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Showing posts from November, 2005

Paris for the weekend

I went to Paris for the weekend. It was incredible. It snowed, I got to go to an open-air fish market, a cheese shop, a bakery with marvelous pastries and such. It was just amazing. One of the coolest things about the trip happened in the train station before I left though. I was stnading in line and actually got to participate in the banter as we waited for the slowest cashiers of all time!!! I don't have alot of time, and I'll explain that later. But I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has been incredibly nice and sent me messages for Thanksgiving. I'll tell you more about that later too. Really, I never thought it could be so cool. Off for now. Hugs and kisses, ~Heather

A Note on the Catholic News

I usually reserve this space for stories about my adventures, but I am about to jump out and make some possibly politically, and definitely religiously, incorrect statements regarding the article I just read on (

I think that this is really ridiculous. I understand that there are certain moral values that belong in the church. However, I don't understand why a "don't ask, don't tell" policy wouldn't be appropriate. I think I am split on the issue, but I think it is time the church took steps into understanding the science of the issue. There was a time in the past when priests and other religious figures were the smartest people in the land. They relied on scientific instruments, they were astronomers, farmers, artists, chemists, scribes - you name it, you got it. Now, the entire religion seems to have turned its back on science.

Through a number of studies, there is sig…


So my slackness has gotten me nowhere except figuring out what to do about New Years. Otherwise, I am still planless for the evening. Though I did make two new friends, which I think is gratiying in it of itself. Because Anna isn't here, I ate with the Vie Scolaire people. They are about my age and totally cool. Very similar to how I think we were as an RA staff two years ago - together alot, but clique-y, etc. Anyway, they were awesome and said I could go to EuroDisney with them, or Belgium, or Luxembourg, or whatever, but just to ask, because they both had cars and lived in Charleville, so it was totally not a big deal to bring me along. Also, they are doing what I did in college for three years, except they look over high schoolers. So, we have plenty to talk about. This is going to sound horrible, but I don't really mind when Anna is away anymore, because I think it forces me to go and try things I usually wouldn't. I have made two friends and two acquaintain…

What a day

Today has been amazingly long. I was up at 8:30 due to my body clock only allowing me 7.5 hours of sleep each night. So, I went to the teacher's lounge and made invitations to the Thanksgiving supper I am cooking next week. I feel super bad about not being able to have everyone come and try at least a little food, but I know it isn't practical to attempt to cook for more than 15 people. Heck, fifteen might kill me. Okay, so after that, I ran back upstairs to get something (really don't remember what) and then off to teach my first class of the day.

Today's class was the best I've had yet. Their level of English was significantly lower than most of the rest of my classes, but they honestly wanted to learn, and put effort into asking me questions in return. Class today turned into a 1/2 hour discussion about why it was safe to live in the US and the reasons why terrorists target certain places. The students said that with shark attacks, hurricanes, tornados, te…

Beaujolais Noveau

This isn't the weird translation of something you know, it is the name of today's holiday. Talk about a weird holiday. The entire oliday is commercial, because it is based on the yearly release of a bottle of wine. This one vinyard makes wine out of the same years harvest and sends it out to the general public for consumption. (In the wine world, this is a major faux pas. They say it tastes like California wine!) Anyway, there was this party with charcuterie (fancy name for different types of cold cut style meats and sausages) and bread (duh!). However, there was this huge loaf of bread, seriously 1x2.5 feet in the shape of a wine bottle with a fake label baked on and everything. So cute. And there was another loaf baked in the shape of an alligator. I was really sad I didn't have a camera with me. But, anyway, the whole point of the holiday is to enjoy each other's compay while drinking really bad wine (by french standards) and eating meat and bread. so fu…

One Full Tuesday

Tuesday is an interesting day usually. This is because it often follows Monday and precedes Wednesday. Today Tuesday is especially interesting because there are/were alot of things to do. **Special note for those who think "alot" is not actually a word: it is. Check the dictionary if you don't believe me.** Okay, I really meant all of that jokingly, but it looks kind of like it might have come out wrong. Ah, sorry if it did. Anyway. I had lessons this morning, then I prepped for more lessons. Broke one of the two photocopiers (not actually my fault), and then foiund out the other was broken. Had lunch, had another lesson (only 1/2 the class was there). Now I am quick timing through emails etc before tutoring a friend in English and then grocery shopping. Followed by dinner and Youth Group. Followed by planning tomorrow's lessons. Sometimes being an over acheiver gives you more work then you anticipated. Gotta run. Details later. Promise. Hugs, ~Heathe…

Quick Notes

Well, I am heading out of town for the weekend. I am going to a retreat with a choir called the Champagnules. They are named for the Champagne region that is directly south of where I live. It should be really exciting and a great opportunity to function only in french for an entire weekend. I promise details when I get back. In the meantime, I wanted to toss out some quick new:
Classes are going really well!
Armistice Day is tomorrow, so I have no classes (hence the ability to go on retreat).
I have finally posted pictures on the internet of some of the trips I have taken at
My students were much more involved in the lessons today, so I am in a really good mood.
I am going to get to celebrate Thanksgiving here (more details later).
I finally bought postcards and wrote some letters, so if you have sent me your address, you will probably be getting one! (If you …

The Riots

Like you, I have been following the rioting in Paris pretty actively. The good news is, that the curfews set out by the state seemed to have curbed some of the violence and burning. The bad news is, it isn't over yet. The spread of burnings has not reached my region yet - and is bound not to. I live in a very agricultural part of the country. It would be like riots in Chicago effecting the people in southern Illinois - not bound to happen. It has moved to other cities around the country, and there have been isolated incidents in Brussels and Berlin as well.

Most of the unrest stems from unemployment, which anyone could tell you is a major problem here. The second problem comes from the first generation Muslims. Do you remember (the answer will be no unless you read about it, because you are all pretty much too young) what New York city was like in the early 1900's? Alot of unemployment, or people unable to get jobs because their name was too European, etc? That is ba…

The Goings On

My life has been surprisingly full the past three days.
Wednesday I organized the hundreds of pictures from my digital camera and the ones on my computer. In the afternoon, I went out and did some shopping for postcards and groceries. I also stopped by the bank because they hadn't mailed me my checkbook, and it had been a month. The nice man there showed me how to write out a check in french. Surprisingly different. Then I filled my backpack with groceries, and home I went. I grilled (really I think it is alot more like broiling) a small steak for dinner (about the size of a porkchop) with a salad and a new type of cheese called compte. So good. Then it was time for volleyball. When I got home, Anna and I exchanged our weekend adventure stories and then it was off to bed.

Yesterday I had classes after lunch (my NyQuil had basically had me out cold until 10:30, so the morning didn't exist entirely), then I hung out on the computer for awhile. Evening time brought a mee…

"Special" Classroom Moments

So I recently have gotten a few "hints" that I am not telling you guys enough about how the actual teaching is going. Please do not take the following as examples of what happens all the time - but it should be noted that the following are true stories. Laugh to your hearts content.

I let the students choose songs to bring in and listen to in class. They had to bring the lyrics with them, and I said I would go over the vocabulary or idiomatic expressions they didn't understand with them. Things that are bad: that idea. No, in all seriousness, it was a great idea, but get ready for the good part. The first class brough mostly rap and pop with them. I had to explain lyrics from a song that described a decently explicit sex scene. Someone else brought the new Gwen Stefani music ... if you don't know her music, let's just say she uses alot of ghetto terminology. It also included the phrase "I'll meet you at the bleachers, there's no teachers.&quo…