Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you...

Hemingway was right. At least he was when it comes to me. In A Moveable Feast, one of my summer reads, he wrote, "Wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast." That about sums up my life since I returned from my fantasy life abroad. Paris is always on my mind. I probably think about Paris more often than guys think about sex. Seriously. Everything reminds me of it, whether it be little French things, or just how different life here really is.

I bought a cute, cheap pair (50% off, so I got them for 12 Euro) of black flats in Paris. I really broke those puppies in this summer. For some reason, I just couldn't wear them once I got home. They remind me of the last night I wore them. My roommate Erin and I went out on our last night to enjoy the life one more time before our sad flights home. We splurged on a nice meal in the Bastille area, took the Metro to Trocadero for a wonderful view of our beloved Eiffel Tower, or tour Eiffel, and walked to the Champs Elysees for creme brulee. We sang John Denver's "Leaving on a Jet Plane" out loud as we watched the tower sparkle. On our walk it began to rain..and then it poured... a LOT. We ducked under canopies and tried to use her umbrella, but nothing helped. We were completely soaked. And I remember thinking I am so happy right now. I am soaked and cold, but it is my last night in least for now...and I am not going to let this rain ruin it. Besides, would it truly be Paris without a little rain? And so I ran and smiled. I laughed and soaked it in as much as I could. During this time, I kept forcing back my tears. How do you say goodbye to a place that you have come to love so deeply? When we finally arrived at the Champs Elysees, we searched and searched for creme brulee, but it was nowhere to be found. Not possible, right? Right. Eventually we found a place that had it on the menu. We sat down and ordered. "Mademoiselle, I am sorry, but we have no creme brulee (all in French, bien sur)." What! Pourquoi Pas!!!?? And there, in that chain restaurant with no creme brulee, I let it out, even though I tried not to. The tears came. I'm sure the waiter thought I was nuts for crying about creme brulee. Even now, my eyes start to sting and sometimes fill to the brims with tears. Anyway, I have gone on for too long about our last night. We did eventually get creme brulee, by the way.

So today, I put on the shoes. At first they were a little funky because they were soaked the last time I wore them, but then they molded right into place. All day, wherever I walked, I imagined myself on my way to class (a la Sorbonne!) or going for a walk along the Seine. And then I would wake up from my daydream and remember where I was and I felt sad. I miss it. It has been over a month and I still feel homesick. Can you be homesick for a place that is not technically your home, where you know few people, and have never experienced the seasons?

I have decided to go back. Not just to visit, but to live, for at least a year. Who knows, maybe longer ;) Paris is not just another cool city to me. It is a part of me. I see it and feel it in everything. From the way I drink my coffee (cafe au lait, s'il vous plait) to the way I walk down the street, Paris has left its mark.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

How can one help another who will not help themselves?

How can I help others who will not help themselves? This question has troubled and stumped me for quite some time. I am studying to be a teacher, and I feel like all of my education teachers would say things like, "You must inspire them to want to learn...blah, blah, blah." Now that sounds great, but I now know that it is easier said than done. And that is a great understatement.

I teach a workshop that supplements a college algebra class. I work closely with the professor to give students the extra time and help they need to understand the material and succeed in the course. I have had many, Many, MANY students who say that they just don't get it. Yup, basically all of my students dislike math. If they liked it and were great at it, they would most likely not even be in my class. Anyway, along with the students who give up after the first few weeks and ultimately withdraw or fail, I have those students who start off determined to succeed. Last semester, a sweet, hard-working girl named Devon worked harder than anyone I've ever taught. She ended up passing the course, but barely. She definitely had a real math block going on. And then I have other students who have the ability succeed, but choose to be slackers and blame it on everybody but themselves.

