30 January 2010

Productivity at last!

What a productive week it has been! The weeks accomplishments included completing mundane chores, studying for the GRE, attending my conversation group, visiting the Orangerie with Kelsy, and booking plane tickets to visit my dearest Sarah DW in Munich the second weekend in February.

I also managed to have my work schedule condensed. Now that I have done so, it has made my time at work a lot more productive, making me feel more energized. Yeah, it's kind of a pain to commute 1.5 hours in each direction for only an hour of work on Tuesdays, but it's better than sitting around bored out of my mind! Silver lining, right?

Not to pat myself on the back or anything, but on Thursday one of my favorite teachers that I work with pulled me aside to tell me that she thinks it's my destiny to become a teacher. She said that I am dynamic with the kids and they seem to love me. Then at lunch she told me that one of her 8 year old students approached her and said the same thing (without the elevated vocabulary and in French of course). This really caught me off guard. First of all, I have never wanted to be a teacher; and second of all, I had never with children until this past summer. Though it was during that time when I realized how hilariously entertaining kids can be. Quite honestly they used to scare me, and I was never sure how to appropriately talk to them, but now I really enjoy being around them. So my lack of interest in becoming an educator really has nothing to do with the children, but more to do with the system itself. Too much bureaucracy, too much pressure, and too much stress. It's the kind of job that invades every aspect of your life, and it seems like these teachers never stop working, whether it be on lesson plans, grading notebooks, or some administrative work. Every day of teaching is filled with peaks and valleys, so I suppose(as with any career) I must decide if the peaks are high enough to outweigh the valleys.

Only 3 more weeks until the next vacation! But let's be honest here, my entire life is one big vacation...

25 January 2010


On Friday I went to London to visit my pops. 'Twas a long day. Let's see... between my commute to work and my trip to London I rode on a total of ten trains on Friday. I must say I'm a wee bit sick of trains, though I prefer riding a train for 40 minutes to work over driving 40 minutes any day. Though the underground trains in London must have been built for elves because they are so small you can't even stand in them.

Overall it was strange to spend the weekend in an English speaking country. When I got onto the tube and bumped into someone I let the words "Pardon, excusez-moi" slip out of my mouth
instead of "Excuse me" (is that even what we say when we bump into someone in English? I can't remember anymore). Then, when the server brought me my dinner at the bar I said "Oh,
merci beaucoup!". I'm a fool.

So here are some pictures from the weekend:

In other news...

I have learned a lot about myself this week. The best way to really learn a lesson is to learn it the hard way. Let's just say I've got a lot of really good material for my tell-all memoirs when I'm old. We'll leave it at that because I'm not old yet. Forever young, right J-Z?

Optimistic like always,


19 January 2010

The Big Picture and Sore Feet

I hate paying attention to detail. I'm a big picture person, and when it comes down to tedious tasks... peace out. Follow through has always been a challenge for me because I always find a new, more exciting idea to become attached to when the previous one begins to become mundane. For new years I made a resolution to work on following through. Maybe I'll even end up committing to an idea for more thant five minutes, but let's not get too ambitious here. I have got to quit giving up on projects 3/4 of the way through, but sometimes I just can't get myself to philisophically justify paying attention to detail when there are bigger fish to fry.

But, there is one passion of mine in which I obsessively pay attention to detail, one thing that I find myself doing whenever I have a moment to spare, and that is writing. When it comes to writing I am a perfectionist, always reorganizing, editing, and analyzing the most minuscule stylistic things. (I hate that I just used the word things, for example, but I couldn't think of the word I wanted to use and I'm sure you won't judge me). I could write and edit all day long. (Shout out to the FMCWMA for allowing me to earn money by doing what I love for a short amount of time). So if writing can conquer my inner detest for details, maybe I should pursue it as a career. Why couldn't I have become obsessed with investment banking or nuclear physics? Of course I would be predestined for the most inaccesible career on planet Earth.

Baaaa.... anyway...

The past six days have been mentally exhausting. I've walked a mile in a pair of shoes that I would rather not walk in again. Ever. Where did I even get these shoes? I never thought I'd have shoes like these, but everyone else had them and they seemed fun and exciting. Maybe a little too exciting. Now i have sore feet and I want to channel my anger by taking a nice long run but I didn't bring any tennis shoes to France (I figured it'd be a great excuse not to exercise. "Whoops, forgot my tennis shoes!").

But things are looking up! I had a lot of fun this weekend despite events that inspired my shoe analogy. I went out with Alexis on Saturday and we hung out at our friend Alex's apartment, learned a whole new meaning for the Tour de France (and consequentially will never be able to think of it the same way again), and saw my old high school pal Kelsy who is now in Paris for a semester abroad.

This week my goal is to keep busy and really dive into my 20 hour/week study schedule for the GRE that will last until March 10 (dooms day), and on Friday I am going to London to visit my dad while he's there for business! Hooray English speaking countries!

