This past Wednesday I went with 13 assistants to the Col de Rousset. We were divided into snowshoers, skiers, and snowboarders. Above is a picture from that day, taken almost at the same place as this one a week before. Two of the people who rented snowboarders had never done it before, so I attempted to teach them. It was alternately hilarious and successful. Snowboarding is harder than it looks and isn’t very easy to teach, especially when standing up on the board can at first seem impossible. However, by the end of the day they were both making it down the mountain. Although there was a moment where one of them, Richard, somehow slid into this fence and couldn’t drag himself out of the snow ditch. At exactly that moment the students he teaches in primary school skied by in a massive group. I had my own unfortunate comedy moments trying to use the téléski/platter lift. I just cannot stay on that thing and both attempts ended with me planting myself face forward in the snow and then taking a long hike up the mountain.
I think that the biggest obstacle I have to improving my snowboarding is fear. I just can’t hurtle myself down the slopes the way a lot of people do. I don’t mind going fast, but I get nervous when I’m not in control of my board. There was a red slope at Col de Rousset that I was peer-pressured into going down. The first snowboarder, Eric, went down at a ridiculous speed, crashed horribly, stood up, and kept going. I, on the other hand, carefully S-turned down the icy drop. I think I have the snowboarding technique down, now I need to figure out how to lose my fear of death by snowboard crash.
Near the end of our day at the Col de Rousset it started to snow and we got beers in the restaurant at the bottom of the station. Everyone in our group made it to the bus on time. Unfortunately, some of the other people on the bus did not, making us late to the Die train station and consequently missing the 5:52 pm train to Valence. The next train was not until 11:25 pm. So, we bought food, Cidre, and Clairette and spent the evening at Patrick’s apartment (the English assistant in Die). Clairette is a sparkling wine that tastes kind of like Champagne and is made in the Die region.
We finally did make it back to Valence on the train. It was a train that apparently goes all the way to Paris, although very, very slowly. I was a little tired teaching the next day, but was able to get through several readings of Eric Carle books. Does that man know how important his books are to the teaching of English?
I’ve booked my flight and hostel for Berlin in February. I’ll be there February 9 to 14. I know very little about what to see in Berlin, so I’m open to suggestions.
I saw what is probably the most tedious piece of theater I have ever witnessed. It lasted for two hours with no intermission and for most of that time sustained almost absolute silence. It centered around a guy who was depressed because no one would publish his writing, his wife who berated him, and their baby. He just lay on a couch for the entire time and stared into space a lot. She also spent time staring into space. This was interrupted by music that played on a CD while videos of babies or flowers were projected on screens. It finally ended with the couch guy shooting himself offstage, but this was the point when the music was actually loud so I couldn’t understand what the other characters were saying. Like the other two plays I’ve seen during my time in France, this one had cathartic yelling. Maybe that is the staple of French théâtre.