Helene Combe

Through my journey as an English teacher and a language learner

Month: February 2017

Common gifts are the worst thing ever invented (and I hate it)

Okay, I am pissed off.

Like, really, truly, crazy mad. And the reason is so lame, of course, you are going to laugh but anyway, here it is: my brother in law’s birthday bash is tonight, there is a common gift and I don’t want to participate.

Let me get this straight: it’s not because of my brother in law. No, I am mad against the common gift whole concept. If I wanna do a gift to someone, I don’t want to share my idea with someone else. I can share with my husband, the reason is obvious, but that’s all. I don’t want to feel that I have to participate. 

Because of course, when someone asks you to participate in a common gift, that someone expects a bright and loud “yes”! Not from me. I always say “no”. I am not cheapskate, I’d rather do my own stuff. The last time I have been asked to participate on a common gift, the baby’s grand mother was my CEO, and that three weeks old baby was already richer than I was. I signed the card, and that was all. I’d rather buy something to someone I truly care about than giving five bucks to someone who doesn’t remember my name.

I am not going to give something for my brother in law’s common gift. I already bought his gift a month ago: it’s a book that I already read and I loved, and I thought he would like it. I am not going to give him twenty bucks so he could buy a new camera. My husband may won’t have a job next month, I am a student, a dime is a dime. We all have troubles in life, and saying “no” to a common gift shouldn’t be one.

A letter to my nineteen years old self

Dear 19 years old me,

Please don’t be so harsh on yourself. Don’t treat you so bad, you don’t deserve it. Being lost is not the end of the world, and you’re gonna do so much stuff after. It’s okay to feel bad, and lonely, but it gets better, I promise.

Don’t worry about your parents, they won’t divorce eventually. They’ll break up for a few months, they’ll come back and then, they forgave themselves, and life goes on. It wasn’t your fight, but you fought along your father, and nothing would break up both of you from now on. You two are now making an incredible team, and he never tried to slice his wrists again. That wasn’t your fault, by the way, what happened, not even for a second: he needed help, and you were here, and you gave him what he needed. You gave him the strength to continue, and even if you don’t know that yet, he will always remember it.

It’s not that bad that you left school. You didn’t want to study history, not that way, and it’s okay, that doesn’t mean you won’t do anything with your own life. You were right to decide to move, because that decision saved your life, even if it was to study something you didn’t care about. It doesn’t matter because you’ll find something, you’ll figure it out, and you’ll be amazing, even if right now, you think it’s nothing. Not everybody figures what one can do for the rest of its life at fifteen years old. You think that because the people around you are bragging about that, making you feel bad, because they have academic success for now, but you’ll learn quickly that didn’t mean anything after all. He was maybe successful at twenty, but in a few years, he would be still living with his mother, when you’ll be buying yourself a bright new car.

It’s okay that you can’t forget him. You won’t, in a long time, be able to forgive and to forget what happened. You will try, several times, you will pray for a second chance, even if you are not the one who needs it. He is the bad guy, you are not. You’ll need years to recover, literally, but once you will, your life will be change forever, and you are going to meet the most incredible, generous and kind man ever, and you will marry that guy, even he isn’t your type, because at some point, that doesn’t matter anymore.

And that girl you are always with, your confident, your sister, well, she’ll stab in the back at the minute you’ll be gone. Because after all, you are still kids even you are pretending to be adults, you are not. You will miss her, you will hate her, but at the end, it will be better for everybody. You may think right now that she will come back eventually, but you won’t let her. On the way, you will learn to fight back, to stand up for yourself and you won’t let her crush you the way she did.

It’s not going to be easy. You’ll hate yourself most of the time, you’ll regret mostly everything , you will do all over again in your head, each time different, until you’ll make peace with yourself. Because you are just a kid, with a very strange hair color, and you don’t deserve what happened to you, but it’s life, and you’ll get over it.

You will be a fucking kick ass, and people will find you hard to manage, and you will never let anybody tell you what to do, and you will find your dream. And more importantly, you will live it. That’s what life is all about.

From your twenty eight years old self,

Best wishes.

So, I drank too much last night

Don’t ask me why.

Okay, I have the beginning of an explanation, a viable one: it was Friday night. That, and my week was really intense, so when my roommate suggested to open a bottle of wine, I ran into the kitchen to get two glasses.

Guess I needed to talk after all, to forget everything, just even for a night. Adulting is not easy, playing kick ass soon to be teacher also, and it’s definetely not natural for me to play full grown up 24/7. I wanna do so many things in my whole life, you have no idea, and it’s killing me not to be able to do all these stuff.

I would like to study history, and linguistics, and sociology, and writing, and so many things that specializing into something feels like a treason (to myself).

I  also want to be a writer, but I am scared to let just my husband read my stuff. So, imagine the rest of the world.

I want to be healthier, but if I listen to myself, I would eat pizza every day.

I would like to take singing lesson, but I kinda like pretending to sing amazingly even though I don’t know how to sing at all.

I love living in the city, but I also love the countryside, and I always picture myself, in a lovely house in Oxfordshire, with a golden retriever (and my husband, of course).

My favorite band is a rock band but my favorite song ever is Ellie Goulding’s “Here’s to Us”.

My mother tongue is supposed to be French, but I’d rather speak English for the rest of my life, and I feel more confident when I talk in English than in French.

I would like to have a kid, but I am so not ready that I am actually scared of it.

Are we all schizophrenic, or is it just me?


Stuff you shouldn’t talk about (especially to me)

Here’s a little list of topics that every freaking human on earth should avoid while talking to me:

-My obsession for my studies: I decided this year to go back to college to pursue my dream, which is being a college teacher in English. So I enrolled at Cambridge University and I am revising pretty much every day. It’s my choice.

-The fact that I don’t like cooking: Having a vagina doesn’t mean that we all love cutting onions and frying chicken. I don’t like cooking. It’s basically one of the first thing I said to my husband on our first date.

-And the fact that I don’t clean also: that’s why there is companies specialized in cleaning. I’d rather give extra classes than clean. That is still my problem.

-And the fact I stand up by myself, which means I won’t change my opinion because you have another one. I am maybe stubborn, but guess what, it’s none of your business. I am maybe a bad character, but at least, I have character.

Here’s also a few sentences that I heard only this week about my so called bad manners:

“You are impossible to manage: you always speak what you think.”  Sorry, I am not a sheep.

“You don’t think about your husband, he must be threatened by you.” He seems pretty fine to me.

“You are being selfish by going back to college, you should work and support your family.” For the record, my family (my husband and both of my cats) are ok with my decision.

To conclude, I just wanted to add that whoever you think you are, or whoever you actually are, you are no one to judge someone on these elements.


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