Exactly one year ago, I started my first day of work as an English teaching assistant in Douai, France. If things would’ve worked out as I was hoping for, I would be doing the same thing today! Unfortunately, that’s not the case – but when I look back at this year and everything that has happened, I am like whoa.
I spent 8 months in France, teaching 12 hours a week to French high school students. I definitely had my ups (like my great class of senior students who always greeted me with a smile) and downs (like that one time that I ended up yelling in French at my sophomores who didn’t want to listen to a word I was saying), but I definitely learned a lot. If I ever have the opportunity to do the assistantship again, I would take it.
I lived in a small city but made great friends from all over, including my roommates from Spain, Italy, and Germany and my other assistant friends living nearby.
I didn’t see fireworks on July 4th, but I did head to the Bishop Arts District in Oak Cliff to celebrate Bastille Day, France’s national holiday, on July 14th.
Since none of my friends here are quite as nerdy nor French-obsessed as I am, I easily convinced my brother Grant and his friends Matt and James to go with. You might remember Grant and Matt from when they visited me in France for Christmas. The turnout was huge when we got there!
Lines were long and treats were expensive, but it was nice to walk around and see the traditional French courtyard game pétanque being played, a giant chess set being used by all ages, and a group of men being judged on the quality of their mustaches. The best part was having my ears perk up at the slightest sound of French being spoken. It happened more often that I thought it would! I even spoke with a member of l’Alliance Française in his native language as I hopefully filled out my entry to their sweet raffle.