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bad, bad boys.



So how about a little update on how my Wednesdays are working out with my band of French teen-age boys? How do I give you an idea of how it's going in layman's terms?

Okay, well they pretty much fucking hate me. All of them. So far I have been called a rainbow of French insults, have been punched in the back, shoved, and have been told to fuck off on several occasions.

And call me sick but it just tickles me. 

Wednesday has been the source of my ultimate amusement. Dealing with these miscreants that dream of going to New York or California one day, who listen only to English-speaking pop music, and watch American films dubbed over in French. These little fuckers fail to make the one connection that all of these things have in common: English. The language I am painstakingly trying to teach them! And if they spoke and understood it (enter my part in this mess), then perhaps they could enhance their experience with their favorite hobbies. But no. They would rather resist me at all costs, wasting hours arguing with me that they don't have to study English, because their logic is that their parents just pay some American chick to sit in their living room on Wednesdays.

So the second Wednesday under this arrangement was particularly challenging where they were looking for any excuse not to work. I have to say, they are getting more creative by the week with their reasoning. One excuse not to study English was that one of them had heard me on the phone with Aurélien, and hearing me speak French with my American accent confused him, therefore he was unable to work. 

Worried that I was losing control over them and not sure how I could handle it every Wednesday because I can't call the parents every time there is a problem, and my hands are literally full from confiscating their iPads, iPhones, Wii manettes, cell phones, and pagers (kidding, just checking if you're paying attention.) With these guys I had to think out of the box. But what?

Then it hit me.

Blackmail.

Of course!

I had to find a way to blackmail them into doing their English homework. But what could I possibly blackmail them with?

And then, a golden opportunity was handed to me on a silver platter.

During a break I gave them, I handed them back their electronic devices and told them they could do what they want. Settled on the couch across from them, with an issue of their mother's Biba Magazine and a cup of green tea, I was prepared to enjoy my fifteen minutes without looking at their faces. But what was happening mere feet away proved to be far more entertaining than reading about the myths of cellulite cream (as if any of us really believe that a cream will remove thigh dimples.)

On their phones, they have an application for the television show The Voice where it's karaoke that you sing into the phone, but in order to get points you have to hit all of the notes. Pretending to be detached from their free time activity, like a cat, I tiptoed over to my bag, quietly grabbed my phone and back on the couch, hit record. So, I now have a video of one singing Rhianna's "Make Me Feel (Only Girl)", another doing his take of Nikki Manaj's "Turn Me On" which includes a lyric demanding, "my body needs a hero, come and save me" and for the finale was a group effort of Katy Perry's "Firework." Please, for this last song, I urge you to listen to it and imagine French teen-agers struggling to hit those notes, accents and all. 

Next on the mission was who was I going to threaten to show these videos to. Their parents would just think it was cute, so I needed to take it to the next level. Who would these boys not want seeing these videos? 

It was all too easy.

Girls.

There is a Fanny, a Mathilde, and an Aimé that they relentlessly talk about, and with little effort, I retrieved one of their phones and copied the numbers down of the French fillies.

I'm officially a horrible person. I know.

The rest of that afternoon as well as the past Wednesdays have been manageable, not greatbut not bad enough to pull out the big guns. They don't yet know that I have these videos but look forward to the day that they really push me over the edge and to see the looks on their faces when they realize that I have embarrassing videos of them singing like little girls. And yes, I've made copies. Sure, it's a little evil but teaching English in Paris is a matter of survival of the fittest, and it looks like I'll be coming out of the jungle still standing. (Enter evil laugh.)

  Bon week-end à tous !

french lesson #1: to fill.


As I settle more into myself, I understand the somewhat important role that is making mistakes and try not to let them defeat me as they did in my younger years of youth. After all, isn't this how we learn? This seems to be the golden rule when tackling another language, especially during the less formative adult years. For those of us trying to blend in as French speakers here in Paris, the fun never stops in learning how to properly speak this demanding language where a new blunder is always just a sip of wine away. 

So today, at no extra cost (!!), I am offering a little French lesson for you new speakers, at the expense of yours truly with yet another one of my habitually embarrassing moments. It's almost as if I can't help myself. 

A word that is used with somewhat frequency is remplir which means to fill. Simple enough. This was one of those random words I had to learn "out in the field" ensconced in French living that goes in my book of household words that I need to know in order to communicate, mostly with my in-laws or with my building gardienne, for example. (Hammer, laundry clips, crusty mold, steam basket are also members of this good time group.)

