Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Day 51

Today went well. My most frustrating group of fourth graders behaved much better when I sent F* out of the room and also when I told them of the possibility of American penpals. We'll see if that even pans out though. Who knows. They really did get the hang of "Do you have a pet? I have a dog. His name is Fido" and so on. It was really exciting. My other fourth graders, even the smart ones, struggled with it. It's so weird. I asked their classroom teacher Virginie if I could observe her class: not tomorrow because I have a meeting, not Thursday because I teach all day, not Friday because they have a field trip (to the movies?), sooo maybe Monday morning.

My original contact in France, Madame Renson, called me last night around 7 to say that there was a meeting tomorrow (Wednesday) in Brive, another city about 1.5 hours in the train from Ussel. Thanks for the advance notice and luckily I don't have anything on Wednesdays. However, when I went to the train station this afternoon to buy my tickets, I remembered: the massive country-wide strike is starting tomorrow! France likes to strike, and while I sympathize with their reasons, I don't believe the people striking should strike. It's just ridiculous: the train stations, the Paris Metro, the post office, the teachers, the water company, the gas company, and the students all have strikes coming up. It's ridiculous. So this means I leave Ussel at 6:00am tomorrow morning to arrive in Brive at 9:30am, a half hour late for my meeting. Luckily Madame Renson understands, but still. So frigging annoying. But I've text-messaged the other girls I know will be at the meeting and we're going to do lunch: Eleanor from England and Courtney from DC at least, and I haven't heard yet from Sashi from India. Yay! More comraderie. Unfortunately, this silly strike means I won't be able to leave Brive until about 6:00pm and get to Ussel until about 9:00pm. Fantabulous.

I finally got the courage to ask someone to go grocery shopping: I asked Francoise, the first lady to welcome me here in France. Remember I stayed at her apartment for two nights before I moved in with Ben and Rocio? We did a power-shop because we got to the grocery store about 45 minutes before it closed. I'm very happy. I have obscene amounts of good French food. I love Francoise. She is hands-down the sweetest woman here. I told her - "You're not my mom but you act like it. Thank you so much for everything you do." And she replied, "But I AM a mother." So true. She's awesome. I need a picture of her. And I also need to buy her flowers or something. SOMETHING.

So for dinner tonight at the high school cafeteria, all three of us - me, Ben, and Rocio - all went together. This is a big deal because Rocio doesn't always eat at the cafeteria for dinner because it's really early for her (7:00pm is early for Mexicans, apparentlt). However, I looked at the menu, and it clearly said "saupiette de kangourou" which sort of translates to "kangaroo chunks." Oh really? I asked the nice man who serves us - he kind of knows our faces now - and I asked him point blank:
Rose: What meat is that?
Man: Kangaroo.
Rose: I'll have the potatoes and brussel sprouts please.
Man: Would you like a cordon bleu?
Rose: Omg yes PLEASE.
So Ben and Rocio took the "kangaroo." I asked Ben:
Rose: So how's your Australian jumping animal?
Ben: It's not that bad.
Rose: But it's a friggin kangaroo!
Ben: Well either kangaroo tastes exactly like beef, or it's beef.
Rose: The dude at the counter totally said it was kangaroo.
Ben: Yeah, I heard too, but I think "kangaroo" refers to the cut or the preparation of the meat rather than the meat itself.
Rose: No.
Ben: Yes.
Rose: Well, you find me the town called "kangaroo" and it's famous beef plate and I'll believe you.
Ben said something witty here but I forget. He apparently enjoys eating, or at least tasting, exotic foods. I do not. I enjoy chocolate, pastries, and their combinations.

School good. France silly. Rose happy.

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