To be a teacher and move to France or not to be a teacher and move to France?

Doubt again.

I DID seize the day today. Yesterday, despite my misty eyed pep talk was a write off. I left the house around 7pm to do some grocery shopping and walking around the aisles I felt a pining in my belly for the cheap good wine and the magret du canard he cooked for me. I wondered sickly if I would really be able to not be in love with him just because it’s stupid to be in love with someone who doesn’t even let you be in love the normal illogical way and can’t even commit to his next orgasm. I saw him online and he didn’t write again. I wrote a tentative, counter-everything I know and have been told and have decided- Hey! And he didn’t reply. Fuck him. fuck him. Wish I could fuck him… But fuck him…

Today I got up and had a langorous breakfast of coffee and a lot of cigarettes and two potato waffles with a lot of butter to drip through the holes. I walked into Dublin city because the sun was shining, Irish as I am I carried a woollen jumper around all day unnecessarily because sure you never know. The weather is a moody bitch, but it stuck all day today and it felt good and my legs are still a pleasing shade of above-ivory. I visited all four of my pre-compiled list of addresses of schools offering English teaching courses and was very impressed by one. The other three were a combination of ridiculously expensive and uninformative.

What used to be called the TEFL certificate or accreditation or what have you, is now CELTA or CELT. The difference between the two is that CELT means Certificate of English Language Teaching and CELTA means Cambridge Certificate of English Language Teaching for Adults. Both cost a similar whack and occupy a similar amount of time and effort…. only one is actually recognised all over the world. The other guys are sly and leave out that fact. The school I liked does the proper serious one and the lady spoke warmly and seemed genuinely interested in me and why I wanted to do this. She was really enthusiastic and I thought this is it, I’m coming here. But I went to find the last school anyway, to be thorough, except I couldn’t find it and I was by this stage weak from lack of food. So I went home happy with my day’s investigations… it doesn’t sound like much but I walked all over and I was wearing crappy shoes. Also I went shopping.

No, not like that… I bought underwear, nothing exciting just some more cotton ones because I don’t know what happens to all my underwear I just don’t seem to have enough. Maybe it’s that I keep acquiring (buying) more clothes and the more clothes I have the less regularly I do laundry so the less regularly I wash undies… Hmmm…

Anyway, when I got home I checked my email for the application forms they were sending me from the schools. There’s a whole interview process and it’s expensive and the course is apparently hard and intensive… and I have to write a cover letter about why I want to do this. And I wrote most of the letter and then started thinking, fuck…. is this right? Would I be able to hack it, one month intense, more intense than I’ve ever studied, 5 days a week, 9 hours a day, plus loads of written assignments and hands on teaching practice… would I be good? I never studied in my life. I never did, I was always clever enough to skim by…. I never studied for a test, never ever ever. I don’t even know how… And would I be a good teacher?

And… most importantly… because I really do want a big adventure and romance and to be better than I am… but… would I be able for Italy mark 2? Sure, France is not the meat market Italy is… France is more elegant and awesome and more me, a 1000,000,000 times more me… I think….

But what if I get there and I act like I always have? Shut myself up in my room and whimper I have no friends, I have no friends… am I capable of being an outgoing, friend-making solitary traveller? I want to be… but is it against my nature? Can I do it?

And so I spiral into despair. I’m kind of giving up on HIM anyway. I’m sure it’s not so bleak, if I am nearby he will of course want to see me, he’s not made of stone, he is crazy about me too he just has different ideas about long term relationships and how to deal with stuff. But I can’t feel like he will be there because he’s not letting me feel like he will be there, so I’m thinking of me, me on my own… it probably wouldn’t be much better if he was there for me anyway, because I don’t really want to acquire a posse of 21 year olds to hang out with when I’m being a cool international traveller. I’d need more varied and mature convo of course, I just want his extra time and his… mwah… kiiiisss.

And I’m afraid I’m going to do this course, work really really fucking hard to do it, and cost my daddy a pretty penny and then what? I can’t teach in Ireland, you need a degree to teach in Ireland. So it’s go somewhere and somehow miraculously get over my social shittyness… and is it something I can do? I want soooo much to be able to cop on to myself and do what I’ve never done, meet people and grow up and write and not go out all the time but just when it’s good, and go to cafes and for dinner and invite people to eat sometimes and not have enough furniture so we sit on the ground.

