a lot has happened since last thursday’s somewhat pathetic post, the most important of which is that i’ve met a lot of people and am feeling much happier and more at ease here.
the majority of people whom i’ve met are also assistants (american, british, italian, egyptian, german, chilean, etc.--one of the things i’m enjoying most so far in this experience is the multi-lingualism, but i’ll go into that another time. if i let myself get started on words, this will turn into me rambling on forever about cultural-anthropological linguistics, which probably about 5 other people in the world would find interesting.) but in addition to assistants i’ve met students, neighbors, the random frenchman at the bookstore. being thrust out of my community reverts me back to a kindergarten-like stage of friend making, where it’s a necessity rather than a luxury. this leads to meeting and investing time in people when i might not have bothered under normal circumstances.
a lot of the weekend was spent trying to keep all the acronyms straight (caf, ofii, rib…) and get all the necessary paperwork and appointments in order for them. i also spent a good amount of time wandering around the town trying to get oriented. i'm horrible with direction, but i'm still trying.
sunday night i went to a church off the cours mirabeau i had heard about. even far from home, being there felt so familiar and it was comforting to think that at exactly the same time my family was doing the same thing in virginia.
i had to go into marseille 3 times this week, for the medical visit, orientation, and my personal favorite--dinner with the consul. all of the american assistants in aix-marseille were invited to her home where our passports were checked at the door and we went up a couple sets of stairs, each of which leads to a garden or terrace and an increasingly breathtaking view.
the dinner included pastis (of course), a brief talk, chicken nuggets and pizza as appetizers (i guess they figure we’re homesick for american food?), lots of delicious food and wine, and my having to be dragged off the terrace when it was time to leave. i can’t imagine ever going indoors living there.
wednesday was our orientation, which i had been looking forward to, but was a huge letdown. my annoyance may have been aggravated by the fact that i was upset and anxious the night before and literally hadn’t slept at all, but regardless it was an inordinately long day for very little new information. those of us teaching in lycées have our journée de formation in marseille on monday that is supposed to actually be interesting and helpful though.
and then tuesday i actually start teaching...