Log in

The Great French Study Abroad Adventure [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ archive | journal archive ]

Moving [Nov. 23rd, 2007|06:21 pm]
[mood |accomplishedaccomplished]

Okay. In the interest of consolidation, I have moved my blogging to my .Mac website. You will also find all of my pictures and the occasional podcast there as well. Follow the following web address:


That's all!
linkpost comment

Teaching and Other Happenings [Oct. 16th, 2007|05:54 pm]
[mood |okayokay]

Alright, I suppose I should give a real update.
I started teaching on the 1st of October, well technically I started teaching on the 4th of October, but I started lesson planning and being at my schools on the 1st. I teach at two elementary schools: Les Salines and Edmund Bocquier. My Mondays and Tuesdays are at E. Bocquier and my Thursdays and Fridays are at Les Salines. I get Wednesdays off, as well as the weekends, and I spend no more than 12 hours of in-class time. In fact, I spend exactly 12 hours of in-class time. I like my kids, they're all generally cute little Frenchies who're excited to be learning English. They all call me Andrew with their funny little accents, which hopefully they won't have for the basic stuff after I'm done. Since they're little, getting the accent right is much easier for them. That's pretty much why I plan to have my kids go to a French school, so that they'll be raised bi-lingual. At any rate, I teach different grades at different schools, but they are basically the equivalent of 2nd through 5th grade for all the kids I teach. Today I started my Halloween lesson, teaching them all the vocab for that. Once my package from home gets here, I plan to give them all some peanut butter cups I bought for them before I left. It should be fun, because they really don't use peanut butter in candy here. Aside from that, I'm not really what else to say. It's challenging and stressful right now because I'm not a trained teacher, but I already feel a bit more comfortable in front of the class than I did a few weeks ago.
Aside from teaching, I'm really pretty lonely. I don't have a tv at home, so I feel totally disconnected from the outside world. When I do use my computer at the schools, which is where I have internet accesss, I actually feel like I am in contact with everyone I know. There are no other assistants in Saint-Gilles, so I don't have anyone else to hang out with or share the experience with on a daily basis. It's hard to meet people because there isn't really any place for me to do so. Going to bars by myself , aside from being awkward, would feel creepy as well. I wouldn't do it in the States, so why would I do it here? There are two assistants in a town 30 minutes away on the train line and they came to Saint-Gilles last weekend to explore the nightlife here. It was somewhat interesting because it was the rugby world semi-finals and France was playing against Britain, so everyone was out at bars watching the game. The French normally don't give a crap about rugby, but since they are hosting the world cup, everyone seems to care. Or at least they did before they lost on Saturday. At any rate, it was fun to have people here and to share Saint-Gilles, but it still sucks that they live so far away. We can only use bus or train to see one another and that means we have to follow their hours. There are other assistants in my region (Vendee), but I'd have to take a bus to see them too...and buses make me motion sick. My train only runs to Nantes, and through the couple of towns on the way, which really sucks.
A humorous story when I went for my medical exam for my carte de sejour (which is the equivalent of a green card). On my official medical papers they had me listed as a woman because the name Nolen resembles a woman's name in French: Noelene. Yeah, I definately pointed that one out to the doctor and she just crossed it off...which I thought rather odd, but okay. As long as it doesn't stop me from getting my carte de sejour.
Aside from that, my autumn vacation starts on the 27th and lasts until the 7th, so I'll get a break from teaching before I go back for six more weeks until Christmas break. I've been talking with the assistants that visited me about renting a car and touring our region and the neighboring ones over break. It could be fun, but I'll probably want to do something else as well. If my friend Alex doesn't come to visit me, then I'll probably go see her in Paris.
Well, I don't know when I am going to update next. Life is pretty calm with no friends and being a teacher. I have been steadily renting and reading some French classics from the library here as well. Right now I'm on the first book, or collection of stories, of Proust's huge series "A la recherche du temps perdu." (I think that translates to "In search of lost time." At any rate, it keeps me occupied.

