Thursday, September 25, 2014

Arrived in France

I am happy to say that my journey from MS to France turned out just fine. It did take a while (longer than I would have liked), but I am so glad to be here.

Even though I've been excited about returning to France, I've also been nervous over the last few weeks. Last time that I came, I felt extremely overwhelmed during the first couple weeks. I thought that this would probably be the case this time as well, and I was not looking forward to that time of transition.

However, this time I feel unexpectedly comfortable being here. It seems perfectly normal to walk around Valence. I really do love France. It is hard to find the words to explain exactly what it is about this place. If I tried, I would only end up with the cliches that don't truly show how this place is.

I have only been here for two days, so there may still be awkward transitioning time later, but I don't think that it will be on the same level as last time.

It also probably helps that the contact person for my area is absolutely amazing, and she's incredibly nice. I am lucky to have her. The paperwork here is a nightmare (this is normal for France), but she has done a lot of work to have everything under control. I just do what she tells me to do.

My French does still need some work. I am certainly not as good at speaking French as when I left France last time. It will come back with time though. Even though I don't speak as well as I did before, I feel more comfortable speaking with people. Before I hated knowing that I was making mistakes. Now, I don't care as much. Yes, I make plenty of mistakes, but I know that as long as I keep trying, the mistakes will happen less and less often.

I think one of the things that I've learned since the last time I was in France is that I don't have to be perfect all the time. And, it's a relief not to always try to be.

Pictures of Valence and of my apartment will come soon.

I've had some time to explore. I found the grocery store and other important shops, but, I'm also having  difficulties with jetlag.

All that I can think about it how long I have left until it's an acceptable hour to go to sleep. I might be able to make it a few more hours.

6 pm is a perfectly normal time to go to sleep, right?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Another Beginning

Hi friends,

I'm starting a blog for the time that I will be spending in France. Partly so my family can see what I'm doing and partly because I kind of wish that I had kept something similar last time I was there.

What I'm doing: Teaching English to elementary children in France. I will be teaching from October until the end of April.

About the program: According to TAPIF (Teaching Assistant Program in France) the goal of the program is to "strengthen English-language instruction in French schools by establishing a native speaker presence, while also providing American Francophiles with excellent teaching experience and first-hand knowledge of French language and culture."

Why I'm doing this: Because I love children, English, teaching, and France, it would be more surprising if I weren't. I spent my junior year of college studying in France, and I've missed it more than I expected that I would. Initially, I thought about applying to this program after graduating, but I wasn't at all interested in teaching at that time. Then, I discovered that I am happiest when I am working with children (thanks CLS and MCM!). Trust me, no one was more surprised to find that out that than I was. That series of events plus a few other things eventually led me to applying to TAPIF.

What's going to happen: I have no idea. Things in life rarely happen the way that I expect for them to. Usually what happens is better than I could ever have imagined even though it sometimes seems like a messy disaster during the middle.

What I'm looking forward to: Teaching French children, traveling around Europe, meeting new people, speaking French, eating pastries and eclairs and crepes, and going to Switzerland.

There's still a little bit of time left until I leave, so right now I'm concentrating on not driving everyone around me crazy with my impatience to get to France.

More updates will follow when something exciting happens.

Or possibly when I'm bored in an airport in a few days. 

Because that is likely to happen.