I’m sure you have heard the news about the shooting in Toulouse, France. Naturally, everyone here was talking about this tragedy in the past few days, and yesterday at 11am all the schools were asked to observe a moment of silence in honor of the victims. I happen to have a class from 10:15-11:10 on Tuesdays, so I participated. This group of students isn’t my worst, but there is always an incessant buzz of chatter going on, no matter how many times I ask them to stop talking. I was worried they would completely ignore the moment of silence, but sure enough, the bell rang at 10:59, signaling that it was time to begin, and it was quiet. Nobody spoke for 3 or 4 minutes and everyone was serious. I was proud of them and at the same time a little bit ashamed that I expected misbehavior from them. It made me respect them much more!
I have less than a month left of teaching! The year has gone by quickly, and I have frantically begun to search for another part-time job to finance the rest of my stay here as well as my flight home this summer. I will update on here as I find new things but for now my life is only planned through June 30.
I have immensely enjoyed my experience here. I have accomplished almost all of my goals; the major one being learning French. I in no way consider myself fluent, but I would describe my level as maybe conversational. Lately I have been quite surprised and pleased with my brain, as I will be talking in French and say a phrase or word that I have never used before. I used to learn a word and then use it consciously, but now things just pop out, and then I look them up and realize I said what I meant to say! This is so satisfying I can’t even begin to describe it. However, it’s still hard and there are plenty of times when I don’t understand things or can’t say what I mean. The other day I was frustrated when I ordered a curry chicken sandwich. My pronunciation of the word “curry” tipped off the dude who worked at the boulangerie that I wasn’t French and he switched back to English – the first time this has happened in months! So annoying, especially because I don’t think curry is even a French word. Grr. My initial thought was to boycott the place but it’s too delicious/conveniently located so I just resolved to say curry like a French person would (only while I am here though!).
I have begun to REALLY enjoy my au pair job, so much so that I actually look forward to going to “work.” It really just feels like hanging out. We have a lot of fun together and have bonded so much. I get to act like a kid and play, and it’s très amusant! A recent triumph was teaching Edgar how to say “this” correctly. The “th” sound has given him trouble the entire time I have been working with him, and today and yesterday he finally was able to do it! I was so proud of him! I also realized how lucky he is to have someone like me to say “put your tongue between your teeth and blow air through, now say ‘ih’ and pull your tongue back and say ‘ssss.’” This is the sort of thing I learned in my Diction for Singers class in COLLEGE, and he is 9 and getting a personal lesson on how to create English sounds.