In the film, excuse me, I mean, one of the greatest movies ever,  Mermaids, I used to think that the bite-sized Christina Ricci asks a then-sane Winona Ryder to "fill her up", meaning to fill up her glass.  Having recently revisited this movie last weekend as it is totally what kicks off my autumn season, I was reminded that she actually says "hit me Sargent", but the expression to have something filled up has been kicking around my head like a pinball for several days. 

Last Sunday night, after tackling my first ever Sunday Pasta Feast, chez nous, Aurel and I stopped by his friend Thomas' apartment up by Gambetta for a glass of wine and his homemade rice pudding. (I love French dudes.) After catching up on our summer vacations, we reckoned that the warm evening out on his terrace demanded another glass, taking advantage of the lovely weather we have been graced with this week. Turning to Aurel, with the little shimmy that young Ricci does in the film, I know well enough not say like in the film, "bats-moi" but demanded that he "remplis-moi" and held out my glass. 

The result: Thomas almost choked on his wine and Aurel, bless him, who is used to me and also watched the film, evenly said, "We don't say that."

Of course, they don't. Fill me up? That's even questionable in English, but when holding out a glass and under casual circumstances can be easily perceived as playful. Well not so much in French, so please learn from me, and if you would like a beverage refill in the company of familiar friends a simple, "remplis mon verre s'il te plaît" will suffice. 

This story had already made its rounds in our French circle of friends who find this far more amusing than my American mind can completely grasp. When offering an explanation, to me, it becomes less comical, but to our friends, I handed them fodder to last them until New Year's Day. Dirty minds, I say! I guess the French do only think about sex!

fashion night out 2013.




Ladies and gents, it's that time of year again, Paris Fashion Week will be sweeping through the city in a week or so! There is no better way to kick off a week of chaos and couture than with a little (okay, a lot) of bubbles and giggles with a few lovely ladies at Vogue's Fashion Night Out!

This was my second invitation to Vogue's ode to mode, this year including Francophile author extraordinaire Juliette Sobanet.

Last year's Fashion Night Out, felt like a true end-of-summer celebration, whereas this year's with what I believe to be now permanent cold gloomy days, washed down with the constant stream of rain we've been having for weeks straight, it felt more like evening in late-November. I said it on Istagram and I'll say it here: it was technically still summer on Tuesday! Why are we already pulling out the wool and rubber rain boots? We have an entire six months ahead of us for shitty weather. Give us September back!

The evening started off at the iconic Roger Vivier who in my opinion puts on the best party on the block; the entertainment is always well, entertaining; none of this cacophonous DJ propped behind a Mac bobbing his head to noise (I sound like my grandmother) and the bubbly is always a-flowin'. A perfect party in my opinion!

This season, Vivier delighted us with the Canadian, glitter jumpsuit-sporting Jef Barbara. For those of you like me a few days ago aren't familiar with him, I urge you to check him out here or here. In short, he's pretty amazing. Like next level.
 

Signature Roger Vivier buckle.
So mod.
J'adore.

Days leading up to the event, I had sent a text to a friend who was also attending playfully asking her if she thought my boyfriend Bertrand Burgulat was going to be at the party. If you remember, I was introduced to his genius when he performed last year (check out our photo op) at the same fête. Since my exposure to the king of French kitch, he has made several appearances on my blog as well as our wedding when Aurel and I selected his song "La Rose de Sang" to be our first shimmy (no slow dancing for us) as newlyweds. I'm a pretty big fan. A side note, I always feel cheesy when I say that I'm a big fan of something. There has to be a chicer way of saying that you totally nerd out to something, right?

Walking in, familiar with the grand rounded staircase, we confidently made our way up to the main boutique where we were immediately greeted with a tray of champagne flutes, savory snacks, breezy swaying cocktail party music in a room full of fun fashion folk, you know, the ones that don't try so hard and make it look fun.

My friend then whipped around toward me to announce that "my guy" was there. As it turned out, "my boyfriend" was there. She approached him and made introductions because she knew I wouldn't have done it myself.

And...I totally embarrassed myself. 

Suddenly I couldn't speak French, was stumbling over my words and he had to switch to English because has figured I was a tourist  in town trying to speak my high school French. It. was. awful.

I'm still pretty mortified. With that, remind me never to meet Louis Garrel.

Wanting to see what the other boutiques were doing on the strip (something tells me that French fashionistas wouldn't exactly love to hear me call their precious Rue St. Honoré "the strip"), we decided to leave Vivier and boutique hop like we had done last year. Walking into Prada, although the collection was exquisite and the handbags were totally what my Jackie O. dreams are made of, for a party, it was a little snoozy (read: no champagne and snacks), so we left.

