Tuesday, September 28, 2010

La vie est une farce

That's the graffiti I saw painted on an electric breaker box on my way to work a couple of weeks ago. "Life is a farce." What a perfect message, and I immediately took it to heart. Typically, at the first sign of tension, I have the tendency to take that tension and multiply it by ten and turn into a stressed out mess. "La vie est une farce" is my new mantra. Everything is ridiculous. Let it slide, man, let it slide.

So when some tension popped up at work, I managed to slip into Let it Slide mode. Remember Little Miss Sunshine from my last post? She's not so bad, really, but there is some tension between co-workers, and I'm determined to stay out of it and be friends with everybody. But I really need to remember it when I speak French. I'm fine talking to Stéphane and his mom now in French, but at work I get nervous and seize up and I sound like an idiot. Let it Slide, man, let it slide.

I'm still really liking my job, but I still have one last hurdle ahead of me: I will eventually have to give a tour of the foundation's facilities in French. There is no official tour script and everyone (from the director down to my colleague that works even less than I do) has their own style and touches on different things, so I'm really on my own coming up with what to say for an hour and fifteen minutes. In French. Heh. I still have a few weeks to prepare but I've been studiously scribbling out notes and typing them out in my free time because it's one thing to have an idea of what I want to say, but I desperately have to practice it in French. Very soon you'll find me talking to myself in my living room, recalling my theatre days memorizing lines.

We've had to engage a new nounou for Fry, as his last one is expecting a baby in a couple of months. Poor thing will have his third nounou and very much likely a fourth before it's over, as this one is only available until April. I'm super annoyed with the situation, but at least he has a place to go with a couple of two year olds to play with once a week, with a nounou with 30 years experience, so I'm still trying to Let it Slide when I can. He starts this afternoon and then goes all day on Fridays starting this week. I think he desperately needs to spend more time around little people his age and I hate that it's only once a week, but once we move back into high season next April that will increase. Oh Tiny Town, I sincerely hope that you'll see the back of us one day!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

D-Day is here!

Training is officially over and I'm in charge tomorrow morning. It's good thing I'm not handwriting this because that first sentence would be too shaky to read! I'm sure it will be fine; the software we use is pretty simple and we've been getting plenty of anglophones in lately. It's my old nemesis - the phone - that I'm mostly worried about. Nothing makes me break out in hives like the thought of having to have a conversation on the phone in French, and it's even worse when you're starting a new job and you have no idea what the caller's talking about. I think I've got a good support system in place in the form of colleagues that have readily volunteered to help, so there's no reason for it all go explode in my face. Right? Right.


Other than that, I love this job. I'm still as excited about it as I was when I applied for it. There's only one bit of trouble in paradise, and it comes in the form of a colleague. Of course. Apparently Little Miss Sunshine thought she was getting my position and has been cranky ever since. After we met briefly, she even complained to the direction that "she doesn't even speak French." Hm. Should have known it was too good to be true. At least I should only have to see her about once a week. If I'm lucky.

Meanwhile, everything in our house is covered with dust as the electrician continues working through the apartment. Of course we already knew that the previous tenants had questionable taste but we were surprised to find that anytime someone wanted to redecorate, they simply repapered the walls over whatever was there before. So far we've seen the original wallpaper (which is 40 years old!) in all the bedrooms and discovered that there are no less than four layers of wallpaper in the living room. Pictures are definitely coming!

And finally, because there hasn't been enough excitement around here, our washing machine has gone to the big laundromat in the sky, so guess what we're doing this weekend. Good thing I got a job, huh?

Thursday, September 09, 2010

a new beginning

My first day of work is tomorrow. I feel like a kid on the night before the first day of school: I've got my outfit picked out and everything. I'm only going for a couple of hours for training in the morning, but everything starts somewhere.

I really want this job to be as cool as it sounds. I could really see myself staying there for many years, maybe even eventually going full time. I'm excited and nervous and my prevailing feeling is, "Please, don't let me f!ck this up."

This month is going to be super hectic. The area of the foundation where I work relies on tourists and follows a tourism high season and low season. This is the last month of the high season but starting next month I'll only work two or three days a week, so we'll only need to put Fry with a nounou one day a week. My MIL has graciously agreed to watch him this month when Stéphane isn't working, so I'm grateful I don't work all day during the week. Fry loves going to Mémère's house but she's not getting any younger and I feel guilty even asking her, but we're so grateful.

Meanwhile, the electrician starting working on the apartment this week! He is amazing, it's obvious why he comes so highly recommended! He works alone but faster than lightening, always cleans up what he's working on (even when he goes home for lunch!), and even locks his equipment up in our closets so Fry can't get to them when he's not here. He's already done the bedrooms, the bathroom & wc, half the hallway and is nearly done with the office. I think next week he's on another project but will come back soon to finish the other half of the apartment. Of course, this means Stéphane will definitely be able to work on the kitchen over the Toussaint break!! That means another trip to IKEA!!!

Man, I can't believe what an IKEA cultist I've become. Ever since we went the first time I keep pouring over the website. The worst is that even Stéphane is loving it now, so when we talk about light fixtures he suggests IKEA. Woohoo! Plus now that the newest IKEA has opened in Reims, it's only an hour away, making it a very easy day trip. Dangerous!!!

So this is why I've been so quiet lately - so much going on! All good stuff, for a change! More news as it happens...

Friday, September 03, 2010

22 months

I was supposed to post this yesterday but I was a little busy signing my work contract (bwahahahaha!). More about that later, let's talk Fry!

Poor kiddo, his world really turned upside down this month with the move. He had a few nights where he didn't want to stay in bed but we worked through that, and now he really loves it here, running all over the place. The best part is that we can close doors where he doesn't need to go, even if he's already figuring out how to open them!

The huge discovery this month is that he knows nearly all the letters of the alphabet! Not only does he recognize them (and say them whenever he sees them when we're out of the house) but he has them memorized in order. The only ones he really has trouble with now is L-M-N, the rest he knows but has trouble saying (W is particularly funny!). For now he says them with an American pronunciation, so he finishes with an exuberant "zeeeeeeeeeeeee!" I'm also afraid he thinks that "bravo!" is the last letter of the alphabet!

As for words, we have three: Merci (which still comes out as "ah-see"), Cheese (the most exciting part of lunch, apparently), and Bravo. The only problem is that I discovered just this morning that Cheese is also his word for bread, even though he's known that word for ages now. Hm.

Sadly, it's not all roses around here, as he is swiftly moving into the real Terrible Twos and repeating the same bad behavior over and over again. He favorite bêtise is throwing toys out the windows of our first floor (second for Americans) apartment. Since all the windows are door-sized (with a tall grill so no bodies fall out, thank you) it's really easy for him and he thinks it's hilarious, no matter how many times we punish him. One of these days it will sink in, I hope!