Sunday, July 31, 2011

Update #2: Housing

J'ai bonne nouvelles!!!

Ok so ever since I found out I will be teaching in Fontenay-sous-Bois, I've been on a mad scramble to find housing, cheap housing.  Assistants in my program will only receive 750€ per month after taxes, so I knew that my budget will be tight and I knew that would only be able to pay max 400€ per month.  I knew from the beginning that a better and more economical choice for me would be to work as an au pair. So I set up a profile with three different online au pair agencies.  After numerous emails, hopefuls and flat-out rejections, I found a good fit!  I will be the au pair of an adorable little 8-year-old boy who I will call "Little G".  My job will mostly be to watch him after school everyday and help him learn Spanish (porque yo hablo Español tambien!).  Little G comes from a wonderful family and he has a super-mom so I'm really looking forward to working with them.

And the best bit.....I get my own FREE studio apartment!! Oui, madames et monsieurs, my housing crisis has been adverted!!  I will be living in Montmartre aka "Le Bourgeois Bohême" (well, technically I'm still within the border of the 9e arrondissement, but I'm only 2 blocks away from the Sacré Coeur soooo I'll still consider myself a future Montmartroise!).   This is a complete dream come true for me because not only do I get to live in Paris and only have a 30 minute commute to my teaching job, but I get to live in my dream location!

I have been in love with Montmartre ever since I watched the movie "Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amelie".  The movie depicted Montmartre as a whimsical and enchanting village, a bohemian tavern with hints of bourgeois chic.  And although it has a much-to-be-avoided red light district, I am sooo excited to embark on my journey in my new home.....less than 2 months to go!

I can see it all now.....

....drinking un café au lait at Duex Moulins

...hopping on a train at the Abbesses metro station.

.....I can hardly wait!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Update #1: Teaching

Wow! It's been so long since I have given a proper update, where do I even begin? much has happened in the past few days and I'm so giddy with excitement, I hope I don't forget anything!

Ok for starters....

As you all know, I was expected to teach in l'académie de Créteil but you are probably thinking "Ok, so where in the academy will you be teaching?".  Well thanks to the help of a very resourceful Spaniard, I was able to find out well in advance that I will be teaching in a commune 5.8 miles east from the center of Paris called Fontenay-sous-Bois.

I will be teaching elementary school students (or ecole primaire in French).  However, there's slight confusion with my placement.  How? Why? Well when I emailed my contact person (le conseillere pédagogique) she told that I would be teaching in 3, yes THREE, different schools!  Naturally I was initially bummed by this news because I've been a teacher before and one school is a lot to handle let alone three!  And to make matters more frustrating, le conseillere would not give me the names of the schools (mais c'est la France!)  

The part of the commune where I'm teaching is pretty dull and boring looking, loaded with concrete buildings.  Fontenay-sous-Bois neighbors Vincennes (to the west) so the areas closest to Vincennes are very nice, but the other areas.....kinda poopy.  But I'm not complaining because I was given this great opportunity and I'm not passing it up, let's be could have been way worse.  Besides if worse comes to worse (aka if some shit goes down), I can always utilize the punches and kicks I learned in my kickboxing class!