TAPIF: The story of…renewals

In 2014, I found the courage to leave nearly everything (inlcuding my job) and everyone behind to move to France. Having a chéri waiting for me at the aéroport certainly helped calme my fears!

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I also had a job lined up: I was accepted to work as an an assistant de langue in 3 écoles primaires in Marseille. Finding a job in France is tough enough for actuel Français, so it was nice to know that I had a job for at least 7 mois.

First day on the job: Job Training!

I had such an amazing aventure that in Janvier 2015, I filled out the form to renew the program. This was also the “easiest” way to have a somewhat secured job in France (as noted above: jobs are hard to come by). It was also nice to know that Américains (without a carte de séjour) can renew a second time through the CIEP. The process through the CIEP is less complexe than the process through TAPIF in the USA.

In Juin 2015, I was accepted to work a second year; however, I was placed in a lycée (high school) and a collège (Middle School). This expérience was complètement différente from the first year – and this différence had nothing to do with how hard it was to work with a newborn around.

After a year of job searching while working as an assistante de langue, I decided to renew again for the 2016-2017 school year. In Août 2016, I was accepted again as an assistant, though this time I went directly through the Rectorat as an Assistante Locale. With a carte de séjour vie privée et familiale travailleur, I was able to aply for the assistantship through the Rectorat. I worked at a différent (same city) lycée and a collège – both much more organized than the previous year. I also found a second job (thanks to Pôle Emploi) with the agency O2 Kid Aix as an Enlighs speaking nanny; but it was only part time. So, I decided to do both since the assistant-gig would still be my main job source. This was “easy” for me because I’m vehicle equipped. So, I could get from one job to the other in a more timely manner than if I had to go by transportation public.

I also decided that this would be my last year as an assistant and was even more determined than before to find something more full time and closer to me. This means that I worked as an assistante de langue during the 2014-2015 school year, the 2015-2016 school year, and the 2016-2017 school year. Each experience differing from the last (as I was in différent schools all 3 years). Thus showing that even in the same city, school organisation differs completely – leaving me wondering how “égalité” fit into this situation.

If you’re having trouble deciding on primaire ou secondaire, then let the liste below be a guide on what to expect. It’s important to note that not all expériences are equal. 

Some of the main différences between assisting in primaire and in secondaire:

  • Assisting in primaire
    • I make my own leçons (on basic English concepts).
    • I teach the classe entière (25-30 kids) while the teacher is présent (the teacher only intervenes for disciplinary raisons) or while the teacher is out on a quick smoke/coffee break or making copies.
    • I have very little online accès at the school and no copy machine code (except in those schools where a code is not nécessaire).
    • I have none or very little technologie to use in the classroom. If I want to play a song (such as The Days of the Week), then I must bring my own computer/mp3 player and speakers.
    • I work every planned day (except holidays). If a teacher is absent, I stay at the school either in the “teacher’s lounge” or in the computer lab (if the shcool has one) doing nothing during the 30 minutes or hour of that teacher’s classe
  • Assisting in secondaire
    • Sometimes I make my own leçons (more advanced or BAC focused or BTS focused), while most most days I help the teacher. Some days, I knew the teachers’ leçons in advance and could therefore prépare something; other days, I was informed minutes before the start of classe
    • Either I help the teacher (usually, this consists of walking around and intervening while the students work in groupes) or take half the classe to a separate room for the whole time or for half the time (half the time: 2 groupes of 15 students in a 45 minute period). 
    • Normalement, an internet accès code, a copy machine code, and room keys are provided; however, during the 2015-2016 school year, I ended up having to use the computer code from last year’s assistant and was never given a key, which made taking half the classe to a room (often miles away from the original teacher’s room) quite difficile. During the 2016-2017 school year, I learned that the school is required to give assistants a key – so, remember Rule #1: Don’t hesitate to harcèle the secrétaire, the directeur/ice, and the Rectorat for keys and the codes for computer/internet and copy machine accès.
    • I have accès to computers, speakers, Epson and the internet, so I can show Prezi powerpoints and vidéo clips in the target language. 
    •  I can leave the school when the teacher is absent or for any other raison for classe annulation (this means that I can go home if I have no other classes that day or if I live nearby the school and can return for any later classes). This happens frequently especially during the end of the year with the Bac and the Brevet examens. 

Each TAPIF experience is différent but it’s always good to know a little bit about what is expected of you in the classroom and what is expected of the schools. Remember: In secondiare, you get keys to your own classroom! The person in charge of the assistants in each académie at the rectorat will fight for you on this one as you can’t be of good use if you can’t get into your classroom! ♦

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Chapitre 23: Peddle Boating in Les Gorges du Verdon, France

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No words can describe this beauté that is uniquely carved between two départementsAlpes-de-Haute-Provence and the Var.

