21 October 2010

1 Month Anniversary & 1st EVER Care Package!

Today marks the one month anniversary of my arrival in France! In fact, it was about this time exactly that I arrived to the apartment after eating dinner in Belgium. Obviously I don't know my way around completely, but I no longer feel completely lost the second I walk out the door, open my mouth, get on the tram, walk into the grocery store... 

I know that my adventure here has really only begun, but let's take a quick look at my first month here:
  • When I got here, I'd already been in Europe for over a week, so jet lag wasn't an issue. However, my head was spinning with languages... I was so used to hearing Estonian and Russian and knowing that I wouldn't understand no matter how much I wanted to, that I couldn't understand ANYthing (even English). It didn't help that I hadn't done anything to refresh to French, so I was 2+ years out f practice!
  • My first week, I was so dependent on my roommates for knowing which tram/bus/metro to take and in what direction. I didn't leave the house unless it was with one of them. The transit map is so overwhelming, it looks like a color-coded spider web to me. Now, I can figure my way around all three on my own (with help from the transpole.fr site) and have managed a month without getting caught for not having a validated ticket (I'll write about the transit system for you guys next week). 
  • I've started observing classes at my school and have spoken a lot of French with my students and teachers. Even though I'm supposed to be an English teacher, even my director has said that I need to teach mostly in French with some English mixed in. While this scares me just a bit (public speaking in another language?!), it'll be really good for me. If I had to say there was one thing holding me back from jumping in on more conversations with the teachers, it's my confidence. I know a lot more French than I've had the courage to show. But I've been telling myself that my confidence won't improve if I don't speak up - mistakes or no mistakes. And there will be mistakes... I'm getting much better already!
  • I've learned what it's like to live with two gay guys. Oh what an experience that is in itself. 
  • I've explored the beautiful city that is Lille! I love it! It's really gorgeous and the metropolitan area has a lot to offer - which I need to start taking advantage of. While I've been around town, I haven't really been anywhere... museums, shopping, parks... they're all on my agenda.
  • I've made friends with some assistants, a few others in between, and have started forming good working relationships with the teachers at my school. I'm looking forward to getting to know them better and continue to meet more people! 
  • I've been impacted by strikes... yes, plural. Transit, teachers, cafeteria...

The fun is only beginning. I haven't even worked a full month yet (though I've been "working" since the 1st) and I'm already on VACATION! That's right... I don't have to work again until November 4th. I don't know exactly what I'll do the whole time... I do know that from the 27th to the 31st, I'll be in Stockholm, Sweden with some other assistants and Sébastien! We're taking the train into Bruxelles early that morning to spend the day there before our flight; I'm excited to explore a little! It's going to be cold. Really cold. But it's supposed to be beautiful there! :D I also hope to take the bus into Belgium for an afternoon and to explore other areas of metropolitan Lille. Let's hope that transit strikes don't continue! I don't want to be stranded in Marcq-en-Baroeul for my whole vacation!

To celebrate my one month anniversary, I was so excited to receive my first ever care package in the mail today! Thanks, Mom! You're the best! She sent me a few of my favorite things!
Look what La Poste delivered!! 
What did my amazing mother send me?
She knows me so well! So many wonderful things! :D
Here are the details on the loot: manicure set, foot scrubber, nail files, gum (it's almost 3 euros per pack here ~$4), Altoids, my favorite Chapstick, hand towels, my watch, my USB flash drive, my favorite TJ's Ginger Almond Cashew granola, TJ's Pumpkin Butter, TJ's Peanut Flour (to get my peanut butter fix with fewer calories!), pumpkin puree, Peeps for a little Halloween spirit, Peanut Butter Cookie Luna bars, an extra pair of yoga pants to lounge in, and TJ's Ginger Thins cookies. It's great to know that I'm loved! Shipping this wasn't cheap either... $55.95! Je te remercie beaucoup, maman! Tu es la meilleure maman du monde! 

Je te remercie beaucoup, maman! Tu es la meilleure maman du monde!  - Thank you very much, Mom! You're the best mom in the world! 

1 comment:

  1. Awh!! My mama sent me some of the clothes I forgot... but your care package looks a lot more fun! =)

    Congrats on your quick adaptation!! I had a heck of a time figuring out LA and it's in English! Well.. most of it. haha