Tag Archive | France

Maths and Me

Maths and I have never exactly been best friends. How can I put this… ¬†I am to math as Tim Tebow is to the position of QB (another example: I am to math like Taylor Swift is to relationships.)

Yeah, it’s that rough. I mean I’ve never had a problem with it in in of itself until the 8th grade. My parents always made me learn the notions in advance so that I wouldn’t then have any problems in class; it’s sort of as if they predicted my future math problems ūüėČ In 8th grade I missed several months of school and when I came back I realized that math no longer came easily to me and that I actually had to work, hard, to understand the notions. And of course, as a naturally lazy person, I didn’t like having to work to achieve my goals.

Last year I changed schools to come to the EABJM, where I am now. I quickly realized (through miserably failing my first test) that the level of my supposedly good school was nothing compared to what I was encountering here. In France we have 3 sections, S, ES and L and quite basically the people who have an average of 8/20 in math are not supposed to do the scientific program. Unfortunately it’s the only way to become a doctor so I’m forcing myself through it. I am the reason why there are too many people in my section and class. Am I making any sense at all? Ugh, I’m soooo tired.

So now I’m taking private lessons with a teacher from the school and while I silently curse my old junior high for screwing up my mathematics education I nod and repeat what she tells me. Then, on Tuesday, I saw math in a whole new light thanks to her. I’ve always seen it as a very concrete thing: the numbers on the board, the formulas to follow religiously. Suddenly it dawned on me:¬†all of this was invented!¬†In Ancient Whatever some dude sat down and said “I decree that 2+2=4. Also, because I’m too bored to think of anything else, 2√ó2 also equals 4. Bam, mathematicianed.” They say you don’t have a lot of imagination if you practice math as a living¬†(do they? Really¬†CT?)¬†but that’s in reality excrements of an uncircumsized male cow! Suddenly the numbers were jumping off the board in front of my eyes, dancing in perfect unison. It was magical. Of course when I recounted this to my best friend she asked if I was high, at which point I responded that I couldn’t remember, which probably wasn’t the best thing to answer.

I’m still struggling past the domain of algorithms but I hope that now it’ll get a little bit easier. [My inner voice is telling me to prepare myself for disappointment]. But hey, if math is hard, so is life. I’ll just have to deal accordingly.

I can’t help but think of how ironic this whole situation is, seeing as how my dad is a mathematician who’s official title is “director of numerical algorithms”. Huh, didn’t see that one coming did you? You did? Oh, well then.

Live long and prosper \V/

Yours sincerely,

The Mostly Confused Teenager.

PS: I haven’t posted in two days! Aaaaaaaaaah the daily blogging ritual is broken!

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Parents Dialogue #1

Mom: So I had this weird dream last night…

Dad, keeping eyes focused on book: Hmm…

Mom: I was walking down the street and where there’s normally that big pothole there was a giant sparkling emerald lake with icy silver polar bears diving into it.

Dad, perks up and glances at her: Were there by any chance purple flamingos present as well?

Mom, surprised: Yes, yes there were!

Dad: I love you..

Mom: I love you too.

CT: ?!

 

Live long and prosper \V/

Yours sincerely,

The Mostly Confused Teenager.

SWAG

I have a problem with the word SWAG. In my biased teenagery opinion (I know it’s not a word, don’t patronize me for it) it is one of the most overused, silly words in the history of the past few years (I was going to go for the history of the Universe but then I thought about ‘whisternefet’ (meaning a sharp slap) and decided otherwise).

From a little research project on what my grandparents call “the Google” I found out that the term is an acronym for ‘Secretly We Are Gay’ that originated in the 1960s. The more common explanation to the word is that it’s a cooler way of saying ‘swagger’. Now personally I find that swagger is a very swag cool word in in of itself but there you go, today’s youth seems to think otherwise. Oh dear I sound like an elderly person bitching about the screwed up ways of the younger generations.

