Feb 13, 2005
Thursday afternoon I went with Lauren to one of her schools to watch her teach two classes. The little kids (they were between 10 and 12) seemed very confused by my arrival. They all just stared at me and a couple asked Lauren if I was her husband. I sat in the back of the room for both classes, and all during the lessons the kids would intermittently turn around and just stare at me.
After the second class, it was time for recess. We stood outside with a couple of the other teachers watching all of the crazy little bastards run wild. After recess was over, one of the classes Lauren teaches invited us to stay and have some chocolate cake for one of the student's birthday. Well, while we were eating, I guess the students got up their nerves because they started asking me a million questions. . . . in French. About eight of them backed me into a corner all speaking at once asking things like 'do you know spider-man?' 'do you know batman?' 'do you know Spongebob?' 'have you been to Paris?' 'have you been to New York?' I couldn't even answer them because I couldn't understand five people speaking at once.
As we left, two of the little boys shook my hand and all of the students taking English were saying 'goodbye' with very heavy accents.
Feb 05, 2005
We walked downtown today to run errands and we ran into a sea of people. Evidently, there was a protest today about something or other. There were seriously around 800 people carrying flags, chanting, and marching straight down the middle of the street. This really hurt us because the tram that we usually use to get around wasn't running in the middle of town because of all these jackasses. We got a flyer from some dude handing out propaganda. Evidently, liberal politics have been hurting the job market. So, there were a ton of pissed off people.
Jan 30, 2005
When two people meet for the first time (usually girl/guy or girl/girl) they give each other what's called bisous (pronounced bee-zoos). It's pretty much touching left cheek to left cheek and kissing, then repeating it for the right cheek. You don't kiss the person, but you make the kiss sound and motion. Bisous are also done as a greeting between two people who know each other well. In this case, they are even done by two guys.
As a non-French person, this is very awkward for me. I never know if a girl I'm introduced to will expect this or what. Usually, they will initiate it. It's still pretty uncomfortable. In one instance, we ran into one of the teachers Lauren works with at one of her schools. She introduced me to her and the woman leaned in to give me the bisous. The first one went off with no problem, but when we switched to the right cheek for the kiss, something went awry. I don't know if it was my fault - being utterly inexperienced - or hers, but instead of our cheeks touching, it was almost the corners of our mouths that touched. Either way, we got way too close to actually giving each other a real kiss. After she left, I told Lauren about it and of course blamed it on her teacher trying to get some American action. After all, she was young and pretty cute.
As I've said before, this is done as an introduction between a girl and a guy or two girls. I'm not really sure of the etiquette between two guys being introduced. But, to save myself from the possibility of kissing another guy, whenever I am introduced to someone new I immediately stick out my hand to shake.
Jan 29, 2005
Well, after last week's disappointment at the soccer game being canceled, we decided to try it again. So last night, we made the trek back out to the stadium to try and catch the last home game before I have to leave to come home in three weeks. Take a wild guess. That's right kids, the game was canceled AGAIN!!!!!!! What the hell? Once I can understand, but twice? We got off the bus and were looking stunned at the completely blacked-out stadium. Some drunk Frenchie saw our confusion and slurred something at us and laughed hysterically as he was walking by. I can only speculate that he said "the game was canceled you silly American jackasses." We were pissed.
Jan 28, 2005
We went to Lauren's bank today because she had to deposit two checks. The bank is right in the middle of the city. In the entryway to the bank, there was a guy just standing there. As we walked by him, my nose detected something that seemed a bit off. I asked Lauren "Does it smell like weed to you?" She agreed, and I looked back at the dude. Sure enough, he was smoking a joint in front of the bank in the middle of the day in the crowded city. Crazy Frenchies.