A la prochaine! (Til next time!)

link2 comments|post comment

The French Version of Shock and Awe [Oct. 4th, 2007|05:46 pm]
[mood |amusedamused]

I find it appropriate to start my first entry in my famous and fabulous livejournal now known as "Ma Vie en France, Part Deux," with some humorous happenings since my arrival. Accompanied, of course, with my sarcastic and satirical commentary.
During my first weekend in Saint-Gilles, I decided to go for two extended prmenades along the beautiful Atlantic coast. On my first day out, I was walking along the pleasant path by the river La Vie (yes, for those of you zho do not speak French, I live by the river of Life, which runs through the pleasant little town of Saint-Gilles Croix de Vie), coming back from a relaxing couple of hours at the beach, when I happen upon what can only be described as an open air urinal. Whiule it was blocked off so that I could, mercifully, only see the back of the elderly gentleman who was using said urinal, I was still rather shocked by the fact that the builders hadn't found it in the least necessary to put up a fourth wall to the building, thereby blocking off the passersby from any urinating gentlemen.
Honestly, I was only mildly suprised by the openair urinal because the French are hardly as prudish as we Americans. As a case in point of my prudish, Puritan, mid-western American morality, I was further shocked later that weekend when, again returning from a seaside stroll I happened to glance down at a group of sunbathers on the beach and noticed that one middleaged lady had decided a top would needlessly create some unpleasant tan lines. Now don't get me wrong, it isn't that I have anything against breasts in general, nor her breasts in particular, so much as I simply hadn't expected and completely forgot that in Europe, a bikini top is far more optional than in the good 'ole U S of A. Again, I really should not have been suprised and yet, I was.
As if to drive home the fact that, indeed, I am here alone in a much more bohemian country, I was treated to one last shock the following weekend. For this final round, I was pleasantly minding my own business in my bathroom, completely unsuspecting, when I hear what I took for a sawing sound at first, coming from either the apartment above or below my own. this would not be out of the ordinary since we have had some construction of late, but it was close to 11pm. Irregular, but not matter for concern. I was slowly disabused of my innocent notion when, roughly three to four minutes after I heard the sawwing noise begin, I happened to hear some climactic cries of passion followed quickly by a cessation of the sawwing noise. A noise which was clearly caused by the movement of a rocking bed against a wall or floor. I certainly hope that those passionate Français got more out of it tahn I did, considering that I was left with only pure astonishment at what I had witnessed.
In the end, I probably should not have even given these occurences a second thought, but taken toghter they have served as, what I have dubbed, the French version of shock and awe. I must say, thank you, French citizens, for reminding Dorothy that she ain't in Kansas no more.

link1 comment|post comment

Ma Vie en France, Part Deux [Sep. 16th, 2007|08:48 pm]
[mood |crazycrazy]

I am leaving for France Tuesday, the 18th and will arrive there in the morning of the 19th. I'm going to spend one day and night w/ my chere amie Alex and then I'm off to Saint-Gilles Croix de Vie, where I'll be teaching.

My contact in France has been a huge help and I already have an apartment. Hopefully, I'll be able to get my shit together quickly and establish tv, internet, phone and life in general. It's going to be interesting, trying, and a completely novel experience.

Nous verrons.

link1 comment|post comment

Teaching in France [Jul. 9th, 2007|12:44 am]
[mood |cheerfulcheerful]

I shall be teaching in France come October! Even better, I got posted in the Nantes region, so I'll be heading back home :-D!!! At any rate, I'll be teaching in one or more primary schools and I'm really excited about it! I have as yet to decide whether or not I'm going to keep this as my official blog my adventures abroad, but it's rather likely :-D. Just thought I'd let you all know!

link3 comments|post comment

Continuity [Apr. 4th, 2007|12:27 am]
Okay, so I'm basically just updating to make sure this thing doesn't get deleted or something. In short, my life is ridiculous right now. All of my "well laid plans" have been crushed and destroyed by the whims of fate. We'll see what I'm going to end up doing now...oh joy.
linkpost comment

You won't fool the children of the revolution...short update that has nothing to do with this title [Jul. 17th, 2006|10:48 pm]
[mood |annoyedannoyed]
[music |"Complainte de la Butte" by Rufus Wainwright on the Moulin R]

