Monday, October 13, 2014


Quick update before I go to bed:

To be honest this last week has been pretty stressful. A friend and I are still in the middle of planning our trip to Italy and Budapest, and we leave in less than a week. Somehow a nice little trip to a neighboring country turned into something of a cluster****, and a very expensive one at that. There are three planes, four trains, several buses, four carshares, tons of shuttles to and from places... you know what, I'm not even going to finish the list because it'll just stress me out and I won't be able to sleep again.

I'm excited to go, I am, I'm just nervous that something will go wrong, and there seem to be quite a few places it can go wrong. Perhaps the stranger I met online won't show up to drive me to my next location. Perhaps booking a flight that we can't possibly get to two hours ahead of time was a mistake. Maybe buying train tickets that get us to Grenoble at one am was a poor choice, especially considering that I live 30-40 minutes away by tram...and the tram will most likely be done for the night by that point. I supposed we can sleep with the hobos and their dogs...

If it does work out, however, it will be both amazing and incredibly exhausting.

Grenoble --> Lyon --> Genoa --> Milan --> Budapest --> Vienna --> Venice --> Florence --> Rome

No. This is not a month-long trip. Just shy of two weeks, actually. Good. Ness. What have we gotten ourselves into? And we're doing it "on the cheap," meaning RyanAir - which always uses the most inconveniently-placed airports, just to make your life that much more complicated - and buses, which take 10 times longer to get anywhere. It doesn't help that we only had like two weeks to plan it.

I also bought tickets to Poland for Christmas which was a whole other animal.

Grenoble --> Paris (3 hours) --> Beauvais (45 minutes) --> plane to Warsaw --> Warsaw to Bydgoszcz (4 hours), Merry Christmas. Bydgoszcz--> Tarnowiec (8 or 9 hours, maybe 10), Happy New Year. Tarnowiec --> Warsaw (5 or 6 hours)--> Beauvais --> Paris (45 minutes) --> Grenoble (3 hours).

I'm starting to think that with all the extra trains, buses, and shuttles, RyanAir isn't really much cheaper at all. I'm tempted to just not go anywhere for our last break. Or maybe just travel around France.

Besides that I am actually working here...more or less, so I've also been trying to plan lessons. I did not study education, I don't know how to plan a class, so that's also been stressful. I did manage to put together something on anglophone-country flags and it seemed to work pretty well today. Some of the teachers are really helpful, they stand in front of the class and help me explain things, they make an effort. Some teachers, though, are really hard to work with... gah, I sort of wanted to smack them. They just sit in the back of the class, tell me to do whatever, and stare off into space. That's literally what they were told NOT to do. Again: not actually a qualified teacher. I come to a foreign country to do a job I don't know how to do, speaking a language I'm not 100% fluent in, the least they can do is stand up there with me and offer the slightest bit of support.

It hasn't all been hair-pulling though. Last weekend one of the Canadian assistants invited us over for Canadian Thanksgiving (which neither of the Canadians were able to explain the significance of... still a mystery to me. Maybe Canada was just jealous of our gluttonous ways?) It was a really nice way to end the weekend. There was actual real food. "Are you actually surprised that people cook real food?" one assistant asked me when she how shocked I was seeing a plate of home-cooked chicken and some sort of quinoa concoction.

Um...yes. Compared to my pathetic "dinners," it was gourmet. I really need to learn how to cook something besides overdone scrambled eggs...

Last week a bunch of us went out to see Gone Girl, I went to this really great tea house called Jardin du Thé with a couple other girls, I went to a bar with a few other assistants.

But overall the week has been stressful. If I felt like getting up I'd get my camera and take a picture of my computer and desk, they're literally covered in post-it notes, one on top of the other at this point. I have so many to-do lists I don't even remember what I did with them. I can't wait until we actually leave for Italy so I can remember why I like to travel, because at this point it seems to be more stress than it's worth.

And now it is one in the morning, I have ten billion things to do tomorrow, so I'm going to go to sleep. Bonne nuit.


  1. So I think this isn't the best plan -- but I think you should have brought your first year workbook and just teach from that information...but backwards -- teaching them English from French. Does that make sense?

  2. yeah I should have, but that's more grammar and the kids don't start grammar until junior high, everything I teach them has to be spoken

  3. although the themes in that book would have been good