Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Things That Have Made Me Smile in the Past Few Weeks

1) The fact that I'm well into the third week of my new job and I (still) haven't yanked the hairs out of my head.

2) The French refer to Twilight as Toilette (toilet). 

3) Totally awesome co-workers (and one of them isn't too bad-looking, either).

4) Totally awesome (if chatty and, at times, misbehaved) middle school and high school students. 

5) Browsing new textbooks for lesson ideas and developing classes with my personal flare.

6) How head-shaking crazy teaching in France is in terms of administrative procedures.

7) French food. 

8) This needs to be said again: FRENCH FOOD.

9) Stroking staunch branches of lavender and having its fragrance linger on my fingertips.

10) Receiving two packages from Mom that contained books, clothes, Cuban coffee and an American flag...on September 11.

11) Having my very own maple tree.

Seriously. Here it is:

 (It still needs a name. Any suggestions?)

12) Finding out that a dear friend of mine and her husband are expecting their first child. I couldn't wipe the smile off my face for an hour.

13) Hearing "We finally installed wi-fi in your building." Oh, HALLELUJAH, heck yes.

14) Horses. Lots and lots of horses.

'Kay. Now I gotta get back to grading papers.

Barb the French Bean

Saturday, September 1, 2012

A Tour of Sablé-sur-Sarthe

Happy France gives you an approximation of where things are

Sablé is, technically, a city, but with a population of a mere 15,000 residents, it's quaint, quiet and absolutely charming. The perfect conditions to inspire some serious writing sessions.

Boat on the Sarthe River

The most impressive aspects of Sablé are its church (with its monument to Sablé's fallen soldiers and citizens)...

...The port along the Sarthe river...

...And the Château that proudly overlooks the city.

Still, not all is the idyllic paradise I make it out to be. Indeed, there is a scourge in Sablé-sur-Sarthe that strikes absolute fear into my heart.

There is...graffiti.
Thug Life, yo.

All joking aside, everyone that I have met here has been friendly and good-humored. They all lack the permanent scowl that comes from the grind of living in a large city day in and day out. Still, I'll admit that after residing in Miami and Dijon, Sablé does feel tiny. It lacks the big-chain clothing stores that I would normally find all over France, something that, for the time-being, my wallet can thank.

There is, however, a McDonald's right across the road from where I currently reside. I honestly cannot make this stuff up, people. When I think about how I once complained last year that all I had to see in Miami was a McDonald's...

In case I need to go on a shopping spree, I would be required to travel to the nearest large city to Sablé-sur-Sarthe: Le Mans.

Yes, there is actually a French city called Le Mans. I have yet to visit but I will undoubtedly end up there at some point during my stay in the Loire Valley. Here is an arrow pointing in its direction.

Now, to answer the most burning question that has been on everyone's mind...

Yes, French stop signs are in English. Who would have thought it?

And since I promised you all horses, here are some more horses. Lots and lots of horses.

Trotting along

Here's lookin' at you, kid.

Barb the French Bean