vendredi 4 février 2011

I have a coterie!

I'm proud to say I have (or I think I have) a coterie! What's that you say? It translates as clique and is basically a close-knit group of friends.

I'm beyond exhausted now and I think I am also exhausting my phone plan very quickly with all the text messages I send each day. I don't even know how it all happened so fast. It kinda just did. One minute I was whinging about how bored and lonely I am in my room, and then bam, just in the past week or so... I've just been getting out there more and doing more 'stuff', getting more invitations to go and do more 'stuff', coming home late, and then waking and getting up heaps early (at 6.xx am and it's like -5° in the mornings) etc...

Anyway I'm buggered (LONG LONG day of teaching today) but I'm off on an adventure tonight, and then another one over the weekend. Yay! I guess sleep will have to wait... at least I sleep easily when I'm this fatigued.

(image from here).

jeudi 3 février 2011

Can not take this anymore

OMG this is just getting beyond ridiculous. These events, these people, toying with my emotions day in and day out.

I look at my students and see how young and innocent they are and wish for a time when I was that young and innocent too. But somewhere along the way people grow up and become more and more f**ked in the head. I'm just beyond upset. I'm sad. I'm angry. I'm both. I'm just miserable.

I cannot concentrate on ANYTHING I am supposed to be doing. I let my kids off 5 minutes early this morning because I wasn't really teaching anyway, my mind was elsewhere (as it has been for the past 2 weeks except for my glorious weekend trip away where I was actually happy and focused on the moment in front of me for a change).

The week started off absolutely brilliantly and then came to a crashing halt again yesterday. Why does this keep going on and on and on? I thought it would be OVER by now. I guess I just have to make some very hard decisions about what to do.


5.5 hours later... still trying to decide what to do. I'd be lying if I said I was completely innocent in this 'game'. I suppose I should partly blame myself for what happened as well. All I can say is, it's more exciting than an episode (or 100) of Days of our Lives.. I wish I could share but I can't for now, I'm sorry :( I guess part of me subconsciously craves the excitement and not knowing what's in store (and the emotional highs/lows that go with it), but in the end I suppose I may get hurt... again.


mercredi 2 février 2011

Please let it snow

All my lovely new skigear (jacket, pants, socks, gloves, goggles) has been sitting in the wardrobe unworn for months! ARGH. It's just not snowing even though it's been the perfect temperature for it (around -3 to 3°C). It's been too dry. So dry my nails keep breaking, I'm constantly thirsty and I get static electricity with everything I touch! It's the worst when it's this cold yet not snowing.

I'd like to send a message to Mother Nature and the Snow Gods above.... PLEASE let it snow soon. I am DYING to go skiing!!! You have no idea how much. C'mon, snow, please !! :)

(picture from here)

PS thanks to the lovely people who have subscribed to my Facebook fanpage and my Google Friend connect thingo. I will try to get some more photos up when I get a chance (between sorting out my private life and my career!!)

mardi 1 février 2011

La Galette des Rois

I admit I've completely lost my mojo to blog these days. I had a secret mission I wanted to fulfil and that was to post at least one blogpost per day for the month of January. I could have done it too, if it wasn't for certain events which screwed with my head. As if that wasn't bad enough, just when I thought it was over, "Jerkface" texted me tonight (which I ignored).

Anyway I completely forgot I was going to do a quick post on the La galette des rois (literally Cake of the Kings) which is a cake that people eat in France in January. I wouldn't have known anything about if it one of my (now old) French friends I made on LiveMocha didn't tell me about it.

It's steeped in tradition.

The event is usually celebrated around 6th January but can occur anytime in January. For me, at the school, it was around mid-January.

The festival takes place around Epiphany, the twelfth day of Christmas, when the wise men visited baby Jesus. According to tradition, the ‘galette des rois’, was to "draw the kings" to the Epiphany.

The fabulous thing about a Galette des Rois is the family ritual that goes with it: the youngest child of the family hides under the table, an adult divides the galette in even slices, and the child calls out which slice goes to whom.

