Sapeurs-Pompiers de Genève

By   October 2, 2007

The 118 Project.

Swiss pompiers got fed up with so many people confusing their number (118) with the number for information (18something). They’ve been receiving about 20 calls a day for information instead of for fires. So they recorded a rap song and shot a music video to remind the Swiss that 118 is for fires and emergencies only.

I’ve watched the video way too many times already… Le un un huit !

The good and the bad.

By   September 26, 2007

I received my French driver’s license! David is going to start teaching me how to drive a manual car this weekend. I still need to learn French road signs and all that too. What is up with the weird priorité à droite with little side streets? Why don’t cars on the main road have the priorité?

My website crashed last night because the bandwidth was exceeded. I thought I had unlimited bandwidth, but apparently that means 50 GB a month. I bought more bandwidth, but I don’t know when the site will be back up. I’m losing money because of this (Google Ads…) and I’m not happy!

Plus I have a stuffy nose and my head feels all congested. I do believe I’m getting sick. Blah.

I arrived in France one year ago today. This was the very first picture I took, on the drive between Lyon and Grenoble:

EDIT: Site’s back up and I now have 100 GB of bandwidth each month!

La Poste

By   September 25, 2007

I have a love/hate relationship with the post office in France. On the one hand, their trucks are a cute yellow color and the new cow stamps are so adorable. Seriously, there’s one cow singing “Ne meuuh quitte pas…” and another says “Oh, mais quel joli timbre!” (Ne me quitte pas means don’t leave me; but meuuh is how French cows say moo. A timbre is a stamp, but this word also means the tone quality of your voice when you’re singing. Genius, I tell you!)

But they lost my new carte de séjour this summer. I still don’t have the replacement one after 6 weeks of waiting, so now I’m worrying the second one got lost.

I’m still waiting for my French driver’s license too. I had to buy a trackable envelope (Distingo Suivi) for them to send it back to me when it was done, and I’ve been checking online for nearly two months to see if it’s been sent yet. Now it tells me that, today, September 25, “Le courrier a été déposé dans la boîte à lettres du destinataire.” But wait, there’s nothing in my mailbox today! ::sigh::

I’m hoping they just jumped the gun a little and it’s still at the sorting center in Annecy or maybe it’s sitting in our little local office waiting to be delivered tomorrow…

Not a bad day(s)

By   September 22, 2007

After the relief of being “hired” as an assistant again, I suddenly got a stroke of ambition and started planning out the entire year’s worth of lessons. Since I’m teaching at a different school this year, I can use the same lessons as last year, but I want to improve them a little and add more audio/visual components, like songs and movies.

Then I looked up the vacation dates for Group A and started thinking about all the European countries I still have yet to visit, which is essentially Germany, Scandinavia, and all of Eastern Europe. Follow that with browsing Easyjet’s and Ryanair’s websites to see where they fly to from Geneva and Grenoble and drooling over flights to Prague at the end of October for 15 €. I’m just as excited about teaching as I am about vacations. I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing.

After a sleepless night, I baby-sat/spoke English for 2 hours with the little guys and then headed downtown with Jessica on a free bus. Today was the day of mobilité or something like, so all of the buses and bikes in Annecy were completely free. We met another assistant (from Yorkshire), and then hung out in the playground with Mandy & her family and I finally met Penny & David! They’ve been here since May and I still hadn’t met them; but then again, I hadn’t seen Mandy since last November so I guess I am pretty slow with hanging out with people.

Then it was ice cream in the old town, followed by more geeky online time. All in all, a pretty good start to the weekend.

E-mail from the rectorat of Grenoble

By   September 21, 2007

Nous avons le plaisir de vous proposer un poste en tant qu’assistante de langue anglaise dans l’académie de Grenoble.

That’s right, I got renewed!!!!!! Yay for having an income again!

The only sucky thing is that it’s an hour from here by train. Plus my two schools are not close together, so I can’t walk between them.

But whatever. I’m so excited!!!

Waiting Situations

By   September 20, 2007

Short update on how things never change here: Six weeks and no new carte de séjour or French driver’s license. Big surprise.

Still no news from the rectorat either. I just have to wait until someone in Haute-Savoie quits or doesn’t show up, so that means another few weeks of waiting.

At least my old school still hasn’t heard from the Trinidad girl, but that could be because she hasn’t received her arrêté yet. I tracked down another Trinidad assistant online (Thanks Keisha!) and asked if she knew the assistant assigned to Grenoble. Unfortunately she didn’t, but she said that she just received her arrêté and now has to rush to get a visa and plane ticket.

I’m actually kinda hoping to get renewed after the mandatory 3 day orientation in Grenoble/Autrans/the middle of nowhere which starts on Tuesday. I hated it so much last year, and I really wouldn’t want to go again. The food was amazing, but the run-down hostel with no hot water was a bit annoying. Plus no internet! No way.

