Oh, northern France. The winter is coming, and I am scared… it is already in the low 50’s every day, the weather is mostly rainy, and the nights are unbearable… ok they’re not that bad but seriously. It’s cold.
I can’t believe it’s only been 3 ½ weeks since I arrived! Not only has the weather changed, but my LIFE has changed. (Once again, being a bit dramatic, but seriously. It has.) I am really enjoying my apartment. It is always a pleasure to be able to meet internationals, and I get to live with three! It’s really nice to be able to share our cultures – which includes the food! – and to have new friends to go out or do everyday things with around the city. It’s also been great to spend time with some fellow assistants like the awesome Cydny! She is from Wisconsin and is hilarious. I’m sure you’ll hear more about her in the future. Another great change is how easy it has become to spend time with the boy. I can hop on a train and be in Lille within 30 minutes and we can eat together during his lunch break, which we did today. That is much different than having to shell out money for a plane ticket and spend 12 hours traveling in order to see each other!
Last week was my first round of observations, and I must say it went rather well! In several classes, I’ve stood in front of the room and the students asked me questions about myself ranging from “What is your name?” to “Out of the seven deadly sins, which one do you identify with?” Haha! I can certainly identify with the grammar issues that most students have trouble with. I remember when I was just starting to learn French; I was timid to speak and I definitely made silly errors. I can easily understand the mistakes they are making, thanks to my knowledge of French, which helps me naturally explain what they’ve done wrong.
As I was just getting comfortable with the streets of Hazebrouck, it was time for me to move again – to Douai, France where I will be living and teaching for the remainder of my time here.
Last Friday, I went to my school to meet the English teachers and fill out paperwork. All of it went extremely well. The teachers are very welcoming, the administrative assistants were quite helpful, and everything was extremely organized. My name was on my bedroom door, mailbox, and even the buzzer outside if I should have a guest come visit me. So exciting! I returned to Hazebrouck for Friday night (with an unexpected detour to Arras… apparently I still have problems catching the right train) and spent it with Michel and some of his friends. Saturday morning, I repacked/threw everything back into my suitcase and later in the afternoon Michel and I made the one hour drive to Douai. We dropped off my things and walked around Douai for a bit, and my goodness, is it charming!