Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Just call me pénible.

So I'm trying to plan a lesson for my 6eme kids about St. Patrick's Day...which I don't really give a hoot about because I don't like green that much...and all I can think about is how annoying I've been lately. It's super beautiful outside. Feels like springtime! The sun is shining, the birds are singing, I'm wearing a tank-top, I ate a cheeseburger today, and Alicia Keys is blasting through my headphones! Yet all I can think about is my recent behavior. I keep hanging around school all the time because I'm bored, and simply because I love going to school. It's no secret that I love the lycee kids, and I love hanging out with my new sister. I'm sure everyone thinks I'm insane because I'm always at school...hanging around with nothing to do, but maybe they'd all understand where I'm coming from if they knew how I felt. The truth is that I feel incredible sadness when I think about leaving this place, and I guess I just want to hold on for dear life. The only thing is that it makes me look like a pest...and no one wants to be a pest...not even me. I'm also frightened because I just know that when I do go home, I'm not going to be the same person. I'm going to be a depressing person to be around because I guess I've fallen in love with my life here. To make me leave is going to make me into a person that I don't want to be...and that I wouldn't want to be around. It's like I'm driving through the country-side and it's really beautiful, but I know that it's going to end in a terrible car accident. It sucks. I know this is depressing, but I hardly ever write depressing things...and I just want to be honest I guess.

Anyway to change the subject, and to cheer us all up...in honor of St. Patrick's Day, here is one of my favorite clips...

"I wanna know where da gold at."

On a happier note, I had an excellent week-end! Friday I was super tired because, to be brief, I may have gotten myself into a little trouble on Thursday night. So I went grocery shopping with Bob, and took several nice naps. Slept in on Saturday, wanted to stay in bed, but I'm glad I went to the market because I ran into Christine and her son. He's a smart kid because he invited me to his birthday party which was on Sunday. But before that I had to get him a gift, so I walked to Carrefour with Mafer and Bob...we had a lot of fun picking out the perfect gift for him. It took half an hour of bickering over whether the insect book was better quality than the dinosaur book, until I finally made a decision. Dinner time was quickly approaching so we headed home because Bob and I were invited to dinner at his Christine's house...her name is actually Sylvia...very nice lady...and her husband's cool too. We had champagne and foie gras and paella and good wine and mouth-watering dessert. I was so full afterwards, but it was wonderful really. We laughed a lot, ate a lot...that's another thing I'll really miss about France...the meals are beyond good and it's not just because of the food. You really get to take your time to laugh with and talk to people. Sometimes this lasts from 7pm until 1 in the morning, but I just adore it...it's meaningful. Sunday morning, after some "daylight savings confusion about the time" issues I was having...I made it to Christine's for the birthday lunch which lasted from noon until 6:30 I think. I had a lot of fun though because I love her family so much. The kids seemed to be happy with their gifts, and we had a fabulous meal prepared by someone, but I forget who (just kidding darling)...we went for a walk/run after lunch until Christine's daughter finally learned how to ride her bike without training wheels!! Woo! Champagne and Chocolate and banana cake with sprinkles followed along with an hour of playing doctor with the kids...I'm a really good patient ;) It was the kind of Sunday we can only read about in books...ideal. The only way it could have been better is if Jeff Goldblum had dropped in for gouter...

for us to be together...


Last night was also exceptional. I was invited to yet another dinner along with Bob and Billy. This time at a retired English couple's house. Michael and Denise have been living in Brioude for a little while I think, and their home is so perfect...cool and trendy artwork hanging on the walls, modern furniture which was surprisingly comfortable, and a lovely veranda with a good view. However lovely, the best part about Michael and Denise's house is Michael and Denise, but especially Denise. She's a woman after my own heart...super down-to-earth and the most fabulous 63 year old woman I've ever met. We had lots of funny and intense conversations for only having just met...but I love when you unexpectedly feel a connection with someone like that...anyway she's just what I needed last night...also she never let my wine glass run empty.

