Interview-style blogging has become increasingly popular, and while I don’t consider it a proper use of brainpower for EVERY post, nor a new high form of literature, it’s an efficient and creative way to recap my past three (yes, three!) months of living and teaching in France. I borrowed these questions from other bloggers. Kind of like speed dating, non?
Cooking: I know, I know, I’m in France, but I just discovered how to make pumpkin puree from frozen pumpkin cubes and am on a personal-sized pumpkin pie kick! There is no such thing as pumpkin pie here, so pumpkin is typically baked or turned into soup, and I’ve been missing my favorite dessert. (For those of you living without pumpkin pie in Europe, I bought a bag of frozen pumpkin cubes at Picard, thawed them in the fridge overnight, let them sit out on the counter for 20 minutes, and then squeezed the bag until I had a fresh puree just like from a can!)
Drinking: Red wine, almost every day. Sorry, doc and psychologist (unless you agree!)
Reading: The GRE study guide (ick) to refresh my English vocabulary (ignoring the math section, still…); German Grammar; Celle qui vous aime et autres nouvelles, Emile Zola; a worn 1930 edition of Paul Valery’s Littérature, which I found in a used bookshop in Brussels; Madame Bovary, Flaubert (ugh, for the third time); a collected volume of Seamus Heaney’s poetry, which I unknowingly bought just a few weeks after his death; To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf; the November edition of Women’s Health, which my mom sent to me (shoutout!) Yes, I read A LOT and have ADD when it comes to books. I’ll be done with them all (except for the German and GRE study guides) by Christmas…an excuse to buy more!
Wanting: All things French-chic. My salary doesn’t afford it. And to visit Germany and Bretagne in February, and Provence in the spring. And for my students to pass their exams in May. I have yet to see the exam format or much effort on their part to pass it…oh, high schoolers.
Looking: For a way to finance a masters here next year…or a permanent job. Ideas? For those of you who don’t know, the current plan is to complete a French masters in comparative literature, followed by at PhD at the US dream school of my choice, who will accept me instantaneously with full funding. My current dream job seems to have gotten to my head!
Wasting: Too much time indoors. I’ve been reading a lot, which is great, especially when I’m reading in French, but there is also so much to do around Troyes that I haven’t gotten around to, yet. Several museums and a forest in neighboring towns are calling my name!
Sewing: The buttons on my beloved military-style coat for about the hundredth time. It’s also a lot less warm than it used to be, may it rest in peace after a wonderful 7 years. Despite my coat’s untimely chute into old age, it seems a lot less cold than the last time I lived in France. Oh wait, I just checked the weather and it’s because Strasbourg is a full 10 degrees colder than Troyes…
Wishing: For a way to put the year in slow-mo. I have a feeling that April will come far too soon.
Enjoying: What am I not enjoying? Short workweeks; time to read/write/relax; the Christmas lights that greet me in the town center for my 7am bus ride; my annoyingly unmotivated yet hilarious students; my twin rapping students whom I’m going to smuggle home with me; wandering the grocery store in curiosity; taking the bus to the “Madagascar” stop just to hear the automated voice pronounce “Madagascar”; all the tea I bought in London, perfect for a cold day (so every day.)
Waiting: To hear about some summer jobs! (I still think in semesters and summers…that’ll look good on a resume…)
Liking: The ugliest Christmas lights I’ve ever seen, strung haphazardly across my room, which I was too lazy to return upon realizing their glaringly yellow hue. I’ve grown used to them, though, and now will write to their light and their light alone.
Wondering: If there’s enough time in a weekend for a short tour of Bretagne.
Loving: Wine and cheese and bread, and the digestive enzymes my mom sent me.
Hoping: That I get a summer job, some money for that masters and some citizenship up in here. All methods considered.
Practicing: Yoga and breathing. I am VERY impatient and have been finding it hard to sit still for my scoliosis exercises (bleh), but I’ve found that yoga and pilates are a good compromise. Though it still takes about thirty minutes for me to get in the mindset for a practice, I’m making slow progress and can now hold an unsupported headstand (plus, my back feels great!) I try to do yoga after every time I ride my bike to reverse the handlebars effect, and pilates before every run to keep me aware of my posture.
Needing: A cheaper way to heat my apartment.
Smelling: Like foot cream. I’ve been using it on my hands because it’s stronger and more protective against the cold, but why does it actually have to smell like feet?!
Wearing: Two pairs of pajamas, a smoking jacket and a down comforter. I told you, I need a cheaper form of heat up in here.
Following: CNN on Twitter. I’ve become so lazy when it comes to US news. Can someone please send me weekly email updates?
Noticing: That people concentrate less when talking to me, and answer my questions without hesitation. My French must be improving without my noticing.
Knowing: That one day I will probably have to work a lot harder than this and have less time for the things I love. What if I manage to get a job that I love? Then I would hopefully be aware of my great luck!
Thinking: Really, what is up with Flaubert’s adjectives?
Feeling: Excited to tour around Belgium for Christmas. I just finished a power point for my students (French academics aren’t very conducive to student-led discussion, so I’m teaching them about the purpose of group presentations) on Brussels, and fell in love with its diversity. Plus, I’ll be with my lovely family.
Bookmarking: Cooking websites, and every book that I have halfway finished.
Opening: A new bottle of wine? I wish. Nope, just my book for the night. I’ll see you all after the weekend for a little tour of my old home, Strasbourg, and its Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas market…learned that term today in German class!)