I’ve never landed on snow…*

Well, here we go!

Ich freue mich so sehr.

Ich habe aber doch ein bisschen Angst.

Ich gehe trotzdem, und vielleicht weil ich diesen Angst habe.

I guess I’m still reasonably tired right now – German was all I had to express myself right there…

It has been fun visiting Montréal these past hours.

It seems like a lovely place – not by the sights so much as by the lifestyle and the people I have crossed and noticed.

I’ve used almost no English while here, had not even considered that it was French-speaking Canada – mostly because my friend who lives here is from Houston and is not someone I would consider “French-speaking”, so it didn’t even occur to me that it would be in this part of Canada, wherever he happened to live – and have loved every bit.

I always wonder when I go to the Mexican parts of our Houston culture – the tamale places, the panaderías, Fiesta – how the workers know which language to use, Spanish or English.

Do they judge people by their covers, as we were always told not to do?

And yet, I think they must.

And I think that is exactly what is great about a successful business like that (cross-cultural business, I mean): their being able to identify appropriately the customers’ culture, and then interact accordingly with the customers.

When I entered the plane yesterday, to go from Houston to Montréal on Air Canada, I knew they would be operating in bother French and in English.

I also considered briefly how any American airline likely would not do such a thing, and would use exclusively English, just about always, no matter the destination…

(When I interviewed with an airline once as a multilingual flight attendant, they made it sound terrible: the multilingual flight attendants are only ever one individual on any given plane, used to act as translator, and only when needed… it wasn’t about greeting people’s home cultures at all, or serving… it was just about putting out fires, essentially…)

And I wondered how the airline workers would judge.

At baggage check-in, the man greeted me easily and mid-conversation style in English, and I thought nothing of it.

But, at boarding time, as I was surrounded by passengers speaking a mix of French and English, I wondered how the flight attendants would handle it.

Sure enough, as we were stepping into the plane, the greeting post was using one language or the other, depending on how she judged each individual.

And she always had a happy passenger, so she was judging correctly.

My mother and I have discussed how I am rather European, at least for an American – I have many contrasting aspects of the two cultures that kind of go back and forth for me (I’ll give an example in a moment.).

As I took my own steps onto the plane, the greeter gave me the direct-look evaluation, considered, and then said, “Bonjour.”

I automatically respond in kind.

And I was elated.

I was taken for a French speaker, likely due to the European style of my outfit for the day – fitted half-collar long-sleeved black shirt, scarf, snug – but not tight – jeans, and fashionable winter boots.

People from Texas just don’t dress like that. 😛

Today, in contrast, I am very American in my dress: oversized purple long-sleeved t-shirt, same boots and jeans and scarf, and a beret… an odd combination of the two cultures.

But I don’t have to worry about what language people will use with me today – everyone uses both automatically at the airport.

‘Bonjour, Hello,’ they always say.

And the response determines the language used.

But they always say the French first…, and so I automatically am responding before they are finished with the English greeting…, and so they end up using French with me…, which I like very much.

I don’t often have such an opportunity, and I am grateful that I am embracing it.

Anywho… Montréal is nice, is really, really cold, and is beautiful with the snow everywhere (and gives a new experience for me with everyone acting like the snow is normal and nothing big deal [because it is normal here]).

Snow:

*This first was the airport last night, when we had landed on a boatload of snow… snow was everywhere, including where the planes were driving…(!!!)

Including when I picked up my bags at baggage claim:

Now I am off to Japan.

See you on the other side (literally)!

P.S. This flight is to Japan, now, so they will be using all three languages, and I am delighted. 🙂

Post-a-day 2019

Repairing and Improving, with Joy

I will have some classes to teach for the next week and a half… French classes.

I wasn’t sure how exactly I would approach it all, until this morning, that is.

In the first class of the day, it happened that two of the students had a sibling who had been taught by me during the first quarter of this school year, also for French.

