Changes in Latitudes

It’s amazing how things can change in just a few days. After feeling a little down about not immediately making new friends here, I received an outpouring of encouragement from loved ones and had two peaceful, pleasant days. Sometimes, all it takes is a short email or Skype conversation to change your attitude.

I found out that I’ll be able to join the university choir soon, which is such a relief. Without some sort of musical ensemble for a whole semester, I’m sure I’d go crazy. I also found out about a Model UN club that I might join, to hone my arguing skills in French. 🙂 One way to know you’re a born lawyer: you move on from your native language and begin debating in another.

Yesterday, I had a wonderful lunch with a new acquaintance and enjoyed some downtime with Simon after school. We’re in the groove of our English lessons and he’s learning so much. At this level, it’s easy for me to teach him nouns, articles, and numbers. He remembers vocabulary very well-it’s mainly just a matter of teaching the correct pronunciation.
Mathieu is a bit more difficult to teach. He’s at a level where he’s begun asking questions that I’m not qualified to answer. For example, today we worked on the present perfect progressive. If you don’t want a grammar lesson, feel free to skip through these next few paragraphs.

In English, the present progressive expresses an activity that is happening right now.
ex: “I am reading.”
You conjugate the helping verb “to be” in the present indicative and then add the gerund of the action verb. Easy as pie.

The present perfect progressive is used to to denote that an activity started in the past and is still going on.
ex: “I have been reading for one hour.”
So you use the past participle of the verb “to be” and then tack on the gerund of the action verb. Still simple, right? Sure.

Not if you’re trying to explain it in to a native French speaker who wants to know why you’re using both “to have” and “to be” as helping verbs in the same conjugation. I don’t know why, that’s just how it’s done in English. Yes, I know that’s not how it’s done in French. Just trust me on this one.

Needless to say, I should probably look over some lesson plans online. Teaching is not my forté. Ok, resume reading from here if you skipped my incredibly interesting grammar lesson.

Today, I stayed inside and read political journals. I can’t help it-I’m already incredibly excited about being able to vote in November and glad to be back in political science courses after not taking any last semester. Call me a nerd if you must. We had a delicious supper of crêpes (beaufort cheese and curry powder, goat cheese and honey, and the classic sugar and lemon juice), and now I’m off to bed. Glad to be back in the swing of things.

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One comment on “Changes in Latitudes

  1. Kara says:

    That’s the spirit! Don’t let that charmingly sunny disposition get cloudy. Love from NYC.

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