vendredi 25 février 2011

Feeling lucky...

or What I achieved before noon

• Woke up, got up, looked out the window (no snow) :( However, the weather is beautiful. Not too cold at all and sunny.

• Went on the internet (for about 2 hours) downloading movies, uploading photos, networking through Facebook and other websites...

• Walked the whole 5 minutes from my room to the school*, passing by the security office. I hardly ever look in that direction but the one time I do, the lady in there motioned to me to come over so I did and she said I had just received (ie 10 mins ago) a small parcel from my father! Woohoo. And just in time too (because the school is closed over the holidays meaning I can't receive any mail then). Quelle chance ! I said.
I love getting stuff in the mail (which rarely ever happens now). Before Christmas I was receiving stuff often as I went on an internet shopping spree and also got my parents to send me stuff from home but after the Christmas break I've barely received anything except 2-3 Christmas cards and neverending ads/catalogues from 3 Suisses because I once bought something from them!

• Went to teach my first class of the day (and second last class of the semester). It's a great class and one of my favourites. The class is small and their level of English is really good and I can talk to them like friends, as opposed to annoying little kids.

• Went to look for the principal (for what seemed like the 100th time) and found her!

• Went to talk to another staff member about meeting up during and after the holidays. After my friend explained to her that I live in the little dorm and have no friends and no car and am bored out of my mind, etc etc she's been much nicer to me which I really appreciate. So that's another day sorted and locked in in my diary for the holidays :) She's taking me... caving. I'm shit scared but can't wait!

• On the way there I met my friend who I Couchsurfed with before and who I had barely seen at all these past few months and we had a nice chat and he said to call him to meet up with him and his girlfriend and their new baby during these holidays (another day sorted!)

• Then I had an early lunch and talked to a teacher that I had seen around before in the staffroom but never really talked to. At first we were just sitting next to each other in silence and I was just about to ask him what he was doing for the holidays when he asked me the very same question. We both said we were staying here in the town and not going anywhere.
I asked him what he teaches and he said French. (it's embarrassing to admit but I still don't know all the teachers. It's just so hard to remember everyone's names and what they teach. There are too many people!) Recently I had this idea that came into my head and kicked myself for not thinking about it earlier! I really really miss my French classes and wanted to continue taking them at Alliance Française but the closest one to me is in Lyon. It's not that far away by train but the train is rather costly and I can't really get home too late so it's not feasible. Then I had this brainwave that I could get FREE French lessons at the school. Duh!! So the other day I spoke to a French teacher.. and this was the second French teacher. So now I have 2 teachers whose classes I can go to after the break. :) Problem is, I'm not sure what my level is but I guess I'll soon find out!

• Had a nice meal in the cantine. I prefer to go early if I can because I don't eat a lot for breakfast and later on there are soooooo many kids and they are so rowdy and the cantine is ridiculously crowded but this time it was nice and quiet.

• Came back to my room to go on the internet (what else for?) and read a reply from a girl I contacted through Couchsurfing last night and we're gonna meet up tomorrow (Saturday) in Geneva. Another day sorted! At this rate I'll have the entire 2 weeks of holidays in my diary filled out. :)

• Finally, when I got back to my room I opened my parcel.

• I took the bandage off my ankle! It's so handy living in the school and having your own personal nurse at your disposal almost 5 days a week. I can get basic care, treatment and medications all quickly and for free. Not that I've needed them thank God. But at the beginning of this week I went to see one of them for my ankle and she taped it up in bandages and now I feel much better to take it off. My knee is still bruised but I'm sure it'll be back to normal in another 2 days or so. It's funny, my friend from CS (mentioned above) asked me jokingly if I was going to the snow as I was wearing my big down jacket and my snowboots. And today is quite warm. Hahahaa. The reason I've been wearing my snowboots is because I thought they would be good protection for my weak ankles at the moment.

• And last but not least, checked my bank statement online and I got paid yesterday. Yay!!

