The tidal wave of emotions continues today and this week...
I only found out too late that I won't be seeing some of my students next week because they're having exams meaning that THIS WEEK is my last is my last week with them and I wasn't prepared :( Still, I tried my best to organise what I could with what little time I have left. I'm particularly looking forward to tomorrow when I'm going to have a little farewell party with one of my favourite classes.
Meanwhile... I wanted to talk about Thursdays. Thursday mornings I had the worst classes ever. Two of them back to back. The teachers who organised those classes for me weren't even English teachers and would change the classes on me without advance notice which shitted me. The students even knew more than I did! So the last 2 Thursdays I turned up to classes with no students! Talk about a waste of a morning. Well no more. This time I made sure I wasn't needed so I didn't need to go.
Last Thursday I had a series of random events that led me to the town market. A few week's ago I went to my town's market for the very first time and last Thursday I went for the second time.
First I stopped by Carrefour to do some grocery shopping. Then, annoyingly, I really needed to use the bathroom except I had no idea where the public toilets were (I later realised there are some just nearby). So I called my friend who lives in town and works from home if I could quickly come over to use the toilet. By the time I'd finished buying the groceries I couldn't really wait any longer so I asked the cashier lady if there was a toilet I could use in the store (TOTALLY expecting her to say no, that they are for staff only). To my surprise she said there is a toilet out the back. I got lost along the way and then was directed there by another member of staff. Then when I came out I got lost again (it happens often to me when I use public toilets in unfamiliar places with lots of corridors!). I realised that it wasn't actually a public toilet at all as it was very out of the way, and that that lady was being nice to me by telling me where it was and letting me use it!
Since I no longer needed to use the toilet I didn't need to bother my friend anymore and so I went to the post office to post the little present to my friend in Paris that I forgot to bring with me. Then, randomly I decided to visit the town hall to enquire about who I should speak to about selling my photos to them.
THEN, I noticed that some roads were blocked off so I went to see what was happening. I should note that the weather that day was glorious. Sunny and warm. Ahhh the markets! I'd totally forgotten the markets were on and I was SO glad that I found them. I had so much fun browsing them this time in the sun (as opposed to the first time with my friend in the horrible rain and grey drizzly weather)... I thought I shouldn't be rude and go see my friend anyway (since he seems to enjoy my company and truth be told, I think he's interested in me which now makes things very awkward)... so after my market shenanigans I was kind of 'late' visiting him but we had a nice time talking anyway.
So with that in mind, and with no class this morning I was determined to go back to the markets again. I enjoyed it so much this time I just HAD to go back! And what happened was unbelievable. I had a smile on my face the whole time and my heart was singing. And dancing. I can't even explain it. I can't explain why. It just happened.
The weather these past 3 days has been awful. Grey, cold, windy, rainy. Awful. I had to drag out my winter coat again and felt like my hands were going to drop off in the mornings without gloves on.
Despite the cold and grey weather though, I was in a good mood. I arrived at 9am on the dot and the market was in motion. As good as the stuff is, I don't like to buy too much fresh food as I have nowhere to store it and I have to eat it pretty much immediately. I was on a mission to go and take photos only since I realised the ones I took last week weren't good enough!
The sellers were very curious about what I was doing. Now I should mention that in Sydney and most big cities, people get the shits with you when you try to take photos of them or their goods. I don't know why. People are so damn paranoid! I hate that. But these people were sooooo nice. They asked if they could help me or what I was after and I said I just wanted to take a photo. Instead of being annoyed or angry they were still as friendly as ever. Mais allez-y (go ahead) they said. And then they'd start a conversation with me. I got asked many times which newspaper I worked for! Haha. Actually that happened last week too. I said the photos are not for a publication, they are just for myself.
I got asked where I come from, if I was a tourist, what I'm doing in this town, why did I choose to come to this town, etc etc.
I even got asked if I wanted to take a photo of THEM which surprised me and I gladly did. Then they asked their neighbour to let me take a photo of them! There was such a happy, friendly, charming community vibe to it all. There was no hostility or sense of 'competition' between sellers and noone got annoyed if you didn't buy anything from them, even after tasting the delicious goodies. And they actually asked about your day and your life and take interest in it.
