After nearly 3 months in France, I decided that the best option for me at the moment is to go home, work as much as possible, save as much as possible, and come back to France sometime after March. The job hunt here was frustrating but I feel like I did my best. I’m definitely considering doing my masters in Lille next year (studying modern languages), and with a student visa, I’d have the right to work 20 hours/week anywhere I’d like (or anywhere I can get hired). The main problem this time around with interviews was never the conversation, but the fact that I didn’t have valid working papers. As a student, I’d have already jumped through that hoop, so hopefully it would be much easier to support myself.
The time of year has come to France, when thousands of foreigners enter the country to begin their year abroad as a language teaching assistant. Americans, Canadians, Brits, Germans, Spanish, Italians, and many more have been placed in elementary, middle, and high schools all around the country to serve as a cultural and linguistic link to their respective country and language, and I so wish I were participating in this program again!
But, I was unfortunately not renewed for the job and am therefore continuing to hang out in France, trying to find some form of employment!
I am now giving private English lessons to 4 clients, who are all very different. It’s nice because I am making a bit of money on the side and getting to practice adjusting my teaching methods for different students at different levels with different needs. I am working with a 10-year-old whose family is moving to the States next year, a girl my age who is preparing for an English airline exam, a boy my age who is getting ready to travel abroad, and a businessman whose company just went international who will need to be able to express himself in English. Each lesson is personalized, so that means I’m preparing a lot on the side, but getting a lot of experience teaching in varied situations.
It’s been three weeks since I came back to the north of France!
In the past week, I’ve looked for work in Lille, visited Paris for two days, participated in a traditional cousinade, and started giving private English lessons.
The job search scene has been full of ups and downs, but I am trying to feel optimistic. I finally called the Parisians to see if I had been renewed for the year, and their answer was no. In fact, they informed me that they weren’t renewing anyone for the year because of the 20% decrease in assistant positions. This is totally false, because I know some British assistants who were renewed, but whatever! They also told me that I could call the Académie de Lille to ask them directly starting on September 3rd. This way I can check with the school district itself to see if there were any assistants that pulled out last minute and I may be able to take their place.
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.
Well, here I am again: Haley in France. And I’m actually even in France this time!
I flew with Southwest from Dallas to Newark (with a brief, stay-on-the-plane connection in St. Louis) and then had a 4 hour layover in Newark before I took off on my 7.5 hour flight to Paris. Then I waited 2 hours at the Paris airport before taking a one hour train to Lille, where I was happily reunited with the boy. After an hour of shopping and dragging my suitcase along, it was time for our train to Hazebrouck. After nearly 24 hours of travel, I made it to his house and was ready to nap, but instead I was a good girlfriend and helped him rearrange his living room to make it work with the new couch that he bought that we had picked up on the way to his house. (It looks awesome. It’s even long enough for me to take a nap on!)
When I arrived in Hazebrouck, it felt like I had just been here. Two and a half months is a reasonable time to be away, but now this place feels familiar. This country feels familiar. It was perfect to end the night with a beer and some friends at the best bar in Hazebrouck, Shaka Laka.
Since it’s my third time to stay in France, I am hoping that it will bring me some sort of luck for figuring out what I’d like to do with my life during these next couple of years. Where do I want to live? What kind of job could I/would I like to have? These are deep questions to ponder on a Thursday afternoon, but I have already completed nearly everything on my to-do list today, including taking a bike ride on this rare sunny day in northern France…
Next week, I’ll start the job hunt. So, wish me bonne chance as I take a chance on France this time around. A bientôt!