Wednesday, 27 November 2013

La bêtise: stupidity

It's been such a long time since i wrote this!  It isn't that I have had nothing to write about, i mean who knows, my life is never dull, but then sometimes there's too much to write and I've had a lot of work on and I just lost the will and inclination. Truth is I love writing (normally) but then life kind of took over and I lost that joy, it became a chore, so I stopped. Now I miss it, so here we go again...although not entirely sure how long for but voila, there you go. 

 So what has happened to me since I last wrote this?? Well reviewing the old blog, work wise I was in France teaching sport and dance. Yep that's still all the same. Still running around with the children like a lunatic all week, why only yesterday I had been a mouse, cat, dog, horse, elephant, giraffe, hippo (steady) crocodile, frog, lizard and snake and ALL before lunchtime. Somehow we are now into our third year and whilst our best friend and adored colleague Larke just left us, my rock and best friend otherwise known as the wife is still passing the seasons in silliness with me, but she is now my boss...

Ah to add now I work weekends at Disney also. Okay the job isn't the most fabulous but the Team are rather wonderful and that is everything. I also teach privately which is oh so rewarding and i'll explain more why I work a stupid amount of hours later. I do have good reason. Other than supporting myself.  

What else asides work? Ah yes romance! My love life, i was back with the ex!  We went on to get engaged and he moved out here for me and everything.  It was great and all, very romantic, aaaaaah l'amour in the city of love and we lived happily ever after... yes indeed, just not with each other.   The condition that went with me taking him back and giving him his umpteenth chance was that he would no longer 'faire des bêtises' (i.e be a dumbass) as if he continued then this time I wouldn't be waiting around. I wasn't joking.  The second I got even a hint of the old familiar 'imbêtise' from him I was as good as my word and I walked.  Ladies life is too short to be unhappy.

Cue Aretha "R-E-S-P-E-C-T sockittomesockittomesockittomesockittome......" 

 So this is Bridget Jones for Sit Up Britain. Not even.

 For a while I was crazy cat lady, in January I found myself with a beautiful European shorthair kitten who I adored and named her 'Nala' which besides the Disney reference means 'beloved'.  It was just me and my Nala puss against the world (please notice tragic use of past tense here) she was my best friend, my baby girl, my roomie, my guardian angel and the love of my life in one beautiful, purry little package of perfection. There were no words for how happy she made me and how much I loved this little girl. But the best things are never meant to last and clearly my poor angel had a genetic time bomb ticking away inside her. After some seizures that were too great for her little body to handle I chose to have her put to sleep before she was robbed further of dignity. She was one week past her first birthday, It's been a few weeks since I kissed her goodnight for the last time and I'm still struggling to cope with losing her. Sometimes the little moments when she pops into my head floor me. First thing in the morning usually, you wake up and for one second everything is normal, then you remember and It is like someone suddenly pulls all the air out from your lungs, you hurt so much that for a second you can't breathe. I am literally suffocated by how much I miss her sometimes, but how lucky I was to have known her and the most important thing for a girl is to know how to be happy even when she is sad. So we continue. It's life. 

 Miss you my girl x


To be honest my jobs don't feel like work. Every day i get to school and by lunchtime i've received more hugs than i can possibly count and been told I'm beautiful several times over, who am i to argue even when i feel shocking, for as they say in France "la vérité sort de la bouche des enfants" yup kids speak the truth ;) When I get to the homes of my private clients I am plied with coffee and cake and get to play with their animals. Win win.


Sometimes I am on my knees exhausted: No seriously this is how the kids leave us sometimes:


But then other times just when you think you are useless and you aren't getting through to them ... i mean let's be clear sometimes children aren't the brightest BUT as Einstein said


Fault as with anything in life can very often be found within. 

