Monday, September 21, 2009


Since I last wrote there have been several changes to life in Paris: I am now employed and will be working as an English teacher for most of my time whilst also, with luck, working a couple of shifts a week at Breakfast in America. As well as my new found employment, the weather has finally broken and Paris has been cold and wet for the last week. Lastly, either as a result of the change in weather or just bad luck I have been ill.

I will be working for a company called Anglais Oral Accéléré teaching English for between 25 and 30 hours each week. The company is run by an American called Eva and a Frenchman, Phillipe, who, ironically, doesn’t speak any English himself. I went for a final interview last week before commencing training last Thursday. It’s going well and I’m looking forward to teaching my first class on Wednesday. There are never any more than four in a group and 95% of the lesson is oral work, in fact, in each level students are introduced to over 1000 expressions which, due to the nature of the system, they ought to remember and go on to use in everyday life.

Breakfast in America is also (surprisingly) going well and I enjoy the atmosphere and pace of the work. Dodging round tables with plates and cutlery whilst classic Michael Jackson plays over the sound system is more enjoyable and rewarding than I imagined. I have worked at both restaurants over the course of the last couple of weeks and have encountered a range of different personalities. Verity, who works at the bigger of the two, is from London and very easy going, friendly and fun to work with. On my first night she was explaining that Craig, the owner, would be in at some point and she would warn me when he arrived. This she did by just dropping the phrase ‘Craig’s here’ into the middle of one of her sentences whilst asking me to go and take an order. It was refreshing to be working with another English person and the camaraderie was great. Next there was Jen or ‘Texas’ as everyone referred to her. She was, unsurprisingly, from Texas and had a very strong mid-western accent. This proved highly amusing for me and we spent the evening trying to imitate each other. I happened to mention my cockroach problem to her and whether it’s her idea of a joke, an attempt at flirting or something else entirely I’m not sure but she has text me about 25 times since our last shift with various facts about the cockroach interspersed with invitations to dinner or drinks.

Verity and Texas both work at ‘B1’ as everyone refers to it. Debora works at 'B2' and is a skinny, anaemic looking American who asked me, after I had spent ten minutes of my eight hour shift gulping down a burger, if I was ‘wrapping up’. She then began flapping like all people who think they are in a position of authority tend to do when they are stressed, and started ordering me about and explaining things that I had heard a hundred times before. Ellie, who also works at B2, is rather unpleasant to work with, not least because she is of the opinion that she has been given the most wondrous singing voice and resonates, entirely off key, for the entire shift, but also because she tends to flap too and, as a result, deteriorates into rather a rude character. It’s strange because after the shift, when she has calmed down, she is perfectly nice and easy to talk to. Nevertheless, generally the atmosphere at both restaurants is good, the majority of the staff are nice and the work is easy enough – the tips are also good and this is going to help a great deal over the coming months.

Also at ‘B2’ are Ian and Josy, both of whom are down to earth and a pleasure to work with. The atmosphere is jovial when we work a shift together and, regardless of whether there is a queue of 25 people outside or not, they are constant and manage to keep a cool head. After all, there’s only so much one can do in the middle of a busy shift and getting uptight and stressed will certainly not result in a speedier service.

No comments:

Post a Comment