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Showing posts from January, 2006

Being Productive

I spent today online (when I wasn't teaching) either preparing lessons, checking email, looking for a summer internship, or attempting to connect my laptop to the school system (it is almost grade time again, and I want to have a chance at getting on the internet).

In just a minute, I am going upstairs to try and make peanut butter cookies from scratch with the remains (basically everything but the first sandwich's worth) of the peanut butter I bought earlier this year. I figure, if I am not going to throw it away or eat it, I might as well use it to make something I like. I am going to try to make brownies tomorrow. If there is anyone who happens to know how much a "square" of unsweetened chocolate is, I would appreciate it. Also, if anyone knows what shortening is, and what I can possibly use as a substitute.

Tonight I have badminton and the youth group. When I get back, I am going to be preparing for my morning lessons and cleaning up the inevitable cooking mes…

France Telecom

Please let me express my complete distaste for France Telecom, the monopolistic piece of crap company responsible for all of the land lines in France. The phone I bought from them broke. There it was, on the wall, and then it stopped dialing out. So, I decided this would be a good time to return the phone. In the meantime, I used another phone.

*The assistants from last year left us a phone, but the man who had it forgot to give it to us until after we had already bought our own. (Same as the toilet water man) We have been using the one we should have been using all along.*

I got there just as they were opening for the afternoon. I explained to the woman that the phone didn't work and I asked if it was possible to exchange it or get a reimbursement. She wanted to test the phone first and make sure it didn't work. Which it didn't. Then, in her infinite wisdom she went in search of another phone. I had asked for a reimbursement. I should note that word reimbursement…

Walks, Nutella, & Apt.Hunting

So, I have spent this weekend doing all sorts of randomness. I deservedly slept in Saturday. Then I went for a walk stopping at all 5-6 car rental agencies to find one for when Caroline is here. Then, I finished up my communications Personal Statement and sent it to Dad (thanks Dad for the corrections). While I was waiting for him to send it back, I did some work looking up places for Caroline and I to visit while she is here. I am excited to really have a travel buddy! Also, I should note that Caroline turned 22 yesterday, so congratulations to her!

Saturday afternoon I didn't actually make the walk I was going to take (the sun went down, and my friend had a cold and didn't want to walk because it gets too cold). Instead I cleaned my room and tested the electricity in the bathroom. That sounds strange, I am sure, but it is an old system, and needs to be checked once a month. Then I swept my room, took a shower and started getting ready to go out. I had an actual date…


I read this from a link I got off Paula's blog. It is a particularly poignant at the moment as my father is at the doctor's having tests done, my sister had the worst day yesterday, my mom has an MRI this afternoon, and my brother told me he was too busy to tell me all the things that were making him feel rotten. I want to be able to support them and take care of them so much. I really want to be there. I hope they realize, like I do, that nothing can ever really take me away from them.

**Special Note: Thank you Mom and Dad for bringing me home for Christmas, it would have been really difficult without you!**

Like the author said, I thank you - all of you. My friends, my family, anyone who has cared enough to read this. I don't imagine my absense is a burden on many (or any) of you, but know that I feel the little spaces in my heart that are only filled in your presence. I will try to make the best of this opportunity so that we can all share in the rewards when we a…

Puppet Show

Last night I went to the International Puppet Institute and saw a student puppet show. They all used hand puppets to do two "person" scenes. It was marvelous. I have never really been impressed by puppetry, but these kids were awesome. Kids meaning first year university age students. One of the little skits was in English. Performed without accent and using slang - I was thoroughly impressed. Not just by the language, but by the intricacies of the movement the puppeteer managed. I paid her these compliments afterwards, and found out she was from Bulgaria! I think it is wonderful. Many of them had the same themes, but I have never seen anything so detailed and specific before. They were very precise and extremely articulate for being behind a curtain. So, all in all, I was impressed. I went with Gladys (German stagière) and Sonia (the Spanish prof I play volleyball with). It is really too bad i couln't take pictures of any of it. But, take my word for it, I…

March for Life?

