Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Luck of the Irish

Since coming home from Israel and flying into the O'Hare airport almost 2 months ago, I have made the trip back to Chicago 4 TIMES. In addition to going with my friend Elvera to sightsee, I've been back to O'Hare to drop off Elvera, to the temple, and most recently with David to see the St. Patrick's Day festivities. 

They don't really have St. Patrick's Day in France. Guess why guess why! Hint: it's because they're not Irish. We have it in America because there are so many Irish people that moved here. I explain that because it's not super clear to some people that the whole world doesn't celebrate the holidays we do in #murica. I've talked to people that didn't understand why Europeans and Israelis don't have Thanksgiving. Think about that one for a minute.

Anyways, David was interested in witnessing St. Patrick's Day. I've never been to Chicago for this, so it was a new experience for me too. We took the train down. And yes, I did make David say the announcements for me that all of the French trains say. How else would I know which gares this train would desservir? How else would I remember to compostez votre billet? It's funny the things you get nostalgic about. I am very nostalgic about French trains.

The train was packed with Wisconsinites heading to the celebration. My favorite sighting was seeing Mennonites get into the fun and even dressing up. Who knew that they like drunken Catholic holidays? I guess if Mormons do, then so can they.

I didn't wear any green. I happened to be wearing all black. In my head I called it the "my ancestors were English" outfit.

Our first stop was random. I saw on my phone map that there was a St. Patrick's Cathedral close to Union Station. How could we not go? We walked in and there was a special mass going on. The whole church was full. That's why it's more awkward to visit pretty churches in America v. in Europe. In Europe they're empty, besides other tourists, so you can just walk around and see the architecture. In America, they're actually used more regularly by people that like believe in God.

We listened to the end of the mass and let David relive his Catholic school days. The best part was the parade at the end!! There was a procession down the main aisle (fancy church word: nave) including bagpipers and even some Irish dancers. I would be totally cool if our church decided to have parades at the end of sacrament meeting, just saying.

I was entertained by some of the more creative church attire :)

Next we headed over to see the Chicago River, which they dye bright green.

I'm a little sad that the word Trump invaded my picture.

On the way to the parade, we stopped in this building that I heard was pretty- the Chicago Cultural Center. I couldn't take my own pictures because there were about 50 million weddings taking place there, so thanks internet for providing this one!

It was easy to find where the parade was starting because of the crazy crowds. We fought our way through the drunk/high college students raving about Bernie Sanders to find a place to stand. My favorite moment was when a kid (look at me calling a college student a kid=I'm old) dropped his phone and his beer in the street. Him and his friends all dove to save the beer. By the way, this was at 11 in the morning haha

Since Chicago is a big city, I was expecting a parade maybe not quite on the level of the Macy's Parade or the Rose Parade, but in that ballpark. Nope. Germantown has 20,000 people and famously lame 4th of July parades, and this was exactly at the level of a Germantown parade. The Midwest: not known for being flashy. My dad's running joke about the Germantown parade is that you can't tell whether people are actually in the parade or just walking down the street. This was similar.

In other words, we weren't very impressed. Here's the only picture I have- a crowd of people watching a garbage truck drive really slowly down the street. This was actually part of the parade. 

We ended the day by stopping at Mcdonald's. I obviously needed a shamrock shake. Things got exciting when a fight happened right outside while we were eating. They were slamming up against the glass of the restaurant. #classy #freeentertainment

Chicago for St. Patrick's Day was a fun thing to do once and see the river, but I think we can be content with just doing it once and not going back.

Hanging on

I'm laughing a little bit now about how excited that last post was  :)

I'm still happy about this job and that I have a chance to try out French teaching at a good school, but wow. I'm tired.

Right now it's spring break, so I have a chance to relax a little and try to get ahead on lesson planning. I've taught for 2 weeks now. Every single day I was teaching, I would work on planning for the next day ALL night. The second I got home from school, I was planning until I went to bed past midnight, got 5 hours of sleep, and did it all over again. I'm not the best at handling sleep deprivation, so it was kind of rough.

I'm hoping it will start to get better. It will get better, right??? I think it already has gotten slightly better, now that I'm a little more used to it. Unfortunately, every teacher I've talked to has told me that it's like this the entire first year you teach. For me, that means it will be like this until next March.

The good news is that after the first year, everyone says it gets way better. The bad news is that next March seems really far away right now.

I feel like in general my classes have gone well and my students have been fun and cooperative. I've enjoyed getting to speak a lot of French in my everyday life and getting to share things about French culture. So that's the positive! It's just a big life transition to be working this many hours. I don't have time anymore to do the things I usually enjoy.

I guess this is being an adult?

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Un nouveau chapitre

I've written about most of the things that have happened in my life these last few years, so it would seem weird if I didn't mention something really BIG that happened last week.

I got a job! A real job!!

Since I got home from Israel in January, I of course wasn't expecting to even be able to apply for any teaching jobs until this summer. I definitely wasn't expecting to start working until next school year. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with myself until next September.

Luckily for me, a job opened up at a good school that's very nearby. I was stressed to do my first real interview, but it must have gone okay since I was officially hired 2 days later. Fun facts about my new job-

*I'll be teaching French full-time
*The teacher I'm replacing was actually one of my high school French teachers!
*My home base will be the high school, but I'll also be teaching a few classes at the 2 middle schools in the district. Every day I'm at at least 2 schools, and every other day I'm at all 3. Oh là là. I'm still trying to wrap my head around the crazy schedule.
*This high school was a bitter rival of my high school. It looks like I have to put the rivalry behind me now (it's about time haha), because everyone has been really nice at this school so far. It's kind of cool because during my high school years I spent a lot of time in this town because it's where my dance studio was. 
*The job is officially only a long-term sub position (meaning it only goes until the end of this school year), but since the other teacher isn't coming back next year I'll have a good shot at being hired for next year as well.

I hope that happens, because this is a really great opportunity.  I've been building up to this point for so long... from the day I declared my French teaching major at BYU as an innocent little sophomore. 

In conclusion, I guess this is a new and different kind of adventure. I miss traveling sometimes (even though I've only been home for about a month), but I'm really happy about this. It's going to be a lot of work, but hopefully I can be a good professeur de français. 

And one good thing about being a teacher: summer vacation means time for traveling :)