Thursday, December 9, 2010

je suis de retour!

New Apartment!

It's been a good past couple of weeks-Ali and I finally found an awesome apartment in centre ville, conveniently located in right down the street from our friends' apartment. It's right by the Garonne (the river) and basically close to everything-so we're really excited about it. We move in January first! Only problem-it's not furnished..so we have to completely furnish the place, which will be a bit of a hassle.

Thanksgiving

We had a great Thanksgiving, as well. A massive feast chez moi that Ali and I hosted -we invited all of our new friends and it ended up being at least 30 or so people in that one tiny room. A lot more people than we had anticipated. And the irony of it all? Ali and I were the only Americans! Pretty funny. Otherwise, there was a mix of French, Spanish, Turkish, British, Italian...etc.

Ali and I made mashed potatoes and chicken pot pie (it would have been pretty difficult to cook a turkey, so we skipped out on that...) and then everyone brought some food or drink. It was a lot of fun. But I don't think that my roommate was too happy about it, since he sleeps in the living room...he hung out in my room half of the time, I think it got a bit overwhelming for him. whoops.

Teaching
I enjoy teaching a lot more than last year -the teachers are much more involved in what I'm doing, even requesting updates after each class. Last year, the teachers left everything up to me and there was no communication whatsoever - when I told them that the students misbehaved, they would simply respond with an "Oh well"- which was probably a main reason behind the students' misbehavior in class. After a year of teaching under my belt, I also feel like I'm better at disciplining the students and know how to be stricter when needed.

Most of the students are much better behaved than last year, for some reason, so I don't need to do much disciplining. Although one day, in class with a teacher, one of the students said to me "you have a bum." I wasn't sure if I had heard him correctly. I mean, would he actually have said that in front of the teacher? Well, the teacher pretty much shushed him and told him that was inappropriate, so I think that I did hear him correctly. haha. It was pretty funny.

After classes finished today, there was a Christmas party in the teachers lounge- all the teachers had brought something to feast on. And of course...wine. Even though it was the middle of the day and most teachers have classes throughout the afternoon, french food is simply incomplete without wine. I laughed to myself, knowing that something like this would just never happen in the states-drinking wine during school? You must be of your mind to even propose such an idea...

Smoking
Now I know that smoking is, in a way, part of French culture. While not all French people smoke, a large portion do and it is almost a way to be social more than anything else. At least, it definitely starts out that way. But what saddens me is when I see young kids, no older than 10, smoking a cigarette with a friend. I've seen this several times and I know I heard that many kids start smoking at age 12 or 13, but I guess I didn't really believe it until I saw it. I just went to yell at them to stop and say "What are you doing??! Smoking is NOT cool!" Unfortunately, somehow they have this idea drilled into them that it is. So that part of French culture...not so cool.


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