Tuesday, 30 November 2010

ÇA VAAAAAA?


Friday Friday Friday.

I went to work, had some pretty successful lessons with the kids, English Club in particular. I’ve decided to stop running it to any sort of plan, they have to come with ideas of what to talk about, and we just chat. One of them asked to talk about family to reinforce what they’d been learning in lessons last week, and so we chatted about our families for an hour solid. One of my students told me that her father has 18 brothers and five sisters. I was sure she was lying until she told me that her father had several step-mothers. And I thought my 26 cousins was an impressive feat.

Friday night, I stayed in with The Third Party trying to watch Harry Potter but we only got as far as the third one, in between a Lidl tip and him talking over all of the films, and pre-warning me every time something was about to happen.

Saturday, The Third Party went home and the plan was to clean my flat and go out for a while before meeting Louise to head into Paris. I didn’t do any of this before meeting Louise to head into Paris. Good effort.

Everything was a bit boring, until The Third Party turned up determined to fall out with us.

Takes the wrong exit for the cinema then doesn’t listen to instructions on how to get to the right place, instead moaning and stressing at me over the phone. Moans about the choices of bars we are visiting that night, not that he is under any obligation to come with us at all. Says he’s going home because we “fucking scrutinise everything he says” when we tell him that if he wants us to go to different bars, he has to do a bit of research and find places for us to go – it’s not up to us to please him. Bitches some more when we don’t care if he goes home or not.

I went to the toilet before the film started (oh, we were at the cinema watching the new Harry Potter film by the way) and he had shut up when I came back, so I thought that might have been the end of it. He came out to the bars we were going to, and even apologised for being out of order at the cinema.

The second this apology was accepted, he started again.

Bitching because he wanted to go home. Bitching because this was boring. He was sat there doing nothing, that’s why he was bored. I was sat there doing nothing but I was perfectly happy doing a spot of people-watching, but this didn’t seem to please him. Instead he’s asking my type, trying to get me to try and pull one of the numerous OLD PEOPLE in this bar. Moaning again because I had a better beer glass than him (wtf??). Bitching that he’s still bored. We go to pay to leave, to please him, and he’s still bitching. Come on Sam, we’re going NOW! The other bar is across the road. I can find it. But we’re going now! But I haven’t paid. Yeah but we’re going now. Go, I’ll find you in there once I’ve paid. 

He goes outside and I hand my money over, he comes back in moaning. Have you paid yet? Yeah I’m waiting for my change. But we’re going now. But I know where the bar is, it’s across the road, I can find it. I’m not leaving without my change (it was 25€, before you start thinking I’m a cheapskate). Ok see you in there. I got my change and he’s outside the bar talking to a couple of girls. I go across the road and wait for them, Louise joins me first and we head over to the bar to be refused entry.

Why?

Because he said so.

Because the manager had told him no. He didn’t know why.

We eventually found out that it was apparently because The Third Party had been too drunk on an earlier occasion and they did not want him in again.

We thought this was bollocks, but managed to find a compromise that if he stopped drinking now in the first bar, the barmaid would get him into the second bar. He starts again.

I feel so ashamed that I’ve ruined your night.
But you haven’t, we’re still getting in as long as you stop drinking now.
But it’s so embarrassing, that it’s my fault you two can’t get in.
No, The Third Party, he said no to all of us before you even got there.
Yeah but I’m so embarrassed, even though it’s not my fault I’m still so embarrassed.
The Third Party, shut up. It’s not all about you. You weren’t the only one pissed last week, they’re making up excuses probably because you’re a guy.
Is that why? Because I’m a guy?
Maybe, I don’t know.
Is the bouncer gay?
I don’t know.
Is he gay though?
I don’t know. 

The “conversation” continued like this until Louise piped up and said something along the lines of “Look. Shut up. This world does not revolve around you, it is not all about you. Shut up moaning, we’ve been told we can get in if you stop drinking so shut up and wait for the lady to finish work so she can take us over there.
A few moments of sulking later, The Third Party pipes up with;

“Do you have anything sharp?”

What?

An argument ensued about how he was an idiot who should really just shut up, and either cheer up or go home. He sulks some more, before storming out of the bar.

Oh, he’s chosen to go home then? Fair enough.

