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.
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?
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.
Hippolyte-I don't even know what to say to this.
Foucauld-Last name as first name
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
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.


-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!