Friday, May 29, 2009

Eventful week?

My day in Paris went according to plan this time. I was originally supposed to go on Tuesday but there was a train strike (comme d'habitude) and they canceled my train. Luckily since Thursday I only teach in the morning at one of my schools and I've only missed one day of class at that school, I decided to call out and push my ticket to Thursday. All in all, I worked two days this week. Today and one class on Monday (I'm not counting babysitting though which usually involves watching movies or playing online). I feel like I had another vacation. And I have only 4 weeks left of the assistantship!! I'm excited but at the same time very nervous. The school hasn't replied to me after I sent them my CV and cover letter. I'm afraid they didn't like what they saw. I also applied to another English language school here in Besançon. I have a friend who works there already so that could open the door for me.

Oh and the very good news!! Christophe passed the first part of his concours!! He was one of the few in his class who passed so I'm very proud of him. Now he needs to take the oral part next month. This is the most difficult part. He went to the oral last year but did not pass it. I think this year he is much more prepared she he'll have a better chance!

Ok back to my trip to Paris: My adventure at the US embassy wasn't as scary as I thought it would be, maybe because I'm a US citizen. I feel so bad for those who either want to travel or study in the US and are practically interrogated as to way they want to go. I understand that we are being overly cautious to protect our national security but maybe we could be a little more polite? But I guess being polite don't make people nervous and fumble into saying the wrong things. I did get slightly interrogated at the end when I went to pick up my certificat. What is this PACS, why are you doing it? etc. But in the end I got the official stamp and was good to go! I even had a few hours before my train left for Besançon so I went to the Halles and did a little shopping. There is a starbucks there so since it's been about a year since I've had starbucks, I treated myself to a 4,50€ iced caramel machiatto coffee. And it was delicious! I also bought a beach dress from H+M for 10€! Great deal!
Ok that's enough for now. If I have something more interesting to talk about other then what I bought then I'll post it. I wish everyone a bon weekend and à bientôt!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A job in sight?

I have a chance of being hired for a summer position at my former language school where I took French classes. Apparently they are keen on hiring anglophones as teachers even if they aren't certified in teaching English. I think I have a good chance of being hired at least for the summer because I have some experience teaching. I have a friend who worked there as well and she said that they would definitely hire me and according to her, they pay well! I have all of July with absoluetly nothing to do so I pray that I get this job!

In other news, I'm heading to Paris tomorrow to pick up my Certificat de Coutume in order to be Pacsed. Yes it's official! We'll be PACSed on June 12th! I can't wait. I don't know if we are going to have some kind of party or something. We talked about getting some champagne coupes in a bar possibly.

Everything seems to be falling into place. I was soo stressed before about what to do for the future. I didn't know where to live or what to do with my life. As long as I find a decent job for the fall, I'll be satisfied and I won't be too disapointed that we can't go to Paris right away. I know that I don't want to teach English forever, but I think that if I teach adults then I'll be much happier and I'll feel challenged. Plus, I won't have to be acting as "la police" everday in class. That's a French expression they use for disciplining and yelling at the students during class. I think it's pretty accurate.

Monday, May 25, 2009

It's Hot!

Wow, France is in the middle of having an extremely hot heat wave. For the past week it's been soo hot! Today it's up to almost 100 degrees in direct sunlight!! It's not even June yet. Thankfully tomorrow it will be must cooler, in the 60's. It was so hot that we even went swimming yesterday. I'm up for an early summer, but only if the fall doesn't come early as well...

I'm spending the afternoon in front of the fan, because when it's hot like this, you can't do anything.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A 54 ans, je suis trop émue par les ours

I came across this cry for help in an advice column this week in the magazine Version Femina. This might be mean on my part, but I find this really really funny. Here is the dilema:

A 54 ans, je suis trop émue par les ours:

Toute petite, j'ai toujours préferé les ours en peluche aux poupées. Aujourd'hui, j'ai 54 ans et j'aime toujours les ours, mais les vrais. Mon problème, ce sont les émotions que provoquent en moi les reportages à la télévision sur ces animaux. Quand je vois une maman ours et son petit, panda ou ours polaire, je pleure, je pleure...Je ne voudrais pas que mon mari ou mon fils me surprennent. J'ai honte d'être bouleversée et je me cache. Aidez-moi à comprendre ce qui m'arrive. Est-ce dû à la periode délicate de la cinquantaine.

I'm sorry, when I read this, I laughed, a lot. I apologize if I offended anyone with making fun of this woman's problem. I hope that she gets the help that she needs. :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I'm in love!

Who doesn't love a boy who makes me delicious strawberry tarts? I wish I could upload my picture that I took, but my camera is broken :(.