* I can't tell you how lucky I feel that I live in the school. Sure there are plenty of cons as I've mentioned before but it is SO GREAT that I can come back to my room any time I have some free time to sleep, get changed, have a shower, go on the internet, etc. If I need more clothes I can get them. If it's raining and I forget my umbrella, I can just go back and get it.  I never need to carry a lot and if I forget anything it's just too easy to rectify that! I love having the space all to myself as being in the staff room gives me a headache sometimes with all the people there, the chatter, the commotion... In my own room (all of 5 minutes walk away) I can do whatever I want!

I wish I could say I'm done for the day and off on holidays but I still have one class this afternoon. Overall I'm feeling very positive about these upcoming holidays and trying not to dwell on negativities. Tomorrow if all goes according to plan I'm going to buy myself an interview outfit (suit). I left my nice suit (and shoes) at home in Sydney thinking I wouldn't need them but now I wanna be prepared cos you know, afterall, I'm gonna get me some interviews real soon...  I'm feeling very LUCKY :D

(image from here).

The French way of saying things...

I know it's been a while since I did a post on language (it was my 400th post last night btw!) which was the whole reason I even started this blog... so here goes.

It's taken me so long to 'let go' and say things the French way rather than the way I know is the 'right' way in my head, for example, an English equivalent would be saying 'gonna' instead of 'going to'.

I knew that native speakers contract and say t'as (you've/have you) instead of tu as and t'es (you are/are you) instead of tu es but it was a very gradual process for me to speak like that because I had a blockage at the back of my head telling me it was 'wrong' to say it the shorter, quicker way.

Then there's du coup which means therefore. I've always learnt donc so I use donc all the time. I've been trying to force myself to use du coup when speaking but it still doesn't come naturally.

..quoi ? (what?) at the end of a sentence. It's just a filler word I guess, or added for emphasis.

n'importe quoi (whatever) as a statement is also commonly used. It means whatever or anything but can also mean things like that's crap/nonsense/bullshit or yeah right...

ah bon ? (really?) - I translated this literally as vraiment ? till I realised noone really used this. So then I started saying c'est vrai ? and realised it's not that common either. ah bon ? (and others) are more commonly used.

ça se voit. literally "that sees itself". I hear this often and based on the context I would translate it as that's obvious, that's evident, or even duh!  Other translations are: you can tell, you can see it, it's as plain as day, you can't miss it, it shows...  I know what it means but I still haven't gotten to the point where I can confidently use it in a sentence.

This week I came across the phrase trop juste. I thought it meant something like just in time based on the context it was used but it actually meant it was too late.

Then of course there's slang/colloquialisms and it actually feels like I have to learn a whole new language!

c'est dingue instead of c'est fou to mean it/that's crazy! I hear the former far more than the latter (which was the one I learnt of course).

je me disais (I told myself/I said to myself) I noticed this a lot. It's not something I say very much in English but when telling a story of something that happened in the past, people use this often.

There are lots more... when I'm having an indepth 1:1 conversation with someone or watching a movie with French subtitles I notice them all but then soon after I don't retain it all until the next time I'm having a conversation again.

jeudi 24 février 2011

When life throws you lemons, make lemonade

What can I say? It's clichéd but it's so true. I'm tired of waiting for things to happen to me so I have to MAKE them happen. I've been trying to figure out why I feel somewhat depressed and I guess it's a combination of these things:

1* My recent break-up (the main reason)
2* The shitty thing that happened before that that I'm still trying to forget
3* Realising that following my 'dream' career path will take too long and right now I just need to get a job for when my contract ends which is easier said than done due to legalities
4* Neverending winter with no snow in sight (the snow from this morning turned into rain and then nothing soon after I posted my blog post!)
5* Stuck in a small town with no car and..
6* Not being able to meet people easily.

That is, single people. Because coupled up people spend all their time with each other (at least that's the case for most couples I know) and people with kids spend all their free time with their kids (and their friends who have kids). I gave up making friends with the teachers because nearly all of them have young kids. I have nothing against these people, or couples, don't get me wrong, but I need to hang out with people who are in the same stage of life as I am and actually have free time to do stuff with me!

