Several things have been going on in my little corner of northern France this week.
Let me start with the abnormal weather that we’ve been having. After a terribly rainy and cold summer, somehow, the week after I arrived, the sun came out and temperatures rose up into the high 80’s. There was a grand exodus from northern French homes; they all wandered into the sunlight, indulging in beers on the terrace, barbecues in the backyard, and bike rides in the countryside. It was the number one conversation topic every day, and I had no idea how to participate. Yes, 88 degrees is hot, but for me, it is also normal! I felt like it would be terribly inappropriate to describe the 100+ degree weather that is native to Dallas, so instead I just nodded along to the conversation, happy that the northern French were so bewildered by this sudden change. The only problem for the week was that basically nobody has air conditioning, and it is without a doubt difficult to sleep in a house that is warmer than 80 degrees. We survived, though, and I am sure that all will return to normal soon.
With this strange heat wave came a wave of mosquitos – moustiques in French, which I can never say correctly – and they happened to love this Texan. With all of these outdoor activities happening, bug bites started developing all over my body. Legs, arms, shoulders, stomach. Not only do these French mosquitos love me, but they are vicious! The bites swell, scab over, bleed, etc. I will survive, but my skin might not. (I’ll keep you posted.) In addition to the mosquitos, I have seen an increase in bugs inside of the boy’s house due to all of the windows we have opened in order to try to keep the house cool. As I was typing that last sentence, he smacked a ginormous spider with his shoe. Oh la la.
Otherwise, today was my first official day of job hunting. I was beyond nervous, but after perfecting my CV and cover letters, I felt a little better. I stopped by three offices in Lille of English companies, doing my best to charm them with my accent américain and hiding my desperateness. All of the visits were fine: the best being when the manager asked me to send her a copy of my passport so she could see what she could do about a work visa for me, the worst being an awkward half-English-half-French conversation with the secretary who told me I would be called later. We’ll see what happens, but I feel like it was a good start.