Thursday, December 13, 2007

It Warms My Heart

I don't write much about teaching in the Paris suburbs often on my blog even though that's the primary reason why I'm in France in the first place. I guess most of the time there isn't really much to blog about in terms of teaching despite the fact that both of my schools are considered ZEP (zones d'éducation prioritaires) schools which means that the schools are essentially in poorer neighborhoods, the students come from immigrant backgrounds and they have low academic achievements. Teaching hasn't been a walk in the park for me but overall it has been a pleasurable experience for me and I think about my students even when I'm not in classroom with them and I get sad when I realize that I won't be able to see a specific class for one reason or another.

Today in one of my classes we did a worksheet to determine who has been naughty and who has been nice since it's the holiday season. After answering a series of questions we computed the values for each student and I picked the two students that ranked highest on the kind-o-meter to give them a prize. I almost had a riot situation on my hands when the other students realized that only two of them would be getting treats but a crisis was adverted. From the bag of treats both students picked a pack of Orbit gum (I figured since I will be heading back home soon I could spare a pack or two that was included in my care package that almost never came). I insisted that the kids not open the gum while they were in school as I did not want them to get in trouble for chewing gum while in class but Alexandre refused to listen to me (or maybe he just didn't hear me or understand my English). Before I could reprimand him I noticed that he was actually sharing his pack of gum with his classmates. So instead of reprimanding him I acknowledged his generosity in front of the entire class.

And while they may not speak perfect English and while they may be labeled "difficult kids" I walked out of my classroom today smiling brightly on the inside and out.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Hot Off the Presses

Big Mama aka the Maternal Unit(henceforth referred to as MU) is coming to Paris and she's staying for three full weeks!! Just to clarify that the MU is neither big nor do I call her mama but that's besides the point. She's coming at the end of April during my spring vacation and will stay for three weeks. Did I mention that she will be in Paris for three weeks?

Count 'em with me ya'll:
One (Un)
Two (Deux)
Three (Trois)

Anyway, we should have a good time but I'm afraid that I'll run out of things to do with her after a couple of days. Oh, and did I mention that her trip coincides with my spring vacation so I won't be working either!

Let's do the math:

MU+ 3 weeks+ No Work = ???

*Disclaimer: MU reads my blog and we both discussed the length of her visit and I'm ok with it really I am. I swear!

Are You Alvaro?

Let me start off by saying that I tweaked my blog layout the other day and I'm pretty sure that I hate it and it makes me want to puke. That being said I'm feeling a little too lazy to revert it back to it's old format and am hoping that the new layout will miraculously grow on me.

Moving right along, I went to Madrid this past weekend and the cold rainy weather from Paris followed us to Madrid which didn't help the little cold I caught sometime last week. On Friday morning we attempted to go to the Prado however we were confronted with a line that was at least a mile long if not two. I knew the Prado was a popular museum but I had never seen so many people lined up to enter a museum before. Turns out that last Thursday was Constitution Day and Saturday was the Feast of the Immaculate Conception which means that Spaniards turned out in droves celebrate. First at the Prado on Friday morning and then at Plaza Mayor on Saturday morning, afternoon and evening. Then everyone in Madrid decided to hit up the El Rastro market on Sunday morning. If you don't believe me check out the pics below:

Performer Entertaining People In Line at the Prado

Crowd at Plaza Mayor

Crowd at El Rastro

I Didn't Know That Chestnuts Grew on Trees (Maybe I should rename my blog "The Dumb Citygirl" that's catchy)

All in all, I had a great time in Madrid and I took plenty of pictures however, while there I longed to be back in Paris. I missed all of the cafes and boulangeries that Paris has to offer.

Monday, December 10, 2007


While walking through the Marais several weeks ago I came across this cool window display:

No my friends, you're not looking at the latest designs in footwear, you're looking at chocolate shoes. The boot pictured above will set you back approximately 270 euros about the same price as a pair made from actual leather.

You've Been in Paris too Long When...

You get utterly excited when you find out that the Paris metro will be open for one additional hour on Friday nights. Meaning that the last metro will be at 2:15AM instead of 1:15AM.

Oh did I mention that I'm a New Yorker that is used to a 24 hour public transportation system?