As much as I love my coterie, there's still only one friend, Y, who is single. Every other person I know is coupled up, even if their partner doesn't actually live in this town.

I guess the reason I am so cut up about my break up is because... when I was with K, it basically 'fixed' almost all my other problems in one go! It made me forget no.2, I didn't even realise 3 because I hadn't even thought that far yet, 4 didn't upset me because I was feeling more optimistic that the snow would eventually come and skiing would eventually happen, and he solved 5 and 6 for me too since I always had someone to do stuff with (2-3 times a week) and someone to drive me around!!  Just call me Sherlock Holmes. ;)

I know recently I've been going on and on about it (sorry if I am boring you, readers) but I'm human, OK? I need contact with other people. It doesn't matter how happy I am with being by myself but enough is enough.

I was getting tired of people hinting they were going to invite me to their place or to such and such so I basically have to make things happen. Now, back home in Sydney this was effortless for me. I hardly did anything alone and even when I did, I didn't feel lonely because I'd be doing something with the prospect of meeting new people and having a whole lot of fun while I was at it. With my friends, I'd propose a night out at a restaurant, at the cinema, at some free festival or some other event and people would come. Of course there was the odd thing here or there that noone wanted to go to but those were rare. The fact of the matter is, when one lives in a big city there are CHOICES. Lots and lots of choices. But in a small city there are none.

So anyway, yesterday I sent a text message to one of the English teachers here at the school who's been nice to me. I never work with him but he's always been very nice to me. The first time we met I think he actively sought me out to talk to me and to ask me about myself, my life, Australia, etc. We talked for a fair while in the staffroom and then we didn't have any contact for weeks and weeks.

Then, one night I was at the cinema with C, and I saw him there (with his girlfriend). They kindly offered us a lift back to the school (otherwise it's a 30 minute walk back up a hill in freezing temps). It was the first time C met him and it was the first time neither of us met his girlfriend and afterwards we both commented how nice they both were.

He mentioned we should all get together some time again (out of school hours)... I knew it was a case of if I didn't do something about it, it would never happen as most French people tend to be much more reserved. So to cut an already long story short, I somehow indirectly invited me/us to his place (for lunch or dinner)! hahaha So now I have something fun to look forward to during my holidays that won't even cost me a cent (well maybe a small gift). He (like most teachers at my school) does not live in this town so I get to check out another little town too.

There is another teacher I am planning to try this on, but problem is, he and his girlfriend have a baby...

Also, yesterday, I received a text message from my friend for a soirée at her place.. Not sure if I will go yet as it will no doubt bring back memories of the last time I was there, with 'him'. It may make me very sad. I assume she isn't silly enough to invite him as well...

I'm nearly 70 contacts on LinkedIn, and I've joined various online meeting groups and stuff for meeting people (both for professional and personal reasons). It's the only thing I can do to stop myself from going insane, feeling so disconnected from the real world. I've set the wheels in motion so the only thing to do now is to be patient, continue to take action and hope that good things will come... soon :) Tomorrow's my last day of class before the school holidays. For the first time I'm actually not looking forward to these school holidays as I have to get down and do some serious business (and not just galavant around the country). It's the last holidays I have before my work contract finishes.

Bonne nuit !

It's snowing! YAY

OMG it's snowing. I can't believe it. For the first time I couldn't see this coming (from reading weather forecasts). I hope it continues :)



soon after, the snow was mixed with a bit of rain
and then it was just raining (lightly)
and then there was nothing
and then eventually the rain dissolved all the snow
and then it was back to normal again :(

mercredi 23 février 2011

Get a job

My number one goal right now is to get a job.

Last night I was feeling so excited about the prospect I stayed up till 1am researching jobs and updating my network on LinkedIn (which I admit I've barely touched since joining).  Last night I had 38 contacts and now I am on my way to doubling that!

It's really amazing how many people you know when you think about it.

