Saturday, February 26, 2011

Il faut vie dans la campagne...

I haven't had very positive blogs this week, so I am attempting to turn my frown upside-down!

Professionally related updates:
  • I'm going to visit Düsseldorf at the end of March!! I will spend a day at the school and two days checking out the city! Can't wait to see it- especially since I have already committed to two years there. By the way, my friend Rachel Larimore from CSU (GO NRRT!) has other friends moving to the Düsse this summer from the US! In her words they are "good liberals who like good music." Who doesn't love liberals who listen to bluegrass (Glenn Beck?)?? Yay for new friends!! And, how totally random!!
  • I get to go on a BUSINESS TRIP!! My school in Germany is sending me to Atlanta for a week in June for International Baccalaureate training. How fun private school life is going to be (not selling out public education, I swear...don't worry, in my heart I am still a public educator who believes that public education is the key to a participatory democracy!) because they have MONEY!! What? So fun. All schools could have money if people realized what a priority educational funding is and stopped whining about paying taxes so we can have good schools. How's that for 'good liberal?'

Besides the fact that I am tortured daily by the dramatic mealtime issues in this family, which have now even reached heights such as:

-won't eat bread from a certain bakery
-won't eat melted cheese IN something only ON things
-something eaten for the entire time I've been here suddenly becomes something disgusting

But, I just can't talk about it any more and I am trying to internalize that it is NOT MY PROBLEM. I sit in silence. As my cousin Lauren said, (she's a teacher too!) "I think that I'm the teacher of all kids in the world and they should all follow my classroom rules!" So true. I bet other teachers out there can relate to this sentiment. I always love kids at school and abhor them when I have to be around teenagers in public settings because they are not following "The One Rule," and I cannot remind them that they are "living below the line" when they are being obnoxious little shits. :)

I am heading out of here on March 18th- which will be bittersweet because I have had a lot of fun here despite the drama. It has been a great experience to renew the French skills that I had let go of since college. Obviously, to truly be "fluent" I would need WAY more time. For example, I don't know many idiomatic expressions nor do I know slang and still am thrown by certain verb tenses. But, I can generally communicate with people to survive life (okay, not Love and Logic type communication, but normal, daily life!) And, now that I'll only be a few hours from France when I move to Düsseldorf, I can hopefully keep it up a bit. Maybe I'll have some Francophones at my new school too! However, I will be trying to learn German and as quickly as possible so I can do normal things like go to the grocery store, ORDER A BEER, etc. (Another aside...I'm full of new school has an all-school happy hour every Friday!!)

I haven't posted any pictures recently of my housewife projects which have continued. I've done less photogenic projects lately like peeling lots of wallpaper and picking up pony poo. Also, I read a lot here so there's not much to share about that on a blog...yet...because I did discover a whole area of research I was unaware of..."Third Culture Kids!" So, stay tuned for updates on my latest nerd endeavor. (Third Culture Kids are those who have grown up outside of their parents' home culture, in another foreign culture(s) and their nomadic lives create a 'third' culture with others who share their characteristics...more on this later when I finish reading my first book!). It was suggested reading for my new international school!

So, here are some pics of the latest projects and happenings...haven't been a tourist much lately. But, in the few weeks I've got left, I'll be tourist-ing it up! I've still yet to visit Mt. St. Michel but it has been so very rainy every day. Oh Colorado sunshine, I can't wait to see you!! Düsseldorf is apparently nicknamed "Drizzledorf" so I'm going to have to soak up as much blue sky as I can when I am home for the summer. You don't realize how much GREY sucks until you live in GREY every day! **

**As an aside, last semester, I had to teach about the rotation of the earth, etc. I was telling the kids to really picture how the light is different in different seasons and how when I picture memories from different seasons, the light is different in my memories. Specifically, I always picture CSU homecoming parades in Fort Collins in the fall with all of the yellow leaves on Laurel Street and how I love the light on bright, crisp Saturday mornings in October...wait...I'm getting veklempt...One of the kids raised her hand and said, "Uh, Miss Swanson, it is cloudy here almost all the time. We have no idea what you're talking about!" **

Now, some pictures...

