That’s right everyone. I have an announcement! An important announcement!! An announcement worthy of a fanfare opening! Look, I’ve even provided one for you. I’ll wait while you play it:
Ladies and Gentlemen of the blogosphere, as many of you know, I have been struggling for quite some time with a decision to return to France this year. To summarize, I was offered a position in a lovely small town outside of Grenoble, and have been very unsure, in the face of an empty bank account and several intriguing opportunities at home, whether or not I should take it. After muddling for many many weeks, and after talking it out with basically every person that I know, I have finally come to a decision. A decision that deserves a big reveal.
So, click here before the suspense kills you!!!
I’m staying in Washington!!!
That’s right, I have officially declined my assistant position and cancelled my back-up visa appointment. I even took this lovely selfie on an impromtu solo stroll through the tourist-laden Mall.
The biggest reason I was having such an impossible time deciding was because I literally could not see a strong downside to either option. People kept telling me cliché things like “follow your heart” or “make a pros and cons list” but every single way I looked at it, I could not distinguish one choice from the other. On the one hand, I was excited about the momentum I’ve managed to gather this summer in DC and talking with my friends who are moving around the country to begin jobs made me sort of homesick for the US. On the other hand, I loved living in France and here I had this golden opportunity to continue teaching, in a city I’ve visited in a region I love, handed to me. Being without steady work for most of the summer though, I recognized the financial roulette I’d be playing, even with generous family who offered to loan me money if I felt I really could not pass up the opportunity. But if you don’t go now, you won’t ever go back, they said. AHHH!!!
Making decisions is difficult. Anne Bogart even calls it a violent act, because in selecting an option you momentarily destroy all others. For those of you who are thinking, “Gee, that sounds tough but I’m sure you really knew what you wanted all along and just kept procrastinating on making your decision final,” I say to you, yeah I do that all the time. But I promise you this time, I was genuinely conflicted for the entire two months I was deliberating. About a week ago, I was so convinced I was going to leave for France that I almost bought a plane ticket and started telling my friends that I would probably only be around until September.
It took a certain amount of talking it out for me to express some thoughts that had never been fully realized within my conscious: Although my placement in Vizille was lucky by many counts…I wasn’t really that excited about it. I love the mountains, but Grenoble is a city that never really captivated my heart, despite the good times I had there. I had actually requested a relocation to a different académie entirely (that of Aix-Marseille), seeking a change of scenery and I guess that is what really accounts for the odd lack of enthusiasm I felt. Once I finally vocalized that thought, everything sort of fell very quickly into place in my mind.
I will spend this year working and earning money with the goal of returning to France for 2016-2017. I will resubmit my application to TAPIF next winter, and I want to take the DALF C1 exam in December, so I can consider grad school as a seriously viable option. Some of my friends have asked me if I’m likely to get another position, and honestly…I’m extremely confident about it. Based on numbers TAPIF publishes itself, applicants have basically an 80% chance of being accepted. Second year applicants are automatically placed on the waitlist, and last year all 300 were eventually offered positions. Whether it’ll be as good a placement as Chambéry or Vizille is anyone’s guess, but that’s the risk I’ve decided to take.
Plus, while I wouldn’t be going to France completely broke, and the assistant salary is more or less livable, it doesn’t allow for much leeway either. By spending a year working towards this goal, I will hopefully build up a solid savings account which will allow me some more flexibility. My friend Laura expressed it in the clearest terms: “You don’t lose anything by going now or by staying, but you only increase your potential by waiting a year.”
Obviously, I feel extremely lucky and privileged to even be in the position of making these decisions at all. I realize that I’ve been basically suffering under wealth, and for that I’m very grateful!
So there you have it!! I was so excited by this decision that I even redesigned my entire blog! Let me know what you think in the comments 🙂
By the way, if you’re wondering why, at the beginning of this post, my big announcement fanfare sounded like the theme from the Olympics played by a drunk who forgot half the music, that’s because it is actually a Napoleonic fanfare composed by David Bruhl at the end of the 18th century. This typical cavalry trumpet call was later adapted (though some would say stolen) by French-American composer Leo Arnaud for his piece Bugler’s Dream, penned in 1958. Excerpts from Bugler’s Dream were first used by ABC as a sort of Olympic anthem during the televised coverage of the 1968 Winter Games in — believe it or not — Grenoble.
And here’s where the story gets pretty interesting. In 1984, a famous American composer was asked to write a song for the LA Olympic Games. That song was John Williams’ Olympic Fanfare and Theme, which I’m sure you will also recognize. After a while, both songs had become so synonymous with the Olympics, that a new version of Williams’ classic piece was published for the 1996 Atlanta Games, which replaced Williams’ intro with Arnaud’s (or, really Bruhl’s) famous fanfare, along with a new song by Williams called Summon the Heroes, yet another song that you’ll probably recognize from ABC’s, and eventually NBC’s ubiquitous Olympic coverage.