56 Things (And People) I Will Miss When I Leave France

This is my last week of teaching in France, guys. My last week! I really can’t believe how fast seven months has gone by. While I plan to stay in Domfront for a few extra days after my contract ends in order to tie up loose ends, this is the week when I will have to say most of my goodbyes, and I’m just not ready! I didn’t expect to feel so much affection for this small Norman town when I first arrived, but now? I think there will always be a little space in my heart reserved for Domfront, the experiences I’ve had here, and the people I’ve met. I know I promised that my next post would be tips for living in a small town, but all things considered, I think a little tribute to Domfront (and France in general) is in order today.

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How to Survive Being Placed in a Small French Town All By Yourself (Part 2: The Cons)

I’m back with part two of a three-part post on small town French life. Today’s post takes a slightly less cheerful turn as I take an honest look at the most difficult parts about living in the middle of nowhere. But fear not! I will be back soon with a list of recommendations for making the best of TAPIF in a small town … it’s not always easy, but it IS possible to survive and thrive!


 

THE CONS

  1. You will sometimes feel like you’re living in a ghost town. 

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How to Survive Being Placed in a Small French Town All By Yourself (Part 1: The Pros)

I’m back from a rather long blogging hiatus to bring you another three-part post about life in France! Today is Part 1 … stay tuned for parts 2 and 3, coming soon!


After I applying to the TAPIF program last winter, and before I knew exactly where I would be placed, I spent a lot of time imagining what my life in France would be like. In my more more optimistic moments, my brain presented me with scenarios like this:

Scenario #1: Julia is placed in the biggest city of her first or second choice académie, Grenoble or Montpellier. Both cities have a large student population, so there is no shortage of cheap housing and there are many places to go out and meet new friends. Since Julia lives in such a big city, there are plenty of other language assistants from all over the world who live there too. Julia therefore has a built-in group of friends with whom she can travel all over Europe, explore Grenoble/Montpellier, and occasionally vent about the French school system. Julia doesn’t need to worry too much about transportation because Julia lives in a city with buses, taxis, and (most importantly) a train station. She makes use of this train station to go on frequent day trips to surrounding towns, maybe to go hiking in the mountains (Grenoble) or to go to the beach (Montpellier). At school, she becomes friends with all of the teachers and her perfectly behaved students have a true passion for the English language. If she is ever lonely, she simply arranges a Skype date with her family or her friends back home or watches a movie using her high-speed wifi connection. Julia is never ever lonely and thrives in her new French life.  Continue reading

I’m Basically An American Now (A Sappy Thanksgiving Post)

Today is Thanksgiving … well, sort of. Canadian Thanksgiving came and went weeks ago, but this was the first year that I didn’t celebrate at all. On October 12, I had just recently arrived in France and was thousands of kilometres away from my family; more importantly, since I didn’t have a single friend in France yet, I had nobody to celebrate with. In the end, Canadian Thanksgiving went almost unacknowledged here in Domfront (except for my attempt at making an apple crisp without brown sugar. Trust me, it’s better with brown sugar).  Continue reading

19 Things I’ve Learned as a Teaching Assistant in France (Part 3)

15. You will be a sort of local celebrity, especially if you’ve been placed in a small town.

In a town of only 3770, people generally know who I am right away. This can be a good thing – some people around town, such as the librarian, are chatty and always ask me how it’s going at work – but it can also be a bit weird. My students, especially the younger ones, are always eager to report a “Julia sighting” when they see me in class … “Madame, I saw you yesterday in front of the school/at the library/at the grocery store/at the cinema!” It’s especially awkward when I realize that I saw the student in question there too, but didn’t recognize them from class and didn’t say hi!  Continue reading

One Week Update! (Or How Living in the Middle of Nowhere is Actually Not that Bad)

Hello world! I have been meaning to update the blog for a while (and already have a couple of blog entries written out), but the lack of wifi in rural France has made it rather difficult. Luckily, the secretary at the collège where I am working and living has kindly allowed me to use his office computer on the weekends, when the school is closed, so I thought I’d give a quick update on my first week in Domfront! Continue reading