Skip to main content


Showing posts from December, 2005

Google-land, Dublin

I got up at half past noon today and have therefore rectified my lack of sleep problem. I quickly showered and met Marco for lunch at his office. He works for Google. Let me tell you that if you are looking for an exciting job, this could be it. Fun looking and more relaxed than any workplace I have ever been to. The employees were all given the afternoon off today in respect to the upcoming new year - but they didn't announce it until after lunch. I think this is pretty cool considering, because it benefited the people who had sucked it up and come to work anyway instead of taking a half day. He gave me a tour of the building including a conference room and his floor.

There are little kitchens and game tables (ping pong, foosball, pool tables) on basically every floor. The walls are decorated with pictures of places all around the world and cut out designs of beaches, lady bugs, suns, and plants. There are bean bags on the floor every two rows of desks or so, and there are giant e…

Traveling Time Zones

I sit here in Marco's apartment happy to be on solid ground again. Let me tell you about the jouneyI took to get here. I got up Wednesday morning EST a little before nine. I did laundry and finished putting everything in my suitcase. Dad was enlisted to (voluntarily, and with great appreciation from a doting daughter) to scan in the pages from a wide variety of reference books I intend to use to apply for my internship at the National Air and Space Museum. I also burned a good amount of music into the music library on my computer so that I would have some more options when I got back to France. We left the house a little after three and my parents and brother took me to the airport for my 5:55 (17:55) flight to Philidelphia.

I arrived in PA with just enough time to transfer from one gate to another and take a little rest at the gate while they boarded the other zones of the aircraft. The 8:20 (20:20 (side note for Lorien: "I'm Walter Mathau and this is Jack Lemmon…


Christmas was an amazing adventure this year. I can't even begin to go into detail about everything that has gone on since I arrived home. Some highlights include: finishing Christmas shopping, wrapping presents, cleaning the kitchen after countless awesome meals, seeing tons of family (the Sweeney's, Ian, Grandmother, the NC Bensons, the Keiners, and of course my immediate family), and resting.

Tonight I started in on my research for the Smithsonian application and tomorrow I am going to try to wrap up all of the technological things I need to do and get out to a bookstore and buy a travel guide book for Europe. And a can of Lysol (the only thing on my list I didn't get this year), I am going to pick up that too.

Chances are I am never going to get around to telling you about everything, but I am going to post some pictures tomorrow after I have the computer issues worked out on my laptop. In the mean time - since most of you are on vacation and not reading this thing …

La reste

I had an amazing day yesterday. I walked straight through a protest to get to the Prefecture and got my Carte/Titre de sejour (this allows me to stay and work in the country after my visa expires tomorrow). I walked home stopping at the grocery store to buy the supplies to bake cookies with one of my classes. I had to go to the pharmacy to get the baking soda! We baked and had alot of fun in my classes. This week we are talking about Christmas, and I decided it was about time I actually taught these kids something useful.

We did an exercise on similies. "The Christmas tree was like ...", "The present was as ... as ...", etc. Then we sang Rudolph. But, they had to put in their own words for the echoes (go similies!). Then I taught them the real words (and as many variations as I could remember). I spent the evening chatting away with Alice after finishing up my second to last bit of Christmas shopping. I sent two emails in french, got a response from the S…

"Before the break"

WARNING: The following is a brief political discourse.

I hope they pass the anti-torture legislation before the break. I really think Americans should be held to a higher standard. There are arguments that the information gotten through "testimony" from tortured prisoners could protect the country from a future terrorist attack. Let me clear up right now that nothing is going to prevent another terrorist attack except perhaps the end of the world (which requires the coming of the anti-Christ and Jesus, so chances are there will still be some warring going on anyway). I don't see how we can say we are giving Iraq its freedom from oppression and persecution from its government when we pick up their citizens, remove them from the country, and then torture, oppress, and persecute them. Excellent logic. It might be time to revisit my idea of building an island in the middle of the Pacific and dumping all the criminals on it. Terrorists included. This gets us out of hav…

Being Adventureous

Things to not get upset about today: The fact that you have been working to put together a showing of It's a Wonderful Life in English with subtitles in French for three weeks (technological confusion, logistics, time for advertising, etc) and not a single person showed up. Not a teacher, a student, another assistant, a staff member of the school - just you and the same 16 minutes and 20 seconds of Christmas music you have had saved on your computer for close to 5 years now. Talk about overinflating a balloon and letting it go without tying it.

