Spring break for Student Teachers

So this week was supposed to be very relaxing.  I think I only disappoint myself by hoping for a quiet and peaceful break. 

This week has been very busy and eventful.  I started off my break by going to my end of the year banquet for hockey.  It was nice to see the team again, but it was really sad saying goodbye to my collegiate hockey career.  We watched an end of the year video recapping on-ice and off-ice memories.  It is really wonderful to watch those memories and to have them forever on a DVD, but it is also really sad.  The academic and team awards were announced and handed out.  Then our wonderful Juniors read a letter to each senior, which was very touching and we were presented with gifts from the team.  The last thing was the naming of next years captains.  I think the team next year is happy with the pick of captains, and I wish them all the best.

I spent the next 2 days in Utica with my boyfriend, we didn’t do anything very exciting, it is just nice to spend time together.  I think we are still trying to catch up from being apart when i was in Paris for 5 months.  It is so hard with him working and with my student teaching and being at school.  We haven’t had a nice solid block of time together, which is what I am looking forward to.  I am not sure when, but it will happy eventually. 

I drove the last 3 hours home on Monday and my mom was so happy to see me.  I relaxed at home, got settled in and did a little work.  After that, I hung out with my little niece Hallee, who has been waiting to see me for days.  As soon as she finds out I am coming home, the hope for her paying attention to anything else is nearly impossible.  We played her Wii at her house.  I played a new game “Just Dance” for a while and it was soo cool.  You have to follow the beat and do the correct dance moves, it is like guitar hero but for dancing.  It is so much fun but it is exhausting. 

Tuesday, my mom and I went to Plattsburgh to run some errands.  We had to get invitations for my sister’s wedding to the printer’s and we did some shopping for the bridal shower that I am planning.  I did some school work, lesson planning and I helped my parents at their office.   In the afternoon, I took a trip tomy old high school to see some of my old teachers, and specifically my old French teacher.  Unfortunately, my French teacher was not there because he is stranded in Russia due to the volcano in Iceland.  I stopped at the elementary school to see my old 6th grade teacher, who is now the elementary school principal.  He is the reason I wanted to become a teacher and I have always taken time to go see him.  He has had such a positive impact on my life, and one day I hope to be the teacher that inspires students.  If I can affect and inspire one student the way he did for me, I know that all the hard work I put into teaching is worth it.

Wednesday, I spent the day lesson planning and hanging around my house.  It was quite uneventful, but it was nice to relax.  Yesterday I focused my energy on planning my sisters Bridal Shower.  I am throwing her a Garden Party themed shower, complete with floral dresses, floppy hats, and dainty finger foods.  I have contacted all the bridesmaids and the mothers of the bride and groom.  I contacted friends who want to help.  I got the location confirmed, the tent is rented and I have already assigned most of the food and other responsibilities.  I am trying to get as much done before I leave because I will not have time in the next few weeks to focus on the bridal shower.   When I get home from school there will only be about 2 weeks until the shower.  My hope is that the shower will go flawlessly, the only thing that can hold me back is the weather. 

So yesterday was Earth Day, I spent last week teaching my students about Earth Day.  I was very excited to be Earth friendly, and I did everything I could to help the earth.  Unfortunately it is hard to get older people ( referring to my parents mostly) to get out of their habits they have had forever. (Like using paper plates or printing one sided on papers!)  I do my best to help the Earth as I have become more aware of what I can do to help the Earth!  If each person could just do a few very small things, then we could make a world of difference. 

So my plans for the rest of my spring break are to finish school work and lesson plans, to spend time with my family today and tomorrow and then visit my boyfriend once again before I head back to Oswego for the 3 weeks that I have left at Oswego.  I cannot believe that in 3 weeks I will be graduating from college!  Who would have thought?!

Hope you enjoy and Happy Friday!

Making Connections

This week has been a very busy week for me.  But when I think about it, this week has had a common theme.  It has been all about connections. 

I created a unit for my students on the environment.  We have been learning about animals, geographical features, the environment and nature.  My students keep asking, “Why are we learning about science in French class.”  The truth is everything is connected.  I am teaching these things to my students for a variety of reasons.  First because it is becoming a very popular topic on their upcoming proficiency exam in June.  Although, it is becoming a popular topic because is is becoming a very important issue in our world today.  It is becoming a world issue because it is affecting the world a lot, especially right now.  My students should care about the environment because what we do now will affect them in their future, if not because the world is coming to an end, because it is affecting their wallets and their quality of life.  

