Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Clothes Shopping in France...not fun here either.

I had several hours between classes today so I decided to go on an adventure to the outskirts of town. I'd been told that's where one goes to find the best deals on just about everything. So I set off on bus number 5 and braced myself against the gusty wind to find some bargains.

I've been in need for a new pair of skinny jeans, and am not sure what my pant size is here in France. In the U.S., I'm about an 6/8/10 short and that's always different in every store. I wandered into a Euro trash boutique outlet thingy where most of the items were mutilated with rips, bedazzled, or uglified with fake fur. I did find some jeans that looked alright and the price was definitely right (10-20 euros) so I snagged a 38, 40, and 42 and stepped into the cramped dressing room.

I couldn't get the 38 over my thighs. I couldn't button the 40. I couldn't get over how much my stomach bulged over the top of the 42. Maybe it was just that one style?
Nope. I tried on four more different styles and the only change I saw was that the 42s were about a foot too long. Apparently the pants in this store were made for tall skinny girls. and all the pants in the next store, and the next. I was starting to feel like I was shopping in abercrombie and fitch everywhere I went...where else am I the largest size in the store? I'm not a waif, and heck I'm not even skinny, but sheeesh, I'm average sized. When I tried on a dress labeled large and could barely fit it over my chest, I knew I was done for the day.

Better luck next time....after I lose about twenty pounds. yeah right.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What I've Been Up To

After lots of shifting and emailing etc, I finally have a schedule for my twelve hour a week teaching stint. I have met all of the English teachers I'll be working with (there are 7 of them, three at one school, four at the other) and I have sat in on and introduced myself to all of the classes. So far, French middle schoolers are much like American ones; rambunctious and curious. But at least I don't sense any really bad attitudes, and most seem pleased by my presence....though I sense it's partly because it disrupts their regularly scheduled programs. I work mostly with 13-15 yr olds, so the older end of the spectrum, but they are the ones that benefit the most at this point seeing as how they have exams before they head to high school. The teachers also have been kind enough to not use me as a baby sitter to the bad kids (as I've heard some other assistants have been used). I have no complaints. My schools are in easy walking distance, the teachers are genuinely friendly and helpful, and I think the students and I will get along just fine. So far I've stood in front of the classrooms and allowed them to fire questions at me - mostly the basics, but a few "what's your phone number". I have to chuckle. This coming week, I'll be taking a few groups aside at a time, getting them to talk, telling them more about me and the U.S. and increasing their comfort level with me. The goal is, if they are too intimidated to talk in class, hopefully they will open up and practice English with me. Otherwise, I've been hanging out with friends from the program, and working on meeting some more French people our own age.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Weekend In Bezi - the re-cap

Wasn't the greatest weekend ever....but there are plenty more weekends ahead of me.

I also learned a little bit more about the city from several of its citizens. Apparently a few years ago the middle class fled the city and lots of the money for the area was invested in Montpellier, leaving some of the other cities in the area with less. With increased immigration and racial tensions, and the economy,...a lot of people left the city for the outskirts/other cities. Now, Bezi is smaller, dirtier, and poorer than its larger sister Montpellier. But...it's also much cheaper...so if living here means more money for travels, then it's a fair-ish trade.

On thursday I went to a classicaal music concert in the centuries old Cathedrale in Bezi! It was a really cool setting, but I was the youngest person there by oh...30 years.

On friday night, we went to a german film hosted by Bezi's cinema club...it was, well, a spirit crusher. After we went out and discovered Bezi's non existent night life.

Sat. we went out to our favorite watering hole, only to discover that the bars in the city are taken over by 17-18 yr old high schoolers on saturday nights. ....