The truth is, I was pretty sure there wouldn't be alot of people there, but NO ONE was a surprise I could have lived without. I have plenty of other things to do with my afternoon - shopping for presents, deciphering a cryptic letter, going to Sedan with Alice, buying the ingredients to bake cookies tomorrow, volleyball practice tonight, and getting myself organized to go to the Prefecture tomorrow (like getting my visa this summer, …


I propose that one day I should become smart. In the meantime, I am just going to continue filling out applications to graduate school, fellowship and internship opportunities (Smithsonian, Society for Conservation of America, AEI with Newt Gingrich, etc.), and praying that somewhere along the line I actually have the strength of character and mind to choose what I am going to do for the rest of my life.

Seriously though, I am going to post my proposal for my fellowship application after Dad corrects it and any comments would be greatly appreciated. Love ya, ~Heather

Editted by Dad (I changed two words to other synonyms after editting - can you spot which ones???)

My current plan is to outline the societal influences on NASA before thespace race with a focus on the social and cultural consequences of humanspace exploration, specifically in regard to film. My general theory is that NASA and cinema has a symbiotic relationship. Prior to the Mercury missions, the media, movies, and politic…

You deserve an update

You deserve an update on everything I have been doing. So, here goes.

Friday I taught class all afternoon after my visit to the doctor. Then I went to Alice and Hugues to watch the baby for a little while. Alice was super tired, so I stayed awhile longer to give Martin his bath and feed him dinner. Then Hugues drove me to the Taizé prayer and song event I was supposed to go to with Eric. I stayed there for a bit, sang, prayed, watched other people drink coffee and tea, sorted music into alphabetical order, and then Eric drove a bunch of us home. Friday night I watched the third Harry Potter, because I had been teaching about Harry Potter all week and had it on my brain.

After having some disturbing dreams about being a rat (perhaps Scabbers?) and being electrically shocked (actually woke up in fright), I rested tranquilly until a little after nine on Saturday morning. I got up, ate a good breakfast, made plans for the evening and then headed out to do some Christmas shopping. It…

Things to Do

Today I need to:

Tell you about this weekend
Stop procrastinating
Send off an email to the Smithsonian
Get American, Georgetown, and Regent to send application packets to the house
Teach at 4
Find something to do for tonight
Make a fork costume (I will explain later)
Get a ride to the store tomorrow so I can buy supplies to bake cookies
Get the recipes from Mom on how to make the cookies from scratch
Prepare more lessons
Reply to two emails
Stop thinking about nonsense
Get a train schedule for this weekend
Add "where" to the poster I hung in the hall
Hang the World AIDS Day flyers in the English hallway
Upload pictures on to the internet
Get Travis' Christmas present

For someone who is looking for something to do tonight, I think I could probably occupy myself with finishing my own to do list! A little busy. Hugs and kisses, ~Heather

Going to the Doctor

If anyone claims the following is not worthy of the title "adventure," I challenge you to an appointment - in french.

Last night at 0:51 I remembered I had an immigration medical exam this morning at nine. Well, at least I remembered. Anyway, I got up, told the office I might be late for my 11 o'clock class and headed to the office. They explained I would have an x-ray and an eye-exam, as long as I wasn't pregnant. Good news for everyone back home, I took both.

All of the assistants had their appointments at basically the same time, so I got to see everyone. I scored 10/10 vision and got sent back to the waiting room. Then I put on my jacket and walked around the corner to the hospital for a chest x-ray. Apparently, x-ray machines in France have not reached the technological level of those in the rest of the world, and I was required to do this bit sans clothes. I was less than thrilled. The results came back about 2 minutes after I had gotten dressed again. …


I have all sorts of ideas of things to do and places to go and other exciting experiences I want to have. I have finally made plans to do some of them and my own adventureousness (sp?) frightens me. This weekend I am going to Strasbourg in the extreme northeast of France. They have a fabulous Christmas market. The one we have in town has an ice skating rink and outdoor tables and food and all sorts of marvelous things, but this is supposed to be the best one in France. Going to Germany would be the BEST option, but my lack of language skills in that country frightens me.

For the New Year I am going to go to Dublin, which adds a country to my very slack list of places visited. And, over the course of this afternoon I am going to try to start planning my February vacation and hopefulyl have an opportunity to visit Malise.

I found out yesterday that you can buy an around the world airline ticket ... I am so excited but terribly scared at the same time. For now, I am going to face a …

Peanuts (the cartoon this time)

You are Rerun!

Which Peanuts Character are You?

