Monday, July 18, 2011
*Three out of the twelve students have rulers that they use to underline important things while taking notes. Remi was looking at my notes as I reviewed them in front of the TV one night and he said, oh, that reminds me of my messy notes at the end of the semester when I was in a hurry. Well, my notes weren't that messy but I hadn't used a ruler to underline headings. So the next day I used a ruler just to see what it was like, and it does make things look very neat. But I'm not going to be obsessive about it. The idea is to retain what the teacher said, not to make a beautiful page that could be put in the next textbook edition.
*Some teachers give small dictations. Though the economics teacher is a live wire and likes to digress on topics, he also has parts of his lesson where he dictates a paragraph of Very Important Information. We're all there writing furiously and trying to absorb the meaning at the same time. I suppose it's like the teacher writing important things on the board, but it feels strange to be doing a dictation at my age. So scholarly.
*French students are more casual than you'd think. Forget the image of the French fashion-conscious person. I've noticed that some of my fellow students often wear the exact same outfit two or three days in a row. Actually, this is a French thing. Whereas I might wear the same pants a few times in a week, I generally always have different shirts. I guess there's nothing wrong with recycling your outfits as long as they're clean, but it's just that in the US people would say, hey, didn't you wear that yesterday?
*No ostentation religious symbols are allowed in public schools. I give the Algerian girl a lift to the tramway station and I noticed she'd put on her head scarf as we approached the stop. But she doesn't wear it in school. I asked her why and she said because it's forbidden in school. I'd forgotten they'd passed this law a few years back. In this girl's case it's not a burka or anything as restrictive as that. Black or colored head scarfs in fact. And she dresses pretty much normally, jeans and tops, the occasional more ethnic style shirt and pants suit. Frankly I don't see a problem with her wearing her scarf, but I know the idea behind this law was to help women not be forced to wear it by overbearing husbands or fathers.
*Foreign diplomas = big fat zero. Never mind that I have a Master's degree in the US (and I'm not bragging there, because it's been so long I'm not even sure what it was in). None of the courses I took back home will transfer so I must take all the courses in the new training program. I don't mind as I need the review anyway, and some of it is new material for me. But even English is not exempt. So next week I'll be having English classes every morning. On the bright side of things, I guess it'll boost my average.
Until next time, study hard, dudes. And if you're not a student, then relax and cherish the moment!
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Thursday, July 7, 2011
It's weird to be back in a school environment. I think I'm enjoying it but I'm afraid to be hasty. I feel that this was a good decision because I find the subjects interesting for the most part. A nice moment was eating lunch in the grass with the others. Reminded me of my college days. I'm trying to remember that I'm lucky to have the opportunity to go back to school.
Of course, it's a transition for me. I wish I could get home earlier. I try to make the most of my few hours with Juju in the evening. I can feel I'm missing her already. My curly-topped girl is such a joy to me. I think she knows it. Remi takes her in the morning and he's helping out with some more chores since my home time is more limited.
We've just got to hang on for this year.
Friday, July 1, 2011
But we saw some beautiful things and I think it's always important to see how much you can adapt with a child. Maybe we should have been doing more travelling with her from the start, but money and time limited us on that.
Anyway, here are some pictures to wet your appetite!
Totally copying Crystal here, we went to Giverny, to see the charming country house and lovely gardens of Monet. I loved seeing the view he had from his bedroom.
My mom and Juliette in the gardens. Before the tantrum.
Giverny is only about an hour from the city of Rouen. It's got a lovely downtown, including this gorgeous old clock (le gros horloge), a cathedral and charming architecture reminiscent of Alsace with the half-timbered houses. It's also the city where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake, for you history buffs.
As usual, it's been great having family around. I tell mom I feel like I have a clone- another person who thinks quite like me and has the same instincts as me (as in prepping for dinner and doing the dishes, a godsend). When my dad was here it was quite the same. My mom's been a tremendous help around the house and has also helped me out on some home projects.
But as I speak she's flying back home. Two weeks went by quickly, as we knew they would. I find myself dreaming, as she does, too, that we only lived down the road. Or even just five hours by car would be better than our current situation. It's tougher this time because with my back-to-school situation (that would be in two days, people, yikes!), I'm not 100% sure when I'll see my family next. I guess I'll do my best to hold on to all the great memories we made on this trip and know that we're simply on the long waiting side of "see you next time."