Women’s World Cup 2019

A few years ago J came home from work and told me, “The world cup will be in France in 2019!” I wondered what he was talking about since the news hadn’t mentioned it until he explained it was the women’s world cup. Since then we’ve been planning on going.

Last year I signed up for the mailing list so I found out immediately when tickets were on sale. We had to go to a weekend match since we would both be working so we ended up betting on a quarter final match on a Friday evening that we could reasonably expect to be France-USA.

Though the round of 16 match-ups were more tense that we expected, mostly because we hadn’t counted on Brazil coming in third and playing against France, the teams came through as predicted and J and I took the train up to Paris on June 28th to see the hosts play the favorites at Parc des Princes.

All decked out
Warm-up
Second goal for the USA

It was really fun and the atmosphere was really great especially at the beginning. Fans were mixed together, no US and France sections. J found numbers online that said it was one third Americans and most of those were women. We of course had figured that out when we arrived and the women’s entry line to be patted down was moving much slower than the men’s.

I couldn’t help but root for the American women but it was hard to see the French women lose. It was really too bad they met up in the quarter finals and not any later. But hurray for the Americans who made it through to the final and brought home a fourth trophy. I love them so much.

Summer

Work has been winding down for over a month now but vacation is finally actually here and I have Littlest for the rest of the summer to myself.

We said goodbye to his nounou (nanny/assistante maternelle) last Friday. He’s been with her since he was 14 weeks old so it has been strange to think that it’s over. She made him a lovely little notebook with pictures from the beginning to now, drawings over the years, etc. We will treasure it. We got her a couple of presents: a gift card and a plant.

So now what? We made a big trip to the craft store this morning and I’ll be printing off worksheets to color pretty regularly. I’ve found some activities around town and I think we’ll be sneaking our way into some of the 3+ activities that I think he might be ready for because the under 3 programs are still slim pickings.

In a week or so we’ll be heading out of town with climbing friends for a week. Then my parents will come for a few days in August before we all head to Ireland together. So exciting things are in store—but for now it’s pretty chill, just me and Littlest trying to keep busy…

We also have to get ready for maternelle in September! That means apparently ordering labels for all his clothing, getting an assurance scolaire in case he burns the school down (I mean what exactly is it for?), and sewing or finding cafeteria bibs. Also vaguely sort of working on toilet training but that seems to be progressing on its own for now.

La Vie Scolaire

J and I went to a movie the other night, an avant-premiere for Grand Corps Malade and Mehdi Idir’s new film La Vie Scolaire.

I haven’t yet seen their first movie Patients but if I ever get around to renting movies again I will (our local library system has it).

Anyway this new movie was funny and touching and though as a teacher there are certain things that still seemed unrealistic to me, I’d recommend it for a good laugh and maybe a good cry and also some thinking about what it means to teach and educate students. The main actors (Liam Pierron, a local student in his first role, Zita Hanrot the young CPE, and Soufiane Guerrab the math teacher) were all incredible and the rest of the cast was also either hilarious or touching or obviously both.

It begs comparison to Entre les murs (The Class in English), based on the book by François Bégaudeau, but Entre les murs stayed as you might suspect within the walls of the school without delving into the personal lives of the adults and kids, and lacks the intentional humor of La Vie scolaire. (I like them both though.)

Here’s a video of the directors and cast who were at the theater after the screening.

And the music video for the song during the end credits. (Grand Corps Malade, Je viens de là)

The movie comes out officially end of August.

Questioning

It’s been over a month since I’ve written here. I keep popping in and having nothing to say. Or maybe I have nothing to say that isn’t too personal to write it on the internet.

I bought The Courage to Teach this week so hopefully if I fit in the time to read it, it may give me some inspiration.

Otherwise the things I spend my time thinking about are the same as always:

Babies and toddlers and bi-culturalism:

« Acquisition de la propreté » : le point de vue d’une psychométricienne: Because omg I’m tired of people asking us if Littlest is “propre.” He’ll get there when he’s ready.

La Maison des Maternelles: Je voyage enceinte

Le blog des gaous: Transmission Culturelle

Starting to plan our in-France vacation this summer got me interested in this article (mostly pictures): NYTimes: Family Vacation

Agreg

Since I passed my CAPES to become a tenured English teacher in France almost 8 years ago (what?!) the more intense, more difficult agrégation has been lingering as an option in my mind. I always told myself I’d do it a few years from now, once I really felt like moving on from lycée teaching and once my potential future kids were older.

