Tag Archives: crazy

Today was probably one of the easiest days that I will have for a while. This morning we had a very nice 9/11 remembrance event with the whole corps. After that, we all had training for our individual Rep Roles (Roles that we fill for the NCCC side of things, not part of our FEMA roles). My role is Project Outreach Liason. This means that another team member and I are responsible for various tasks including running a community day while on one of our assignments. We look at the needs of the community, what non-profits are there, and work with them to provide an event (cleaning up a park, working with kids, habitat for humanity, working in animal shelters, etc etc etc anything you can think of) for the community. This first bit of training definitely got me pumped for my role, and I can’t wait to find out where I’m going first so that I can research some possible opportunities.

After all that my roommate and I headed in to town to check out the library. We each signed up for library cards (no actual card involved) and checked out 3 dvds that we get to keep for a week, saving us the three dollars that it takes to rent a dvd for a couple of days. We also went into the dollar store, which is huge, and has just about anything you could think of. Although, I haven’t found any “Vinton” postcards yet, I may have to take a peek into town hall for that.

Dinner tonight was amazing, two teammates cooked tacos with every possible topping imaginable. We were all completely stuffed by the end. Tonight was the first dinner that we really all ate as a team, we’ve eaten together plenty of times before, but usually someone is missing or runs off before everyone else is finished. It was reassuring to spend some time as a team, especially since we spent most of the time laughing. At the end of dinner, we had a meeting to discuss tomorrows schedule. Which is when I found out that I have muster at 5:10, PT at 5:15, which finishes at 6, after which we need to be at the van by 6:40 to drive to Iowa City for a team building “ropes course” (sans ropes). Thank goodness for pretty Iowa sunsets to keep me sane.

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Sidenote: Yesterday, I got trained to drive the 15 passenger van. It definitely was a little freaky at first. Two of the guys drove before me, they drove through rolling hills and fields and lots of middle of nowhere. So, I figured, ok, I’m set. Then our trainer asks us “Does anyone know what road were on?” “Blairs Ferry, hey, there’s a Blairs Ferry Road in Cedar Rapids” “Well yeah, because you’re about to drive into Cedar Rapids.” So, I had no gently rolling hills, instead I dealt with traffic lights, parking lots, pedestrians, and lots of people deciding to turn at the last minute. In the end, I passed, my only trouble spot was turning into a parking spot. I almost took the turn to sharp, but we caught it, backed up, and fixed the problem. And now I know, always park in the middle of no where and always take wide turns. I definitely feel comfortable driving the van, but I’m also actually happy that the max speed in the government van is 65 mph. And now that I’ve shopped for 12 people and can drive a 15 passenger van, I’m all set to join the Duggars on a wild adventure. 🙂

I’m on a Radioactive Cloud high

If you didn’t already know, today the radioactive cloud from Japan passed over Paris, so if I come back to the states with a third eye or something, it’s not just because I’m not obsessed with Keith Haring.

This week I’ve been trying to start doing tours at my stage. This means I would take a group of kids around the museum teaching them about Keith Haring, explaining the art work, and doing little games with them. However, my directrice was a little reluctant to let me start plus things have been insane because it’s still the beginning of the expo. So, today there was finally a group which worked for everybody, and I got to do my first tour! 😀 It was a little tricky because I need to figure out how everything flows, but that’s normal for a tour, I’ve been through the same thing before doing tours for Goucher. It was also not the most normal of tours because there was a camera crew finishing up in the same room. Guess what! Musée en herbe’s gonna be on TV, in May. If anything goes up on youtube I’ll be sure to share. 😉 But anyway, so it’s hard for a five-year old to focus when there’s me talking, a video next to me (which is always there), a giant light next to me (which the camera crew left glaring down on everyone), and ten billion people passing by. But, I think we did alright. I admit to stumbling during one part, but one of the other stagiaires saved me. I just honestly forgot how to pronounce a word, and with everything else going on I got thrown off.

Later that day I was lucky enough to do another tour with an 11-year-old girl and her father. It was amazing because it reminded me how much I love doing individual tours at Goucher. To really cater to what people want and pay attention to their needs, instead of just spitting out info to the masses. (I may be exaggerating a tad.) They were really nice and I feel confident that after some practice I’ll have this tour thing down. It’s just like at Goucher, if your surrounded by something you love, it’s easy to talk about it. I just need to keep myself surrounded by Keith Haring, keep reading about his work and learning more and more about him.

After my tour finished, I ended up talking with some other stagiaires about European and American educational systems. And, we came, more or less, to this conclusion America is ridiculously expensive, but Liberal Arts Education is really nice because I can mix things up and I have a really good general knowledge to back up my major. However, France is nice because you have a path, you know where you’re going, more or less.

So, that was today, pretty awesome in general, even if my writing sucks because I’m tired so I can’t really express it. Here’s one of my favorite works of Keith Haring to wrap it all up.

Very busy and good week

I can’t believe how behind I’ve gotten with my blog posts. I’ll try and remember everything that happened, but as usual it’s never a good thing when I forget to update my blog.