After answering some of their questions regarding things like, ‘Do you really only talk to them in French?’, we entered into a natural and almost immediate discussion on whether I could do that with them, these students I have now.

We talked through the method I follow, as well as some whys for it, and every single one of them was enrolled in the idea: Yes, we want to do it, please.

It was almost shocking, but also not, when I considered how I have always loved such opportunities as a student.

Nonetheless, I was delighted.

And so we began setting up their tools, discussing barriers they are likely to meet, and preparing overall for what was going to start next class meeting.

I even gave them homework, and they were okay with it (and surprised themselves that they were okay with the specific assignments).

They left with excited nervousness in their space, and I was delighted with the whole ordeal.

Another two younger siblings were in my next class, and discussion arose – though differently than before – regarding my teaching methods, eventually reaching the point of my asking them whether they would be interested in using the method for our time together.

They, too, were unanimous in the affirmative.

The final two classes of the day were even more willing to be enrolled into the idea than the morning kids, and some even went so far as to smile really largely and to bounce and say how excited they were.

It was adorable.

… and refreshing.

I can hardly wait for next class. 🙂

Note: It had seemed that having everyone on board and truly understanding the expectations and the hows were my biggest struggle in the past…, hopefully, this one day in mostly English will be the needed improvement for me… fingers crossed!! ❤

Post-a-day 2019

C’est le jour last

C’est le jour 1, celui qu’on retient

Celui qui s’efface quand tu me remplaces

Quand tu me retiens, c’est celui qui reviens(!!!)

These are the lyrics to the chorus of this song a lot of my students love. It’s called “Jour 1”, and it is sung by a French artist who uses the name Louane. She sings beautifully, and this song it fun, but I prefer her songs from the film “La Famille Bélier” – Michel Sardou really does have some great songs.

Anyway, we are doing a version of escape rooms as my departing gift to my students (the quarter ends tomorrow). I spent a lot of time putting them together these past couple weeks, and I had the upper level classes today – they went beautifully. Especially the French III was particularly awesome. ::big heart

Tomorrow is the French II and I turns at the escape rooms… I am nervous.

I so far have one helper from French III for each of the classes, and then three students in French II who will be moderators for the three sections/rooms.

For a class of 25, that still makes me a bit nervous…

However, I know that four boys will be home for French II (supposedly, anyway), which drops it to 22 total, and only 19 doing the puzzles… aka about six members per section – that sounds so much better.

I have a plan for how to make it all work – fingers crossed that it goes beautifully and flawlessly, that we all have a wonderful time, and that I give the boys an appropriately love-filled goodbye (I’m singing and playing ukulele for them for a specific blessing/prayer sort of song I love.

De la force!! ❤

Post-a-day 2019

Oopsie

Today, at the beginning of one of my classes, my students had an oral quiz.

For oral quizzes, they always have to call the same phone number, which is a Google Voice number I chose years ago for this express purpose.

These students had used the Google Voice number before, and most of them just have it saved in their phones, since we use it every time.

A few students, however, did not have it saved today, and so asked for me to write the number on the board.

Okay, sure.

I think about it for a minute, and then write out the number, somewhat confidently and totally surprised – I always have to look it up constantly at the beginning of the school year, and I hadn’t realized that I had re-memorized it again already…, but go, me!

Within thirty seconds, a few students are telling me something…

‘Is that number right?’

‘I think so,’ I reply, ‘but I can check.’

And so I pull out my own phone to go log in and check the number, which is what I usually do in the first place, so it’s no biggie to me.

‘I don’t think that’s the right number,’ others tell me, a sense of assuredness in their voices.

‘Oh, really…?’ I consider…

Suddenly, it hits me: “Oh!… That’s my best friend’s number!” I declare, quickly erasing the number from the board.

Laughing, I put up the correct number, and I marvel at how similar the two are – extremely similar, with just the middle numbers swapped with the end ones.