 I had a student who was particularly struggling last week and not seeming to take anything on board, I was trying to teach her the basic questions like "How, Who, What, Where....?" and she struggled massively with 'Which'.  I tried every angle I could to drum it into her, finding things that matched like two almost identical blue pens and asking her to pass me the blue pen...she passed me a blue pen without question. I kept trying to explain to her "but without question how do you know WHICH blue pen I want??? they are both the same!!!" She just wasn't getting the reference it just wasn't going in! I went home wondering how on earth I was going to win this one. 

 So today I gave her the opportunity to ask me any question she liked. She did the usual 
"How are you?" and managed "where are you from?" Then before I left she picked up 2 identical green pencils and said:

 "Which one would you like...?" 

 When I left their house I got into my car and I cried. 

So all 'work' no play makes Karen a dull girl, hmmmm what else? Ah hobbies, social life definitely got me one of those, check! Expats make the most amazing friends, you are all like minded crazy enough to be well out of your comfort zone (you have moved to a foreign country after all and left everythng familiar behind) and obviously you have no family here, so, you make your own!


I got back to horse riding,


I blade often through Paris on a Friday night with the PariRoller group

I am still running and working out, I have travelled a bit (managed Amsterdam, Ibiza and the mountains and the South of France this year!) and also joined Circus School. These are currently on hold thanks to winter schedule and work but it keeps me out of (or in to) new mischief. If teaching goes wrong I can always run away with the circus?
So right now it's nearly Christmas out here (ha like it is in every other Country in the world also). It is approaching my third Christmas since I moved here but this Noel I'm going to go home and visit the folks thanks to the stupid 'Christmas in a day' advert on youtube

  and the Josh Groban song 'Believe' also to blame (seriously my music taste goes from "you gotta hear this!" To "please don't judge me but..."). One minute I can be driving along with a bit of country, or dubstep, or pop, rap whatever....then 'what does the fox say' or 'the hokey cokey' interrupts or Worse Justin Bieber!!! (I got this for dance with the kids in my defence and he's haunted me ever since). My iPod collection is embarrassing but I teach kids ok??!! (Except for that fox song, personally I love it, there i said it). Anyway, Listening to that Josh Grobin song made me want to wake up on Christmas morning and be spoiled by my parents like I was 9 years old. So I booked a ticket home. My dads response...? Oh if we'd have known you were going to come for christmas we needn't have booked to come out to Disney for New Years Eve to see you. Brilliant. Thanks dad, but we all know the only reason you guys come to Disney, is to go to Disneyland. It's just lucky for you the excuse is that I work out here. Don't believe me? I have lived here over two years, they have been here this will be their 4th time now and they STILL haven't even seen where I live or work even though its like 5 minutes away from Disneyland itself. 

 Bah humbug parents. Love you really ;-) The real reason they come to visit...


Christmas out here is wonderful though, I've already been emotional at the start of the Disney Christmas season with my girls,


Have most presents already purchased and they have some fab traditions out here which if I keep this blog up this time I can write about! But the people out here are wonderful and warm and friendly and you couldn't ask for more. I remember my first christams day out here I had the most amazing meal with my adopted family en France as I call them. Well it would have been even better were it not for the fact I was still new to them and didn't realise their 'join us for a spot of Christmas Day lunch' meant 5 courses round the table with wine, champagne and the whole family will be dressed to impress. What was the problem here? Well not expecting such a formal occasion I had wound up partying to the small hours of the morning with who was to become my future housemate in what is now my home (yes earlier this year I moved into a beautiful cottage in the same village!) if anyone ever offers you a polish brand of vodka with a blade of grass in it and a picture of a buffalo on the front, trust me, do NOT touch it. This stuff floors cowboys, real ones and these guys can drink. So I digress.... I was barely alive and embarrassingly and totally self inflictedly (I just totally invented a word there) malade. 

Sick. As. A. Dog. 

 Honestly it was like the Vicar of Dibley Christmas episode where she has ALL the dinners because I did have two Christmas meals that day. On a hangover. It makes a great story because no story ever started with "so I had this salad..." In fact I wish I could say "So I had this salad" because in fact in life those who know me know 
1. I hate seafood 
2. I don't eat liver Yuck. 

