the vicious TAPIF cycle

Recently I found a notebook that I bought in Chambéry and used throughout my year as an assistant. Tucked among the pages, I found a cootie catcher/fortune teller, made in Turin and filled with ridiculous jokes and general absurdity. It contained fortunes such as:

  • One of the richest men in Christendom will take a shine to you and marry you.
  • You will return to Chambery and NEVER LEAVE. You will become the conductor of the little train.
  • Like Hannah, you will be trapped in the vicious TAPIF cycle and shall be an assistant for the rest of your days.

Turns out, those things are powerful. 22 months later, and I’ve just received a second French long-stay visa in the mail. Yes, just like Hannah, I found myself drawn back into the TAPIF cycle and am doomed to return to France again!

Here’s what I know so far:

  1. I’ll be teaching in three (3) primary schools in the 9th and 10th arrondissements of Marseille.
  2. None of these three schools have ever had an English assistant before, nor is it a given that any of the teachers actually speak English.
  3. I have a plane ticket to Paris on September 18 and a train ticket to Marseille on September 19.
  4. Marseille is ENORMOUS compared to Chambéry. The size and the reputation of the city don’t scare me– I’m from a major city after all– but it does feel slightly more daunting.
  5. The 9th and 10th arrondissements are to the south of the city center. This is generally known to be a safer area than the north, which has a pretty turbulent reputation.
  6. There are going to be far more assistants in Marseille than there were in Chambéry. The TAPIF network will always be strong, but in this case, I suspect it will be more decentralized.
  7. There are so many exciting opportunities that come with being in a major city: I’ve already begun looking into the possibility of taking a theatre class or joining a theatre troupe.

Annnnd that’s about all I know so far.

It’s been an extremely hectic and fulfilling summer. Since May I have finished a year working in a public elementary school, directed three plays, produced two more, and am about to start my fourth full week of camp. I went to one of my best friend’s wedding and I played tour guide to a visiting friend in both Washington and New York. I started taking an online class, and then suddenly found my self having to apply for a visa and buy plane tickets! Between it all, I’ve barely had any time to remember I’m leaving the country in just three weeks, let alone start preparing.

I have so much to say about Marseille and why I’m excited to live there, but for now, I’ll let these pictures from my short stay in Marseille last February paint you a picture.



10 thoughts on “the vicious TAPIF cycle

  1. Marseille is a fab city! I really liked the Vieux Port area and just wandering along the little side streets 🙂 Hope you have a great time there, there’ll certainly be lots to do in France’s 2nd biggest city!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, congrats! It’s great that you’re returning to teach in France. Hope you’ll enjoy the *hopefully warm* weather there (I’ll be in the north, so soak up the sun for me!). Bon courage!


  3. Great idea to get involved in groups–I spent a year and a half in Paris in nearly total solitude until I discovered and started going to cafés philo (not sure about the plural) and the like.


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