Sunday

I forget what I did during the day, but I spent the night watching Love Actually dubbed in French with the group. It’s amazing how many people you can fit into those tiny rooms. 🙂

Monday

Had my stage in the morning. It’s vacation week, or possibly two weeks I’m not sure, for the students. So, it was eerily quiet with only 4 or 5 of us there. I worked on translating titles of a book about restoration into French. Then I went to my grammar class, and then Marie’s class. We worked on vowels I think… The “ou” sound is still impossible for me to do, but thanks to Marie I did it correctly once, which means it’s possible, just very very hard. Oh, we also worked on the Nasal sounds and how to tell the difference between them. Then I headed back for some diner au foyer. Afterwords, Eliza and I tried to figure out what to do with our lives and ended up just getting completely sidetracked. I’ve reached the point where I can’t keep going through my education with no goal other than to speak French. It’s not enough. You can get away with that a bit in the US, but I want to work in France after school, and they know what they want to do in High School and generally stick to it. It’s not exactly professional of me to go around saying “I have no clue what I want to do” and the longer I take to figure it out, the longer it takes until I actually get to do what I want to do. Silly American education system…

Tuesday

Very very crazy day. Started out by getting up early, taking my sweet time getting ready, and then realizing that I had to make it not the 20 minute walk to IFE, but the 30-40 minute metro ride across town. My Paris-France-Paris class was out in one of the banlieus and I had completely forgotten. Luckily, we made it to the train station before our train left, and if we had made it early we would have just been sitting around waiting for it to leave. We spent the day walking around the Cité-Jardin of Suresnes. A cité-jardin is basically a village built to house workers. The unique thing about it is, for the first time they didn’t just build housing, but schools, a dance hall, retirement home, and parks as well. The buildings were considered very modern and luxurious at the time, but the rent was reasonable so that workers could live there. Unfortunately, the Cité-Jardin of Suresnes is now a wealthy neighborhood, and most workers have to live in the crowded banlieus. But the idea was revolutionary and worked until the housing turned private. If only things like that happened more often.

After walking around for three hours, we trekked back to Saint-Michel where I grabbed some chevre pizza and headed to my grammar class. My grammar class continues to bug me because nobody really respects the professor or the class, and a lot of the homework is basically busy work. But, we also do Dictées (professor dictates part of a text and we have to write it out using correct grammar, agreement, and spelling) and other stuff that a French geek like me considers fun. 🙂 After class, it was time to run to IFE for another Paris-France-Paris class. Because our professor was sick one day, we decided the best way to make it up was to have some night classes. Good idea, but 4 hours of the same professor in one day is kinda rough. Especially this Tuesday because at night we had our first test! And what was it on? Everything! It was essay format and we basically had to write out everything we could remember and then try and prove some kind of point with it. Luckily, we all finished the test on time, and I was all ready to make it back to the foyer in time for dinner and relax with friends when our professor decides to finally explain what we need to do for our presentations. Not only did this take another half hour, but it stressed me out even more because it turns out my presentation has to be the most complicated 15 minutes I have ever heard of. Once we finally escaped, Eliza and I took the bus back to the foyer, bought some chicken from the Muslim boucher down the street so we didn’t have to cook, scrounged up some salad from the supermarket to at least try and be healthy, got all our supplies into the common room, were about to sit down and eat, annddd the fire alarm goes off. Everyone in the building has to evacuate and walk down the street, leaving out meal sitting on the table untouched. Once we got the word that we could return to the foyer, we all headed back inside and were corralled into the common room, where we were given a speech about fire safety. Very informative and good stuff, they even smoked up one of the side rooms so we could see how quickly the danger spreads, however this was around 9:30, and I was very hungry. Once that ended Eliza and I were finally able to eat our dinner, which thankfully was very very good. 🙂 We got to end the day by talking to friends and relaxing, but it was still by far my longest day in Paris. I just couldn’t catch a break.

Wednesday

Had my stage in the morning, where I had a meeting with the director and the head of my program to discuss how my stage is going so far. Basically, all seems well except I of course don’t talk enough :-). One frustrating point, the head of my program, Thomas, always stresses how we should try and eat lunch with the workers at our stage. Which I’m all for, but it’s always very hard because everybody eats late and a random times. Thomas asked the director about lunch at my stage, and she said that I’m welcome to eat with them and they always eat around 1. I thought, sweet, I’ve finally figured it out, I can start eating with them and practice more French and it’ll be good. However, that day nobody at at 1, the majority of the group left around 12, 1230 mysteriously, not to go buy lunch, and didn’t return until after I left at 1:30. So, to future GPPers, if you get frustrated by your stage, we’ve all been though it. Stages aren’t always the perfect experience where you become besties with your boss and have a job lined up for the future. A lot of the time they’re confusing and random, but as long as you get something out of the experience, it’s all good. And remember, always talk to the IFE group if you have any problems, they really are incredibly nice and there to help you with any problems.

After my stage I headed to grammar class and the back to the foyer for dinner. I honestly can’t remember if anything interesting happened that night.. Gotta work on that memory of mine.

