Friday, 9 December 2011

C'est horrible! It's horrible!


I have not forgotten you all so I'm back. I know I know and about time too after all it's been a month! Hand slapped officially...

So i will start by being English/British (this argument bores me so theres both for you, either way I'm still from the Midlands which is in England/Great Britain/the UK) and here goes with my being terribly British with my first topic:

Weather here... C'est horrible.

Hail in Paris this week

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Now whilst my franglais is exceptional ("no gliséeing on the genous children" or "tu est walk comme ça?" being two of my finer moments) c'est horrible is in fact French and not franglais and means exactly what it sounds like. En Français 'horrible' is the same word as the English 'horrible' only without the 'h'.

To say horrible in French you merely remove the 'h' and instead add it to an English word such as 'apple' (so you get 'happle' something the French do all the time e.g 'this apple is hard' would become 'theeees happle eeees ard')

Anyway i digress (when don't i) so to pronounce 'horrible' in French, you remove the 'h' stick it somewhere abstract, the 'o' bit is the same, then the 'rib' part you have to sound like you are saying 'reeeb'. and then say 'le' quietly at the end. So it's barely audible. In fact scrap the 'le' altogether the French rarely pronounce the last letter of any word anyway. So what you get phonetically from c'est horrible is 'say o-reeeeeee-b-(le)' remember sssssssh at the end.

I LOVE phonetics, try saying 'beer can' without sounding like your ripping into someone with a Jamaican accent saying 'bacon' (bet you're trying it right now aren't you...?! You just can't do it!!!)

However I'm picking up what Michelle calls a 'pavement special' accent. I'm getting super confused living with a saffer, the day I start asking for 'mulk' in my coffee or saying I had 'fush' for tea. I'm going to enroll in elocution lessons. Probably should have done that years ago anyway it's not til you live abroad and people are focussing on what you say as a language for communication rather than just understanding your idle gossip does your accent officially come under the spotlight, because to someone learning English, HOW you say it makes all the difference.

Mind you, back to 'horrible' I can't rip into the French too much because that pronunciation is opposed to the English version of the word and we may also drop the 'h' and make the end 'ul' as in it's 'ori-bull'.

I love the French language, even asking 'where the bin is' sounds like some seductive invitation to dinner.

But then they say Paris is the city of love and who am I to argue with that. It's the whole reason I have been so slack with my blog of late as all my spare time (the time left when I'm not teaching, marking, report writing or lesson planning) is currently taken up by hours of Skype time with 'the bloke'.

So I apologise, even he started complaining saying I needed to get on and write a new blog (I told him this would involve sacrificing some of his talk time, which in the event I'm not as right now he's on a coach on his way here so I am free to type away as he's probably sleeping)

I also had writers block and when I mentioned I was writing reports I wasn't kidding. 100+ children in the school and I had to write reports and grade every single one of them giving them marks for various points raised per class I teach plus write individual notes on each child and how they're doing. Add to this marking recently carried out test papers, lesson planning and preparing their devoir (homework) for the Christmas holidays (they love homework out here the more you give the children the better apparently!) doesn't leave much time for anything else. Least of all at this most busiest time of year and this year it's a bit different for me too.

I have been busy preparing for my first Christmas in Paris and I can honestly say I haven't felt this christmassy in years. Mum always told me that if you work in a school you get a way more exciting build up to Christmas and I'm inclined to agree! Christmas is very much for children and I understand that with the right spirit even without them you can go on to have a merry Christmas indeed, I myself have had plenty over the years! but I'm pretty sure for the adults that do have them... Nothing can beat the excitement of letting them build up and share a little magic for a few weeks. If you do have kids and you don't do this. Shame on you I say. Or maybe more fool you. What's life without a little fun.

Have only heard rumour of a couple of children questioning santa. With adults then asking how they should respond. I mean like you even have to ask that question because Santa totally exists!!! Silly people.

Of course political correctness also prevails at this time of year and during one Christmas card making session when the children were sorting through glittery snowflakes and stars for decorative purposes one child came across an ANGEL!!! GOD FORBID!!! well actually no god wouldn't forbid but maybe Allah or Shivah or Jehovah or someone else might... Like the parents. Sigh. I carefully slid it off his table whilst he wasn't looking so no trace of religion escaped the school Walls!

But then unless you are at a specific religious school this is true of all schools, they just can't risk it. What a mad world we live in.

So we have tip toed our way round all religious intonations and even made a festive Christmas show 'Le Spectacle de Noel' without having the 'christ' in mas. The children are singing songs in French and then in English. It's hilarious. Upon hearing the running order I told Chris giving the french children 'Rudolph the red nosed reindeer' to learn was just plain cruel. Also slightly funny. I may take an umbrella if im sat on the front row.

