. Plus, there was a Yankee Candle compound (pretty much) not too far down the road and as I love being overwhelmed by 5,000 scents all at once, that's always a fun time...or not. I did like their Christmas village, though it was completely overwhelming and I literally almost ran into Santa when I was turning a corner. But, that's a story for another time. Also, they have a neat restaurant lit all by candlelight (what else?) that we had dinner at. All in all a nice day spent with the moms. Oh, and the second photo is of a butterfly with its' wings closed, doesn't it look just like a leaf?
Now to the kitty torture. My sis and I saw this at Target when I was home and as we both have cats that we find adorable, we thought what would be even more adorable than a cute cat disguised as a fish? Lily, her kitty, literally held her head in shame and wouldn't look at us after my sis put it on. Sienna first gave me a death glare (see above) then tried to literally back out of that sucker(also see above.) Too bad it was velcroed on, dudette. This is what happens when I have too much free time on my hands spent waiting for news. Kitty torture. Oh, and just for kicks I've thrown in a pic of my new comp, Solange who is gorgeous and shiny-new. Sorry Serge, she's won my heart.

25 août, 2008

Mattress Musings and a Pet Peeve


So, I'm back in Rennes enfin. I could have easily missed my flight since I got to the airport only an hour before my flight(a bunch of traffic and a little getting lost on the way to Newark from CT), but luckily there weren't many people going through security, so I made it with a few mins to spare. I was a bit stressed considering I'm the girl who gets to the airport like an hour early just to be sure I have enough time and/or won't be rushed. I had to say a quick bye to the fam and then was off back to my second home in France. The flight went by pretty fast (love those direct flights!) especially since I had a really good book to read(Stephenie Meyer's Twilight, in case you're wondering.) Now I'm back to the ole rigamarole of pursuing the ever-evasive tarte de mesjours (I daren't utter the word!) which will probably mean several trips to the dreaded Trefecture to convince them I'm an asset to their country. Umm, yeah, we'll see how that goes. Pretty much more of the waiting game, I'm waiting for the boss lady to call me back because she's in a RDV which makes me nervous because she used to always conveniently be "in a RDV" when I was harrassing, I mean, calling her back in July to get more info about the poste.



I also have to go for an interview to see about this other job that would be teaching classes to university students and teaching them how to interview in English, write CVs and other job-related things in the anglophone world pertaining to their studies. It sounds really interesting and it's more hours to tack on in my goal to be as close to the French 35 hr work week as possible. As it stands, if I get all the jobs I'm planning on getting, I will have 5 jobs that will total about 30 hours. One is working for the same primary school as last year teaching 5&6 yr olds, another is tutoring a brother/sister in English, my main job working in a primary school with 2.5-7 yr olds, another tutoring job teaching a sister/brother in English and then the job at the university. I'm hoping to connect with the guy at the university soon, but every time I call, he isn't into work yet which leads me to my pet peeve. I called this morning and the lady who answered said "oh non he won't be in until the afternoon, bien sur" (insert patronizing tone that says "duh, idiota, you should know that!") I'm sorry I don't know his schedule by heart lady seeing as this is the first time I've called him and he just said "give me a call" with no specific day or time. Jeez! So, I called back at 14h and her response was that he was "pas du tout there, it's only 14h, why don't I call back in an hour, he should be there then." I swear to dog if he isn't in at 15h30, I'm gonna jump through the phone and clock that lady. I guess it's possible for her to have no clue when he's coming in, but why does she have to act like I'm ridiculous for asking if he's there every time I call? This wouldn't bother me so much if it were the first time I've encountered this strange reaction when you call looking for someone at a place of business. But, I've definitely experienced this before and it gets on my nerfs. Grr. Ok...back to waiting.



PS-I just got a new mattress and box spring while I was gone (a friend works for a company and got me a good deal) which is exciting because no one likes to sleep on two mini beds at different levels...or at least I assume that's not just me, anyways. While I'm grateful to my pote, I find the mattress to be pretty hard. I know hard is supposed to be better than soft, but still, it's kinda uncomfortable. Do any of you know if such a thing as like an egg crate or one of those soft down layer thingies exists in France? I asked a couple Frenchies and they thought no...but I'm thinking you expats might know for sure. Help!?!

Update: I finally got through to the dude at the university (the same lady I talked to before was this time surprisingly pleasant ps, quoi?) and I have an entretien demain which is bon. Then, bad/good news about the school, bad news being that I won't be able to meet up with them until the end of this week, good being that it looks like I should have 3 or 4 more hours than prevu'd!

21 août, 2008

Moi


So, with all my newly found blogger friends on fbook(hi!, hey! and hello!), I thought about all (and by all, I mean maybe 1 or 2) those readers out there who've been reading my blog all this time without the pleasure of knowing what my lovely face looks like. I found this on another blog and played around with it to formulate the visage above. It def has a likeness and, for those of you I don't know IRL and/or on fbook, it will have to do. For those of you I know and/or friends on fbook, is it my sosie or what?

