Bien rentrée

I’m back!

All my trains and flights went well, thank goodness. The day before I left I realized my flight from Paris left at 11:10 instead of 12 (thanks for letting me know Orbitz, oh wait, you didn’t), so I was even more stressed than before. The normal 15 minute walk to the train station took me 40 minutes with all my bags. There was a point when I didn’t think I was going to make it. My bags weren’t even that big, just insanely heavy. Luckily I had plenty of nice French guys to help me along the way.

My flight from Paris to Charlotte was by far the best international flight I’ve ever had. The plane was only about half full so after we took off everyone was able to have their own row. It really made all the difference! If you’re ever flying back to the U.S. and have to make a connection, make it through Charlotte! I also met a very nice businessman who works for a company headquartered in Paris and has lived all over the world. Just what James and I want to do!

Since our flight left earlier than I expected and we arrived early, I was there with enough time to make an earlier flight to KC. I asked if I could switch and they said because I had checked bags, I couldn’t. Lame. So I stayed around in Charlotte’s airport for almost 4 hours. And guess what was waiting for me when I got to KC? (besides James and Henry!) My bags!!! They got to take the earlier flight. Ugh.

Since I’ve been back James and I have been talking about wedding stuff (his new idea is to do a weddingmoon in New Zealand) and trying to find an apartment in Madison. Already a little wedding drama on the forefront, so hopefully that ends peacefully. Otherwise we might be headed to New Zealand after all.

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Au revoir, Cambrai

I can’t believe its over. 😦

Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited. The assistantship program has been interesting to say the least, but there’s no way I could do it again. These past few months I really felt like I was just wasting time here, waiting for it to be over so I can start my real life again. I’ve met a lot of great people though!

The hardest part is that I still love France. Sometimes I can’t even figure out why, but I love living here and I would stay forever if James and Henry were here too. Hopefully someday we’ll be able to.

Here are my top 10 moments of the past 7 months:

#1. James proposing 🙂
#2. New Years at the Eiffel Tower (and the walk home)
#3. Christmas at the hostel in London
#4. Surprise birthday party from the English teachers
#5. My parents visiting and everything we saw
#6. Seeing Erica, twice!
#7. Christmas markets and hot wine
#8. Couchsurfing in southern France
#9. Participating in a teacher’s protest/demonstration
#10. Having one of my students tell me he couldn’t guess my nationality by the way I look (“you could be French!”), what a complement! 🙂

Here’s hoping to a stress-free day of travel on Wednesday (all 22 hrs of it!) and to seeing James!!!

La grève

France’s sport national: faire la grève et les manifestations. Usually I’m excited when its strike time (no work!), but tonight I found out there will be a train and RER strike on Wednesday when my parents arrive. Bienvenue en France!

I checked on my train tickets and my first one is canceled, so it means I’ll have to take the earlier train at 7. Boo! I should be able to make it to Paris on time though. The tricky part will be the RER since two out of three will be running and we need to make it to our place by noon. Oh France, always trying to make things interesting.

In the spirit of strikes I’m posting a few pics from our last big teacher’s strike and protest. Actually it was organized by the students…they start young.


La Chandeleur

Today is La Chandeleur, otherwise known as the day you eat crepes.

Originally a religious fete to celebrate the presentation of Jesus at the Temple, it has now turned into a joyous celebration of eating crepes. We’ve been hearing about it for at least three weeks. You’re supposed to wait until after 8 to eat them (oops, had one at the cafeteria today!) and if the cook can flip the crepe while holding a coin in his or her other hand, their family will have prosperity in the coming year. Fantastic! We also heard that the crepes are supposed to symbolize the sun, so it sort of goes along with our Groundhog’s Day.

Si fait beau et luit Chandeleur
Six semaines se cache l’ours

We were so excited about making crepes, we sort of celebrated it last Tuesday (cheating, I know), but we’re up for another round tonight!

Doug and Marion waiting for their crepes

What to do?

My time in France has gone by surprisingly fast. We all know I love France, but I thought being away from James would make things go by much slower. I officially have three months to decide what I’ll do once my contract is over.

Technically there is the option of renewing, but I’m not really loving the teaching gig. My school, teachers, students, etc. are all very nice, but I feel like the impact I have is minimal and I really want to start to do something with my life. I’ve been watching way too much TV online lately.

My first choice would actually be to go back to C, but at the Paris office. Before leaving they told me my only option for working there would be a localization, so thats what I’m trying for. I officially applied back in December, but they aren’t currently looking for anyone. I was told to check back at the end of February, so I’m taking that as positive. For now. If I could do this it would mean a stable income, living in Paris with James and Henry, getting married in Paris, and James would be able to go to the language school he wants to. Although this is my first choice, it seems like my biggest longshot as well.

Number two is grad school. I’m getting ready to submit my last application this week, but I’m worried about not getting in anywhere. Who knew writing an SOP could be so hard? Only a couple schools offered assistantships, so this would mean quite a bit of debt for James and I and moving to a random part of the U.S.

And thats pretty much it. If grad school doesn’t happen I’m back at square one, looking for a job. If only we could just live in Paris. And had lots of money.

James and I in Paris