 

The rivière in the canyon spans over 33 km

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and the sommets of the montagnes can be as high as 2,819 m.

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Les Gorges du Verdon is considered the largest canyon in Europe

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It is also listed as part of a UNESCO world geopark.

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5 Raisons to Experience Les Gorges du Verdon by Peddle Boat:

  • It’s a Gorge. 3What more is there to say, really?
  • It offers bold, green water. 4There’s no better way to experience this belle water than to peddle boat in it! 3
  • It’s relaxing. 4The Gorges du Verdon has a way of removing the stresses of daily life and then transporting touristes to paradis! Peddle boating only adds to this relaxation in paradis ideal as it offers touristes a way to vue the canyon from the water in a more relaxing way than in a kayak, for exemple.Sure, peddling may seem tough, but it’s actually quite calming when surrounded by 33 km of incredible limestone rock and sediment. 1
  • It’s got caves! 6It wouldn’t be a true gorges without at least 1 cave….5Many are too small for humains to enter, but they sure do photographe well from the peddle boat!
  • The Gorges is easy to photographe from the peddle boat. 2 There’s no need to fret if your camera is not water-proof because peddle boating is a relaxing ride on the water!

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It may have been a rainy day during my first trip to the Gorges du Verdon, but that didn’t stop the beauté of the gorges from beaming down on us (and even blinding us at times). ♦


“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” Saint Augustine.

Finalement, My Dreams Came True

Novembre 2015:

The morning sun offre a burning heat, which made the frigid, Mistral wind bearable. While my body was happily warmed by this bright orange ball of gaz, sadly, my toes were kept in the shadows. “Why didn’t I wear my boots?” I thought.

In Aix, the Mistral is especially fierce during the winter months (yes, the end of Novembre counts as Winter) as it whimsically brings down the “gift” of cold air des montagnes. The sun always has been (and always will be) a close friend to Aix; however, the sun can’t be everywhere at once. So, as you stroll down Rue de la Verrerie in late Novembre, be sure to bundle up (it’s a shadow-y filled rue).

The Mistral likes to hide in the shadows and with the boom of moderne buildings…

…in conjunction with the anciennes églises 

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Église de Saint Jean de Malte

et cathédrale Sainte-Sauveur,

the Mistral is ready to surprise even the most bundled up southerner.

It’s touriste saison

But, this morning, I was on a mission and I was close to achieving it. So, I opened the centuries-old wooden door and escaped the Mistral (*the Sous Préfecture de Bouches du Rhône recently changed locations: It is now located on 455 Avenue Pierre Brossolette*).

I took a number and then found a spot to sit. There were 8 people ahead of me but the queue passed with the vitesse of a jet plane.

When my numéro was called, I nervously approché the counter. I was worried that I’d be directed to Marseille! I was greeted with an enthousiasme contagieux. I explained my situation and handed over my récépissé.

The Préfecture took my récépissé; however, I made black & white copies of it when I first received it (you just never know). So, here’s a look at mine.

I never did snap a pic of my récépissé (before the Préfecture took it), so, here’s an exemple of what one (in couleur) really looks like.

Aujourd’hui was my lucky day! I left the counter with the excitement of a 4-year-old who just met Santa. Closing the wooden door behind me, I thought, “I. CAN’T. BELIEVE. IT.”

I decided to embrace my luck and take the Cours back home. It was warm and sunny the ENTIRE time! As I took in the sights of the marché de Noël and the scents of mulled wine and fried churros, I smiled to myself.

Finalement: I have my TITRE DE SÉJOUR (aka: my residency card).

Afficher l'image d'origine

This is a helpful copy of a Titre de Séjour that I found here. The cartes also have a chip.

Janvier 2017:

Who would’ve thought that with the coming of 2017, I would still be in France…on a second Titre de Séjour?! ♦

The Tale of a Teething Baby

“She awoke; it was after 4:00 am. It was my fault…kind of.

It wasn’t really my fault, I swear!

I was in the middle of drinking warm milk with Peppa and Goldie and Papa Pig, when all of a sudden, a thousand knives began to pierce my gums (my parents use this word All of the time these days)! Don’t say you wouldn’t have shot up in bed with thousands of warm tears trickling down your face. I needed a hug, another baba and Something to dull the ache! Thankfully, mama was there. After all, I’m just a bébé, I can’t reach anything. What’s happening to me?!?”

The worst word a new parent will hear is Teething.

But, we all know this is inevitable, so, what can we do about it? After all, we hate seeing our petit(e) prince(sse) suffer.

