Miscellaneous Moments, Part V

After not having seen blue skies and sunlight in days, I walked straight into a patch of sunshine, closed my eyes, and photosynthesized for five minutes. And then, clearly, the proper response to such a gorgeous day was to spend 30 minutes walking 2.1 miles—casually muttering, “I’m going to die” the entire time because a good portion of the journey consisted of walking down a steep mountainside—to Carrefour to use the Wi-Fi and update my blog (and buy groceries). The Internet-less life is a difficult one.

  • A trio of girls walking behind me on the way to class addressed me as “Madame,” but I didn’t realize they were talking to me until they said in French-accented English, “Miss?” I’m not old enough for this.
  • I saw a coconut merveille in a boulangerie and bought it on a whim because it reminded me of the time Madeline and I watched Le gout des merveilles at the French Film Festival. Unfortunately, it was more of a meringue than a pastry.
  • After finally introducing the Spanish assistant La to L and S, we went to a pizza restaurant for dinner, and talking to people my age in a foreign language helped me realize just how much my French has improved over the years.
    • On the way back to our rooms around 10:30pm, La and I terrified an employee at Claudel because he’d never seen us before and wondered how two strangers had gotten into the gated campus.
  • Some gutsy high schooler sent me a friend request on Facebook. Honey, you could be the best-behaved, brightest girl in Claudel, and I still wouldn’t add you.
  • A Méchain Spanish teacher kindly drove La and me to the school, and when they spoke in Spanish it was even more confusing than when I watched Captain America: The Winter Soldier in French the night before. Also, the teacher gave me several mini heart attacks because she kept turning around to talk to La. While driving. With one hand. Stick shift.
    • I attempted to journey back to Claudel by foot, except I got so lost that I gave up and paid 1.10€ for the bus. On the bright side, I’ve finally figured out how to use the @ sign on a French keyboard.
  • While J was explaining my overly complicated schedule to me in French, Ml thought I couldn’t understand and repeated some parts in English, like stressing how important it is for the students to talk more than me. Pfft, trust me, Ml, I’m not as talkative as you. It won’t take any effort on my part to listen more than speak.
  • Yes, I know these high schoolers are children, but I’m so tired of being asked, “What is your origin?” that my fist might accidentally run into the face of the next adult who asks.
  • At Méchain’s canteen, La and I sat with two young teachers—C of economics and R of French, Greek, and Latin—and C informed me that they know an American who lives here in Laon and that they could introduce me to him. Please do—I’m really curious as to what an American is doing in a tiny city in the middle of Picardie.
  • Typing on American keyboards now confuses me because I keep hitting the “q” instead of the “a,” since their locations are switched on French keyboards.
  • La and I went inside a grocery store and the cashier said, “Merci les enfants,” “Bonne journée les enfants,” and “Au revoir les enfants,” and I legitimately looked around for children before I realized she was calling La and me the children. Sigh.
    • When we got back to Claudel, we went into the library and asked if we could use the computers, and the worker asked, “What class are you in?” Welcome to the struggle of never looking your age.

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