Hey, what else was there to do? Shop? As if. My 5-year-old employers are total cheapskates when it comes to my salary.

Wool swing skirt at Prada.
So fall!

We then walked past a brand that I had freelanced at on-and-off in both New York and Paris over the course of six years, and through the window saw one of my former co-workers who runs the Paris showroom leaned up against the wall looking totally bored. The party itself was pretty sparse, with wide, blank patches of space barely filled in with party-goers decked out in the brand's signature uptight black, and servers holding full trays of champagne waiting for someone, anyone to take a glass. To paint the picture for you, there were more men protecting the precious front door than there were guests inside. Asking the girls to wait outside for a second while I tried to get us in, I made the ultimate mistake of thinking we would be doing them a favor by wanting to attend, relieving the poor servers of their strenuous champagne duty.

Not thinking it would cause much of a commotion, I slipped in between the velvet rope to approach the wall of door men, but before I could get even a bonsoir out, my arm had been yanked and within seconds was back on the other side of the velvet rope.

Seriously?

The dramatic door guard would not even speak to me on the right hand side of the door, but made me walk five feet to my left where I suppose he would acknowledge my presence. The last I checked this was a boutique party not Anna Wintour's Met Gala, but I digress.

I explained that I wanted to say hello to my former co-worker, using his full name, and pointed to where he was at the back of the store. He said that he would allow me to stand in the doorway and yell for him to get his attention, similar to a desperate puppy trying to get its owner's attention in a hot car. Before I could negotiate a less demeaning offer, our conversation was interrupted by a girl who definitely fit more of the fashion profile than my frizzy hair and chubby cheeks have ever allowed me to. Tall, extremely slim in her black leather leggings, with platinum pin-straight choppy styled hair, she knew how to play up the part. She stepped in front of me holding goodie bags from the other boutiques, which included a gold metallic balloon, and finagled with the bouncers, just as I had been doing, although rather unsuccessfully. As she was working her magic, paying no mind to the me, the person who was mere inches away from her, she let her little gold balloon bob and bounce against my face. 

Not wanting to make a scene, I tried to wiggle myself back to get the damn balloon out of my face but by then there were more people behind me and was stuck between her stupid balloon, someone wearing a mask to my left, and a guy with his huge camera pocking the small of my back. No, camera is not code for something else.

Irritated by everything as it started to rain on me, I took out my rage on the balloon. 

I punched it. Hard. 

You guys, I punched her balloon. What is wrong with me? I apologize in advance for admitting this, but I was disappointed that it didn't pop. I hated that fucker. She then moved the balloon to reveal her face just to shoot me a disapproving look before being granted admission to the party that at this point didn't know why I was trying to so hard to get into.

The bouncer was back again to deal with me, and clearly wanting me out of his face let me go in for five minutes. How generous, sir. 

I walked in with my little purple plaid dress, sticking out like Eliza Doolittle in a sea of clean-tailored black, and ran to my former co-worker who received me with a big hug and bises. It turned out that he had what most of end up getting after many years in the business: FF, fashion fatigue, and was over pretending that a 700 euro black sweater is what life is all about.

Giving up where even my friend agreed that door guys were acting like the party was the grand poobah of parties, I headed to the door. Before making it out, I had crossed paths with one of the men in black who couldn't resist making me feel worse when he volunteered, "You had your little chat, now it's time for you to go, there isn't enough room, and frankly you and your friends aren't important enough."

I was stunned. First off, I was leaving. Second, not important enough? Who even says that? Doesn't he know that everyone is important? What a small petty world he must live in! Unfortunately, I was too stunned to come up with a witty retort (surtout en français!) and sheepishly saw myself out. Fashion is so dumb sometimes.

Heading back to Roger Vivier, the only place that seemed to appreciate us, we continued and finished off our soirée there. Good thing they were such jerks at "No names mentioned iconic French fashion house", otherwise we would have missed out on this.... 

Glitter jumpsuit ass.

And this...

Crabby door dudes, cringe-worthy moments and crappy weather aside, 
it was yet another successful Fashion Night Out; a lovely revisit to my former life that I don't really miss.
But with the right company, and the perfect blend of bubbles and good humor who says you need to be fancy?
Even in Paris, the fashion capital of the world. 


four years.


