I was so incredibly lucky to get this apartment. Basically, it's perfect.
Except for the lack of hot water for the entire first week that I was here. It is fixed now though, and I had my first hot shower in the apartment last night.
Still, I cannot complain about this place.
I could stare at it all day.
The family who owns the apartment has all these books. More than I could possibly read, but I am planning to give it a try. There is also a smaller bookcase in the hallway with children's book. Those will be easier for me to start with. So many books. All in French.
If my French reading skills don't improve while I'm here, it will completely be my fault.
Next, the kitchen.
I did not expect the apartment to be so nice. Actually, the reason that I chose this place was based on the fact that it had a balcony.
It will get cold here during the winter. Right now though, the balcony is my favorite place in the apartment.
It isn't very French to sit on the balcony with Harry Potter and a snack, but it is very Elizabeth. During the first few days that I was here, I had some relaxing time doing this.
Then, everything started at once. I met several of the other assistants, and my roommate came on Monday. I think I got lucky on this as well because they all seem like amazing people, and I am looking forward to getting to know them.
I don't want this to turn into a boring recitation of what I did each day this week, so I'm mostly going to skip over the orientation. All of the assistants went to Grenoble, and then, to Autrans in the mountains for training. Parts of it were boring. Other parts were actually helpful. There were over 200 assistants there, so I probably only met a small percentage of them even though it seemed like I met a lot. Although I enjoyed being there, I was glad to get back to Valence when it ended because I was completely exhausted.
Today has been my favorite day so far. The primary (elementary) assistants in my department (la Drome) went to one of the schools to watch a few English classes and try to do an activity with a class.
The first class that we went to was a class of nine year olds. Imagine what would happen if a group of nine foreigners had come into your 4th grade classroom. They definitely stared a lot as we first walked in the door, and they said hello to each person who walked it. So adorable.
Turns out that French primary schools also include preschools.
So, I got to watch an English lesson with French preschoolers. The teacher starts off with a song in English before each lesson so that they know they are about to speak in English. She brought out a little wolf and a UK flag. They have been learning colors, so she had clothes for the wolf in different colors. So far they know red, blue, orange, pink, and green. Today they learned yellow. After the lesson, they colored wolves in different colors. We got to walk around the classroom to interact with the kids.
I loved it!
I also got my schedule for classes today. Sadly, I don't have any preschool classes. My kids should range in age from 6 to 10. It's slightly younger than I thought it would be, but I am not complaining at all. I love working with younger children, and I might not have a chance to do this again since I have vague plans to teach high school when I get back to the US.
When I got my schedule, I also found out that I have Fridays free. Three day weekends will give me time to travel around Europe. Since that's part of why I wanted to come to France, I am happy about that as well.
Still, I am slightly nervous about going to meet all of the teachers on Monday and figuring out how everything works at my schools. Today has made me feel better, but I won't know exactly how things will go until I get there.