Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Most ridiculous video ever...

Even if we didn't use Macs, we would still think this was really dumb:

3 weeks

Well today marks 3 weeks in France. It has gone by really quickly! We are enjoying day to day life in France and are eager to start our jobs on Thursday. So far, no regrets... well almost no regrets... I wish I could have been in Atlanta last week when Beth had her baby... and we really wish we could watch The Office! (we've tried to watch it online, but can't seem to find a site that looks legitimate and that allows downloads outside the US.) But other than that, no regrets!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Middle school day

Today Doug and I visited our middle schools. Mine is in Belleville, not too far from the high school. Here's a picture of what you see when you get off the train in Belleville (not much!)
Doug's is in Beaujeu, a small town about 15 minutes (by bus) from Belleville. The teachers and administration were friendly at my school, although not quite as professional and organized as the teachers had been at the high school. One teacher offered to take me to the train station in Ville Franche, a town between Belleville and Lyon where a lot of teachers live. It saved me walking 20 minutes back to the station and it saved 2.10 euros on my train ticket!

Doug just got home... he observed 3 classes today in Beaujeu! Beaujeu is a ways out, but he only has to go there one day a week.

Book Review #2

I enjoyed participating in the blog tour for Andrew Peterson’s latest book, so when the opportunity arose to participate again, I eagerly accepted...

I just finished reading Sir Dalton and the Shadow Heart, by Chuck Black. This is the third book in his youth fiction series, The Knights of Arrethtrae, but it is not necessary to read the first two before this book. I had not read the others and I did not feel like I was at a disadvantage at all. So, a little about the story… Sir Dalton is a knight in training, eager to lead and eager to win the heart of Lady Brynn (as well as the approval of Brynn’s father). A new trainer at the camp arrives and although he is well liked, he does not truly challenge or inspire the knights to serve the King and Prince with their whole hearts. It is through a brutal capture by Lord Drox, an incredible esape with the help of Si Kon, being nursed back to health by Master Sejus, and the friendship and the example of Koen and Carliss, that Dalton regains his perspective and dedication to the King and Prince.

In this story of good and evil, the religious metaphors are pretty obvious… but that is a good thing… it is a good reminder that we all need to refocus on our mission, purpose, and the One we serve… and the things and relationships that can get in the way.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday activities

Today Max Dauner, preacher from Marseille, taught class and also did the sermon. The sermon was very good and I was able to follow along very easily. Arlin led singing, so we sang some newer songs and also sang some songs that have same tune in English, which is always nice. After church was a baptism- a woman from Cote d'Ivoire that has been a visitor for a while. She has a cute 3 year old girl named Sophie... we're best friends :) Have you ever seen a portable baptistry before?
After that was a big potluck... there was one table for appetizers,
all the main dishes were on top of the [now covered] baptistry,
and then desserts on another table. After lunch, everyone pitched in to get the buildings back to normal... Doug used his spiritual gift of dishwashing. Next, the men and women split up for Ladies' Bible Class and the dreaded men's meeting. The monthly men's meetings are infamously long. Pamela told Doug to just go home :) Pamela taught a very good class on 1 John and I was again able to follow along wonderfully! When I got home, Doug was sweeping and mopping the kitchen, bathroom, and entry... since we leave the windows open most of the time while we are here, things get dusty/dirty faster. Neither of us is very hungry since we had such a big, long lunch, but we had leftovers then watched a movie. (Arlin generously let us borrow quite a stack of DVDs!) Tomorrow we will go to Beaujeu (Doug) and Belleville (me) to visit our middle schools... hopefully the English teachers there will be as welcoming as the ones we met Thursday!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Lazy Saturday

Not too much going on today... metro is still on strike, so we can't go too many places. We went to the park for a morning run, came back had breakfast, went to the post office, went to the market (did NOT buy plums, though!), had lunch, and now I'm making brownies to take this afternoon. I am not sure how many people will be there, but I wasn't sure the apple cakes and questionable plum pecan loaf cake were enough. Fortunately the metro is running from Charpennes to the end of the line east-bound, so we'll just walk one stop east and then take it the rest of the way to church this afternoon. There really isn't anywhere other than church that we go east of us. This strike is a really big one- "they" say they are going to have different things closed each day until January. Not sure if it will really last that long- it sounds like once enough people get mad about it, they end up stopping the strike. Luckily we don't need the metro to get to our schools... but if SNCF (the national railway system) goes on strike, we'll be in trouble!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Dinner party, Belleville, baking

We've had a busy couple days! I'll start with Wednesday night... we made an appetizer tray,
baked spaghetti, a big salad with tomatoes and French radishes, and a plum galette for dessert.
Other assistants brought other sides, desserts, and drinks. The guest list seemed to grow and grow Wednesday afternoon, so I was nervous we might not have enough of everything. As I mentioned earlier, we only have 14 forks in the apartment, so it was a neat of example of God providing for us that there were EXACTLY 14 people at supper! Most assistants were from the midwest/eastern US, but there were also assistants from England, Australia, Germany, and France. It went really well and was interesting to meet and talk to other assistants and find out why each other decided to do the program.
Thursday morning we left the apartment at 8 and walked to the train station (about 12-15 min walk), and got on the 8:22 train to Belleville. When we arrived in Belleville at 9, we kind of felt like we had just arrived in the middle of nowhere. There was not much around at all... definitely nothing resembling a modern train station or signs indicating a city bus system. There was one attendant at the train station who gave us a map of the town, so we were able to find the school... it was a 15-20 minute walk, though! Fortunately there is a very clean (probably new) Carrefour right next to the school, so we were able to stop and get a drink and snack before meeting everyone. We first met with the assistant principal then met with all of the English teachers. They were very, very nice. They explained the curriculum and our roles, then took us on a school tour, explained all the technological equipment, introduced us to all the secretaries, got our lunch cards set up, took us to lunch in the "cantine," and then we observed one teacher's class after lunch. We headed back to Carrefour about 3 for another drink, then arrived at the train station about 3:40.

