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Walking & Night life

One of the best things about Charleville is that you can walk everywhere. Today, I got a very good taste of all that walking. I had class this morning, and then a lunch date with a lady from the church. She is a documentarian at a local middle school. A documentarian is an awful lot like a school librarian, except in France, libraries only have books in them. You have to go to a mediathéque or media information center to use the internet and online documents. A CDI - Centre de Documentation et Informations (Center for Documentation and Information) can be found in most schools, and it has the internet, periodicals, international newspapers, and of course reference books. It also has books that are directly related to courses being taught in the school, which is lucky for me, because they teach theater here. Right, so the walking.

I met Frederic Drumel at her school in the CDI. Her school is a good thirty minute walk across town. After a short tour of the CDI, we went to a Turkish restaurant and had kebabs and fries. We ate lunch with another documentarian who was my age from a different middle school. It was really great to talk to them, because they had both studied english, and therefore knew to speak slowly for me. Plus, the kebabs were delicious. Kebabs are kind of like the Turkish version of a gyro. The server asked if I wanted barbecue sauce on my meat and I said yes. When it came, it had this french version of Thousand Island on it. Not exactly my idea of barbeque sauce. The Thousand Island here is actually good (I don't like it at home); it doesn't have as much of a mayonaise base, and therefore it isn't as creamy. I was surprised at how good it was on the french fries.

After lunch, she dropped me off at the train station on her way to a meeting. So I walked the ten minutes home. After a thirty minute nap, Anna and I took a walk. We walked to the park across the river from us. It was so beautiful. They have this fabulous sculptured flower bed that they have turned into an actual clock with moving hands. This is seriously comparable to the Rose Bowl Parade. We saw a lot of people kayaking (I can't wait to try that!) and these humongous swans. Maybe it is just that I've only seen them from a distance, but these things probably were about three feet tall with their long necks! And they can paddle fast considering their size. Anyway, about a mile into the walk, we turned around to walk back on the other side of the park. (It's a park on the bottom of a "mountain," so it is rather large.) We discovered the community pool. It has these long tube slides that land in the play pool, and they have a separate pool for laps and swimming lessons. Definitely cool.

Instead of walking back to the school, we detoured into town and strolled around a bit. I took Anna to he cafe where I had eaten lunch with Grandmother and Aunt Rosemary this summer. Sadly, the ice cream wasn't as good this time around. After another little bit, we strolled home. Tonight, we are going back to town to meet up with the other assistants. I emailed everyone when we had all had a chance to settle in, and now we can compare notes and such. Hopefully we'll all use french with each other, because there are four German assistants who will be meeting up with us as well. All of the German assistants can speak english, but I feel like it is only fair that all of us are speaking in our second language, instead of 75% of us using our native tongue. We're meeting in the Place Ducale, and then heading to a bar on the river. Bars here are the same as at home, except for much more socially acceptable. It isn't weird for people of any age to go and hang out in a bar in the afternoon, early evening, or late into the night. But, since I am not that big of a drinker and I hate cigarette smoke, bars aren't exactly my scene; however, there aren't a ton of other places to go here at night.

Most places might be closed at night, but that doesn't mean there aren't things to do! Last night I helped out with the high school youth group from my church. The kids are really great. Two of them are actually my students too. Harry Potter just came out here, so I talked to them about it for a good while. I wouldn't tell them the ending though. I bought it in the book shop in french, and I am going to force myself to read it. I guess I already told you that though. But, the night life. The school has a badminton club on Tuesdays. There is a book club on Wednesdays and there is a town volleyball team which meets on Wednesdays too. That's kind of bummy, because I would really like to be able to go to both, but we'll see. Thursday night there is a young adult group at the church which I am going to try. There is also a Friday night recreational league for volleyball, which I might check out as well. I know those things might seem boring to the rest of you, but for me, they are things to do that are familiar and yet completely different because ofd the culture and the language.

OKay, so I'll let you know about the bar tonight and Saturday we might find the discothéque or dance club. Who knows. This is all an adventure. Love to all and thanks for reading, ~Heather