This brings me to the young man that is on my mind...and not in a good way. This kid infuriates me! I have to be honest and say that he is lacking greatly in his fundamental math skills. The professor even suggested that he drop back to the previous math class because his skills were just not there. Of course he decided to stick it out. His reply sounded a little something like, "Oh no. I gotta pass this class and the next one. I'm a senior and I'm graduating in May." Hmmm...You are a senior, you struggle in math, and you waited until now to start your math classes...the 2 most failed math classes that our university offers!!!???? Well, let's just say that this guy will not be graduating in May. I know it, the professor knows it, and now I think he may suspect it. Ok, so you may be thinking I am a horrible teacher because I am setting him up for failure...think's fine with's people like this that make me seriously doubt my ability to put up with lazy-ass students. So, back to the beginning of the semester. I had faith. I thought, sure, he can put in the work and pass this class. Devon did it, so maybe he can too! And then he came to class...and then he came to my workshop...and then I realized that his withdrawal/failure is inevitable. Why? Comes late to everything or doesn't come at all, no book, no notes, no homework, leaves early, and challenges my policies. Now he has this attitude that even though he's just about failing, he's gonna do great on the test...uh huh...yup...sure. Now, of course, not only does he come to my class every time, he comes to both sections of my class. The problem is that he thinks he can substitute coming to my class for doing his homework and taking notes. Because of his lack of work, he has no idea what I am doing when I do problems on the board. He has no idea even how to start a basic algebra problem. He sits at his desk and wants me to explain each tiny step several times. He looks at me all squinty-eyed like he can't see, but really, it's just his way of letting me know that he still doesn't get it. My big question is, "What am I to do?" Do I attend to him individually all the time? I really can't do that...I'm not a tutor...I have a whole class to teach! I have no problem explaining concepts, steps, etc., but when it is a constant annoyance, I feel like it is taking away from the learning of everyone else. But I think the thing that really gets me is that I know he puts no effort in outside of class and then he complains to me that this class is harmful to his blood pressure...nice excuse. He has yet to visit the free tutoring center, visit the professor's office hours, or start a homework assignment. Sorry, but I have no sympathy. I just don't know how to deal with this guy...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I am currently sitting in my office procrastinating. That's right, I'm sitting here, writing about procrastination, rather than doing what I should be doing. The easy stuff that does not take long is not my problem...It's the stuff that seems never-ending that I tend to put research, something I have become quite familiar with as a history major.

I just finished my lesson plan/worksheets for tomorrow, fully intending on moving on to a little research. Maybe it would help if I cared a little more. I know it would help if my project that I need to be researching were due soon. I have a few weeks, which means I will probably continue to put off my research until the last possible moment, and then my project will not be up to my standards, but I'll hand it anyway because something is better than nothing at all, at least as far as my grade goes.

Federalists, Anti-Federalists, and the American Dream...hmmmm...I picked this topic because I thought, "Well, I don't know a lot about this, so now is a great time to learn." That was week one, before I fell back into my not-so-positive-about-learning slump. Well, such is life, and being the semi-diligent student that I am, I better get to work, or my soon-to-be-due bibliography will be a nice list of sources that I have not read. Au revoir!

Greta and Heidi

Last night, I fell asleep thinking about two of my favorite friends. They were on my mind because I had just submitted my first blog, and they were truly my inspiration. Heidi and Greta. What amazing, fantastic, fun-loving, full-of-love, hopeful and true people! I had some of my top life moments with these sisters. Ok, so maybe the fact that we were together in France had something to do with it, but still, their energy and zest for life definitely seeped into my soul.

Heidi is a true beauty. She is strong and knows exactly what she wants, even when she is uncertain. Even through tough times, she is level-headed and a mountain of courage. She has more true faith in her beliefs than anyone I have ever met. She loves deeply and laughs easily.

Greta is a poet...not only of words, but of life. She finds beauty and laughter in even the smallest of things. She is a comic (trust me, there are pictures to prove it) and a free spirit (there are pictures to prove that too). She is truly herself. She is not afraid of what others may think, and I love that about her, especially since the things she does, I love to do sing "The Lonely Goatherd," as if she were a true Von Trapp, for example.

The thing that truly amazes me is that within a small amount of time, these wonderful people became closer to me than people I have known for years. They are among my newest friends, yet my friendship with them feels as if it is one I have cherished for years. What I do know is that these wonderful friends are not friends that will simply remain in pictures and nothing else. I will make it a point to stay in touch, even though we live at opposite ends of the country.

These friends are the epitome of truly wonderful people. They deserve only the best in life.

Monday, September 15, 2008

First Blog Ever

To be honest, I've never written a blog before! I know, I'm a little behind the times, but I guess I just never took the time to do it. However, with the inspiration of my wonderful friends, Heidi and Greta, I decided to sign up. Only now am I actually writing. I have nothing and everything to write about. For now, I will only start to say that I have actually started my blog. I decided that a blog was a good way to document my life for not only my friends who might want to hear about it, but for myself as well. Many years from now, it might be fun reading about who I was at 24. I coulda, woulda, shoulda started while living in Paris, but oh well...I can't go back now...but I really wish I could! Just to walk down a cobblestone street with the aroma of freshly baked baguettes and a view of the Seine would be worth the plane ticket alone. For now I'll finish up my degree and figure out how I will ever make it back there...not as a tourist, but to really live there again. I really need to get to bed since I have to be up in 6.5 hours to learn how to be a fabulous teacher. I promise to write more next time. What I do not promise is to make the quality and entertainment of this blog even close to that of Greta's...she's just amazing at this! Anyway, bonne nuit, mes amis! Je t'aime!