Monday, February 1, 2010

Ink-Stained Fingers

I've been using this sweet-ass fountain pen that BSto got me from a flea market in Berlin in an attempt to blend in here better. The result is that my right hand constantly has blue smudges, and my ego is stroked cause, let's be honest, it increases my street-cred.

The students here (I imagine that it's not just in this high school, but all over France) take the most amazingly organized and color-coded notes I have ever seen. They have an arsenal of different colored pens and markers to make headings and bullet points, and they even have pen-erasers should they make a mistake in their writing. It's enough to make APat choked up.
The pen of (not-this-year) champions.

A sample day in the life of that American girl in St Brieuc:
6:45 a.m.: alarm goes off
7:10 a.m.: I get up, get dressed
7:45 a.m.: leave the house
8 - 9 a.m.: sit in the teacher's lounge and drink coffee; play on the computer; do the occasional crossword puzzle
9 a.m - 11 a.m. (-ish. This changes daily): teach the children how to talk pretty
12 - 2 p.m.: lunch break (aka I sit in the teacher's lounge after I eat and continue to play on computer)
2-5 p.m.: go to class with the Terminales (~seniors preparing to take the Bac)
3 p.m.: wonder if anyone else knows how smart I am cause I can understand French
3:02 p.m.: wonder if anyone else knows how stupid I am cause I can't understand French
5 p.m.: do the 10-minute walk home
6 p.m. - 8 p.m.: read, watch Buffy on my compy
8 p.m.: help with dinner; eat dinner; help clean up (trying to make Kathy proud)
9-10 p.m.: watch tv with the family
10:30 p.m.: sleep

...I'm incredibly tired here due to the amount of energy it takes to listen to, understand, and speak in French all day. If I'm awake at 11 p.m., shit's about to get real the next day when I down a record amount of caffeine in an attempt to stay awake. And then pee every 5 minutes. I think everyone at this school now thinks that I have a bladder problem. TMI? Probs. Whoops...

Teaching English to these kids has been a lot of fun, but it has made me question the influence of American pop culture. The questions these kids ask Sometimes I laugh but then have to recover quickly so they don't think I'm laughing at their English-speaking ability (they're all actually quite advanced, even the 11-year olds that I teach on Monday mornings). Par example:
- do you know 50cent?
- do you have a gun?
- do you live in a mansion?
- do you know anyone in a gang?
- have you met the queen of England?
...apparently American tv and culture has caused the children of France to be under the impression that we are all rich drug lords who hang out with rappers. And the Queen. Of England.
Oh. That's why. And, let's be real here: I hang with 50 like all the weekends. And the queen.

I ate cow tongue yesterday. Yep, that happened. It actually wouldn't have been bad if I hadn't known that it was, in fact, a fucking cow's TONGUE. I told my family that I didn't eat pork in order to avoid it cause I don't like meat that much (that's what she said), so apparently that means they're going to have everything, everything, except pork. I wanted to be polite so I took some, but dear lord. The consistency...I just shivered. WOOF.

Yeah, it was cooked. BUT HONESTLY. THAT. HAPPENED.

I booked my ticket to Thailand last night, so I'll be making my innaugural visit to Asia on February 14. I'm Julia's valentine, and, not to toot my own horn, but I make a GREAT valentine (fellas????).
Julia: meet me at the train like this or we're not spooning for two weeks. Ok, we will, but I won't be as happy about it.

Currently listening to: Boy penchant for wrist-cutting German folk music has increased since being in this land of permanently apathetic facial expressions. Don't judge me.
Currently reading: Well, I'm in limbo. I finished reading A Farewell to Arms (Hemingway...and it blew me away. If you haven't read it, go and pick up a copy NOW. It's amazing) last night and didn't have the energy to start anything new. Suggestions?
Currently craving: anything but beef tongue.
Boy Omega. Doesn't he just scream angst and German-type middle-class -self-loathing?

Peace, Love, and Vegetarianism.
- Blowfish


  1. i walked into a deli the other day and there was a beautiful woman behind the counter. she said, "may i help you?" i said, "yes, please. i'd lke a pound of tongue." she said, "sorry, i don't get off 'til 5."

    i said, "i don't get off at all that's why i need a pound of tongue..."

  2. 1. banker to the poor - muhammad yunis, inspiring story of beginnings of micro-credit
    2. im actually meeting up with 50 tomorrow, will let him know your doing well
    3. i found the french students at Sciences-Po (ya i capitalised it) to have the most amazing notes ever wheras i scribbled everywhere)
    4. i went through the same 2 minute internal battle about my self-confidence and french everday in paris
    5. bon courage mon petit chou...tu peut le faire!!!

  3. no! read something french and topical...hmm...aha:

    "france under the germans: collaboration and compromise" about french capitulation during ww2.

    or how bout french capitation during ww1? "The Long Silence: Civilian Life under the German Occupation of Northern France, 1914-1918"

    or how bout french social history re. mythological appropriations of culture?!!?!!!
    "The Great Cat Massacre: And Other Episodes in French Cultural History"


  4. no! french erotic memoir instead!!!!

    harsh nyt review: