Author: Anne Donnelly

27 mars – clues

Today I had a lot of different slices in my head, but I can’t seem to get any of them out today because I’m excited about something else. Three of my fifth grade classes have been working on rooms in the house, hobbies, and family. vocabulary in English. These classes are really motivated and their classroom teachers do a lot of reinforcement of my activities on days when I’m not there, so their level is really high. I decided to try an activity that is a bit more difficult than our standard fare of flashcard games and charades. Tomorrow we are playing CLUE! It was always one of my favorite board games growing up, enamored of Nancy Drew and Encyclopedia Brown as I was. I always wanted to play be Professor Plum. My sister was usually Madam Scarlet, and if I remember correctly, I believe my dad often played as Colonel Mustard. Tomorrow, we won’t have the same colorful characters. I’ve modified the game to include the vocabulary we’ve been working on all year long. Instead of wondering …

24 mars – my day in stairs and hills

7:48      Slam the door, run down two flights : 40 stairs 7:49     Down the hill to the metro 7:53     Down three flights to the platform : 82 stairs 8:12     Down the escalator to the bus stop : 26 stairs 8: 29    Up the hill to the school gate 8:32     Up the stairs to the second floor (the third floor by U.S. standards) : 32 stairs 10:15    Down to the teachers lounge for recess : 32 stairs 10:33    Back up to the second floor : 32 stairs 11:30    Back down for lunch : 32 stairs 1:35      And up again for afternoon classes : 32 stairs 3:00    And down again for afternoon recess : 32 stairs 3:15     Class on the first floor this time, last class of the day : 16 stairs 3:45     Back down the stairs, down the hill, into the bus, up to the Metro platform 4:37     Up the long elevator to the street … just kidding I’ll ride …

23 mars – when you gotta go…

Many little family shops or neighborhood bars have quirky bathrooms. You know the ones I mean. Some are covered in cheeky murals, others have funky toilet paper holders, and they all extend or reveal a bit about the character of the establishment. France is notorious for particularly grim public restrooms. They usually consist of a toilet with no seat jammed into a closet so small your knees are practically grazing the wall. And they often leave a lot to be desired in terms of cleanliness. But hey, when you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go. Desperate times and all that… Which is how I found my self face to face with this toilet. I have to wonder about the sign… What event (or events) lead to its posting ? Why is it in English ? Is that really what the proprietor intended to say ?? Whatever the answers to these questions, it really made me laugh. And the toilet was fairly clean to boot! All in all a worthwhile foray into the sketchy world of French public bathrooms! ❂   …

22 mars – crash course

They say that the best way to learn something is to teach it, and I have really come to know the true meaning of this expression in the past few months. Though I am an English as a Foreign Language teacher, I am not necessarily an expert on all things English grammar. I am a native speaker, so beyond comma and semicolon usage, I was never explicitly taught many of the rules. In my primary job as an English interventionist in several elementary schools, we don’t spend much time on grammar. The students learn how to use vocabulary in context (I am 10. I have two sisters. Can you swim?) but that’s about as complex as it gets. Recently, however, I’ve begun privately tutoring two new students- an 8th grader and a senior in high school. At first, tutoring really intimidated me. One-on-one lessons are a completely different beast from lessons with a class of 30 second graders who take 10 minutes just to write their name on a paper. Some days the hour ticks by …

21 mars – from my table

From my table, I see the old men playing pétanque for hours on end. I watch, impressed, as their heavy metal balls clink effortlessly against their opponents’, decades of practice making the gesture as natural as walking.   From my table, I hear the school bell signaling students and teachers. I listen to its cheery, etherial music as it marks the passing hours. From my table, I feel the tram rumble far beneath me as it runs on the track directly below my street. I think of the thousands of strangers getting off and on the train each time it passes by. From my table, I smell the new candle I bought last week, scented with orange blossom. I inhale the sweet floral perfume and my mouth waters thinking of the delicious navette cookies, traditional in Marseille, scented with the same fragrance. From my table, I taste my afternoon snack of Granny Smith apple slices spread with store-brand nutella. I savor the tart, tangy juice of the apple mixed with the sweet, nutty chocolate. ❂   Slice of Life is a daily writing challenge …

20 mars – travel bug

Today, I have the travel bug. To be fair, I have it quite a lot of days. So often in fact, that I’ve twice picked up and moved to France. But the travel bug requires not only day dreams and travel guides and beautiful photographs. It also needs a touch of forethought, a bit of planning, and a whole lot of researching and comparing. Today was the day that I finally got down to business. I planned and arranged to visit my friend in London in May. I arranged to rent a car to drive through the beautiful provençal countryside when another friend visits in April. I booked a one night stay in Paris with the same friend. My spring break has also started to take shape with some potential travel options coming into focus– think southern Spain and/or Portugal! I also settled on a date and bought a ticket back home to the United States on May 22, and have already arranged for my personal Uber driver (my mom!) to pick me up at the airport! The …