May 31, 2010

After all this time, almost time to leave

Posted in planning, travel tagged , , , , at 12:42 pm by Fat Girl Dancing

I bought my train ticket to Paris today. My last ticket to Paris. The ticket that will take me to Paris, and nowhere else. Not back to Bordeaux. My heart broke a little when I told the cashier it was a one-way ticket. Because from Paris I will go to the airport and from the airport I will go to Dublin, Chicago and then home.

I teared up a little. I’m counting down the days until I’m outta here. 26 days till I leave Bordeaux, 29 till I leave France. But I’m so not ready to leave. It’s the biggest catch-22. I can’t imagine living anywhere other than France.

When I left in 2008, I remember standing on a bridge in St. Jean de Luz and saying “I will live here.” I made it my goal and I worked towards it, and I did it. I lived here.

I will return.

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December 9, 2009

Homeless in France

Posted in la vie bordelaise, planning tagged , , , , , , , , , at 6:52 am by Fat Girl Dancing

It’s been a busy month so far.  I’ve been settling into my temporary home here with another assistant, trying to maintain a balance between living out of my suitcases and unpacking everything when I know I’ll just have to repack it again.  Fortunately I’m able to stay here until at least the beginning of February, so I’ve got some time.  I’ve been keeping up with the apartment search, but it’s so much more difficult here than it is in the States!

I’m primarily searching for roommates, and everyone I apply to has dozens of applicants, so they’re free to pick whom they choose…and it’s not me.  If I were to try for a small studio, I’d most likely find it not furnished — not even with a fridge or a stove! — and I’d need a guarantor, someone here in France willing to put up their last three months paystubs and credit to vouch for me.

I went to change my address, because I still haven’t received my very important CARTE VITALE, and found it was 34 euro just to change my address with the post!  That is one area where the USA definitely wins.  So much for socialism!

France is hard.  I’m not going to lie, in the last few weeks, there were times when I thought about how much easier it would be to give up and just go home.  Yesterday I bought a ticket to see Christophe Maé in concert in June 2010 in La Rochelle, and I’ve got a ticket to see the Mozart musical in April.  I can’t leave, I have concert tickets!

Christophe and Mozart!

Last week I visited the Christmas Market in downtown Bordeaux with a few assistants.  We went Tuesday and Wednesday night.  It’s a beautiful village marketplace set up on the town square with lights and craft shops and HOT SPICED WINE.  It was wonderful the first night, but it started pouring the second night and kind of put and end to the whole evening.  I still haven’t properly shopped through the whole market, since we really just took a fast browse through each store.

Vin chaud

Last Friday I went out to dinner with some French people to the Quebec Music Cafe.  It was way down in Pessac, so I got a ride with someone, which was very nice.  It’s so cool seeing Bordeaux from a car, I see parts of the city I never notice because I’m always on pedestrian or tram streets.  You must go look at their menu, I loved it.  I wanted to eat everything.  I ended up with the “Menu Bistro” which gave me a burger, a poutine, a beer, and a crumble dessert.  I had the three-cheese cheeseburger, the classic poutine, maple syrup beer, and the chocolate-pear crumble.  It was all SOOO GOOD.

Quebec Cafe

OM NOM NOM

One of the guys sitting next to me was excited to try and practice his English, and kept speaking English to me, and then speaking English to the other French people around him.  Eventually one of the women said to him, “She’s here to improve her French, so speak French!”  I didn’t mind him speaking a little English, but I thought it was weird that he would speak English to everyone else.

It’s been quite warm here the last few days — in the low 60s and upper 50s, but we’re about due for a cold snap, in the 40s!  Oh no! 😦

Holidays in Bordeaux

Holidays in Bordeaux

September 8, 2009

Countdown: One week

Posted in planning tagged , , , , , at 9:03 pm by Fat Girl Dancing

One week left in the United States with my family and friends.  As my time here dwindles I find myself more and more hesitant to leave, whereas months ago I couldn’t wait to be in France.  Now all I can think of is everyone and everything I will miss and everything that could possibly go wrong.

