mes pensées éparpillées

scattered thoughts from a european adventure

Archive for the tag “TEFL”

Getting settled…kinda…

Let’s just say that I wish I had accomplished more after living in Clermont-Ferrand for a week, and I haven’t. But in this post I will focus on what has happened, rather than what I haven’t done yet 🙂

Most notably, I have met 5 other teaching assistants so far! We are a diverse group, hailing from Minnesota, Canada, Michigan, Texas and Kansas. It has been good to meet people who are going through the same joys and challenges that I am. On Saturday I’ll be going to a party hosted by one of last year’s teaching assistants who is staying in Clermont-Ferrand to teach English at the university level. I’ll get to meet more of my fellow teaching assistants and gain some new insights, so I’m very excited about that.

On Friday 9/25 I got to tour and meet some English teachers at the “Lycée Professionnel” where I will be working 8 hours a week. It is essentially a technical high school where students study many of the same vocations that you would see in a technical college in the US – auto mechanics, painting, restaurant management, and carpentry. The school is vastly male students, which will be very interesting for me! (You know Minnesotans use the word interesting when they can’t think of a specific word to use, and don’t want to say something negative.)

That same day I also got to go to a crêpe restaurant – crêperie – with the Adamson family, who I’m staying with temporarily. It was so good! Here’s a snapshot of my savory crêpe and dessert crêpe:

crepes

I had a great weekend in which I did a lot of walking. On Saturday, myself and three new friends (Lizzie, Lenie and Chelsi) hiked up the Puy-de-Dôme – the most prominent of the 7 dormant volcanoes that surround Clermont-Ferrand. The hike up took over 3 hours, but the view was well worth the effort!

PuyDeDome hike

Sunday I went to a local flea market – which is always interesting and a tiny bit overwhelming. There was a definite mixture of junk and treasures. Then my new friends and I also visited the cathedral, which is in the center of town and made of black volcanic lava rock! We climbed 250 steps to the top and saw a very beautiful view of the city.

clermont ferrand cathedral

Tomorrow I am visiting the middle school where I will be teaching 4 hours a week, as well as visiting a potential apartment which I really hope will work out!! Send good thoughts and prayers my way for the next 24 hours 🙂

Love,
Alia

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Je suis arrivée en Europe!

A week ago I left Minneapolis with a lot of nervous, excited energy.

I flew to Reykjavik, Iceland and then to Paris, France. In Paris I stayed with some friends of Claire Boyle, a friend I have stayed in touch with through middle school, high school and beyond (I couldn’t stay with her, because her temporary living situation is a tiny apartment!). Since it wasn’t my first time in Paris, I wasn’t concerned with doing the typical touristy stuff. We ate good food and drank good wine, and wandered around the city.

I was in Paris for 24 hours before hauling my heavy luggage to the train station, en route to Turin, Italy. I stayed in Turin for 4 full days, which were filled with pizza, pasta and dear friends. Here’s a picture of Friday night aperitivo – basically Italian happy hour:

Turin apero_9.18.15

Since I’d also visited Turin before, I’d seen most of the tourist attractions, so spent time reconnecting with friends, and even got to see one of my friends perform with his band, Alephant! Check them out on YouTube 🙂 I also went to the small Italian countryside town of Caluso to experience their annual wine festival.

This morning I traveled to Clermont-Ferrand from Turin by train, which was about a 7 hour journey. Thanks to a friend of a mutual friend, (I owe you, Jenny Keil!) I am staying with an American family in the interim period between my arrival and landing an apartment in Clermont-Ferrand. The husband/father of the family is employed by Michelin, which is headquartered here in Clermont-Ferrand; most of the city’s expats are connected to Michelin.

Tomorrow I start the process of getting a French phone plan and setting up apartment visits. My roommate Samantha, who is an English teaching assistant as well, arrives on Saturday! I start my job the first week of October. Here’s the view from where I stand right now:

Clermont Ferrand_9.22.15

Thanks for reading 🙂
Alia

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