notes from the road

France in my pants!

05/02/10
I haven’t written for a little while as I’ve had limited access to the internet, and I have been pretty busy – busy learning French! Yeah! It’s funny how I can range from feeling like the smartest coolest person in the world to being so frustrated and defeated that I want to pack it in, all within the space of a few minutes. I’ve just been studying all afternoon and I feel pretty happy with it, what I’m not happy with though is my typing. The French have a different keyboard, it’s pretty close to the qwerty, but there are about four keys different, the a w m q and z. It turns out that I have already trained my fingers to remember where these new keys are and forget where the old ones are, so now as I’m typing this on MY computer I am constantly typing the wrong thing! I wish I could learn the language as easily – though I’d hate to forget English – wouldn’t that be a bummer.
Tomorrow is the start of something new (just like the HSM song) as I am moving into a colocation (share house) with two other French speakers – one a sports teacher and the other a cook. Eric – the sports teacher, speaks about as much English as I do French, probably a bit more actually and the cook doesn’t speak any – so it should be exciting and educational.
My teaching lessons are going quite well and I am enjoying them and am improving, though I was really thrown right into it quite quickly. There has only been a few situations where I really haven’t known the answers, or the difference between the present perfect and the past simple. I knew I wasn’t going to be making much money, but today I found out I’d be making about 1/12th less than what I had thought. I lose an initial 20 or 30% of my monthly income to service tax – which I thought seemed about right (though in Australia I’d be able to get most back as I wouldn’t be earning much) but today I found out that that is just to pay for the people who don’t work, have babies and are sick. After I’ve worked for a year I have to pay a Government tax which amounts to about one months pay and I have to pay it in a large chunk. So looks like I’ll really have to watch my savings. Which should be easier now as I’ve just opened up a new bank account. The chap was ever so friendly who helped me out and I feel very proper. Fancy that  – Justin with a place to live, a job to work at and a bank account to put money in!
Fair to say, in November last year when I was looking towards the future thinking of the position that I would want to be in now – it looked pretty well just like this. I’m feeling pretty secure and I’ve got a nice challenge on my hands in the learning of the language. I think it is a little like the learning slope that I had with slack lining – challenging, but do-able, and there is always something to grab on to just a little bit further away.
Hopefully soon I will progress from reading ‘La nouvelle imagerie des enfants’ and watching ‘Noddy’* DVD’s  to reading novels and watching movies, but I think I’ll just be taking baby steps for the moment.

* In France, Noddy is called ‘Oui Oui’ – yes – We We hehehehe

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