Wednesday, October 26, 2005

German Love

I am visiting Germany this week and am staying with my friend, Mary, who I met in Arkansas. Guenter, her husband, worked in Jonesboro for a year and a half. They have a very entertaining child, Leon, as well. I am enjoying my visit so far and have been reminded how much I love Germany. It is such a beautiful country! Unfortunately, I left my camera in France and do not know how many pictures I will be able to take. I have already seen so many things that are picture worthy that it is driving me crazy.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Eiffel in the Mist

I took this picture from the top of a building. It is usually pretty hazy in Paris, but I like this picture. It is a neat shot on a gloomy day.

Long Live the Doors!

This is Jim Morrison's gravesite. It is pretty unspectacular for a rock star. Located in a really famous cementary, Pere Lachaise, his site is really hard to find, mostly because it is so small compared to the rest of the "residents." He is behind a much bigger monument and there is a fence around his site to keep away unwanted graffiti artists. Many people have told me that he is in danger of being evicted because nobody is paying his rent.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Paris Skyline

Here is a view of Paris at dusk sans the Eiffel Tower. It was a really beautiful, hot day and I just happened to have my camera at the ready, so to speak.

Hap, Hap, Happy Day!

Yesterday was a big day for me because I bought a bike. I am so excited about it; I feel like a little kid. It is green and has a quick release wheel and seat. I had no idea what this was until my roommate Jessica and my friend Andy showed me. I think it is a decent bike and it will entertain me when I am bored. Plus I can get around Cergy better now.

I also bought my train ticket to Germany. I am going to visit my friend Mary and then go and see the town where my roommate lives. I don't know if I am more excited travelling or just the idea of getting out of France for a while. I am really looking forward to this trip because teaching is really exhausting for some reason. I have done this before, but I don't remember it being so tiring. Oh well, I guess it is the price of getting older.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

One Free Thing to do in Paris

This is Sacré-Coeur in Montmatre. It has the best free view of Paris I have found. The inside of the church is unimpressive, but the outside is great. It is always packed and there are artists outside begging to paint your picture or draw you. It is a hassle, but it is worth it. I have been 3 times already.

A Feminine Touch

This is my room now. A trip to Ikea fixed the drab aspect, but it is still not a place I can call home. I guess I will just "visit" this country for a year instead of living here. Notice the bars on the windows, nice, huh? Posted by Picasa

My Palace

Just to give everyone an idea why I have been complaining room. I pay about $300 a month for this lovely hole. I am pretty sure prison cells have more flair. This is what it looked like when I first moved in. This among all of the other problems (the toliet broke the first day and the shower didn't work) added to my deep love of France.

Friday Night Party

Well, I guess the dorm party was a success, because around 3:00 a.m. I woke up to the sound of shopping carts running into the walls. Apparently, riding a shopping cart up and down the hall is fun. Anyhow, the children decided it would be a good idea to run the shopping carts into the fire extinguishers at the end of the hall. I'll make this short and sweet, loud noise, lots of toxic fumes. I was furious, but again, I live in a freaking dorm, so I couldn't really complain, especially since it was a University sponsered party, so I just put my trusty earplugs in and went back to sleep. The next morning, I had a bloody nose and a horrible headache. Will the fun never end?

Friday, October 14, 2005

Yet Another Gripe

It is Friday night and there is a massive party tonight in the dorms. So instead of sleeping, I will be listening to very loud rap music and drunk teenagers. Life is good. I sometimes forget why I wanted to move across the world, away from family and friends and then suddenly, something like a dorm party comes up, and I am kindly reminded why I thought this would be a good idea.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Happy Birthday

Happy birthday, Mom. I have stuff for you and dad but I can't figure out how to ship things here. I hope you have a great day!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Twenty-Six and Welfare Bound

I just went to get the paperwork for housing allowance. Yes, I am going to be a recipient of the French welfare. Oh happy day, I finally get public assistance. I have never gotten it before, nor have I ever wanted it, but since everyone in France gets it, why not? I have no idea how much I will get each month, but it will be a partial reimbursement for my rent. Seriously though, the French government SHOULD pay people to live in the hovel I live in. This experience is teaching me to be very humble.

