I have TEN days left in Ussel. Ohhh my goodness!!! People ask me if I'm happy and I say yes, but sad at the same time. I've developed some very one-sided attachments to this place and the people I've met.
I haven't updated because I've been in a very negative mood.
1. The outing with Hélène, Françoise's friend, to her equestrian center exhibition was...not my cup of tea. It's called the Centre Equi-Relax, where they mix horseback riding (I use the term loosely), a Chinese meditation technique called qi gong, music, and natural arts and crafts. I am not an animal person, but despite Andy's insistance, I don't hate animals. I am indifferent. And horses are just too touchy-feely for my taste. It was super cold and started to rain. And like all very French situations, I became uncomfortably bored about two hours too soon. Seriously, horses and yoga? Are you kidding me. No.
2. I have a grand total of 11,62€ in my bank account, and there is entirely too much stress-baking I want to do.
3. My students are antsy. It's getting to the end of the school year, the weather is not summery (it's been raining for the past week), and they pick up really fast that I have little patience for distracted children. This is so newbie teacher, but if I'm a first year teacher I'll take advantage of making mistakes like this. Like I told my ESM freshmen who wanted to go to the bathroom during their 80 minute blocks, "If I can't pee, neither can you." Rar. Do you think I want to be here either? Let's just muscle through this.
4. My body, after high-calorie cantine meals in the land of "mix it with cream!", has gone from decently sized in September to downright squishy to some bizarre Play-Doh-inspired shapes. I am very unhappy that the first thing I do when I touch down in Syracuse is spend time with the man who thinks my body is a temple, then wear a bathing suit on a national beach. I have lost 3kg in about a month, but there's a good 10kg to go. I have learned however that I use food as therapy.
5. I just REALLY want to go home. This attitude is not what I should have for my last weeks. It makes work and life that much more difficult.
6. I realise they're very busy with finals and end of the year shenanigans but the high school in New York has not responded to my emails since Friday. We have been emailing daily for the past three weeks. AHHH. I need them to know that my New York State intial certifications have been processed and I have pieces of paper saying I am allowed to teach!!! I am very excited.
Things to look forward to in the coming days:
1. I am going to Virginie's house this weekend to spend time with her and her boyfriend Josselin (pronounced like Jocelyn) and go hiking and sightseeing in her neck of the woods! She told me not to bring anything but I totally want to make brownies for Friday night and oatmeal raisin cookies for scampering around on Saturday.
2. Evaluations in all of my classes. If there is any reason to enjoy test days, it's because the lesson plan is easy: instructions, pass out tests, instructions, let 'em loose.
3. A formal traditional French dinner at Hélène with Françoise on Monday! Again, we were told not to bring anything but we'll bring some chocolates and flowers.
4. School One's final week's lessons will be combined with Jean-François' class. This way, his students get some American culture and we get to rest a little bit while the kids experience death by Powerpoint. Assuming it works. And peanut butter and jelly sammiches! With yucky German peanut butter.
5. School Three's students are getting a pancake party at Virginie's pleading. "Please, can we do pancakes? I love pancakes." Really? Well sure. I like Virginie a lot. It took a while to warm up to her and for her to open up to me but she's a really nice person, down to earth, and kind.
6. I'm not sure what School Two's classes are doing for treats. I can't really make 100 of something interesting and decidedly American.
ANNND then I go to Paris! For a weekend! I already have things I want to see and do mapped out:
L'Orangerie (Monet's waterlilies)
chocolate shop Cacao et Chocolat
cheese shop L'Alessose or whatever
Montmartre for touristy souvenirs
FNAC's book section for French books
I am so excited to come home. I am going to miss Ussel so much. Luckily I can take pictures of ALL of my students! These pictures will not be posted online so as to protect them.