Friday, November 30, 2007

Good news and bad news.

Good news first.

I really really really think I've found something that makes me truly happy in life. I really like this job. It must be said that I do have an amazing network of people around me, from the teachers I work with directly, the other English teachers, my supervisors, to the people at the high school. I'm very lucky. It must be said that I do have a basic understanding of pedagogy and how a language class should work. But man oh man. Do I LOVE elementary foreign language classes. It is amazing to see even ONE student be able to utter something in another language. It is amazing when a little girl from my most difficult fourth grade class (guess where...School Three!) say, and I quote, "I really like English with you, Miss D." It is amazing when lessons actually work and students make visible progress. It is amazing that my students can't copy their own damn handwriting correctly. I would be in heaven if I could continue this line of work for the rest of my life.

This discovery may also be due to one of the stages of culture shock: over-romanticizing and a self-induced euphoria about your new environment. I am believing that I'm just truly happy.

This afternoon I sat in on the non-pregnant Karine's senior English literature class. It was amusing and I learned a little bit. They translated the first two pages of the book they're reading, which reinforced just how much I loathe translation. You lose so much of the real sense of the text. Just...jeepers, just learn the language. Hahaha.

I received a letter today from the Préfecture or the county office saying that my carte de séjour or residency card is ready for me to come pick up!! In Tulle!!...ah France. Well in any case, this means I'm legal. I wonder when or if I'll get my social security card. That's pretty much the only thing I don't have. Way to go Rose!

Rocio and I went to centre ville tonight to do some shopping...oh so dangerous. And then we went to one of the Turkish restaurants for a kebab. A kebab is basically a gyro, but the meat is on a huge rotisserie contraption and gets shaved off. It's only about the best thing the Muslim immigrant population has contributed to France, and I'm not being racist with that remark. This is pure deliciousness on a plate (or in a pita, depending on how you order it). Rocio agreed.

Also, I bought a winter jacket. It's super sweet. It's black and has warm sweater cuffs that close around my wrists. It was around 60E. The only things I don't like is that the hood looks ridiculous and that it buttons instead of zipping. But it's awesome. I had originally ordered a jacket but it was going to take three weeks to get here. And then it was backordered another FOUR weeks. No. It's cold now. So I canceled it without penalty and found this jacket in town.

Tomorrow I'm doing some housekeeping and lesson planning - only a few more to go before vacation! My tutoring student is coming later tomorrow evening. Sunday, I am probably going to Neuvic, a little town about 20km south of us (Ben bikes there a lot) to hear a concert with one of my district supervisors, Madame Mouty, her husband Olivier and their daughter Camille. Next weekend, I'm going to the marché de Noel with my other district supervisor, Madame Renson, and possibly Sashi, the Indian assistant in Brive-la-Gaillarde and Courtney, the assistant from DC in Tulle. Lots of things to do.

Now the bad news.
I cannot sleep. It's almost insomnia. I cannot fall asleep at night. I cannot clear my head. And when I do finally wear myself out tossing and turning, I wake up a lot. When my alarm goes off in the morning, I feel paralyzed. I can't get out of bed. I'm so tired from not sleeping and I get myself too worked up about the day ahead. It's not like I'm not tired at night. I get back from school and I'm exhausted, physically and mentally. It's really mentally straining to have two languages swimming in my head at once. I actually prefer speaking only French or only English - mix the two and I'm lost. (This may bode ill for future endeavours but whatever.) I could easily go to the pharmacie across the street and they could direct me to the nearest pill; that would be so French. The French have a pill for everything. A simple head cold will warrant four prescription medications and a doctor's note to miss work. But I know my problem is more mental than anything. Once I figure out how to really clear my head I hope I'll sleep better. But back to the main point. I can't sleep. At all.

Well, no one's answering my IMs so I'll try this sleeping thing.

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