All posts filed under: Musing

Gossip, Figs and Sushi: Week 7 in the Kitchen

So the moral of the story is…Don’t ever tell a chef anything. Because they love to gossip. Like pre-teen girls. With dirty minds. . There is nothing that can be a secret, and everything will be read into and fabricated until it becomes dramatic—and probably sexual. It is both fortunate and horrible that I can’t speak enough French to properly participate in certain conversations. This past week was particularly bad, as the dramatic gossip began as one sentence of truth that I told to a coworker…and which somehow became a raging wildfire of misguided storytelling that all of my coworkers (and heaven help me, basically everyone else in the hotel) are in on. Remember how there was a phase where my coworkers were paranoid about what I would write on my blog? Yeah, well, that has ended. Now my Chef has specifically asked me to write down all the “facts” of the gossip and drama in my latest blog post, and that if I don’t he will comment and enlighten the internet and all my readers …

Ecosystems and Mise en Place: Week Six in the Kitchen

Clarisse has taken it upon herself to be my in-kitchen-language-tutor. Sometimes it freaks me out because I will say something and she will either respond with “no” or by repeating what I just said, leading me to think that my intentions were wrong. Most of the time it is just her beginning to correct my grammar. On Tuesday after a particularly intensive correction of something I said, she told me that it was her goal to help me be fluent in French by the time I left. And I am so thankful! The other day I was just moping to myself about how even though I speak French all the time I can’t really tell if I am improving or not–and I don’t have the time to reflect reflect on grammar when I am using French in the kitchen or the motivation to intensively study when I do have a spare moment. Wednesday was such a strange day in the kitchen. The morning was a storm of organized chaos as everyone used every ounce of space …

Pokémon, Evolution and Friendship: Week Five in the Kitchen

Chef turned to me and looked me in the eye. Normally if he did that I would be racking my brain, thinking of what I did wrong and mentally preparing myself for what was to come next. But this time, I knew what was coming. “Maddie….do you catch Pokemon?” Wednesday, in the middle of a service of 80 covers, Clarisse, Floriane, Chef and I took a pause during one of our quiet moments to have a serious conversation about Pokémon Go. Which Chef had previously known nothing about. And so we enlightened him. Apparently Hotel Belles Rives is a Poké-stop. (Also, I have to mention that all of my coworkers predicted that the pokemon conversation would make it into my blog. And they were all right. 😛 ) It is SO HARD to leave the American/Foreigner bubble when you are abroad. It is comfortable to stay in your safety zone with people who speak the same language as you and with people who are going through the same experiences—namely, living abroad. However, it is so …

Studying French: Language Interference 

Another day, another blogging-in-a-train-station experience as I am once again too early to go through security. I had every intention of studying French yesterday. I really did. But then it somehow devolved into daydreaming in the foreign language section of my brain. I packed up my French textbook, my study packets, my flashcards, my notebooks–everything–and I went a few blocks down the street from my hotel in London to find a cafe that was suitable enough for studying at. (The struggle is so real in Europe to find a place that isn’t solely for drinking espresso, and it continues to be one of my biggest areas of culture shock). Obviously I also brought a book and my baking idea notebook, because what if I finished studying and had nothing left to do? So I ordered some juice, laid all my belongings out on the table in front of me….And then just stared at them for about five minutes. French is hard. When I finally made myself start working, I only got through about one exercise …

The Pressure of Envy: Countdown to France

For those of you who have traveled for extensive periods of time I am sure you have heard your fair share of “Oh you are going to have the most amazing time! I am so jealous! You are so courageous to be doing this all by yourself! I wish I had traveled like this when I was your age!” and to be honest, I’ve said some of these phrases more than once myself. Its just what you do, right? When someone mentions they are moving abroad you ask where they are going, you ask if they are nervous, you mention something about how cool they are, and then you express your envy and jealousy about either where they are going or what kind of person they are. That is just how polite conversations work. Its not really socially acceptable to say “oh my god aren’t you afraid that you will miss your connecting flight, get ripped off by a taxi driver who doesn’t speak your native language, get mugged on the street since you will stick …

The Multilingual Book Project

Being trapped in the frozen tundra of monolingual English speakers while in between travels to non-English speaking countries is hell to an avid language learner such as myself. So as self-given homework (I know, I know, I couldn’t be a bigger nerd) I have developed what I am calling the Multilingual Book Project. This sort of began back in May when I was in France (as you may remember) but it has escalated dramatically since I returned from South Korea. While I was in Korea I picked up a few more books to help me round out the projects I wanted to carry through with the scaffolding I needed. From my previous posts or if any of you reading are linguistics/teaching ESL majors out there you may be familiar with how vital it is for language learners to have support when they are reading. In a classroom and as a younger person, the teacher hopefully blends this scaffolding seamlessly into the lesson, so that as the student reads they have the tools they need without needing …