Jour 3: Returning home to my France family

30 Jun

The airline steward (yes he’s a male) woke me up with a lovely breakfast at 6:25am France time. We landed at 7:45 (about 45 min early and 3 hours earlier than it would have been if I had the connecting flight.)
I watched an episode of The Office and Friends on my little mini screen then we were off!

I landed at Charles De Gaulle, used the 30min free wifi to update the necessary people of my safe arrival, then searched for the RER to au pair home.
Okay Paris, seriously, is it that hard to print out some maps for the confused tourists? I didn’t bring my grungy map because I figured I’d get another one because they’d have loads of them lying around. Dumb Courtney. And the information office was loaded with confused people so I just did the old fashioned way and remembered my stop.
The train ride was nice and relaxing, I had picked up an Orangina and a magazine (Premiere) to bide my time and jotted down some notes for the blog.

Ah the metro, it was so nice to know where I’m going (the B.O. smell wasn’t so nice, but hey, welcome to Paris.)

Also props to the French young men for stepping it up and helping me lug my heavy rolling suitcase up the stairs (like it was no big deal, I might add) Who says chilvalry is dead?

After about an hour of carrying heavy suitcases, remembering exactly where to go and what to do, Ladies & gentlemen I’m on the way to the place where I will be staying for a week. And I’ve found the French equivalent of Chocolate Dunkaroos – I may never return home. All jokes aside, It’s so nice to feel like I’ve already done this before. I’m excited to learn more French slang so I can understand people when they’re speaking. I’m focusing on listening on this trip. Listening to what people say and how they say it.

On the Train ride over here This couple asked a guy in front of me for directions and the guy next to me was joking with me in French. You know me, chillin’ with the locals.

Side note: Google Drive lets you make Documents offline and it will probably be my new Microsoft Word while I’m in France. You go, Google.

11:30am France time – I’ve arrived, I’m exhausted and sweaty from carrying all of this luggage so I take a shower and an hour power nap.

My stomach hurts something fierce but this happened last time too. The first day/night in Paris my stomach is adjusting to the time difference. I just need to rest, drink lots of water and give it time. Although this time there may be some sore spots from the “ab workouts” (carrying a backpack, purse & rolling suitcase across cobblestone streets and up & down stairs) So I’m waiting for Latifa (their nanny/maid) to come by in an hour then the family will arrive after that.

1:30pm FT – Woke up from the nap – I forgot I was in Paris and my stomach still hurts. I’m holding onto God but if I could choose, I would be home right now. I’m still really sleepy, but I want to stay up so I can adjust to the time better. You can do this Courtney only 6/7 more hours. Food might help. Good food.

3:00pm – Food definitely helped and seeing Muriel and Latifa again. My France family! I sat and ate a salad that Au pair mom had bought for me (in the fridge with a sticky note saying “Bon Appetit, Courtney!”) I talked with Latifa in French for about an hour and slang-ish words/phrases started to come back. It was so great! She was willing to learn some English too. We got on the subject of saying “stop!” and how “arrete!” sounds really harsh and physically makes you stop, so I told her how in the states that harsh tone is in the word “Freeze!”. When the kids returned from school she tried it out on them, they stopped dead in their tracks haha.

I gave the kids their presents and they didn’t stop playing with them. Lea got a magazine and we all tried on different celebrities eyes

Taylor Swift

Harry Styles

After I hung out with the kids, their mom came home and we all went out to a Japanese restaurant for dinner.

The service was surprisingly fast and the food was wonderful (my stomach was still a little upset, but I got down some chicken.) I now have WIFI for the next foreseeable week. I have no idea what will happen when the job starts.

A tout a l’heure!


Jour 2: En Route to Paris!

29 Jun

The next day we had a slow start to the morning and later walked around the Toronto boardwalk.


It was nice to catch our breath from the trip over (and personally just catching my breath at all, because I’ve been meticulously planning out my worksheets for the classes I’m teaching in Paris for the past month or so.)