If you could see it, you'd be jealous :)

Comme je suis bête!

Ok, so I guess I got a little ahead of myself for the Paris dream. I should have known it's not as simple as one, two, three. After some thankful feedback from some follow expat bloggers, I realized that I can't just pack up my bags that quickly or that easily.
I'm just really anxious to begin a job that I enjoy, that I actually want to do and that I can excel in, and that most importantly, pays a decent salary. I've got student loans to start paying off very soon. I've already deferred them for 2 years now...
So again, I've made a decision lol. Paris will have to wait...for now. We've decided to keep the apartment in Besançon for a few more months. That way, we will know what Christophe will be doing in the fall, we'll be able to keep our residence commune, and I will be able to take advantage of my connections here. There is a possibility of being a vacataire in the secondary schools, which is a basically a sustitute for the English teachers in collège and lycée. Apparently it would pay about the same as the assistantship but I wouldn't be paid during the vacations. Hey, if it's only for a little while, I'll do it.

I'm also starting to panick about money. I'll have a salary until the end of June but afterwards I'll have no more source of income. I just asked the dad of the little girl that I babysit for if they would need me this summer and he gave me a pretty straight answer, "well the kids will be away at camp so we won't need you."
Shit, I really needed the extra money for July. I guess spending a week at the Mediterranean this summer is out of the question.. I wanted to have at least 2000€ saved for next year. It will be a lot less than that.

But I do have some good news, Aer Lingus is having a sale to the US this summer so I jumped right on that wagon. I'll officially be spending August back home in Connecticut! Yay! I bought a round trip ticket for 550€. Is that even possible to find airfare that low in the middle of the summer? If any readers out there are looking to go to the US from France (or even from Europe) the sale is going on until May 28th. Here's the site:
Aer Lingus USA sale from Europe

Well better get back to watching cartoons with the little girl. Thanks again to KSam for her helpful feedback.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Paris calling...?

I've been thinking long and hard about where I want to be when September rolls around this year. During the winter months, I think I went through a slight depression and maybe it was the election of Obama that gave me a newfound pride of being American, whatever it was, I was almost certain that I was going to go home next fall.
Since getting a job in France is sooo difficult and most of the time not very well paid, getting a good job back home would be a better idea. Furthermore, I'll have $20,000 worth of student loans to pay off starting in November. What am I going to do?
Obviously I miss my family and friends soo much, but I'll be home all this August so I'll have a month to catch up with everyone. I also have one of my friend's weddings to go to which I'm really excited about.
Ok so here's the decision: drum roll please.....

I'm moving to Paris! Ok yes, it's one of the most expensive places to live but it's also the city where all of the jobs are! I'm sick of teaching English so what other choice do I have if I want to stay here? Plus the idea sounds soo exciting!
Also, I say 'I' instead of 'We' because we still don't know about whether Christophe passed his concours or not. So the plan is basically, I'll be moving to Paris definietly and Christophe will either be starting his job as "professeur de lycée professionel" ou he'll be doing a formation to work in a restaurant and he'll be joining me later on.
Besançon is great and all, but there's just no job opportunities here, plus I'm ready for a change!

Christophe and I were thinking about either going back to the US or staying here. I had a hard time deciding. He said he would come with me back home if I wanted to go.

I made the decision to stay here instead of going home because I realized that I LOVE the french way of life. Who doesn't like 5 weeks of vacation per year? 2 hours for lunch at noon? Almost free health care? The fabulous food and wine? I'm sorry but I've come to love it here, I don't know if I'll ever be ever to live in the US again. Maybe one day. But the most important thing that the french do best: they enjoy life! They don't work themselves to death like us!

But the most obvious reason for why I'm staying is for Love, most importantly. I'm truly happy here with the life we have. Unfortunately money is a huge issue so this is why my mind is focused mainly towards working at the moment.

Monday, May 11, 2009

I love my neighbors (not!)

So since we've moved into this apartment, we've had nothing but problems with the neighbors. Whether its constant noise or gossiping or snubbing us when we say "bonjour", it's just not a good ambiance in this building. A great example of how unfriendly these people are happened yesterday morning.

Saturday night, we had a going away party for one of our friends who is going back home to South Africa. There were moments during the evening when we broke into song and laughed pretty loudly so I understand that we were not the most quiet of people. However, I made it a point to make everyone go out into town by midnight. That's reasonable right? I mean it was a Saturday night, no one here works Sundays, so they can sleep in the next day. That's what I thought but apparently not everyone thought that way. Bright and early at 8:30am the next morning (I had gone to bed at 3:30am) we get a taste of classical french music blasting on the other side of the wall, accordion and all. Our lovely elderly neighbor decided to take her revenge on us by blasting the music as loud as possible to wake us up. And it lasted for 2 hours!!! She then decided to demonstrate to us that she really wasn't happy by banging a few things against the wall and slamming the door several times. All at 8:30am on a Sunday morning. Me having a slight hang over the next day, I was not a happy camper at all.

