All posts tagged: assistante de langue

Thanks / No Thanks

Well, all of a sudden I’ve been in France for a full month! Boy has it flown by or what?! Little by little I’ve been settling into Marseille, into my new job, into different expectations and realities, with help from so many people (and in despite of some others…) Thanks to my mom who dropped me off at the airport. No thanks to my 25kg suitcase (plus 2 other bags). Thanks to the AirFrance employee who let the extra 2 kilos slide with no fee. No thanks to the diva in front of me in the ridiculously congested customs line at Charles de Gaulle airport who yelled at me for apparently cutting her in line when I was merely trying to take the outside lane on a turn, rather than bottleneck all 3048302 of us through the inside curve. Thanks to whatever caused a ten minute delay of my TGV that allowed me to make it on with a few minutes to spare! No thanks to metros without escalators, train platforms with large gaps, cobblestones and sidewalks full of dog …

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: I’ll be teaching in three (3) primary schools in the 9th and 10th arrondissements of Marseille. None of these three schools have ever had an English assistant before, nor …

Backwards and Forwards

So, I got some cool news today: After being placed on the TAPIF waitlist (as all returning assistants are) I’ve finally been accepted to teach at the primary level in the Académie d’Aix-Marseille! When I reapplied to TAPIF, I decided that I would only go back if it was for a good reason. Yes, it’s fantastic to be young and un-attached and travel and do whatever, which would be reason enough for some…but I’m getting to the point where I’m tired of living temporarily, figuring things out one year at a time. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret a single thing about doing TAPIF the first time, and I wouldn’t change that year for anything. But coming back afterwards, I felt like I had taken a gap year from life and found myself pretty much back at square one in terms of being a poor, unemployed recent college grad, while many of my friends had a full year of ‘adulthood’ under their belts. I want to live in France again. I miss the language, …

Blog Update: TAPIF Timeline!

So, here’s the truth: that tangled web of French bureaucracy people go on about…didn’t seem to ensnare me very effectively, In fact, I had a fairly tame run-in with the infamous institution: my CAF subsidy came on time, I even got my carte vitale right after Christmas! So, even though I’m sure it was just beginner’s luck and nothing at all having to do with skill, I wanted to share my TAPIF timeline: when I booked my tickets, when I found an apartment, when I submitted important documents and how long the various processes all took. If you have more specific questions about anything, ASK in the comments and I will do my best to respond!!! And remember, my experiences won’t mirror yours: my experiences didn’t mirror the other assistants in my town, even when we went together to submit the exact same documents to the same people at the same time! I’m definitely not an expert, but I figure at the very least maybe this will put your mind at ease by giving you a modicum of an …

Today, I was 9 minutes late to class

The #4 bus has somewhat of an unpredictable schedule. Sometimes it leaves early, leaving me stranded on the sidewalk. Sometimes it arrives late, leaving me staring at my watch, foot tapping in anxiety. This morning it was the latter. When your commute is as tightly timed as mine, every second counts. Right off the bat, this put me 4 minutes behind schedule. I arrived at school to find the front gate locked. This wasn’t a surprise, as it’s been locked every day since the January attacks, the only immediately visible way the tragic events have impacted my daily life. It does add a solid 45 seconds to my routine though, as I don’t have a key and must rush around to the preschool to be let in. By then, I was 5 minutes behind schedule.

All of the Lights: Christmas in “secular” France

The Christmas season arrived swiftly in France. Although the French are as unaware about Thanksgiving as the rest of the world, they – just like any self-respecting American should – waited until all the parades and football games were over before blasting carols and decorating trees. The Friday night after T-day saw the illumination of hundreds of lights strung through the streets of Chambéry and that weekend the Christmas market opened! From what I can tell, there is a Christmas market in virtually every single French town of a certain size (I’ve seen them in Chambéry, Lyon, Grenoble and Montpellier), and there are certain elements that make every Christmas market: Dozens of tiny wooden cabins, called chalets, which serve as the individual stands of each vendor At least one chalet, but usually more, serving vin chaud (hot mulled wine – delicious!) and churros and marrons chauds (roasted chestnuts – also delicious!). A chapellerie, or a hat vendor. I don’t know why, but every Christmas market I’ve seen has at least one. Vendors of regional products: sausages, …

Well, this is nuts.

As of today, I have been in Chambéry for two months. This fact is especially remarkable because the last time I was in France, it was for exactly this amount of time. And yet, this has felt like a drop in the bucket compared to that summer. You know what they say….Time flies when you have no idea what you are doing. Here’s a statistical breakdown of my first two months: Museums visited: 4 Mountains hiked: 2 Movies watched: 6 Plays attended: 1 Crêpes eaten: 9 Dinners hosted: 4 Cities visited: 3 Students taught: 195 Pen Pal letters sent: 19 Postcards sent: 12 Official forms and dossiers submitted: 3 Countries my friends are from: 8 Languages spoken in any given outing: 4 Cows seen: impossible to count Times I’ve been baffled by the Celsius scale: every single time Times I’ve understood the metric system: none Times per week I get coffee (or tea) with friends in the same café: 5, at minimum Times per week we go for beer instead: depends on the week….. I could …