TAPIF: One week (and counting)

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

When I was a kid, I loved the first day of school. It was an opportunity for me to test out my latest school supplies from Target and show off my new clothes that I had bought the week before at the Mall of America. As time went by, I still enjoyed the first day of school (mostly because that meant I got new clothes). By junior high the concept of staying in the same classroom was a thing of the past. Everyone had their own schedule that they had to stick to and remember. For me, my biggest fear during the first week of school was to show up for the wrong class. Even in college I dreaded that I would be that person that somehow ended up in the wrong lecture hall and would have to disappear mysteriously after 15 minutes once the syllabus was handed out. Once graduation hit, I no longer believed that I would have to endure those first day mishaps again. Well...until now.

Here's how my first week of being a language assistant went:

Before I could part ways with my teachers on Friday afternoon I was given a big stack of papers to fill out. I had been warned by previous Tapifers of the dreaded French bureaucracy and their paperwork, but brushed it off and enjoyed the weekend and what Montpellier had to offer. As I lay tanning on the beach Sunday afternoon, I became more excited for my first day of school on Monday as an assistant. Throughout the night into Monday morning, I waited in anticipation for my first day of school. Thanks to my time spent on Friday afternoon getting to know staff members and the building, both of my days teaching on Monday and Tuesday were a breeze. Suddenly I was being referred to as "Mme Sabrina" by students and teaching students about American customs. As the week progressed, and the paper work added, it was time for me to visit my other two schools. Before leaving for France, I had google mapped the locations of my other schools (which turned out to be 15 minutes away from each other). As the week progressed I became more worried about finding the schools and my designated teachers. Thanks to overestimating my time schedule, there were many awkward moments of me waiting around in teachers lounges or even outside the gates of the school with students. Fortunately after only two mishaps with directions (don't always trust google maps folks) I had successfully introduced myself to all the staff members at my designated schools and had created fixed time schedules with them.

In addition to my teaching and navigational accomplishments I checked off many other items off of my adult-bucket list for France.

  • Went furniture shopping at Ikea
  • Attempted to cook 
  • Bought a year tram pass
  •  Got a french cell phone number and internet
  • Opened a French bank account
  • Requested my ballot
  • And filled out too many administrative papers to remember...

Of course for many of you guys reading this blog post, these accomplishments (or let alone activities) don't seem one bit glamorous. And you know what? Your right! If I've learned anything from this experience so far during my travels is that it won't always be. I'm creating a life here and establishing a routine. Life is messy, and it won't always be picture perfect! If I've learned anything from my time here in the South of France so far, it's the importance of relaxation and treating one self.  Have a drink at the bar with friends, go shopping, sit at a cafe for two hours, tan on the beach, picnic,  make friends with random strangers on the bus, and more. There's not too much to complain about here. The weather is warm, the people are nice, and the food is delicious. What more can one ask for?

Until next time,

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