I found that there are so many connections in the information that I teach.  In addition, I was talking about how we are exploiting the earth of its natural resources and we are exploiting certain places in the world, but not only are we exploiting these resources we are also exploiting the people who live there.  The people who are affected by these “searches for resources” are in 3rd world countries where they are already suffering.  We can also exploit people based upon certain characteristic that they possess and we can use injustices against people to exploit them. 

In speaking about exploiting people, my week moved on to having a Graduate Assistantship interview at Syracuse University.  The job interview was at the Office of Engagement Programs, which is an office that works a lot with immigrants and refugees.  As you may or may not know, Syracuse has a very large immigrant and refugee population.  In talking about  the refugees we began a discussion about social justice and injustices that occur towards these diverse groups of people. There is a negative stigma that comes with being a person of color and these people face injustice everyday and sometimes they are exploited based upon their race. 

Regarding race, I filled out my census this week, as they are required of every student going to college, and I was shocked that Hispanic, Latino and Spanish people were all singled out on the census.  I was shocked to see this and I did not understand why.  I did not see the reason to separate the Latino, Spanish and Hispanic population from the rest of the population of the United States.  If we believe so strongly in equality, why don’t we practice what we preach?

Needless to say I have had a very interesting week.  It is true that all of the world is connected in some way.  In just one week, I was able to see connections between many polar opposite events.  I believe that it is very important to understand the world around us and to make connections with the things that we experience, because as a result we will become more understanding and compassionate individuals.

Besides my massive post on social groupings and connections in the world, I am so thankful that I have all of next week off from student teaching as a result of spring break at my placement.  Since I did not gett the college spring break I am very very happy to be able to have a little bit of a break for a week from all of the things that I have been doing all semester.  It is a relief that I will have a little time to sit back and relax.  Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my post and my analysis of connections that occured this week.  Enjoy!

Busy Busy Spring Semester

Oh my… I cannot believe how long it has been since I have posted on my blog.  Where did the time go!?!?!?!  I have been so busy with student teaching I have barely had time to breathe.  So I apologize for my absence for a little while from blogging. 

I am in the 3rd week of my second placement for student teaching.  Things are going great this placement.  I have been teaching since my 2nd day in the school and I really love my students.  I am at Fulton Jr. High and my cooperating teacher is incredible.  She is really an inspirational person that makes being in the classroom as a student teacher a great experience.  My students are really warming up to me.  I think it might also be due to my effort in creating very fun and rewarding activities in class. 

I was observed today by my supervisor.  I had a great lesson and he was very pleased with what he saw.  He told me that parts of my lesson was flawless, which is a wonderful complement to a student teacher.  He said that I did a wonderful job and he knows already that i am going to be an extraordinary teacher.  Compliments and positive feedback like this really makes my more passionate about teaching and French.  Not only do I love French and everything about the language, but it lets me know I am successful at what I do, which strives me towards constant improvement! 

It is not all fun and games though.  I am teaching an alternate education class, which consists of students who have difficulties being in mainstream classes, but also students who are pulled out of regular classes due to behavioral issues.  I only teach 4 students and there are always at least 3 adults in the classroom, but last Thursday I had girls jumping out of windows and kicking and breaking windows, I also had students call me every bad word in the book.  I had a student just walk out of class without permission or a pass andI also had a student threaten to hit me.  So needless to say it is a difficult class.  Although, to their defense it was the last day before a 3 day weekend, and they had been behaving very well for the 2 weeks prior to this incident.  At the same time, there should never be an excuse for such terrible behavior.  I was in shock with what I saw that day, it was not my best teaching day.

Although, teaching is not easy, there are always students that have a bad day, which makes teaching difficult.  There are students that come to class mentally not prepared to work.  There are students who come to class not expecting to work and they end up being very disruptive all day.  But there are also classes that make the entire career worth it.  Classes that are focused and motivated and excited to be in school.  Those classes really make up for the more difficult classes because the students show you appreciation for the language and the material from the class.  It is also very rewarding seeing the successes of students.  To see the students learn and grow gradually each day, really makes me happy with the career I chose.  It is the small things that make a big difference. 

