Hi Everyone! Sorry it's been so long since I've posted, I've been quite busy!
Most of my time over the last couple of weeks has been spent buried up to my eyeballs in paperwork. For every form you might have to fill out for something in America, in France there are 4. Also, French people LOVE to say "No." Maybe you didn't sign it in blue ink, maybe you wrote one of your numbers funny, maybe they just don't like the look of you. If they can find a way to say no to you, they will, haha.
But despite the horrors of French bureaucracy, life has gone on. I'm moved into my house now (pics soon, I forgot to bring my camera chip today), and we've got beds, a futon (it's called a clic-clac here in France), a table and chairs, a stove, and a frig. We're slowly but surely accumulating the rest. We've had water and electricity since we moved in about a week ago, but we are still waiting to get our gas turned on (once again thanks to French bureaucracy), which means no hot water (I've been showering at a friend's), and no heat (which we actually do need, despite the fact that it's only early October). But we should be getting the gas turned on early next week. We are also still waiting on internet, which is going to take about 3 more weeks, much to my chagrin. So I've been spending a lot of time at McDonald's using their free wifi.
We have also found not one, but two new roommates! Our house is billed as a 4 bedroom house, but there is actually a small office that we are using as a 5th bedroom. Our new roomates are Valerie, a 23 year old occupational therapist from Southern France, and Roman, a 25 year old nurse (not sure where he is from, but he is French). So now our household is majority French, and that's what we primarily speak to each other. It's been quite a challenge for me, but my french is improving by leaps and bounds with every passing week.
I also visited all of my schools this week. I'll be teaching at 3 elementary schools in the center of Valenciennes, all within walking distance of my house, which is great! Most of my students are 9 and 10 years old, as this is when they start their first foreign language in France (something I think the US should think about!).I'll be working 4 hours a week at each school, and speaking only English to my students during the class period (though I am sure I'll have a flurry of French questions before and after class). This will be a challenge for me and for them, but I'm really looking forward to it.
That's about all there is to say for now... but I'll be sure to update again when I start teaching next week!