I was so tired. If you’ve traveled before you may be the same as me. I get so excited to go then about 2-3 weeks before I get all nervous because of all the things that need to be done before, then the last week my sleep schedule is all over the place and I double-triple check that I brought the phone charger because they might not have it in France (They totally do). So I’m glad we took it easy.
I just felt like after my job ended I never really had time to rest and have a relaxing summer. I got to hang out with my friends which was awesome but I always had these classes in the back of my mind: “How should I do this lesson? Is this too easy or hard? Ugh, the students are going to hate me for this one because it’s so boring.” You know, stuff that my mind makes up before the situation even happens and it makes me worry. Come on brain, I know you are smart enough to not get wrapped up in the “What ifs”.
Going along with the teaching kick – Seriously, is one of the best places and SO much great French material.

Back to life in Toronto,we met Patrick’s sister (another one of my mom’s cousins, she has 50) for lunch in another part of Toronto.
IMG_1728It was pretty great. We saw her new apartment  that was forever high up and then had an adventure dashing for the flight. So I mentioned before that Canada’s roads are very different. I think part of the issue is, I was reading paper directions to my mom and life probably would have been easier with a talking GPS. So after a few turnarounds we finally get to the airport, find which terminal I’m supposed to be in, and after I give the guy my boarding pass he pulls me aside and wants to put me on another flight. Okay, this was definitely not my best moment but I was really frustrated that one more thing was happening during this chain of events. The airport people were so nice but I was just fed up. I didn’t like all of this change and was mentally prepared to go the way I was going. They pulled me aside and wanted to put me on a flight that was a straight shot to Paris. My stubborn self immediately wanted to say no. After these lovely airport people showing me where my seat would be and the benefits of not having a 2 hours layover, I caved and took the plane and boy am I glad that happened. It was a wonderful flight. I was able to sleep for 5 hours (!) a decent amount of time and I wasn’t frightened. Last time I went to Paris it was my first time flying across the pond and I was a little scared about getting LOST in the ocean. …get it? Well, it was one of my favorite series in high school so it only makes sense. Anyways, it was a great flight and before I knew it I was woken up the next morning with breakfast.

Jour 1: Visiting Family in Toronto

28 Jun

My mom and I are heading to Toronto to visit family and then I will be flying from there to Paris. So this technically isn’t “A Michigander in Paris” but it’s definitely en route.
We stop in Marysvillle, MI (Right before the bridge to Canada) to get gas and run some errands. Total shock of the day – gas is 30 cents cheaper than it was at home. I thought they would jack up the prices before entering Canada but no. I like you Marysville. I went into Meijer and got some arch supports because you walk EVERYWHERE in Paris and saw this beautiful table outside porch table on clearance for $150. Aside from that there were many rare goodies on sale – I like you A LOT Marysville Meijer. I made one last phone call (during the Paris excursion) to my lovely boyfriend. I’m really going to miss him.

After some arch support-related delays, we get on the bridge and we’re in Canada!

This was pretty hysterical to my mom on the way:

Some odd driving hours later my mom pulls into Husky’s a trucker stop off the highway. I awake from my car nap (with a strong pain in my neck from laying on it weird) and pop inside to get lunch and look at Canadian goodies.
In the States we have this candy (that I thought was German) called Rittersport. It’s basically a chocolate covered cracker… but it tastes a lot better than how I just described it. At Husky’s there were about 5 different shelves of Rittersport a.k.a. oodles of flavors! Including Neopolitan waffers. I got the “pebermynthe” kind (French-Canadian French is weird) and also a Kinder Surprise (Remember those? The Chocolate egg with a small toy surprise in the middle?) Oh right, and my actual lunch was a Chef salad.