Last night on our drive back home from the suburbs, off in the distance on an open field, pink, red and silver fireworks were exploding furiously into the night. Trying to guess what the celebration was about, we fell flat on ideas. Mid-September doesn't exactly ring any bells. Perhaps a farewell to summer? That's hardly something to celebrate about, even if I do love autumn. Turning to Aurel, I asked him what the date was and when he told me that it was the 15th of September, it was then that I knew exactly what the hullabaloo was about. September 15th marks my four year anniversary in Paris and obviously there was a firework extravaganza to commemorate it! Oh France, you shouldn't have.


While I want to say that I can't believe it has already been four years and time really does have its way of slipping through your fingers, these four years were so dense with experience, at times stuck in a quagmire of difficult decisions, surprises, and inconveniences, that I don't feel that they just flew by. A lot of shit has happened and as odd as it may sound, I'm kind of thankful for all of it. I could never appreciate all the good things that have come my way in these past four years if I don't recognize some of the challenges that have been set before me.

Not too long ago, I was accused of changing since I had moved to France and that I am not the same person I was ten years ago. Not sure how to even feel, I marinated on this "accusation" for a bit. Resisting the urge to immediately rectify the situation with an apology, I stopped and asked myself, what would I exactly be apologizing for? After everything I had been through (things that could have happened anywhere in the world, so let's not totally blame Paris here), of course I have changed! There should be no shame in that. I certainly hope I have evolved from my 22-year-old self because damn, I was pretty stupid. Oh please, what am I talking about? I've done some dumb things here as well! The sublet robbery of 2011 would so not have happened had I been a little more sharp and less trusting of a 20-year-old who thought a tilted-head-duck-lip photo of herself was appropriate representation for her CV. I still take 50% blame in that mess.

On these Francoversaries, I like to look back on all of the adventures of this life abroad. I honestly didn't think I would make it this far as I sort of just picked up and came here without much security. Indulging in flashbacks, I remember my first week here, settling into my sublet at La Motte-Picquet, questioning my plan and why I was even here, and feeling both excitement and fear for not having any answers...or that much money, to my first full year of feeling proud that I had made it while still scraping by and wondering if there would be a two year anniversary, to now, finally feeling settled in a simple life in Paris. I really have grown so much over the past four years and that doesn't make me better or even smarter, just aware and secure with the knowledge that without love in a dream it'll never come true.

Breaking my weekly wine fast, I will treat myself to a glass of bubbly after work. Cheers and Happy Anniversary! Here is to another year in Paris to me and to all of the other hopefuls who arrived once upon a time in September....

Here's a peek at last year's Francoversary
It was a little more colorful than this years...

those who wander...

In all of my years involved with social media I have never participated in what they call a throwback Thursday (or #tbt). This phenomenon of sharing an old (and sometimes really unflattering) photo is somewhat new, right? Or am I that far behind? Oy, I have no idea anymore. With each passing year, I become a little more out of touch and find myself conducting Google searches asking it complete questions like "What does YOLO mean?"

With my first, and most likely last throwback Thursday, I wanted to do something special and a little bit dangerous. You see, in my apartment I have hanging up, a photo that I have taken with me to every city, every apartment that I have lived in since I was 17.  

Back in 1999, in an odd coincidence, my friend Yoko and I were both traveling from New York to Northern California to see family during our last high school spring break; she was seeing her father in San Francisco, and I was visiting my brother up at Humboldt State University. Before heading back to New York, I took a Greyhound down to the city for a few days to see her, where she took this photo.

Market Street.
1999.

I remember that night, camped out in a sleeping bag in her father's living room on Potrero Hill, with my pink glitter retainer in my mouth, I declared that I was going to live in many places before settling down somewhere at the old age of 25. 25 and old. What a little shit I was. 

So what makes this throwback post dangerous? Well...while in San Francisco last month, I decided to reenact this moment with a twin photo almost 15 years later. This really could have gone either way....
Market Street.
2013
Not too bad, eh? We tried to recall what the photo looked like since we had left it in Paris, so this was the best that we came up with. Aurel was also kind with me and didn't do the extreme close-up that Yoko did. Good husband. There's no denying that I have a few deep-set lines, crows feet that appear when I smile, an acne scar here and there, and some sun spots, (also I think I was due for a lip wax) but that's all a part of not being 17 anymore.

That week in California was the first trip I had ever taken on my own, which inspired over a decade of adventures, mishaps and memories.  Perhaps if I had stayed in one place, now at the age of 32 I would be more "settled" in life with an actual career, a house, and maybe even a few babies in tow. Who knows? 

