Sunday, May 03, 2009

My typical morning -- and is there anything French about it?

The best place to find ideas for posts these days seems to be other people's blogs, so when Marjorie of Interior Designs and My Inner French Girl posted about her typical day, I took the bait.

In fact, I think I can go one step beyond and milk three posts from this concept. Of course, her post got me thinking about my typical day, but also whether there was very much French about it. So let's see about that, starting with the morning:

6:00: Alarm rings; I hop out of bed, get the coffee running and do a few quick household tasks.

6:10: Computer time. I check my emails, then log into MSN to chat with my daughter in the USA.

6:40: I wake my other daughter up (this action is often repeated at least twice, but I won't bore you with the details) and get her breakfast table prepared.

6:45-7:25: A chaotic combination of continuing MSN exchanges with USA daughter, getting ready for work, and checking out the day's organizational plan with the other family members. I continue to drag my coffee cup around with me until the last possible minute.

7:25: Leave the house with my daughter, whom I drop off at her lycée on the way to work

7:45: Post some snail mail and/or deliver a few administrative papers for my husband

7:55: Arrive at work and head to my office

8:00: Start my working morning, which could include anywhere from one to four hours of class, or no class at all -- in the latter case, it's just office work and class preparation and correction.

10:15-10:30: If I have a full morning of class, this is break time, which may consist of drinking coffee with a colleague, but also might be spent answering emails, making phone calls, or photocopying for work

10:45: If I don't have a full morning of class, this is coffee break time -- which has inexplicably gotten later and later -- in my school's staff room. I always keep some crème liquide in the work fridge so I can "have it my way." I also try to avoid snarfing down the almost daily spread of cakes and pastries.

After the coffee break: Back to work until lunchtime -- but that will have to wait until next week's post.

Looking over this morning routine, it seems to me quite similar to my former morning routine as a high school teacher in the USA, except for then I got up more like 5am and got to work by 7am. There's definitely no café au lait or croissants in my French morning, unless some of the latter show up in the staff room -- in fact, I just added that photo to keep you reading!

I've kept my "drink several coffees, drag them around the house, occasionally lose the mug" habit from my American life. And leaving myself a little computer time in the morning doesn't seem French at all -- none of my colleagues seem to look at the period before work as a time to get anything done, except, well, getting ready for work.

The fact that I drive my daughter about 10 miles to go to school is, however, while not exactly "typically French," at least a result of the French school transportation system.

School buses are subsidized but not free, and the many stops they make combined with the long French school day (8am-5pm/6pm for my daughter) contributed to our decision to provide our own transportation to school. I wouldn't do it if I didn't work in the same town as my daughter's high school, and it has proven to be a nice time to communicate...and listen to music together!

Tune in next week for my typical afternoon!


jonnifer said...

Who brings the cakes and pastries?

Betty C. said...

Hello jonnifer and thanks for your visit.

It's the staff members who are always bringing food in -- kind of the equivalent of bringing in doughnuts in the USA! It doesn't really jive with the common image of "no snacking" in France. I've noticed a lot more snacking here over the past five years or so...

spacedlaw said...

Reminds me of when I was at school.
No computer time back then (and no coffee) but for the rest...

Betty C. said...

spaced -- Why no coffee? Can one really be a student (or a teacher) without coffee?

Nadege said...

You are a busy bee. I am french (though don't consider myself french anymore) and I don't drink coffee, don't smoke and don't really drink wine, except occasionally. I don't cook but I love to eat. It is nice to have routines and I am glad you get along so well with your daughters.
What do you teach? My son and I will be going to France from July 2 and leaving on July 22. Will you be in the US then? We are only going to do the triangle Toulouse (St Cirq la Poppie...), Rodez (and the area) and Montpellier just to visit family.

Tinsie said...

What? No croissants? What do you dip in your coffee then?!!!

Anonymous said...

Seems like you've found a good middle ground to living here. Take the best (or worst) habits from both countries. You have to admit that croissants are better than doughnuts.

A World in a PAN said...

What an incredible tray of pastries! I treated a friend who was staying at home to a daily croissant - bought at 7 am at the bakery next door!

Angela in Europe said...

I have also kept the dragging around a coffee cup from my American life. I just can't seem to get enough in the mornings.

BTW-I gave you a blog award. Take a look.

Jann said...

I walk straight to the coffee pot as soon as I wake up....bad habit. I constantly kept a pot going in the teachers lounge at school and had a mini coffee maker by my desk...Yes, bad habit! I never had a tray of croissants like that around~looked what I missed! How do you manage a day without something as delicious as that!!! I know how strick the French are with eating between meals....guess that's how you manage. Cheers!

poppy fields said...

I leave half full mugs all over the house, drives mon mari crazy :)

cheap sweets said...

Wow! Mouth watering tray of pastries!