I told the woman behind the counter that we wanted to buy 2 tickets to Lyon at 4PM and she responded that there were no trains back to Lyon due to construction on the tracks. Before I could panic about getting stranded in the middle of nowhere, she told me there was a replacement bus that would be leaving at 4:16. Okay, not ideal, but not too bad- I mean the bus can't take that much longer than the train, right? So we waited for the bus.
And waited.
And waited.
Finally about 4:35, the bus arrived. We were on the bus for a total of about an hour and a half due to the HORRIBLE traffic due to TCL (Lyon's metro transportation system) strikes. We finally got back to our apartment about 6:30. We were completely exhausted! We ate leftovers from Wednesday night, watched a movie, and went to sleep. We decided to take it easy today (which we were kind of forced to do anyway since we can't go anywhere except within walking distance b/c of the strikes). We went to the mall to get a few groceries and to get a baby present for the Prewitts, then came back and I started baking. Tomorrow is a multimedia presentation at church on Revelation and refreshments are being provided, and Sunday there is a potluck. So, I have made another plum galette, 2 fresh apple cakes, and a plum nut loaf cake (which I just realized I still had not taken out of the oven and it is kind of burned...). Anyway, that is about all for now!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Park, market, dinner party

Yesterday afternoon we went to a bakery nearby and got snacks (gouter in French), then walked to the park and spent time there until church
Doug's gouter
so many deer!
kind of weird to have deer in the zoo
giraffe in the African Plain section of the zoo
big crocodiles
This morning we went to the market near our house... and got a little carried away!
but we got some great deals on fresh produce! And in case you are wondering what I would ever do with that many plums... I made a plum galette for our dinner party tonight.
We invited the other language assistants who are already in town over for supper. We haven't met any other assistants, so this could be interesting! Right now the guest count is at 14... we are really hoping it doesn't go up anymore b/c we only have 14 forks in the apartment!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Afternoon walk through Vieux Lyon

We had a productive morning... we went for a run at Parc de la Tete d'Or... went to the bank to pick up our checks... went to the post office to buy pre-paid envelopes and mail our landlady our proof of renters' insurance... went to the mall to go to the grocery (Carrefour is inside the mall)... went to a cell phone store in the mall and bought a cell phone and pre-paid card... and came home for lunch! After lunch we went to Vieux Lyon and walked around a little bit. Vieux Lyon is the Renaissance area of the city. It is very quaint- quiet, narrow streets, street performers, crepe carts, and little shops.

in front of Cathedrale Saint Jean
The movie set museum was having a promotion where you could access the gallery for free... this is for you, Jessi.
Doug with the Tour Rose
evidently this tower has been in several movies
a view of Croix Rousse over the Saone
Cathedrale Saint Jean and Basilique de Fouvriere
back at home... Doug hanging out in his office... not happy to have his picture taken

Sunday, September 20, 2009

a few pictures from yesterday...

grand piano in the middle of the street...
in front of fountains near Bellecour
a "trompe d'oeil" painting
Today has been rainy... we came home after church and haven't done too much. We did watch a French movie, The Class... it was very good- I would highly recommend it to any educational professionals. We have also been working on making plans for Doug's parents' visit in October. We'll spend time in Lyon, Paris, Caen, and Bayeux.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Out and about

This morning we decided to go "downtown" to Bellecour and over near the Saone. First we went by a market near our house and walked around. Then we took the metro to Bellecour and went by the tourist office and were reminded that today and tomorrow are European Heritage days, so lots of buildings are open for tours and lots of people were out and about. We walked from Bellecour back towards the Opera and Hotel de Ville. We were hoping to go inside those two buildings, but they were closed due to another event. We walked towards the Saone and browsed the used book tables. We saw a trompe d'oeil building we hadn't seen before. We had lunch at Chez Mounier, but were disappointed to not see "our" guy. Well it turns out he started his own restaurant just down the road... we'll have to try that next time.

Cite International

Last night after supper Doug was feeling a little restless, so we were going to go on a little walk... it ended up being an hour and a half walk, most of the time in the rain... and our legs are sore this morning! Oh well, we got to see some new sites. Sorry for the blurry pictures- I think it is due to the time of day/rain.

We walked around Parc de la Tete d'Or to Cite International (the location of World Congress, Interpol, and many businesses, restaurants, a movie theater, and hotels). The Modern Art museum is also in Cite International so there are several sculptures throughout the area.

Large sculpture of crumpled up Wall Street Journal

Doug and the extra large pizza delivery boy

Giant businessman on cell phone

In front of Cite International

Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday's activities...

Today the Hendrixes let us borrow their car to go get staples from the grocery...
We made lunch at the Hendrixes...
This afternoon we moved into our apartment and just had a yummy pasta dish for supper.

Tomorrow we'll go to the bank to set up an account, and then probably go to Carrefour to get more items and groceries for the apartment... then church tomorrow night (they meet on Tuesdays here instead of Wednesdays).