So I know I’ve talked about the “Ch’ti” thing before. It’s the stereotype of the people who live here in the North, which many people equate to the stereotype of America’s deep, deep, deep South – very nice and welcoming, but at times a bit basic. The people here even have their own dialect, appropriately called Ch’ti, and I really don’t even know how to explain it. It’s really nasally, to the point that words become incomprehensible, it involves a lot of mumbling, and a lot of “c” and “s” sounds become “sh” sounds, which can become very confusing very fast.
There was also a film made about the Ch’tis, called Bienvenue Chez les Ch’tis. To give you a sense of how well-known this stereotype is, the film is France’s highest-grossing comedy of all time. Luckily, the people of the North have embraced this stereotype. People here are extremely proud to be Ch’ti – there are comic books for kids written completely in the Ch’ti dialect, there’s a Ch’ti beer (which, in my humble opinion, isn’t actually that good compared to the wide range of other beers here), and, finally getting to the point of this post, there is an equivalent of the Michelin guide, called Le Ch’ti. It includes recommendations for everything from restaurants to nightlife to cultural activities and much, much more. This year was especially important because it was the 40th anniversary of Le Ch’ti’s first publication. There was a huge event at Place de la République, right by our apartment, including games and activities for kids and adults alike. The guide is free for everyone, and I read in the newspaper that there were 300,000 guides made, and 500,000 people were expected to attend the two-day event. And the most impressive part about it is that it is compiled and published entirely by university students and all costs are covered entirely by advertisements. I of course had to get one, because a) who doesn’t like free stuff?! I mean come on. and b) it was free!
It’s really true that time flies when you’re having fun. Or, as Kermit the Frog always says, time’s fun when you’re having flies. Either way, I’ve got just over a month left here, and two weeks of that will be vacation. Actually, the vacation situation is a little weird, because our last vacation is from April 12th – 29th, but our contracts end on April 30th. So I will have to work for literally one day after vacation and then I will be done. It’s really coincidental that it ended up that way; France is divided into zones for school vacations, and Lille happens to be Zone B, whose vacation just happens to have been assigned to April 12th-29th. Oh well. At least my last day of work will be at the school I prefer, and it’ll be with some of my favorite students. For the amount that I complain about the work and the difficult students, I can tell that my last day will definitely be hard to get through.