Five minutes later, my phone rings. I ignore it, he’s pissed me off tonight and he’ll only be attention seeking anyway.

15 minutes after this, he storms back in, telling me and Louise that we are both complete C-words. Honestly could have punched him. Really don’t know how I kept my temper. Louise tried to calm the situation, but I felt that the damage was already done. No way was I going to let that pass for the sake of getting him into a bar. I’d rather go home early and hold a grudge.

The barmaid comes along, and tells us that the manager (of both bars) feels that The Third Party is still too drunk and that me and Louise can get into the other place but only if The Third Party is not with us. He invites us to send him home.

Go home.

Smugly, he informs us that he doesn’t know the way (expecting me to say ok stay out let’s all go home together)

I gave him directions to the bus stop.
He flipped.

“I thought you were better than that! This is the end of us!”
Hahaha.

Definitely the end of my putting up with you not letting me get a word in edgeways every time we meet, definitely the end of my letting you stay in my flat only for you to make my hangover worse by commencing your bitching the second everyone’s awake (on one occasion COMING INTO MY ROOM AND WAKING ME UP SO THAT YOU COULD DO SO), definitely the end of my trying to understand why you are such an attention seeking little bitch. Good luck in life.

After this, we actually had a really nice night. Well. Apart from the gender ambiguous 50something that was pressing her hips into my backside and saying “ça vaaaaaa?” in the most frighteningly deep voice I have ever heard. Oh, and the slightly crazy middle-aged woman in the next place who was trying to dance with me one minute, spilling my drink on my sleeve and wiping the “drink” off of my chest all too enthusiastically the next, then going and getting off with her girlfriend, then coming up behind me at the bar trying to kiss my neck and touch me inappropriately. Can’t I just have a quiet drink?

More 4am Italian, got invited to a gay wedding then had a horrendous time trying to get home when the doors on the first train broke.

Spent Sunday in the usual manner, food, chilling and reminiscing over the night before, minus The Third Party. It felt nice for the pair of us to actually be able to speak to each other.

Monday and Tuesday have been fairly uneventful days, with essay planning taking up a chunk of my spare time, along with feeling slightly ill and showing a video of Kevin the Teenager to my 3ème class this morning. Oh, and a mini-fright when my lecturer caused some confusion over the deadline of my resit essay for the unit I failed last year.

I’m so tired.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Apparently it's National Skirt Day, but don't worry I won't subject you all to that


Another blog? So soon?

Yes.

Deal with it.

So, Tuesday I had work, with my favourite bastard 3èmes to start my day. When the teacher finally had them reasonably quiet after handing back some work (20 minutes into the lesson, might I add – nothing to do with her competence either, they really are just absolute wankers) she gave me a group of them to take into a separate room to tell me about their American Dream. One at a time, they told me they wanted “famous, have big house, have Ferrari, and beautiful wife and be happy!” until one boy had clearly done some research into the reality of the American Dream.

“I want to have lots of money, a casino, lots of beautiful cars, a big house with a pool, women for strip tease and I want cocaine.”

Honesty. You can’t beat it.

In this same lesson, a fight broke out, between two boys who are bigger than me. I don’t know why it happened, but after they’d been pulled apart by the entire class about three times I stood in between them for the remainder of the lesson, wondering if it was me who was about to receive a smack in the mouth.

Later that afternoon, I was taking a class of 6èmes under the supervision of the teacher, who had gone to photocopy a document for me to use during the lesson. I set them a small task with a diagram of the human body, and told them to underline the words they already knew. They didn’t quite understand this, and so I had to explain the task in French.

I had forgotten that this particular group still thought that I couldn’t speak French, so a few shocked gasps and some “ah, vous parlez bien français!” and I had to admit that I had been lying. At this point, a rather talkative young man in the corner decided it would be a good idea to say,

“Fuck you bitch.”

Not just once, either.

I’m not sure why he said this, I don’t know if he felt betrayed by my web of linguistic lies or what, but still – his class mates were quick to grass him up the second the teacher got back. A report was written to the principale and everything. Haha.

