Miscellaneous Moments, Part VII

  • I was so exhausted one day that I spent a good thirty seconds trying to get into my room, and could not for the life of me understand why the key wouldn’t turn…and then I realized that I was on the wrong floor. So I fled up another two flights of stairs and texted La to make sure she hadn’t panicked over a potential intruder—except, of course, she wasn’t there, but now she knows all about my massive failure anyways.
  • The hand dryers in the teachers’ bathrooms are so loud and terrifying that I’ve taken to drying my hands on my jeans like a heathen.
  • I ran into Ml in Méchain’s parking lot, who oh-so-kindly informed me that I can’t hear any of the fire or terrorist alarms in my library classroom. Great, thanks.
  • As I was walking to Carrefour, I nearly stopped walking in the middle of the sidewalk in pure bewilderment. Apparently it’s a casual thing in Laon to ride a horse down the street.
  • Al started talking to me about lesson plans and teaching, and then worried that she was getting too chatty. No, keep talking, please. I’ll take all the advice I can get.
  • That awkward moment when both N and Al ask you to explain the American grading system…and you realize you don’t know the numbers for anything below an A- because, er, you’re such an overachiever that you’ve basically never gotten anything below a 90 in college.
  • I’ve been here for two months, and I don’t think I’ll get over the fact that teachers at Claudel straight up drink wine during lunch. Is this a cultural thing in France, or is this more related to the whole “drinking to forget” concept?
  • You know you make a great American when someone who isn’t even from the US tells you, “Happy Thanksgiving!” and you go, “Oh, I forgot it was Thanksgiving!”
  • It’s been two months since I arrived in France, but the assistant principal’s secretary thought that I was a student: “Oh! You’re Madame Tien?” (To be honest, I don’t know whether I’d prefer to be mistaken for a student or addressed as “Madame.”)
  • I asked At if I could help her with anything, but didn’t have a pair of scissors with me, so she asked C if he had one. He started laughing, and it wasn’t until I started trying to cut the papers in half that I realized why: they were lefty scissors, so it looks like I cut the papers while drunk.
  • Nothing’s really intimidating anymore once you’ve spoken on the phone for adult things in French. Thrice.
    • Ahhhhhhhhhh (portrait of me internally screaming after some worker from the bank called me and I had to ask him to talk more slowly because I couldn’t understand him over the phone and he thought that I didn’t speak French)

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