Most of the people that use SWAG (that I know of anyways) are deluded kids who think that they control their world and have an annoyingly arrogant demeanor and who don’t have any idea of the meaning.

Example 1:

“- YO DAWWWG, I ate Nutella by the spoon last week and now I’ve gained two pounds and my face has broken out.

– SWAAAAG”

Example 2:

“- I heard that they found horse meat in those ‘beef’ lasagnas that we get sometimes!

– Sh*t man, that is so SWAG.”

NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NOOOOOOOOOOOO.

And so, while I wallow in the desperation of hearing my little brother call his hat super SWAG, I’ll wait for someone to explain to me the utility of such a word. My Dad for example, claiming that the term is not cool enough for his liking, goes around saying it backwards. GAWS dudes, GAWS.

Live long and prosper \V/

Yours sincerely,

The Mostly Confused Teenager

PS: I¬†really don’t know if SWAG is meant to be written all in cap locks, so forgive me if it seems like I’m shouting!

Why so tired?

Great, now I have the Joker’s creepy face stuck in my head. The answer; ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, is quite simple: having done nothing for the past two months, the littlest thing that I do tires me out, and going around in a whirlwind of classes and birthday activities, I am thourougly exhausted. Yes, my laziness has doomed mes, and that’s why when it was ten of one last night, I felt as if it was four.

Going back to school or to work is like going through jetlag all over again. Of course if you’re smart you’ll go to sleep early even when you have nowhere to be the next morning, but that’s not my thing. Not the being smart part, the going to bed early. YOU UNDERSTAND! Sorry if I’m yelling and not making much sense, I’m incredibly tired. And so, without further ado, I will sayyyffdxxzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz¬†(oops, fell asleep on the keyboard, sorry)¬†have a good sleepy time –> I can’t say nighttime because it might be 11 am when you read this, in which case I apologize for any depression you may encounter after having read this post and thought about sleep.

Live long and prosper \V/

Yours sincerely,

The Mostly Confused Teenager.

PS: thanks to all of you who wished me a happy birthday, it means a lot!

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes *voice breaks*

Cookies :D

Cookies ūüėÄ

Sit back and listen to the tale of CT’s search for the Holy Grail. Um, wait no that’s not what I wanted to say, I’ve gotten too poetic-like after yesterday’s post. I meant “sit back and listen to the tale of CT’s botched birthdays”. See, it doesn’t even rhyme.

Ever since I was a little girl I’ve loved my birthday; it was always a day where I was the queen and I got to eat cake and open presents. I got a special birthday dinner, which, let’s face it, always consisted of pizza and everyone was happy, or at least pretended to be. I remember that my dad, who drove us the half an hour to school every morning, always fighting with me on whether it was better to have the windows open or the air conditioning on. Since he had control of the car he consistently won that battle, but on the week of my birthday, as a special present, I got to roll down all the windows and ride with my hair flying in the wind.

As I grew up things slowly changed, not only circumstances but people. I moved to Paris and those big birthday dinners weren’t really possible anymore. I still get to choose what I want but it has to be able to fit into our tiny microwave-oven which greatly limits the possibilities. My little brother and I evolved into teenagers and suddenly there was no assurance of a good mood on the special day. And then last year it all went south¬†(I mean literally, the EABJM is south).

On the 5th of September 2012, 15 years after I was born, I found myself standing awkwardly in the midst of crowds of students who all already knew each other. It was sophomore year, the first day of school, and I was alone. I found the other new kids and started to panic when I realized that I was the only stranger in the group (–>Stranger Danger). I thought that maybe they all came for the same school but it was soon explained to me that there had been a meeting that all of the new students had attended, except for me. I wasn’t invited. Finally the headmistress (mistress of the head, sounds weird) got around to dividing us up into classes. Guess who’s name was never called and was left sitting on the cold hard gymnasium floor by herself? YES, it was me. If you guessed right, have a cookie, if you guessed wrong, do a math excercise. Mouhahaha I feel so evil,¬†oh dear I’m choking.¬†The result of this was that I went in late to my class and everyone stared at me. I tried awkwardly waving and they stared even more. It was a tough crowd. When it came time to pick up our school books, they didn’t have, of course, mine. When I told my French/homeroom teacher that I wouldn’t have my French book the next day she told me to either have it or get detention. I felt like crying. Luckily one girl saw my pathetic surface as worthy friend material and took me under her wing, although she talked so fast I couldn’t understand a single word she was saying. She’s now one of my best friends ever. All afternoon I buzzed around trying to find a way to get my books, which I eventually did. I’m just glad that that birthday didn’t serve as an example for the following year.