Okay kids, so I'm really sick of doing Pashto homework (which I spent ALL DAY doing) meaning I don't know how I'm going to do it on the days I have to work, but I guess I'll see how that works out tomorrow. Yeah, so here is a really quick update: I'm working at the B&N and taking a summer class in Pashto (an Afghan language). It's an intensive 4 hours a day for 4 days a week for 8 weeks program, that's right it all multiplies out to 152 hours spent in class and I have crazy lots of homework too. Let me tell you, I'm about sick of this class and I can't wait until it's over...even though it is really interesting and I think I would find the language highly enjoyable in the regular paced setting. I just can't deal with all the vocab he is throwing at me, and expecting me to understand news reports on the BBC and stuff like that...seriously, I don't care how intensive the course is, even if it were total immersion, after 4 weeks and having known nothing you still aren't going to be comprenhending the majority of what is said to you. Yarg, well I sure can't wait for the final, which I'll probably bomb as bad as I did the mid-term (since I'm the ONLY one in the class I'm not even sure if he is going to stick w/ regular grading). By the way, I paid $1000 bucks for this so I am getting an A or somebody is getting hurt because my GPA is not taking a death blow because of this class that I took to improve my prospects for law school and work. Yeah, I thought about it and I think it would be nice to go do some rule of law work or something like that in Afghanistan after law school and a clerkship (which I want to do after law school). Of course by then I'll be wanting to start a family, but who knows, maybe I won't have been afforded the opportunity.
Wow, so this post is getting out of control and Di yelled at me and my 'unwieldly paragraphs'. Ummm...outside of that, I've gotten some reading done. "His Dark Materials" trilogy by Philip Pullman is AMAZING! I read it in preparation for reading Di's thesis. I had also read "Changing Planes" by Ursula K. LeGuin and I'm finishing up "The Seven Daughters of Eve: The Science That Reveals Our Genetic Ancestry" by Bryan Sykes, which is quite interesting. Of course LeGuin is now my favorite author alongside George RR Martin, but I think I've already mentioned that.
Work is work is work. I do like working at the bookstore though...I think I would be alot more relaxed over the summer if I were only working. But then again my 161 on the L-SAT would be hanging over my head, whereas I think my Pashto class is going to help law schools see past it, particularly the ones that I'm applying to because they all have a sort of international/theoretical approach that I'm looking at rather than practical law. You know me kids, always the philosopher. I'm much better at planning than executing, though I like to think I'm not too shabby at the execution part either.
Well, with that, I'd better get back to work on the thesis. I have to turn in finalized chapter two by the end of this week. Quelle joi!
22 days until la reunion avec mes filles de Nantes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

With much affection and a little sarcasm,
linkpost comment

Quickie [Jun. 2nd, 2006|02:59 am]
[mood |optimisticoptimistic]
[music |Ecrit l'histoire by Gregory Lemarchal]

Okay, I haven't updated in nearly half a year...I'm sorry. I can't promise that I'll be updating regularly now, because I probably won't. Just wanted to give a quick update of my life.
As of today, I am President of Phi Alpha Theta History Honorary, Social Chair of Mortar Board Senior Class Honorary, Humanities Senator of Undergraduate Student Government Senate and Vice-Chairman of the Academic Affairs Committee, and DJ co-host of a French specialty show on the Underground (OSU's only student run radio station). Yeah, I'm crazy involved, I know :-D...of course that doesn't mention my participation in DSAG and my hopeful return to Amnesty Int'l next year, as well as my part-time/seasonal job at Barnes&Noble and a possible job in the Office of Legal Affairs Autumn Quarter. Go ahead, say it, Drew, you're fucking crazy! :-D!
Anywho, I'm really happy that I'm doing all these things...they are from my own volition. There is also a huge plus...I'M DONE WITH THESIS...ALMOST. Yeah, so I've defended it, successfully. Now I just have to make the recommended revisions, and then turn it into the library to be published. Can we say: SWEET LIVING! I can't believe that I've actually done it. Only two months ago I was about half way through writing, and now I'm done. Amazing! Well kids, it's late and I've got stuff to do, but I just wanted to establish what has been happening in my life.
In relation to Nantes, I'll be reuniting with mes filles in Chicago this August!!!! Seriously, that's so awesome and I'm so happy/lucky to have managed to keep them all in my life, and they're all eager to get together and see each other and just be awesome together, like we always were. Il sera magnifique!
A la prochaine,
link2 comments|post comment

Cause I'm a 90's kid! [Jan. 24th, 2006|02:42 pm]
[mood |gigglygiggly]
[music |"Since you been gone" Kelly Clarkson]

Haha, I read this and I knew I had to post it! Enjoy all you 90's kids!

