Monday, September 23, 2013

We count our dollars on the train to the party

Woof, I'm writing this after a grueling hike to the top of Seyssel's Montagne des Princes (900m elevation).  On Saturday morning I set out with a bunch of parents from the area to pass a test that would allow us to chaperone our kids' school snowshoeing trips this winter.  The test was mostly about finishing the hike in under 2 hours, but we also had to answer emergency scenario questions (in French!) one-on-one with a Department employee, and I felt lucky to get even half of the points on that.  Honestly, I would have gotten a couple of the questions wrong in English!  I hope I'm never the only chaperone on those trips... (0_o)
Nice view from the top! Cows jingling their bells by a drinking pond, sprawling landscape, snow-capped Alps in the distance.

My host mom bought a second car for me to use!!!  I am mobile!  I started learning to drive manual transmission cars in August under the tutelage of my friends Cat and Jeremy, since pretty much all cars in France are manual and I knew that driving would be a part of my job.  Currently I'm comfortable enough to run errands alone, but it's still stressful for me every time I get into the driver's seat (not least of all because the roads here are scary.  I don't even want to risk freaking my parents out by describing them).  I stall on every single hill stop.  Ugh.  But by next summer, I want to be a pro!!

I had my first difficult night watching my kids, and it all started with telling a 12-year-old he could NOT play his new video game (Grand Theft Auto 5). (-_-) My two kids had two friends over, and while the girls were getting into trouble upstairs, the boys were locking themselves in the TV room with the video game downstairs.  I had to watch both groups while making dinner and cleaning up after.  It was overwhelming.  I will say, though, that I'm very thankful that in 3 weeks I only JUST had my first difficult night, and it was an abnormal situation.

In happy news, I met another au pair (let's call her "A"?) who lives next door to the one I met last week ("C").  I really like them both, and they were super welcoming to me.  We had a night in and a night out this week and they were both fantastic.  We bonded more than you would imagine over missing Mexican food, and are laying plans to recreate it as best we can between the three of us!  And there's a good chance we'll be in the same French class (starting tomorrow!!).
Annecy nightlife gets my prance of approval.
The way that comics are used/treated in France makes me SO. HAPPY.  My 6-year-old is learning comics terminology in school right now.  Her textbook uses text, images, and comics to teach.  She and her 12-year-old brother both have projects in school where they have to make comics (like, a report, but in comic form!).
Here's a sign at the entrance to the forest near Seyssel:

My host mom made a good point that since there are so many tourists in France who don't speak French, comics are a great communication tool.  If the words don't make sense, the images alone might.  And here's a full page in this week's Elle magazine for Penelope Bagieu and Joann Sfar's new BD, Stars of the Stars:
More photos from this week:

I was proud to introduce my host family to Lorde's Royals this week!  It started playing on the radio a few days later.

MEANWHILE IN PORTLAND: Rose City Comic Con was this weekend!  Check out this aaaaaawesome It Girl cosplay by Ellie, with author Jamie S. Rich:

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