La boîte de nuit

The best English mistake I’ve come across so far: the nightbox. Sample usage: Vincent: “So, class, what did you do this weekend?” Student: “Zees weekend, I go to zee nightbox. I have drink lot.” Nightbox is simply a too-literal (yet somehow wonderful) translation of la boîte de nuit (nightclub). Since, according to their accounts, my students’ lives are primarily occupied by two activities — (1) drinking and (2) sleeping — if I can get them to talk correctly about those things, I’ll have to consider it a success.

Repas américain

Since I haven’t updated the blog in ages you may or may not be aware that I recently moved into a Foyer de jeunes travaillers (young workers’ residence) in Pau, France, a medium-sized city about 50 km from where I teach. The foyer has collective dinners during the week and last week, the residents asked me if I could lead them in making a typical American dinner, which we did tonight. I found recipes, translated them into French, then went grocery shopping with one of the animateurs (youth coordinators). After that, everyone chipped in to help cook. It took a …

L’Automne au lycée

Fall is here in southern France. Of the past eight days, about six have been filled with variations on the same kind of rain, a gusty, vivacious rain that says “Come out and play!” and I would, but it’s cold, windy, and freaking raining. During a brief break in the weather near sunset last week, I took some photos of the Cité Scolaire where I live and work. Here’s a view of the entrance, or in other words, the place where the French kids hang out and smoke: The track and the cafeteria, with dorms behind. Since some students come …

La Course Landaise

The Course Landaise is a bloodless form of bullfighting that is very popular in Southern France, particularly in the Gascony region. The Championnat de France of the Course Landaise was held this year at the Arena of Mont-de-Marsan on October 3. I went to watch. When I say bloodless, I mean — it’s bloodless for the cows (the Course Landaise uses cows, not bulls, although they’re still horned and hefty). It’s a little bit like bowling: the cows are the bowling balls, and the humans are the pins. The festivities start off with a ceremony featuring people in traditional dress …

J’ai un vélo

Yes, yes, I’ve been terrible about posting since arriving in France. Anyway, I’m in Bordeaux for the weekend, and I bought a bike. Actually, one of the teachers at school had already loaned me a bike, but it didn’t fit me at all — although there’s no denying its bright purple/violet color was quite stylish. But I’m very happy with this new one! It’s a perfect practical bike for France — fenders, luggage rack, the works.

Bienvenue en France!

Time to start posting… I’ve been in France for almost two weeks. I’ve moved into my apartment in Aire sur l’Adour. But I haven’t posted anything on the blog yet, and now it feels like there’s an overwhelming amount of things to write about. So here is a first post to take the pressure off. Look, a pretty picture of Mont-de-Marsan, France!

Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center

It may sound like the dying scream of a Western gunslinger, but SARJKCCC is actually the new 52,000 square foot community center that the Salvation Army is building on Division Street next to Yankie Stadium. This location will be familiar to many volunteers as the former home of the large Salvation Army dome, which was dismantled in September 2009. According to WLOX, the facility will include “a full-size gymnasium, dance and aerobics studio, and weight and fitness rooms with all sorts of cardio and exercise equipment.” It will also have an indoor swimming area with a two-story water slide, splash …

Two weeks to go: A Baudoin family vacation

My younger brothers Nico and Philip came down this weekend to visit before I leave Biloxi, so we did a two-day whirlwind tour that also allowed me to cross a few things off my Gulf Coast bucket list. If you’re ever on the Gulf Coast for just two days, this wouldn’t be a bad way to spend it. We spend Friday in New Orleans, where we visited a few restaurants that had been highly recommended, including Elizabeth’s for lunch (try the praline bacon) and Crescent Pie and Sausage Company for dinner (excellent pizza). We saw the Lower Ninth Ward’s Pittzravaganza …

One month to go!

With one month to go in Biloxi, it’s time to make a list of things to do before I leave. Consider this a best-of-the-Gulf-Coast bucket list. Another weekend bike trip from Biloxi to New Orleans and back. Bike the Tammany Trace on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain and stop by Abita Springs for another brewery tour. Bike part of the Natchez Trace, which through Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee. Go fishing… somewhere away from all the oil. Eat at The Shed. Best barbecue on the coast. Have another avocado-almond bubble tea and curry chicken po-boy at Le Bakery. Visit Lazy …