To all those who participated in the DC or local demonstrations of March for Life I want to say first, that I think that what you guys did is awesome.

However, I have a few questions/comments. When you have a rally that big, what exactly are the anticipated results? The government knows there are tons of people who are pro-life, and their opinion isn't bound to be changed by people blocking off all traffic in the city and marching around with posters. So, I guess I sympathize and am truly excited that everyone there was so dedicated and involved, but I just don't see the point.

Additionally, I am a little confused by people who want to make a law saying that women can't have abortions. The reason I am against the LAW (note: not the idea) is that I don't want the government regulating my body. What if the government were to say that certain types of surgery were forbidden. Like, if you needed surgery, but the risk the surgery presented was greater than the chance o…


I think the most difficult adventure I have had so far began this week. For some reason, it seems like everyone has been talking to me about general prcess in France. And controlling my temper when they talk about the stuff that goes on in this country ... I don't know how they live here. And then I remember they have been brainwashed. If you thought communism only existed in China nowadays, you were sadly mistaken. They might call it socialism, but it just isn't. If it was, people wouldn't be suffering. I think socialism can only really happen in heaven. Keeping that in mind - these people need to remember that they themselves claimed liberty.

Their motto is: "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity."

They have forgotten all but the fraternity, and they are even managing to screw that up.
*Note to Marco: I feel like I am stepping into Ayn Rand's world of "People's Republics."*

Because I do not feel like getting upset about it again today, I leave yo…

Weekend Update + Religion

Hello loyal readers (or first timers, whomever)!
Here is the rundown:

Friday, I did laundry at Alice's after teaching all day. Watched Martin for a little while - and he is finally walking! It is so cute! Then, because I couldn't find anyone to go to the storytelling thing with me, I stayed in and watched movies and Will and Grace. I also read some Kate Chopin. Pretty cool stuff. I also managed to blow the fus in my room because I was cooking chicken in the oven and rice in the microwave at the same time. Oops. But, in the end, the well-mushroomed chicken marsala and rice tasted delicious.

Saturday, I got up and went to Hélène's to take care of her son Etienne for a little while. I had lunch with her family afterwards as payment. I love getting paid in good food! Then I went to a bookstore and got a whole book of Sudoko math puzzles. (More on this later.) I went to the grocery store and bought apples to make pie, a yam, and some canned green beans = 3.37€. Go me-…


I wanted to tell everyone I have finally made my decisions on graduate schools and will be applying to Johns Hopkins University for their Communication in Contemporary Society Masters of Arts degree and to American University's School of Communication for their Public Communciation Masters of Arts program. Both schools are in the Washington, DC area and have communication and public policy blended in their programs. Applications and financial aid forms will be occupying my time for a few days. Sorry y'all. Talk to you again soon. Love always, ~Heather

"Emotional" Collage

My first class today was pretty rough. They didn't really want to talk, they didn't seem to get too excited about the activity. In general, kind of bland. My second class didn't show up (this was always a possibility). But my third class.... I was so excited.

My third class today started off ordinary. Introductions, rules, and then a Speaking with Emotion exercise. They read these sentences, like :
That was the best joke I've ever heard! Did you hear that? There's a monster under the bed! The first time through, they just read them. The second time it gets pretty entertaining, because I have them read it with the proper emotion. The third time, they get to choose their favorite three. I love how they laugh at themselves and each other. Today, I tried a new activity with the class. They were asked to rip up a single sheet of newspaper. Then they had 5 minutes to glue it onto the back of their worksheet in whatever fashion they wanted. Afterwards, I had them e…

Sudden Realization

I feel like a complete and utter imp.

I was so excited because I had managed (with alot of help from my family) to send out the application packet to the Smithsonian. It was great, and I felt such relief in being able to cross it off my to-do list. I sent out the stuff hoping for letters of reference. And then I did the coolest thing... I sent the proposal to the guy at the museum who said he wanted to hear more about my ideas.

I got an email from him. He wanted to read it before I sent it in, not after I had finished it. He didn't necessarily want to discuss my ideas with me, just give me feedback as to how to propose the subject better, or something. So what I got back was an email saying it was impossible to help me at this point and that I better make sure I get it in the mail.

