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(pas de sujets) [avr. 13e, 2005|08:28 am]
our work here is done
our work here is done

all the craziness i've alluded to up until now reached a boiling point yesterday, with no sides willing to compromise. the riot cops were all set to come and pounce on the students. the teachers formed a barricade themselves, capitalizing on their parent instinct to protect the kids from bodily harm. then, somehow, someway, during the night, all became calm again. there were no incidents, and the former hostilities changed to kindness and mutual admiration. the shouting and hysteria that marked all of yesterday- students, teachers, administration, all at each other's throats- all of this is mysteriously vanished, surreptitiously, during the night.

instead a rain cloud has come over the sky and it is grey as far as i can see.

today i leave lycée félix le dantec. like the hysteria that built itself up like a cyclone these last few weeks, then in a blink of an eye is gone, so too am i in the process of packing my bags and shoving off today without fanfare.

if i didn't have so much shit to do, i would write a real entry and document all that really happened when i vaguely allude to chaos. i'm sure i will have the time soon enough, after i'm finished wandering france for a bit.

au revoir, lycée félix le dantec, our work here is done.
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(pas de sujets) [avr. 7e, 2005|08:04 am]
with regards to project mayhem, and the last entry, just a quick thought: last night the administration warned of the students 'fucking shit up' (foutre le bordel, their words, not mine); and in reaction they put a riot control squad of cops in hiding on the other end of the courtyard. this was a gross overreaction on the part of the administration, and instead of fucking shit up, the students had a big slumber party. tons of students showed up, and i decided to go down and talk to them. after talking with a bunch about what they were doing, i have to say i feel a lot less animosity towards them. i'm still not for it, i still think they could be doing more productive, less disruptive things, but they showed themselves to be out for something more than smoking weed in the school after all the adults have gone to bed, and that's good. they're still there, it's still blocked. they kicked my ass at 'jungle speed.' that's that, and after a long year of strikes, etc, this is like so much furniture to me. ps, i'm coming home in a week and a half. how about them apples?
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project mayhem [avr. 6e, 2005|11:55 am]
julia (lj name: gules) already did a good assesment of the situation here this morning, but it's so fucking ridiculous it merits a second go around. today, first day of the last days of my france, happened as follows:

our story begins last night, with brian making a half assed attempt at making a lesson plan. this involving checking my lj, email, and shopping for cds on amazon.fr. i was just about to get to the actual work part of my existence when julia throws me a texto saying that there is 'action', or 'blocking the school,' planned for tomorrow, and that likely we will not have classes. bon, that takes care of all my worries. i decide to plan nothing, and go to bed, and see how things work out tomorrow.

so i wake up early, 8 oclock for a 10 oclock class, idea being that i could pull a lesson out of my ass in the hour before class. sadly, i am sitting looking out the window and all appears normal. the window in our kitchen looks out on the main courtyard. there were the normal number of students outside, as well as all the cars of the administration and all that who apparently were able to enter no problem (you'll remember they blocked this a couple weeks back). a little disappointed, for i had no lesson and it appeared i would now need one, i get ready to hump off to the salle des professeurs to whip up a lesson.

except that i get downstairs, and there is a fifteen foot tangle of chairs and tables, floor to ceiling, piled up in front of the doors to the building (that is, the building i LIVE IN). my first reaction = wtf???? i then see rudy, one of my kinder students, and i ask him to let me out. he says he thinks he could work out leaving with his cohorts, but i wouldn't be allowed back in. at this point i am pissed off- this is the crowning glory, the cherry on top of the france strike story i've been living for a year. i leave that scene, and try all other doors to the building, all entrances and nooks and crannies. all barricaded.

so i went back up to apprise the others of the situation, and we meditated for a while on how much we hate the students. we eventually worked out a thing with one nice guard at the smallest entrance, and he said we could come and go through that door- not, of course, without UN negociations at each impasse. so fucking ridiculous. the high school was officially shut down, all courses suspended. the best part? depending on who you talk to, this could last until monday, or until next friday. these kids are bunkered down, and they are going to stay as long as they can defend against outside invaders. they ripped off all the handles on the doors, so they can only be opened from the inside. i dont know what will happen when they change the guard who lets us through.