I shake my head, and I wonder if anyone had already been in the process of leaving a message….!oops

Guess it would be good to give her a heads up… or, perhaps, it would be more fun to leave her with a voicemail of someone praying in French… 😛

After all, that’s what friends are for, right? 😉

Post-a-day 2019

Two weeks

I have these two weeks remaining, and then my role will be different.

I actually cried today in class, due to how much I would be missing everyone – I just have come to love them so much, and it has been surprising how much that seems to be.

However, I am awaiting with gratitude and delight the new schedule I will have, as well as the opportunity I will have to pursue photography again, to work actively on my thesis, and to organize my room and visit with family out of town.

Also, today, somehow, I developed a semi-plan to take a few road trips on my lovely Vespa.

I want to learn some skillage first, so I can handle anything that may arise with it, but I definitely am looking forward to these little road trips… man, I really am… 😀

Anyway, I’m off to sleep now – can you believe I actually did some extra work tonight on a really fun activity I’m excited about doing with the kids???… yeah, neither can I… – because I am exhausted, and I am getting up again around 4am to work on myself and to get going on everything for school for the day immediately afterward.

Yippee!! (Haha…, it is exhausting, but I am managing it appropriately, and am even honored that I have the opportunity to pursue everything as I currently am.)

Post-a-day 2019

Je te déteste :P

Well, pretty much the only thing going on (of which I can makes sense, that is) in my head is the somewhat constant loop of this song the kids played in class today.

We were working on self-introductions, and, as usual, the kids were asking for additional phrases to throw into the practice conversations they were having with each added question I gave them to ask and answer.

(For example, on the first day of class, one kid asked for, “Can I have your number?”, and, as I gave him the French for it, the kids learned that they really could learn to say in French everything they want to say…, and now, they bring up the number question just about every other class meeting, as can be expected of teenage boys.)

When we brought up the question and answer for “What do you like (to do)?”, there was the natural question of, “What is I love you in French?”

And so I said and wrote Je t’aime on the board.

Then a similar phrase they requested.

And then there was, “How do you say, ‘I hate you’?”

**Do note that the kids are asking all of these things in French, with only the unknown phrase being said in English, and I only speak French with them… and this is only their third week of French ever.**

I laugh, and then write Je te déteste on the board, and I help them say it properly.

Immediately, I recall a beautiful bit of music I’d been shown a few years ago (by a student), and I explain to them that there is a song called “Je te déteste”, and it is sung by an artist called Vianney, and that they should look it up.

They asked if they could play the song now, and I told one of them to go ahead and pull it up on the desktop and projector, so we could all listen to it and watch the music video.

In shock for only a moment, the boy jumped into action – seemingly before I changed my mind or rescinded (is that right?) the unexpected offer.

He found the song, and played it for the final minutes of class, and I showed them how Vianney spells out déteste in the song, and, frankly, they kind of jammed out.

It was adorable.

And so, now, hours later, I have the middle of the song playing on loop in my head…

Je crie de tout mon être

Sur un morceau de bois

Plutôt que dans tes oreilles

Qui n’écoutent que toi

D E T E S TE te déteste

D E T E S T E….

So good, but so loop-inducing 😛

Je te déteste by Vianney… you’re welcome 😛

Post-a-day 2019

Life and Language

No, I don’t watch television.

Do you watch Netflix, Hulu…?’

I don’t have Internet, wifi at home.

“Your life is boring,” he declares, matter-of-factly.

The other kids begin to panic, eyes wide at his blatant statement of potential rudeness to the teacher.

I laugh heartily, tell them how to say it all in French, and then mention how I’m actually really busy a lot of the time, and that my life is actually rather interesting – a fact which even takes me a bit by surprise in the moment.

I laugh and smile some more while they recover.

Later in the day, I am told…..

Actually, I am so tired, the memory I was intending for the past few hours to share has decided to go on vacation for a while…

I guess we’ll find out later, if it ends up coming back… 😛

Post-a-day 2019