Tag Archives: School


teach from the heart

Dear Google,

I wish you’d talked to teachers like me before you made that $40 million investment in Renaissance Learning.

I’ve seen the damage Accelerated Reader can do.

I witnessed it for the first time when I tutored a struggling 5th grader…eighteen years ago.

He hated to read.

He hated being locked into a level.

He hated the points associated with the books.

But more importantly, he was humiliated when he didn’t earn enough points to join in the monthly party or get to ‘buy’ things with those points at a school store full of junky prizes.

I’ve seen kids run their fingers along the binding of a book, a book they REALLY wanted read, but then hear them say, “But it’s not an AR book,” or “It’s not my level.”

I’ve watched them scramble to read the backs of books or beg a friend for answers so they can get…

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“You Can’t Go Wrong With More Speed”


Herro again. I just finished freezing my nips off in this snow storm we’re having over here in Rhode Island! I mean, in comparison to Vermont and other areas of the country I’m sure it’s child’s play; but it’s more than the 401 has seen all season I believe. My friend Aly interviewed me for her senior thesis, so I jut spent the passed two hours frolicking in the beautiful snow talking about horses. Whatever, I’m a nerd.

Street Decorations

Anyway, I said that I would try my best to re-cap my final days of studying abroad in Grenoble, France, so here it goes (oh, I’m also going to be weaving my pictures from the Lyon Festival of Lights into this post to add some pizazz):


Tuesday, December 11th: Long day of classes, but the last one of the semester! Score. It was also my last literature and translation class (thank god, I HATED THAT CLASS), so I was partially okay with having to sit in that wretched course for two hours. I finished up around 16h45, which was earlier than usual, but I really didn’t have the energy/feel in the mood to party much. I’m pretty sure that after class, I just went home to read more 50 Shades Darker and start studying for the multiple finals I had coming up. If I did anything else of merit, I really don’t remember.


Wednesday, December 12th: Class from 8h30 to 10h20, which wasn’t too bad, especially considering we spent it watching a movie and learning French slang. After class I actually have no recollection of what I did. Considering I had finals coming up, I think I probably went to the coffee shop for at least a little bit to try and start studying. Honestly though, I could have done anything. Sorry for being so scatter-brained.


Thursday, December 13th: Last day of classes for real!!! I had my final regular class on this day, which was actually quite sad. I had come to really enjoy the company of all my extremely diverse classmates (Germans, Americans, Japanese, Chinese, Russian, Australian and South Koreans), and our professor was just amazing. We wrapped up the final class by giving our professor gifts and pictures of our lovely faces, then we finished watching a movie about this guy whose job is to break up engaged couples by seduction.

Afterwards, I went to the post-office to pick up a box to ship home because quite frankly, I have too much shit. I somehow managed to shove 7kg worth of books, nail polish and sports clothing into a tiny box, gold star for me! Once that was over with, I went to the Christmas Market to see what they had to offer, since I still needed to find a few more Christmas presents for family and friends. I don’t think I did anything after dinner this night because I had an exam in the morning, so most likely I just finished up reading 50 Shades and did a minute amount of studying for my exam the next day.

Les Fleurs

Friday, December 14th: I had to wake up early in order to get to my exam on time. At my University, the program I was in was called the CUEF, and at the end of every semester you need to take a final called the DUEF, which basically makes sure that you learned enough French to move on to the next higher level. A lot of people seemed to stress out a bit about it, but quite honestly I wasn’t worried. We only had to get a 10/20 to pass, and my professor prepared us more than necessary for this exam. The only thing about it was that it was very annoying, and took forever! There were three parts to the exam: oral comprehension, written comprehension and actual writing. Between the first and second portion, we had a few hours break, so Hannah, Emily, Ellisa and I went in town to eat a decent lunch, then we spent some time at the Christmas Markets just enjoying the atmosphere and eating tasty treats. It was a good way to pass the time.

