All posts tagged: year abroad

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 …

a jar full of memories

  With mugs full of hot tea (and probably some cookies), arms overflowing with stickers, and all the pens we could scrounge up from the bottoms of our backpacks, we stomped into Hannah’s bedroom. Julia pulled four glass jars out of her bag as I spread out my stickers all over the floor. We had decided a few weeks before to start a new tradition for 2015: rather than set resolutions that were bound to be forgotten, we wanted to collect memories and moments from the year. The plan: write down one thing from each day, be it something we are grateful for, a funny anecdote, or a series of events from the day. Save each of these notes in a glass jar and open it back up the following year to remember and appreciate. Our “rememberlutions”. We finally made a date to meet at the 2€ store in Chambery a few weeks into January. We explored the shelves overflowing with odd 2€ goodies: mugs with pictures of hot dogs, bowls labelled “BOWL bowl bowl” (in English), …

2015: year of this blog

In 2015, I hardly blogged as much as most people. I don’t even think I blogged as much as my mom (who has way more discipline and motivation than me in almost everything). But it was the year that I wrote on this blog, and kept writing, even when it took me a month to finally publish a post about something I had done 2 months before that… So I am declaring 2015 the year of this blog! According to the cute annual review WordPress sent me, I wrote 49 posts in the past twelve months, which, now that I’ve written that down, sounds super pitiful, but when you consider that those 49 posts make up a total of 91 total posts on the blog… I’ll just have to keep in mind that everyone starts from zero. And I’m definitely curious about what my 100th post will be!! To no one’s surprise, the most popular posts are ones revolving around the logistics of my year doing TAPIF, including my advice for completing the application, my guide to …

Train Wreck

DC has the Tourist Trolley. Boston has the Duck Boat. France (and many countries in Western Europe) has the Petit Train. These are two- or three-car tiny trains that would fit in at an amusement park or an especially large zoo, meant to drive tourists past notable attractions in any given city.Walk around the city center anywhere in France, no matter the size of the town, and you are likely to hear the clang of the little train’s bell beckoning tourists far and wide to climb aboard. Chambéry has one of these “Petits Trains Touristiques“and from my arrival, I was dying to take a ride on it. Yes, it’s overpriced. Yes, it’s a ridiculous tourist attraction. But, c’mon! It’s just so darn cute! Not too long after I arrived, the train sadly went on haitus, making way for the Christmas market and waiting for the snow to clear up. It is very difficult to understand why and how these trains became such a weird obsession for me. Any time one passed, it gave me a little burst of joy. I think the thing …

Primary Assistant FAQ

In my time obsessively stalking all TAPIF blogs past, current and future, I’ve noticed the prevalence of secondary assistants across the interweb. It makes sense: there are way more of them! There are commonalities between the expectations and experiences of primary and secondary assistants, but seeing as most of the info out there seems to be geared towards the secondary level, I want to share some ideas that will be specifically helpful to current and future primary assistants, as they can be very different jobs.

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 …