lundi 17 octobre 2011

The Weirder Side of Adventuring

In some ways I still have the immortality complex that kept me company the greater part of my teenage years. Fortunately, I also generally have incredibly good luck, which makes for some pretty fantastic adventures that you should not try at home and from which I will probably eventually die.

Being the bibliophile that I am, one of the first things I did when getting to know this town was check out the bookstores. Now things here close pretty balls ass early, which you'd think I'd be used to given my previous habitat, but alas in some ways I am not. So I was doing my usual wandering looking for all that is awesome when I saw a bookstore that was still open or so I thought. Inside a couple people were drinking wine together and since I am still not quite used to only speaking French, I tried to avoid having too much conversation with them. That doesn't fly so high in this country since apparently I am a fabulously interesting and exotic person. So we all got to talking and drinking wine and trying to choose which books to buy and in the end they offered to drive me home, so I figured fuck it why not. Well, the drive home turned into dinner. I loooove French dinners; it's not just the food either but the conversation tends toward a more intellectual bent that suits my fancy perfectly and this one was no exception given that 3 of the 5 people there had their doctorate in some interesting field. Although they did tend to have some preconceptions about Americans, I think I proved to them at least in some small way that we don't all fit the stereotypes. I am glad to be here to share the good parts of my culture with these folks. Unfortunately, the wine kept flowing and I was soo drunk by the end that I was speaking some gibberish language neither French nor English and am really surprised that anyone understood me at all, I pretty much had to be supported to get down the stairs, and with the tortuous roads, my not all that sober driver, and the speed at which he was driving I had to do my best not to be sick in the car. When we finally got back to my place  after dropping off the others, I think the poor bastard thought I had lost my wits completely and would take him to bed for the night since he kept trying to kiss me in a very un-bise-like way. Fortunately, I am an expert at man-repelling and managed to squeeze inside alone, puke a whole lot and pass out.

The next day I met the other assistants who work here-great people! I really do adore them. Then I had dinner with some assistants who also live in Besançon but don't teach here at my lycée. Apart from a terrible time trying to figure out how we should split our bill and the realization that math is one of the things quickly forgotten after finishing school, the dinner was not all that eventful though it was nice to meet other assistants here and share those awkward expat moments. Now anyone who knows me knows that I am  profoundly directionally challenged and could get lost in my own backyard, so what did I do coming back from dinner but get terribly terribly turned around. As I was wandering the streets near the witching hour, I found a really amazing graveyard whose creaky gate just happened to be unlocked. It was just much too tempting to avoid so I wandered around the mausoleums and monuments to the departed. I wish it hadn't been so dark so that I could read the gravestones but beggars can't be choosers and graveyards during the day and when you actually know where you are situated on this earth just don't have the same mystical aura to them at all. One of the most unpleasant things about being lost is that you lose many of the creature comforts  to which you are used and have, for example, to piss in some random woods that may or may not be someone's yard (not that I am speaking from example or anything...;)  ). Eventually, I did get home and realize that traipsing around for miles and miles in the middle of the night is a great cure for jet lag.

N.B. I am still trying to get caught up with this blog so these events are bit old in the telling, but nothing I can do about that.

jeudi 13 octobre 2011

Recap of first few days in Besançon

Hello lovely lovely people! I finally have a somewhat reliable internet connection in my room thanks to the best neighbor I have ever had who is sharing his with me. I feel like so much has happened since I last wrote that I don't know how I shall I record it all and I may have to chop this into several separate blogs so as not to be too overwhelming.

The journey here was absolutely exhausting and involved almost every mode of human transportation possible. I ended up having to leave CA at about 3am to drive 3 hrs to Sacramento to catch my flight, then it was on to Seattle, then Iceland, then Paris, which I didn't get to see at all, and then a harrowing and incredibly exhausting train ride to Besançon where one of the teachers picked me up and took me to his house for a quick late night omelette. Needless to say I was closer to the dead than the living the first few days here. At this particular lycée, they've decided for some ungodly reason to teach subjects other than language in languages other than the students' mother tongue, which given the level of English I have seen these students speaking, seems like a really awful idea, but whatevs. The next day was spent with one of these teachers. She is a math teachers who teaches in English and she is absolutely gorgeous in that French-I-don't-need-to-own-a-hairbrush-to-be-stunning kind of way. Well she took me around for my first view of Besançon and many of its sites. Absolutely charming town! Afterwards we had lunch chez elle surrounded by her 4 small children (I have rather a penchant for French children) and her equally handsome "compagnon" (which translated to super-sexy-guy-I-live-and-make-tons-of-babies-with. Yes, it does don't argue with me) She let me use her computer so that I could contact my family for the first time since I've been here and then, since the rules of her house are to relax completely Sunday afternoons, I took a nice long rest in her hammock as the sun shone down on my through all kinds of verdant goodness. Lovely! Afterwards, we headed to her mom's house for one of the best inventions on the face of the planet CRÊPESSSSS. Her mom apparently is a playwrite or some shit like that and is a very charismatic personality whose company I very much enjoyed AND her grandmother is the cutest little old lady I think I have ever seen. Bless her heart she thought I was French.

So, in a very quick nutshell those were my first few days here.