Miscellaneous Moments, Part VI

  • Okay, I won’t lie, it’s kind of cute when students excitedly say, “Hello!” to me when they see me outside of class. Even if I have absolutely no idea who they are because I’ve probably seen over 200 kids at Méchain and Claudel. (I remember a single student’s name, Clément, because he kept asking me questions and his name card was easy to see in my glasses-less state.)
  • Me, playing a word game on my phone: “What do you mean, that’s not a word? Wait…it was French and this is English.”
  • I asked a cashier at a Carrefour in Lille if I could pay with my bank card, and he nodded and said, “Très beau français.” I still haven’t decided whether I should be honored or insulted.
  • Our first day in Brussels, C and I witnessed an old lady get her leg stuck between the metro car doors, and she barely got free before the car started moving—a near heart-attack was a fantastic way to begin our time there. At least our time there ended on a more positive note, with free drinks from Starbucks.
  • One of my most memorable quotidian moments was spending an hour chatting entirely and effortlessly in French with our Airbnb host’s elderly husband in Belgium. We hit it off by agreeing that Trump is completely crazy and that if Clinton wins, it would do wonders for societal progress, like how Obama has opened so many doors by becoming the first black president. He was also so beautifully aware of masculine and feminine spheres that I felt completely comfortable telling this old white man that I barely knew that I’m a feminist. Plus, he kindly gave me tricks for pronouncing French letters that are notoriously difficult for Anglophones who also speak an Asian language: r and u, or Rolls Royce and Uruguay.
  • You know you’re officially bread-spoiled when you snack on the remnants of a day-old Belgian baguette and mutter in disgust, “God, this tastes like American bread.”
  • On the ride back from Amiens to Laon, I forgot to composter my ticket. Again. At least the contrôleur didn’t fine me this time, either.
  • If one more man asks how old I am and then goes, “You can never tell how old Asian women are!” I hope they step in a pit of fire. Age is arbitrary. A human construct. No one looks their age.
  • During vacation, some employee asked me what I was doing at Claudel from his 4th floor balcony. Look, why would I spend the time and effort breaking into a gated high school campus? You don’t even have Wi-Fi.
  • Me, curling into a progressively smaller ball beneath my blanket: “Why is it so cold? Oh. I forgot to turn the heater on.”
  • Je remarked that, since I’m the guinea pig English assistant being shared between two schools, teachers might start a bloodbath over me. Please, no. I hate conflict. (In AP Gov, classmates started fighting over whose review game team I’d be on, and I tried to melt into my desk before the teacher calmly assigned me to a side.)
  • While doing some rushed grocery shopping at Carrefour, I grabbed a bag of pains au lait for breakfast and didn’t notice that the expiration date is January 4, 2017. I don’t know whether I should be impressed or terrified.
  • In case you weren’t aware of how small my feet are, I wear a European 36 and Tess, N’s five-year-old daughter, wears a 31.

(FYI: I’m no longer living the sad, nearly Internet-less 8G life, because I now have 50G thanks to my new SIM card, so that’s why I’ve been posting so frequently. If I’ve met you in person, and you feel like Skyping/FaceTiming/video chatting, feel free to hit me up!)


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