this is shitty for several reasons. not the least of which being that, myself included, there are about 10 people who LIVE in this building. we LIVE here, and they are cutting us very little slack. allez vous faire, you fucking fifteen year old punks! but fine, that's a small inconvenience which i'm sure i will get used to. more importantly, though, and this has to deal with the fact that they are really nothing but fifteen year old punks, is that this is POINTLESS. one, the law is passed, the law they hate and are trying to demonstrate against. done deal, it won't be repealed. ok, fine, you're not content, and you have the right to show it. but the kids doing this are a cadre of teenage boys, young ones at that, who by most accounts number around 50, but up to 80 on the more optimistic counts. even with the overly optimistic figure of 80 students comprising this little cabal of rabble rousers, that is 3.2 percent of the student body here. hardly a majority, but because of this the rest of the student population is forced to go on strike, more or less, against their will. this is especially a problem with the students who have to take the bac tests at the end of this year, the stringent national exams in france. their practice tests were today, and they were not able to take them. they, the older and more advanced students who got shortchanged today, are unanimously against this action. they cannot but go along with it, however. the perps, however, are young, and generally are those students who are in the professional tracks because they did not invest themselves in their education (it is my experience that they are not dumb). funny that the ones who don't actually care enough about school to do homework, or pay attention, or even be civil to their teachers, are fighting against education reforms. you wanna protest these reforms, show how you care about education? how about doing homework? being an active participant in your education? a large part of the reforms involves lowering the standards so that the students who are always failing the bac, ie the students now blockading the school, can actually pass them and have a degree. i doubt they appreciate the irony. also, unlike last time(s), they have made no effort to contact the press, nor get any 'message' out there. this is a bunch of boys playing 'fort', a suburban lord of the flies. in fact, they have never made any explicit declaration of why they did this; we are left to infer. it is a bunch of students who fixated on an idea, that this law is bad, and who have outgrown any viable messages they had and is snowballing out of control. i am so done with this.

and so i am stuck in the B building of le Dantec, which overexcited teenage boys continue to dominate by force, antagonizing the administration, their fellow students, us. this is not any way to send a message, guys. and ps, let the mailman through, because i fucking want my antony and the johnsons cd before i leave france.

in the immortal words of julia,
france, va te faire foutre.
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(pas de sujets) [avr. 4e, 2005|02:13 pm]

enez eussa (penn ar bed) gant kathrin ha simoneRéduire )
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(pas de sujets) [mar. 20e, 2005|09:08 pm]

vamos a la playaRéduire )
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(pas de sujets) [mar. 5e, 2005|09:14 pm]
'kathrin cleans the kitchen'

so john just left from his visit... i hope low and lazy brittany didn't sedate him too much. best moment? first night, i turn my back for a second, and in a flash he is gone. i look around and see him some meters off, talking to a group of my lycée professionel boys, and i hear this: 'je suis américain. got a cigarette? fumer?' some things just transcend language barriers, i suppose.

i need things to get in the full swing of things here so i can feel like i am doing things again. this week i return to the middle school, and that'll be nice. it's quiz week for those poor littl'uns. and i would like to be distracted from daydreaming about going back to the states- because brittany really is a nice place and it would be a shame if i spent my last several weeks here daydreaming about the usa which will be banal as all get-out again after a couple weeks. le sigh.
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(pas de sujets) [fév. 26e, 2005|01:18 pm]

"breton, ta langue creve sous tes yeux"

some breton activist graffiti on the stadium i run at. sadly, most breton activism around these parts consists of what you see here; namely, just a lot of anger and graffiti, not a lot of breton speaking.

my parents just left, and while it was nice seeing them, i'm glad to have some peace and quiet again. they are now tooling around paris, which is much more well equipped to deal with them in a more tourist-y function. stark brittany sapped their energy, which i can understand, but it also makes me sad in a sense that i was not able to impart the full impact of my experience like i had (naively) hoped to.

