Saturday, 23 February 2013

The land of fairytales

There was no blog yesterday due to a migraine that sat right behind my left eye and threatened to pop it clean out of its socket. That may not actually be how migraines work - I'm no Dr House - but that's certainly how it felt, and I went to bed with a heavy heart. The next day I was due to go to Disney, but with pain that severe I knew I'd have to cancel - and bringing two friends down from Le Havre and then abandoning them would have been awfully rude. Thankfully, with my alarm (summer storm today, completely surreal but very pleasant to wake to) came clarity and renewed vigour; energy, not agony, coursed through my brain. I had breakfast, I got dressed, and I checked the weather.

"Ressentie" means "feels like". "-10ºC" means "You ought to wear a coat, dumbass"
I confess a small problem of mine is that I sometimes overestimate my tolerance for things. These things include, but are not limited to, alcohol, cheese and the cold. As a result, I put an undershirt on, buttoned another over the top, threw on a suit jacket and attached a gift to it and made my way into the cold. The bus arrive quickly, and although it felt nippy, I assumed it would warm up - the sun would shine, the cloud would burn off, and Disneyland would twinkle and sparkle in the light.

Being wrong once is bad luck. Being wrong twice is indicative, but being wrong three times is a good sign that you are not as smart a cookie as you'd like to think. The short version, for those who believe that brevity is the soul of wit, it was exceedingly cold and, despite having got back 90 minutes ago, I have only just regained sufficient fine motor ability to tap this out.

I've also taken on another two students because their father called me when I was tired and freezing, and it was easier to just agree than to turn him down and then explain why. So my week now looks like this:

Not pictured: free time
So that's my week ahead. Frightening. But exciting! New students are younger still, 7 and 9 (I think, the connection was abysmal, if it turns out they're 70 and 90 it'll be interesting for a different set of reasons) so I can foresee this being a real challenge. I'm going to aim for 50-50 English-French teaching and will need to start looking at more detailed lesson plans to really hold small children's attention. If anyone has any advice, I'd really appreciate it.

So: my friends, it seems, slept incredibly badly - no more than five hours sleep between the pair of them. We had to make an emergency stop at Starbuck's before a brisk walk to the RER station Auber. The RER A goes pretty much directly through Paris East-West, and although it's faster than the Metro, it still took us around 45 minutes to get out to Marne-la-Valée and DisneyLand Resort Paris.

It started snowing on the way, big, thick, perfect flakes of snow. This was to become a recurrent theme.

We arrived and were at once struck by how cold it was. At no point did we swear, because Disney never has swearing. Even when lions are being thrown to their deaths by Jeremy Irons (warning: all the sads), and you'd think that at least merits an f-word. Minimum. So there was no swearing at all, all day, even when mentioning how extraordinarily, finger-blackening, blood-freezingly cold it was. We made a game effort and went around every part of the park, tagging the Teacups and Indiana Jones on the way round. We were hampered in our efforts to get onto the more exciting rides because other people were willing to stand in line for 80 minutes to get on them, and we don't have that sort of determination. We were all far too cold.

We broke for lunch in a gigantic theatre and half-watched several of the incredible shorts Disney/Pixar have made. If you've not seen them yet, then here's a lovely little one from Wall-E to get you started.

We all know that feeling.

In any case, by five in the afternoon we were just about ready to crash - trotting around on no sleep in the freezing cold had ground us steadily down, and we made for the train station. Before long we were zooming back through the snow, falling even heavier now, and dragging our weary selves into the station. I said goodbye to my friends, who looked as dead on their feet as me, and made my way by metro and then by bus back home.

The bus, being a bus sent by Satan, stopped half a mile from my flat. That's not far, but in the state of mind where all one wants to do is sit in the warm and drink tea that half mile stretched far, far ahead of me. And blew snow in my face.

In any case, I've made it home. My laundry is on, my alarm is set, and my 7-day week starts again in 10 hours, so if anyone needs me, I'll be the one passed out in bed and not snoring. 

I hope.