Dear fellow Babblers,
One last post to conclude my Life Update series on relocating to France.
If any of you have read the two earlier posts, you’ll well be aware that I am no longer living in the states and I am writing these posts as a way of somehow connecting with the world as well as reflecting on my initial impressions and thoughts of my new home here in Joigny, on the outskirts of Paris. These posts are written as I wait to be finally connected to the wifi. I haven’t had internet connection here for the past three weeks, and being a blogger and a gal trying to fill out grad school applications just let me tell ya that it’s pretty killer. However, this post is the first written in which I have Wifi so you can only imagine my relief and utter gratitude for the bimbo technician that finally came along to connect the
Anyway. This post is going to be devoted to my new work as an assistant English teacher at the local high school, where I am also currently living, and some new discoveries I have been making of myself as I begin to perceive the world around me under a different sunlight and moonlight.
I’ve only been working for a week but with each day that passes I feel as though I am burrowing further and further into my dreams, and endless field of wonder and hopes, promising eternal happiness and peace. I’m only an English teacher to high school students, but this really is all I could ever want and more. This small village is blooming with possibilities and warm smiles. The students are all wonderful, a bit rowdy, but that’s what growing up is all about! I like to think they have taken a liking to me thus far, given that I’m pretty much against discipline and anything that prohibits self expression and personal grown, but maybe that’s why they like me: I’m a pushover. I feel as though I’m their peer so it’s hard for me to take any sort of upper hand or even dare to attempt to ask them to speak one at a time or lower their gosh forsaken monstrous voices! I’m 22 so high school wasn’t exactly a long time ago and a lot of these students look my age for heavens sakes! When I walk into classes to be introduced they expect me to be a new student and when they realize I’m a teacher assistant the first question is always and I mean ALWAYS “how old are you?” And then there’s those ever-so-lovely charmers who have the audacity to ask “do you have a boyfriend?” Umm… Okay. So I could really do with some romance in my life but, come on, I’m not THAT desperate – I do have some scruples left.
So these first two weeks of classes have just been a flood of questions which were supposed to be strictly about the states such as what do I think of Trump and where are some places to visit in Los Angeles. However it seemed as though the students where more interested in my personal life altogether so before I knew it classes became a riot of jokes, mockery and altogether – fun. I don’t really mind the students having made fun of my answers or my Spanish accent when I speak French. I was just glad they didn’t find me a complete and utter bore which would be, above all, absolutely disastrous as I like to take pride in my sarcastic sense of humor.
My contract only permits me to work a certain number of hours per week. I try to fill up the free hours of my time as much as possible with everything I used to do back in Los Angeles such as long runs, long walks, and reading. I have to admit though, I am reaching the “lonely” territory. I once thought I was confident and just a bubbly gal who jokes about anything from brown cows to pink toilet paper. However, I’m quickly coming to the sad realization that I’m an introvert. *Phew* I can’t believe I’m actually admitting to this. Joigny is an immensely small town so you would think it would be as easy as peach pie for me to meet people and make friends. Sad mistake, dear babblers. It’s actually extremely difficult and rather upsetting as I would love the opportunity to practice and develop my French. There aren’t many places to go where I could meet young people like me and actually develop friendships. The only people I really actually met were these two guys, both whom charmed me, used me, forgot about me, leaving me more traumatized about men than I ever was before, and I didn’t even think that could be possible. Consequentially I’ve been spending most of my time alone, daydreaming. Don’t ask me what I daydream about. Whatever comes to mind if you must know: dancing bears, painted angel wings, things I long to remember. One of my favorite hobbies has been walking along the river and finding a quiet spot to sit down and watch the two white swans as they glide across the water, loving each other until they can’t stand each other, only to realize they are all they have so they go back to loving. The more experiences I have with this world the more I come realize that as much as I can be happy, I’m also sad and hate myself. But, like the swans, I’m all I have and therefore must take the chance at happiness, even if only for pretend. I refuse to look back and will only take steps off my path, not backwards on my path.
