Friday, May 16, 2014

Teaching English in Paris: part two

Hello to whoever reads this!  So quick update: still no internet at my apartment thus I guess I'm officially posting about once a week until I get that situation sorted out.  I will probably be doing a 'My life without sans internet' post in the near future (it might be filled with angry rants and tears, so prepare yourself).

If you read my previous post Teaching English is Paris, you know that I do in fact give English lessons to a few Frenchies in Paris.  In that article, I had just started giving lessons, and now it's four months later.  I've learned a lot since then not to mention experienced a lot of weird people.  In this post, I would like to tell a few stories about the strangest, most uncomfortable English lessons I've had in the past four months.  Then we can laugh and be awkward together, it'll be fun!

The overt racist

About a month ago, I was contacted by a man who continuously called me "girl" on the phone and who found it completely appropriate to cancel last minute or call me in the middle of the day asking if we could meet in an hour.  Because, you know, I don't have a life, and my time is worthless.  As if that wasn't annoying enough, I'm pretty sure he only wanted lessons so that he could go on racist rants in English.  At least he was an equal opportunity racist because he hates almost everyone - gypsies, Spanish people, the Germans, and basically anyone who is not French.  At one point, he looked around to make sure no one was looking and said something along the lines of "we need to just get rid of all of them, I don't care where they go, they just can't be in France."  Needless to say, I have never cringed so much in two hours.  What made it worse is that we were in a touristy area which means a lot of people around us could speak English and understand everything he was saying.  I was completely mortified and could not wait to get away from him.  To make things even worse, he was supposed to pay me on Paypal which he still has yet to do. So basically I sat through a horrific, two hour racist rant for absolutely nothing.

The gawker

I really dislike this man for many reasons, but the biggest one has to be the fact that about every twenty seconds, I catch him looking down my shirt.  Nice.  He is also one of the most boring men I have ever met, and making conversation with him is painful.  He seems to have absolutely no interests except for my chest of course, and any topics I bring up, he just shrugs and says something like "that is of no interest for me" or "I don't really care about that." So yeah, I'm not a fan, and I've started wearing turtle necks to his lessons.

The American hater

I am not some super patriotic, America-is-the-best-and-everyone-else-sucks kind of person, but I do like being American.  Considering that's where I was born and raised, I will always love my country, but at the same time, I am very aware of our faults.  If you criticize the US about certain things, I will most likely agree with you.  However, that does not mean that I want to sit through an hour of America bashing, so that some old French man can "teach me a lesson" on how awful my people are.  I could mention any topic, and this man would find a way to personally blame me for the undoing of mankind.  Maybe I could bring up cute puppies.  His response would be that American's love for cute puppies is disgusting because we are too superficial and materialistic, and that one day there will be a mass genocide of ugly puppies because of me. Obviously that's a made-up exaggerated example, but sometimes that's how it felt to have a conversation with this man.

The Putin lover

So I never met with this man, but I did receive I hate-filled rant about his love for Putin and his hate for America.  Because I'm obviously the spokesperson for the US, and after reading this crazy email, I would realize the errors of our ways.  I would then instruct my people to change their behavior and opinions, and they would abide.  Also, last time I checked, at the end of my ad, I didn't say "Fuck Russia, go America," so I didn't really understand why I was the target of this rampage.  The best part was that he spelled Putin wrong throughout the entire email, instead spelling it "poutine," the heart-attack inducing traditional dish of Canada.

This is the original email, if you read French, you will get a kick out of it.

The "I don't care that you want to teach English, I just want to have sex with you" people

I AM NOT A PROSTITUTE!  I just want to teach English for 20 Euros an hour.  My ad is not some covert signal to all of the creeps in Paris that I actually want to get paid for sex, and that this whole English thing is just a front.  That's equivalent of going up to your local painting instructor and saying "come on, we all know what this is, drop the charade and come have sex with me."  Just today I was offered 200 Euros to have a threesome with some stranger on the internet.  I'm guessing there has to be some success rate among English tutors because people keep sending me these emails.