I'm allowed to say this because my French friends at the school loved to make me say 'ronronner! To hear me struggling with the hacking and gagging 'rrrrrrrr' sound they make so well. For them its a purr, to me I sounded like I was being garrotted so in some small way this is my revenge. My other revenge was learning how to say it, really well.

However to get round some of the more complicated words (rudolph is pretty involved) there's a lot of babbling rather than singing going on so I think maybe based on what I heard today, their song sheets look something like this:

'RUDOLPH wewaaawawaaaaaa mmmmmmmmmm REINDEER had a shiny SHIIIIIIIIIINNNYYYY NOSE!'

I was informed by someone who heard one child practising that they were singing 'Rudolph the wa wa window...'

Watching the final rehearsal today was hilarious! You can tell which bits in the songs they all know by the decibel level.

At the very end the whole school sings "We wish you a merry Christmas" and I'd like to say that they have the same problem here that primary school teachers teaching this song have been having for as long as this song has been done. Hell I even remember the teachers pulling us up on this from my childhood way back when so altogether now:

"we WISSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHH you a merry christmas, we WISSSSSSSHHHHHHHH you ...."

Yup this song was written to be phonetically butchered by children no matter what the country or what the language. Bravo. I was meant to be stern but all I could do was giggle not helped by one of the other French teachers stood next to me who was also giggling because I had been telling her not 5 minutes before that "in England when we were little we used to do this thing on the 'wisssshhhhhh' that we always got told off for..."

good to see some thing's never change.

Mind you there was no keeping a straight face today, I even saw the usually stern headmistress spectacularly dissolve in hysterical laughter, as is the joy of working with small children there is ALWAYS something funny to write home about. However I wasn't especially laughing at my little dance groups performance of Jingle Bell Rock. So a 45 minute rehearsal, post spectacle rehearsal later, it is safe to say I have drilled that dance into their heads this evening.

Everything we set last week (like their places, you know, nothing major) just went out of the window when they got on stage.

Now there's something about theatres I know this only too well, to me they're a place of wonder, magic, where anything can (and does happen) and the children got in there for their for the first time today and you could physically watch their heads empty and their mouths fall open the second they stepped over the threshold. That's pretty much how it stayed. Awesome. All those weeks of rehearsals, here they are representing me, the new dance teacher so the parents can see what it is I've been doing with them these past few weeks and they decide to take their minds out the day before the show.

I got on the stage with my dance group who all stood their gazing round the theatre then looking at me.

All I could do was point and hiss 'la ba!' to remind them they were supposed to start from side stage.

They merely looked at me. Blankly. Very reminiscent of a scene from children of the corn.

So I took one half of my group and shooed them (for want of a better word) to the side of the stage where they were supposed to come on from, then turned my attention to the other equally vacant looking group and shooed them to the opposite side where they were supposed to enter from.

No sooner had I shooed group number two in the right direction and turned back around to continue with the next pressing issue (the music) were group number 1 tripping back across the stage towards me like I'd just buried them in pet semetary and they'd dug their way out and were heading home.

I promptly bent myself down to their level and all but clapping my hands at them literally shooed them back and as I was doing that so were group 2 returning back from their little zombie like trip to god knows where, but if we shuffle back into the centre of the stage Karen will tell us what to do. I literally chased them back into their corner too.

Honestly it looked like I was chasing chickens. It FELT like i was chasing chickens.

As I explained to one teacher in French, I used to work on a farm so "cows, sheep, chickens, children....they're the same thing" We laughed so hard I am surprised the headmistress didn't banish us. Mind you at least chickens don't ask questions and at least they do that squatting down thing so you can catch them easier.

All I can do now is cross my fingers for tomorrow.

Anyway life hasn't all been about school this last 3 weeks we had a house party, I've had lots of visits from the boyfriend (seriously it would be cheaper if he just moved here..) I've also had more flowers from the boyfriend, Matt please continue a girl can never have too. much of this ;)

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These were actually delivered to the school so the women were all a giggle especially when they found out the boyfriend had sent them 'parçe-que' (just because...) and all the kids thought it was my birthday. When I explained it wasn't and who had sent them the girls got especially girly and the boys screwed up their noses and wondered why. I told them one day when they were older and didn't find girls so annoying they'd get it and if not they'd be wise to...

Matt did actually come to the school the one Friday and stayed for my after school dance class. Of course the children were fascinated by him and as I drop the t sound from my words (Coventry accent) they all think he is called 'Max'. He sat in the corner out the way but it didn't stop the girls absolutely harassing him but they were pretty good and under strict warning he didn't encourage them too much. He was under threat of death if he did.