Last placement I really enjoyed my students.  They were wonderful and I learned a lot throughout the experience.  My teacher was tough on me, but in a way that really helped me grow by leaps and bounds.  Not everyday was easy, but looking back I know that I really took alot from my experience.  I am grateful for the students that I met that showed me their appreciation for language, and I am also grateful for the difficult students that make my job hard, but gave my the experience to deal with similar situations in the future.  I know that with all the experiences that I do have, that I will really become a great teacher.

This past weekend I went home for Easter.  It was only the second time I have been home since returning from France, so I really take advantage of the time with my family.  The weather was wonderful and I had the opportunity to help out around my house a lot which really helps my parents.  I had a great Easter and it was wonderful to be able to spend the time with my family. 

There is not that much longer until Graduation and I am really looking forward to the culmination of my higher education at SUNY Oswego.  My time here had been precious and very wonderful for me.  I am very sad to be leaving soon, but it is wonderful to be able to move to the next chapter of my life.  I was accepted to Graduate school at Syracuse University last month.  I am very proud of that accomplishment.  I am certain that I am going to enjoy my studies at SU.  I am going for a degree in TELL (Teaching English Language Learners).  I am very excited to start that program.  I know that I will be able to have as much success at SU as I have had at Oswego. 

I will do my best to continue to update my blog more regularly, it has been very difficult due to my schedule, and I apologize again my my absence.  I hope that I can make long posts not to make up for the ones that I have missed.  As always I hope everyone enjoys reading my blog and Happy Easter a day late or (Joyeuses Paques!!!)

Adjusting to my life back in the USA

SO it has been quite a while since I posted and a lot has happened since I went to Germany for Christmas. 

I had a wonderful experience while I was in Germany.  I was with the exchange student (Johannes) that stayed at my house for a year in high school.  His family was so wonderful and welcoming.  German’s a very loving people.  I felt at home as soon as I arrived in Koln (Cologne). I visited lots of awesome things in Koln, like the very famous Koln Cathedral.

 We spent the christmas days at Johannes Grandmothers house.  It was such a family holiday.   In Germany, they celebrate 3 days of christmas.  On December 24, they spend the day together and then go to church while Baby Jesus brings the presents for the children.  (Who brings the presents in Germany depends on each family. For example, some German’s  say that Baby Jesus brings the presents while others families celebrate Father Christmas bringing presents)  Anyway, after church we went back and had a nice big family meal followed by opening presents.  It was such a wonderful experience.  On December 25, which is called Christmas day 1, we had a very large brunch. 

I would say it was about 7-10 courses.  It was very delicious. The rest of the day was spent having fun with the family and drinking and snacking.  On Christmas Day 2, December 26, we once again spent the day with the family, had a very very large meal and relaxed.  For the duration of my trip to Germany we travelled around Germany like to Munster.

and even went to the Netherlands one day because it was very close to Lette.  I feel very lucky to have had such a wonderful experience for Christmas especially since I could have been all alone in Paris. 

When I got back to Paris I only had a week until I left and I spent the week running around to finish up all my loose ends.  For New Years I went to the Eiffel Tower with some of my French friends.  It was so crowded but it was a great experience.  I had a really fun time that night.  The only bad thing was one of my friends got pick pocketed.  :( 

So my trip home was a very unforgettable experience.  I got to the airport and had them weigh my carry on.  It was more than the 8kg limit so I had to pay 160 euros for a 3rd checked bag.  Then my flight was 2 hours late leaving which made me miss my flight from Munich to JFK.  So Lufthansa’s earliest flight to JFK was from Munich to Frankfurt then Frankfurt to JFK.  By the time I got home it was 2am the following day and I had left for the airport the day before at 4:30 am after pulling an all nighter.  Needless to say it was a very long trip.

I was only home for 3 and 1/2 days before I had to head back to Oswego.  I got to relax again,  but I needed to pack for Oswego and see my family and boyfriend who I had just been away from for 5 months.  I was lucky because my family threw me a 2nd Christmas.  It was so thoughtful of them and I really enjoyed myself. 

The 3 weeks at Oswego for intersession were exhausting.  I played Hockey day in and Day out and all I did on my free time was sleep and eat.  That is a normal intersession but it was even more exhausting after changing 6 hours of time zones less than a week before. 

Classes have been going on for two weeks now.  I am student teaching and thus far it has been a great experience.  I love being back at Oswego.  I missed it so much.  I know that I am a student that will bleed green and gold for the rest of my life.  I love Oswego.  I am so happy with my choice to come here.  I have had one of the best college experiences and I have  enjoyed every minute here.  Though life has been very stressful and busy since school has started I really want to enjoy my last semester at Oswego.