Finally, it came time to take the last exam of the day, and once it was over we were just about exhausted with school. Which meant… it was time to rage! I went home, had dinner with Madeleine and let the festivities begin. Hannah and I had plans to meet up with our classmates at Subway, so she came over and we each faced a wine bottle while just hanging out waiting for the time to come. Emily ended up meeting up with us an hour or so later, and then the three of us walked the short distance from my house to the bar. Now, Hannah and I were pretty drunk at this point, which made meeting up with our international friends that much more hilarious. We had to speak French the entire time, which was a lot of fun. The rest of the API group wound up at Subway at some point, but Hannah and I remained behind with our classmates for another hour, then we met up with the rest of our friends at London Pub. The workers at the bar were being douche-bags this particular night, so we didn’t stay for very long… just long enough to get free passes to Vieux Manoir. Finally, we ended the night at the Manoir, where we danced the night away, and I was eventually escorted home by two of the Chinese guys in my class. Night = success.


Saturday, December 15h: Somehow, I wasn’t hungover when I woke up, which was a mystery to me. Thank goodness though, because I had a lot of work to do prepping for exams. I pretty much spend the entire day at the Coffee Shop stuffing my brain with facts about History of Art, while at the same time trying to start studying for French Literature. I stayed studying and gossiping until it was time for dinner, then went home to spend the night cozy in bed. I figured my liver would enjoy a break, plus I had 35+ slides of Art to memorize, so I hunkered down, did the work I had to do, and had a good nights rest.

Van Gogh

Across The River

Sunday, December 16th: Same old study grind, I’m sad to say (well, not sad — but it’s incredibly dull to write about). I spent more countless hours cramming historical art facts into my mind until I just couldn’t do it anymore. As a break, Richard, Hannah, her host sister and I all went to Tacos de Lyon for some kebab nomnoms, then to “the best” bakery in Grenoble (whose name I forget) where I bought some cookie fruit thing. It was pretty good, but considering I still had a broken retainer in my mouth, it probably wasn’t my greatest purchase.

After our food break, I realized that I needed to go home and be away from the internet in order to make any sort of progress, so I bid adieu to my friends and went back to the apartment to be productive. I figured that since I had already finished 50 Shades Darker, I wouldn’t have as many distractions; I was wrong. I still had Game of Thrones to finish so of course that became my first priority, teehee. Eventually, I did get around to studying enough to feel confident, but I had an oral exam early the next morning, so I went to bed before 22h00. Fiestaaa.


C’est La France


Wow. Okay everyone – first of all, I apologize for my lack of activity on this these last few weeks. I’ll try to recap all that I can, but it’s been a crazy time so I probably won’t recall all of it.

*Actually, I typed all of this up while I was still in Grenoble, but with the lack of internet I never got around to posting and finishing it. I’m still not caught up, but this seemed better than nothing for the time being. Also.. it’s my 100th post — I am appointing myself an honorary badge for that.*


As I sit here typing this, it’s my last day in Grenoble (Friday, 21/12/12), and I can’t quite absorb that idea yet. I think I may be numb to it, but that’s probably for the best. These past four months have been some of the greatest thus far in my life, and this has been an experience that I will never forget. Not only did I learn so much more about myself and travel to some unreal places, but also I met some of the best people on this trip, which is really what made the whole thing so unparalleled. We were (ARE) a crazy bunch, that is for sure, but I became close with some of the most unique and genuine people ever, and some of which will definitely remain friends. I can’t believe I will be leaving them; it’s painful to think about, but at least with all this technology, communication won’t be limited. We gave Grenoble, France a run for it’s money, and it definitely showed us a great ass time. A piece of me will forever be resting somewhere in Victor Hugo, awaiting my return.

What have I been doing, you ask? I’ll try and fill in as many gaps as possible:

Monday, December 3rd: School, blech. It was my last day of Culture and Society though, so that was at least a morsel of niceness. It was wayyy to long ago for me to remember what I did in the evening, but being the day after Rome and a Monday, I can deduce that I probably just went home, ate dinner, did some homework slash read 50 Shades of Grey and went to bed.

Tuesday, December 4th: Today was Carl’s birthday! I had the usual full drudging day of classes, unfortunately. After school though, I went home, ate dinner with Madeleine and sipped on some vino while finishing up 50 Shades! After my lovely accomplishment, I met up with Maddie, Ian, Carl and Max to celebrate Carl’s birthday at the one and only Subway. I was already a little buzzed from my celebration wine (whatever, when in France), so I think I only nursed one drink the whole night, kudos to me. I also was given this semi-gross cherry chocolate candy that has a pretty large amount of alcohol inside. We hung out at Subway for a solid amount of time, but I had a 8h30 class the next day, so I called it a night after the bar and went to bed.