Yesterday, after my first (incredibly stressful) first day of school, when I got back to my apartment, my parents pounced on me and started singing happy birthday, they then asked if I wanted my presents right away or later. Looking at them in incomprehension, it dawned on me that they had gotten my birthday wrong. Frickin’ fantastic.

Now it’s early morning in France, and it’s officially my birthday. Happy Sweet Sixteen CT, let’s make it a good one.

Live long and prosper \V/

Yours sincerely,

The (finally 16 years old) Mostly Confused Teenager.

 

The Magic of an Accent

When I was singing Tubthumping/I Get Knocked down (weird name, weird lyrics but horribly catchy) earlier today I noticed that I was adapting my voice so that I sang with a British accent. Now I think it’s important to understand that I have a stereotypical American accent, without any twists. I’m not sure what part of the United States it comes from, although I’m guessing that it’s a mix of New York, Boston and San Francisco, transmitted to me via my obliging parents.

Yet even being an American teenager living in Paris I still find a foreign accent perfectly thrilling to listen to. It sounds exotic and exciting and because of the whole “the grass is greener on the other side” thing, I always tend to think that foreigners are, in general, better people than the ones I find here.

Here are a couple of the accents that I, in a rather clichéd fashion, adore the most.

#1 : French

I’m putting French first more in loyalty to my country than anything else, but it still means that I’ll be able to fire a quick retort at any snarky politician who accuses expats of not being patriotic enough. Not that that will ever happen per say, but you can never be too sure. French is known as the language of love, and for a visitor, a visibly distraught French citizen struggling to make you understand that the rind on a Saint Nectaire cheese can be eaten safely is extraordinarily sexy.

#2 : British

My friends and I have this ‘game’ where we walk around for a couple hours speaking only with British accents, holding our pinky fingers up and holding our heads so high that they are in danger of being permanently stuck that way; the position is so uncomfortable. And yet melting down the entire population of the UK into one accent and attitude is seriously fun, though I can’t figure out why for the life of me. Then there’s the guys. There is nothing hotter than a boy speaking with a sophisticated sounding British voice. Once again, why? Once again, no idea. All I know is that I have this preconceived idea that any British boy will be willing to sit and listen patiently to my whining while offering me tea and crumpets as opposed to an American boy who would probably (and rightly) tell me to f*ck the hell off. So British boy, come to CT. Ugh, that sounded weird.

#3 : Canadian

This one I’m pretty certain came more from How I Met Your Mother than anywhere else, so in reality I’m not sure how life-like it is, so to all my Canadian readers, I am sincerely sourry if I am putting forth a false portrayal of your wonderful accent. The Canadian accent is awesome because you can hear it in both languages: English and French. I have a friend who speaks (French) with a Canadian accent and in that Canadian way, not exactly wording things the way that we would or saying things that make sense to us. Nonetheless, whether it’s in French or in English, the Canadian accent is delightful because it’s familiar and yet very different at the same time.

So now that I have successfully degraded three accents, I will go to bed and read aboot a lady who kills her psychoanalyst for the sole reason that he annoys her. Aaaaah, summer reading in high school…

Live long and prosper \V/

Yours sincerely,

The Mostly Confused Teenager.