I will be posting more often now that I am getting into a routine.  And I hope my blog is just as exciting when I am not in Paris :)

A Hidden Parisien Treasure

So I only have a few weeks left of Paris…but I have been wandering around the city trying to see all that I can before I leave.  Well the other day I stumbled across this really cute canal.  I hadn’t ever really heard of it.  But it was really cute and I found out after talking to one of my French friends that it is in fact a very popular place for Parisiens.  It is beautiful now, but from what I hear in the spring and summer it is beautiful and serene. 

It is an old-fashioned canal that was dug around the time of the Restoration to link another Canal in Paris to the Seine River.  There are nine locks in the canal and it is in the République neighborhood.

It is not a very famous location, but it is a place where you can go that is not very touristy.  It is truely a Parisien hidden treasure.   I even got to see a boat go through the locks, it has been a long time since I have seen a lock in action!
st martin canal

st mt canal

In other news, I am so busy with school right now that I don’t even  have time to think!  I have 3 papers and 2 tests and an oral presentaion all coming up!  And the semester doesn’t even end here until Mid-January!

I only have about a week until I leave to go to Germany for Christmas.  I am really excited about that.  As for Paris, trees and lights are popping up all over the city.  It is really becoming Christmas time.  I really love it.  I love Christmas time.  It is one of my favorite times of the year.

  The family I am babysitting for is Jewish and so this year I get to celebrate my first Hanukkah and we are going to have a little Christmas get together before I leave for Germany.  Meeting them and getting a job babysitting their daughter has really been one on the best things that has happened to me since I have been in Paris.  I have a lifelong connection to the city.  They are wonderful people and I was so lucky to meet them!  They have made my experience here complete.

Anyway I should get going on some homework and go to bed so I can get up and start another long day tomorrow.  I will be posting again before I leave for Germany, hopefully!  And of course when I get back!  With pictures of course. 

Good Luck to everyone at Oswego with final exams and MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY HANUKKAH!

The fun and games were too good to last…tests, presentations and papers…

So….Only this week and next week left of classes!  Well at least for me.  The classes start  back up next month until the 16th of January.  By then I will be back in Oswego playing hockey everyday!  That will be exciting.

The only bad thing about leaving is I have so many papers to write.  10-15 pages, 5-10 pages and 5-6 pages!  Plus 2 tests next week and an oral presentation!  AHHH…So much to do! 

Good news is there is only 13 days until I go to Germany for Christmas.  I am so excited!!!!!  I believe there is only 28 days until I come home now too!  Wow who would have believed that.  I can’t believe this is almost over.  It has been a great experience, but I miss my family so much.  I am getting very excited to go home and see everyone again!

There isn’t much else new here.  I got sick at the end of last week and I didn’t do anything but lay in bed all weekend.  I am starting to get over it now, but it was an aweful chest cold.  There is even aweful illnesses in Paris.  It’s definately not all fun and games!

Well since I haven’t been doing much besides being sick, there isn’t much else to say.  I will be doing some christmas activities this weekend so hopefully I will have more to say next time :)

America and Germany in France, a trip to the Netherlands and it’s the most wonderful time of the year!

I have been so busy I haven’t even realized how fast the past two weeks have gone bye and now I realized it has been 2 weeeks since I have posted!  Where has the time gone!?!  There is only about 2 weeks of classes left until xmas break, and I can’t believe it.  Now there are only 35 days until I return to the states!  OMG…I can’t believe it.  I feel like I just got here. 

So these past two weeks have been the most busy since I have been in Paris I think.  I had one of my best friends from Germany come to visit 2 weeks ago. 
tiff and celine small
She was an exchange student at my high school in 2004-2005.  It was really great to be able to see here.  We were very busy when she was here.  We saw Twilight: New Moon the day it came out here, which by the way was ywo days earlier than the states.  I made sure to call my family after we got back to let them know how incredible it was, of course I didn’t give any spoilers, but it was fun to call because my family are all Twilight fans.  Later that weekend we did lots of sightseeing and we went all over Paris just enjoying our time together in PARIS!  We both couldn’t believe we were in Europe together, it was such a great experience!  I had such a great time with her here and it was really nice to have a familiar face around. 