Like in Argentina, there was something very real and warming about that, but then I cheated, I inherited friends from my cousins and when I wasn’t drinking wine from jam jars and eating spaghetti with laughing Argentinians with dreadlocks while the half full pot of pasta with whatever sad sauce we could afford sat in the middle of the floor because we didn’t have a table just a wooden crate that was too wear for the pot to sit on…. The rest of the time I ordered pizza from two doors down, it wasn’t nice pizza but it was cheap, and I drank Argentinian whiskey (not good. I’ll never get those taste buds back… or them brain cells) and I stayed in at home and watched startingly old new release dvds from blockbuster. I didn’t go out and live the Buenos Aires life, not really, not very often… and I only made friends with people who were introduced to me. And I regret the shit out of that wasted time, because everyone thinks I went off and had super adventures but it’s a big fat lie of omission.

I did fuck all. I saw fuck all… I spent a lot on pizza and I only lost weight because I had a shitload of sex with my flatmate. Who I later married. I didn’t even have the motivation or curiosity to leave the house to meet a man. Apart from, briefly, the Jamaican. Actually, I just walked up to him and chatted him up… I guess I did meet one or two people on my own.  And a few Argentinians. But only people I then slept with… I didn’t make any friends. Can I make friends?

ARRRRGHH.

This is my current crisis, and I’m panicking because I need to apply with a convincing cover letter THIS WEEK or I can’t do the course before Christmas and if I leave it til Christmas you know what’s going to happen, I’ll have tired of the idea and moved on to some new obsession, and I’ll never know if I could live the beautiful life in France with a typewriter and a cat called Maurice and eat butter all day without getting fat.

(If you live in France you can eat butter all day without getting fat, it’s like calorie tax breaks. I don’t understand it, but it is obviously a fact.)

Am I just plotting a very expensive slap in the face for myself?

Am I looking for a fantasy world?

Or am I actually doing something ballsy that is not entirely stupid at all and kind of a good idea that might send me on to become the kind of person I actually would be proud of?

You can only pick one.

I half wish I was a religious person so I could make a pilgrimage to an oracle and then it wouldn’t be my stupid mistake whatever I do.

Help me, Rhonda…..

 

your flakey indecisive pal,

Abby

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You wanna know why they sell that 2 in 1 shampoo/body wash?

I’m naturally very hairy.

It’s a pity, because I only have a limited amount of motivation to get things done, getting things done is a massive drain on my energy. And grooming… keeping back the constant waves of body hair… takes all I’ve got. Keeping my lower body aerodynamic is a full time job. It means the bins are still camping out on the balcony, stinking the neighbourhood out of this world. It means bills not getting paid until the phone company’s desire to get paid overtakes their desire to avoid a phone call with me. And even sacrificing every other responsibility in my life, I can just barely keep on top of things. It’s relentless.

I don’t know if I’d even have time for a social life with all this plucking and waxing and… that’s a lie. I have lots of time really, it just gets spent on internet fuckery and playing games and reading the odd book…

You might think, dude, chill out about the hair and your weight and shit, go out, have fun and get a life… but I’m decided now. I’m leaving this city. Not today, not next month, but I’m not staying. And once that’s decided, there’s not a whole lot of hope for meeting new people and trying to adapt to this country managing to interrupt my hairless hermit regime.

But while I’m here… I’m waiting for time to pass. Waiting for my court date to even begin looming on the horizon… waiting for this awful “smack across the face, you’re a grown up now, just deal with life’s hissy fits” year to come to an end… so I can up sticks and take my hairy ass back to the land that comes close to accepting me just the way I am… While I’m here, looking my best is about all I’ve got. You may have noticed a distinct obsession with my appearance on my blog. It’s true, I’m as superficial as celebrity rehab. But I’m not ALL about how I look. It’s just that right now, it’s the only thing within my control that makes me feel good. Which is probably why I can’t stop shopping. Or taking photos of myself in that fucking swimsuit. (Wish I had that fucking before photo but I deleted it in a fit of self loathing)

I’m stuck for the next 6 months at least, in a city that rejects me like I’m an incompatible transplant. Which I suppose is what I am. Immigrants or expats (the difference being that immigrants are from poor countries, are resented and take the lowest paying jobs and bitch about hardship and discrimination, and expats come from rich countries, are considered exotic or interesting, take the awesome jobs and bitch about the difficulties finding cheddar or creme fraiche.) are human transplants into a culture. Not everyone takes to a different culture. Some marry locals and stay forever… in fact, you only stay if you fall in love. That’s how it goes, from what I’ve seen anyway. It’s partly why I have such a shit time with other people in my sitch- because English speakers here are either students (lame!) or couples (lame! Lame! fucking LAME!) And I’d say I’m about tied between marrying an Italian and sticking a jesus fish to the back of my bike.