Wednesday, December 5th: Hah. So, I had every intention of going to class, but I just couldn’t force myself to get out of my cozy, warm bed at 7h00. C’etait trop tot, et j’avait seulement one class on Wednesdays, so I skipped. Turns out I picked the best day to skip though, because we did nothing in class. So much so that my professor bought everyone coffee and they just hung out in the cafeteria.

I’m pretty sure after I peeled myself out of bed, I went and met up with Hannah at the coffee shop to do whatever. Once again, it was a very long time ago, so I can’t quite remember the details anymore. I do know though that after dinner, I went to Max’s to hang out while he prepped all his stuff for Florence and Rome. That’s about it for this day, though.

Thursday, December 6th: Finished up school for the week at 12h30, yippee! Unfortunately, I had to spend the majority of my afternoon copying down all my Culture and Society notes, since my exam was on Monday. It was a fun time, let me tell you.

After we logged a bunch of studying hours, I went home to drop off my stuff, then grabbed dinner at La Salsita and met up with a bunch of kids from my program for our soiree theatre. We saw this French film, called Populaire (je pense), which was about this small town girl from France who ended up being the best speed typewriter in the world. It was a romantic comedy, and I actually really enjoyed it. I was also very pleased with the fact that it was entirely in French, and I understood all of it minus a few instances. Three cheers for improving!

Once the movie was finished, those who were still in Grenoble felt the need to let loose (when don’t we have that urge, though?), and we instated a girls night. If I remember correctly, it was Hannah, Emily, Maddie, Ellisa, Evelyn and myself. We speed drank some wine/champagne in the foyer of my apartment with pure class and then walked around the corner to Subway to get some more liquor in our bloodstream, duh. We were a rowdy bunch of individuals this night, and Hannah and I become even crazier when a few kids from our class wound up at the same bar for our friend Jascha’s birthday. It was a fun time, and we were probably there for almost two hours. When we exhausted Subway, we changed the scenery and made our way to Couche Tard and were equally crazy. Fun things ensued, and I got to practice my French, that’s all I’m going to say. 😉

Friday, December 7th: Let’s just not talk about how exhausted everyone was after our night full of extravaganzas. Unfortunately being lazy all day wasn’t an option since we had that stupid exam to study for… mer. I spent my day at the French Coffee Shop with Emily, Maddie, Natasha and Hannah prepping for finals and draining our brains. Multiple breaks were taken. I was too beat to even think about going out that night, so I simply went home for dinner then hunkered down for the night to read 50 Shades Darker; I’m pretty sure I read close to half of it. Great success.

Saturday, December 8th: After a full night’s sleep, I was back at the coffee shop squeezing a few hours in before I went with Natasha, Maddie and Hannah to the Lyon Festival of Lights!!!! We took the 16hish train into Lyon, and hung out and enjoyed the festival in all its beauty until 23h30.


I think the entire population of France was crammed into Lyon that night… too many people. Don’t get me wrong, it was a grand experience and the lights were unreal, but it was just too crowded for my liking. You also had to pay for toilets, which is outrageous; so we just snuck into Quik’s. Another thing that was irksome about the festival was how poorly the map correlated to the city itself. We got lost a bunch of times, and it was almost impossible to figure out where you were. One would think for such a popular festival they would be more organized. No matter though, I had fun and got to see some crazy lights. Don’t forget to watch the insane video that I will most at some point in the near future.

CrazinessThat's A Building

The train ride took foreverrrr, and I didn’t crawl into bed until passed 1h00. It was freezing that night, so my cozy covers were more than appreciated.

Do DaLook Closely

Sunday, December 9th: I bet you can guess what I did all this day… that’s right: study. My electives here in France were tricky business. On one hand, it was very nice that I didn’t have homework for the entire semester, but at the same time… our final exams were 100% of our grade. How insane is that?! That’s not how we do it over in America, so needless to say I was massively stressing out for this exam. It was also extra important because I needed to pass the class (and History of Art) in order to get credit for one of my necessary classes for the European Studies major. I don’t think I had ever studied for an exam so much in my life… literally all weekend, blah!

After once again posting up in the coffee shop for hours on end, I went home to eat dinner, de-stress with 50 Shades and get a good night’s sleep before my exam. Eep.

