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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 is important to note that this can actually exhaust a person. Especially because I had to figure if it would fit in my bag, if it would weigh too much, or if it was even legal to carry over international borders (I am not trafficing drugs, but you would be shocked by the rules about food and alcohol). I got home 4 more presents down and with an idea where to find one more. I had also managed to go grocery shopping and to the bakery. It had been a very good and productive day. I cleaned my room (took an extremely long time) and did my dishes (if I do not have a dishwasher I have an extremely disturbing tendancy to leave dirty dishes in the sink for unforgivable periods of time). Then I fixed lunch - tuna, cucumbers with my special sauce (recipes available at EMAIL ME now .com), the freshly bought still slightly warm bread .... oh it was delicious. Plus, I have yet to mention that it is a beautiful day, the sun is shining (this is very rare - I cannot seriously remember the time before this weekend that I needed my sun glasses, and almost all of you know I wear those things practically all the time). I layed down for a fifteen minute nap and as I was getting up, Mom and Dad called.

I talked to them for about a half an hour, and then went outside to take some pictures. I took a slew of pictures of the school from different angles, including my door and the other normal things I see everyday. I think people usually forget to take pictures of those things. And if one day I get amnesia, or just don't remember, or something, I want to be able to look back and think ... ah, I have a picture of that. Anyway, I'll post those photos soon - and in a more accessible online photo gallery as per Marco's request.

After picture time, I took a real nap. I know it seems like I sleep alot, but really, I have to keep up my sleep to avoid illness. I think I have discovered why I am constantly getting sick here, and am currently testing the theory. But, because I figured out what was making me sick this past week, logic tells us I must have somehow gotten sick again. Anyway, I took a nap. I got up and made a multilayer chocolate concoction and then went to Béatrice and Julien's for dinner. They both work in the Vie Scolaire (kind of like the guidance office and the attendance office and the Assistant principal's office (but not for discipline) ) all mixed together. We had raclette, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite meals. Too bad the cheese is forbidden in the US because it isn't pastuerized. Dommage. Afterwards, we talked about old 80's television series and watched The Lord of the Rings. The voices in french are really funny - but Treebeard and Gollum are shockingly similar. Home after midnight and straight into bed. Goodnight me.

Sunday morning, bright and 9a.m. early, Fredérique came and picked me up with her son Arnaud and we went to a confirmation mass for two of the girls in the Aumonerie - youth group. The mass was abbreviated (no second reading, skipped the creed, etc) because it would have been too long otherwise. I would usually be upset, but I was confused and happy about the truncation. This is specifically because there was no heat in the church. The ceiling is so high in the center, that when they tried to start heating it years ago, they discovered they were wasting money. So they stopped trying altogether. It was in the low 20's Saturday night and it hovered around 32 all day Sunday. It was cold in the church to say the least. Also, because I thought it was being held at another church, I had only worn two long sleeve shirts, a scarf and my jacket. No gloves, no sweater, no thick socks ... because the last church was super hot and I would up stripping layers off throughout the whole mass. I will not underestimate the power of cold again.

The service was really cool, and the bishop he remembered what each of the confirmants had written in their letters to him and talked to each of them after blessing them with the oil. What he tells them is a secret between them and God. I like this particular feature. I know they only confirm like, seven kids at a time here, but the personalization has such a poignant effect. We sold our little goodies afterwards (same ones from last time, except the cakes, those were freshly baked). Three hours after I had been picked up I was a human popsicle. I went to the Drumel's for lunch and afterwards they drove me home. They invited me to go on a hike with them, but I had proimised to help Hugues with the baby because he was alone with Martin for the weekend. (I had also been invited to Belgium.... I swear I am going to get to that country before I leave here.)

I watched West Wing and vegged out for an hour and then went over to Hugues. Martin was still napping, so we talked about everything from school, to work, to parquet flooring ... it was great. Then we took a walk in the park and I successfully took the baby carriage up and down steps! Then I gave Martin his bath and took care of him while Alice and Hugues and Christophe (Hélène's huband) and Eric tried to move two all wood armoires, a desk, and a table along with a bed for the baby and an assortment of small appliances and boxes up to the equivalent of the 5th floor from the basement level (where the truck was parked) in an elevator the size of a large phone booth. Afterwards, I got to celebrate the third Sunday of Advent with everyone, and then I had dinner with Alice and Hugues. Doing the wreath was cool, because in France they do not use different colored candles. They use all white or all red. Apparently the color thing is regional, and was done to match the color of the priest's vestments. (This is a deduction based on hearsay from varying levels of reliable sources. Anyone with facts should comment to straighten things out.)

Hugues drove me home and I watches Edward Scissorhands and made a giant poster for the hall. On Wednesday, I am showing It's a Wonderful Life in the big conference room on a projector screen. I wanted to advertise it, so I cut letters out of printed newsprint (not like a ransom note, letters actually formed from the paper) and made a 3'x4' poster. I really hope people come. I have been working on setting this up for three weeks now. I got to bed around one and made myself get up this morning an hour early to prepare lessons. I am sure I didn't actually have to, because Christmas is something I can talk about for hours, but I am glad I found some excellent worksheets and things for the kids to do. However, more suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

I hung the poster, taught, ate lunch with the Proviseur and first year teachers, did some surfing on the internet, fixed up "this here blog" by adding links to blogs I often read on the side, answered some email, rested in my room, taught some more, made sheets for all the English teachers to please announce the movie on Wednesday to their classes, had dinner with some of the students, and then came down here to give you a super cool update. I want to note that I love eating with the kids. They talk to me throughout the whole meal, there is usually something interesting to discuss, and tonight there was a girl who really wanted to speak to me in English, even though she claimed she was horrible at it. I love the fact that just sitting with them encourages them into learning. I love it. Plus, I get to learn, and it is significantly more amusing then eating alone.

This still does not explain the weekend in Paris, or many of the other adventures I have had and not told you about, but ... no, no excuses. I am a slacker. Guess you will have to get used to it. Hugs and kisses, and as Mom said, seven more sleeps 'til I'm home for vacation, ~Heather