All posts tagged: TAPIF

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 …

Every. Vote. Matters. – How to vote from abroad

In the past 24 hours, I inadvertently sent myself down a 9/11 rabbit hole, beginning with this extremely well done Politico feature about the reporters, advisors and pilots with President Bush on September 11 and culminating with 5 hours of History Channel and MSNBC anniversary specials. Probably not a great idea to inundate myself with images of horrific plane crashes 7 days before boarding a flight… But it’s really motivated me. It’s reminded me that every single person’s contribution to their country matters. Small actions have the potential to create waves. And less than 60 days before a major presidential election is the perfect time to be reminded of this responsibility. If you are voting from abroad, you must request an absentee ballot in advance. Luckily, it’s super simple. I requested mine in about 20 minutes, and by the next day was notified by my local election board that my request had been processed and my ballot will be emailed to me at the end of the month! Go to https://www.fvap.gov/ and select your state to see registration deadlines. In my …

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, …

the gratte-frog

The four of us piled into our Airbnb apartment in Montpellier, France. As my friends began to change into their pajamas and brush their teeth, I examined the bookshelves: A full set of hardback Harry Potter books; several shelves of paperbacks, their titles written upside-down as is the way with French publishers; a small CD collection and an unplugged stereo; three little wooden frogs, decreasing in size. I now know these small wooden figures are called Frog Rasps, or güiros, a type of Latin American percussion instrument. But at the time, I just thought they were funny. Because we are hilarious, Julia and I decided to play a prank on Hannah and Rachel, who were quietly reading in the bed they were sharing in the other room. We waited until it was absolutely. quiet. and then… brrrrrrr-ap! , brrrrrrr-ap! the sound of the mallet stroking the frog’s bumpy back. “What the hell was that?!” we heard from the other side of the curtain that separated the rooms. We had already dissolved into giggles. Because apparently we are 12. …

the little things.

My goal for next week is to plan for my posts a little better, so I kick this habit of posting at the last minute!! For today, a small reflection on “the little things.” “Agnès told me that I was doing a great job and a moyenne told me that my braid was just like La Reine des Neiges. It’s nice to be appreciated.” Agnès’s comment could not have come at a better time. The teacher of a difficult group of 3 year-old preschoolers (an age group I don’t particularly care to work with again…) barely spoke English herself, but was so kind to compliment me on the lessons I had been doing over the course of the year. Especially appreciated at the time, because of one of her colleagues who was constantly comparing me to previous teaching assistants the school had had and whose French-style confrontation was very disheartening. One of her students that day also informed me that my thick, long hair, tied in a single plait, looked just like La Reine des Neiges, …