Sunday, June 26, 2011

Est-ce que tu faisais?

Yes, once again blogging has been pushed to the end of my list. Don’t worry, it has been taunting me for the past couple weeks causing a guilty tick every time I look at my list. This leaves probably all of you with the question “Well, what have you been doing?”

My first response is as always; not much. But then if I seriously look back on the past month. I have been quite busy. Firstly, I was in England for over a week. This deserves its own blog and will be accompanied by the top pictures of that vacation, as always. The rest of my time has been divided among a variety of pursuits. Needless to say, I have not been sitting still.

French classes continue and I think I have reached a plateau of understanding a majority of what is going on around me at the moment. Although, I did get a bit mixed up with my tutoring agency this week and have sent an email hopefully to correct the error. On the whole though, I feel like I am better able to navigate my way through daily conversations and confrontations with webistes, paperwork and the prefecture.

Speaking of the prefecture, we now have our French drivers’ licenses. Check out the size of these things in proportion to a regular sized business card! Even when they are folded up, they are still huge. 

I feel like actually getting the drivers’ licenses was a bit of a victory. One more thing done on the list of settling in, and once less bureaucratic hassle to deal with. Coming soon taxes and making my way through more tutoring agency red tape. Good thing I’ll be taking an intensive French course for the next four weeks. I am really looking forward to the change of pace and am ready to put in the extra hours that recently have been devoted to other things.

One of these extras is of course my French Harry Potter quest. I must also let you know that I am right on schedule with my Harry Potter reading. So far six months, six books! I simply have to finish the last book before the end of July and I will have succeeded. Regardless of the fact that I got a bit side tracked and read about four English books while I was in Britain (and bought another three English books), I think I will be able to enjoy Voldemort and Harry battling it out one last time before the month is over.

In the upcoming months, I will have a bit more time on my hands. My tutoring has finished for the year and I must say I am a disappointed to say goodbye to some of my students. Some I will see in September and some have even been emailing me for a bit of extra practice, but some are moving on to other things and other places. For some of my students I am still awaiting the results of their major exams and praying that they did well. I hope that all of them have a safe and happy summer. They have fed my vocation over these past months and for that I cannot thank them enough.

The other major monster that has consumed my time has been job hunting. This has been a bit of an on and off activity, as I rode the roller-coaster of frustration with French websites and either a plethora or total lethargy of motivation. Well it has started to pay off. I have a part time job at a school that teaches English! It is not a lot of hours, but it is a start. Once I am done my training which has basically gobbled up all my time this past week, I think I am really going to enjoy the structure and consistency of this job. In addition, the people are great. Since this is only part time, the job hunt/tutoring student recruiting will continue, but perhaps with a little bit less of the ups and downs of the past months.

Aside from all this I have started to do some painting and continue to agonize over which photographs deserve to be hung on the wall. Keith and I have been busy each weekend with something new and different. We had one of my tutoring families over for dinner last weekend and we went for our last walk in the Calanques the weekend before that. The Calanque trails close in the summer because the risk of forest fire is so high. As the dry heat sets in here and the reality of this risk become more apparent because although the sea is just minutes from our door, the lack of moisture is clearly obvious as the glaring sun reflects back from the white sand and dry dirt around us.

To embrace the heat the summer we went to the beach (properly) for the first time yesterday.   As Canadians we automatically link beach and swimming. This is not the case in Marseille. Many people go to the beach with absolutely no intention of setting a toe in the brilliant blue-green water. They are there to lay on the their towels and tan.  No book, no fun fruit and jello snacks, just pure sun absorbing. Needless to say Keith and I went swimming, read our books, and watched the people around us. Having the beach only ten minutes away is going to be fantastic! Of course Keith does have to work on his sunscreen application skills (notice the bright red burn on his right chest). Hey, at least we know the sunscreen works!

More to come soon, I promise.