My host family has been nothing but kind to me in emails.  François, the father, has begun emailing with me in French in accordance with my wishes to practice French as much as possible.  They seem eager to get to know me and will be picking me up at the train station when I arrive in Bordeaux on September 20.  They’ve also offered to take me along to their vacation house on the weekends.

I’ve been in contact with several other assistants who are going to be in Bordeaux, and I think we’re all going to be meeting up for café somtime around the 23rd.

First day of work is le 1 octobre!

My bags are all packed…

All I need to pack

All I need to pack


August 25, 2009

I have a home!

Posted in planning tagged , , , at 12:46 am by Fat Girl Dancing

My French home

My French home

Hooray, I have a place to live!  It’s been a back-and-forth for the last few weeks trying to find an apartment in Bordeaux.  This morning my father and I transferred my September rent to my future landlord in order to secure my spot!

It sounds like it will be just perfect.  It is the home of a couple and their teenage daughter.  I will be renting their other daughter’s room.  They say the house is near my primary school and I can borrow a bike to get there!

And they have two cats ^_^  So I will still have cats to snuggle while I’m missing my own furbabies!

 

The packing is going slowly.  I realized  I had planned to pack way too many clothes, and I had to pare the list down a bit.  I still have too much, but I’m going to see if I can make it all fit!

June 17, 2009

The paperwork begins…

Posted in planning tagged , , , at 11:18 pm by Fat Girl Dancing

I just received an email from my French Embassy contact that the Académie of Bordeaux requires a copy of our passports, and the copy that was sent with my original application isn’t good enough.  It’s not just me; every assistant in Bordeaux has to submit a new scan of their passports directly to the Académie contact in France, and my arrêté will not be sent until they have it. 

I don’t want to wait until after I get out of work tomorrow at 1pm to try and run to school and scan it — with the time difference Thursday would already be over in France by the time I got it sent, so I’d lose another day.  I’m going to have to run home after I get off work at 9 tonight, grab my passport, and run out to Kinko’s. 

Oh,  France!  Hopefully by getting this to the person in charge of the Académie by Thursday, I should have my arrêté within the next few weeks!

 

I’ve been reading people’s descriptions of daily life in France, just buying baguettes and going about their daily routine, and I am SO eager to get there and get started! 

My French teacher helped my friend Wes and I by reserving a room in the Hôtel Henri IV right in the heart of Paris!  We’ll be there from September 16-20, just soaking up the wonderful Parisian culture before heading off to our separate regions.  I can’t wait!

June 4, 2009

Bought the ticket!

Posted in planning tagged , , , at 10:59 pm by Fat Girl Dancing

After debating back and forth with my mother, Travelocity, Priceline, and my friend Wesley, who is also going to France as a Teaching Assistant, we finally bought my plane ticket on Tuesday! 

Wes bought a ticket on the same flight, so we’ll be going over together.  We probably won’t be able to sit together, but it’s my goal to take some xanax and dramamine and SLEEP my way through the flight.  I’m still very nervous about flying, especially in light of the recent Air France disaster from Brazil.

I’ll be leaving Cincinnati on September 15th and arriving in Paris on the morning of September 16th.  I’m hoping to spend that week in Paris before heading on to my assigned city in Bordeaux (I still don’t know exactly where I’m going yet!)

I had a bit of sadness last week when Alexandra, the cat I had been hoping to take with me to France, became very ill.  She was not eating or drinking, and after much testing it was discovered that she had lung cancer.  She still refused to eat or drink anything, and so it was time to put her down.  I miss her terribly, but I’m glad that she’s no longer suffering.  She was 19. 

Alexandra ~February 1990 - May 27, 2009

Alexandra ~February 1990 - May 27, 2009

It does mean that I will be going to France just me, myself, and I.  I will miss having a kitty in my house so terribly! 

For now I’m just waiting for my arrêté — my placement of city and school in France.