I made a goat cheese tart. It was awesome!
(Didn't even try to make Picky McEatsnothing even taste it!)

The cows next door!
You should hear them mooing in French. Hilarious.

Madonna, the pony, meets Peggy, the lonely donkey. They were both excited!
Peggy brays all day long. Hello herd animal being left alone.
She is caused major distress, it is sad...AND LOUD!!!

For Steven's birthday I made a three-layer chocolate tart.
It had three types of ganache: dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate.
It was totally fat free. Not.

The tart before cutting. Ignore the slightly burned crust, it was my first attempt!
Someone forgot to buy candles so we had to use this.
We sang to him in English and French. Delightful!

Crèpes? NO! Les Galettes.
Galettes are similar but are made with whole wheat flour.
They are a specialty of the Bretagne region and you eat them with savory things.
This is the ONLY food that Whiny McThrowsafit eats without grumbling.

I also made chocolate éclairs for Steven's actual birthday-day.
They were pretty darn complicated and time-consuming considering it took everyone about 30 seconds to consume them. I don't think I could be a pastry chef, I'd get mad that people ate my creations too quickly after all of my time and effort.

Before filling them....

The chocolate filling. Yum.
They have an induction stove. I love it!

The dough.
Had to make the dough on the stove and then pipe it out with a pastry bag.
See what I mean by complicated??

Spring is coming! And, it was sunny one day last week!
This is the driveway up to the house!
I was proud of my photo skills because I digitally removed the car in the driveway.
I am now removing all wrinkles in pictures of myself (and others too if you pose with me!) now that I am getting proficient with this new technology. 29 forever, baby!

This is the outside of the cottage.
I have been spending many a day in here removing wallpaper.
This will be their prime vacation rental property when they get it all finished.
We go furniture shopping for it like 3 times a week. Make a decision already!!

So, that's my life right now. Exciting, huh? Please note sarcasm. No, really, I am having fun! I do miss a few being able to fully communicate with people in my native language (which doesn't even really happen in England, if I am going to be honest!) but it has been a great experience nonetheless! And, I know I will always have a French Manoir that I can visit in the future! Can't wait to see it all renovated!! And, OF COURSE I miss ice in drinks. But, this is just a fact of life once you cross the Atlantic. I just don't get it.

Also, my good friend Megan just started a blog and I think it is going to be fantastic! There is a link to it on the side of my blog, but here is the link so you can just click to enjoy!


Anonymous said...

Oooooh, "Third Culture Kids". Isn't that a nice name for them! Ha! I have a particularly strong opinion about them. My experience is with the spoiled-white-offspring-of-oil-executives type. They exist in high numbers.

A friend of mine grew up in Singapore (daddy worked for Exxon) and we had the opportunity to visit once. Seeing their lifestyle was eye-opening. Company paid for housing, the best American School, a fancy American Club membership, a car (a hot commodity in Singapore!). Her attitudes as an adult are pretty 'anti-American', even though she lives here now. She loves to make blanket statements about how Americans are: how we don't travel enough and aren't 'worldly' enough (and how it's obviously because we are so self-involved). But she doesn't really understand the average American because she didn't grow up here. She doesn't realize how expensive travel is for the average family, and that most people have to pay for there NEEDS first, leaving little left for travel and worldly pursuits.

A blanket statement of my own: I find the "Third Culture Kids" to be overly privledged, spoiled brat know-it-alls, who can't relate to the plight of the average human being (while at the same time claiming to understand world cultures and politics) because they have the family & corporate connections and money that they can live in their ex-pat bubble for the rest of their lives.

Ha, Ha! Ranting is over. I'm fascinated by this particular topic... (I'm sure they aren't all little shits). I'd probably enjoy the book - you'll have to share more about it.

- Carrie

Anonymous said...

Ooops, I used the wrong 'their'. I'm a dumb american. heh, heh.

Megan Moran said...

Thanks for the shout out! Um...I am so excited for you to come home and cook! The eclairs had my mouth watering. You are such a little Martha Stewart now I LOVE it. Of course I can't wait for you to come home for at least a million other reasons. Love ya!