Thursday, October 22, 2015

it’s about to get real

It’s been a week already since my last real update. October is flying by faster than I can enjoy it. While I am super bummed that the rest of the world does not celebrate Halloween the way Americans do, I can at least be excited that one week from today, I will be riding the Eurostar through the French countryside on my way to Jolly Old England to spend a long weekend in London. I haven’t been to London in 10 years and I am so excited I could cry. I still need to make a list of all the things I want to do, but I can’t wait! Perhaps I will find something Halloween-y to do since I’ll be there on the 31st

To be honest, I haven’t spent much time in Paris this week. I went out to a movie near Palais Garnier, home of the Paris Opera, and that was an adventure. I was super excited to check out this beautiful movie theater called Le Grand Rex. We get there and turns out none of their movies, including American movies, are shown in English with French subtitles, but are dubbed in French. Such a bummer. Perhaps when I get better at the language I’ll go see a movie there. So my friend and I set off in the direction of the Opera house, per the instructions of the nice gentleman at Le Grand Rex, to locate a theater that does show movies in English with French subtitles. We had pizza at a cute little sidewalk café, complete with outdoor heaters which made it nice and cozy, and then headed to see Crimson Peak.

After that, I’ve spent the majority of time at home this week, which is exactly what I’m doing right now. Lounging with G and watching some obscure Nickelodeon show. Schools here in France work differently than in America. The kids go to school for 6 weeks, then have 2 weeks of vacation. So this week was G’s first week, and I have him home with me. I can’t go to my language classes this week, which is a bummer, but it has been nice to relax a bit and play with G. I can tell that this week having to spend so much time together has really been good at establishing our relationship. There’s been lots of hugs, laughs, and I even got to take him and his friend to see Hotel Transylvania 2 in La Défense. I’ll be honest, that was a bit nerve-wracking because I had 2 kids to guide on and off the metro and through a very urban part of town, both of which don’t speak English, so it was a difficult experience overall. But the kids liked the movie and I saw lots of smiles, so overall it went well. We also went to the local carnival the other day, so there’s been plenty to do.

At home with G, he loves to draw, loves French rap and likes to play the same song over and over and over trying to learn the words. We play a lot of soccer, watch a lot of Disney and Nickelodeon, play cache-cache (hide and seek), and he LOVES to guili guili (tickle tickle) me. It sounds like “gilly gilly” in English. And he loves to be tickled back, proven by the fact that right now as he is playing on his iPad, he’s putting his feet in my face saying “guili guili.” He’s been super affectionate, and will cuddle up to me on the couch if we are watching TV. The kid also has the most addicting laugh. When he really gets going, it’s impossible not to laugh with him. And he does some of the most hilarious things. For example, last night there was a commercial for some show on TV, and there were a few mostly naked guys, and he looks at me and says in perfect English “turn around” while motioning for me to turn. I busted out laughing. I can tell he loves to make me laugh, and when I start laughing like crazy when he’s tickling me, or if he says something I find hilarious, he starts laughing along with me. All that to say, we are bonding and it’s been really good. I’ve also enjoyed spending more time hanging out with the family when they get home. There’s been time for conversation, and I’ve felt much more comfortable and at home.

Last night, my host mom told me that when I come back from London, she is going to start speaking to me only in French. Up until now, she and I have been communicating in English, and despite the fact she thinks her English is terrible, it’s actually very good and I haven’t had to use French at home when she is here. But she knows the best way to help me learn the language is to force me to hear it and then use it when speaking back to her and the rest of the family. She’s right, and I know that it will help me learn, but I’m incredibly nervous. I’m not good at French. The few times I’ve attempted it with G, I generally get some confused expressions. I’ve picked up on a few words that he has said and that I’ve started to use myself, such as quoi (what), arrêt (stop), viens (come), alle (go), prends (take), attend (wait) and fais (do). When he says one of these, depending on the circumstances, I can generally figure out what he wants me to do, but having to speak it back and use the correct articles and conjugations and it make sense…I’m not quite there yet. I guess I won’t have much of a choice here soon. But I know this is how they have helped their previous au pairs learn, so as difficult as it will be, I know it will be beneficial in the long run. Like I said though, I’m incredibly scared about this.

The family will be heading to Bordeaux all next week, so I will be heading to class Monday through Wednesday, then heading to London. I plan to go through all my French notes and try to commit to memory everything I’ve learned in the last 2 weeks of class. It’s a lot, and it’s hard to imagine a day when I will actually be able to speak it decently well. I guess only time will tell.

I’m now being asked to go play soccer outside, so that’s all for now.

À bientôt!