I just let LinkedIn go through my email address and it plucked out hundreds and hundreds of addresses of everyone I had ever contacted. Of course I did not add every single person but I did choose quite a few, even those that I don't really know. I mean, what do I have to lose? They can choose not to add me but so what?!

I guess I've always had a problem when it comes to applying for jobs. I'm not sure what it is. I guess it started ever since I finished university. While I was studying I don't recall having such problems. I just found jobs and applied for them but after finishing my studies, I soon realised that it was much harder than I thought to get a job in the field I wanted. NO ONE TOLD ME IT WOULD BE LIKE THAT. None of the lecturers at my university warned us it would be that hard. Sure, I should have done my own research and I did spend countless hours in the careers centre.. AND I had stints of 'work exeprience' (what Americans call an internship or French call a stage) but... I guess my loss of confidence stemmed from that.. hundreds and hundreds of applications and nothing. Because although I had SOME work experience, I had no experience in the kind of work I wanted to do.

I even have an embarrassing story to tell. I've always been pro-public transport and I was an 'activist' you could say, always writing letters to newspapers and to the relevant transport authorities. I really hated the situation in my area and one day posted up A4 notices on all the bus stops along my route urging other people to complain as well. I drove around late at night (when there's no traffic and nobody to see me doing it) with my sister and we stuck them up, like clandestine thieves...

I also made a simple makeshift website with a makeshift email address if anyone wanted to contact me. Well, surprise, one guy actually did contact me and he congratulated me on what I did, and said it was a great idea for a great cause. Then we got talking (by email) and I told him I had just finished uni and was looking for work... he tells me he used to work in recruitment and has lots of friends who are still in that field and gave me a whole bunch of email addresses. I'm talking about 200.

I was so desperate I kind of spammed the whole list. Unfortunately I forgot to use the BCC (blind carbon copy) feature and so everyone knew that I had also emailed 100+ other people at the same time with the exact same email and cv. Then heaps of the emails bounced back as well, so I was kind of spamming myself. Oh gosh that was an embarrassing and costly mistake! The benefits of hindsight, huh?

Ever since then the whole 'finding a job thing' has eluded me. Up until that point I found it easy to get what I wanted in life. I was a high achiever and I usually achieved.

Sure I've had interviews. I've had lots and lots of interviews. God knows how many but I just can't seem to get over the last hurdle. I've even gone onto 2nd and 3rd interviews only to be told there was just 1 or 2 people 'better' than me which really really sux.

I've been coached on interview techniques and had mock interviews. The whole process still makes me nervous and drives me up the wall. I guess I'm impatient. I mean it can take me 2 hours to apply for ONE job online. I have to tailor the letter and CV for every job. And then they have their requirements for your submission and every company is different.

So after those billions of interviews, yes I did get jobs... but I've never been in a job I truly wanted. I've gone on interviews where I wanted the job so badly and then when they called me back to say I didn't get it I was so crushed. It was so painful because I wanted it THAT badly. I guess it's like having a crush on a guy only to realise he doesn't feel the same way about you (and trust me, I've had THAT as well).

Once upon a time I'd just stay in a job until they didn't need me anymore. I guess this was more the case with part-time or casual jobs. But then one day I got to the point where I was stuck in a job I REALLY hated. I had to quit it before I went insane. I rehearsed with my (then) boyfriend and my friends what I was gonna say to the boss. I was very nervous about it but it actually went off without a hitch. So then I was back to square one again. Yes, I foolishly resigned without another job to go to.

I suppose for most people there's two things in life that they search for: a job and a partner. For most people they seem to find at least one of them easily but for me I seem to have difficulties with both. I have no idea what I'm doing wrong? :(

I don't know why I keep getting stuck in the 'wrong' jobs and 'wrong' relationships. For once I wish I was in a job or relationship that truly made me happy and that I wasn't in for all the wrong reasons, ie just because I think I can't get a better one.