So I’m here, I’m hating it… I don’t have the energy to keep trying my luck with more and more people who are complete strangers and never seem to become familiar. So what can I do? Keep pulling out those damn hairs as fast as they can grow back, and at least my appearance won’t stick in their craw. (What is a craw?)

But it’s taxing. There’s a lot of hair. I looked it up- I used to think I was a hairy Mary because of my eye-tie blood, but if the harpies at the waxing place could be that rude about my lady jungle, then maybe Italians aren’t that hairy after all. So I looked it up and apparently it’s because of testosterone. Yeah, that sounds about right. It also accounts for the slightly aggressive attitude to sex and the knife obsession. Maybe. I don’t know. It’s hard to know which gender differences actually come from having an innie or an outtie, and which are just taught by our parents and tv. Maybe there was only ever one woman who got pissy about having to put down the toilet seat, and everyone else just saw it on tv or something and copied that moronic behaviour, and it was added into the Book of Woman, and then eventually Sex and the City came along and cemented us in our confusion. Who knows how much of female behaviour is real and how many of the polished, together, ball busting women on the globe are just Liz Lemons pretending to be something they’re not? Behavioural scientists, probably.

That would be a cool job. You could get asked to state the obvious on Penn and Teller’s Bullshit, and all sorts of documentaries based on flimsy evidence that need sciency type talking heads. I’d love that job.

Oooh… I can feel one of my life goal moments coming on. I know! I’ll go back to college (snort) and study behavioural science. AWESOME. Yeah tomorrow I’ll probably look up some online university and then give up because it actually expects me to study science. I have these burst of enthusiasm for subjects every so often but it always dwindles quickly and leaves me feeling more useless and slovenly and uneducated than before.

So. What is there? I’m here for another 6 months. My life is likely to continue along the same reclusive lines, all work no play (except Fallout and a large carrot here and there…)  and blogging about my trips to the supermarket… I honestly would love to have something interesting to write about, but I’m doing my time here people… you can join me in scratching the days off the wall, until I rejoin life and its lovely chaotic uncertainties, and I promise I’ll show you a wild time.

I can just about take the weight of solitude, because I know it’s got a sell by date. And until then, hopefully this time in my cell will give me some perspective and gravitas ‘n ting and when it’s time to butterfly the hell outta here, I’ll be like that creepy vampire dude in the 17 year old body still hanging around a school even though he’s like 100- I’ll have done my time, spent so much of it thinking about life and shit, I’ll be a freaking guru… and I’ll be all skinny too.

And smooth. Just have to keep on top of that. It’s tough though. Tough being hair-free when I could get by so well in my limited social life with just shaving the bottoms half of my thighs and my lower leg. But then if I get hit by a car… I don’t want to blow the only chance I’ll ever have with a hot doctor with the dreaded:

“Nurse, get those fur shorts off that gorgeous skinny patient and prep her for minor, non-scarring surgery!”

“Ehh… doctor… those aren’t shorts…”

You see, I need to keep things sweet down there in case of hot young doctors.

Well. I’ve successfully wasted my entire day off in the following manner:

1. Slept til 1pm.

2. Stayed in bed til 3pm drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes and watching movies I downloaded ages ago but that are totally shit.

3. Decided to make some dresses. Cut up some clothes I kind of liked. Sewed some stuff together. Got bored- left everything balled up in a plastic bag for “later”.

4. Put some of my clothes away. Washed some clothes. (yay!)

5. Played fallout until I got bored then completed the game, like an idiot. Now I can’t play anymore. Shit.

6. Wrote this because I had nothing to watch.

7. Ate some pasta with tomato sauce and a natural yoghurt.

8. Took photos of self in swimsuit.

9. Going to have another yoghurt because just realised, that’s not enough food. I’m hungry, too.

10. That’s it. That was my day off. What a jip. Now I won’t have another day off for 13 days.

Crap-ola.

Oh but countdown to festival and london and all… we’re on baby, we’re on like…not donkey kong… definitely not like donkey kong. There was no sex in donkey kong. But we’re on. And there will be fucking. And unless I do the bold thing again and wind up sleeping with someone I really shouldn’t, and who is a friend and stuff, then I will give vast pages of details. Promise!

Take your pretentious bilinguality and shove it up your derrière

To begin with, let me tell you that I am bilingual, trilingual even (I’ll try any tongue *sleazy wink*), I have been since I was a child. I think in a different language depending on what I’m doing or thinking about. When drunk, my abilities in language number 3 (the one I use daily where I live) diminish rapidly and so do my thoughts. This is why I drink alone so much lately. My contributions to previous conversations with the locals have been barely conscious thrustings of basic words in the faces of my much soberer companions. Anyway. That’s not what I’m talking about today.

