Tuesday, January 4, 2011

more on life

I just got back to France after a nice 2 week vacation at home. I loved seeing friends and family and just sleeping in my own bed again. Much to my pleasant surprise, being home made me wonder if I even really wanted to go back. I think a large part of me can definitely see myself in New York again next year -every time I leave, I always miss the city -I love the excitement, the energy, the cosmopolitan feel...I just love New York.

And there are some things that I miss about the US-driving everywhere (when it's cold! plus, I love driving, it's my me-time), the shopping, friends and family of course...on the other hand, I just don't know if I will ever feel ready to part ways with France. There are so many things that I would miss too much-the fresh baguettes and cheese (yum!), the language (!!!!), the culture... un tas d'autre choses! I also do kind of like being an outsider and feeling that comfort when you meet another American/British/Irish/Australian/Canadian/whatever person in a foreign land who is also a native English speaker. Doesn't happen all that often in Toulouse, believe it or not! Normally, walking down the street, all you hear is French. So I love that soft jilt of excitement when you hear someone speaking English. 

On the other hand, I'm definitely glad that I don't hear it ALL the time! I love the challenge of having to force myself to speak French every day, whether it be with my English teachers who speak perfect English or with my landlord who speaks not a word of English. I love teaching a classroom of French kids (well, teenagers) and hearing their adorable, thick (often barely comprehensible) French accents. That I will definitely miss.

Speaking of teaching French kids...While it's definitely better this year, teaching French high schoolers can be quite difficult/frustrating. Although at least I have learned how to be more professional and stricter (and thereby perhaps respected more) -if the kids act up, I call them out on it and I don't let things slide like I used to last year. Also I learned that all you have to do is mention the vie scolaire (their nightmare) and they shut up. 

Today I had a class where we played a murder mystery game. Should be fun, right? Wrong. These kids just sat there and barely said a word as I asked them question after question. That's almost worse than loud, obnoxious kids. So there are the students like that, who couldn't give a damn about learning English. But then you have students that actually care and it makes all the difference in the world. Like another student who I met with today -probably about 16 years old, he told me he's been to New York 3 times, loves it there (said he prefers it to London) and wants to/needs to learn English for his future career-to be a diplomat working in Paris. For real! This kid is not a day over 16 and he already knows what he wants to do with his life and is pursuing it in every way possible. I was pretty impressed. Considering I'm 24 and still don't know exactly what I want to do with mine (except speak French on a daily basis!). He was asking me questions about NY and CT-he actually knew where CT was! The first French person I've met who knows where CT is (for real). Again, I was impressed. Then when he thought he made a mistake while speaking, he asked if what he said was correct (it was) - a little thing, yes, but most students just don't care. Which to me, is mind-boggling. 

Perhaps I was (well, am) just a nerd, but when I was in high school, college, whatever-I was so interested in learning that if I ever made a mistake, I wanted to know. And I took notes and wrote down new vocabulary/grammer rules that the teacher would teach us - most of my students couldn't care less. My love for learning languages still hasn't ceased (obviously). I spent 40 euros on this amazing French-English dictionary (I'm still really excited about it) and have about 5 books on French slang...amongst many others. So to meet another student who actually cares about learning English, like I do about French, makes the job all worthwhile. Plus, I get to listen to that French accent... ;)

I'll end with a trailer for a French movie that I'm going to see tomorrow:


Can you see why it's so hard for me to leave?