Wednesday, I had a class of 5èmes to take in the morning, and I was a bit stuck for ideas, seeing as I have literally had this class dumped on me with no indication of what they are studying or anything. I improvised with yet another week on presentations, this time incorporating the third person into it by making them work with a partner. During this lesson, it transpired that one boy is actually almost fluent in English, because his Mother is American. I’m not going to lie, I felt a bit intimidated by this bilingual thirteen year old. His English was at the level my French was at during A-Level – and his French was better than mine. How do I educate this kid? Make him read Hamlet? He must have found the session so boring. Well not that boring, as he asked to stay for the second half with the other group, but work on presenting himself instead – so I gave him much harder information to come up with. This could be a challenge. Bring it on.

I strolled back into my flat after that lesson, feeling a bit crap, so I decided to have a nap for a while before going to the consulate for my new passport.

No such luck – by the time I woke up, I didn’t have enough time to get to Paris, let alone make it to the consulate. Next week then? I decided to go to new fruits and try to feed myself, but I started to feel sick in the supermarket so I left, got the bus into Corbeil to buy a cold drink and to get some air and such like, by which point I was starting to feel better, so I got myself some dinner (and the best baguette ever) out of Leader Price.

My dinner sucked though. Made me feel ill again. I decided to try my hand at brewing some iced tea (which didn’t really go too well – although some more sugar and I think I’ll be good next time) and went to bed.

Thursday was a day with an okay start for me. I’d got myself a semi-decent night’s sleep for a change, so getting ready for work could be done at a leisurely pace. As I left the flat, I noticed that it had been raining. Fair enough, I thought, it’s stopped now; all is well in the world. Headphones in, open gate, make a move.

As I was crossing the bridge, I noticed that the ducks had all got out of the river, and were sitting in a puddle on the bank. Is that water better or something? Is this a duck thing to do? Can somebody please verify this for me?

Got into work, much smoother day than I had had at the same place on Tuesday. No fights, just a kid who didn’t understand “how old is your mum” or “elle a quel age, ta mere?” (well, spellchecker is changing my words so that French will have to remain inaccurate). I don’t know where this kid was from, but I’m sort of lost if I’m working in English lessons in French schools and the boy doesn’t understand anything I say to him.

Oh, and the kids who had decided to battle it out in my class on Tuesday apologised to me. Quite nice of them , actually. Certainly wasn’t expecting it.

On my way out of school, I crossed paths with one of the teachers who was on her way out for a cigarette break – “smoking to forget” - and a small bit of banter ensued about how it is worse for me as I don’t even have smoking as a comfort amidst all these horrendous children. As we reached the bottom of the stairs there was a bit of commotion in the corridor – the teacher broke all these kids up to find that a poor little kid had been getting slapped around the head by about 20 others. It was only when he escaped that I saw it was Mister “Fuck you bitch” from Tuesday afternoon. He pretended to be okay but as soon as the teacher caught up with him he burst into tears. Proper tears. I wanted to laugh at him like I had on Tuesday but he looked so devastated I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.

Damn you conscience.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Mademoiselle Superman


The nap I mentioned in my last blog lasted 4 and a half hours, you might like to know. However, after that I couldn’t actually be bothered to do my cleaning, so I left it to Saturday morning instead.

Once I’d done that, I decided to head towards Courcouronnes, because I wanted to buy a new jumper for going out that evening. However, someone at Orangis Bois de l’Epine decided it would be a fantastic idea to get onto the tracks, and as a result went underneath it, meaning that all trains were diverted past that section of the line, so in effect I had no way at all of getting to Courcouronnes, unless I went back to villabe and got the bus. Allow it. I went to Paris instead, there’s a New Look in Chatelet so I bought my jumper in there instead. It was also reduced – bonus! So I treated myself to a pretty tasty chicken salad baguette and a bottle of coke, for the very reasonable price of 5€.

It beats a 151€ passport, anyway.

I headed back towards home, and once I reached Corbeil I headed up to the Centre Commercial at Villabe, by bus though, as I couldn’t be bothered to walk up that godforsaken hill. I went into Lidl and picked up my predrink and some stomach lining products for Louise and I, a dirty pizza that I will not be buying again.

In true Beezley fashion, I got myself pretty tanked up and by the time I reached Paris I was already quite far gone. But, ask yourself, when has this ever stopped me?