About my job now... It's not a bad job. For the hours that I work (12 contact hours/week) I get paid pretty well and I also get all my school holidays paid for (and as we know there are a lot of those ;) ). It's not that demanding and it allows me to be creative in thinking up exercises for the kids. The problem is that I'm not a 'real' teacher so I don't get any respect from my fellow staff nor from the kids. Even though I do the same kind of work as the other teachers (except I don't set or mark exams and don't attend meetings and I work less hours) they look at me as if I'm an interne or something. I feel like I'm back in high school again when I was 15 and the teacher made us go and do 'work experience' and the staff treated us as if we were getting in the way all the time...

My number 1 goal is to find a job for when my time here at the school finishes. I can't think about anything else right now. It's good that I'll be busy, as it keeps my mind of other certain things...

Even though this blog post seems to have a negative tone I'm actually feeling very positive and empowered :) I've found a whole bunch of jobs that I will apply for this week.

I like to practise the art of gratitude and right now, this is what I am grateful for (in no particular order):

* My health seems to be in check. I still tire easily but I don't get sick often and don't have allergies. I am very very grateful for my good health so far since being in France.
* Abundance of fresh and cheap and delicious food.
* All the friends/people I have met, especially: ... (teachers at the school, surveillants at the school, friends I met online and stayed with, friends I met through CouchSurfing or other sites)
* My friends back home who I stay in contact with.
* That my accommodation (inc hot water, electricity and internet) is so cheap
* That this room/building is so nice and in excellent condition
* That my room is always warm and cosy
* That the canteen food is pretty good with lots of variety and SO CHEAP and the canteen staff are so nice
* That the mountain vistas here are truly breathtakingly beautiful
* That even though we broke up, I had some TRULY magical memorable moments with K that will stay with me for as long as I live. Particularly that weekend of 5-6 Feb when he took me to that place with that AMAZING jaw-dropping view, and to that restaurant in the middle of nowhere where I saw a million shining bright stars. Bliss.
* That I met K. I truly believe that he taught me some things about life, love and the world.
* All my experiences travelling that I even get the CHANCE to travel so often as I want. That I've seen SO MANY BEAUTIFUL cities all over France.
* That I have so much free time and 'me time'
* That my job is not demanding and I get plenty of time for siestas
* That I have my 2 beloved cameras
* That I have my beloved MacBook Pro that I'm typing on now
* That I saw Paris in the snow
* That I tried all those macarons in Paris
* That I met those amazing people (now friends) in Grenoble
* That I met those amazing people (now friends) in Avignon
* Living in a first world country where everything is clean, and in a town where everything feels safe.
* My kids, my students for teaching me stuff about their lives and life/culture in France.
* That my French has definitely improved. I still need to work on my telephone technique and listening skills there but talking face to face I have no problems with at all, no matter who the person is.

Speaking of which, I had a bit of fun on Monday night when I had a mock interview with my friend Y..... in French! Oh gosh. I couldn't stop laughing.

lundi 21 février 2011

I went to the snow and didn't go skiing!

or... Looking forward to a great weekend Part 2

My weekend started off great! OK OK that was sarcasm. As I was walking towards the bus stop (to catch the bus to take me to the train station) the weight of the backpack on my back made my right ankle give way and then I fell and landed on my left knee with a big thud.

2 days later now it's a lovely shade of dark purple after being every colour of the rainbow yesterday - purple, green, yellow, blue and brown.

Luckily it wasn't grazed so there was no blood but it's pretty bruised and sore. That's not my problem though. Without realising it, I somehow injured my LEFT ankle. The ankle that 'collapsed' on me, the right one, now has no pain whatsoever but there is a mild sprain type pain on my left one. Dammit.

My friend set his alarm for 5:20am to go to work so I've been awake pretty much since then as I find it hard to get back to sleep once I'm awake.

Apart from my injury the weekend was nice however it was nothing like the first time I came to visit... I kept making comparisons in my head and I think he was thinking the same thing. At one point he even apologised to me because it wasn't like last time!!

Almost 4 months later...

