October Eleventh

Posted on Thursday, October 11, 2012

There's something about Paris in the rain.  Though it's been raining so frequently lately that I'm surprised I can't pinpoint that "something" more precisely...

Full moon at Notre Dame
Still impressive, even on the gloomiest of days.

The weather's getting colder and more miserable; the infamous Parisian winter grayness is setting in and I'm not too pleased.  When I left for work this morning at 7:45, the street was still half-dark and sleepy (but not as sleepy as I was).  Things continue to go well, despite the dampening weather and the whisper of winter misery in the air.  Though it's been harder and harder to wake up in the morning, with the pitch black that greets me at my alarm's insistence, my days at the schools promise to be rewarding and worthwhile.  The children are cute, and to see the earnest enthusiasm with which some of them make efforts in English is motivation enough to get out of bed and start my days.
The questions I've been asked, too, confirm that I'll enjoy my time as assistant.  I've encountered everything from the disconcertingly vague "What do you not like?" to the completely random "Have you met the Queen of England?".  Each time, I'm struck by how little these kids in the North of Paris have really learned about the Anglophone world - the idea that they genuinely believe that I, a 22 year-old American girl, might've really and truly met Kim Kardashian in the street is evidence that their notions of everyday American life are jumbled to say the least.  But it's these little things that make me smile, and remind me that I'm here both as a language resource AND a cultural resource.  I hope that by the time I'm finished with them at the end of April, they'll understand that you don't meet celebrities at every street corner of New York, and that no, most people have not shaken President Obama's hand.

This photo is poor quality because I zoomed in.  But, still.
With the weather being as awful as it has been, it's been a bit more challenging to make the most of my Vélib bike pass.  There's nothing less pleasant than getting stuck in a Parisian misty rainstorm on a clunky bike, while trying not to get killed by a bus or scooter or an especially stout pedestrian.  The other night, on my way to a friend's apartment, I first failed to find an available bike, and then got caught out in the rain on my way.  I was in the middle of uttering a long stream of French and English curse words under my breath when I rounded a corner and beheld the Eiffel Tower, sparkling as it does on every hour.  It was a well-timed reminder that most of my complaints these days are trivial, and when I frame them more appropriately in the grand scheme of my life they fall away, completely insignificant.
I continue to be appalled at the price of Paris.  Sure, baguettes and wine are cheap, but there's only so many pounds a person can gain in Paris before one must realize this is not a vacation and is, in fact, real life.  (If anyone's got a good lentil recipe, please do let me know.  Lentils are so cheap, I plan to subsist mainly on them for the foreseeable future.)  I'm hoping to find some other work somehow to support myself, as my salary just about covers my rent with very little left over at the end of the month.

Almond croissant on a sunny day at the Tuileries.
This weekend a few friends and I are heading to the Stade de France to see a rugby match.   With my father's encouragement, we'll be seeing Munster vs. Racing Métro 92... and yes, that is the true-life name of a French team.  I couldn't even make that up if I tried.  It'll take me a few more viewings of "RUGBY 101" on YouTube before I feel properly ready, but even if most of the action is lost on my non-sporty mind, I can still appreciate an event with lots of shouting and camaraderie.  I'm really looking forward to it, as I've never been to the Stade de France.  It should be memorable.

Wide open spaces in the Loire Valley.
The sun's just come out now, so I'll leave this post a bit shorter than originally planned in favor of moving and getting outside.  Look forward to my reactions on my second ever rugby game... If I make it out alive - rugby fans are notoriously spirited!  Here's to hoping I'll be back soon.

1 Comment


Verity Seamer said...

loving the blog! the bit about living on baguette made me laugh - need to go jogging pronto to lose all the weight I have put on! as for the lentil recipe I got this one off my previous parisian family's mum: lentils, lardons, tomatoes, peas and sweetcorn if you like them, and herbs. you can pretty much add anything to this but like with all lentils cook them for an hour before hand then fry up with the tomatoes and lardons and add other yummy stuff until hot and then hey presto! yumminess! see you soon hopefully! :) http://shoebox-in-paris.blogspot.fr/ is my blog