Correct. It hasn’t. So I carried on, knocking back the beers and whatever else was put my way, talking to strangers like they were my best friends, falling over in the street, you know the drill. I bumped into Kyle which was nice, but lost him as soon as I’d found him pretty much, but to be honest he was probably horrified at how drunk I was and so decided to get his friend very far away from me. Haha.

I have genuinely lost a good couple of hours of Saturday night, some of which Louise has very kindly filled me in on. We decided to go for something to eat, and the next thing I know we were sat in an Italian restaurant at 3am. I ordered spaghetti Bolognese, which is very unlike me – I never order that in a restaurant as I find it a fairly boring thing to choose when you have a menu full of interesting stuff.

So I bet you’re wondering, well why the hell did she have it then?

Honestly? I couldn’t read the menu.

Not because of the language barrier, or because of the font, but because I was so drunk that I couldn’t read the words. In fact, I couldn’t even see them.

We EVENTUALLY got home, after a very long wait and some amusing/bemusing events that aren’t really worth mentioning, apart from being fascinated by a family of rats having breakfast in a bin. Went to bed, and didn’t resurface until about 4pm. At this point, I realised just how badly I had fallen on more than one occasion the previous evening, because of the sheer pain in my legs that is still there now. Drew went home after a while and Louise and I stuffed our faces on lasagne. I walked her to the station afterwards for some much-needed air, then came home and monged out on my sofa for the rest of the evening.

I went to bed at about 1am, but I was woken up repeatedly by bad dreams, involving a crocodile trying to eat me (he got my mp3 player though – and the funny thing is in real life I don’t know where it is now), also finding out I was in the wrong destination on my Year Abroad and having two days to get to somewhere in Africa before they sentenced me to death for going AWOL, oh and Tony Blair giving a sex ed lesson on Southend Pier.

I was so tired, but honestly – I couldn’t wait to get up and out of that ridiculous dream state. It left me feeling rather fragile.

Today at work I had the 6èmes who I like (mainly as I only work with 5 at a time and they are so easy to amuse) and we worked on telling the time. In the staff room at lunchtime, I was given some red wine, and also some duck stuff on bread. It was like a pate sort of thing. It could have been poo. It tasted more like salmon than duck. It was awful. English club, they really are getting hard to handle, this younger group. There are two who just won’t shut up, one who wants to learn and one who is too shy to even look at anyone, and when I ask her a question the keen one always tells her the answer. It’s okay in lessons to help each other out like this from time to time, but the shy things not gonna get any better like this – and it’s equally infuriating when I’m asking her opinion on something and she’s getting the words whispered in her earholes all day long. THINK FOR YOURSELF WOMANNNNNN!

At least they’d done their work though, and next week will be showing me their new designs for the Union Jack (incorporating Wales, you see). They’re starting to grasp the concept of idle chit-chat in English too, as when I gave them the freedom to choose their topic of discussion for the second part of the lesson they even managed an argument (in English) on what they wanted to talk about.

After work I ate some beans and relaxed a little before going to Mennecy to give Louise back the make-up she’d left in my flat, and to also have a slight bitch about the world (again). On the way home I bought a baguette and some cheese for my dinner. These two things are, without a shadow of a doubt, the best thing about France.

Now I’m here, writing a blog. I’ve not got much interesting planned for the rest of the week, so I think I’ll have to make my own entertainment, in between writing up my plan for my work report.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Quick update - too stressed for a witty title, or a funny blog!

Le Stress.

As you will have expected, after heading out to the police station last Satrday to report the loss of my passport, I went out in Paris and got very drunk. Very drunk indeed. Saturday night won't be in a chronological order as I don't remember what happened in what order, but still.

Had a few predrinks on my own whilst waiting for Louise and Drew, by the time they both got anywhere near me there was no time for in-flat drinks as the last train was coming to Villabe. So we predrank on the train instead.

We were sat by the window in one bar when a middle aged woman appeared on the other side, waving a joint around and dancing like Rumpelstiltskin.She later came back into the bar and started waving a lump of hash in my face, asking if I wanted it. Erm, no thanks love, it looks like cat food. I'll stick to this 5€, 330ml can of Heineken, cheers though.

In the next bar, Drew was removed for being absolutely shitfaced so I went out to find him, by the time he had reappeared from around the corner he was completely recovered, so we went elsewhere.