19 août, 2008

Two years


2 years, baby! Seems like just yesterday that I decided to put a blog out there to share my whining and complaining, I mean, story with you. There have definitely been some high highs and some low lows, but I'm happy to say I got through it all ok in the end. I head back to the France this Thursday which is both happy and sad. I'm happy to get back, but it's always sad to leave my family behind. Although, I won't be 100% sure that I'm staying until I get that recepisse in my mains. I will keep you updated, of course. And, if I do stay, expect even more randomness and shenanigans to come. Happy Bloggiversary to me!!

16 août, 2008

Mamma Mia!

All is bon here in the states. I've been hanging out with the fam(rents, sis and aunt), went to a b-day part for my twin second cousins, made cards and went shopping for jeans(about freakin time...holey jeans no more!) and other bits. Then, this past weekend, I went to see Mamma Mia!, here I go again, my, my, how could I resist ya?...sorry, I couldn't help myself! I think you have to like musicals in film form to enjoy it, but if you do, it's a really fun film. It made me want to be IN a musical again(I used to do them in school) and also go to Greece. My sis already bought the soundtrack and we've been Mamma Mia-ing for the last few days aka randomly busting out into song whilst talking. She was actually singing during a good portion of the movie...I guess she couldn't help herself. It's very, very singalong-able. I mean, the cheese factor is there, but what musical doesn't have some cheese in it? I dunno if/when this movie is coming to France, but I highly recommend it! And if you're in the states, go see it soon! That's my update for now, will post again soon...ish.

09 août, 2008

Delurking Day


So, I don't know about you other bloggers, but I find it pretty interesting and sometimes amusing to see how people find my blog. Most times people come from other blogs, but there are still quite a few people coming from random google searches. I have compiled a list of some of my favorite searches people have done to end up on my blog. I have a feeling the majority of these people didn't find what they were looking for and I doubt they're normal readers of my blog, but if you are, delurk yourself! Actually, if anyone that's a normal reader wants to go ahead and delurk themselves, that'd be great too. I know there are regular readers in the US, the UK, France, Canada and Germany and I don't know who you are! Don't be scurred if you're not a blogger, I was once not a blogger (circa 2 years ago) and reluctantly made my first comment on a blog I was reading. Even now, I still sometimes prefer to hang behind the scenes and not comment until I work up the courage and/or feel I have something relevant to say which, as we all know, is not (ahem) necessarily that often. Anyway, I'd love to hear from you! In the meantime, here are some of my favorite google searches...

Avril sucks Leah
Umm, I believe I wrote WHY avril sucks and not who. Gross. I'm (not so) sad to say that this ain't the Leah you're lookin for, buddy, sorry!

The certificate of roller coasters
I'm thinking I was probably saying something about a roller coaster of emotion(knowing myself), not talking literally about them. Sorry again, I happen to work in schools, not amusement parks.
Furious kitty Rennes, France
Ok, this one. I don't remember saying my kitty was furious, but why, praytell, are you searching to find a very angry cat in Rennes?
Leah's blog
I'm sure there must be other Leahs out there with a blog, so I just looked on google and I wasn't even in the first 10 pages, so that means this person was actually looking for my specific blog which is really, very, extremely CRAZY. I apologize for the nonsense this person fell upon when they actually read my blog.

Super U France
This is the search that people do most often and end up at my blog. I know I did a post complaining about Super U changing around the store's set-up and most likely complaining in general. Sorry to disappoint all you Super U fans.
The eternal part of a cat
What exactly is the eternal part of a cat? Oh wait, you probably don't know hence why you did the search. I would love to be enlightened. My guess would be eternal independence?
Lady on unicycle performance
I would not be surprised knowing how random I am that I had mentioned unicycles, but all that together? It is true that since moving to Rennes, I have never seen more people on unicycles in my life, but did I mention that?
So, there ya go, why people get sucked into, I mean, get interested in my blog. Who knew I was so versatile? Now go and delurk yourselves, people!!

31 juillet, 2008

Updates


So, I've been back in the states about 1.5 weeks and I have about 3.5 weeks left. I finally bought my ticket after waiting for eons for some magic price reduction on the horrifically expensive flights. Boo. I'll be back in France on August 22nd and if everything goes ok, I will be starting work in September. I still don't know anything for sure and I can't do anything about it until I get over there because peepz are on vacances plus I need to be there in person. I'm anxious to get things rolling with that and crossing my doigts that it all marches. On freakin verra!

What have I been doing during these past 1.5 weeks, you ask? A lot of nothing. Enjoying being on vacation, watching way too much TLC and Food Network, shopping for jeans(enfin...holey jeans no more!) and other bits, seeing movies such as...Mamma Mia, here I go again, my, my, how can I resist ya? Sorry, I couldn't help myself! I've never really especially been into ABBA or seen the musical, but I decided to go see this with the sis because it looked like fun times. I mean, there was obv the cheese factor there, but if you like musicals in film-form, this is def a fun film. It brought me back to my Musical days in high school and also re-made me want to go to Greece. I'm not sure if/when it's coming to France, but those of you stateside that would like that kind of thing should def go check it out.