La rentrée du cinéma is awesome, btw. I paid 2.50 € to see an American movie in ENGLISH.

Please enter the 21st century, France.

By   September 18, 2007

David did another concours test today so he can find a new job. He had to use the Minitel in order to take it! The Minitel. Which was popular in the 80’s. Apparently the direction du travail has not heard of the actual internet…

Then I saw this dude on the news tonight. He’s Bernard Thibault, the secrétaire général of the CGT (Confédération Générale du Travail). I don’t think he realizes that he stole Tim Robbins haircut from 1979. At least he has the awesomest haircut of any government official!

De la part de Canaille

By   September 17, 2007

Salut ! Je m’appelle Canaille. Et je suis une vraie canaille. J’aime bien casser les vases et grimper sur les rideaux. Je fais pipi sur le lit tout le temps, mais malheureusement, ma mère ferme la porte de la chambre pour que je ne puisse plus entrer. J’adore gémir quand je sens la bouffe, quand je vois quelqu’un qui ne me porte pas attention, quand je m’ennuie… en fait, je gémis sans cesse. Je tente de sauter sur la table pendant les repas, mais je n’y arrive pas (pas encore !)

Je préfère dormir sur les genoux (ou sur les mains) de ma mère ou de mon père quand ils essaient de travailler sur leurs ordis. Je gratte à la porte chaque soir parce que je n’aime pas être tout seul dans le salon. Je me jette sur n’importe quoi… les pieds sous la couette, les petits bouts de papier par terre, les mouches qui sont à l’autre côté de la fenêtre, même les choses que je ne vois pas !

Hier, après avoir cassé un vase, j’ai mordu le fil du casque dont ma mère se sert pour enregistrer les mp3s en français pour son site. Le site sur lequel elle compte pour payer le loyer parce qu’elle n’a pas encore le droit de travailler dans ce pays. Le site sans lequel elle serait fauchée. Mais je m’en fous parce que je suis Canaille !

Mais je suis trop mignon, donc tout est pardonné ! N’est-ce pas ?

Il faut !

By   September 16, 2007

Il faut que je fasse plus d’efforts de parler en français, donc voilà, j’écris en français. Avec l’arrivée de Jessica (qui parle vachement bien français), je me suis rendue compte que j’ai été trop paresseuse cette année. Je parle à peine français, même avec David, et je passe la plupart du temps à penser, à travailler, à lire, et à écrire en anglais. Je suis en France depuis un an et franchement, j’ai honte. J’ai honte d’avoir toujours du mal à parler avec ma famille française et surtout au téléphone avec n’importe qui.

Je voulais étudier en France quand j’étais à l’université, mais je n’avais pas les moyens. C’est vrai que j’ai passé six semaines à Québec dans un programme de français langue étrangère… cependant, je n’ai parlé qu’anglais à ce moment-là. Si seulement j’avais étudié en France, ma vie serait plus facile aujourd’hui. Mais je suppose que je serais même plus pauvre, donc je ne sais pas vraiment.

A part ça, je me sens un peu triste parce qu’une autre américaine a réussi à renouveler son contrat avec le rectorat. J’attends toujours la réponse de celui-ci. En tout cas, je gagne assez d’argent avec mon site/baby-sitting/les cours privés pour payer le loyer. Il n’est pas possible de faire des économies, mais c’est mieux que rien.

Je viens de recevoir un mail qui m’a remonté le moral. La femme dont le mari travaille pour l’I.A. m’a dit que je devrais être en tête (ou à peu près) de liste. Il y a peu de chance que je travaille au même lycée, mais on ne sait jamais. On n’a pas encore de nouvelles du deuxième assistant qui vient de Trinité et Tobago…

Maybe, just maybe…

By   September 13, 2007

Jessica and I went to Baudelaire today so she could meet some of the English teachers and find her way around the school. I hadn’t been back there since April 30, my last day of work, so it was really good to see the teachers again. I saw a lot of my old students, most of whom recognized me and said hello. My 3ème students from last year were always the nicest. I really hoped I could have them in 2nd this year.

Luckily, I was able to talk to the woman whose husband works for the Inspection Académique of Haute-Savoie, and she said that I was not on the list of renewing assistants that he had. So I have no idea why the rectorat knows I want to renew, but not the I.A. Maybe they lost my renewal form, or my name was left off the list by accident, who knows. In any case, she’s going to talk to her husband tonight and see what they can do. My responsable talked to some of the people in charge too and told them to help me out since I was already here and really eager to work again.

It definitely was nice to be back there and have so many people remember me. Especially since they all want me to be renewed too!

Also, mom sent me a letter from Oakland saying that I officially have my Master’s degree. I have no idea when I’ll actually receive the diploma, but I guess I am really done with grad school!