Writing papers

I panicked that I wouldn’t have enough to write about for a 6-8-page paper for class.  And so, I did loads of research, looking constantly for new sources to support just about everything and anything I was planning to say in the paper, and I collected it all in a Google Doc, adding the necessary commentary surrounding the citations, as I went along.  Eventually, I grew tired of doing this, and so decided to take a break by deleting the headings for each section of my drafty draft and deleting any quotes I’d found that I would not be using.

…And so, somehow, I am sitting here with some sections that have yet to turn from citations to paragraphs containing the citations and the majority of the paragraphs written out already, and it is over seven pages long…. single spaced.

Guess my plan now is just to cut out anything I found to be third-rate.  And, if that isn’t enough, second-rate comes next.  Always easier than having to fill in with tenth-rate crap after having concisely said everything I want to support a topic in a paper, but another two pages are required by the teacher.

But I still don’t want to do it.

Anyway…, here goes.

Post-a-day 2018

Advertisements

Pastries

It wasn’t until I had lived in France for a few months that I found out about the secret bags of pastries.

You see, normally, I would have one to three pastries a week.  That was all that I could afford reasonably, really.  And fresh pastries in France are kind of the bomb dot com.  Period.  Sometimes, during the morning break in class, my classmates and I would walk to the bakery the next street over, and all have a pastry and coffee together.  It was fun and always delicious.  And, compared to the US, the prices were fabulous.  However, there was still a limit – we couldn’t really do it every day on our college student budgets.

But, my life was somewhat transformed when one of the girls in my program told me how she always got her pastries.  D- found a way to try them all on a budget.  She said, ‘Yeah, you just look for these bags up on top of the counter, in a basket, and they’re filled with whatever didn’t sell yesterday.  So, it’s different every day.’

After several days, if not even a couple weeks, of psyching myself up, I finally went to the bakery she’d mentioned, to find these secret bags.  And there they were, crammed full of various pastries, and they were only a few euros.  I think it was that very first time that, even though I totally knew what the bag up on top of the pastry case was, I asked casually to the pastry chef what it was.  He explained it all to me, and how they didn’t want to waste anything, so they bagged it up and sold it cheap the next morning.  I semi-feigned surprise at what he told me, but I was also genuinely surprised that D- had been right and it really wasreal thing.  For the price of one or two fresh pastries, I could get a whole bag of ones made only yesterday, and of all different types.  No, if you grow up on fresh French pastries, they aren’t nearly too delicious.  However, we didn’t grow up on fresh French pastries – we delighted in even the day-old pastries like it was some of the best stuff we’d ever eaten.  (And it totally was.)

Plus, if someone had given me a bag of pastries anyway, I probably wouldn’t have eaten them all at once.  It would have taken me most of the day to get through them comfortably, and I’d probably even save something for breakfast the next day.  So, for a huge fraction of the price, we got to do just that.

Usually, I’d share a bag with others, so we all got to try the different pastries.  But I got my own a few times, for sure.

So anyway, if you go to France for vacation or whatever, ask the bakeries in the morning if they have bags of yesterday’s leftovers.  I think there’s even a specific term for it, but my brain is not producing it right now, if there is one… I totally used it, whatever it was, though, word or phrase or whatever… I loved trying out all the different pastries.  However, despite trying so many different pastries, I still almost exclusively get a chocolatine (pain au chocolat everywhere but the southwest), a croissant, and/or a baguette (though those guys aren’t pastries, they are still one of my favorite foods ever).  But whatever.  I got to test out all the stuff and see that I enjoyed it all, as well as discover that I really just love the simple stuff best.  (It’s like a cliché about life or something, but it’s just how I feel about French pastries.)

Post-a-day 2018

 

Free/Me Time…?

My cousin wants me to start work on this work-out plan, with a very unique tie into a specialty of mine.  The idea itself sounds like something totally awesome not only to create, but also to use once it is created.  The task, though, feels almost daunting right now, in the midst of my minimal free/me time.  I hardly get enough sleep to function decently right now, I have so little time to accomplish anything that has me feel accomplished, satisfied with my day, I have to do it all late at night before I pass out.  I hardly have the time to exercise the way I want (Actually, I don’t have the time and energy to do it the way I actually want to do it, but I am finally getting in some exercise (at last!), though it has me getting to bed even later, which doesn’t help on the muscle restore front after the exercise).