Anyway we kind of looked like this...

 In between having fun with my new friend, Denise, we had gumbo which Billy made for us...really delicious and nice and spicy...kind of tasted like home. We had two chocolate desserts served with Billy's suprise to me...Ben and Jerry's Cookie Dough Ice Cream!!! Was so good!! It was one of the best nights I've had in Brioude...ever. Anyway I think they want to keep me around...I'm going back next Tuesday and they want me to cook this time...I'll let you know if I burn the quiches or not...but luckily Denise is making the pastry.

Well until next time I guess...
Love, Coco

Monday, February 20, 2012

it's ok...je suis en vacances.

So I never went to Barcelona...oops...the trip kind of fell through, but it's ok...I'm having a good vacation anyway...why?

First, the English stage with the Lycee kids went really well. Of course it didn't run as smoothly as planned, but nothing does when it involves me. Day one, was rookie day for me, I think I did pretty well, and the kids agreed when I took a survey at the end of the day...I taught them some good old-fashioned American English using a cool ass song...some games...and other useful activities. Day two was film day...I kept the film a big secret which increased the anticipation level and made the kids eager to come back for a second day of fun...despite the evil snow storm that terrorized the land the night before. We watched Penelope, which is a movie about a girl who's born with a pig snout. I just love it!

oh honey...

Day three was the best I think...we did another cool song and some more killer activities to get them to speak English with no fear! They killed at some tongue twisters too...I was really good at them too actually (hidden talent). The only one I can't really do is the one about Susie because I ALWAYS want to say "shits" at the end. hehe...

  I saw Susie sitting in a shoe shine shop.
                                       Where she sits she shines, and where she shines she sits.

Tea...tea is so good. Having a cup (well...former pickle jar) of Ceylan right now actually because it helps me write...also I think I might have a tea addiction these days. Anyway, Mafer and I spent the last four exciting days in the south of France in a beautiful city called Montpellier! It was my first real experience in the south of France, (drove through when we went to Spain, but we didn't stop so it doesn't count) and it was pretty killer! It was a little warmer there which was really nice and just what I needed...the sun was always out! I love sun...I need sun...and I've got a little bit of color back in my cheeks which were rendered ghost-like by Auvergne's winter climate.

Here's your soundtrack to my vacay while you read...try not to fall asleep it's super chill music.



I took the train down to Montpellier on Thursday morning...at 7:45! Was hard to wake up so early and walk in the rain to Brioude's train station, but I was pretty excited and motivated by the Montpellier weather report which I checked the evening prior. The train ride itself made a huge impression on me...yes it was five hours long (oh my god), but I had no idea the mountains were so insane just a few miles past Brioude because I never go in that direction, and I've never seen anything like them before. As a result, for the first two hours of the train ride I was gawking out the window...after that I began reading The Hunger Games because hey...that's what everyone else is doing right now...plus the entire trilogy was only $16 on my Kindle, and I had some gift cards.

On arrival in Montpellier St. Roch train station, I found Mafer and we headed out to explore the city! Montpellier is not overwhelmingly huge so we were able to see just about everything in the city center all in one evening. Also I began emptying my bank account due to all of the amazing shopping there was to be done on the street right next to the hostel I booked (figures)...plus I love the style in the south of France...stripes and all that...lots of navy...what was I supposed to do? Anyway after a few purchases I was almost as happy as the pig girl (see photo above). Eventually we found the office du tourisme and with it a lot of pamphlets featuring loads of things to do in Montpellier because we really had no idea what we were going to do. After this, we checked out some abstract art in the Musee Fabre...felt very cultured as a result...but then I had to get out of there and find a drink...which I did. Had a banana bread beer (dunno who thought of that...but thank you...sincerely, Coco) and roamed around the Place du Peyrou...made only more enjoyable by the side-effects of the banana bread beer.


