Friday, September 14, 2012


Remember how I said I've had a fair amount of ups and downs since coming here? Well, it turns out that getting a master's in French teaching is a great way to prepare for teaching French, but it doesn't exactly translate (oh yes, I'm just that punny) to teaching other subjects... End result: I've got the French classes going really well, but I'm struggling to get other things off the ground. Surprisingly, though, the second easiest class to teach is actually math--a weird thing for an erstwhile English major to say!

Anyway, the hardest part about being thrown into the world of governessing is that establishing a rapport with two "tweenage" boys is not an easy task. But the other day, I had a breakthrough...

Thinking that we all needed a little more adventure in our lives, I decided that we would go for a little walk after finishing our science lesson. During my own rambles a few days before, I'd come across an interesting old house that looked abandoned and yet safe enough to explore. I hadn't been gutsy enough to get close to it by myself, though, so I decided this would be a perfect location to enlist some curious boys!

It was a beautifully overcast day, and the path around the side of the recently dubbed "haunted" house was covered in giant slugs. On a side note, I have to say that if you've only ever seen the little goobers that hang out in Utah, you have never truly seen a slug! Tiptoeing around their fat, orange bodies is an adventure in itself since most of them are as long as my hand.

As we passed an incredibly vine-covered car (which you can see peeking out of the bushes in the photo) and glanced up towards cobweb-coated windows, I started feeling increasingly tense. Here I was, just over a week out in my new job, already leading the kids astray on some potentially dangerous exploit... As we rounded the corner of the L-shaped building, we realized that the lawn had been recently mowed--perhaps even that day. Near one of the side entrances, we also saw a few pots of well-tended flowers and spotted a satellite dish jutting out of the side of the wall. That was when I really felt bad--obviously, someone actually lived in this insanely rundown place!

I suggested to the boys that we'd better head out--not wanting to be caught trespassing on someone's property--but they weren't easy to pull away. It was honestly too strange that the house was so completely dilapidated and yet still had small signs of current residents. Then, half hidden by an enormous chestnut tree, I saw a pair of legs! Being already tense and wanting to leave, I was suddenly transformed into a 12-year-old version of myself and I took off running, with the boys following close behind. When we thought we were safely away from whoever was in the yard, we suddenly heard a door opening to our left. Without even thinking, we made a mad dash away from the house and down the gravel pathway, not looking back until we were about a quarter mile away.

And that was when my adult brain returned... I was so embarrassed! It wasn't as though we were punk kids out to vandalize the place. All I had to do was apologize to whoever came out of that door and explain that we were just curious--we probably would have received some sort of explanation that would have shed light on the uninhabitable condition of the house! Fortunately, though, the boys LOVED it! They were genuinely scared and thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing. Three days later, they still talk about my reaction and laugh about it. And the best part of all? They were nearly angelic during their lessons today. As for me, I guess I'm starting to figure out how to gain respect from pre-teens...


  1. Ma Soeur your a great writer, I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I probably would have run away too. :) Great story.

  3. That story is too funny! I am glad the math part is going well. It is actually pretty easy to set up lesson plans because everything builds on each other. I guess that is why I like it!

  4. You should go back. I think there was something I saw in a movie about this girl in France that goes into a house and ends up becoming a slave to this hairy dude. Except then they fall in love and get married and he's not all hairy anymore. Something about a magic spell being broken...that or he got hot. I'm really not sure.

    My point is that maybe true love is waiting for you there in the form of a deceivingly attractive hairy dude who's belongings wander around singing because they have nothing better to do.

    1. Holy cow, Halee! When I read the first part of that, I was super confused. Now, I just realize you are TOTALLY AWESOME! :D