Tag Archives: kids

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.



Cutest little French girl ever, and it’s translated. Enjoy.

Merci à Colleen for finding this for me. 🙂

Halfway there

I’m slowly but surely getting used to how work, well, works in France. But there are moments where I see how easy it is to slip back into the American mindset. This morning started like any other, except that instead of helping out or observing, I translated texts that are going to be put in the new exhibition and the activity books. As I sat in front of the computer, typing up the texts and wordreferencing any words I didn’t know, I immediately felt like there was a deadline hanging over me.  I got completely focused on my work, staring at the screen for two hours straight. Even when I finished the first part, instead of taking an early lunch I kept moving through. I finished both texts and was only a little bit late for lunch, but I felt horrible afterwords. Staring at the computer had given me a headache, not moving made me jittery, and I hadn’t spoken French all morning so it felt like I had just walked in. I completely understand why the French take so many breaks and why they were so confused that I’d finished translating so quickly.

I made sure to take a long lunch though, I wanted to be sure I felt normal again before dealing with the kids. While sipping my tea, I ended up sitting in on a meeting. It turns out my teachers were right, the French really do use their breaks for business, they just hide it in conversation. For instance, everyone was just eating lunch and they were talking about the next  couple weeks and before you know it there’s a meeting about stagiaires working the weekend (something I’m hoping to avoid). It was really interesting to watch the different interactions and all the little details that go into running the museum. Like how many people need to be there during the weekend, who has the key, who’s going to close up, who’s trained to do what. It’s a lot of details to wrap your head around, and these people did it during lunch break, no grand documents just their coffees.

After lunch I headed downstairs to watch a visite. It was the calmest group I’ve ever seen, they all listened and took their time completing the activites. I really didn’t have to do anything besides point them in the right direction and tidy up after they left. After that I helped with an art workshop where the kids made their own version of this painting:

Salvador Dali

It wasn’t my favorite activity because there were a lot of rules: you had to make the background the same way, the cloud had to be on top and the flower had to fit in between the cloud and the earth. But it was still fun to watch the kids.

After that I took a long tea break. I didn’t do it on purpose, I was just sitting talking with the stagiaires in between workshops. But then, somebody offered me a tea, and I thought “I’m in France, I’m gonna drink some tea!” Before I knew it the next workshop had started, but instead of rushing outside I realized “There’s two people out there, and two other stagiaires with me, and nobody is freaking out, enjoy your tea.” So, for the first time I took a break, I enjoyed my time, and I had a good conversation with my fellow stagiaires. We actually got talking about the internet, and I put in my two cents about how I check about 10 sites every day, half of which I check twice. This shocked the Frenchies! Turns out most of them didn’t have internet until the end of high school, and they check mail and facebook rarely now, seeing internet instead as another form of research. It really put the U.S. in perspective and showed me just how much I need to learn how to translate “Americans are attention whores.” I think I’ll wait a bit to tell them about my blog….

When the time was right, the tea drunk, and the conversation finished, we all wandered to our perspective activities and everything was wonderful. I ended up helping the cutest little boy with his art work. When you’re only three feet tall it’s hard to reach the other side of your painting and when you’re too young to know if you’re right or left-handed it’s hard to use scissors, but his painting came out wonderful anyway. Then I helped the little ‘uns wash their hands, which always leads to the most interesting conversations. One girl offered me her silly band after showing me all of hers and discovering that I only have two. Another little girl asked if I was German. To which I responded, “No, guess again.” A little boy piped in “Portuguese?” “Nooo, which country speaks English?” “England” “True, but what other country, it’s really big” “Russia!” Which doesn’t quite speak English, but they got the U.S. on the next try. It made my day to see a little girl not thrown off by my accent, just curious, and then have a fun conversation about it. Sometimes it works out to be l’americaine.

After work, I was invited to join the other stagiaires to go for a drink. It was really nice to just talk with the group and be able to really get to know people. It feels really good to know that I was able to follow the conversation, and anything I missed was either funky French tv show references or drowned out by the band practicing at the table next to us. After a while one of my favorite stagiaires turned the conversation towards the U.S. We talked about whether New York City is a different culture than the rest of the US, whether Americans really are obese, I taught them that Wendy’s is the best fast food in the world, and then she asked about 9/11. I was kinda surprised because no body here has asked me about it before, and all the questions before were pretty typical. But after telling them my experience, how it basically was a day of complete confusion for me, it turns out they had very similar experiences. Many of them were picked up early from their various activities (being 3pm here when it happened they were out of school as we were starting it), and knew what was going on just as much as we did. It was interesting to see how what I’ve always thought of as ‘our day’, the day when the US was hit and not somebody else, really had an international impact.

One of the reasons I’m so happy with my stage is because of how welcoming the stagiaires are. Throughout the night they always made sure to include me in the conversation, even if it was just to see if I’d heard of a certain TV show or if I understood the story. Even on the train ride home, they kept the conversation going, sincerely interested in where I live and how I like the museum, which likewise gives me the opportunity to see where their coming from. It turns out a couple of the stagiaires finished their required stages and just kept going because they like it so much.

Well, it’s time for me to turn in so I can wake up and see what tomorrow brings. 🙂 Hopefully I get some more cute kid stories to share. Bonne nuit!