As of Thursday last week, I’ve officially finished my first semester of teaching as a lectrice d’anglais in France. Crazy to believe just how it has flown by– cliché as it sounds, it seemed like just yesterday I was starting my first day at the university and now I’m here with no more classes to teach until the following semester. While it hasn’t been easy these past couple of months, I’d say that it has turned out for the better.
Just as it goes with my updates: again, so much has happened since I last kept you informed with my life back in September. I was just starting my new job, still getting settled into my flat, and figuring out administrative stuff. Things were new, fresh, and I was on a “back-in-France” high that kept me in good spirits for the rest of the month. Everything was going well, and for a while, I believed that this year was going to be a good one.
Of course, as things go, the honeymoon phase ended. Sometime after midterm week (around mid-October), I started noticing a shift in my classes, as well as myself. Perhaps it was reality sinking in– my students were realizing the monotony of school, and I was beginning to realize my limitations as a teacher (e.g. teaching and disciplining). The summer weather gave way to the autumn chill, and I found myself spending the days off at home, despondent and extremely homesick. Anxiety also resurfaced with vengeance, which kept me miserable for weeks on end. My relationship with my roommates, which had been perfectly fine in the beginning, started to crack– I won’t get into the details, but basically, two of them are planning to move out soon. Thankfully, it’s on good terms, but the process of finding out about it hadn’t been very…pleasant.
Despite these events, I admit that I also had some good moments throughout. I’ve made friends, becoming close with a fellow lecteur from Texas and a Ph.D. student from Hungary who works at my university. I try going out at least once a week with other expats in town, as well as attending house parties and even hosting a couple of them chez moi. Processing paperwork is pretty much done, as I’ve completed my OFII visit, reactivated my carte vitale, and submitted documents for CAF and travel reimbursement for work. I just got my first CAF payment this month for my October rent: instead of having to pay 390€ for my flat, it has been slashed to 212€! I should also be getting my travel reimbursement from the university soon, so things are looking up.
My October vacances to Lyon and a couple of the surrounding villages were brief, but much-needed as a break from work– those five days reminded me just how much I love traveling, how much it invigorates me to discover and to become a better person. Now that this first semester is done, I have a WHOPPING two and a half months off, since classes for the second semester don’t start until the very end of January. I’ve already planned my travels that’ll keep me occupied for the first half of my *extremely-long* break, and I really can’t wait. I’ll actually be heading out exactly a week from now, and then it’s non-stop until the end of the year!
Again, it has been a challenging semester in terms of work and dealing with life. I would say, though, that in spite of the not-so-great days (or weeks), most of the time has been good, even with its happy moments…and for that, I can say that I’m still grateful to be in France.
Expect plenty of travel posts to come in due course– until then, à bientôt!