Here are 3 popular products that can help ease bébé‘s gum pain (in France, of course):

  • Camilia – a sirop homéopathique* that you massage onto your bébé‘s gums.Afficher l'image d'origine Camilia comes in little sachets and it can be found at most pharmacies. You can put it on your finger and massage it on bébé‘s gums, put it on a teether, or you can pour it directly onto your bebe‘s gums (massaging at the same time).
  • Sirop delabarre – a sirop homéopathique* that you massage onto your bébé‘s gums. Afficher l'image d'origineNormalement, Sirop Delabarre comes in a small jar – just be careful when putting it on your finger or on a teether as it tends to come out fast! This is considered more natural than Camilia. It can also be found at most pharmacies. There is also a gel version.http://www.avisdemamans.com/image.php?310x310/produit/delabarre.png
  • Dolodent – a gel in pump form that you massage onto your bébé‘s gums. http://www.avisdemamans.com/image.php?310x310/produit/778thickbox.jpgDolodent is usually recommended for use when Camilia and Sirop Delabarre are not strong enough.

These products may help ease bébé‘s pain (especially when bébé wants nothing to do with the teether), but they don’t always work. Sometimes, bébé won’t even let you touch her gums long enough for the sirop or gel to work; however, when they work, it gives parents some added minutes of sleep. When they don’t work, parents are left feeling helpless, exhausted, stressed, and sad (after all, no one wants to see their bébé suffer).

Here are 3 tips to help relax parents living with a teething bébé:

  • Get a massage…Better yet, get a shiatsu massage. The benefits of massages are endless. Whether it’s a couple’s massage (thank you, baby-sitter!) or a massage from your partner, you’re bound to be relaxed for at least the duration of the massage.
  • Join a Baby Yoga classe. This will not only relax you, but may help relax bébé – even a teething bébé! Plus it’s a great way to bond with bébé. Here are some yoga opportunités in the PACA (Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur) région.
  • Join a parent/bébé groupe – Or in my case, a parent/bébé English classe. Hanging out with other parents a few times a week relieves that “I’m all alone” stress as you see that you are, in fact, not alone.

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It’s important to take some time out of your day-week-month for just you, just your partner, and for you and your partner. This alone time away from bébé will help keep the two of you sain during moments of crisis (teething isn’t the only fear). Don’t let your teething bébé bring you down: It’s just a phase that does not last forever, thankfully! ♦

*Homéopathie in the USA is really frowned upon (a story for a separate blog post); however, many “homéopathie” products on the marché in the USA are forbidden in France due to régulations set in place on medicine (even homeopathy). These régulations are différent in both countries. Hylands Baby Teething Tablets, which have been speculated to have caused the death of 10 babies in the USA, is not sold in France as it does not meet France’s régulations (it contains a “toxic” (depending on the dilution) plant, belladone, which is not diluted enough to pass French laws).


This is part of a series on raising a bilingual child in France. You can follow my parenting adventure and gain helpful insight on what raising a bilingual child is like in France by reading these blogs:


For more insight on pregnancy in France, check out the following posts:

X: Xenial: A Xenodochial but not Xenophobic Host in France

Before beginning this post, I will lay out a couple of définitions. 1After all, it’s best if we all start off on the same page, right?

2012: I was taken in by a xenodochial hôtesse (read all about how I ended up with her here).

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She wasn’t xenophobic, thankfully! Her rôle was to immerse us (my rommate and I) into French culture and that is Exactly what she did.

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With bread and fromage at every meal, accompagné with French conversation (at our level, bien-sûr),

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and Plus Belle La Vie as we finished up dîner, we began to accept and apprécie French culture thanks to this wonderful femme.

It is normal to have a période of mild xenophobia when abroad for the first time (after all, when there’s no good peanut-butter, no 24-hour shopping center, no friends nor famille…aka SEULE…life becomes a bit difficile), and sometimes all it takes is one amazing native to pull you out of this stage. Thankfully, that is exactement who we had! She helped ease us out of our Américain habits and replace them with French habits. A transition which helped make life in France habitable.

Also, it is thanks to her that I met mon chéri!

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When studying/working/living abroad, it’s helpful to have a xenodochial ‘insider’ – someone who is an ‘expert’ on the culture (a natif or someone who has been living there for several years) – to ease your transition from the culture where you came to the one you’re currently in. If you find yoursefl with a bout of xenophobia: Don’t fret! Xenophobia usually disappears with time – as you immerse yourself into the culture and make friends. It’s normal to have episodes where you crave food from home or you miss your famille too much or you’ve had enough rudeness for the day, but these feelings don’t last more than a day and they are NOT violent. If you find yourself in a situation where these feelings turn into depression or they turn you violent or you just can’t shake them, seek the advice of a professionnel or a close friend via Skype, for exemple, before they take over your entire outlook on life. ♦


This is part of a blogging challenge: Topics ranging from A-Z. You can follow my challenge by clicking on the links below:

A: Adulthood: The Age of Absolute Ambiguïté 

B: Bilingue: La Vie is Better Being Bilingual

C: Christianisme: Combing the Cliffs of Clarté.

D: Death: Dealing with the Décès of My Dad

E: Éducation: The Endeavor of Easing into French Écoles

F: Food: Fancy or Faulty in France?

G: Going: Going Going Gone!

H: Home: My Heart Has Two Harbors

I: Interests: Intelligent, Insightful, Incredible!

J: Joy: La Jalousie is Overcome by La Joie

K: Khimar: Kind and Kooky Knitted Clothing Traditions

L: Lesson Plans: Leading the “Little Ones” into Language through Laughable Leçons

M: Musique: The Many Musicians Making Love on the Streets of Aix

N: Naughty or Nice?: Not Only Noticing the Différences, But Also the Similarités Between France and the U.S.

O: Obéi: Only Open to Obeying the Rules of the Road in…

P: PACS: Passionate Partners Pledging L’amour

Q: Questions: A Queen’s Quest for Clarté

R: Raisons: Riding on the Pony of Real Reasons (to Take the A-Z Challenge)

S: Study Abroad: Smiles and Sadness Set the Scène

T: Travel: Time to Hit the Trail!

U: Under the Influence: An Ugly Upward Climb Until Reaching the Summit

V: Vulgarité: Venturing out into the Vast and Voluptuous World of Cultural Différences

W: Walking: The Wise and Watchful Médiéval Wanderer

X: Xenial: A Xenodochial but not Xenophobic Host in France

Where’s the Renard…? Part 3

So, thanks to my cousin, I may have found the culprit behind these renards!

Rue de la Cepede*

I don’t know if they are responsable for all of them…

Ave Robert Schuman*

or just a few…

Cours Sextius (next to IPN)*

But, I have raison to believe that they’re responsable for at least a few of them.

Rue des Magnans**

Who are They?

Rue Joseph Cabassol*

I bet you’re just dying to know…

Boulevard du Roi René***

Well, you can check out their Tumblr here. ♦

*These photos were taken in Juin 2016.

**These photos were taken in Juillet 2016.

***These photos were taken in Août 2016

W: Walking: The Wise and Watchful Médiéval Wanderer

There’s no better way to spend a scorching summer day…

than wandering the streets at La Fête Les Médiévales in Brignoles.

This fête offers a mélange of médiévale inspired musiciens…

and street vendeurs selling anything from cornes

to fromage, or cheese…

to herbs and spices…

to quill pens…

and wooden pencils…

to jewelry (that has absolutely nothing to do with the Middle Ages, but is pretty anyway)…

and médiévale inspired dress…

 

to elfe feathers…

to pictures made of bois, or wood…

to beverages such as L’Elixir de la Sorcière, or Witch’s Brew (wine).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and Hydromel (aka Mead), which is available for purchase by the glass or by the bottle…

This fête also offers spectacles on médiévale weaponry…

and présentations on médiévale archery

Games…

and patrons dressed in Medieval inspired costumes can also be seen.

Even the food has a médiévale touch!

This fete isn’t just for adults; even kids can participate!

The best part about this fête is the flood of médiévale musique that consumes you as you turn down every street.

Even 8 months pregnant, I happily wandered down every street to see what each vendeur had to offer!

If you missed the fête this past Août, don’t worry because it’s held annually! ♦


This is part of a blogging challenge: Topics ranging from A-Z. You can follow my challenge by clicking on the links below:

A: Adulthood: The Age of Absolute Ambiguïté 

B: Bilingue: La Vie is Better Being Bilingual

C: Christianisme: Combing the Cliffs of Clarté.

D: Death: Dealing with the Décès of My Dad

E: Éducation: The Endeavor of Easing into French Écoles

F: Food: Fancy or Faulty in France?

G: Going: Going Going Gone!

H: Home: My Heart Has Two Harbors

I: Interests: Intelligent, Insightful, Incredible!

J: Joy: La Jalousie is Overcome by La Joie

K: Khimar: Kind and Kooky Knitted Clothing Traditions

L: Lesson Plans: Leading the “Little Ones” into Language through Laughable Leçons

M: Musique: The Many Musicians Making Love on the Streets of Aix

N: Naughty or Nice?: Not Only Noticing the Différences, But Also the Similarités Between France and the U.S.

O: Obéi: Only Open to Obeying the Rules of the Road in…

P: PACS: Passionate Partners Pledging L’amour

Q: Questions: A Queen’s Quest for Clarté

R: Raisons: Riding on the Pony of Real Reasons (to Take the A-Z Challenge)

S: Study Abroad: Smiles and Sadness Set the Scène

T: Travel: Time to Hit the Trail!

U: Under the Influence: An Ugly Upward Climb Until Reaching the Summit

V: Vulgarité: Venturing out into the Vast and Voluptuous World of Cultural Différences

W: Walking: The Wise and Watchful Médiéval Wanderer

X: Xenial: A Xenodochial but not Xenophobic Host in France