I do not remember who this character is. But it makes me kind of wonder about how people get the accuracy right on these quizzes they make up. It is like horoscopes I guess, where it is only true because it is so general it could fit anyone. However, it truly makes me wonder. Do I have charm? And if so do I use it to mask my cleverness? And by the way, I think only strangers look over my talents. Everyone else is so nice. Yeah you. Wait, that makes this thing only 50% accurate. I am detracting from my own point. End of digression.

Also, last night while doing Harry Potter research on JK Rowlings website - actually was doing stuff for work, though it is probably hard to believe - I found another interesting thing. The wands for Harry, Hermione, and Ron are all made of the wood that according to the Celtic tree calendar is from the month they were born in. So I used this Celtic tree calendar and my wood should be a willow. Let me tell yo…

Christmas Lists

In my family we have many traditions involving Christmas. One of these is that the "Official Christmas List" is due to Mom and Dad by Thanksgiving. At least one of us fails to do this every year, and so far the threat of no presents has yet to be acted upon. Thank goodness. When we were very young, my parents would send the list off to the North Pole for us (I really hope they kept some, I'd love to read them now). When we got older, they were hung in the kitchen somewhere so we would know what to get each other. Then one year we had the infamous "camera incident" and the basic list plan didn't really work as well. Now we have to check and double check with each other to make sure no one gets someone something that the other people already got them. I know this whole process seems to take the fun out of giving gifts at Christmas, but when you consider that people notoriously ask for things like kitchen appliances, deoderant, scissors, and/or cleanin…


Dear Mom and Dad,
Orbitz did not contact me today. I would have sent you an email about it, but the teachers still have not finished putting their freaking grades in the computers, and I can't get on the one that allows me to send email. I was able to send some email this afternoon, but I wanted to wait until tonight to see if Orbitz contacted me. Because I can't check, I'll assume they didn't. Love, ~Heather

For everyone else: Orbitz is a super sucky company and you really shouldn't use their services. In their infinite wisdom, they have extended my trip to almost a day's worth of travelling, which is, I believe, highly unaceptable considering I bought the tickets in September and it was only going to be about 12 hours then. Luckily though, I have an uber-cool Dad who is going to give that company "a good talking to." Gotta love the dad-meister.

Today was a really practically accomplished day. I got up at a reasonable hour and had time to read a little …

"One short day"

(Sing title to the appropriate tune in the Wicked soundtrack.)

Today I started teaching about AIDS again, and I finished teaching about Harry Potter. I love Harry Potter. I don't think I can really begin to describe it. One thing you might be interested to learn is that Voldemort is a play on words that translates to "Fly from death" in french. I don't think it made alot of sense from the beginning of the series, but considering the Horcruxes revealed in the 6th book, well, you know. Anyway, I can't wait to come home and watch it with you Dad.

Last night at the prayer meeting I really enjoyed myself. I still do not know the story of Ester, which really bugs me, because I keep getting the beginning and missing the end (last night I just didn't understand the end, which I suppose is slightly different). But, there were about thirty people there praying for everyone's intentions, including for Aunt Yolanda. I bet she never thought that people all aroun…

Peanuts and Rasperry Lemonade

17:21 December 1, 2005

Peanuts and Raspberry-Lemonade. Absolutely loving it. In some ways, being forced to type the blog in my room has its distinct advantages; like eating and listening to music while typing. Also, by the way, hurray for Christmas music. Okay, so about today.

Today I slept in because I was exhausted from yesterday. After I was done writing I went and made Christmas cards and cookies for our youth group sale on Saturday. That took close to three hours. I came home and ate dinner then took off for volleyball. I was unable to post yesterday evening, because the Internet had magnificently shut itself off again. (The tech guy was absent again today – that makes 4 days this week, I wonder if he is taking the entire week off. I mean, I hope the guy isn’t sick or anything, but for all three computer guys to be inaccessible during the same week seems seriously unreasonable. Anyway. Practice was good and the mean coach wasn’t there. However, I really don’t like playing with the …

It's a Long One

I am warning you in advance that this is a long entry. Good luck. Special Note: It is now Dec.1 at 11:34. Crazy how long it took to find a working computer.

13:17 November 30, 2005
So here I am in my room, listening to Les Miserables (while the actual book sits behind the computer screen) and writing the blog that I haven’t even had enough time to think about the past few weeks. Sorry about that by the way. I have honestly wanted to write the past two weeks, but it hasn’t really been feasible. Here is my explanation:

The administration of the school has decided to become more technologically oriented. This would usually be a good thing, but they didn’t have enough pre-planning to realize they would have to teach the older teachers how to use the technology. So all of the professors have to put their grades in the computer. There are about 50 teachers and three computers with the program on it. They didn’t have the program until two weeks ago and grades are due on Friday. In France, yo…