 Well the starter was scallops in Foie Gras sauce. Yes I can hear you all urging for me. So as not to seem rude I washed it down with a lot of baguette and champagne. Oh la classe. 

 So what else has this country taught me other than they eat really weird food sometimes and not to touch polish vodka! Ah obviously the language! Ah French, the language of luuurve. My Franglais is awesome, my Frenglish is good for when my language is broken, I has the dumbs and I have no idea how to get my point across and am communicating ANY way I can (I did a great impression of a cow and a chicken complete with arm actions to mime horns and flapping of arms to demonstrate wings all complete with sound effects to translate beef and chicken to a Spanish family once. Sadly there were witnesses, not my finest hour). My French is however abysmal. Somedays it's not, somedays it is very good and people are now catching on I understand most of what's being said around me and somedays I pretend its better than it is to shut people up and somedays I think I don't speak it then go and deal with something in a level that is almost fluency. Again I think it depends on whether or not I have the dumbs or have had sleep. Also greatly altered by alcohol consumption. Lets face it though after the second glass of wine you could probably convince yourself to attempt Hebrew. Alcohol is useful sometimes 

 The biggest lesson has been the French you are taught in the UK is useless however. Let's review, common phrases We know and love from school days: 

 1. I would like a kilo of tomatoes 
2. I'd like a blue skirt please 
3. Do you have something cheaper? 
4. Where is the library? 
5. I have a headache. 
6. What time is it? 
7. How are you? 
8. What time is the next train to Paris? 
9. A glass of red wine please (ok this is actually useful...) 

 I mean do you ask for a kilo of anything in England??? NO they have machines that do that for you now! And as for 'do you have this skirt in blue?' Can you imagine walking into H&M and saying that???!!! What shop is this? Do they think France is full of those family owned knit shop outlets? It's some technologically backward country?? (Okay to be fair the villages are full of greengrocers, fishmongers and bakeries like war time England was, but still). I mean seriously, go to ASOS and use google translate. If you ask for something cheaper in Paris they'll probably chase you out the shop with a broom for lacking class. Or throw one of the pretty shrubs that adorn the shop front at you (My friend genuinely witnessed a waitress launching her tips at an American family as they left the restaurant because they left her just a random pile of loose change...) 

 Anyway, french that i ACTUALLY needed this year... 

 1. My cat has had a fit and I have an appointment with the neurologist for her brain scan 
2. I was riding my horse when we had an incident with a tree and I thnk I need an X ray because it feels like I've smashed my eye socket. 
3. I want third party, fire and theft only car insurance with breakdown cover please 
4. I believe there is a problem with my starter motor. 
5. Seriously, where are the eggs and do you not have castor sugar here? 
6. The boiler is broken 
7. I have moved house already when are you going to connect my phone line?! 
8. No really what time is the next train to Paris I've been waiting for like an hour now... 
9. Sure I'll go for a drink with you but if you think that means I'm going to sleep with you, you can forget it. 

 This last one ladies is very important.  Obviously having been on my own for a large portion of my time out here I'm fair game for red blooded International males.  Or so they like to think.  As it is European guys think English and American girls are easy, because usually they tend to come here as students or just seasonal, and... oh yeah let's have a fling with a sexy French guy.  Sure French guys are super charming let it be said (ever heard of an American kiss? or an English kiss? No... I have a point...). So I've spent all summer trying to change the opinion and demonstrate we are not (maybe I speak for myself here?!) but these guys will try anything.  They are really intense too.  By date 2 they'll be discussing your future.  No really.  By about date 5 you could be exchanging contracts, by date 5 they've probably changed you for someone else, or are married. They work fast.  This scares me to death and probably why I'm still kicking round refusing to take anyone seriously.

The best line I heard recently in French was 

 "Karen I have a problem, see it's now winter and It's cold and when I wake up in the morning it would be really nice to have someone there to keep me warm..." 

 I think they heard me laughing back in the UK. He's going to have to do better than that.

 Until next time, stay positive people. Everything is possible x