Daily Routine

Inspired by the a Day in the Life series on expatpartnersurvival.com (discovered thanks to a tweet from CRose), I decided to try to write a post about my daily routine in Poitiers.

This week I’m unfortunately sick, and stayed home today, and yesterday I exceptionally got the afternoon off to go to a birth class (though I’m supposed to make up the hour I missed), so I’m not going to take a day from this week but just rather any old day from the beginning of this school year.

6:45 Get out of bed. This is on days that I have class at 8:15—sometimes it’s later and oh is it wonderful when it is. Shower, eat breakfast (toasted brioche with nutella or granola-like cereal with yogurt depending on how hungry I am and how long my morning will be). In non-pregnant times I have a cup of Italian espresso from our espresso machine (I haven’t been drinking much coffee during my pregnancy and before you get the idea that I’m making inhuman sacrifices, it’s so I can continue drinking diet coke).

J gets up around 7 and never, ever opens the shutters (I don’t get it, he must like to sit in the dark), so I always open them when I get up, even if it’s pitch dark out. It takes me about fifty minutes to be ready to leave. When baby comes I’m sure it’ll all be up in the air and take me ten times longer.

7:30 Get in the car for work. I have about a ten-minute drive, maybe a little longer. I’m spoiled. Come mid-October this drive happens in the dark, until February.

7:45 Arrive in the teachers’ lounge. Check my box, maybe my e-mail, give my lesson plans a quick look because chances are I wrote it all into my teacher’s planner at least three days ago. Make sure I have all my photocopies made and in my bag.

8:15 Classes start. On Thursdays this year I don’t start till 10:15 so this all gets pushed back. I try to arrive at work around 9:15 on those days. The morning is some combination of classes + break periods where I try to get work done in the teachers’ work room.

11:55 Break for lunch. Some days I have class till 12:45. The cafeteria food at my school is copious but gross (also 6€ a pop which definitely adds up) so I try to take my own lunch as often as possible. That’s either leftovers if I’m lucky, or a sandwich on a baguette viennoise (I can’t stand the French”American”-style sandwich bread). I eat with my colleagues in the cafeteria unless I finish at 12:45, in which case I eat in the teachers lounge. Classes pick up again at 1:35 though this year I always have two periods to eat (which will come in handy come breast pumping time). Our classrooms are in a different building from our work room and cafeteria so, though I don’t need two full periods to eat, it definitely cuts down on the feeling that I’m running around like a chicken with my head cut off.

4 or 5 pm Classes end for the day and I head home. There are traffic jams at around 5:45 leaving school so if I can I try to book it out of there earlier than that, or give up and stay later. If I have the energy I’ll stop to buy bread (the best bakery is the one inside the tiny, sad supermarket building—honestly we think it’s the only thing keeping that supermarket in business) but usually I don’t. During certain weeks of the year we have meetings till 6:30 or 7 (or later) so I get home quite a bit later (but again, I don’t always start at 8).

On a non-training day, J may be home when I get home and we watch TV/read the internet on the couch, or go grocery shopping, or have appointments for other things.

Sometime between 7 and 9 J gets home from rock-climbing on the days he trains. When he gets back at 9 I’ve usually at least started making my own dinner if not eaten already. Otherwise he makes dinner and we eat anywhere between 7 and 8:30. I also make my lunch for the next day.

10 Bedtime for me, on the days before class at 8. I turn off the light at 10:30. On other days I go to bed later. I pick out my clothes for the next day and leave them in the bathroom. I have clothes I reserve exclusively for work, though what with being pregnant I’ve had to give up on that.

Week-ends consist of errands (grocery shopping), cleaning and laundry, maintaining the yard, visiting family, or various rock-climbing engagements (competitions, volunteering…). Sometimes I have a gig or a rehearsal with the band. Sometimes we go out for dinner or manage to meet up with friends. Sometimes we leave town together.

Rereading this it doesn’t seem particularly French at all. And it’ll probably be funny/sad to read back through it once the baby is here and I’ve gone back to work in February. Tomorrow is my last day before maternity leave, and I’m ready, but I think I’m probably leaving this routine behind and that’s a little bittersweet.

What about you? Does your routine seem particularly “French” or “American” to you or does it all just seem normal by this point?

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9 thoughts on “Daily Routine

  1. Thanks for the shoutout! I’m glad someone is reading my tweets 🙂 I like reading this kind of post! It’s interesting to learn about daily life. I can’t really picture what makes a day “French” or “American” as a whole – for me it’s more the little things that make up the cultural differences. (e.g. having a breakfast burrito, eating dinner before 7 – both those thing are pretty un-French to me!)

    • Yeah dinner-time is a good marker, as well as what we eat. My colleagues used to comment on the diet soda I eat with lunch, and sometimes they ask if a sandwich is enough to hold me over. Now I think they’re used to it though they do like talking about food.

  2. I agree with meals being a big marker. If it were up to me I’d want to eat around 6:30, but that’s not always possible with my husband’s hours. On the days we do eat early (for France at least) I almost always comment about how we’re having dinner the American way. My weekday morning routine is solidly American in the sense of breakfast – if I eat a typically French breakfast, I get the hunger shakes in just a couple of hours!

    • We make up for eating later by having an apéro which I often start before 7. Not usually very healthy though! I guess it corresponds to the crackers-and-cheesing with beer that my parents do (yum, sigh).

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