So, I finally found and settled into an apartment in the 17e arrondisement! It is a little bit of a strange and lucky story of how I found it, but I got extremely, extremely lucky. When I was in California, I went to a yoga retreat for 2 days and met this girl who had studied abroad about 5 years ago...long story short I am now living with her host family's two french daughters about 5 minutes away form les Champs D'Elysee et I can see the L'Arc Du Triomphe from the middle of my street...woooo! Once I figure out how to work my camera I will post pictures....but Im a little techno challenged.
So, lots going on over here! I started my first day of teaching last Thursday and they just threw me into the mix. Apparently they think Im qualified to teach without any experience, instruction, training, or observation. Huh, fine by me. For the most part, my students are great. The classes that speak and understand English pretty well were very interested in a few things: are we all obese?(or obize as they say), what do i think of french food, what brands do i wear, do i like Barack Obama!? (that was a biggie) They were probably most interested to hear whether or not i had a boyfriend and if I liked "black boys". One of the teachers apparently was intrigued when I said I was single, so he made sure to invite me over to his flat and asked if i like foies gras and wine. Hmmm, perfect meal for a semi-vegetarian.....fattened up geese livers....rigggghhht. So, I don't think the schools are very worried about being so politically correct over here. This thought was later confirmed when I heard a teacher later joke with a student that she was sexy. Maybe lawyers just dont exist in this system. Good thing for the french teacher's sake. This guy would be broke as a joke in the US. One subject that is very sensitive is religion. It is a very private part of the French people's lives and it is not mentioned or not allowed to be demonstrated in the schools. No burkas, no clothing advertisement, no mention thank you. It is nice to see that an area of your life that is so personal and controversial, can remain in the home or your place of worship. Maybe they got this right and the foie gras wrong? Debatable.
On teacher orientation day, or "fill out a shitload of papers in french that i wouldnt even understand in english" day, the most notable event was the bottles of wine that were placed throughout the cafeteria for the assistants to enjoy at lunchtime. What a great idea! I might not receive my first paycheck due to sleeping through the rest of the orientation, but still, GREAT IDEA.
Man, there is so much more to tell, but Im sure Im losing many of you with my ramblings...I prolly (yes Im an English teacher) wouldnt even read my own e-mails, so no hard feelings. So some other things summed up:
1. Nuit Blanche (White Night) was last night.....full moon...all of Paris stays up all night to run around in the streets drinking until the sun comes up and visiting different points of interest where there are art installations. Very cool. Very tired.
2. Roomies are great! They threw me a mini traditional French dinner party with about a million courses: 1. l'aperitif (cocktails) 2. potato dish 3. more veg 4. meat 5. salad 6. cheese 7. dessert plus wine equals almost sleeping through work the next day. Word to the wise: Running in Birkenstocks should not be attempted for long periods of time.
3. French bands that cover American hits= HILARIOUS
break-sit at a cafe for hours-wire yourself with un chocolat chaud or une cafe decaf. People watch and talk philosophy. (this is not done in french)
4. My French sucks. My English now sucks too. My mind is scrambled. Me not know what going on anymore.
5. Work schedule: Friday are full, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are half days. Hmmm...re-application form please!
6. Many people often wonder why French women are so skinny. This is very simple. They walk approximately 1,000 kilometers a day and they eat cheese with butter and creme. Try taking more than 5 bites and actually swallowing. Yeah, good luck with that.
Anyways, Im having a ball. Im meeting new peeps, enjoying my job, and really loving life right now. It is just one of those times when everything seems to be falling in the right place. But thank goodness for skype....I miss you all especially Mom and Dad! My roommate's family is calling my name. I think last night they were telling me about a drunken cat on top of a building but they were probably just saying it was nice to meet you. 2 hrs of studying a day is my goal. o la la! Miss you all.