The next week was filled with orale presentations and homework and lots of work.  I was so busy I didn’t have time to think.  When Thursday came along, it was hard to believe it was Thanksgiving because I had class and work.  I was so impatient all day because the family I babysit for had invited me for Thanksgiving dinner.  They prepared a turkey and stuffing and cranberry sauce and all the wonderfulness of food at a great American Thanksgiving.  I was so grateful and happy that I got to share that exerience with them.  I feel so thankful and lucky that I got a job babysitting for such wonderful people.  They really have made my experience in Paris complete.  One of the things I had really hoped to do when I was in Paris was to live with a family.  It was about double what I could afford to spend for rent, but they have taken me under their wings and made me feel like I am really accepted in their family.  They are really amazing. 

Then Friday, I got up early to take my train to The Netherlands.  I arrived in Rotterdam in the early afternoon and my friend Evy, who was also an exchange student at might high school in 2004-2005 picked me up.  We went to her mom’s house and we had lunch.  From what I hear it is was a very Dutch lunch, not necessarily in the food, but that it is something Dutch people eat a lot for lunch.  It was just bread and cheese and meat and cucumbers and tea.  It was simple but very good.  Later that day we walked around Breda, which is the city Evy grew up in. 
This is Breda at night:
breda
It was such a nice quaint little city.  I really enjoyed it.  For dinner we went to a resturant called, Buxuelles where I tried a Belgium rosé beer.  It was very very good.  I had never had a beer that was pinkish before and it was quite sweet.  The bartender made fun of me, in dutch of course, that it was like drinking lemonade.  Haha, it may have been sweet but don’t diss the American for trying something new!

The next day was sooo busy.  We went to Den Haag, which is the political capital of The Netherlands. 
This is the Peace Palace in Den Haag(or The Hauge in English):
peace palace
It was great visiting such a political city.  I did learn that The Netherlands has a government quite similar to that of England.  There is a Queen and she has some small responsibilities but mainly she is a figure that represents The Netherlands.  They also have a Parliment which makes the rules and governs the country.  I saw were the Queen works, but her residence is outside of Den Haag so we didn’t go there.

After we had lunch, we got on the train and went to Amsterdam.  Immediately I felt a great atmosphere in the city of Amsterdam.  It was alive and beautiful and really fun.  It was a little windy but it was so cool to be there.
One of the many many canals in Amsterdam:
amsterdam

I am in Love with the Arcitecture in Amsterdam.  It is such a beautiful city. 
I am Amsterdam!
i am amsterdam

My FAVORITE thing I did while I was in Amsterdam was my visit to the Anne Frank House.  It is the actual house that she and her Family lived in when they were hiding from the Nazi’s.  It was such a great visit, they told you the whole history and the background and I learned so much about their lives.  It was one of the most incredible things I have ever seen in my whole life.  Just to be there was one of the coolest things I have ever done.  You are not allowed to take pictures, so I didn’t get to document it, but the visitors guide includes pictures of the whole house.  If there is anything I recommend, besides visiting Paris of course, GO TO THE ANNE FRANK HOUSE IN AMSTERDAM!  It is INCREDIBLE. 

Of course you can’t go to Amsterdam without visiting the red light district at night.  Warning:  Do not go alone.  It was an eye opening experience.  It is hard to believe that it is really something that people look forward to doing in Amsterdam.  It was something I am glad to have visited, but it was just very bizarre for me.  Walking in the red light district, you go down narrow ally’s which can prob fit at most 3 people wide.  And there is window after window and all there is, are women in the glass windows in lingrie posing and dancing.  There is a bed and a sink and a door to each room and since obviously it is prositution they are just trying to get men to come in. You would be amazed at how many of these rooms had closest curtains!  I was so shocked, it was quite an experience to say the least.  I guess as an American, I just was not expecting it to be as real as it was.

Anyway, Amsterdam is not just a beautiful city during the day, it is at night as well:
amsterdam night

I loved visiting Amsterdam and it was one of the coolest things I have done in Europe so far!

On Sunday, Evy and I spent the day exploring the city she goes to school in.  She lives in Tilberg, it is about a 15 min train ride from Breda, where her Mom lives.  Tilberg is a very old city with lots of culture.  It was a veyr beautiful city as well.  We did some shopping and of course got some Saint Nicolas cookies. 

