31 May 2010

Babysitting, repatriation, denial, lack of euchre players.

I wrote this blog entry by hand while babysitting. Don’t worry, the baby was asleep and it was 11:00 at night:

Since Lawrence went to sleep I have been spending my time reading one of the thousands of old books sitting in perfectly messy piles around this very chic Parisian flat on boulevard St. Germain. The family who lives here treats me very well. The dad is a Midwestern American just like me, the mom is French. Lawrence, while he understands everything I say to him in English, only responds to me in French. Sandra, the mom, is very laid back and sweet and asked me to come with her and Lawrence to their house in Normandy for a week in August. Nothing is for sure yet, but I hope it all works out!

Apart from my sporadic babysitting gigs, the atmosphere is slowly changing in Paris. The streets are significantly more packed with tourists—none of which seem to know how to use sunscreen, which is evident from their farmer’s tans. Most importantly, the people who have become some of my closest friends over the past eight months have begun their slow repatriation to the good ol’ U.S. of A.

Me, I think I’ve adequately stated that I’m not ready to deal with that yet. Actually, I’m in some serious denial that this whirlwind of a year will ever end, mostly because I haven’t even taken the massive step of buying a plane ticket home. From watching my friends wrapping up their Parisian adventure, I have learned that I must accept the fact that there are things in this city that I won’t be able to do before I leave, but that’s okay because I’ve got three months left and I’m sure I’ll be back someday soon!

The beginning of summer weather and the toll of eight months in a foreign country has also shown me the things that I miss about home (besides family and friends which I hope is obvious). I miss being able to print unlimited amounts of personal documents at GVSU computer labs, having all of my own belongings (which are currently boxed up in my mom’s basement), private transportation (only because of the recent accumulation of unpleasant stenches on hot days in the métro and a lack of ventilation), being around people who know how to play euchre, being able to see stars at night (or any non man-made form of nature for that matter. Sorry Paris, but square-shaped trees and imported farm crops on the Champs Elysées is not going to cut it), and barbeques.

A plus!

17 May 2010


Bonjour, folks... due to a busy schedule accompanied by an overwhelming lethargy I have not properly updated my blog in the past couple of weeks, nor have I taken the time to organize the photos that follow. They are from Lauren's visit in Paris!

Courtney and Lauren at Big Ben

Courtney and Lauren at the Tour Eiffel

Courtney and Lauren at Versailles

Courtney and Lauren at the Moulin Rouge!

Courtney and Lauren at the Notre Dame of Paris cathedral

Kelsy and Courtney at the "Refuge des fondus" restaurant in Montmartre where they serve wine in baby bottles to avoid paying a tax on wine served in glasses.

Quoi de neuf?

The month that has passed since I finished teaching English at Jean Mace has been very dynamic to say the least.

I have had two of my good friends come to visit me, Sarah and Lauren (at separate times), I went to London for the second time, and I have been a babysitting machine... juggling work with four families. Babysitting in Paris has actually been much more lucrative than my teaching job.

Working with all of these kids has made me think a lot about second language acquisition. I find languages so fascinating... and it's so important to start learning a second language at a young age because after a certain age you can no longer learn a second language to the same capacity that you can learn a first language. This leads me to believe that us adult language learners will never become truly bilingual.

In the meantime I'm working on getting in with the nannies of Paris. I met this Filipino nanny who was BFFs with Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis's nanny and got to meet them last weekend. I don't mean that I want to BECOME a nanny, I just want to get in the inner circle. I'll have to learn some nanny street cred.

Last week I had the opportunity to spend some time with the three American girls who I will be babysitting full-time in July. They are fantastic! The family, the parents of which are American diplomats in Paris, drove to the American base in Belgium and bought me some American groceries unavailable (or way too expensive) in France: peanut butter (of which I now have plenty!), pancake mix, syrup, taco seasoning, and bagels and cream cheese. YUMMY!

Anyway, the girls are super independent, responsible, and smart which I believe is going to make the month of July much more pleasant for me.