You Can Take the Woman Out of Arkansas but You Can't Take Arkansas Out of the Woman

My roommate, Jessica, and I went to Paris on Sunday. It was a beautiful day; the weather was nice and we had a great time shopping and just looking around. We stumbled onto a wine festival and got a few free samples of some local food. When we finally decided to call it a day, we headed for a metro station. When I am in Paris, I always leave my backpack on my front to keep an eye on it, but this particular station was not too busy, so I put my backpack on my back. Big mistake! Almost as soon as I started walking down the stairs I felt a tug on my bag. I turned around and a little kid, probably around 11 or 12, had my bag unzipped and his hand on my wallet. I caught a would-be mugger! I gave him some American attitude, checked his person to make sure I got everything back and throughout it all, the little creep never acted ashamed or apologetic. I CAUGHT HIM RED HANDED and he acted like it was all in a day’s work for him.

The worst thing about this “incident” is that I went to a party later that night and told a bunch of Europeans about this and most of them told me I was lucky because I caught the guy. Most of them had been mugged in the past! So let this be a lesson to anyone who comes to Paris, never let your eyes off your wallet.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Wrong Profession

I hate teaching. No, not really. I just hate my students. No, that is not even it. I just hate some of the little maggots in a few of my classes. I am almost hoarse from yelling for nearly two hours yesterday and two hours today. I actually had to threaten and then discipline some of the students. I don’t want to discipline people; that is one of the many reasons I don’t have children or teach elementary school (hats off to you, Jen). For the love of money, all of my students are in the University and they can’t seem to behave as well as most 13 year olds. What happens is that 2 or 3 of them start whispering, then the rest start, then before I can blink an eye, it sounds like a sports stadium at half-time. It is deafening and I have to talk over all this noise. Yesterday, my first impulse was to walk out. No, that is a big, fat lie. My first impulse was to throw my books at the ones who kept talking, but seeing how physical violence is usually frowned upon in school settings, I refrained. So it is the end of the week, I am exhausted, my throat hurts and I hate all people under the age of 25.

Just to inform all of those who wish to know, this is my schedule:
11:00 Oral Comprehension
12:00 Lab
1:00 Lab
2:45 Lab
4:00 Lab
Tuesday and Wednesday
No classes, but I spend these days preparing or taking French lessons.
9:00 Lab
10:00 Lab
11:00 Lab
2:00 Lab
3:00 Lab
4:00 Lab
10:30 Lab
11:30 Oral Comprehension
12:45 Lab
1:45 Oral Comprehension

While this may seem like an awesome schedule because I only have to prepare 2 classes a week (I thought it was great at first), it is incredibly boring. Clever things I say at the first of the week somehow don’t seem so clever after the 8th time. Teaching lab, the same lab, 12 times a week is NOT fun. I just wanted to say, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,” for an hour today.

On a positive note, I had a great time last night visiting with my friends Seb 1, Seb 2, Cecil, Joann and Dr. Allen. I think we all had a great night. At least I know I really enjoyed myself.

I think I will call it a day. My suitemate, Jessica, and I are going to Paris tomorrow to do some shopping. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.

A note to all of my European friends: It is SOCCER, not football.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


So my first French class was today. Four glorious hours of feeling really, incredibly, enormously stupid and incompetent. I really do not think I will ever get this language. It makes my head hurt. I really dislike feeling stupid as well. Sometimes I feel like saying, "Can't we all just speak English?" Really, if I was smart, I would learn Spanish or Chinese. But no, I have to learn French. Will I never learn........

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Sunday in Paris

I spend Sunday at the Louvre because it is free on the first Sunday of every month. It was packed with people. The gallaries have paintings everywhere. There are too many pictures on each wall to really appreciate any of them, but I did get to see the Mona Lisa and Venus. I know some people think these two works are overrated, but I was really impressed by both works. Awestruck, I think would be a better term. Of course I had to stand in line forever to see both, but it was worth it.