My goal for next week is to plan for my posts a little better, so I kick this habit of posting at the last minute!! For today, a small reflection on “the little things.” “Agnès told me that I was doing a great job and a moyenne told me that my braid was just like La Reine des Neiges. It’s nice to be appreciated.” Agnès’s comment could not have come at a better time. The teacher of a difficult group of 3 year-old preschoolers (an age group I don’t particularly care to work with again…) barely spoke English herself, but was so kind to compliment me on the lessons I had been doing over the course of the year. Especially appreciated at the time, because of one of her colleagues who was constantly comparing me to previous teaching assistants the school had had and whose French-style confrontation was very disheartening. One of her students that day also informed me that my thick, long hair, tied in a single plait, looked just like La Reine des Neiges, …
One of my great friends in Chambéry was an outspoken and inquisitive Italian named Elisabetta. We hung out practically every weekend, cooking with friends, watching movies, but we had rarely spent much time one-on-one, mainly because we were surrounded by so many wonderful friends. One weeknight during the February vacation, all our friends had returned home, were traveling, or had family visiting, and not wanting to waste an evening, we naturally made plans, just the two of us. After watching a movie (Alceste à Bicyclette, one of my favorites!), we were cleaning up from dinner when Betta, sponge in hand, said, “Okay, sorry. I have this song in my head so I just need to play it, do you mind?” “Well, we’re in your house…by all means!!” And she put on the opening Witches chorus from Verdi’s opera Macbeth. Being just elitist enough to want to wake up with opera stuck in my head, but uncultured enough to know next to nothing about it, I pretty much thought that was the greatest thing in the world.
Prologue May 2, 14:35 A lot of work went into this very moment. Months of planning, whispering, stressing….
A few weeks ago, a fellow TAPIF assistant and blogger, Anne à l’aventure, published a post about reasons NOT to travel, which got me thinking… It may not be a popular opinion, especially in the Instagram Age where #wanderlust is the most noble of ambitions, but I am increasingly coming to terms with the notion that I’m simply not cut out for the “traveller lifestyle.” One look around my bedroom will tell you why: I have only lived here six months and already my walls are covered in postcards, train tickets and children’s drawings. Dozens of books are stacked on the floor next to the slowly growing pile of flashcards and worksheets used at school. Markers, pens, post-it notes and girl scout cookies clutter my desk and my window sill is home to not one but two plants. This is not the kind of place that you can easily pack into a backpack.
When the proprietor of the little fruit and vegetable market across the street you’ve been patronizing recognizes you passing on the street Interactions with store clerks where they don’t automatically respond to you in English When your host mother tells you that you have a very good accent and then proceeds to make fun of the French accents of the English people she knows Successful interactions with co-workers that include more words than “oui, d’accord” Seeing a Molière play in French at the Comédie Française and actually understanding (parts of) it Smirking at all the American tourists looking for the Louvre on a Tuesday Realizing you know a shortcut to get somewhere Figuring out a metro route without looking at the map Surviving any phone conversation, no matter how short When you accurately use a complicated verb tense in casual conversation and you don’t have to think too hard about it When seeing this reminds you of where you are, a fact that still hasn’t ceased to amaze you: