The expat life

This past week, I finally started actually teaching in all of my classes. Yes, it took almost three weeks since I moved to France for me to actually begin teaching, and truth be told, I really rather enjoy it, for the most part.

The first part of the week, on Monday afternoons and Tuesday mornings, I work with my middle school students, and this week, the teachers wanted me to prepare something about Halloween. Halloween is not as important in France as it is in the United States. It does happen, sort of, like they have some costume stores maybe and they understand it sort of…..maybe…? But anyways, so, I had to come up with a lesson plan where they would learn some typical Halloween vocabulary. So, I decided that a good ole American game would do, so I created (with the help of a friend. curse you Microsoft Word formatting), a Bingo game using Halloween words. I felt extremely proud of myself because the students loved it. They are all 11 years after all. So, I finished at my collège on Tuesday morning, and I couldn’t help but smile. I was actually scared at lesson planning and teaching to French students, but I had proved to myself that I can succeed!

However, I suppose that I had patted myself on the back too soon, for Thursday afternoon, when I had my first official lesson with one of the high school classes, it failed miserably. There I was standing up at the front of the classroom trying to get these French sophomores to respect me, in English nonetheless, and I was failing horribly. Students were talking over me and looking at me like I was stupid, and worst of all, I only got through half of the lesson that I prepared with the teacher. I felt utterly ashamed and embarrassed.

My lessons that followed ended up going well, but I could not get the failure of that one class out of my head. My fears of failing as an English teacher with French high schoolers had come true, and I have to admit that I’m feeling rather down about it.

That feeling of failure paired with having been in a foreign country away from everyone and everything I know for almost a month have both weighed really heavy on me. I’m starting to feel a little depressed. I’ve realized that being an expatriate is not as adventurous as most people crack it up to be. It’s actually extremely difficult. Yes, there is definitely some adventure involved, but basically it’s about you stumbling around in a culture that you might not fully understand, speaking a language that you sort of know trying to be an adult about things and trying to make well-educated adult decisions. Sometimes, you fail, you fail really big, and it makes you just want to curl up in a ball and sleep forever. I had to fight that feeling this past week. It’s not a feeling that I particularly care for, and living by myself has made it that much more of a challenge to force myself to go out and be with friends and actually have a life and ignore the feeling of wanting to close myself off from the world. All I want to do is sleep.

In the meantime though, while I’m attempting to live as a real expat, I’ll be traveling for the next two weeks through Amsterdam (from where I’m currently typing this), Cologne, Berlin, Prague, and Krakow. I’m very excited about the adventures to come and also very nervous about running out of money, but alas, *sigh*, such is the expats life.

Until next time….à plus mes amis!

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