Things of more and less importance

My grandfather died last Saturday in the wee hours of the morning. Well, the wee hours of the morning in Michigan, just the normal hours of the morning here. It was a bit weird to not be able to go to the funeral, like all the remembering and memorializing that I missed doesn’t just provide closure but also makes it a little more real. He’d been wavering for a few weeks, and though we thought  he was doing better, it wasn’t a shock. I knew that moving to France as he approached 88, 89, 90 meant that I would probably not be around when he died, but I still wish I’d been there. I don’t think he ever managed to pick a stone for my grandmother’s grave in the six years since she died. I guess now it’s no longer his responsibility.

In less important and more obvious news, my blog has moved (duh). I got the renewal notice for the domain name and hosting service a few months ago and didn’t think much of it because usually I just let it renew automatically. But I was doing my budget for April and started to think how nice it would be to not pay that $70, which originally, back in 2005, was half me, half Laurel. So I ditched likeafrog.org. And I did it at the very last minute, so there was no time to put up a notification post and ferry people over here. The only disadvantage to using wordpress.com is that I can’t customize my template, so, that’s gone. At some point I may start paying $15 a year to edit my own CSS, which would let me randomize my landscapes again. For the moment though I’m not too bothered by the change of scenery. The header photo is from a lavender patch at the Kew Gardens in London. The biggest glitch so far in the transfer is that, while all of my images are stored at my new domain, they aren’t connected to their respective posts. I’ve re-inserted them for the last year and a half. Who knows when I’ll get around to the rest—the thought of all those travel pictures from my assistant year is a little intimidating….

An acquaintance of mine has been selected to take my job next year. I’m glad knowing that someone competent and caring will take over, and I’m not too sad about leaving, though it’s been a wonderful job. I really hope I’ll be able to keep teaching next year. The question of the stage en responsabilité is still completely up in the air, though I’ve at least contacted the school now.

I’ve finally been to see a French allergist, and I like her a lot. We’re doing testing this month and we’ll decide later if I start immunotherapy (“sensibilisations” not through shots but with drops under the tongue) for dust mites this summer and pollen next winter. I just went in for a blood test to do some of the tests that way and will do some more at her office in a couple weeks, which means I have to go off my meds. Eek! Spring, don’t come too fast!

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Holy sh*te

How is it already March?? It feels like yesterday I got back from the States after Christmas. Am listening to all the Indochine songs I was listening to just before Christmas, when I had just gone the long ridiculous route of getting Nicknameless Boy’s phone number and making contact.

In other news, I was told today that I was accepted to have my contract renewed by the university. Yay! Otherwise I would have been baisé-ed. Also I am quite happy to stay at this school for another year.

The roommates have gone out and it feels so wonderful to be alone. I wonder if that will change once I’ve lived alone for a while. I don’t think so though. I have so much work to get done (conference proposals, poster, start writing that freaking paper out of my thesis data already) that I’m looking forward to doing once I have no internet.

The crémaillère is looking to be the weekend of the 27th. One ex-student has confirmed that she could come then, Zandra might come, and it is apparently the only weekend in March-April that roommate Julien is not occupé.

Noos

I went into the school today for the first time and met my colleagues. They are super nice, and we share an office, where I have a desk, and a computer (!!!). But the computer runs on Windows 2000 so I don’t think it’s going to be super useful for anything but printing. For copies we have to hand stuff to a secretary to do it in time to have it for class, which will take some discipline on my part (i.e. no planning the night before). The school also is about twice the size of my last school, in terms of numbers of students. They have five different options for specializations and there are some doctorate students.

The chick who had my job last year did some serious syllabi and very kindly left them for me. I’ve looked over them and I think I’ll use a few of the articles she used and possibly one of the projects she did, but otherwise I don’t think it’s much my style. She gave her classes actual titles. I think if I titled mine it would be “Crap Eileen Likes.” (Well no not really, of course I could come up with something, probably about culture and writing, but still.)

Also I found out that my contract is renewable (1 time). And they need to know by Christmas. Eek. I guess I’ll probably know by then if I want to do another year. Right now I have no idea.