so julia and i made american breakfasts this morning, because either we were out of nutella or so sick of eating sucré that we could yak, and that went well. oh, hash browns and scrambled eggs with ketchup, im still so full... i fear my stomach has shrank. or shrunk. even though we are back to the core group in the hall- me, julia, erica, and kathrin- the old days of extreme cooking soirées have never and most likely will not come back. the days when the meal was the focal point of the day for julia and i, and it was the focus of our creative energies, they are gone. the nights of nicolas and samuel and marie pierre and lord knows who else trafficking through the kitchen made sitting there for hours at a time almost unbearable. these are good people, but there is just something about six people in nine square meters, half of which is kitchen fixings and a TABLE, that doesn't speak to me. so even though they're all gone, the old need isn't coming back. maybe we've found better things to do with entire evenings, maybe it's the fact that julia has a boyfriend and is often at his house and when she's not, im hauling off to fencing or some other place. i just need to never forget how good it feels to cook and to then spend all damn night stuffing people's faces with what i make. that's good living!
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(pas de sujets) [fév. 25e, 2005|10:23 am]

the sun shone for a bright instant... then came the snow. it has been snowing for days here in brittany, an unprecedented phenomenon. it has stuck, too! i wake up and bam, snow outside my window. shops are staying closed and everyone is paralyzed. funny, too, especially for me because, well, if this was all the snow we got in upstate new york, we would be down on our knees in the streets thanking whatever deities could be thought of. and all this happens when i have mad people coming to visit: pat, my parents, john... sadly there isnt much else to do here but hike and whatnot, and when we have mounds of snow (read: an inch), its not pleasant.

all i can think of, however, is the news i recently got, which dispelled a large number of my fears and anxieties about coming back home to the states. i have all but officially decided where i will be and what i will be doing when i get back to the states, pending some very, very small steps (formalities...). i won't go into gory details here, but sufficed to say that washington dc is the x on my map. how very exciting!

anyone looking for a roomie in dc?
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c'est quoi l'ignorance? [fév. 14e, 2005|07:50 pm]
so i just got back from a whirlwind tour of southern brittany:

we left, kathrin and i, in her little ford, heading towards quimper via the monts d'arrée. i was quite pleased by the monts d'arrée. this is where the mountain range that the alps are part of starts, and there was a great low cloud cover (read: fog) that obscured the tops of the mountains. even though we weren't that high, the flora took a real alpine look, and combined with the whipping winds and what not, it was really a breathtaking little stretch of countryside. i had the impression of being at some end point of the earth- little wonder the region is called finistère, which comes from the latin finis terrae, the end of the earth.

then we went to quimper, a nice european, french, breton, village situated on a river, but by no means remarkable. we decided to hotfoot it outta there and went to concarneau instead. concarneau, you say? this is the first village where i was assigned to in brittany, but through some administrative hiccup i was changed to lannion at the last minute. all i can say is "fucking wow." i was so pissed off at whatever paperpushing cheese monkey who messed that one up for me! this place was great: half the village is actually on the sea, in an enclosed, seafaring fortress. there is one long bridge that leads in, and once you enter this walled off castle, you are in a seperate and very isolated world. while the waves pound the outside ramparts, you have all you need inside the compound; stores, housing, cafés, even a little park all can be found within. while kathrin went to the museum of fishing (i decided to pass...) i spent a whole bunch of time enjoying the sunlight and sitting on the ramparts- there was a walkway which circled the entire exterieur wall, so you could sit on the wall or just look over it at the sea. and i saw actual sea life; as opposed to the yachts and pleasure boating that abounds in lannion, here were people hauling in the daily catch of fish to process in the fish factory on the mainland. bref, this was a really nice place. realllly nice.

then we went to the presqu'île de quiberon and walked along cliffs. there was a wind that day that inhibited fun times, and stupid me wore my glasses so i had to be extra careful. when i was in montpellier i had my glasses taken away by a super gust of wind and had to run screaming after them like an asshole. didn't wanna repeat that! so we went to carnac, which is four kilometers of stonehenge like rock structures all in eerily perfect lines. thats a fucking lot of prehistory! then we went to vannes, which is another castle-city, and thus much more enjoyable than quimper. a plus, vannes! even if it was the spot where brittany signed over its soul to france five hundred years ago. for shame, brittany!

and to think, i just got back to lycée félix le d, and vacation is just starting! i must get ready for visitors!
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(pas de sujets) [fév. 11e, 2005|06:53 pm]

Another day at Lycée Félix le Dantec.
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