Monday, October 29, 2012

"Ti Pa Ti Pa..."

Another week on the island, and things continue to come together!  Although I'm still getting settled into a routine, I have taken note of one routine that's started to form:

- Wake up
- Drink coffee
- Put on my SPF 100 to go outside
- Get mocked incessantly for putting on SPF 100
- Burn anyway
- Use aloe like the sweet, sweet drug that it is
- Repeat

Irish heritage.  It's a great time.

Aaaanyway, I'll jump right ahead and explain the title of this post, which is my favorite Creole phrase ever.   It's been awhile since I've done a linguistics adventure in my blog, so here ya go.  "Ti pa Ti pa" is derived from the French "petites pattes, petites pattes," which means, "little paws, little paws."  It's basically a way of saying "little by little... things fall into place."  But you have to imagine a cute little puppy trying to walk paw after paw to get the full effect of this phrase :P

Actually, you should probably imagine this exact puppy.  My friend Cara found this lil stud as a newborn in her yard and we spent all weekend playing with him.  Currently experiencing really painful puppy withdrawal.  Just look at his lil ears waaaaah

Can't lie to you though, this week's been a kicker.  Probably my hardest one yet.  Here's a recap:

On the plus side, my first day of teaching was absolutely incredible.  My kids were engaged, hilarious, and perfect.  I spent the day being asked about whether Mitt Romney was a member of the Illuminati, getting grilled on the American electoral college (538 votes guys, I'll never forget again!) and passing around my $1 bill, which the kids decided to sniff to see if it smelled like America (they assured me that it did not, and were hugely disappointed).  It was a fantastic - albeit very election-themed - time and I wish I could remember more of the specifics to share.

In terms of my classes, every single class is unique in its own right.  I have quite a spectrum, with plenty of differences in language ability and motivation from class to class.  In one class, I had a kid ask me if I was taught evolution or creationism in school.  Anyone else remember being that astute at age 16?  Pretty sure I was more worried about makeup and boys than religious influence in the public school system.  Questions like that kinda make me want to cry happy, happy tears of joy for humanity, actually.

Seeing the kids out of class is even better; I get plenty of waves and smug expressions followed by a thickly accented, "Hello, how are you!" in the hallways, and one of my girls even yelled "I love you Bridget!" from down the hall this morning.  We'll see what happens when I have to start giving them grades, but for now, it's really awesome.

My favorite moment BY FAR had to have been today, though, when I ended up spending 20 minutes discussing the negative effects of marijuana with a group of boys in my class. ("Legalize it, don't criticize it, Madame!" I was subsequently reprimanded... :P) After school, I was sauntering down to my bus stop.  I happened to stumble upon the same group of boys standing in a circle next to the stop, who happened to be smoking something that I can assume pretty safely wasn't a cigarette... mostly because as soon as they saw me, their faces suddenly bore these identical horrified expressions and they took off running down the street.

Tomorrow's gonna be fun.

Anyway, Monday night after my oh-so-wonderful day, I got violently, violently ill.  Like, run-to-the-bathroom-and-retch-to-the-heavens-every-30-minutes ill.  After this continued for 7-8 hours, my landlady appeared at the doorway to my porcelain hideout and told me we were going to the doctor.  So at 3:00 a.m. we journeyed down to the clinic, where the doctor did the following: assured me that I didn't have appendicitis, took my blood pressure and gave me anti-nausea pills (which I then threw up immediately after leaving the office), then told me I owed him 700 euros.  Excellent.  Because I didn't have French Social Security, my landlady offered to pay for me and have me pay her back.  I was sick and poor and wanted to die.

I was bedridden until Thursday.  But apparently, thankfully, being sick also makes me terrible at French.  Because when I thought the doctor had said 700 euros, he had really said 67.  Derp.  So, at least I'm no longer as poor as I thought.  Thursday morning, however, was another beautiful adventure... after missing two buses and arriving in a breathless frenzy at my visa appointment (the one REALLY IMPORTANT appointment you can't miss here) I stood at the door of the Immigration Office with a giant CLOSED sign staring down at me.  Cool, bureaucrats.  You gave me an appointment on a day that you're closed.  So instead of finally having my visa approved and happily frolicking legally down the streets of Saint Denis, I spent all day lying in my bed, hating the world, trying my hand at really emotional poetry (you have no idea how much I wish I were kidding), wondering why the French don't want me to stay on Reunion.

And of course, ti pa ti pa.  Friday I went back to the office, explained my situation, and everything went off without a hitch.

As I'm writing this post, I'm realizing that this week really wasn't bad at all.  Because between those horrible and stressful moments, I also:

- Swam in the incredibly clear and perfect water of Bassin Bleu this weekend, which is straight up the bluest water I've ever seen (pictures coming when I steal them from Bruce)

- Went to an ab fab restaurant called "Oncle Sam" (yeah, I died too) where they serve about a million types of Samoussas, a Reunionnais delicacy, in addition to hamburgers and fries

- Bought a tuna sandwich for an elderly Mauritian woman named Beronique at the bus stop, who told me that she liked my kind heart and blue eyes, and who gave me four very enthusisastic and loving bisous after I'd known her for 20 minutes

- Taught my kids the phrase 'elephant in the room,' which resulted in a couple of elephant impersonations and a lot of accusing people of sleeping with other people's relatives (an excellent example how one poorly chosen hypothetical can turn against you, I guess)

- Continued to learn random creole phrases

- Laughed.  My God, I laughed so much this week.

Basically, It's becoming increasingly clear to me that I'm falling in love with this place... ti pa ti pa. :)

1 comment:

  1. i want to go to oncle sam; take me sometime!! where is it?