Someone in the universe really doesn't want me to be having a good time in France - I was just sick with bronchitis (or something like it) barely three weeks ago, and I got sick within my first month here with a cold.
But I'm optimistic - maybe bitterly so - because! I get to go HOME in less than two weeks. I am counting down the days (11) and relishing in an abridged work schedule as we near my departure date. Next week is the "Bac Blanc," or fake baccalaureat exams, at the high school, so about 5 of my 12 hours have been canceled. Plus I think I'm going to indulge and call in sick tomorrow.
Some stuff I've been doing lately includes seeing the movie Le Nom des gens (People's Names) with a fellow assistant on Friday. It was really good to hang out with her and chat about life and relationships. She's also in a long-distance relationship while she's here, but she's engaged to the guy, and they've been dating for seven years! This fact impresses me every time I think of it. Anyway, the movie was a very unconventional love story, and inspired some deep thoughts about the roots we own by embracing our names and the culture behind them. Even though I may not quite know everything about the culture of my name, I am still proud of the background it represents.
Fast-forward from multicultural adventure to being one of maybe two nonwhite ethnicities in a room of 200+ on Saturday, when I went to a farcical band concert with an English teacher from my school and her boyfriend. This was the teacher who hosted me and Michael when I was unceremoniously ushered out of my previous accommodation. I was honestly surprised by how few ethnicities were represented in the audience and band; it reminded me of going to a school play in New Hampshire once, where everyone is white... These sorts of occurrences are odd to me, considering information like this: More Young Americans Identify as Mixed Race. The concert was ok, and it was nice to see a wind ensemble again. The farcical part involved lots of funny little sketches to accompany or precede the pieces, which included Peter and the Wolf, the Nightmare Before Christmas suite, a song called "The Drunken Sailor," etc.
Earlier on Saturday I went to Breakfast in America with my Dutch friend who went back to the Netherlands on Monday. He was studying in Paris with Erasmus and I met him at the hostel I first stayed at when I arrived in September. It's unfortunate that we didn't spend much time together during his relatively short stay in France, but he's only a short bus/train ride away and he invited me to hang out in Amsterdam in the spring! I'm excited to get away from France some more and spend a weekend in one of the most beautiful European cities.
And now, because I realized I fully neglected this: some pictures from Michael's adventure!
|The view from the window of our Montmartre flat.|
|We could also see Sacré-Coeur from our window!! Too bad the window was ghetto...|
|Making snowballs after the snowfall|
|Taken by a nice Spanish (Mexican? I forget) couple, just outside our flat.|
|The bûche de Noël (Yule log) I bought for Christmas dinner at the home of the teacher who invited us to celebrate with them.|
|The very adorable raspberry Yule log made by said teacher's mother.|
|I saw some cats in Montmartre.|
|We went to the Amélie café!|
|Michael's emotions were difficult to discern.|
|New Year's 2011 on the Pont des Arts (bridge near the Louvre with lots of locks attached with lovers' names).|
|Furumaizake (sake festival) at Manekineko de Montmartre, where we had made friends with Nakayasu-san! We visited her at least three times in the two weeks we were in the neighborhood. Good memories!|
|Michael's reverence of the Louvre pyramid.|
|Nope that's not Michael - it's his friend Matt who was in town from England.|