I may have been a dumb 17-year-old who thought turning 25 was old, but I was curious enough to want to see more, as well as aware enough to know to just go for it because you only live once.

Those of you who have a roaming eye for travel, was there a particular moment in your life that you knew there was more out there that you just had to see? Share your throwback memory!

talking heads.

Being in an intercultural couple, Aurelién and I enjoy indulging in comparing the differences between our two backgrounds. Never in a competitive manner because neither culture could claim superiority over the other; they are both so different. But just making simple observations, as well as cooking up scenarios imagining how it would play out in both France and in the States. 

Being placed in new situations outside of our French life during our one month excursion in the US provided fodder to one of our favorite pastimes, adding more contrasts to dissect. Aren't we just total party animals?

What amazes him almost every trip abroad, but especially this one since we were out in California where perhaps it's heightened, was how most people are so open and willing to chat extensively with total strangers. Had I not spent as much time in Paris as I have at this point, hearing this observation would have fallen flat because up until this extensive experience abroad, I thought that most people engage in small talk with random folks you're sitting next to at a bar or a restaurant. It's taken a few years to discover that this is an American trait, that we look at dining or having a drink as a total social experience that is not always confined exclusively to our personal present company. 

On our honeymoon in San Francisco, we experienced one of the more extreme cases of a random interaction with strangers when a group of locals that we had struck up conversation with at a cocktail bar, kindly invited us that evening and treated us to dinner at NoPa; the city's most buzzed about kitchen in the Bay AreaThe handwritten thank you card I sent (after cleverly getting their home addresses), to me, still seems rather trite and have since been keeping an eye out in paying it forward somehow. 

Throughout our entire trip in America we engaged in small chats with random characters who offered us slices of information, portals into their lives; a restauranteur who had lived in LA for 15 years before moving up north enjoyed an espresso on his day off at the legendary Cafe Trieste; a young bartender at Tart who wants to be a real actress and is terrified of the idea of having to resort to working on a reality show; the server at Bottega on Long Island who has a cousin studying abroad in Paris and couldn't believe that restaurants don't serve mimosas here; the guy sitting next to me at the DMV who lost his license at a bar the night before his plans to drive out to Arizona for the weekend and incidentally had a boyfriend who used to live in my old building in West Hollywood; the vintage boutique owner who mistook our request to finding a good place to get a drink for a good place to get a joint, and actually gave us directions on where to legally purchase pot (ah, California). The stories were endless, each time leaving Aurelien amazed with how much information we were being given at such slight insistance. I don't even know what the parents of the kids that I teach actually do for a living, but I do know that Roxanne, our flight attendant on our flight back to New York prefers full-bodied, buttery white wines to the fruitier selections. 

Last week, taking advantage of the last warm summer's eve in Paris, in an unscripted change of after-work plans, Aurel and I decided to sit along the quai at Île de la Cité to watch the sunset, feel the warm air, and to enjoy our last bottle of rosé bidding farewell to the summer. Arriving, we saw that others had the very same idea and we had to squeeze in tight between other groups of friends and couples to get a good view of the shadowing bridges behind the setting sun, letting our feet dangle over the sparkling Seine. 



Being in such close proximity to strangers it would never occur to us to even consider striking up conversation; it's just not done here. If there was a group of Americans, perhaps, but Parisians, no way, they would just think it was intrusive. With our rosé buzz kicking in, we entertained ourselves by placing ourselves in hypothetical plot lines of asking our neighbors about their wine and snacks, professions, and what part of town they lived in. (I'm chuckling now just picturing this scene.) It was then that we were handed an opportunity to test our theory: a couple to the right of us were sharing with their friends animated details about their current trip to...California.

If there was ever a moment to chime in...

"Go tell him we were there!" I nudged Aurélien in a loud whisper reminiscent of someone's grandmother ordering them to shove the bread from the bread basket in their bag while the server's back was turned. 

"That would be weird." He responded flatly, turning to look out onto the water, sipping his wine.

"Oh come on, it wouldn't. We were just there, share a memory with one of your compatriots!"

And then I got the French huff, followed by a shrug, and a dramatic shoulder toss, "Yeah, my compatriots. N'importe quoi."

Just then, a Bateau Mouche came charging by, shining their offensive tanning-salon, high voltage lights along the water, blinding all of us who were enjoying the moonlit glow against our end-of-summer bronzed skin. Everyone shared a collective round of disgruntled moans while momentarily looking away from the water where many of our eyes met. Seizing the opportunity, I leaned over to the couple next to us, wished them a bonsoir, and said that I couldn't help but overhear that they were in California over the summer, offering that we were there as well! Hurray for Hollywood?

