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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 this one up.

4:38     Up to the second floor : 40 stairs

4:38:001     And a big PLOP onto the couch. ❂

SOL

 

Slice of Life is a daily writing challenge during the month of March hosted by Two Writing Teachers. Visit their blog for more information about the challenge and for advice and ideas about how to participate.

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.

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! ❂

SOL

 

Slice of Life is a daily writing challenge during the month of March hosted by Two Writing Teachers. Visit their blog for more information about the challenge and for advice and ideas about how to participate.

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 sooooooo slowly and I leave feeling like I don’t know anything about teaching or speaking English or especially teaching someone how to speak English. Other days, I accidentally stay 15 minutes extra because we’re having such a great time talking and learning!

Little by little it’s become more of a fun challenge, and I’m learning a lot about some grammar minutiae which is a huge plus for a word nerd like me. Just today, I gave myself AND my student a surprise crash course in the very verb tense for which my blog is named!

When we met last week, she mentioned that she was having trouble with verbs tenses that are formed using the infinitive + -ing. I went home and planned a great lesson on the present progressive (I am sitting on the couch. He is watching TV. We are eating dinner.) So imagine the panic on my face when she asked for help explaining some incorrect answers on a recent quiz… on the present perfect*!

I struggled for a bit to explain the concept. “In this sentence it’s just a general idea, so you use present simple. But here it’s during a period of time, so you use the present progressive…but um, here it’s present perfect ’cause….um…”

But, after reading a few more examples and practicing forming sentences in this complicated tense (I have been writing all day. She has been playing piano for 3 years.) not only succeeded at perceiving the difference myself, but also at explaining the nuances to my student!

I certainly don’t wish for many more of these improvised grammar lessons, but in the moment, I felt like I’d unlocked a new secret to the English language! How crazy to think that in just 60 minutes I learned and taught about a concept that 3 months ago, I was not even able to name! ❂

SOL

 

Slice of Life is a daily writing challenge during the month of March hosted by Two Writing Teachers. Visit their blog for more information about the challenge and for advice and ideas about how to participate.

 

*technically, it was the present perfect progressive, but I didn’t want to confuse the poor girl!!


Key:

Present Simple
Past Simple
Present Progressive
Past Progressive
Present Perfect
Present Perfect Progressive
Past Perfect Progressive

auxilary
negation

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.

biscuiterie55ba180a4c7e3From 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. ❂

SOL

 

Slice of Life is a daily writing challenge during the month of March hosted by Two Writing Teachers. Visit their blog for more information about the challenge and for advice and ideas about how to participate.

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 nuts and bolts of travel can be stressful, even painful at times, but today I’m very excited that my Travel Bug is being fed and nourished! ❂

SOL

 

Slice of Life is a daily writing challenge during the month of March hosted by Two Writing Teachers. Visit their blog for more information about the challenge and for advice and ideas about how to participate.

18 mars – questions for france

Why don’t pencils have erasers attached? Is the obsession with writing only in pen the secret work of the White-out lobby? Why do grown adults use scooters as a legitimate form of transportation? Why do children ride on tiny bikes with no pedals? What is with the general lack of technology skills? Why is there a national obsession with slippers? Why are the titles on book spines printed in the opposite direction? What do kids do if they are thirsty at school since there’s no such thing as water fountains? What is going on with the seatless courtyard school toilets? Is there any rhyme or reason to the annual resetting of the train schedules? What are marshmallows and cough drops doing in the candy aisle? Has no one ever suggested standardizing the sizes of your mattresses? And what is with all the square pillows? What is the point of having a door handle in the center of the door? Why are keys so enormous? Do regular rounded paperclips exist in France?  Why is nail polish so outrageously expensive? Why why why does take-away coffee not exist? Is the teacher’s only means of communication with parents really a little red notebook? Why is everything sold in tiny glass jars? Why would a Carrefour Market coupon be invalid at a Carrefour City? How many people will I have given my RIB to by the end of the year? Where are all the ovens?! And why are the refrigerators so tiny?! Is pink toilet paper a fashion choice? Where are all the ziplock bags? How does a country that barely pasteurizes half of its cheese become so obsessed with ultra pasteurized milk? ❂

SOL

 

Slice of Life is a daily writing challenge during the month of March hosted by Two Writing Teachers. Visit their blog for more information about the challenge and for advice and ideas about how to participate.