Chasing Pavements?

On Wednesdays, Julien doesn’t have school, Alexia gets out at 12:30, and Catherine has the day off so it’s actually one of the busiest days. Wednesday was also officially one week of me being here. Catherine and a friend left early in the morning to get massages (I wish!) and her friend left her little boy, Baptiste, here to play with Julien. The boys played the Wii for a while and then asked me to play La Bonne Paye with them, which is pretty much Payday in French. It was pretty interesting, trying to play a French game with two French boys, but I got the hang of it. When the moms came back, Baptiste left to go back home, Alexia came home, and we had lunch. After, we had to begin with all of the errands. Wednesday is the day that we go grocery shopping, so we drove to Rambouillet and got all of our food for the next week. Catherine let me choose some things I would want for lunch, so now I finally have some food that I’m used to. She asked me what kinds of things we have on sandwiches and I was explaining lettuce, tomatoes, mustard, and she stopped me at mustard, “Really?” Well, it turns out they don’t have any mustard in their house so we bought some. Also in France, you don’t buy your milk cold. You buy it in packs and you keep it in your cupboard until you open it. Have I had milk yet? No, and I don’t really plan on it. As I was unloading the cart, my eyes were scanning the names of the foods and I saw ‘lapin’ flash before my eyes. Well, I definitely know what that means! So I’m wondering if I should just avoid all meat this week, or if I should give it a try.. On the way back home, we were listening to the radio and the thing about French radio stations is that they don’t sensor out the words like the Saskatoon radio stations do, probably because most of the people in France don’t know the inappropriate language anyway. So here we are – me and my home-stay mom – driving back home with the full version of P.I.M.P. blasting through the speakers. I personally found it hilarious cause she had no idea what the words were, whereas I knew if it were my own mother, she would have turned it off in a heartbeat and then talked about how inappropriate the music was for the next ten minutes.

Friday was my first day of class, yay! I still walked Julien to school at 8, then came back home, had breakfast, did laundry, made lunch, etc. and caught the train at 10. I spent about 20 minutes walking around Rambouillet, trying to figure out where my school was, and still arrived on time with 15 minutes to spare. Class started at 10:45, and there was a whopping three people in my class: me, Adriana – another au pair from Tennessee, who looks after a family in Le Perray as well, and Kari – a mom who’s been living in France (originally from the US) for (I believe she said) six years and wants to learn French. They then asked me where in Canada I’m from so I told them Saskatchewan. “Oh wow!” Kari says, “so you must be completely used to this weather already…” “Yeah, I guess so,” I replied. “So how far up north are you? Is it like, up in the Arctic?” Everything I learnt in History class came flooding back to me: all of the Canadian stereotypes and I just chose to ignore it and politely explain no, it still gets warm in the summer and it doesn’t snow all year round. My teacher’s name is Ronan and he’s supernice. No English in the classroom though, strictly French. Class goes until 12:45, then we have a break for lunch and then we have labs from 2-4. In the lab, it’s the same as it was in Quebec: listening to a tape and repeating it out loud. I ended up doing dictées the entire time, which is listening to a story or a set of sentences and writing them down, then correcting them afterwards. Adriana and I took the train back to Le Perray together and then I met the kids back at home at five. Other than Friday, I also have labs on Monday from 8:30-10:30 so a total of six hours of school every week. I’m definitely not complaining! After playing Monopoly for (I believe) the fourth time this week, I realized this is just what I needed: being able to play board games again whenever I want and being able to be a kid again. I didn’t realize how much I missed being so carefree and not having to worry about the upcoming party the next weekend, or school or piano, and not always having dramatic problems stuck in my head. I’ve been blessed with a great family: Alexia and Julien are the sweetest, most adorable, kindest kids I’ve ever met and I can talk to the parents really easily about anything. I notice Alexia’s English improve every single day and she’s been spending a lot more time with me now that she’s used to me being here. And Julien is just hilarious. At times, he can have so much energy and just go crazy and at other times, he’s completely silent. I think he understands English a lot better but he still hardly speaks it. That night, I made my first meal cause Catherine was feeling sick. Alexia and I made burgers (on a frying pan?) and they ended up being really delicious.

Saturday, I helped the kids with their English homework: Julien learned all the days of the week while Alexia learnt basic phrases as well as who, what, when, etc. questions. Some of the grammar in Alexia’s notes (which the teacher wrote) was just horrible so I corrected it. I then spent the afternoon playing another game of Monopoly (I can pretty much go pro) and looking through the I Spy book. In the evening, we were watching the TV and one of those ‘You decide’ commercials came on (except in this case, it was ‘Vous Decidez’) and it hit me that soon enough, these kids would be experimenting on alcohol, drugs, and going through all the problems that high school seems to bring. I mean, I was only 15 when I went to my first party and for Alexia, that’s in less than three years. It’s just so crazy to think that they’re so innocent now, but everything can change in a matter of years. It just makes me want to freeze the time now and keep them at this age forever cause the time goes by way too fast.

Today, it’s now Alexia who’s sick so she’s been carrying around a pail and lounging around all day. I’m scared that with everyone sick, I’m going to catch something and I don’t want that to happen. Today after lunch, the family is taking me to Paris to show me the sights! I hope everyone’s having a wonderful weekend!

Chasing Pavements – Adele

4 thoughts on “Chasing Pavements?

  1. Wow Janelle. I’m so proud of you for everything you are experiencing with those kids, and also your insight to their innocence, much how we felt about you as you got older. You are so amazing. I love hearing about your adventures. Can’t wait to hear about Paris. Love you. xoxoxo.Mom


  2. wow, your mom felt about your innocense being DESTROYED IN THE FLAMES OF HELL. naaat. How cute though. Yeah, this was a great journal entry. I am salivating for more MEAT! Sounds like your having a lovely time, we miss you greatly, however I am sure I will be seeing you soon. P.S. I am going to buy a MacBook Pro.yeaaaaaaLove,Ben


  3. p.s. “Baptiste” means “to dip; baptise”…referring to John the Baptist from bible ages. As a pastor I thought it was my duty to throw that out there.Blessings to you child of God,Ben


  4. 1) These kids sound like my kind of people2) Ew, mustard3) Burgers are SO good when made in a frying pan. That’s how my mummy makes them.4) I’m so happy you’re feeling satisfied and relieved from all the stresses that North America has to offer.5) Just got OWNED by a physics lab, but it was really fun. My heart was racing at about 190 BPM though, cause there’s a time limit. My partner reminded me of you, except she’s not like you in ANY way. So I don’t know why I was reminded…6) LOVE YOU!


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