My contract lasts for about a year, and given I promised myself that I would never return to the life I had before I have also been looking into and planning to apply for a great many schools here in France. I have so far applied to one Masters program in London and am waiting on the Master program applications in France to open so I can scour through and send my name to as many schools as possible. Masters here lasts for two years so those extra two years will give me cushion to perfect my French and ultimately find secure and stable permanent employment in France, confirming my non return back “home.” I use quotations to emphasize the irony of the term “home” as one would usually connect home with “where the heart is,” but if one cannot find where there heart lies, does that make them heartless or homeless? Both? You be the judge, I’ve tired myself out for days going about this philosophical thought.
The following two weeks are vacation for reasons that I’m not really all to keen to get into. I just returned from a four day stay in Italy. I went by myself for no other reason than I would rather and probable deserve, as someone once told me, to be alone. It was a thirteen hour bus ride from Paris to Milan so it was no small trek. I do not suggest for any solo travel to travel that long by bus given that it’s uncomfortable, boring and altogether not fun, but definitely cheaper than traveling by train. Anyway, I mainly wanted to go to Milan for the fashion. It’s the fashion capital of the world so me being the girl who spends close to 1000 dollars on shoes, just had to spend her first vacation there. As a close reader could probably deduce by now, shopping, aside from reading and jogging, makes me feel better and less sad. I wouldn’t say that I went “all out” on a crazy shopping spree but I did get some pretty outfits and not to mention SHOES. Omg, how I LOVE shoes. Milan isn’t really the highlight of my trip however. It was my day trip to Venice.
Words are beauty, but not even beauty can describe this city floating on water. Walking out of Saint Luzzia train station and catching site of the Grand Canal I stumbled over my own feet and coughed on the clear air, cleansing me of all the impurities that had been tainting my soul for so long. I arrived at about 8 am and didn’t leave until 8 pm. Between these hours I walked, walked, walked. I’m not the sort of traveler who runs straight to the most touristy spots, only if I just so happen to come across them durning my walks. I usually simply go along on my own pace where my spirit takes me and I feel my energy ripening. The day took me through narrow streets, over small and large bridges, into shops of elderly men painting face masks, and onto crowded but surreal water buses. I ended my day sitting down in front of the canal close to the train station, eating persimmons, and journaling about my impressions of this city so cut away from reality, living according to the sound of the rushing water and bathing sun. Though petit, one day is not enough to soak in all the mysteries of Venice. I say “mysteries” not to play with or diversify my use of language but instead to fill the gap in my description of the city. Every turn is scenic and every moment is as quaint as the sight of the first wild flower sparking through the soil in the first few days of summer.
On my train trip back to my hotel in Milan from Venice I was “swept off my feat” (
really, anyone can sweep me off my feet, I’m really that naive) by an Italian from Tunisia. We talked for the rest of the train ride, exchanged numbers and are now planning a trip together to Tunisia in December. Probably not the smartest decision on my part given the experiences I’ve already been having, but when you’re alone and want to believe for a brief moment that someone out there actually cares, you will do anything, even if it means more pain for you.
I have one more week left of vacation and tomorrow I will be traveling to Toulouse in the south of France to stay with a friend so I’m looking forward to this opportunity to see more of France and practice my French with someone who hopefully has no ulterior motives. I guess I’ll find out soon though…
Thank you all for reading and responding to these long posts in my Life Update Series. I’ve been receiving a flood of emails and messages lately with your responses and I’m so thankful for all of the support and kindness I have been finding, more from people in the blogging community than in the place we call “real life.” This series, as the title describes has been a reflection on my new life and adjustment to a small village in France as opposed to the life I decided to leave behind, hopefully forever in Los Angeles. Especially for those of you struggling with mental illness and having suffered traumas in your life please take away from my series that there is “hope” and even when you feel alone, you are not, you have yourself and to be you is the greatest miracle of all. So be brave and live. This post is the conclusion of the series and the next post will return to book reviews, chats and tags, beginning with a review upon request from a friend of the author of a collection of short stories The Sacrifice: Volume 1, so if you’re wondering what happened to all the bookish stuff no worries, it’s on it’s way, just a bit delayed!