So, it has been 3 weeks since my last blog post. A lot has happened since then!
My apartment search didn’t end as I expected. The 2 bedroom apartment search with my potential roommate and I turned out to be unfruitful, so we went our own ways. I am now living in a studio apartment that is subsidized by the high school where I will spend 2/3 of my hours teaching each week. It is “smallish” by US American standards, I do not have my own washing machine, nor much storage space, it is farther from the city center than I pictured myself ending up, and the whole living alone thing is new to me. However, I have almost no commute to work 3 days a week, I have a great view of the city, I have everything I need, and it is ridiculously affordable (150€ per month!!).
I have gotten to know most of the other TAPIF teaching assistants living in Clermont-Ferrand, and we spend a bunch of time together. I’m still figuring out the best way to break out of my shell and meet locals…all the French locals I met are very nice but I don’t brush shoulders much with them, except the teachers I work with.
Speaking of the teachers I work with, they have all been very welcoming and excited to work with me! Between the two schools, I am working with about 9 teachers. This will be a good challenge for me in cross-cultural communication and figuring out how best to work with a bunch of different people. This past week was the first time I visited the classrooms where I will be teaching in the coming months. At the middle school, I will mostly be with older students who are engaged in the English class, whereas the high school is a little bit different. Since it is a vocational high school, many students have a low interest in mastering the English language, and there are more behavioral problems. As I’ve mentioned, the school is predominantly boys as well, and let’s be honest – high school boys everywhere are still high school boys. But in general, I am excited to join these classes and hopefully encourage some students to excel.
Onto the more fun aspects of my life here, because relaxation and recreation are super important to French culture – that’s a big part of the reason I wanted to come back! For those of you who don’t know, (which I also didn’t know until recently) Canada celebrates Thanksgiving in mid-October, and last Monday was Canada’s Thanksgiving. A bunch of the teaching assistants had a potluck to celebrate, since one of the assistants is Canadian. It was really great, and of course every celebration in France is paired with a bunch of wine.
Starting yesterday, I’m on Toussaint vacation for two weeks. And vacation = travel. I’ll be going to Southern Europe: Nice, Madrid and Valencia to visit good friends and catch some sun rays to bring back with me to this cloudy city.
Thanks for reading, and I’ll share an update of my travels upon my return!