April 11, 2010

home sweet home

Sometimes it takes leaving for days at a time to make a place feel like home. Although I've been living here since January, coming back from my trip to Italy was the first time I felt like Paris is home. The familiarity of the city, my neighborhood, the comfort of my own bed and my own apartment were drawing me back home. Vacations are fun but it's always nice to come home.

Italy was a great time and I'll post pictures soon! I need a little time to organize and sort through all of them - you know how vacation pictures are...you look back at them and wonder why you took a picture of that tree or why you took a picture of that lizard. Cagliari felt a lot different from Paris - the streets are so tiny you can barely fit a car between buildings, which are all vibrant colors, the language is fast and the only word I knew was grazie (thank you). I went with two girls from school and in five days we ate and walked our way through the city. Lots of pasta and lots of gelato...and now lots of exercising! We met a lot of interesting people from around the world; it's always fun to see why people travel and find out what brings them to the same place as you.

Life got really busy today as I officially started a job! This has been in the works for a few weeks and I think it will be fun which isn't something I normally say about work. Tom (my step dad) sent me information about a job opportunity that he heard about through someone he knew from when he was getting his certificate to teach English as a second language. The hiring manager is in Minnesota which has made things a little difficult (like my interview via the telephone at midnight my time) but I think it will be a good fit. My job is to teach English over the telephone to French people that mostly need to learn English for work. Teaching over the phone is interesting but as I saw today first hand, it seems to work. Beyond speaking with them I can also assign my students lessons online for extra help - but I'm mostly there to correct their speaking skills and help with grammar. I had a wide range of people today - one girl kept referring to her son as she and could only speak in present tense (which was hard when I asked what she did last weekend), but then on the other end of the spectrum I spoke with a man who's English was nearly perfect but he is required by his company to take courses so we chatted for an hour on the phone about weird things like his recent eye surgery which had me cracking up - in his words "One of my eyes was looking out and one of my eyes was looking in. After my surgery, I don't have to choose which eye will watch tv anymore!" I'm excited to have something to do over the summer and even more excited that it can all be done from home!

This weekend I'll be in the Loire Valley with some friends - we are renting bikes and riding them around to visit famous castles in France. The pictures I've seen of the castles are amazing so I'm excited to see them in person. The friends that I spend most of my time with are in Paris to teach and their contracts are up at the end of this week (they have been here since September). Everyone will be leaving me to head back to the states in about a month so I'll be pretty bummed! There will be nine of us going and it will kind of be the last hurrah before everyone parts ways.

Well, next on my list is finding an apartment so i'm not homeless come July 1st. I'm looking at one on Wednesday so I hope it will work out...apartment searching in Paris is hard!