I love the work I am doing right now, and I am dearly grateful for it – it is a blessing in and of itself.  I am very much looking forward to what comes next, when this current job is finished.  I will miss this, and I will be grateful to have moved to the next thing.  It will be time.  (I think that is really the main thought behind all of this right now.)

Anyway, goodnight…

 

Post-a-day 2017

Hers, mine, & ours

I have been teaching during someone’s maternity leave recently, and I discovered something today – when the teacher returns, I will have been with the students more than she has.  Just now, I checked the calendar, and it seems that I have already been with them for longer than she was, due to Hurricane Harvey.  It is odd to me to consider that these kids would be more my students than her students.  It is her class, and I have always seen it that way.  So have the kids.  And so we likely will continue to live in this odd little my world within her world setup, where the kids are, indeed, mine, but we are all hers.  Something like that, anyway.

I will miss these kids.  If I really think about it, …well, no I don’t do that.  Whenever I begin actually to consider it, my eyes grow hot and threaten an outpouring of tears.  I suppose I really do love the kids so much, even though they drive me frustrated so often as they do.  They know I love them, and so do I.  And it is difficult to consider that I no longer will see these people who have been part of my daily life for so long, and as we all have worked through so much together.

A teacher friend of mine sent me a message tonight, saying how we needed to do something, because she missed me.  It turns out that neither one of us has done much other than school lately.  This time in particular, even more so than other times I have taught, the students are my social interactions in life.  I call my mom in the evenings, because I am craving adult interaction.  I don’t have interaction with friends.  I just have these kids.  In a sense, they are my friends, and I have no others (whom I see, anyway).  And so I will miss them all greatly, and even some of the stupid stresses they force upon me, like throwing ice at one another in class or unknowingly rejecting a beautiful opportunity to learn and to help themselves become beautiful successes in life.  Yes, I will miss these kids who are not mine, but mine.  I love them dearly.

Post-a-day 2017

Sing-a-longs for school?

Yesterday, I brought my ukulele to class.  It was my final day of teaching, and I only had one class.  Seeing as it was with the students who are in the music course program at the school (think of it as being like a college major, but in high school), and they were the only class of the day for me, the teacher asked me to do something relating to music, if I could.

For the longest while, I had nothing. I was just too exhausted and mentally worn out even to think about ideas, let alone come up with some (let alone good ones).  But, as I found myself fiddling at long last with my ukulele on Wednesday night, – this was after having decided just to do a non-music-related activity – I wondered if I couldn’t pull off just singing songs the whole class period.

Sure enough, my brain decided to work for me as I played some songs for myself.  Kids could sit where they wanted, and look up lyrics on their phones (Yay! for phones in class.).  We could start with the ABCs, since some of us had specifically discussed in that class a few weeks ago that Japan seems to have learned only the first half of the alphabet song, and then made up the rest, making the whole thing weird, and having everyone always mumble out somewhere along the second half.  From there, we could “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”, and then move to some real songs.

I was nervous about my uke playing, and the fact that I’m really just a beginner on the instrument, having come as a lazy-esque mid-level guitar player, and simply become a lazy-esque ukulele player.  However, I practiced several songs, and the chords really came back to me rather well, and I even learned some new ones quite easily as I went along.

Once in class, I offered for a student to play the uke.  Two kids in the front happily took over tuning it for me (I have a decent ear, but I knew theirs would be better.) when I asked, and one even pre-guessed the notes, singing them aloud for tuning (think of perfect pitch folks).  So, I thought they might have had experience with ukuleles.  This is Japan, after all.  However, the only kid who said he possibly could play a little – usually Japanese for ‘I’m rather decent, but just don’t play too often these days,’ – tried out the uke, and discovered that the chords were different from any instrument he knew.  This means that he strummed some odd-sounding chords, and then I reclaimed my ukulele with a bit more confidence and determination.

I taught them the alphabet song, and we had a wonderful time of it all, moving from that to the stars to “Under the Sea” to “Let it go”, and finally “The Lazy Song”.  There might have been another in there, but I’m not recalling it right now.

All-in-all, the kids had a blast and didn’t seem to stop smiling, I had a blast, and the teacher was utterly pleased with the lesson and class (she even kept saying so over and over again afterward).  I wish I had been able to do more things like that before, but the schedule never really allowed for it.  So it goes – it made for a wonderful final class, though, a magical send-off for me.  And that is beautiful.

Post-a-day 2017