The adventures of an American lover of all things French...
Monday, May 29, 2017
Looking back, moving forward
This is Waterproof Mascara time. In my chosen profession, saying good-bye can be overwhelming. A time of joy and a time of sadness. All jumbled up. Moments of unbelievable fun fill up my days and years as a teacher. As I say jokingly (but not really) at this time of year, I get attached to the little angels (or rats, depending on the day and my/their mood). It is just plain old hard to say good-bye, even as my heart is filled with love and excitement for them. These two are especially near and dear to my heart. They graduated on Friday on an incredibly beautiful Carolina blue sky day on the campus of UNC. Daniel Wallace, an author I admire, gave the commencement speech. It wasn’t too long or filled with lofty wisdom- wisdom, yes, but delivered in his own way. The entire graduating class sang. I cheered as many of them crossed the stage to get the coveted diploma.
These two girls are examples of our best. Tall Blond has accomplished more already than I ever will. She went to France twice with me. I was afraid that she would be snatched up by an agent or designer during Paris Fashion Week when she was in 8th grade. Seriously. Long legs and an amazing sense of style. Check out these boots that she told me she saved her babysitting money for and then wore them on the trip. I wish I could pull that off. In my next life.
In the middle of the top photo is my “Macaron” as she dubbed herself one day. Do I love that brave young woman? With all of my heart. She came to DA as a sixth grader. Sixth graders with no language experience get stuck in beginning French with moi. (Thank you, Ed the Head. This class is often the highlight of my day.) It is my job to brainwash them and convince them to stick with me for three years. My Macaron did just that, even when the going was tough. She wasn’t able to travel to France with me with she was in 8th grade, but in 10th grade she asked if I would take her. Tall Blond asked to go along again as well. I did not have to think twice about that.
Those two had some fun. They discovered a thrift shop in the Marais and had a grand time. (My personal favorite way to shop.) I later discovered that Macaron had a suitcase just for her shoes! Lord have mercy.
I often look back at photos of past trips. Each trip with students over the past 30 years holds special moments. The year it snowed and we detoured to Rouen instead of the D-Day beaches. My first time there. It was very moving to see the spot where Jeanne d’Arc was burned at the stake.
Paris covered in snow is quite special as well.
The years of exchanges with schools in Senlis and Villeneuve-lez-Avignon. Trying to fill them up with do’s and don’ts before being whisked away by their French families.
Going horseback riding in the Camargue. I was the only injured one, thank goodness, and not one student witnessed me being thrown from the huge white beast. No photos exist.
1987. My first student trip. Arles. Foreshadowing, for sure.
Making crêpes with Chef Érick in Arles. A very happy girl, n’est-ce pas?
The trip with Son #2 (Son #1’s class didn’t get a trip… 9/11 happened.)
A couple of the annual countdowns…
I will continue to put on the waterproof mascara (Lancôme’s Hypnôse Drama is my current favorite) each morning for the next couple of weeks as I bid this year’s 8th grade class farewell. Most of them will make the journey to our upper school, just a couple of miles down the road. A few will transfer to public school or to boarding school. One will move to Florida. I will miss seeing their smiling (or grumpy) faces every day.
Just a week or so ago, I made biscuits for my advisees. Several of them had never had a homemade biscuit. Lord have mercy. Bless their hearts. They scarfed them down and one girlie asked for the recipe. Here you go, honey. Make them your-own-self this summer! I have used many recipes over the years. I do not use shortening, opting for butter instead.