What a miserable old hag. I can't wait to leave this apartment in July!

Has anyone else had any similar experiences with crabby neighbors?

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Ok so out of the 6 jobs I applied to, I finally got a reply from a university lectrice position in Beauvais.

Nous sommes au regret de devoir refuser votre candidature au poste de maître de langue à l'Université de Picardie Jules Verne.
En effet, la loi nous interdit d'embaucher comme maître de langue des personnes n'ayant pas obtenu un MA.
Nous vous souhaitons bon courage et bonne chance dans vos futures démarches.

Apparently they refused me because I don't have an MA but I do have a Bac +4 which is the equivalent of the french Masters 1. They probably just found someone more qualified than me..

But to be honest, I don't want to teach again next year so this doesn't make me too sad, but still I don't like being refused.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

My weekend in Paris

So the vacation is officially over *tear* and I've started work again. However, I'm only working 2 days this week, Tuesday and Thursday. Monday I missed class because our train got in at 10pm. I wasn't too sad about not going to my least favorite school where the kids are bratty as hell. The teachers were cool about me missing class. I offered to make up the classes later on but they said "no, don't worry about it." Ok I won't. Today, I don't work because the kids don't have school on Wednesdays and Friday I don't have class because its May 8th, the end of WWII. So it still feels like les vacances. I only have 7 weeks left of teaching and afterwards...??? I still have no idea. I applied to 5 jobs both here and back home and I've gotten no reply. I still haven't bought my plane ticket home for this summer. I just haven't got a clue what I'm doing. At least I've still got a couple months left. I hope something will eventually fall into place.

Ok back to the topic of this post. Paris was great! The weather was not horrible but not as nice as we had hoped. It was very cloudy (typical Parisian weather) and only about 15° C (about 55-60° F). It didn't rain thankfully but it was a little chilly. Among the highlights of our trip, we visited: Versailles (and waited 3 hours to buy our tickets!! which we didn't even need because we got in for free) Note to anyone wanting to visit Versailles: either buy your tickets early, or if you qualify for the free entrance, go wait in the other line which is much shorter). It was pretty much as I remembered it when I went in 2001. Although this time my pictures are much nicer thanks to the invention of the digital camera.

We also visited, the Musée d'Orsay, Les Invalides, took a boat ride on the seine at night!, and went to the top of the Eiffel Tower. All very typical tourist stuff but its always fun, even the second time around. 3 days is obviously not enough time to visit the city but it's enough time to get swollen feet and to be extremly fatigued.

Here are a few photos chosen out of a couple hundred!

Day 1: Versailles
Hall of Mirros

The Gardens of Versailles

Boat ride on the Seine!
The Tour Eiffle light up at night!

Day 2: Musée d'Orsay
Les Invalides (Napoleon's tombe)

Visiting the Tour Eiffel

Friday, May 1, 2009

Paris, here I come!

Our trip to Paris this weekend marks the end of the two week long vacation, and the last one of the school year. Unfortunately the weather has announced the weekend to be not as warm as I hoped and very cloudy. My last trip to Paris in September 2007, right before I began the assistantship was amazing because we had perfect summer weather! I guess I can't win every time with the weather. Last week in Provence was absolutely perfect! People we actually in bathing suits, tanning on the beach! A a few courageous people actually swam in the Mediterranean as well!

I arranged a campus visit with the American University of Paris on Monday morning because I'm very interested in their masters programs. Unfortunately, the price of tuition is almost equal to that of a graduate program back home, which has been putting me off from actually deciding if I want to do a masters or not. I will finally begin paying my loans off this year when I get a real, full time job. I still don't know where yet... I've applied to quite a bit of jobs and not one has contacted me. I still might be a little too early since I can only start working in France in September, and in the US at the end of July.

This weekend however, I don't want to think about the future. I just want to enjoy my weekend in Paris with Christophe. I really want to do a night cruise on the Seine (but without the dinner because we can't really afford that) and all that typically touristy stuff that is so much fun.
I also hope to visit Les Invalides, Musée d'Orsay, Le musée du Moyen Age (The Middle Ages Museum), Versailles, and go to the top of the Eiffel Tower (the last time was with my parents 3 years ago).

I'll be back Monday night, (I told my school that I wouldn't be there and they didn't care!) and I'll recap my stay! Bon weekend everyone!