October 2, 2009

First day of working in France

Posted in travailler tagged , , , , , , , , at 4:00 pm by Fat Girl Dancing

Will someone please explain to me why I packed a 100% cashmere sweater?  There’s no “delicate” setting on French washers.  I’m gonna have to handwash it, and hope I never get a stain.  UGH.

I received my second package today — the important one, since it had my winter clothes, my jewelry and my PEANUT BUTTER.  I picked it up at the post office in Talence and walked it 2/3 of the way home singing “Peanut butter jelly time” to myself before ma mère et mon père drove by, stopped the car, and ordered me to put the box in the car.  It was mega heavy, but I nearly got it home myself!  Still, I was grateful they came by and helped me out.

Giant heavy box

Giant heavy box

Yesterday I went to my main school for lunch.  I missed the bus I needed to get down there, so I took the next one I thought was going the right way.  When the driver pulled into the terminus and looked at me, I knew I was in trouble.  It turned out I had gotten on the 21 instead of the 21bis.  Who knew?  The driver was incredibly nice, getting me bus schedules and a map and making sure I was ok and talking to me for awhile as I waited for the 21bis.

I ended up being 30 minutes late, but no one was upset.  The teachers were still friendly and helpful.  We ironed out my schedule, and it’s such a mess.  I told them I would see them Tuesday since I had orientation the next day.

I had wasted two bus passes on getting there, so I decided to walk home.  It was a nice four mile walk, although towards the end I was very tired and sore!  It was also quite hot, and I tried to stay in the shade as much as possible.  Still, I was proud of myself for making it all the way home!

When my alarm went off at 6:55am this morning, my first thought was “Are you kidding? It’s not 8:30 yet,” which is when I’ve generally been getting up.  Ugh, it was not pretty.  I tried to keep my morning crankiness to myself as everyone else was up and about as well.

I did have a little skip in my step as I walked to the tram station thinking, “Here I go to work in France!”  The tram during rush hour is packed, as many bodies as can be jammed into a tiny tube.  You get friendly with your neighbors, ifyouknowwhatimean.  I switched lines at the Hotel de Ville and headed north.  Just as I was wondering if I’d see any other assistants on the tram, I heard “Hey Penny!”  It was one of the assistants I’d met last week at our get-together dinner.  We talked a bit, and some people nearby heard us and asked if we were assistants.  They were Spanish assistants from Mexico and Spain!  I listened to them speak to each other a bit, but living in France has destroyed my Spanish *sigh*

We arrived at the high school serving as our orientation site and crammed into a small room for juice and coffee.   I met a really nice girl, C., who told me that I had missed a meeting of primary school teachers yesterday, and that the primary school teachers had more training next week!  I was shocked…I don’t know why I didn’t get the email about the meeting, and what’s more, my schools were expecting me to come teach, or at least observe, on Monday and Tuesday!  C. introduced me to the woman in charge of primary teachers, who told me “C’n’est pas grave,” (it’s not a big deal) and that we’d figure everything out in the afternoon session.

During the morning session all 253 of us sat in a lecture hall room while two different teachers went over largely bureaucratic matters that are really important and also really dull.  It turns out there’s assistants for not only English, Spanish and German, but also Italian, Russian, Arabic, Chinese, and Slavic!

During a break I chatted with D., a friend I’d made last week and a cute guy from Wales came up and chatted with us.  His accent was amazing.  I just wanted him to keep talking.

Lunch was pretty impressive for a public school cafeteria.  Romaine lettuce salad, assorted cheeses, different kinds of vegetable entrees, meatloaf with lentils, bread (of course) and banana pudding.  I sat with C., D., and another primary school teacher who’s engaged to a French guy in Bordeaux, so this is pretty much her move to France.

After lunch we split into our separate groups, primary teachers going to a room of our own.  We filled out a lot of paperwork and talked about what we were doing at the training on Tuesday.  I told one of the teachers that I’d already talked to my school and worked out my schedule and they were expecting me, and she said “Oh no they’re not!  You are NOT teaching Monday or Tuesday!” She’s going to call the schools for me to let them know I won’t be there until Thursday.  I’m relieved that we’re going to get additional training!  I was worried about being thrown right into it.

I have one last relaxing weekend ahead of me before the real work begins!

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