This is where I went on Sunday.
There's a park not ten minutes away from my host family's house called Chateau Pradelle. That's right -- although French elementary school playgrounds leave something to be desired, their parks have real castles. The only castles I remember from my childhood were at Golfland (the one we'd pass on the freeway and shout, "Beast castle!" at) and on Patterson Elementary's playground, a metal tower at the top of the slide that burned you upon contact even in November. Not that I don't still feel nostalgia for both of those places, or at least the memories associated with them.
The above picture is the castle as viewed from below and there are swings, trees to climb, and a jungle gym up the steps and to the right. It was a very cloudy, windy, blustery day.
This picture is taken from the same spot, but in the opposite direction. While I was at the park, two little girls from CP (the first grade class) came up and said, "Bonjour maîtresse!" I'm starting to get a lot of random children saying that to me as I walk around town. It's adorable and a little odd at the same time since I don't know hardly any of their names yet. I'm usually really good with names but seeing as how I haven't met any of them individually and I'm only going to be in their classes for 30-45 minutes a week, memorizing names will be a more difficult task, especially since most of them are French names I've never heard of before.
This Monday and Tuesday I did more observation at a school and then showed pictures of the desert to the CE2 class (3rd grade) as well as the scorpion sucker I bought from Walgreens before I left for France. In somewhat stereotypical gender fashion, the boys wanted to spend at least a full two minutes holding the specimen and pretending like they were opening the packaging to eat it while the girls quickly glanced and passed it on with just two fingers pinching the end furthest from the scorpion. One girl whispered to her friend, "Ça me fait peur."
I have to admit that I jump a little every time I come across it in my purse.
Last week I observed my first English lesson. They sang a song to learn how to ask basic introductory questions and how to answer them. It was hard not to laugh though because the song was so robotic and unnatural sounding. I guess there's nothing wrong with a bit of repetition, but I can just imagine the stares little French children would get for coming to America and asking, "What's your, what's your, what's your name?"
I am really excited to get started, but unfortunately I won't actually be teaching for quite awhile. Next week I'll be in Grenoble for a training and then the week after that is the Toussaint vacation, so I won't be back in the classroom until November 3rd! We'll need to have a belated Halloween celebration because I have about 300 stickers, tattoos, pencils, erasers, and other Halloween-themed stuff to use up. This will be a much more low-key Halloween than usual, but I'm hoping to at least get my hands on a bag of candy corn pumpkins via my sister and the French postal service.