Place du Peyrou...



breath-taking at sunset...don't you think?

After such an exciting day, Mafer and I retired quite early to our private suite like a couple of abuelas...I say suite because we freaking had a TV and our own bathroom! Also I don't know if it was the change in altitude or dehydration because I kept forgetting to buy a water bottle, but I had a migraine that lasted four days...let's just say I was popping aspirin like they were tic tacs because I was damned and determined to have a good vacation! ahem...

The second day, Mafer and I decided to go to Montpellier Zoo...because animals are cool and I wanted to see a monkey...and zebras. Mafer had never seen many of the quintessential Zoo animals before in her life...like giraffes, rhinos, exotic birds...basically all of the characters from Madagascar...so we just had to go for her sake...and I'm a child so I loved it. We spent a long ass time in the zoo getting lost and paying .50 euros for a damn map because I was fed up with being lost in a damn zoo. Anyway, after the zoo we worked our way over to the complete other side of town to the planetarium where we explored space and the night sky...it was great...well worth the 6.50 euros. Weirdly enough, standing in line for the show at the planetarium, I met a guy who was on vacation in Montpellier who lives in Columbia, SC...was super weird...small world...he wasn't very nice though because he seemed to have no use for me after I didn't know where he could get the perfect French meal in Montpellier...look around you dope...you're in France! There's French food everywhere! I mean come on!

The third day, Mafer woke up and said..."you want to go to the beach?" and I said "si!" So went to Sete. Sete is a stunning town on the Mediterranean which is just the right size and not too crowded. It was incredibly nice there...very sunny which I loved. We had a gorgeous lunch...raw oysters, grilled fish with aioli  mayo and some yummy potatoes, creme caramel for dessert, two glasses of wine...I was in heaven for two hours. After stuffing our faces, we took a nice walk to the sea-side, basked in the sun (fully clothed mind you), and relished in our final full day of vacay. When we got back to Montpellier, we were both exhausted from walking and had had too much sun I think. So we ate some junk food and went to sleep in our clothes (not our pyjamas)...oh the shame.

Here are a few photos from Sete...






Now that I'm back in Brioude things are pretty low-key...I've reverted back to my old habits...drinking loads of tea and watching the arte channel all day...so I guess I'll get back to the special on the mating rituals of deep sea creatures, and my Ceylan which has grown a tad cold.

bisous!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sorry...I'm boring I guess.

I realize it's been a long time since the last time I posted a blog, and that the last one that I posted was kind of like "uh oh...what's happening to Rachel?" It's true that the last time I shared, I was on somewhat of a downward spiral, but the good news is that I've leveled out I think. The holidays finally ended and with them my short run with insanity. The problem was that I had nothing to do and no physical person to talk to for a long period of time...a long period of time for me being just 5 days...pathetic I know, but that's me I guess.

Anyway, the winter holidays are coming up soon and I've been searching high and low for things to do so that you, my readers, don't have to witness anything like the last post again...

First Bob, Billy, MaFer and myself are planning a roadtrip to Barcelona! I can't wait to see Barcelona because...I like Spain and roadtrips, also everyone says it's a really beautiful city. I'm currently working on my Spanish though I might be screwed because everything's written in Catalan I think. Oh well.


It'll be very Vicky, Christina, Barcelona... without someone getting shot.



Second! Since my friend Billy declined, I am "organizing" (yes...that word has been used) an English stage (workshop) over the holidays! I'm really excited about this...not that I know what I'm doing at all, but because I will have some work over the holidays and some people to talk to...some things to do...some lives to influence!...That is...if anyone shows up...Christine and the other  English teachers have been advertising the stage to their classes, but apparently there hasn't been much interest shown as far as the students go...but they are teenagers and it is the holidays. Hopefully they just need more time to think and more time for their parents to find out and force them to go...In any case, I'm going to ask Christine if I can do a little of my own advertising and make some cool flyers or something.

