I spent a rather large portion of this weekend in Paris at une pendaison de la crémaillère. For those curious among you, a pendaison is a housewarming, but rather a mouthful. The phrase literally means "the hanging of the pot hook," and refers to the former practice of hanging a hook for a cooking pot in the chimney of a house; a house was considered a "home" once this was accomplished because then a family was capable of cooking meals and therefore extending hospitality. The pendaison I attended, however, was much more modern, and involved English language assistants from here to Jamaica. Literally.
Two Californians and Two Texans inhabit a sixth floor walk up on the rue Richer not far from the Place de L'Opera, and on Saturday night, they hosted a soiree bustling with Canadians, Brits, French, and of course, the distinctly American. Cigs attended, and I was finally able to make out a little more of his character: he's officially removed from the DB category and placed into the artsy and more quietly New York category, if New Yorkers could ever be classified as quiet. We got to chatting over baseball when he explained that he's a huge Yankees fan, to which I responded that my mother, a native of upstate NY, is too. Then we chatted football, which naturally brought up the ever-so-touchy-subject of Cal football, but then segued into a discussion of his eventual ambition to do a joint PhD/J.D., perhaps at Boalt. All in all, he deserved the benefit of the doubt.
I also met at this pendaison a French guy, and a student of American History at the Sorbonne (he's still an undergrad) who spent two years in the states (Michigan, to be exact) and speaks English well. He's Parisian to the core: born, raised, and now a student there. We got to talking, and we might end up doing a language swap: he wants to work on his English, I want to work on my French. We'll see where the road goes.
Additionally, I was able to hang out with Jamaica, whom I adore. She teaches in my region and was my buddy during training. This is her first time in France too, and we both ended up crashing on the leather furniture in the came-as-furnished sixth floor walkup inhabited by our kind assistant friends. This was after we had all left the place at 1 a.m. to hit up an Irish pub a few blocks away called Corcoran's, and it was honestly one of the oddest, most fun, but bizarre experiences of my life. I have never before seen an Irish pub in which electronica and techno, plus very Tango/Salsa-esque stuff was played. We also can't forget that the DJ went on a one hour 70's/80's kick, and so Blondie snuck in there too. Irish pubs abroad certainly do garner their reputations...
The evening ended at 3:30 am with a frigid as all hell walk back to rue Richer and an early morning/late night (whatever you prefer) crepe. Paris was still very much awake, and I'm convinced that if there is TRULY a city in this world that never sleeps, Paris must be at least one of them. Nonetheless, Jamaica and I left the next morning around 9:30, freezing our asses off but smiling. She's worse off than I am in the "adapting to cold department," poor thing. Oh well...All in all, very fun.
Monday means I'm back to reality, but I did enjoy teaching today. Things are less confusing now that I've been around the block for one week, but just as I get on a roll, we cut into vacation. French school children here have the 23rd to the 4th of November off for Toussaint vacation, so I'm trying to squeeze in what I can.
Today we reviewed the days of the week with one class. I explained that each day of the week does end with the word "day," and therefore the only element that changes is the first half of the word. I was then asked if:
a) "Sunday" is the same as "Sunny day" or "Son day," which I elaborated upon...
but better yet, and my personal favorite, is:
b) if "Monday" is the same as "Moonday" and if that had anything to do with Michael
Jackson's "Moon walk."
I cannot, for the life of me, figure out what it is with this country and MJ. Like, seriously! And it's not even the adults, it's the CHILDREN. Children who were born in 2002! (Martin, one of the children I look after as an au pair, and born in 2000, can play "Thriller" on his guitar. Solidly. Damn.) I clarified the moonwalk notion by explaining that the moonwalk is meant to imitate what walking on the moon looks like and even added a bit in there about the US's first moon landing...but oh my, did I have a inner chuckle at that one.
For those of you who read this silly blog of mine, please know I miss you and would love to hear from you. Oh, and just as a memo: please send some of that killer "it's 91 in October in California" heat my way. Ok? Ok. Thanks.