So there you have a few more stories of my experiences teaching English in Paris.  I hope you found some humor in my discomfort because I know I always do.  As I plan on continuing to teach here, I'm sure there will be more stories to come.

If you teach English anywhere in the world, and you have awkward/embarrassing/annoying stories, please share!  We can laugh and be happy that we haven't be murdered by a psycho yet.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Dumb advice to get over being homesick

So you may have noticed (or maybe not because I really don't know if anyone actually reads this), but I've been MIA for the past three weeks.  There are a few reasons for this: 1. I'm pretty sure my neighbors moved out, so I can't steal their internet anymore 2. I've been pretty lazy, and 3. all the homesickness that I should have experienced within the past four months, hit me all at once.  I felt like I was almost completely debilitated by how sad I was... all the time.  I cried pretty much all day everyday, and I didn't even know why.  Everything just sucked, and I hated everyone and everything... including my blog.  Also, I usually post a link to my blog on reddit, and I knew that if anyone posted anything negative (which of course would happen because, come on, it's reddit), I would refuse to leave my pet-carrier-sized apartment for about a week.

Anyway, THIS IS NOT A PITY PARTY! I did not want to bitch to the internet about my problems and how I miss my mommy - definitely not the best look for a semi-adult.  After about four weeks of homesickness and one week of constantly crying for no reason, I think I have finally moved past being homesick.  So yayy go me!  Not that I don't still miss my family and friends, but I am not sad all the time anymore.  There's a big difference, and I didn't realize that until this awful experience.

Because I'm super lame, I actually researched how to become unhomesick on the internet.  Obviously that was my low point when I knew I hit rock bottom.  I don't think the intention of the articles was supposed to be funny, but I found their advice to be hysterically stupid.  So I guess in the end, they helped in a way.  I am going to give you some of their examples on how to help yourself when you're homesick, and if you like being a sane human being, please don't follow them.

Parents should stop communicating with their children

What the fuck?? This is from a CNN article where the author also states that being homesick isn't actually missing the physical dwelling you formerly inhabited.  Because obviously that was a HUGE misconception that had to be dealt with.  Okay, so I do kind of understand in theory why parents would have to cut their kids off if they were calling them every five minutes, but in reality, this is probably the worst idea ever.  If my parents stopped talking to me because I was homesick, I think I would jump off a bridge.  I mean you're already depressed, and then on top of that, your parents refuse to return your phone calls. What kind of advice is that??

Leave your door open, so you can meet new people

I know this 'how to guide' to being homesick is meant for college students, but if I left my door open, the 85 year old perv down the hall would invite me to a cocktail party in his bed.  And the last people I want to meet are the two guys across the hall who are consistently hammered at 3 pm while unsuccessfully practicing to become professional rappers.

Find a new home in your different surroundings

You mean like a bar?  Thanks for the tip wikiHow, I'm on it.

Don't think about the worst that could happen

Well I wasn't... until now.  I have never talked to any homesick person who said "I miss home so much, and I'm pretty sure that my building is going to collapse while I'm in the shower, and then everyone will get AIDS from lollipops."

Remember to eat and sleep enough

Yeah... so I didn't mention that all I've been doing for the last month is eating and sleeping.  I'm guessing that if I increase the amount of food I stuff in my face and how many naps I take during the day, this might get worse. Do you know how hard it is to be surrounded by bread and cheese when you're sad?? Pretty freaking hard. Then I'll cry because I can't fit in my jeans, and I can't buy new ones because they only sell my extra-tall size at American Eagle which only exists in the US, and look, now I'm homesick again!! It's a vicious circle, but thanks for thinking I'm not already disgusting Cambridge.

Obviously most of these articles do have some helpful advice on getting over your homesickness, so I did link them.  Just don't read the CNN article, that one really is complete shit.  Anyway, if you're feeling homesick, maybe the stupidity of some of these articles will make you smile too, and then we can all be happy! Yayy! Or if you want to have a cry sesh, we could totally do that too.