But being on the edge of burn-out has led to a slight change of plans. I was inspected (=evaluated) this spring and an inspection these days is suppose to be an opportunity to reflect on your career. So, I reflected on my career. And I started to think that I may need a way out earlier rather than later. So I decided to attempt the agreg next year.

Like I said the inspection is supposed to be a discussion of your teaching career, so I opened up to the inspectrice about this and she had only encouraging things to say. So while I have no illusions (I hope) about my chances of succeeding this year given that I will have no time off for it and I have a toddler, I’m still game to do as much as I can.

I hesitate to talk too much about what being agrégée would do for my professionally, but essentially since I would being doing the externe exam for the public system, it would allow me to work in public schools, prépas, some university positions, and, I hope, open up the possibility of other related positions in the fonction publique.

But that’s all a long way off. For now I’m cracking into Middlemarch (one of seven books I’ll need to read/re-read) and trying to figure out what a dissertation is (a French type of essay-writing).

Three Days in Porto

I went to a talk at the school I teach at last year given by one of the former directors of the Futuroscope theme park in Poitiers. The whole talk was interesting but one thing he said has really stuck with me:

On ne part pas en vacances simplement pour se reposer. On part pour revenir changé.

(We don’t leave on holiday just to rest. We leave to come back changed.)

A lot of trips I’ve taken have done that for me, but this past weekend I left behind work and family to spend a long week-end with my parents in Porto, Portugal, and it was again true.

Traveling with my parents is always different as my adult responsibilities seem to some how disappear no matter how many years I’ve been living away from home. But this time there was even a day outing planned and organized by a third party that none of us had to worry about managing.

This was my first time in Portugal so last week I somehow managed to find the time, also after talking with one of my colleagues who speaks Portuguese, to learn a few phrases (Fala inglês? Adeus! Obrigada! Olá!) It was fun to try to exercise a velar /l/ and whistle some s’s. A tour guide even explained to us the plural thank you and I used it once or twice getting out of a taxi with my parents.

The first day was long since I drove to Nantes (two hours) at 7 am before flying to Porto where my mom met me at the metro station. I dropped off my things at the 5-star hotel my parents were using for their work meeting and the television in the room greeted me by name (in writing).

That afternoon my mom and I (my dad was working) walked around Ribeira and into the Saõ Francisco church which looks a bit like someone threw up baroque gold all over it (except pretty of course). No pictures were allowed but trust me, it was extravagant.

Not the church itself but a room nearby to give you just a glimpse of what the church was like (except x10)

Everything in Porto seemed unlike the other European cities I’ve seen. I guess I haven’t seen a lot of baroque gold in my life.

On Sunday we went with my dad’s group with a guide on a van tour (did I mention we didn’t have to take charge of anything at all that day?) to Coimbra University which was also beautiful.


The organ in the university chapel
Close-up of the tile on the chapel wall

Then we went to Aveiro where we rode on a boat through the canals. The buildings are very pretty but hard to get good pictures of given the cars parked in front.

The boats had cheesy and/or tawdry paintings on the bow and stern
One of the 28 art nouveau buildings in Aveiro
Just a house

Monday morning my mom had reserved us a guided walking tour of Porto.

McDonald’s in Porto (a historical building)
A glimpse of inside
Inside the incredible train station
More
Near the old market (that red building peeking out at the end)

Anyway for someone who knew almost nothing about Portuguese history and culture I feel like I really learned a lot, and also got to taste some port wine. I picked up a few souvenirs (a tile trivet, a bottle of port) and lots of memories of almost an almost stress-free trip. I’m not quite back to reality since I’m still on vacation for another ten days but I was reunited with Littlest and J yesterday and special boy seems happy to have me back. I’ll just try not to let the mental load back in right away… and keep reminiscing about this magical, brief getaway.

The Past Month

I’m not sure what to say about the past month—the blog has been on the back-burner since I didn’t feel like I had much to say. Things have been fine though work is still intense and I do worry about burn-out.

I’ll be on vacation at the end of the week and will be flying to Porto to meet my parents for four days. It will be my first time in Portugal and I haven’t had the time or energy to get any real Portuguese basics into my brain.

On that note here is a long but wonderful article (three articles really and apparently one that I missed) about traveling:

NY Times: The Voyages Issue

Includes:

There Is No Reason to Cross the U.S. by Train. But I Did It Anyway.

Rick Steves Wants to Save the World, One Vacation at a Time

It Was Just a Kayaking Trip. Until It Upended Our Lives.

And another that I might have to go back and read.