Saturday, October 6, 2007
So this past week has been very full. On Monday and Tuesday, I was at orientations (called stages) with all the other assistants in this region. I met a bunch of people I had met online, and that was comforting. It’s nice to see familiar faces. I saw Daena who is from Toronto – basically a neighbor! – who was not quite understanding how to get housing without a bank account. I explained what her options were and now she is housed. It’s really surprising how little some people know. I also met a friend of hers named Ceri (pronounced Kerry) who is from Wales and is here with her 2 year old son Caio (sounds like Kyle). What guts she has. She’s cute. One of the best people I’ve met so far is Courtney, an Ohio State grad from DC. Super sweet and just really friendly. I think we may have some things in common. We hugged when we had to go our separate ways on Tuesday afternoon – her bus to Tulle and my train to Ussel. We’re doing the texto thing, of which I have 1,257. I have just under four hours of talk time.
On Wednesday I hunted down the IT dude to make my computer work on the school network, which so far has blown donkey balls. Messaging programs and www.blogspot.com are blocked, and whatever he did has apparently made my computer incompatible with Francoise’s connection at home. I am pissed. However, Francoise believed there was in fact a telephone jack (called a prise téléphonique) in the living room, and I believe I have found it. So this morning despite a mild cold, I hiked out to France Telecom, the formerly state-owned and probably still partially state-owned telecommunications company to inquire and possible purchase an internet connection. Oh wait. They’re CLOSED on Saturday. And Monday. France, are you friggin kidding me?? Whatever. I don’t have my scheduled Tuesday morning lesson because the kids are going on a field trip somewhere so GUESS where I’ll be? Yep. Rar.
Last night, Francoise offered me her internet connection to talk to Mom and Dad and Andy. However, since my laptop didn’t work on her network, she let me use her laptop AND download Skype, which worked BEAUTIFULLY. It really meant a lot to be able to see Mom and Dad and Andy, so I left with a huge smile on my face. Francoise is seriously like my mom here. She takes care of me so much. I wish I could do something for her, but she doesn’t eat dinner so I can’t take her out for dinner (yeah I don’t get it either, she’s trying to lose weight from her 130 lb frame) and she goes home on weekends so I don’t know if I could invite her for coffee or something. I guess the best thing would be postcards like I did to the Ponterios and Madame Lambert in La Rochelle. They appreciated those.
Other fun Frenchie things I’ve done recently included purchasing the French equivalent of life/accident insurance, called résponsabilité civile and mandatory for all persons living in France under circumstances, such as my own but I don’t think for exchange students. I purchased the most comprehensive plan because Murphy’s Law – if I didn’t, I’d get run over by a bus or something weird like that. For now until the end of 2007, it costs €57,57. Not bad. After that, they send me a quote or something. I went to the pharmacie across the street this morning before my France Telecom non-errand to get some cold medicine. Unfortunately, and I didn’t realize this before I was very dizzy, it contains pseudoephedrine. But the night-time pill is good because I had suuuch a hard time falling asleep last night. And apparently I was warring with my blankets, because they did not look like that when I fell asleep. I also think my fever broke on my odyssey.
Dad wants pictures and it’s friggin beautiful today but I really don’t feel all that well. And I don’t have internet access (omg I am going to KILL Rodolphe) so I can’t upload them anywhere.
I am sorta waiting for Monsieur Paillous, another accountant at the school, to call/show up. He offered to take me grocery shopping this afternoon but I’m not entirely sure how concrete those plans were. If not, I’ll go out around 5 or so, maybe drag Rocío or Ben with me to help carry crap. Andy suggested I bring my suitcase as a shopping cart. An idea, for sure.
So I took out a book from the school liberry in the hopes that I’d be inspired to educate myself. I also have a week’s worth of lessons to prepare. I could clean the kitchen because it’s my job this week and it always needs cleaning. Or I could do NOTHING like I am now. iTunes and solitaire.
The main thing that bothers me about these English lessons is that it has been made very clear to me that I am to teach these children British English constructions such as “Have you got any pets?” which is completely foreign to me. If they wanted a British assistant, they should have been more specific. That’s not to say that they’re unwelcoming or disappointed – far from it! The other two English teachers at the school I observed at were sooo helpful and friendly and Astrid even gave me her cell and email in case I have questions. I just feel like British English is not why I’m here… I dunno. They gave me a full photocopied teacher’s manual for the Year 1 and Year 2 English text they use, but one of my three schools uses a different title. No matter. Luckily a lot of the stuff I brought with me, like the flashcards and the nursery songs will be very helpful. I’m excited about that for sure. I know for the third graders, we are going to do:
2. What is your name?
3. My name is ___ (and an activity where they can pick an American name if they wish).
4. Nice to meet you.
For the 4th graders, we will do that in addition to:
6. Where are you from?
7. I am from ___ (and an activity where they can pick an Anglophone city if they wish).
8. review numbers 1-10, maybe more if they know more
9. review colors
For the 5th graders, we will do all of that in addition to maybe:
10. What is his/her name?
11. His/her name is ____/
12. Where is he/she from?
13. He/she is from ____.
Wow, just writing that down makes me feel a ton better.
I have the third graders once a week for 60 minutes and another time for 30 minutes (I think?), and the 4th and 5th graders twice a week for 45 minutes each. The first session of the week is strictly oral – English words aloud and pictures – and the second session of the week is written – English words aloud, written and pictures. It’s very structured and I’m excited. It should be fun. Now to create a logical flow of engaging activities to do Personal ID for 45 minutes straight…eesh.
I miss my family. I miss my bros. I miss Andy.