August 23, 2010

Last blog from the Hexagon !

Filed under: Uncategorized — irenejk @ 3:03 am

Oh mannnn. I drove to the post office this morning to send off some boxes (considering I already have three huge bags I’m checking. Two of which are overweight…),and I realized I love driving around my little French neighborhood. Hearing the constant grumble of the cobblestone roads, knowing where to turn on the windy streets to get to where I need to go, seeing the train pass atop the 17th century aqueduct.  I’ve had a good year, and I’m sad to say goodbye to my French family and good friends, but at the same time I’m looking forward to going home.

Here’s one experience that got me to that point of acceptance.  Yesterday I drove the 9-hr car trip back to Paris.  I LOVE driving in the car for long periods of time.  It’s relaxing, I get to sing to myself, listen to downloaded talk radio, hear full albums uninterrupted, make phone calls.  It’s a DELIGHT.  But let me tell you about the French rest stops that significantly decreased my enjoyment.  First of all… you can never get off the freeway and choose between a couple different gas stations.  It’s just a turn off, you’re obligated to get right back on the freeway the same way you came, and there is ONE choice of gas for each little detour.  I hated that! I felt so trapped !! let me get on and get back off the f-ing freeway !! This actually probably would have saved me time, except every single gas station / restroom I went to was PACKED.  People were EVERYWHERE.  Lines were long for ANY food.  And the food on the road isn’t even good.  Cafeterias and vending machines.  (Not to mention, A GRIP. I paid 2.95 euros for like 15 ounces of Diet Coke.)  And I may talk about this too much, but I canNOT handle the public restrooms in this country.

WHYYYYY ARE THERE NEVER TOILET SEAT COVERS???? WHYYYY??? AND WHY ARE THERE NEVER HOOKS TO HANG YOUR BAG??? AND WHY DOES IT SMELL LIKE 10-YEAR-OLD CAT PEE IN EVERY SINGLE STALL?? HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE???  These are NOT exaggerations.  I was seriously scowling and muttering and complaining, talking to myself like a crazy person because I was shocked and so grossed out.  And sure you can find gross toilets in America, but honestly, for the most part, in good establishments, our toilets are AMAZING.  Something to write home about. I would do that. I probably have.  I mean, in lots nowadays you don’t have to touch ANYTHING.  Everything comes out with the sway of a hand.  Here in this place you have to sit on the rims of bald bowls and balance your bag on the door handle praying it won’t fall off or accidentally open the door while you’re peeing (yes I learned that one from experience).  I mean, we not only have toilet SEATS in the land of the free, we have TOILET SEAT COVERS. Ones that come out electronically !  That just blew my mind.

So, America. I welcome you and your toilets back into my life with open arms. Can’t wait to get that first toilet.


August 21, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — irenejk @ 1:53 am

Saturday: LAST DAY WITH THE FAMILY. (!!!!!)

Sunday: Drive to Paris. (at least 9 hours)

Monday: Fly to Tampa. (arrive at 9:30 pm)


Thursday: Must arrive in aforementioned State.

Friday: Start “Training” for teaching.

Monday: Start school. (SCHOOL??!!!)

Packing and unpacking = bane of my existence right now. Especially because I am supposed to pack up 2 years of my life into airline allowable bags.

August 6, 2010

The worst tragedy of them all.

Filed under: Uncategorized — irenejk @ 10:38 am

Yeah I’m leaving soon. And I’m sad about it. No more macaroons from Ladurée! No more cheeeese.  No more Seine. No more Eiffel, Dame or Sacre Coeur.  All of these things are reasons to be sad.  But the worst thing I realized, is that I am leaving right when finally figured out how to be FUNNY IN FRENCH.

GUYS, THIS TOOK ME THREE AND A HALF YEARS.  This was a serious concern for me during my mission.  I felt so cheated – I can usually find something humorous to say in English… why don’t my attempts work in this country?  I tried sarcasm, I tried… well I guess sarcasm was all I knew.  No dice.  And now, I finally found the golden ticket to funny.

FRANGLAIS.  ..or Frenglish. Whatever you want to call it.

Not kidding. Franglais makes ’em all laugh.  Even teens and tweens.

It’s somewhat a problem because I no longer speak English nor French.  My phrases are half and half.  Moite-moite.  It’s just a serious dommage because all of my work to parfaire my funny skills are going to go down the chiottes. The beauty of Frenglish is that is doesn’t even have to be funny to make people laugh.  The other day in front of my EFY kids I said, “I am vide.”  And they were pétés de rire. Seriously, pliés en deux.

And there are just some things that can’t be translated either way.  I mean, the French don’t have a word for “awkward”.  AWKWARD. One of the greatest, most specific, least-eligible-for-synonym words.  They do have some good ones though … like the verb se régalerJe me régale is used when you’re really enjoying a delicious meal and you pig out, but gracefully.  I also love the idea/word for the goûter.  4 PM = goûter = snack time.  Except it is THE only snack time of the day.  You évite to grignoter between the repas and THIS is why the Français are not gros. Meals are eaten at specific times of the day, point final.  There are lots more French-icities but I need some time to think about them.

Among many other things, I will also miss the omnipresence of Perrier and the ability to order a salad with goat cheese toasties in any French café.

17 more days.

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