All I could think about at the back of my head was: If only I didn't have those classes each Thursday morning I could've done this a LONG time ago and make more friends quickly and easily.
I actually only planned on staying 30 minutes but ended up staying 1.5 hours! (well the bus only comes once an hour so it was one or the other). I ended up talking to a really nice guy who was more around my age (since most of the sellers are quite old) and I told him that I'm in the local paper today. He asked to see it but I said I haven't seen it myself yet! It was the second thing I planned to do this morning. Go to the Tabac Presse to buy several copies of the paper! He seemed really keen on seeing the article and asked me to show him once I'd bought it so I said OK. Then we got talking and he said he's from Morocco and came to France when he was 10. I talked about how the snow mesmerised me when I first saw it and he said the same thing happened to him during his first year in France!
At the Tabac Presse I bought 4 copies of the paper. 1 to keep pristine. 1 to show people and look at. 1 to send to my father and 1 to send to my mother (my parents are divorced). I proudly said to the shop owner, pointing to the cover (realising that my photo was on the freakin' COVER of the newspaper!) "Ca, c'est moi"
I was in a mega good mood when I left the market...
The last thing I did was - since it was so nearby - was visit my keycutter/bootmaker friend, to say hello AND goodbye :( He seemed SO happy to see me since it'd been months since we'd seen each other. We spent quite a while talking and he said I should come around next week and we can have a drink...
Then whilst I was waiting for the bus to go back I got a lovely surprise phone call from Karine. I found her blog sometime last year. She's a French girl now living in Sydney (so basically the opposite of me). I really liked her blog posts and wrote to her. I had no idea she'd be so enthralled by my blog. In fact, I didn't even give her the URL so she must've looked for it herself. She said she wanted to chat to me some more over the phone or on Skype. Then I also found out that she blogged about me on her blog. Thank you Karine! :)
Then, I got a text message from C asking to have lunch with me so we had a very early lunch at 11:30am. Then I started gradually showing various staff my newspaper article. Ahh I was on a high and C was so happy for me too! Then after lunch I went and made lots of photocopies for everyone :P
The loveliest moment was when I spoke to the woman in admin. She seemed SO happy for me she said she wanted a copy for the principal too (who I wanted to see but wasn't around) so I gave her 2 copies. And then she said she will buy the paper tonight to have it in full glorious colour :)
I also put it on Facebook and emailed my photos the article to my friends and I got lots of nice comments on the photo too (which I took myself).
In my afternoon class I showed my students the article too... Ah, my 24 hours of fame. :D
And tonight, the staff member who wrote the article on me said he was at the train station and he bought me 2 copies! So nice! I honestly can't believe how many nice people I've met in this school and in this town.
Also today, I decided to organise a last minute farewell party for myself. I believe that there are certain events in life that need celebrating. I don't like party poopers who don't celebrate anything. So anyway, I decided that I WILL have a small farewell party afterall. So I frantically started asking and texting my friends here in this town...
On Saturday my ex sent me a text message. On Sunday I replied. Then after that I got nothing. I was meh about it.
I ummed and erred all afternoon about whether or not I should invite him to my farewell party. Considering it may be the last time we ever see each other I thought it should be the right thing to do. Afterall, I'm over him and I'm ready to be friends. And I harbour no negativity towards him. So tonight I sent him an invitation too. Since there would be others there too that would make it less awkward and personal too. He asked me what we're going to do and I said I'm not sure yet, hopefully eat out somewhere and do something else afterwards depending on what everyone feels like doing. I'm pretty open to ideas. To my surprise not only did he say, "ce serait avec plaisir" (with pleasure) he asked if we could see each other this weekend! (after I deciphered his heavily abbreviated textos). I said I'm not sure yet. Even though I'm over him I don't know what he's thinking or planning by having us get together alone.
Tonight I went to speak to one of the surveillants and saw him testing himself by trying to learn and memorise the departments of France . Hilarious!
Anyway, that's my exciting day. I actually feel quite OK about leaving now and not too sad. And I feel like I've accomplished a shitload (excuse the language) in my almost 7 months here! and I've definitely feel that I've made the wheel come full circle.
(image from here)