Thursday

Went to my stage in the morning, where I translated a blurb about the Atlelier into English and a pamphlet about the Atelier into English. After that I headed to my Grammar class and then back to the foyer. For dinner, it was “Jazz night” with a New Orleans theme. Now, this doesn’t mean we had real Cajun food, but it does mean that we had a candlelight edible dinner with music. Very classy for the foyer. And it was the first time I cleaned my plate at a foyer dinner. My tummy was very happy. 🙂 After dinner, there was a live Jazz band in the common room. The music was good, but it felt a little off for us Americans since the french woman who was singing didn’t know how to move like most Jazz singers would. As much as she tried, she couldn’t get passed this all angles, barely moving French stereotype. But she had a very good voice. Then I had a wonderful skype session with the goucherites instead of doing my homework and went to bed. I still find it hard to balance keeping in touch with friends (which helps keep me sane), hanging out with foyer people (which keeps me happy), and all the things I have to do for my program (which keeps me graduating on time).

Friday

Another crazy day, but in a very good way. Started with my stage, which was incredibly empty since almost everybody is on vacation. I continued translating, but just spent most of the time being frustrated as I watched a very typical French workplace, they just sat and gossiped and smoked cigarettes until noon, while I actually did my work because I wanted to leave early. I know the concept behind how the French work, and it makes sense and everything, but it’s really hard to change my work habits and how I think. But, I got to leave early and run some errands, finally finding nuts in the grocery store, had to look next to the wine and party supplies, and buying stamps for all the birthday cards that are now a month behind. As I got in the metro to head to class, I could hear the cries of strikers heading to the manifestation and music from the guy who always plays bob marley songs in the metro, and it just hit me really hard that I’m really in France, I don’t know if that makes any sense, but it was just one of those moments. In my grammar class, we worked on using “en” to replace words with “de” and how to make the sentence flow instead of sounding incredibly awkward. After class I headed to a library to try and get some research done for my exposé. The french libraries are good and all, but they kinda remind me of the southington library before they renovated it. I checked out two books about Belleville and then headed home. There was a workshop going on to learn Japanese cooking, but I decided to head to an Italian restaurant with some friends instead. It turned out to be more a pizzaria than an Italian restaurant, but the food was still really good, and the company too. Afterwords, I chilled with some friends in the common room, and we somehow ended up watching The Patriot. I spent half the film trying to explain who the colonists were and why the british we attacking. Then I hung out with some Goucherites visiting Eliza and called it a night. All in all a very good night.

Saturday

I can’t believe I finally caught up to today, but here it is. So far, I woke up, did laundry, researched what libraries I should go to, and wrote this. It’s very frustrating because the libraries I need are closed Sunday and Monday. So I either go today, or rush there after class during the week. At this point, I think I’ll choose the later because I’m really tired and should probably look through the books I have now before getting more.

Tonight, my Goucher friend John is coming to visit from Scotland. But
I don’t actually know what time he’ll get here because the strikes have completely screwed up transportation.

Anyway, hope everybody has a wonderful weekend and a happy Halloween!

Last day in good ol’ U. S. of A.

So far I’ve mostly only posted what’s happening and not any of the emotional stuff, but now it’s my last full day in the U.S. and it’s really starting to hit me. I’m still incredibly excited to go to Paris, but leaving my friends and family to go to a place with a ton of unknowns is kinda freaky to think about. I know that in a couple weeks I’ll  be all set and probably having the time of my life, but I’m not good with new stuff and meeting new people is always tricky business.

I guess I’m mostly just really sad to leave my friends and family. Skyping and snail mail just aren’t the same as staying up late watching chick flicks and complaining about life.

Anyway, on another note, packing is really hard. I have two suitcases, but I can’t just fill them to the brim because they have to be under 50 lbs. So, I’m currently playing real life tetris trying to balance out all my shoes and jeans, and not forget about the little things like razors and shampoo. I tried using Space Bags to make everything smaller. But they really only work on big puffy things like coats. Other stuff they just make into weird shapes so they can’t be packed flat anymore.

I can’t help but to constantly think of questions like, where will I eat dinner my first night? Will I be with somebody? How will I find the other Goucher people? What if I get lost on the way to the Sorbonne? What if I don’t test well into my Sorbonne class? What if I don’t understand people and they think I’m just a rude stuck up girl? What if I actually can’t hear people and I’m stuck wearing my hearing aid? What if I get stuck in Iceland?

My brain needs to shut up and I need to be in Paris NOW.

Happy thought, no matter how crazy this semester in Paris turns out to be, it’s better than being at Goucher when half my class in across the world.  (Sorry if that sounded like a dig to anyone who stayed, it’s just own personal preference and knowing that I would go insane if I didn’t study abroad in some way.)

I really need to sleep, but sleep means I must wake up, and waking up means I have to go through my last day in the US.

I really need to go to bed. Goodnight anybody. If my rantings didn’t make sense, just translate them into “Oh my god, it’s almost France time!”