Why all the fuss you ask? It's La fève (the favour) that is hidden in the galette. Historically a dry fava bean (hence the name), it is now a little porcelain figure. (That figure used to have some kind of religious meaning but that, too, has gone the way of the dodo.) Whoever gets the fève in his serving is named King (or Queen) for the day, gets to wear the golden paper crown that came with the galette, picks who the Queen (or King) will be, and glows with pride for weeks hence.

In the south of France, it is customary to eat a Gâteau des Rois instead, a ring-shaped brioche garnished with candied fruit.

Info from here and here

There were an assortment of them there , both the galette type and the brioche type. They were very delicious! And unlike most cakey pastry things, they were not overly sweet either. They were very filling too. I admit that the child inside of me LOVES the idea of the little favour inside too.

I admit that I was sad because noone bothered to explain to me what it was all about. It didn't even occur to anyone that it was new and exciting to me and I'd like to know more about the cake and the history, tradition, festival, etc etc. Oh well.

One of the favours was a cute little porcelain figurine from Mario Bros (which finally explained the Mario Bros/Nintendo themed paper hat I guess!)

Some of the teachers brought along their kids and you should have seen them all trying to to cheat by looking for the figurines inside the cake instead of just taking a random piece and hoping to get lucky.

lundi 31 janvier 2011

Lesson Planning and Conquering the Fear of Failure

I'm sorry I still haven't gotten around to doing the second part of my Paris post - oops! Soon though, this week sometime hopefully.

Anyhoo, a week and a half ago I had somehow forgotten I was taking a class all on my own (usually I am just there as an assistant with another teacher and she does the lesson planning and teaching and I do not very much).

Anyway she seemed a bit pissed that I'd forgotten and I nearly had a heart attack about teaching a ONE HOUR class with no preparation beforehand, and having to deal with really really weak students. Still, I did what she wanted (which was to go online and find a short video or audio article about the topic they were studying, play it back a few times and ask them if they understood and if not, to explain it) so I was pretty pleased with myself. I even managed to fill up an hour easily. Not saying it was easy though. It's always so painful when the kids are so bad at English.

A bit of a silly analogy but bear with me... before when I was younger I had braces which made brushing teeth difficult. And because I couldn't brush them properly my gums tended to bleed a lot. The dentists always say if your gums bleed you need to brush them MORE not less. It is a bit painful to do so but eventually if you keep at it, your gums will stop bleeding. And I haven't had bleeding gums for a long long time now...

So, it's like that with learning English (or anything really). The more you fear doing something, the worse the problem becomes. But if you just keep trying and keep at it, you eventually succeed and overcome the problem. The students who are best at English are ALWAYS the ones with the guts who actually try to speak whereas the rest just have a "I'm not good at English" attitude and never try, for fear or ridicule, failure or what have you. And it's not just my students either. So many people I know are like that with foreign languages. They tell themselves, "I'm no good at it" before they've even started and what happens is they create a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I know this quite well because when I was younger I was hesitant to try lots and lots of things. Moving and living overseas would have been out of the question. I was scared of everything. But I decided to turn it all around and now I don't fear trying new things so much anymore. And the feeling of having conquered that fear is amazing. The feeling that I can actually speak French is amazing. The fact that I can swim is amazing (despite years of lessons as a kid I never really learnt how). The fact that I can go anywhere alone as a single woman and not be afraid.. and more... I feel so powerful and so much happier being less afraid.

That day I went ice skating, the 2 staff who I went with did not do it. Why? They were too scared! Pfft. A few of the students were scared too but at least they gave it a go. And then I observed the young kids. They were ALL fearless. They all had confidence and the ability to give anything a go. What had changed? I believe fear is something we learn as we grow older.

I also believe there are 3 types of people:

1. Those that just don't try at all because they are afraid of failure (they convince themselves they just don't need to do it)
2. Those that try, fail, and then never try again
3. Those that try, fail, but keep trying until they succeed.

Which one would you rather be?

I didn't intend this to be one of these new-agey inspirational type posts like the ones on The Positivity Blog for example but it's just the way I think now... If you've been reading Benny's Fluent in 3 months blog you'll notice he writes similar stuff like this all the time too.  I guess that's the secret to our success of conquering foreign languages but you can use it for anything in life.