• We'd become different people... I remember how much more happier and excited I was last time. I wish I was that 'innocent' again but after recent events...
• Last time was the first time we'd met so we had plenty of things to discover about each other. This time we still had things to discover/talk about but it was a much deeper level of understanding now that we knew each other a little better.
• Last time he was speaking much slower to me but this time he was speaking at normal speed and I understood 99%! I have definitely improved in French, I think. Yay :D
• Both of us have each had a birthday since then.
• Last time it was autumn and sunny and 17-18° during the day. This time it was winter and grey and 5° or less during the day (and raining on Sunday/yesterday).
• Last time he had a normal mobile phone (which he still uses) and no internet. This time he had a fancy Samsung smartphone and the internet.
• Last time his dog was a tiny puppy and now, 4 months later had grown into a big dog (but still cute). She'd also recently been de-sexed a few days ago and was sporting some bandages.
• Last time he had a really really short buzz haircut and this time his hair had grown...
• Last time he wasn't working so he was more relaxed and energetic and this time he works as a carpenter building houses, 45 hours a week, rain hail or shine and so understandably, is exhausted.
• Last time I came I noticed the sink piled up with dirty dishes and the rubbish bin overflowing but not so this time!

The first day I arrived (Saturday 19 Feb) I mentioned the snow and how I really wanted to go skiing. I was over the moon and touched that he offered to take me to the skifields to check it all out. However we couldn't/didn't go skiing for various reasons:

• My injury (as mentioned above)
• We arrived there a bit too late (almost 3pm). It's better to get there in the morning he said, before the crowds arrive. We just didn't have enough time.
• He didn't want to go skiing.
• Being a Saturday it was crowded, yet at the same time there wasn't that much snow...

I was a tad disappointed but I still enjoyed myself immensely. It was like a dream come true to FINALLY see the skifields. Way back in May/June when I found out I was accepted into this teaching programme, and I found out where my school/town was situated... and started telling people.. everyone said to me "Oh you can go skiing in winter." It was something I thought about a lot and looked forward to and now almost a year later it still hasn't happened yet but seeing the skifield (station de ski) was exciting enough in itself.

It took about 1.5 hours to drive there. We actually passed through several little skifields along the way and all of them had these cute little wooden chalets (which my friend helps build too) with heart and reindeer cut-outs in them. OMG it was just too cute! Almost like being in a toy town.

It was really hard to find a parking spot but when we did it was a perfect spot. It was right near a free and clean public toilet (after 1.5 hours of driving through many many winding roads (virages) and cold weather one has 'needs') , and a frozen, snow-covered lake. It was beautiful.

We walked to the main part of 'town' and had a hot chocolate and cake together in a little café. We hadn't had lunch yet so then we went into a boulangerie to have a warm baguette/sandwich which was yummo. Actually we wanted to get a crêpe in the café but they don't serve them on Saturdays. France has various weird arbitrary 'rules' like that which drive me up the wall!

After that we crossed the border into Switzerland and checked out (quickly) a Swiss ski resort too. Then we continued into Switzerland and checked out Montreux before returning home just before it got pitch black. It was really a perfect (and seemingly long) day and we were both exhausted afterwards and went to bed at around 9-9:30pm. We were supposed to go to his friend's place for a soirée but his friend decided to invite someone else over instead (!!) and we both decided we were too tired anyway. We stopped by a supermarket on the way back so we had pasta for dinner.

I have a confession... It's been so long since I shared a 'normal life' with someone that I really crave it. Even something simple like that, like going to the supermarket, buying groceries and then coming home to cook them really made me happy. I had a similar experience when I was in Germany over Christmas. I miss cooking and eating with someone. I had a very nice apartment in Sydney but I was always eating alone... I can imagine all my friends complaining about their 'boring' lives and comparing it to my 'exciting' one but I guess I have the grass is greener syndrome. Sometimes I just want a normal life. I want to cook in my own kitchen in my own home. I want someone to talk to and eat with when I get home. Haven't had that for 3 years.