As it turned out, they were in California. It was nice. They ate well. It was sunny. And that was it.

And this is where the cultural differences between my husband and I swooped right in: Aurel thought they were really outgoing and forthcoming about their trip while I thought they were fucking rude. I didn't learn anything about their summer vacation. 

But I suppose that was the point.

The two of us had a good laugh about this on our Vespa ride back home with me of course reacting the scene in his ear. In reality, I'm sure the couple are quite lovely and I had just caught them off guard. I guess the old stereotype that first impressions of Americans are that we're brazen and arrogant, and the French are cold and demure will never cease to exist. (Okay and allow me to take some responsibility here, I also do talk way too much.) But who would ever want either culture to change? I, for one would not, it's these kinds of differences that remind me that I do live in another country while deepening my understanding of how people from different backgrounds function, respond, and interact; somewhat of a character builder in my opinion. 

I suppose I will always be somewhat out of my element here, which keeps my two feet firmly on the ground as I am constantly learning and evolving with my surroundings. And you know what, there's something really comforting about that.

back to school.


 Image via my Instagram

I know we still have a few more weeks left of it, but for me, summer is officially over. My birthday which was on the 2nd arrived in all its glory, and with it now over means that the party is over...well, my party at least. 

With la rentrée in full swing here in Paris, I have to admit, I'm actually looking forward to this new year. Does anyone else feel like September is more of a fresh start than January 1st? Early January, I just feel depressed, cold, and bloated as I reluctantly take down signs of Christmas glee while detoxing my system of all the champagne and fois gras I had woofed down for the past two months. September feels like a true awakening where the weather is still gorgeous, everyone is adorning their summer glow with vacation tales to recount, and there is a feeling of motivation and productivity as perhaps we're all just a bit vacationed out. 

This year, the infamous no-school Wednesdays here in France are no more. The school system in Ile-de-France is now requiring students to attend a half-day of school reserving the afternoon for extra curricular activities. With this new schedule, naturally, there was a public outcry as students have always had Wednesdays off and as we know, the French don't love change. 

Last year I had networked with the parents that I had met outside of school and the after-school sports center and managed to create an intensive English study workshop facilitated by myself. Working with multiple families means multiple students whom I learned last week were going to be all teen-age boys. This will be the second year that I am working exclusively with garçons. Being the only girl in my family, growing up with four boy cousins and two brothers, I suppose this is one of the roles I have been preparing for most of my life.

Yesterday was our first session, or as I irritatingly labeled it: "The English Speaking Round Table." Yes, I totally made them say it. Like a few times. 

At first, they didn't realize that I speak as well as understand French, but I let them think they were pulling the wool over my eyes by whispering profanities to each other in French while I was organizing my notes and writing on the wipey board. It wasn't until one of the kids began to repeatedly say "double penetration" that I had to figure out a way to put an end to the bullshit.  

Double penetration? First of all, there goes my Google keywords for the blog (and they have been so clean lately). Second, ouch. And third, what about it? What did these kids know about double penetration, and why did he have to keep saying it? I resisted the overbearing urge I had to ask him if he even knew what he was talking about, but thought better in fear that he did and was going to provide an explanation. 

However, it couldn't go ignored as he continued to say it, grating on my every nerve. Having somewhat of a knowledge of young French boys, I do know that they are concerned with appearances and instead of being stern with him, I got all French with him. By simply nodding my head, scrunching my face up as if I was dismissing an ugly article of clothing, and saying that it wasn't beau when he said that, I got him to stop putting physically uncomfortable images in my head and continued on with the lesson. 

Before wrapping up the day and to redefine myself as a human, not a robot barking at them in English, I shared that it was recently my birthday. Immediately I was asked how many years I had. Knowing that 14 year old kids would think 32 is ancient (heck, 22 year olds do!) and wanting to avoid the look of horror that generally accompanies it, I told them that I wasn't going to disclose how many years I was and that I had a very nice time with my husband (which also inspired giggles)

With the incessant emphasis I placed on being an age and not having an age like we do in the romance languages, I reminded myself of a character in one of David Sedaris' essays: the one where he was placed in a speech therapy class when he was younger and his tutor pretty much sucked. Well, I'm that teacher in the story and by the way some of these kids were looking at me I see a story written about me in the future because damn, I'm annoying. I look forward to reading it, and if it's in English, I hope I will have done my job. 

It's good to be back. Something tells me this year is going to be even more interesting than the last....