Wednesday, February 25, 2009
It is what it is...
It is what it is has become a popular saying as of late with my friends. It came in handy last week when the 7th grade teachers and I loaded our 93 students onto charter buses to go to Washington, DC for our annual class trip and the windshield wipers on one bus stopped working. We had to go about 1 1/2 hours out of our way to get a new bus. Therefore, we were late arriving in DC and missed our lunch stop at the Old Post Office. It is what it is. It has also come in handy for my BFF Martha as she and her family deal with her brother's illness. Ben, the smartest kid in the family according to Martha's mom, had surgery to remove a brain tumor last week. He is at home recovering, waiting for more test results. Helen, Martha's mom, came up with another very wise saying. It is very simple, but it pretty much covers most of life's unpleasantness. Upon learning that Ben was scheduled for surgery, Helen said, "Well, sometimes you just have to live with life." In my world, I choose to believe that God doesn't send bad things down to punish us. I am a reformed Southern Baptist and I chose to believe that bad things just happen. That's the way life goes. It is what it is. It is how we choose to deal with what happens to us that makes or breaks us. So, Helen's philosophical pearl fits with my own way of looking at life. Martha gave me permission to quote her mom. Thanks, BFF, you are pretty smart yourself! Ben didn't get all the brains. You are all in my prayers.
I continue to try desperately to get myself back into the American world of multi-tasking. In France, I vowed to give up that bad habit. And, admittedly, it was much easier not to multi-task in Provence. Real life was not knocking on my door there. Deadlines and schedules really didn't concern me too much. I could wake up each morning and play it minute by minute or hour by hour. I didn't have to worry about forgetting meetings or preparing the test for tomorrow. Now that I have returned to real life, I find myself in charge again. In charge of 7th grade team meetings, in charge of planning lessons for my eager-to-learn 7th and 8th graders, in charge of making sure everything is ready for our trip to France next week, in charge of the business meeting on March 14 for the NC American Association of Teachers of French. I love my job. I love my students. I love my family. But I do wistfully think back on my six months of adventure and not being in charge of much of anything.
I try to take a few minutes each day to transport myself back... I have thousands of photos on my computer to look at. The one in today's posting was taken by Chef Érick on our trip to the Gorges de l'Ardêche. Très beau, n'est-ce pas? It was a beautiful fall day. Fall is my favorite season. Jeans and long-sleeve t-shirt weather, my favorite weather. The leaves were changing colors and I was so excited to see them. There weren't many trees in Arles that changed into the reds, oranges and yellows I am used to, so seeing those yellow leaves through the rock formation made me feel a bit at home. If you've ever been to Linville Gorge in the fall, you know what I mean.
I listen to music. Chef Érick introduced me to Buena Vista Social Club. Even though they are Cuban and the music is in Spanish, it takes me back to Arles and the music we would listen to at dinner.
I read Kristin Espinasse's Word-A-Day posts and look at her incredible photos of Provence. I turn green with envy as I read about her life and her husband's vineyard.
This morning, my colleagues Daniela (she speaks Italian, French, Spanish and English) and Marianne (Spanish, French and English) and I got together in my classroom and spent about 10 minutes speaking French. This comes in very handy when you do not want to be understood by very curious little ears! But it also gives me such immense pleasure and reminds me of how much more proficient I became while I was in France.
Alex Goolsby sent me a live webcam website from Paris so that I can gaze at the Eiffel Tower and watch it sparkle every hour in anticipation of my visit in just a few days.
I pick up my current book, I'll Never Be French (no matter how hard I try), and laugh at the author's descriptions of his life in Brittany.
I chose a recipe that calls for herbes de provence and olive oil for dinner for Grant and Steve.
I am very lucky that my daily job supports and indulges my French habit!
I continue to promise stories from Paris in the very near future. I will be there in one week with my students! Quelle chance! However, Anna, a friend and colleague, informed me today that I have just about used up my "fun quota." I beg to differ, Ms. Tabor- I still have quite a bit of fun left in me! And I firmly believe there are more adventures just waiting out there! Right around the corner...
Today's recipe comes from Kristin's website. She credits her Uncle Jacques. Elizabeth, one of my 8th grade students, made it for her classmates a couple of weeks ago and not a crumb was left at the end of class.
Gâteau au Yaourt
One small container of plain yogurt
2 tsp baking soda
Fill the empty yogurt container with:
3 x flour
2 x sugar
1 x vegetable oil (Elizabeth says you do not need this much...)
Combine the yogurt, beaten eggs and sugar. Add the flour and baking soda. Stir. Add a pinch of salt. Pour in oil and mix well. (Uncle Jacques recommends using a fouet or whip to mix the batter.) Pour into a cake pan and bake 45 minutes at 300F.
Uncle Jacques also suggests adding canned, drained pears to the top of the cake before baking.