Sunday (yesterday) it was drizzly and grey and my friend said he didn't feel like doing anything so we spent the morning and noon just talking. At one point I asked him what he wanted to do in the near future and he delivered a 40 minute monologue to me about his life and thoughts and he even started crying, he was that emotional. He thinks really deeply and is really spiritual. He's so passionate and emotional about the things he talks about...

We're only one year apart in age so I guess we're at similar points in our lives. He told me that he got into a prestigious engineering school (grande école) after high school and his parents paid for that (40,000 euros a year!!) and then the previous few years he was travelling and the only reason he was working now was to pay them back. Not that they asked for it, he just wanted to be a 'good' son.  He said he can't wait to travel again to some unknown remote destination like Mongolia... But then on the other hand he did admit to thinking about being coupled up with a kid...

Finally, at around 3pm I decided to go out, and check out a brilliant (temporary) art exhibition and just went for a walk around the town. It's really small and I've already seen it all last time but it was still nice... It's still breathtakingly beautiful and always will be to me.

That night we had take-away pizza (from a pizzeria nearby). It was yum. Something about buying pizzas in France though... they don't cut them for you! Weird.

Then I continued my interrogation...

The first time I met him he told me he was good friends with his ex. This time though, I found out the truth. I felt that we knew each other well enough for me to ask him... I asked if I could ask HOW and WHY he and his ex broke up. I know it's an intrusive question but he could have chosen not to answer. However, he told me the entire story and my heart was breaking for him as he told it to me...

If you've been reading my blog for some time you'll know I'm very very interested in relationships. How they form, how they end, what is a 'good' one etc etc...

So he tells me he'd been with his girlfriend for 2.5 years and had spent 8 months travelling together. That is 24/7 for 8 months. Enough to take a toll on ANY relationship I guess. He told me they were camping and sleeping in a tent in a desert in Jordan. It was a huge tent with various different compartments or 'rooms'.

One moment he was sleeping next to his girlfriend, then the next morning he discovered she was sleeping next to one of the Jordanian tour leaders who chatted her up (dragué). I know that my jaw literally and very visably dropped at that point. I was beyond shocked as he continued the story... then as he continued I finally began to understand him better. He said later she came to him crying because she was pregnant (with twins!) and then she ended up having an abortion and right now she's with a jerk (a cretin). But he admits he is not a saint and perhaps is not the easiest person to get along with...

It had occurred to me up until that point that he was rather content with his life but no, that's not the case. I guess everyone puts up a façade about their life... He gets companionship from his dog but I wondered why he didn't seem interested in being in a relationship.

A year later, I could still see the hurt in his eyes, and in his words as he recounted me this story... Then I'm reminded of one of my friends who told me she hadn't been on a date in 4 years... I have heard of other similar stories too. That you are hurt so badly by a break-up you never want to try again.

Then there are stupid people like me, who do try again and get hurt... and neither one is better than the other I think. I don't know how to make this desire to be in a relationship go away. But I actually wish that all my single friends could find someone. Nothing would make me happier than to see them happy. No matter what people say, I know the truth. I think anyone who says they prefer to be alone forever is lying.

Something I've noticed with single people vs couples is that single people have far more things to talk about. Whenever I'm with a single friend they tell me EVERYTHING about their lives and I tend to do the same. However, because coupled up people have their partner to talk to every day they don't tell me nearly as much personal stuff as I do to them. But when you spend so much time alone your thoughts just get bottled up so when you're with a friend they get 'unleashed'...

It was definitely another weekend of reflection for me.

Only one more week (this week) of classes then school holidays (vacances scolaires) !

Tonight I spent 3 hours chatting to my good friend Y which was really nice. I find I go through periods where I just love being alone but then I realise I am so much happier when I have someone to talk to. I was saying that I don't know what to do for my school holidays. I have not planned anything and I'm really trying to save money so I can't travel as much as I used to. After spending some time talking to my other friend over the weekend about job searching, Y suggested I should spend this holiday time to look for a job and get my CV out there etc which I think is definitely the sensible thing to do.

Tonight I impressed people with the big colourful bruise on my knee, too! ;)

More pictures here.

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