Paris by Night

Paris. A legendary city, in more ways than one. I assume that if you’re in a couple, walking through the “City of Love” at night under the twinkling streetlights on the small cobblestone alleys may seem very romantic, but since I am forever alone, I can calmly say 1) keep your mushy feelings to yourself, they make me quite jealous and 2) it’s a lot scarier when you’re all by yourself and those twinkling streetlights look like they’re winking creepily at you.

When I was little I was, like most kids, afraid of the dark. Thinking back this may have been due to the excessive amount of Calvin and Hobbes that I read before bed, where the whole “monsters under the bed” thing scared the sh*t out of me. As I grew up in Normandy I slowly conquered my fear of the black void that filled the room when my mom turned out the lights. I started being able to go outside all by myself and soon discovered the magnificence of Normandy/the countryside at night, the stars shining down on me reassuringly, the dog at my side. With no neighbors, there was never any threat, any danger.

Paris proved to be a very different experience (dare I say, duh? No? Okay then). I couldn’t see the stars anymore, there were no more familiar constellations guiding me, only the cold eery glow of electricity. For the first few years I didn’t know much of Paris at night, being occupied mostly by being awesome too young. But now, a junior in high school, I’m allowed to go out and only come back around 1 am. My family, being too busy with stuff like yelling at each other for no good reason, doesn’t care if I don’t come back for the night at all. As for coming to get me so I won’t have to make the journey alone? No way. Confronted with this apparent lack of caring, I started fending for ME and walking myself home.

Nonetheless, it’s spooky to watch all of your friends leave with their parents in safe warm cars and knowing that you have to walk all the way home, your awful (they really are terrible) self-defense skills being the only thing keeping you from potentially being mugged. And of course the only story you can think of is of the girl who got mugged on your street a few years back.

As I left my friend’s tonight, I shivered slightly even though the temperature was still high, and set off at a brisk walk through the deserted streets, trying to look (and feel) confident. I’ve become pretty paranoid, despite all of my attempts to be calm. Every person that I cross is immediately perceived as a threat, at which point I generally start running (bad idea?) only to then realize that it’s a frail old grandmother walking her poodle. Ah well. Paris is very different from, say, New York. The majority of French people go to bed relatively early, so you don’t see many humans out at midnight, though aliens abound. Even if you’re walking with someone or in a group, the atmosphere is very different, it’s hard to compare the Avenue Henri Martin in the daytime, a bustling, busy avenue, with the Avenue Henri Martin at night, tall trees casting shadows over the sidewalk, masking the faint light from the streetlamps. Night and day really are two different worlds. With sore blisters on my feet I ran most of the way back, heart pounding, clutching the bag from which I’d been careful enough to remove all valuables from. I took the trip one segment at a time, avoiding the smaller, darker streets, trying to blend in with my surroundings. When I finally made it to my apartment, forehead gleaming with sweat, muscles aching, I felt a singular sense of relief. I was finally safe.

Oh and look, my mom and brother engaged in a screaming match at one in the morning. Not so much as a look when I came in. How nice. Luckily for my insulted being, my amazing friends were kind enough to check up on me, making sure that I’d gotten home safely. I had, and I always do. Yet for some reason I get a little more scared each time, sure that I’m the perfect target. Despite all of this, I will not miss out on the wonderful nights with my friends. Whatever comes my way, I will face it, alone. And if it happens to be a threat, I will either willingly give up what they ask for or offer them a cookie as compensation.

The world is very big, and in perspective, I’m just a tiny speck of dust. As I finish writing this post, I find myself feeling more confident. To be fair, I’m also sitting on my couch, blocking out all high pitched noises with a cup of tea. Nevertheless, this small speck of dust will do anything to keep from being blown away in the breeze, and, hopefully, will grow into something like a mothball in terms of importance and influence. I now realize that that isn’t a very good metaphor, and if you have a better suggestion, I will hear it willingly.

Also, when I have kids, no matter where they are or what time it is, I will always be there to pick them up and bring them home safely.

Live long and prosper \V/

Yours sincerely,

The Mostly Confused Teenager.