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.
Why Hanover, you ask? Well, the boy has a German friend with whom he studied abroad in Ireland in 2009. They are good about keeping in touch, therefore it was time for a visit. We drove through four countries in 6 hours (no big deal), at times going up to 105mph (no big deal), and finally parked on a street near said friend’s apartment which was in fact a street belonging to some kind of red light district (once again, no biggie). Martin, the friend, greeted us at his apartment and we dropped off our things before heading to a nearby Irish pub. Yes, we were in Germany, but these boys are still in love with Ireland so what better way to celebrate their shared experience abroad? We indulged in Irish stew, Guinness, Kilkenny, and even an Irish flag shot that was on fire so you had to drink it quickly with a straw before the straw melted. Right! We also played trivia and were totally winning until it was getting too late and the trivia man was getting too drunk, so we decided to head back to the apartment.
In honor of Veteran’s Day, which was yesterday, I re-read the story of my great grandpa’s experience in Europe as a soldier and POW in World War I, which you can read here. He wrote it shortly after returning from overseas, and eventually, some of my uncles created a digital version online so that we could share his story more easily.
Unconditional thanks to him and all of the other people who have served our country in the military.