(picture from here)

Refreshed after a weekend away

I feel a lot lot lot better now after my weekend away (29-30 January). It's so good to go out and get some fresh air and to clear one's head.

I hadn't been to a new city since before Christmas (over a month ago) so I checked out a close-ish town. It was perfect. Just what I needed.

I did CouchSurfing again. The best part about that was, my host introduced me to his friends that he made through a former CouchSurfing party and brought me along to one that Saturday night. Everyone there spoke either French or English and most people could speak both. I had so much fun and it's something I really missed from my former life back in Sydney. I HAVE been to some soirées since coming to France but I can't express myself properly if I speak in French the whole time. I hadn't felt so 'alive' in ages, talking to strangers and yet never running out of things to talk about.

The place was very small (then again all young people's places are small in Europe!!) but we all managed to squeeze in somehow. We ate all the food that everyone brought along. I bought a gorgeous gâteau framboise (raspberry cake) from a nearby boulangerie. We talked, we laughed, we ate... Then after that we watched a LONG film (where I sort of fell asleep because I was so tired after having had about 5 hours sleep the night before and having walked all around the city during the day) and I didn't end up sleeping till almost 2am that night.

The next day there was another party at one of the CS girl's apartment. There were more people this time and it was held during lunch time. This girl lives by herself in a studio apartment and she seemed to be (like most French people) really into food and cooking and she explained to me some of the ingredients and things she was making. I saw again some of the lovely people (including her) from the night before and met a whole bunch of new ones!

The most interesting thing for me is finding out everyone's jobs. In my circle of friends in Australia the jobs are largely pretty much predictable - IT, accountancy, health, teaching or variations of those. In my town here in France people have more varied jobs but I don't know what they are since most of them work in Switzerland and I don't talk to them anyway and of course those who work in town have storybook jobs like shop assistant, post office worker, baker, teacher, doctor, dentist, policeman, etc.

For example, one of the (French) girls there.. her job is researching and restoring stained-glass windows in churches. Another person I met (Indian), his job is designing and making the parts in audio products like microphones and speakers. What was interesting about him was that the (French) company brought him over from India and he lives in a serviced apartment! How lucky.

Then there were post-grad students, there was an au pair (from Mexico) and then there were other people I unfortunately with whom didn't get to find out their jobs.

I could go on and on and on...

Going back to Friday night... Not long after I posted my blog post, I texted a friend who I saw at the soirée the other night. I did not get to talk to her by herself that night so I wanted to speak to her some more. But apart from that, I thought she was one of the few people qualified to give me advice about my 2 situations. She was so lovely, she said we could talk on Facebook chat to save money (I have no landline and try not to use my mobile too much for voice calls). Then, she said she could come around so she did. And she stayed for 3.5 hours chatting and told me a whole heap of stuff about people in this school and this town (since she's worked here for 4 years although over the last few months she was off on sick leave which is why I hadn't seen her/talked to her for ages). She also brought me some food/drinks which was so sweet. It was just what I needed.

She said to forgot the first 'thing'. It's over and done with and there's nothing I can do about it now and it's not going to happen again. She was right. I guess I was overreacting a bit too. I just can't stop thinking about it though.

The second 'thing', while not actually as bad as the first, is an ongoing thing. She said to speak to the person involved and let them know what I really think. I was really hating that person on Friday night and Saturday.. during my lovely weekend away now I had to put away all those thoughts and just have a good time (which I did). I walked around the town with my ipod in my ears, and my camera around my neck, and had a big smile on my face. Although cold, it was lovely and sunny and beautiful... I actually did really felt happier. I mean wasn't just pretending to be happy, but I was!

So it's ongoing but we'll see how it pans out. I think there might actually be a happy ending, at least I hope so.

So now anyway I feel a lot happier and content. However, I am suffering badly from lack of sleep. I find it impossible to sleep in and never get up later than 8am, no matter what time I go to bed.

Related Posts with Thumbnails