April 28, 2006

Jess presents…The Berets

I finished at my school today (capped off, despite my utterly disgusting cold, by a leaving party with my favourite class:)

The Girls of 1PA

and I suddenly realised I only have a week left in Paris. This is quite scary, 8 months have passed very very fast indeed. I got to thinking about how best to sum up the experience I have had and I decided, completely logically, to have my own awards ceremony for myself. THE BERETS!!

Funniest education moment of the Paris/Courbevoie experience: Today, on my last day of school, when I asked a group of student if they knew the name of the British national anthem and someone replied: 'I Will Survive'. I picked myself up off the floor 10 minutes later.

Funniest non-education moment of the Paris/Courbevoie experience: Joint winners of turning up to the assistantship training day in Neuilly in the clothes I'd been out in (sober, worryingly!) the night before and giggling at all the over–serious Americans with a very cute, very unserious American guy; waking up one Thursday morning with a French lesbian's phone number and having no idea how I got it.

Best gastronomic moment: A three–course meal at Le Ciné in Place de Clichy which cost €13 (about a tenner) and was utter melt in the mouth. (an ashamed part of me is also calling out for Pizza Hut France's mozzarella breadsticks to be recognised…)

Best drunken moment: A tie! Between falling 7foot off the stage in Loco on a Wednesday night's entertainment with Chris M; being asked 'how much I charge' whilst waiting at a Champs Elysees bus stop by a man driving past; and of course, my first week utter wastedness of getting lost on the Metro, missing the last train home and throwing up in a Metro station bin.

Most romantic moment: Surprising young Mathew by taking him to see the Eiffel Tower sparkle as his first sight on his first trip to Paris. Aaaaah.

My finest hour in my French-speaking career: Joint winners of: giving an interview in French for a Ministry of Education DVD; and calling the emergency services for myself when I accidentally ate peanut oil round a friend's house!

Best almost-being-French moment: One of Lucy's French friends being surprised when I was English and not French.

Worst English-tourist-extraordinaire moment: Trying to tell a guy I met in a bar it was better to be reckless than a coward and accidentally going a bit too far and calling him a pussy…

Most useful French phrase learnt whilst in Paris: 'putain' (meaning anything from 'bugger' to 'motherfucker' depending on context and just how angry you are) and various sounds such as 'eh, bah, pffft' which automatically make you sound like a native when added to sentences.

Best Bar: Lotus. Still. Plus the sheesha cafe I went to on my birthday.

Best Club: Gotta be Queen. Largely cos the others, while fun, were no different to any student club in the UK.

Best Café: Senseveria and Le Fumoir.

Best Night Out: A tie between getting drunk on free champagne at a staff do ("MORE champagne Jessica?" "It's OK she's English!"), getting battered with Chris M (little recollection of what we actually did) and going to La Loco with Mat, Andy and Nic.

Biggest epiphany style realisation about self: I might not like living alone but my own company is perfectly adequate, ta very much.

Worst moment of stay: Realising that all the other assistants had become bezzie mates and I was waaaaaay out of the loop.

The BERET OF TRUTH Award for Best Moment of the Year: Today when my students sang that song for me and gave me a signed picture of them saying how much they'll miss me. So I didn't make any friends for life, but enfin I DID make an impact.

OK so maybe PDP isn't strictly recounting exactly how drunk you've gotten through the course of the year…but looking back on it…I've bloody learnt a lot about myself actually. And I don't think I'd change any of it.

End of introspection. I'm going to bed, I feel like shit.

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