Anyway his visit went down well and at tonight's rehearsal all the children started to ask if Max was coming tomorrow to see the show, backed up (just in case I didn't know who Max was) with them pointing furiously at the corner where he had sat to watch.

I was pleased to tell them he will be. They are super excited but I've warned him he's not allowed to keep any of them ;)

Anyway I'm going to not prattle so much and instead I'm going to start filling my blog space with pretty pictures instead. Sometimes a picture paints a thousand words. Or something like that. Famous quote butchered. Yes I did just do that.

Well the house is still fine and lovely and the Fairy landlords have struck again and this time they have given us Christmas.

Always nice to come home to and always nice to have workload reduced by fairy landlords:

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Also of course we had our house party which went on til silly o clock and much alcohol was consumed from the first bottle of champagne to the last few drops of homemade mojito and vin chaud not to mention we were eating the food for a week!

It's not a party unless EVERYONE is in the kitchen

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Aaah yes the fire starters. What is it with men and fire?

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Just some of the food

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Bubble bubble toil amd trouble... Homemade vin chaud and mojito mix

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A French party treat known as 'pain surprise' looks like a loaf...

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Until you take the top of and reveal layers of sandwiches like a big bready jigsaw!

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(obviously no one ate the top bit so I did my bit for nature and gave it to the birds for breakfast before I left for school. When I returned from school that afternoon and found two large piles of feathers in the garden, I realised with great sadness I had inadvertently provided the local cat with breakfast that morning also...)

What else.... Oh yes have been to Disney more! (of course...)

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Whipped Matt at buzz lightyears laser blast (yup that there big score be mine!!!)

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Sooo just a few piccies because the place is horrendously photogenic

Mickeys winter wonderland show

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Main street

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The castle

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Fantillusion parade

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Matt had never been to Disney before so it was great to haul him round, silly ear wearing compulsory! However tis the season so it was extremely busy in the Park which meant we didn't get lots of rides done. However he has bought an annual pass so will be returning shortly as he's here for the whole of Christmas, I'm pretty sure at some point during our 2 weeks off we will do the rest.

Anyway. What else have I been up to? Oh yes had my first thanksgiving for which I went to my friend Shawns house! Wow the Americans do food right indeed, a massive thanksgiving spread was laid on complete with mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing and turkey plus we had the NFL game on the sky it was just a great night! 5 frenchies, 2 new Mexicans, 1 Oklahoman (who was also a stunt rider in the Will Smith movie Wild Wild West and splits his time between here and LA) and me! Oh and a jack russell, can't forget him! Party Time. Yes that's really his name. "Where's Party?" um I thought it was right here? "nope party's in the bedroom..." huh??? Oh you mean the DOG!!! anyway It was a great evening and a pleasure to be a part of. I'm very blessed with the people I meet throughout my life.

Of course the past few weeks haven't been complete without adventures with the Paris massive and I ventured into Paris again recently to the Stade de France as once again I had been given free tickets to the rugby so went to watch Racing Metro vs Stade Francias. An awesome experience!

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We were super fortunate as the hairy one was playing. Not playing well, but playing.

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Never let it be said that the French don't wear berets

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We had decided to make a bit of an afternoon/evening/as our nights out always go; early hours of the morning of it...

So post match the plan was karaoke. I was thinking standard bar, have a few drinks, wait your turn get up and sing badly and so we headed to the karaoke bar in Opera. Have to say after an amazing spectacle at the Rugby to get off the metro and head above ground to see this view was pretty something

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it's these moments that make me realise that my life is pretty special so do not fear, I'm not taking it for granted, not a chance in hell.

We walked down the road and headed into this dodgy looking closed down restaurant. The manager had a personality to match. We ordered a bottle of wine and then eventually he lead us downstairs through what I noted was also loosely sound proofed doors to a corridor which I have to say was vaguely reminiscent of something out of hostel. My faith was entirely in my boss's hands as we were lead to a door that was open

So what's behind door no. 2

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A soundproof room with a karaoke machine apparently!

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It was hilarious! You Hire the room for a per person charge by the hour, choose your songs (quickly, time is money!!!) and then just....sing! Sounds really simple and it is! If you need to exit the room at any point opening the door automatically turns the sound down too so as not to upset the neighbours. Oh my god did we laugh and most of us had throat. Issues the next day:

So pick a song

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Add friends

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Air guitar is optional

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We ended up in here for 3 hours, we had only booked an hour and ended up pleading a lot. 3 hours later... A bar in opera, some mojitos and a stand off in the commoners taxi line which wasn't as popular as the line of suits waiting for cabs outside the opera house it was 3am and I was in a taxi heading along the champs élysées towards the arc de triumph at place d'etoile.

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All good nights out should end like this.

I love my life.

Karen x

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