I mean, not a lot of exciting things happened before seeing my mom’s cousin because we were driving. Canadian roads are a little different than the ones at home – no Michigan lefts!
Mom drives yet another 1-2 hours or so to downtown Toronto where we were staying with her cousin Patrick. We talked & visited with him, pet his awesome dog, walked around downtown Toronto, and he took us to this nice Italian restaurant. After dinner we sat and talked about all sorts of things, catching up and whatnot then I slept on the really comfy futon. A nice relaxing beginning to a crazy-busy trip.


My Hopes for This Trip

28 Jun

Hello blog – I’ve missed you so.
Before we dive into the first post I want to share some of my hopes & expectations of this trip.
I hope:
– To become more fluent in French
– To take LOTS of pictures/videos 🙂
– To have a great teaching experience
– To learn more about French history/culture
– To be able to sleep/rest on this crazy whirlwind trip

and probably most importantly for you all:
– To be able to post on this blog by 12pm daily (After the first week in Paris, I have no idea if I’ll have WIFI or the time to post. :/ So I will try to keep you all in the loop.)
“Does this mean that we won’t be able to hear of your adventures at all, Courtney?”
Do not fear! I will have a little notebook on hand (well, in purse) so I can always type up some blogs posts if I have an hour free, or you know, when I return home.

Jour 1 (Day 1) Will be posted today at 12pm MI time. 🙂  Merci et bisous!

Coming Soon to Le Tour Eiffel

24 Jun

You can expect to see a whole lot more of this:

Baguette Wars

Baguette Wars: Part Deux


(If you cannot view these videos, add me on Facebook!)

Adventures in Syllabus-Making

24 May

For the past month now I’ve been busy formulating ideas, asking questions to my boss & teachers from previous years, and reviewing emails being sent to me left and right. This is all in preparation for my return to Paris.

Friends, I spent 3 hours today typing up my syllabus, 3 hours straight. My eyes absolutely hate the computer screen right now.  I still have another one yet to do, most likely, I will be revising this current one later this week. But it’s not just the syllabus, it’s the passion to create fun projects, fun topics for essays, and instill a love of learning that keeps me working these long hours. Even though this is tough work, I really like it. I mean, not right now but I keep thinking about the end product and start to get really excited.

Before I was slightly nervous about this trip but through looking at it again more carefully, the nerves disappear. This program offers so much for the students [and their chaperones ;)] to do. It seems like it’ll all be over in the blink of an eye. I hope I’ll be able to update this blog on a daily basis but I think I may be caught grading papers or actually out enjoying and living life in Paris. Don’t fret, I will definitely take tons of pictures and carry my trusty notepad with me at all times.

Good news is I won’t have to do these syllabuses and lesson plans when I get to Paris. (Well, I might have to do a few, but it’ll be more like tweaking the plans) More time to concentrate on being in the moment  and actually teaching since all the work is prepared ahead of time. 🙂


23 Apr

That’s right folks, I’m back! Overlyexcitedfrenchnerd

Well, I’m back  to writing in this blog but also to announce *drumroll* MY RETURN TO PARIS!!

As of late, I signed a contract (Yes, people this is an actual job) to TEACH in France this summer. Woot!
So unless the world ends or something else happens, (the job prevents me from posting on this blog– Perish the thought.)

I will continue to document the journey(s) of A Michigander in Paris.

I’ve missed this blog. It’s been nice to look back on and review my adventures in Pair-ee. (Didn’t I say that I would forget all sorts of things? And that I would make some grammar corrections? I’ll get to that at some point…)
Adding a little bonus to this wonderful announcement, I will post some more about preparing for France & some flashback videos. So THAT’S where they were on my memory card…

Even though I’m excited to be returning, I’m a little nervous. The last time I went to Paris there were some strong feelings of homesick/lonesomeness.
BUT! I will be seeing my Au Pair family again (LOVE THEM) and I will be with a big group of students as well as other teachers, so I’m hoping this will be a better experience in that department.

This trip will be amazing. I will be seeing new places in France, speaking & teaching French, and showing students around famous places of lovely Paris. Le Sigh. 🙂

Stay tuned–this is going to be a blast!