So those are my holiday plans...so glad that I have some plans! Oh I know...I cut my hair...a lot of it...I like it...sorry I can't produce a photo as of right now, but Bob and I are co-hosting a party here at my place in less than two weeks...it's going to be killer...I only throw killer parties...maybe we'll take some photos. I was really hesitant to cut my hair, but I was having a bad day so I ran to the hairdresser's and did the deed. 

Also I'm tired of winter...need some sun...I love sun! I want it to be summer...and not because I want to go home...we all know I don't...but I WANT TO SPEND THE SUMMER HERE! Obviously that's not happening so all I can do is dream...with a little help from Gwen...



Meredith Hope...please tell me you love this video as much as I do.


Also! My blog passed 1,000 pageviews! I'm so excited!!! Let's have a partay! C U next time!



Sunday, January 1, 2012

Does that make me crazy?

I keep asking myself, "what's wrong with you Coco?" En fait (in fact), I ask myself this question far too often these days. I ask myself other questions like "why do you hate the holidays?" After all, time off from school is supposed to be restful, nice, rewarding, etc...but for me it isn't. I do much better at work....at school...with people...in a routine. I CANNOT WAIT TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL! I have had much difficulty coping with all of this free time that I have and when there's no one to talk to ...one begins to talk to one's self....inside one's head. That is a dangerous place to hang out. Anyway, due to this excess of temps libre...I have had a short stint with what I believe to be a mild depression...I've also had lots of tea. It's probably not that serious...we all know I'm a drama queen sometimes, but life would be utterly boring if I weren't I suppose.

Thanks to help from loyal friends like Christine and Beyonce Knowles I have recovered...I think. Christine kindly took me to the supermarket after a long Facebook conversation that revealed my temporary insanity. Beyonce wrote this song a long time ago, but it's evident she was thinking of my crazy ass...


Sing it girl.

Thank goodness for Beyonce. I've been blasting Me, Myself, and I, along with several other ridiculous yet oddly empowering songs on my brand new speakers that I purchased for 15 euros at Leclerc. Doesn't take much to make me happy...just 15 euros :)...anyhow it's all part of the treatment...for my depression...

In order for my recovery to be complete...I've decided that I need to throw a fabulous party to celebrate the new year and my blog reaching 1,000 pageviews (that's not a lot I realize, but....I'm proud). If everything goes right, all of the best people will be there, and we will eat, drink, and be crazy...three things that I feel we're good at here in Brioude...at least that's our reputation among the other assistants I think...I hope...let's face it...they probably never talk about us. heh heh.

In addition to this soiree, I've decided I would like to cut most of my hair off. This is rather impetuous I know and probably a bad idea, but I always feel better after a haircut and most of my hair is dead anyway...I  will feel like a new woman...I think. I am also inspired by Audrey Tautou's look in "La Delicatesse," a film I recently saw...by myself! I've never felt like such an ass going it alone to the movies (I was surrounded by groups of post-menopausal women and one guy who was dragged there by his girlfriend), but the film was good anyway...too good...it made me smile...several times.


she's just too fab

Today was very good. That's probably an understatement. I had lunch with Christine's family...you know to celebrate the new year. The food (and drink) was delicious and plentiful (another understatement). I'm really glad I was invited. It's good to be around good people, and I wish I spoke French well enough to really tell them how much I appreciate them including me, and how sweet they are for making me feel at home...hell I don't speak English well enough to really say how I feel sometimes. But I didn't spend the beginning of the year alone and that means the world to me. Oh and the food was REALLY good...I don't think I put enough stress on that the first time.

This post is kind of rubbish...can't believe I just used that word...but it seemed appropriate. I mean, who wants to read about that time that I was sad and lonely for...I dunno five days? No one...so hopefully in the future...I won't be? Maybe that can be my New Year's resolution. I resolve to not be alone...it's not good for me. But I suppose we can't always be on top of things...and you always have to have the bad with the good right?