Elsewhere, we were drinking when Drew decided he wanted to go home. He waited outside whilst I said goodbye to Louise, I got out and he'd decided he wanted to go back in. We stayed there until closing time.

It took us hours to get home from Paris, as we waited outside for half an hour waiting for the metro to start, got to the RER platform we needed and waited for over an hour there to get moving, then it was roughly an hours commute, then I had to walk home from Corbeil Station. The sky was beautiful. Multicoloured, I don't even understand how or why. But I took ages getting back as I kept stopping to stare at it.

Sunday, I stayed at home, hanging by my teeth. Not much to report, that I can remember.

Monday it was back to work, where I was complimented on my teaching skills (get in!!) and asked to do some extra work helping out a particularly insolent underachieving african girl (headteacher's emphasis on african, not mine) which I decided to take up, loving a challenge and whatnot. I needed to go to the Embassy to ask for a new passport. What happened?

By the time I got to Paris, the embassy was already closed. I thought "oh well, I might as well find it so I know where to go when I come back Wednesday (when I have the afternoon off). What happened?

I got lost. I took a wrong turning out of Concorde Metro and after walking the entire perimeter of the jardins des tuileries or whatever you want to call them, I eventually found myself at the National Assembly. Which is not where I wanted to be. I got back on the Metro there though, and went to Madeleine instead, wondering if the place would be easier to find from a different angle.What happened?

I took another wrong turning. It was very cold, and raining ice cold rain on my face. I had been in Paris for two hours, walking the length of Rue d'Anjou and back again before finally finding the building I needed.
 It was very dark, very cold and very wet. I decided to head home. What happened?

I got lost again. I was very hungry by this point, as I had forgotten to feed myself all day. I paid THREE EUROS for a bottle of coke to keep me going til I found the train station, where I bought some crisps. On my way home (as in, once I was finally on the train) I was sat there, using everything in my power to not cry. It was tough, but I managed it. I got home, fed myself, and sat down to relax a bit before bed.

I couldn't sleep.

Tuesday I had a fairly long day at work, so after my first lesson I spent a while in the staff room planning one of my uni essays and creating a document I'd been asked to prepare for one of the teachers in the school. In the afternoon I took a class and talked about nationality with them. It went alright actually, and then I went to Courcouronnes for a bitch fest with Louise and Drew, I didn't buy anything, but it was nice to just speak to pople and slag the world off for a bit. I went home and went to bed.

I couldn't sleep.

Wednesday I had one hour of classes with the 5èmes which went much better than last week - I woke up really late, was really tired and had no lesson plan so I made them work on presenting themselves more confidently (which basically meant I snoozed in the corner whilst they recited their sentences to their partner repeatedly. After this I went to Corbeil for photos for my emergency passport, then into Paris to find the Embassy. I didn't get so lost this time but I arrived slightly early, so I went to the Franprix round the corner to grab a bit of lunch and do some people watching for half an hour before going back into the Consulate (as I later found out it was - not the Embassy) and began waiting to ask for my forms to fill in my details. The security check was pretty intense, I amost enjoyed it. I went downstairs into the Passport Services bit and filled in my details for my new passport, where I was informed by a very nice man that I would be able to collect my new passport within a week, all that was left to do was to pay a small fee.

151€.

So, all in all, that's 420€ spent on this rather unfortunate passport saga. Ouch.

Went back to Evry to buy a few things after, but didn't actually get them. Just hung around slagging the world off some more. Went home, chilled a bit, went to bed.

I couldn't sleep.

Thursday morning, I got something of a lie-in, before going to work in the afternoon. Took a pretty successful lesson on how to write a biography, then went shopping, then came home and chilled. The weeks stress caught up with me and I found myself crying quite a bit, but I'm alright now. I think. I took myself to bed.

I couldn't sleep.

This morning I took half of the 4ème euro class for a "chat", which developed into a conversation on peoples favourite singers. There's a 12 year old in this class who is really good, who told me that Lady Gaga has the head of an elephant. Haha. My new favourite student.