4.5 weeks until the next vacation...

xoxo Gossip Girl

(That's for you, Jessie)

16 January 2010

Day 124

I've officially passed the 4 month mark! Four months ago I was freshly in Paris, and four months from now I will be done with the program... yikes! (bikes)

It's been a whirlwind, that's for sure, and every month has been unique. We've already been back to school for two weeks (five more weeks until the next vacation), and it amazes me how quickly time passes, but at the same time, these past few days have felt like an eternity. Hopefully a nice productive yet fun Saturday will break me out of that rut!

Tuesdays are the worst days of the week, and not because they're the longest day. In fact, Tuesdays are the shortest work day of the week for me. The problem is, for the last two weeks, I have spent my Tuesdays from 8:45am until 2pm sitting in the fluorescently lit teacher's-lounge without anything to do. I walk to the classroom with which I am supposed to work, and the teachers all say "Sorry, I don't have any plans for English today... we'll talk later", but then a whole week rolls by and it happens all over again. It sucks. Luckily I have maintained an optimistic spirit, and the silver lining of this situations is that I have six hours to study for the GRE without distractions. How lucky is that?! Who wouldn't want to practice reading comprehension and algebra all day?

Oh, and last Tuesday the principal brought champagne for all of the teachers to celebrate the new year.

Next weekend I might visit London because my dad will be on a business trip there. After four months in France, it would be strange to visit an English speaking country... especially one where I am clearly still a foreigner. Going out to dinner and ordering in English? Speaking to a shop assistant in English? Does that really exist?!

The travel bug has bit me with a desire to get out of the city, so I look forward to making vacation plans. Some friends asked me to go to Prague at the last minute (called me on Thursday night at 11:30 when they were leaving the next morning at 7:30), but I had to decline because I work all day on Friday. Boo! Soon we will be making plans for our next vacation (two weeks in the middle of february), and I feel more than ready to go on a big European tour.

09 January 2010

philisophical rant about complacency: welcome to adulthood

For quite some time I haven’t felt like “myself”. Okay, so I’ve been through a TON of life changes in the past year or so. I don’t know, maybe graduating from college and moving to a foreign country can perturb one’s fundamental life balance? But regardless, I’ve put on my detective hat in an attempt to discover why I feel so different.

The Courtney I’ve always known has felt anxious for something to happen. I always felt uneasy if I had nothing to do, and I always had eighty-seven things planned a year in advance. I used to worry constantly about the future, trying to picture myself in some clear cut lifestyle.

Then… something happened. Perhaps it was one of those shocking life changes or maybe the French have infiltrated my brain with their “everything in life is for pleasure” attitude, but when I first sat down with my 2010 planner to mark down all of the exciting/mundane things I’d have to do this year (as an organizational freak it is one of my favorite things to do), I realized as I was flipping through the pages that I have not a damn thing planned.

And it’s not that I have nothing planned for 9 months in the future that’s strange, it’s that I don’t even have any plans for February, March, April, May, June, July, or August. Nothing. People ask me when I’m coming back to the U.S. I can’t even tell you a month let alone a day. I mean it people, I HAVE NO PLANS FOR MY FUTURE.

So I tried to sit down and make a list of "life goals". I couldn't even do that. I don't really want anything right now. Miss never satisfied doesn't want anything? Blasphemy!

But… here’s the really scary thing: I don’t care! I'm 22 and I have all doors open for me. Not a bad situation to be in.

After a few weeks with this inexplicable feeling, I found a word to describe my situation. It’s called complacency.

Herein lies the problem. I feel completely A-O-K with the fact that I have no future plans. But then I worry that I should be worrying more about my future. I’m worried that I’m not worried? Are you serious? Will the worrying ever cease? Don’t people search a lifetime for complacency? Or is that different from happiness? I worry that my complacency indicates a lack of inspiration and motivation. Of course I would be the one to move all the way to France to become uninspired and complacent.

So my question to you:

Is complacency a good or bad thing?

01 January 2010

Bonne Année!

Here's to hoping the next 10 years will be fantastic!

Last night's reveillant (awakening of the new year) followed a rough day. Wasn't feeling so hot at all yesterday, but I managed to sleep it off before the celebrations...

The greatest part of NYE was finding that there was a THIRD layer of chocolates in my fancy box of French chocolates. I thought they were gone and I was going to throw them away until I picked up the box and realized it was unusually heavy. It can't possibly be true, can it? And indeed it was! God bless the French and their sneaky 3rd layer of chocolate!

We ended up celebrating the first moments of 2010 in a stairwell in a line. Can't say I've ever done that before! But I had a great time celebrating the new year with Julie, Alexis, and Emily. We danced to a lot of 80's music and then ate Pizza at 5am in a little pizza shack where we encountered a lot of hungry drunk Frenchies who were overly delighted to practice their English with us. Perhaps a New Year's resolution of theirs? If so, they're off to a great start!

Tonight Mel and I are going to see the Mozart Opéra Rock! Great way to kick off the year, no?

Meilleurs voeux for 2010!