I also found out how I got my job. Apparently the school has always done an exchange with Illinois Champaign-Urbana and this year it fell through, so the English profs went over to the fac des lettres (across the street) and looked through their pile of CVs. With my last job it sounded like an exchange fell through as well, so generally I think there’s a good deal of luck in getting these positions. I did have an answer from Le Havre but they wanted to know when I could come in for an interview so I don’t think that one would really have happened. Otherwise, this is the only offer I got this year, so hurrah that it worked out.

Lots of my friends have come back to France in other places. I’ll have to meet up with American J at some point as she’s in Evreux. And I need to get back to Nancy and see Linda in Strasbourg as well as Zandra in Avignon and Francesca in Barcelona. Traveling may be limited to crashing at friends’ this year.

Well I thought I had more to say. In any case I’m excited to start work.

Honestly, not a whole lot is going on.

I’m going to Houston tomorrow to go to the consulate on Wednesday. Every time I go I have irrational fears that something will go wrong. But I’m pretty sure everything’s in order this year (unlike last year).

I’ve started thinking about 2010-11 and am redoing my resume to send it to East Coast teacher agencies. Who knows what this year will bring but I would like to have a concrete plan for if staying in France falls through or just feels too complicated. I really loved Boston when I was there visiting my brother last year, right after coming back from France. I think I’d be happy in the northeast.

Wish I had something more cohesive to post, but I don’t.

ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod

Last Friday I sent a letter (a real one, and in French) to the French consulate in Houston telling them my new address, phone number, and e-mail address for when they receive my papers from France. BEST IDEA EVER. I just got a phone call from someone there saying everything is there already and I should go ahead and make an appointment. Hurrah! I don’t know if they had it already and didn’t have my contact info or what, since they left a message and I didn’t actually talk to anyone.

Looks like I’ll be going to France on time this year!!

France planning, etc.

I got an e-mail from R, the Swiss assistant I worked with during my assistantship year, and it is so nice to be able to tell people definitively that I’m coming back, at least for the year. There were people who didn’t believe me when I said it and people who never doubted it and she, from what I can tell, was one of the latter, which I find interesting—maybe because she herself moved to France.

I just have a (low-key) presentation to give tonight, a paper to turn in tomorrow, and then a final next Saturday that I’m not really worried about. I’m going home to SA with my mom tomorrow after some potential shopping. I’ve saved up $60 in tips and I need to decide what I want to spend it on. I’m hoping to line up a masters report advisor before summer kicks in so I can get started in July.

I’m trying to figure out what kind of funds I’ll need for moving to France and I’m also trying to figure out a flight date. New boss says I don’t need to be teaching before October so I should arrive mid-September (also a good idea given there is still some possibility of foot surgery in July). So I’ve sort of settled on leaving Monday the 14th to arrive Tues the 15th so I’ll have a few days to look for housing before the weekend shuts things down. I can’t quite decide where to stay when I get there—there’s a foyer that I could buy two weeks at but it’s on the outskirts so that’s kind of a drag. There’s a place much like where I lived last year except it’s private, right next to the gare. But I don’t know if they would take me since I’m technically not a student. And I think I want to try looking for French roommates this year. I’ve loved (LOVED) living alone in Austin but I don’t know that it’s a good idea in France. I’ve put myself on appartager but it seems silly to pay too much attention to it till I’m in town. People keep contacting me for rooms that are open now which I find kind of annoying since it says in my profile I’m not looking till September. So probably what I’ll do is settle on the foyer for a couple of weeks and hope that I find something quick. I just want to avoid paperwork.

Well I should go, I have a meeting and then my last class of the semester, woot.

Officially

hired to work at the engineering school for next year. So now I can start thinking about buying a plane ticket and looking for temporary housing and whatnot. This is, sort of astonishingly, the first time I’ll have to find my own housing in France.

Otherwise, the semester is winding down, I’ve wrapped up my three papers that are due this week and now just have to turn them in, and I’m still working on finding a masters report advisor. I’m heading home to SA on Friday to play with the poodles. The semester is so close to over I can feel it. But I’ll only really have a two-week break (boo hoo) before I begin an intense month of six hours of class a day. Also, I need a place to live June 25th-July 8th. Sometime in there I turn 25. Every year I’m pretty much ready to be older, possibly because people mistake me too often for a 19-year-old and I hate that. (Seriously why do people not get that? Younger ≠ better)