After breaktime, I was lucky enough to be given the school's most insolent child to help with her English homework. I was essentially giving her the answers for a while, and still - "je sais pas" "j'ai pas compris" fuuuuuuuuuuck? We did about three exercises over the course of an hour and it was like I'd asked her to climb mount everest with her feet tied together.

English Club went relatively well, they did their work at least. Have set them another task of designing a new Union Flag that incorporates Wales, I wonder how many of them will actually do this. I've accepted two more into the club too, so hopefully they'll get some conversation out of each other (although the likelihood of this conversation actually being in English is pretty low).

Now, I am going to have a nap, as all this not sleeping has just about done me in for this week, and when I wake up I am going to clean my flat.Tomorrow I am going on a shopping spree in Carrefour then back out to Paris to see if I can get as drunk as last week on a lot less money. Hmmmm.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Money Burned, Lesson Learned


Worst weekend of my life.

I mentioned in my last blog that I had top secret plans. Well I might as well tell you now. I had tickets to London for the weekend, as a birthday night out surprise for my Dad’s girlfriend.  My use of past-tense is probably indicating already that I had a problem, but I like my blogs to run somewhat chronologically, so I shall start from Friday.

Friday. I had work – I did presque sod all in the first lesson, but I took sections of the lesson acting as the teacher with the 3èmes which actually went pretty well. English club blagged itself, we ended up having a generic chat about English festivals after they decided not to do the research work I set them, claiming they had all “forgotten”, bar one, who had researched Halloween, but had not really understood why people like to butcher pumpkins and run around scaring each other. A chat about April fool’s day ensued, where one girl informed me that her idea of an April fool was to squeeze fruit compote into her friends face in the canteen.

Amateur. That was a standard lunchtime at my school.

Next week, they are all going to bring me their drawing work I set them – of the flags of the countries in the United Kingdom, as I am SICK TO MY BACK TEETH of kids thinking that the Union Jack is the English flag.

Anyway – after work I headed straight to the shopping centre to meet up with a couple of mates and buy myself a couple of new bags for my impending trip to the homeland. We chatted for a bit, it was a laugh, and when I got home I decided to start packing. I thought; right. If I get my important stuff together now (i.e. tickets – i’d picked them up in Paris before going home, passport, wallet, keys, in-train entertainment) then I could worry about which clothes to take after.

I didn’t get this far.

Where was my passport?

Not with the rest of my important documents where it normally is.
Not in my kitchen.
Not in my bathroom.
Not in my bedroom.
Not in my utility room.
Not in my hallway.
Not in the cupboard in the hallway.
Not in the bookcase in the hallway.
Not behind the fridge.
Not in the bins.
Not under my mattress.
Not inside a pair of dirty knickers.

It was gone. Vanished. Gone head-to-head with Osama in the world hide-and-seek championship. Don’t ask what I did with it, I couldn’t possibly tell you.

After approximately 6 hours of looking for it, I finally gave up, and let myself go to sleep for a little while before getting up and having one last look. Wasn’t there. So I went back to bed.

Much crying and raging later, it sank in that this particular lesson in life is going to cost me somewhere in the region of £350.

After telling Awesome Cika my story and hearing the most well-spoken French person I’ve ever met say “merde” 5 times in the space of thirty seconds, she took me to the Commissariat where I reported it missing to the police. I am going to the Embassy on Monday to declare it invalid, ask for a replacement, and apply for an emergency passport to cover me whilst I’m waiting for it. Bureaucratic twatbags can kiss my bum if they think I’m missing my next train on 17th December.

What I had planned as a nice surprise for my dad’s partner turned into a massive waste of money and a large amount of stress for me.

Still, at least I realised now and not at Christmas.

As you can tell, I have had a very homesick day. I have been excited about my “top secret plans” all week, and a poxy book with a picture of an obese blue-haired lesbian has stopped them from going ahead.

Damn.

I’m going out tonight, to spunk even more money on a disgusting amount of alcohol – hopefully after a few beers I’ll forget what an idiot I am for a little while.

Mind you, I do have this horrible suspicion that I am going to stumble upon the offending blue-haired lesbian book by chance at some point in the future, obviously after I have invalidated it at the Embassy. In the event of this happening, I might well kill myself as punishment for being such an idiot. In which case, I would like to be cremated, and please will you play “Ha Ha You’re Dead” at some point during the service.