Just one more event to add to my list of things that have made me feel INCREDIBLY stupid.

The good news is, next time I have to apply for something, I know what it means when they say, "Consult with yo…


I put off writing a really important part of the project until the mast minute. The front page is going to make all the difference on this subject. It has to be perfect. It has to be persuasive. It needs to be finished. I have punished myself by putting myself in a place called Procrastinators Hell. This is a location where you go and get writers block on a subject you know forwards and backwards because you waited really long and the Muses have decided to give you a little taste of what it feels like to wait. They could help you. They could swoop in. But, because you didn't go when the energy and ambition were with you, because you sacrificed yourself to the limitation of time, you must now work of your own accord. Entirely so. Hey, good luck. You're going to need it.

Choosing a Career

While reading my email before classes today, I glanced through one from a scholarship search engine I use. It was an article about making good career choices. I thought that was an excellent thing to look at considering my current state of quasi-indecision. Of the list of reasons one should avoid choosing a career or major which applied to me were the following:

Decision Paralysis: Becoming so overwhelmed with choices that you can't decide, or you decide not to decide. Example: "I don't know what I want to do, so I'll just go to graduate school to keep my options open." OR (my example) "I don't know what I want to do, so I'll go to France and think about it for awhile."

Rules of Thumb: Mental shortcuts to make choices easier. Example: "I better not major in art, because you can't get a job with that degree." (Same, except insert "theater")

The Information Cascade: Being influenced by repeated exposure to certain facts. Ex…

American Monday

I felt like I was having an actual day today. I had more than one job to do. I had work to do on my own. I had a few chores to finish in my room. I had responsibility. I love the feeling of being American.

I am not saying in any way that it is solely a western tradition to have those things, but it seems to me more and more that it is extraordinary here, and my day would have been like a really easy going Saturday back home.

I had class this morning and I had to go to three classrooms before one was empty. The one I found had a window that wouldn't close and an electric saw on metal and a drill going outside. It took most of the class to get the students going, and then the bell rang. I dropped my stuff and headed to my "Business Lunch." My client could barely string together sentences. I was supposed to talk to him - only in English - for an hour and a half. When half way through he reverted to french, I couldn't blame him. I went back to school and worked…

Acciale Formation = "Business Lunch"

This morning I hit snooze approximately 4 times before forcing myself to leave the warm comfort of my bed. After a shower, apple sauce, and a quick glance at my email, I was off. I had a meeting on the other side of Charleville at 11. I left for the 20 minute walk 40 minutes early and still arriced 10 minutes late. This was in partly due to flurries and dog poop dodging on the sidewalk, but primarily due to my inability to read the directions I had written to myself. On a road where the building numbers increased one at a time, I misread 119 as 189. 70 buildings, a highway ramp crossing, and 1/2 mile later, I finally reached my destination.

My meeting this morning was with a company that wants me to do some temp work for them. Another American assitant here had given them my contact information. I get paid 15€ a meeting (6 scheduled meetings so far) to eat lunch with an aspiring business person who needs to learn English. The 6 week session I have ahead of me is with someone w…

Beginning of 2006

Hello again from France. It has been quite awhile since I have been able to write to you from here. I got back to Charleville quite nicely (minus a 10€ charge for not having enough time to post my train ticket after a 13€ cab drive because the bus was late). I slept on the flight and on the bus and then again on the train. I ate dinner with Alice and Hugues, got home and went to bed at 11:30 last night. I guess I just needed to catch up on sleep. I will be taking a nap in a few short moments as well.

Classes started bright and early again this morning. Too bad I hadn't prepared my lessons in advance. I am really going to have to work on that. *Resolution 2: Prepare lessons in advance of all my lessons by at least 24 hours.

I am actually only writing to you quickly to wish you all a happy beginning to your 2006 work year. I saw an ad in Dublin airport that read, "There are about 1,950 work hours in the coming year. Hope you like your job." I thought that was p…