I want to mention one of my pet peeves. You know what I have to deal with every day, living in this country? Every time someone asks where I’m from, and deduces I speak English, they decide to start dropping random English words into the conversation. Just random words. And the thing is, if I’m speaking language 3, I’m expecting that language. I’m tuned in to the frequency of the local voice speaking its language. If you start littering your fluent talk with mispronounced words I’m not expecting, I can’t understand them. I need warning that I’m going to hear English. Not that you should tell me some time in advance, it’s a pretty instantaneous switch. It’s just that my ear is picking up your accent speaking your language, and then I hear something pronounced by your accent but not identifiably in my vocabulary. Then when I don’t get it, you take offence because I don’t understand and appreciate your English. It’s not that- although you do speak pretty shitty English (learn how to pronounce H, for fucks sake… If American toddlers can do it, so can you.) it’s just how my brain (not wishing to speak for anyone else) copes with a dual vocabulary.

So that’s probably an innocent mistake to make, by someone who doesn’t understand. It’s probably done with the intention of making it easier for me by translating what they can, and to show off a bit. I can forgive, I just hate the social entanglement that ensues while I try to explain “it’s not you, it’s me”. Ok. I forgive.

On to the truly obnoxious habit, then.

The pretentious fuckery of dropping foreign words into conversation for no reason other than to show you know foreign words. I admit there are some words in some languages that are kind of better at describing some things. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of one. Maybe they are more onomatopeic or just sound better. If I you’re a German talking about love, I probably could forgive your slipping in of a bit of French. But this doesn’t account for the majority of cases.

When you read a magazine in Italy, the word “fashion” is interspersed in every paragraph. It’s used as an adjective. They have a word for fashion, and I think it’s better. And the Italian word isn’t an adjective either. So what’s going on here? It’s just stupid. And then you get people doing it more as well, because they think it’s in common usage. This is what happened with the French “chic”. And a million other words. People seem to think that by translating the odd word in a sentence, they sound like someone out of an F Scott Fitzgerald novel, from an era when everyone knew around 7 languages by the age of 12. They don’t. These aren’t people who are masters of any language. I’m honestly a master of 2 languages, and they don’t mix in my head. Ever. So when I hear someone referring to “pomodoro pasta”, I just know they have about 5 Italian words in their vocabulary. (like this girl)

Actually, aside from French, Italian is one of the most commonly butchered languages by snobs and idiots everywhere. When I see people using Italian words for ingredients that have an English name, just to sound posh or to make tomatoes sound more romantic, it makes me want to punch someone. Coffee houses that use Italian or Italian-sounding words for different sizes or types of coffee (none of which would ever be seen in an Italian bar) deserve a grande kick in the balls. And that’s another fork in the road for my current rage to divert to- coffee shops with a personal vocabulary. How fucking dare they. (the swearing’s back, I must be really pissed off) As if we’re all going in there every day, loyally speaking their beverage shop’s language, bending over for the privilege to drink their frothy overpriced bullshit. You ask for a coffee and the “barrista” starts trying to give you a begginer’s lesson in made-up Italian. They are essentially forcing you to beg for their bullshit coffee, repeating what for all you know means “I’m your bitch, coffee masters”. Fuck that shit.

Ah.. there’s no satisfying conclusion to this. Well, maybe I can whip one up. If you think you might be guilty of snobby asshole language-randomisation, here is a few tips to avoid my (and probably other people’s) hate / wrath/ face scratching

1. Pick a language, and stick with it, unless translating for someone who doesn’t speak the main conversation language in the group.

2. You can use some foreign words without looking like a tool. If you’re speaking English and you don’t know the word for some foreign food you want to be a smug bore about, use it’s foreign name. Don’t try to translate stuff like churros, or smorgasbord. But there’s a perfectly good English word for parmigiano, and it’s parmesan.

3. Before using a foreign word while speaking your native tongue, pause. Is there a word in your language that does the job? The answer is yes. Don’t be a dick.

4. There’s no need to translate foreign people’s names into your language. That’s just ignorant and offensive. Just because Jorge is the Spanish version of George, doesn’t mean the Jorge you met on holidays (and probably patronised the hell out of) should be referred to as George. Only some names have multi-lingual equivalents, don’t translate it just cause you can. Oh, and don’t even think about calling yourself  “Juan” while on holidays, you can’t pronounce it any better than the Spanish can pronounce “John”, so let them get your real name a bit wrong, instead of sounding retarded when you mispronounce your own.

5. There is no need for more instruction. I don’t see why anybodybehaves like this in the first place. When in doubt, shut the hell up.