Wow! It has been a really long time since I’ve written about my life and my adventures. It’s hard for me to believe that it is already the middle of October! The past five months of my life have been among the best in my life. I’ve never been happier and I feel incredibly fortunate to have spent nearly half of the year (?!?!) traveling with some of my nearest and dearest friends and family. I plan to dedicate a significant amount of time to blogging about all of my adventures, but that is going to be a huge undertaking, which I shall commence next week, when I am on vacation.
Here’s a quick overview of my late spring/summer/early fall endeavors to pique your interest:
- 3 continents visited
- 13 countries visited
- 6 states visited
- 2 friends came to Europe
- my mom and I spent 5 weeks exploring Europe together (and both made it out alive!)
- returned to France for a second year of teaching
When I write it, I still can’t believe that this was my reality for so many, many months. I am currently back in France and have begun my second year of teaching English as a Second Language. This year I am in one collège (middle school) and one lycée (high school). So far I am loving working in the high school and am very excited about everything that this next year will hold for me. In addition to teaching, two of my dear friends will be getting married at the beginning of the month, so I will have the opportunity to attend a French wedding and the opportunity to celebrate their very special day.
After tomorrow, I am on vacation (already). As I’ve only been in France for a few weeks and I’m still acclimating myself to my French life, I will not be traveling anywhere for this vacation. Honestly, I’m a little sad to not be taking advantage of this opportunity to explore another new country/city, but am secretly relieved to have a staycation after such an intense summer of traveling. However, I am planning a long weekend away somewhere during the month of November, followed by a real vacation in December.
Here’s to another unforgettable, absolutely amazing year in France!
Enjoying some limoncello in Venice. Cheers!
I cannot believe it is already the middle of April and that my teaching contract for this year is done next Friday. Where did the time go??? This year has been an eventful year, and I will write a separate summary/reflection about my time in France. The purpose of this post is not the reflect on this year, but to ponder the options for next year. To begin, let me just mention how much I hate being an adult when it comes to times like this. I miss having my parents make decisions for me and not constantly worrying about what the ‘right’ decision is going to be.
Here’s what I know about next year so far:
- I have applied for and been granted an additional year-long leave of absence from my permanent teaching position in Michigan
- I have submitted all of the necessary paperwork to renew my current teaching contract in France for next year.
- I just received an email from a position I applied for with the U.S. Embassy. I am being considered for a position teaching ESL at the university level in Vietnam.
This is a ton of information to process, and to be quite honest is extremely overwhelming. I feel like I have only recently become truly settled and comfortable in France. I thought that after living here for one year my wanderlust for France would have contained itself. Boy was I wrong! The opposite has happened. Being an immigrant in a foreign country is an eye-opening experience and really changes one’s perspective on immigrants and immigration. I am also constantly reminded how difficult it is to be an American outside of North America. Even with all the challenges I have faced this year, I am beyond content with my life in France.
While I haven’t officially been offered either position, just the prospect of having to make a decision is terrifying. Upon receiving the email that I was being considered for a position in Vietnam I was so excited. I immediately texted my mom and best friend. I thought I had misread the email, but I had not. After the initial excitement wore off, a panic attack set in. I cannot imagine my life in France coming to an end. The next several months are filled with friends, family, and crazy adventures. I have so much to look forward to that I cannot even begin to think about the possibility of having to give up my apartment and leave France.
I’ve already begun the color-coded diagramming process to help make this (potential) decision easier when the time comes. For the position in France I will be told anytime between the beginning of this month and the end of August. For Vietnam, I will know before the end of this month, most likely as soon as the end of next week. Needless to say, I am terrified and excited about what the future holds.
An adorable road I discovered when I got lost driving around the French countryside.
I’ve begun my teaching assignment for the school year. This is the fewest number of hours I have ever worked while still getting paid. I am technically a full-time teaching assistant, but I am only teaching a total of 12 hours for the week. I am working in two different collèges (middle schools), two days each per week. That means, that I have one weekday off each week, in addition to my weekends. Additionally, my schedule at one of the schools rotates, meaning that I might be able to teach all 6 hours in one day, thus giving me two days off during the week.
As nice as this change of pace has been, it’s also very difficult to accept at times. Having been a teacher for six years it is difficult to take a step back and become the assistant, rather than the lead teacher. The staff with whom I am going to be working are very kind and helpful. At one of my schools my primary contact person is actually an American who has been living in France for 20+ years. This is great because she understands the unique frustrations and challenges I am facing as an American in France.
This week my sole responsibility has been to observe the classes and gain a better understanding of the different levels of English and how they correlate to the different grade levels. It’s been an interesting experience, but also kind of boring, as I am not actually teaching. Next week is a normal week, where I should be able to being actually teaching.
In other news, after next week I am on vacation for la Toussaint. I will be on vacation from October 18 through November 3rd. I’m currently in the process of planning my first solo international adventure. Stay tuned for more details!