 This Saturday, November 5th is Saint Nicolas for The Netherlands.  Saint Nicolas, is a Dutch holiday like Christmas (although the Dutch celebrate Christmas as well).  Saint Nicolas is a man (who looks a lot like Santa Claus, but he has a red hat that looks like the Popes and it has a cross on it) he comes from Spain with his helpers, who are in all of the stories 2 black men.  I found this so strange, but it is such an old religious holiday that noone believes the old tradition should be changed.  I still cannot fathom how they are so accepting of something so obviously racist.  Anyway, Saint Nicolas and his helpers come by boat at the end of November and there is always a celebration in the cities welcoming him to the town.  The following week he spends visiting children and checking his naughty and nice book.  On Nov. 5th all the dutch children leave a shoe by the chimney with a drawing and a carrot.  The drawing is a present and thanks to Saint-Nicolas and the carrot is for his horse.  Then the helpers go down the chimney and put presents in the little kids shoes.  It is a lot like christmas with a few differences.  It was interesting to learn about a new culture. 

I returned from The Netherlands on Monday and I was busy as soon as I got back with a test and lots of homework to do.  There are officially only about 35 days until I come home.  I cannot believe that. 

Christmas is in full swing here.  There are decorations everywhere.  There is a Christmas Market on the Champs-Elysees, which is incredible.  It is so big and it has candy and food and lots of other things that you can get that are mostly all holiday based.  It is a great experience.  There are trees and lights everywhere and the Christmas Spirit is full swing in Paris.  Before I know it I will be heading to Germany for Christmas. 

I hope everyone enjoys my long post of my past two very busy weeks.  Good Luck to everyone at Oswego on finals and such all coming up very soon at Oswego.  I heard their was snow there last night!  At least there will be a white Christmas somewhere because it is still 50 degrees here!

Dear France, I think you forgot a holiday!

So if you were in Paris right now, you would think it is already December and christmas was right around the corner because EVERY SINGLE STORE is already Christmased out!  Decorations and light toys and candy and its like christmas already here.  I know Thanksgiving is a North American holiday and it is a celebration of starting a new life in the “new world” and giving thanks for the things we have.  But really, shouldn’t everyone in the world celebrate their family and give thanks for everything they have?  I think so.  Plus it is WAYYY to early to be like 100% into Christmas.  It is still over a month away and this Christmas stuff here has been happening since after Halloween.  I find it so strange!  Luckily for me I am having Thanksgiving dinner with the family I babysit for because the Father is American.  It is not going to be the same, just a dinner after their long days at work and school, but it is better than nothing.  I am going to miss Turkey and stuffing and cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie and all the other wonderful things that are Thanksgiving in the US.  But I am definitely going to miss the smells of Thanksgiving and of course the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  

Anyway, it has been a little while since I posted.  I have been getting into a routine here and the days are just moving by like clockwork.  There hasn’t been anything really exciting talk about in the past week or so.  The excitement is wearing off.  I sometimes think oh I am living in Europe, but then after that I think hmm, well it doesn’t feel like anything special or out of the ordinary anymore.  I am not just an American visiting here for a little while, I am really into the full-blown real life of Paris.  Although I only have 50 days left here until I come home!  I have already been here for almost 80 days!  That is so strange to imagine. 

Although there has not been a lot of excitement recently, the next two weeks are CRAZY busy!  Twilight comes out in Theatres tomorrow and I am going to that!  I am very excited…2 days earlier than the US! Also, one of my best friends, who was an exchange student at my high school from Germany is coming to visit tomorrow for 4 days!  I am looking forward to seeing her!  It will be really great to have a familiar face visit!  When she leaves I have normal classes next week then on Thursday is Thanksgiving and after class I am babysitting then having my Paris-version of Thanksgiving dinner!  On Friday I am taking a train to visit another one of my good friends who was an exchange student at my high school in the Netherlands!  I will be there for 4 days and I am so excited.  When I get back it will be December already.  So for the next few weeks I am really busy and then my semester starts coming to a close and then I will be off to Germany for Christmas! 

Sorry there isn’t anything really exciting to talk about that has happened lately but enjoy for now!

Who said Paris was all fun and games?

Well this week has been quite busy, but not with all the fun Paris stuff.  I have been busy with school.  My professors are assigning the final papers and giving us test dates and oral exam dates, and its all less than a few weeks away.  I am going to be needed to spend all of this weekend getting a head start on my work.  Woohoo such a fun weekend! 