Monday, December 10th: Had the normal class protocol from 10h40 to 12h30, then it was exam time, ew. I didn’t think it was that difficult. The one good thing is that these grades don’t get factored into my GPA, so I only need to get a 10/20 (that’s a C in France) on the exam to get credit for it. I am pretty positive I passed… if I didn’t I will be really angry and shocked, especially after all that studying I did.

Normally after I take an exam I am much more relaxed and just hang out for a little afterwards, but sadly this was not the case this time around. Classes were still in session, so directly after the exam we had to sit in History of Art for an hour and a half. It was not my idea of a good time, but it was the last time that class met, so that was a positive aspect of it.

I got home after class to find out my host mom was gone, so I was able to eat dinner while reading 50 Shades, which was a nice way to unwind. Afterwards I just hung out and putzed around for the night; it was all I could manage.

~~~~~ So, that’s all I had written down in my draft box. Looks like that’s all you’ll be getting for the moment. I don’t have too much on my agenda tomorrow so hopefully I’ll make some strides. Happy Holidays, Everyone! I know I’m a little late, but the good times should always be in session. ❤

Say Hello To The Girl That I Am


Let me just begin with the fact that on Monday when I updated my blog with pictures and stories from Marseille I got over 200 views… WAHWAHWEEWAH. Keep up the good intrigue, my little turtle doves.

So now to pick up where I left off. The rest of Monday (24/9/12 à yes, I am using French-style dates. Deal with it) was the same old. I tried playing chess with my computer and got repeatedly owned, lame. My host mom was on a trip from Monday-Wednesday so I had the house to myself Monday night, which was pretty sweet. It’s significantly less scary being home alone when you’re in a tiny apartment. No places for booger monsters to hide. Would be better with a dog, but alas…

Tuesday, September 25th: The evil long school day, meh. Had class at 8:30 so unfortunately I had to wake up early. Lamesauce. I stayed on campus until my classes were done at 5:30 and made the trek home, where I thoroughly became exhausted. My host mom was still away, so I had an early dinner (I got to actually cook, yay! Except I was craving breakfast food, so I whipped up an omelet and some home fries, nomnomnom) and was snuggled up in bed by 9:00pm. I think I was still recovering from the epic weekend in Marseille, so I embraced sleep like the friend it is. Very exciting life I led on this day, I am aware.

Wednesday, September 26th: Basically this was the start of the weekend for me (kind of, not really.. but close enough). Since I switched out of my cinema class, I only had one class from 8:30-10:20am, yeah boiii. Today I came to the conclusion that my professor, Dominique, is an amazing man. Due to the fact that I had minimal class, I brought my hula-hoop to campus with me, and of course Dominique was intrigued (he already knows I hoop, but hasn’t actually seen it before). So before class started he asked if I would be willing to perform a little hoop love for the class at the end of the period. Of course I said yes, after all, it is “hoop dancing”, and dances are meant to be seen by audiences. Plus, who am I to deprive my classmates from around the world (mostly they are all Asians) a little unique entertainment? So, pretty much, we had class until about 10:00 – where we mostly talked about marriages in different cultures – and then Dominique gave us chocolate bars (we completed a crossword puzzle, and that was our reward. They had hazelnuts inside, yUuUuMm) and then I was asked to do some hoop dancing. He had my fellow classmates move the tables close to the wall so I had enough room to bop around, and then I played my “hooping playlist” and went to town… all the while conversing with Dominique in French! Needless to say, I felt pretty damn fabulous; the fact that about 70% of the kids were snapping pictures of me didn’t hurt, either. Three cheers for being weirdly cool.

Once class was over, Mike and I headed to the API office; he had to ask Anna a question, and I went to retrieve my unicorn necklace – YESSS. I was kind of an airhead and left my brand new clay/rubber unicorn pendant in the hotel, but I gave them some euros and they mailed it to the API office for me. Happily reunited with my sweet pendant, we went back to the main area of campus where I did some research for my next big trip. I think I decided on Dublin/Galway for the weekend of October 18th. So souped! Nothing is solidified yet, but a big group of us want to go, so I’m 90% certain this is going to go down. I continued with my research until Emily was finished with class, and we met up with Mike in Centre Ville for some non-campus food. Let me tell you, we hit the gold mind. For real. We ate lunch at a place called Burger & Ciel – soooo good (Natasha and Maddie wound up running into us there, too), and they give a 10% discount to students, so I got an awesomely delicious chicken burrito, some fries, and a drink for 7. That place is dangerous though, especially since I got one of those punch cards where you get a prize/free food after you get 10 punches. Yup, looks like we will be going back there. Souvent.

