Archive for October, 2011
In other news, it’s official: I’m an elementary school teacher (say WHAT?!). I taught – and survived! – my first two classes today. I’ve been placed in three schools, two écoles primairesand one lycée (high school). At the lycée, I’ll be doing what I actually signed up to do – that is, assist. I’ll lead discussions with small groups of students to supplement what they’re learning in class and get them to apply the language. At the écoles primaires, however, I’ve got a lot more responsibility. I am THE teacher. As in, they have given me two classes and expect me to teachthese children English. I’ve got one CE2 class and one CM1 (the equivalent of second and third grade), and the age of my students ranges from 7-10. There are 23 of them in one class and 16 in the other. Again, WHAT?!
Anyway, my computer’s about to die, and I don’t have my charger with me at the cafe. Signed up finally for internet, but we still won’t have it for 5-15 days. Oof. It’s been a long, exhausting week, but now it’s the weekend! Heledd, a friend and fellow assistant from Wales, and I are heading to Guingamp this weekend. Updates soon!
Let’s be real: my twenty three years of life experience did not prepare me for finding housing, let alone housing in a foreign country. This is, of course, no surprise considering I went to Davidson, where students have to ask permission to live off campus (and even then, it’s pretty much a matter of choosing between two streets). Thus, the hunt for an apartment in Lannion was, for lack of better words, a big fat pain in the derrière. But it was! Past tense!
I am writing this from my apartment, y’all. From my very own chez moi. Well, not “my very own.” I’ve got a Spanish roommate named Roberto. And we don’t actually have internet yet so I’m posting this from a café with wi-fi. But things are actually falling into place, which is more than I could say two days ago. Forgive the cliché, but this week has been an emotional rollercoaster. Because in the midst of my frustration, anger, and pessimism, there was Lannion, which is so wonderfully picturesque it’s impossible to sustain any kind of negative emotion. I’m getting ahead of myself, though.
After several fruitless days of calling people with apartment listings in local newspapers and walking around town looking for “à louer” (to rent) signs in windows (the internet completely failed me), I actually had a choice to make between two places: a totally charming (read: endearingly small) studio in an old stone building right in the middle of the city, just outside of my budget but exactly what I’d imagined; and a large apartment on top of a hill several minutes by foot from the middle of the city, a total eyesore resembling a psychiatric ward from the outside.
Seems like an easy decision, right? The studio? Nope. I went with the latter. For one reason alone: money. It proved impossible to pass up an apartment for 110€ per month (versus 250€ + electricity + cost of furnishing the kitchen, as there were no dishes). I tried so hard to justify spending more than twice as much money on something much smaller but infinitely quainter, but just couldn’t do it. I’m sure I’ll get over it soon, but calling the landlord to tell him I’d found something else certainly tugged on my heartstrings a little. I’ll make the most of the new digs, though, and now I won’t feel guilty about spending a little money to spruce it up a bit, make it feel less like an institution and more like a home! I’m even fixin’ to buy a plant. And a pillow.
Now instead of writing about everything I’ve seen and done since my arrival in Lannion, here’s a summary of my week in pictures. (Aforementioned frustration, anger, and pessimism not included, as they no longer exist as of 10:00 this morning.) (Pictures of my three days in Paris also not included.) (Pictures of my apartment will be posted forthwith.) (Something about blogging makes me cuckoo for parenthetical statements!)