What do I have planned for the rest of my time? Well, besides more R&R, I will be starting a temp job tomorrow and doing it through next week too. I'm very excited I got something worked out-I needs to pay the ol' student loans! I've been deferring them for the past few years because I just haven't had the mulah to pay for them on top of everything else, but they started taking the money out of my American account again this past June, so I really need to save up as much money as possible to just leave in my account here so I'll be covered for a while. I will have to eventually use my French debit card to take out some dollars from an ATM here, but I'd like to be covered until Xmas, so as to not have to worry about it. I wonder if I could ever write French checks and have my rents deposit them? Hmm...I know it works with Canadian checks, I'll have to look into it. Anyway, so I have a job for 8 days and it should be pretty easy-peasey, so yay!! That's it from me for now, be back soon!

23 juillet, 2008

I heart fauna

Are you reeeally surprised that the one time I take the time to post I put something like this up? I'm not. Anyways, I thought it was adorable and yes I cry at Hallmark commercials. Haha. No, seriously, I like the little message at the end. Enjoy!

14 juillet, 2008

Innnnnteresting

video

Oops! I meant to throw in this video I took of the, ahem, very innnnnteresting Tombees of the Nuit, but I forgotteded. Must.distract.them.with.videos.and.pictures. Kidding, but enjoy and feel free to tell me what you think!

Tenter ma chance


I do find it a bit amusing that my last two posts have been on America's national holiday and France's respectively - the celebration of the two places I call home. Or, the place that is always home and the other place where it seems they keep trying to kick me the F out. Kidding...sorta. I'm heading back to the states tomorrow and though I said I wouldn't leave without knowing for sure either way if I'm staying or going, I am doing just that. Yes, I have jobs set up. No, I don't have the whole visa/CDS situation sorted yet. I have very high hopes that things will work out with one of the jobs being able to get me a CDS, but only time will tell. My life has been a huge waiting game in this last while. I went to the fac last week to explain how I was going back to the states and needed an answer or at the very least, an idea of when I could get an answer and fell upon this very unhelpful lady who clearly listened to about 1% of what I said because she responded, "well, we're not going to just up and send your mail to the US." Umm, that's not at all what I asked, bizznatch, thanks for listening. So, no help there. I would fill you in on the job situmacation, but all I can do for now is wait and hope for the best.
So, in the meantime, I'll leave you with a picture of my new shoesies(45 to 40 to 30 to 24 euros with the 2eme demarque!) that I've had my eye on for about 6 weeks or so as well as some ones of the kitty being cute and coquine that show that the stress must have finally gotten to me and I'm apparently a full-fledged cat lady? I also will give you a few updates on things besides all this stressful stay/go drama that have been going on recently.
-Former Roomie#1(the girl) is back with her F Buddy, but at least the bed is a rockin' not just one wall over, but on the other side of town.
-J's leaving to do her teacher training in England for at least one year, if not two. It'll be weird to be in Rennes sans elle, she's one of my orig anglo copines in Rennes.


-We found a new roomie who I will call "Hippie" for now. She's 22 and a student and, perfectly nice, but I was hoping for someone who was more my age, salarie and more of my genre de gens.

-The new old roomie is not my favorite. Truth be told, I would never have chosen him had we not been constrained for time and also had we not had the knowledge that with Roomie#2 leaving earlier than prevu'd, we would have to be doing this whole roomie search all over again sooner rather than later. He is nice and definitely better than the first guy Roomie#1 and I had to deal who stayed enferme'd in his room all the time, but just to give you a reference point, I would describe his caractere with the following words: know-it-all, correcty correcterson, coince du cul, condescending, anal-retentive, lourd, critiquey and power trippy. This time I'll have at home will be a nice break because he is just alllllways around and annoying and wanting to do stuff together. No thanks. You know when people start to get on your nerves and then every little thing they do gets under your skin? Yeah, we're already at that point. I'm not alone in finding him this way, so I don't really think I'm jumping to conclusions, but I will try to give him one more chance not to be annoying and see what happens. But, I think I'm really just going to have to keep my distance so as to be able to deal with him. It just sucks because it's not at all what I wanted my living situation to be in terms of roomates. Luckily, I think Hippie is just like Correcty's other friends, hence why he liked her so much(and passive agressively made it clear he wanted a fille as he found something wrong with every single mec we saw), so hopefully the two of them can hang out together a lot and I won't have to get annoyed with him as much. Au pire, I can always casse myself, but I would prefer this to be my last colocation, so on verra.

Anyways, that's it from me for now, but I will def be reading blogs when I'm away and maybe posting a teense. But, I already have things lined up for when I get back as well as trying to find a temp job to try and save some mulah to pay off those wonderful student loans and also putting Serge in his final resting place and getting Solange ready to bring back with me to Rennes. Ciao, mes amis!



Getting all sunny.

Next to the bed.
In the bed.
Under the bed.