You know you're a 90's kid if:

You've ever ended a sentence with the word "PSYCHE!"

You can sing the rap to "The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air"

You've worn skorts and felt stylish

You yearned to be part of the Baby-Sitters club

You use to love playing with your MY Little Pet Shop

You know that "WOAH" comes from Joey from "Blossom" and that "How Rude!" comes from Stephanie from "Full House"

You remember when it was actually worth getting up early
on a Saturday to watch cartoons.

You wore a ponytail on the side of your head and had fluffed bangs

You got super excited when it was Oregon Trail day in computer class at school.

You wanted to change your name to "JEM" in kindergarten

You remember reading "Goosebumps"

You know the profound meaning of "Wax on, wax off"

You have pondered why Smurfette was the only female smurf.

You took plastic cartoon lunch boxes to school.

You remember the craze then the banning of slap bracelets and slam books.

You still get the urge to say "NOT" after (almost) every sentence...Not...

You knew that Kimberly, the pink ranger, and Tommy, the green Ranger were meant to be together.

You remember "I've fallen and I can't get up"

You remember going to the skating rink before there were inline skates

You ever got injured on a Slip 'n' Slide

You wore socks over leggings scrunched down

You can actually sing this clap game.
" Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack, all dressed in black, black, black, with silver buttons, buttons, buttons, all down her back, back, back" SHE ASKED HER MOTHER MOTHER MOTHER FOR FIFTY CENTS CENTS CENTS TO SEE THE ELEPHANTS ELEPHANTS ELEPHANTS JUMP OVER THE FENCE THE FENCE THE FENCE"
he jumped so high high high he touched the sky sky sky and he didnt come back back back til the forth of july ly ly he jumped so low ow ow he stumbed he's toe oe oe and thats the end end end of the elephants show ow ow

You remember boom boxes vs. cd players

You knew what it meant to say "Care Bear Stare"

You remember Alf, the little brown alien from Melmac and Vicki the Robot from "MY Little Wonder"

You remember New Kids on The Block when they were cool

You knew all the characters names and their life stories on "Saved By The Bell"

You played and or collected "Pogs"

You used to pretend to be a MIGHTY MORPHIN Power Ranger and you owned a Skip It

You had at least one GigaPet or Nano and brought it everywhere

You watched the original Care Bears, My Little Pony, and Ninja Turtles

All your school supplies were "Lisa Frank" brand.(pencils.notebooks.binders.etc.)

Yikes pencils and erasers were the shit.

You remember when the new Beanie Babies were always sold out.

You used to wear those stick on earings, not only on your ears, but at the corners of your eyes.

You remember a time before the WB.

You've gotten creeped out by "Are You Afraid of the Dark?"

You thought it would be so cool to be Alex Mack.

You know the Macarena by heart.. LOL

" Talk to the hand" ... enough said

You thought Brain woud finally take over the world

You always said, "Then why don't you marry it!"

Repost this if you were a 90's kid and can relate to any of these.
linkpost comment

Year to Date [Jan. 12th, 2006|02:17 pm]
[mood |cheerfulcheerful]

Well folks...a year ago today I arrived in France for the first time, travelled to Nantes for the first time, meeting some friends that I will have for the rest of my life, arriving at IES, meeting my host mother, and finally seeing my apartment/room there for the very first time. I can't believe that it has truly been a year since that fantastic adventure...Nantes me manque encore...toujours. I'm so glad I have all my wonderful friends to remind me of that time...je vous adore mes filles de Nantes(Di, Alex, Paigie, Kris) et Joanna.
Quick update of where I'm at now: Chicago, AWESOME; New Years, decent; first two weeks, work finally done and now I can get to work on my thesis!!!! Sorry, I'm still busy, so I guess don't expect lots of updates...
link1 comment|post comment

[ viewing | most recent entries ]
[ go | earlier ]