 The school system is much different in Paris.  Teachers give out some reading and a little bit of homework to do during the semester, but none of that work counts for your grade.  You are only expected to do it to participate in class and in discussions.  In fact, most of the time your grade is all based upon one test or one paper, sometimes two but thats it.  So it is a lot of pressure riding on one grade.  YIKES! 

Besides school in Paris, I have been dealing with lots of stuff back home lately.  I registered for my classes back home on Tuesday!  Woohoo!  Student teaching next semester!  I am very excited about that.  Also, I have been trying to start getting my housing all set for next semester, which didn’t really go so well because they told me I have to wait until after Thanksgiving.  Oh well I suppose. 

I am also working on my grad school application to Syracuse University.  It has been almost 4 years since I had to fill out an application to college and I forgot how much work it is.  There is always so much that goes into applying to do anything!  Letters of interest, resumes, letters of recommendation, transcripts, test scores!  It is so much work.  Good thing  I have an early start and the application isn’t due until Feb. 1st.  But I hope to get everything I need done by the time I get back to the US. 

Speaking of Oswego and the US, last weekend my hockey team played their FIRST OFFICIAL GAME!  Thanks to WNYO, I got to listen to a live stream of the game online!  I was so happy that I got to at least hear my team play.  I swear I was jumping up and down when we scored or when I heard of a breakaway or anything.  You would have thought the game was a championship game the way I was acting.  I never realized being away from my Lakers would be so hard.  It was killing me not to be there with them on the ice, or even there just to support them!  Boy do I miss hockey a lot.  I can’t wait to get back.  2 months left!  But at least we won our game 6-1!  What a great way to start the season.  The ladies also have 2 games this weekend in Potsdam!  Unfortunately I will not be able to listen because live broadcasts are only for home games, but I will be rooting none the less. 

Last weekend was Halloween, and needless to say it was a bit of a disappointment.  If you go with all the american students studying in Paris then everyone gets very dressed up and goes to American or Irish bars and some people are dressed up.  But for the most part it really isn’t much of a holiday here.  It has become more popular within the past few years.  I wanted to go to Disneyland Paris because they were having a Halloween party, but I couldn’t find anyone that wanted to go with me!  Oh well!  So I spent Halloween with some of my French friends and we just hung out at my apartment and talked and hung out together.  It was a lot of fun.  I may have missed the festivities of Halloween this year, but it’s not like I haven’t had 20 other Halloweens.  Missing one is OK.  It was a cultural experience, that’s what I can tell myself!  Although the next thing I need to get through is Thanksgiving.  I have some plans for that but lets see what happens!!!!!!

My time here is dwindling down and sometimes I can’t believe it, the time feels like it went by so fast.  Although at the same time I cannot wait to get home to familiarity and my family and hockey and just my life in the US.  I feel very lucky to have this opportunity to be in Paris, it is definitely a great once in a life time opportunity.  I am so happy I get to share it with everyone who reads my blogs.  Hopefully I will have some more interesting stories for next week.  But for now ENJOY!

Perceptions of USA and a new President

Ok, so when you think of France what do you picture?  Maybe  Berets, cheese, wine, baguettes, or perhaps people smoking and sitting at cafes drinking coffee.  We all have stereotypes which are formed by publicity and the media.  Generally these are not always true, they are just clichés that we have been programmed to believe are true…which leads me into quite an interesting story.

The other day in one of my classes, we had a break half way through class(since the classes are 3 hours long) and I was having a conversation with several other students in my class and our professor.  We were talking about some recent French news, nothing really out of the ordinary when the student standing next to me said, “Ahh the American girl.  I have a question.  Is life different now that Barack Obama is president?”  At first I wasn’t sure what to say, but of course you wouldn’t be surprised to know that the French LOVE Obama.  They are so fascinated with him that in book stores there are whole sections of books about Barack Obama.  Anyway back to my story, I thought for a minute and I said, “Well personally for me life really isn’t different, but then if you think about it, when you get a new president of France, does your life really change?  Does it really affect your life personally?  When in reality it generally doesn’t.”   I was really caught off guard because I guess that is a legitimate question to ask if you have never lived in the United States, but once again it’s just another one of those cultural things.  Needless to say after he asked me that the entire group of people joined in on the conversation dissecting it and discussing, but the French are so passionate about Politics that I just let them talk.  The joy’s of being an American in a foreign country, but its always interesting!