After dinner, Natastha told us about this coffee shop –French Coffee Shop, how original – that was close by, so of course we had to stop in, considering I am a coffeehouse professional thanks to DIG and my column over the summer (which reminds me, I am being terrible with writing for DIG and The Pendulum so far aka, I haven’t at all; I’ll make that a goal for this weekend). This coffeehouse was fantastic. I got a noix de coco milkshake. Haha, funny language barrier moment: I was under the impression that noix de coco was dark chocolate for some reason, but after I ordered Natasha said it was coconut, which I totally should have known, but it was delicious regardless. The shop also had free wifi, which for me is basically the same as winning the lottery due to my non-interweb state of life, so I will most definitely be going back there again. That, and the fact that it had a really nice, young atmosphere and I was able to write a 300-mot French paper during my stay. I love doing homework in cozy, public places like that.

Unfortunately, the weather was shwagu, and the skies decided to open up and pour down on us, all night. I had planned on hooping some in Victor Hugo but the skies rained on my parade (teehee, punny), so instead I went home, showered and finished the book I started last week: Divine By Choice by P.C. Cast. I have officially run out of books I brought over from the states (I finished Game of Thrones last week, and am officially suffering from George R. R. Martin withdrawal. There are no English bookstores around here, so if someone would be so kind as to ship the 4th novel of the series to me at Azure Giroux/Madeleine Gandit, mailbox 14, 7 rue Aubert Dubaye, Grenoble, France 38000, you will be my best friend for ever and ever. But really. {Just kidding guys! I found the fourth game of thrones today at a bookstore in english (!!!) but still feel free to send me books, i won’t hate it.} So yeah, I finished my book, took a little walk in the rain, and went to bed before 22h00, winner winner chicken dinner.

Thursday, September 27th: Due to the fact I went to bed so early, my body refused to sleep in, so I was up and moving by like 8h30. I thought about running, but then I decided to get to campus early and hula hoop beforehand. Yeahhh, I think I may be addicted to my hoop, it’s all good. On the tram, the cutest service dog ever was there, and he broke character for a minute to sniff my hoop. Lurve it.

After class was done the decision was made that Emily, Nina and I are going to ROME, yeahhhh. I booked my ticket, and we’re going November 29th – December 2nd, annnnd Nina’s friend is studying there, so we don’t even have to book a hostel! Round trip to Rome was like 85 euro, so this is already making out to be an amazing (and cheap) trip. Three cheers! Post-ticket purchasing, I skyped with my parents for a little while on campus — and then Emily, Nina and I instated Kebab Thursday. Soooo dank-a-lank. After we gorged ourselves on delicious street meat, Nina and I bought our tickets for the Strange Carnival that is going down next weekend in Grenoble.

It’s going to be a weekend full of amazingness: there is a free concert on Wednesday, another concert on Thursday, then our API group is going to the Caves in Grenoble on Friday, and the carnival is Saturday; it’s okay to be jealous, guys =) You are all here in spirit. I love how there is always something going on here though, it’s wonderfully fantabulous.

After we purchased our ticket, the three of us munched down on some delicious gateaux(s) and then went and hung out in Victor Hugo for a little, but eventually Nina and Emily went home and I stayed for like three hours and hung out/chilled and hooped, providing entertainment for my fellow Grenoblois (I think that’s what people from Grenoble are called?). Eventually I tired out, went home and had some tasty Quinoa/Fish/Vegetable dish and salad and bread and cheese… in typical French fashion; ’twas tasty. After dinner, Max, Maddie, Natasha and I met up and made our way to Heather’s to start the night off. We got a little swilly, and some stuff went down (it doesn’t directly involve me, so I’m not at liberty to talk about it), and I ended up getting home around 2. Post-Heathers we kind of just walked drunkenly around Grenoble, and a big chunk of the group went to a club, I think. I wasn’t really in the mood to dance around, so I opted for my cozy bed.

Friday, September 28th: Todayyyy. I woke up around 9h00, had some breakfast and lamped around the apartment for a bit, but I had too much energy to just hang around. So now I’m here, in the park, with my hoop and blogging for you splendid people. The weekend is only just beginning, and some good things are planned, so stay tuned! Stay pretty =)