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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Potentially faulted view of childcare

As stated in my previous blog, I'm home for a visit which means that I will either attempt to block out everything that goes on in my life in France, or I will spend an obsessive amount of time analyzing everything. The last few days have been the latter.

And what has been on my mind has been childcare. So, perhaps I should have sent this out there earlier but, kids are pretty cool. A common question of my non-childcaring friends ask me is if I still want to have kiddies (NERD alert, writing that phrase just reminded me of indirect something or another that I learned in French class, which is deceptively complicated....) Answer--Of course. I wouldn't say I am more prepared, and I do wonder if I will 'run' my household more like my mother, which I remember not so well as I was a child, and cannot imagine was very well organized; or will do things more like S, who was forced to have a more rigid schedule (baths at 5:45, dinner by 7:00, bedtime at 8:30...), as there were four kiddies running around.

I do however, believe that I have a more realistic grasp of what its like. Parenthood doesn't stop. Ever. My own parents have been parents for thirty years, and its still going. Sure the hours get better, but they still have to deal with 2 am phone calls from one of us crying (ok, by one of us I mean me, and its thanks to the time difference). Now I've been only dealing with children that don't belong to me, and was only around the first group for a year, and the second group for two weeks now. But I must say for all the difficulties and headaches that I have experienced via children, and what I have put my own parents through, I can look at the relationship I have with my parents and say---A hundred percent worth it.

My mother is the sweetest person I have ever met. She also loves me unconditionally. She makes me laugh constantly and has a wonderful rose tinted view of the world, but does not lack any depth. When I hear her talk about her opinions of things I realize that she shared these with me and helped develop me into what I hope is an openminded empathetic person. She is also someone I can count on for advice, but can (occasionally) listen silently when I just need to vent. It's true that she can be meddlesome but she doesn't need to control my life. She is happy to watch me, my sister, and my brother grow and make our own decisions.

From my father I learned a sense of humor. Even my dad's emails that he sends me occasionally to try and bully into becoming a more cultured person are full of his natural humor and wit. I was really emotional right before I came home, as I was the previous time (I'm ok with not missing my family until right before I know I'm going to see them, it's the most difficult, and you really should see me barging through customs at the airport, because at that point, I really can't wait anymore) and I was reading an email from him and just started crying. I know, I'm pathetic.

Anyway, my point is--For those of you who have read this blog, childcare is nothing if not interesting. Even the best kids have their bad days. They do gross stuff, they do stupid things, they make you angry (God knows I pissed my parents off growing up), but you deal with all this, the annoyances KNOWING that one day, they will probably turn out to be an okay person. You love them unconditionally, you laugh when they discover something new, you discipline them when they do something unacceptable (writing it down so you can use it to embarass them later in life, of course), and you take a shit ton of pictures because one day they'll be adults and the whole thing will be over.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Home of the Free, Land of the skeptics.

Almost thirteen months after I first set foot on French soil, I find myself back in the land of the Pilgrim's Pride. February holidays began, and I felt myself in need of a healthy dose of America, and my family. Since I've been back I've been trying to 'cram in as much America' as possible. I went up to Philly to stay with a college friend, Julia, and meet a good childhood friend of mine, Kelly.

Julia had to work so Kelly and I took advantage of the day by wandering around Philly, seeing the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, awkwardly leaving a Jewish museum, and searching for job inspiration.

We wandered into the visitor's center searching for our free entrance tickets for Independence Hall. Hidden amongst the Children's t-shirts, philly cheese steak books, and American flags, we found a sign boasting services offered in the building. Number one was 'multi-lingual world class concierges.' 'Hey, I might not be world class (yet), but I am semi-multi lingual!' I thought to myself, and walked up to an employee to ask a series of asinine questions.

Note to job-seekers, you probably shouldn't go up to a stranger and tell him that you are already a 'world class multi-lingual concierge,' (I'm not even a hundred percent sure what concierge means, but its nothing I can't cure with a google search) and would be doing said place of employment a huge favor by taking a job there. Of course I was joking, but they guy merely looked at me incredulously and directed me to the desk.

These people were even less helpful. I asked about online applications, but they only had paper ones, and I gathered that they were looking for part time employees and probably would be paying minimum wage. I guess being 'world-class' doesn't mean well-paid.

Anyway the most uncomfortable part of this whole experience was the guy's expression when I told him that I could speak Spanish and French. He didn't believe me. Period. I don't really blame the guy, most people think I just graduated high school, and so I probably have about two years total of language studying.

But in Europe, this isn't unusual. In fact, I am so used to people saying they speak between three and four languages, it doesn't phase me; (this isn't a hundred percent true, I still get angry and jealous, but I'm at least not surprised) So when this guy looked at me so skeptically I realized, if I choose to be involved in something with languages I am going to have to prove myself every single time, that I am at least conversational in the two extra languages. And while I have a title in Spanish Language, I'm going to need to find some sort of certificate to say that I am qualified (ish) in French.

Does this mean I need to start taking school seriously?