Something’s better than nothing

I can’t believe I’m leaving next month.

Everything is moving so quick. Just the other day it seemed like 5 months again to go and now…. it’s a few weeks left. Today I made my visa appointment at l’Ambassade de France in St. Lucia even though I still haven’t received my contract.

Pourquoi?

Because after many people who had panic attacks in the Facebook group about time drawing near to their visa appointment and not hearing anything about or from their school, some kind-hearted soul told us to email assistants@ac-lille.fr  and as such I received a soft copy of my arrete de nomination *which is better than nothing* . So make sure to find out the email address of your academie.  Now I suggest this only if it’s a dire situation like some of us were in, i.e. a few days before August (before schools close in France). The average response time was 2 days and ben ca alors ! was I relieved when they replied.

For the visa appointment we have to fill out 2 forms, get passport size photos with specific requirements and of course your passport – and a copy of it-. So I was placed at two schools, far apart from each other, in two small towns- so small that when I asked two of my friends who’ve been in Lille for a few years, they had no clue where they were. I got placed in Estaires and in Nieppe, however due to having to travel to Roubaix very frequently I will be looking for a place in the city (every assistant’s dream right) which makes travelling time to each location an average of 30 minutes.

In case you’re looking for lodging in France, there are a good few sites but I know one of the popular ones are http://www.leboncoin.fr . I suggest looking for something below 400 euros since you still have to eat and survive in France.

I must admit besides the initial worry of being away from home for so long, I’m also worried about having to teach at a college and at a lycee since I’m very very short (or vertically challenged), so if I ever have to assert myself for some reason or the other, it may not work very well… I’m looking forward to this experience nevertheless, trying to spend as much time with family and friends and hoping for the best.

“The limits of your language are the limits of your world” 

http://crazydutchfoodie.blogspot.com/2014/02/foodie-destination-lille.html  Here’s a blog about awesome food in Lille

Seriously, sup with the wait?

The people in my academie are the coolest, and this is the conclusion I’ve drawn from only interacting within the Facebook group. When I talk to my other friends they say people don’t post or chat a lot in their groups. In the Lille academie group, everyone understands each other’s excitement and anxiety. We all can’t wait to meet each other. People post the most interesting things that surprisingly in my stalker-like investigations of Lille, didn’t find like “ 26 raisons de ne jamais aller a Lille”  (26 reasons to never go to Lille – http://www.buzzfeed.com/marieparis/nallez-pas-a-lille#.clMnEj1qz). So what I’m saying is, make sure and join your academie group on facebook quick and make some friends, it may even help you out on rent stuff, because you get a bigger place for much cheaper when you rent with someone.

So back to my problems here in Trinidad, none of us have received the arrete de nomination yet, however one and only ONE girl out of all of us has been contacted by her school who said they sent the contract since June 9th (way to go TTPOST). The people who were waitlisted thankfully got on the list and we’re just waiting on this contract to plan a day to go to St. Lucia to get the visa (yes we have to spend quite a lot of money just to get this visa -.-‘’)

A lot of people from the Lille group (and other groups too) have gotten the work contract or the email stating what school they’re at and stuff which makes me question in the most Trini accent I can say this in, “wam to d’ contract?” (My school… if you’re reading this it’s too late, I mean, please send me my email, please.) Once I have the work contract I can then go for the visa, look for apartments, take a leave of absence from the university, walk my dog, resume my life and everything else.

(If this post wasn’t enough on Lille for you, um… well, go look at some videos on youtube of the Braderie de Lille or the marché de noel or type in “Lille ma ville” and you’ll see a few videos.) Oh and please watch Bienvenue Chez Les Ch’tis if you haven’t, it’s a really funny and sweet movie about the stereotypes of Le Nord.

Peace out.

So it begins… or so I thought

Alors, there are about 15 people from the University of the West Indies (St. Augustine) who applied for the Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF) for the year 2015-2016.

At first, we were required to do a very ‘chill’ interview, in French, English or Frenglish (my personal choice). My professors asked questions such as “Can you live on your own”, “Do you live with your family”, “What do you think about cold weather”, “Would you be willing to have a French roommate?” and more.  Afterwards we were given information on how to apply and where to go to find the forms (on the ciep website).

The application was a bit challenging to fill out, but not impossible of course. Most people left it for the last minute but with all the excitement I filled out the form about 3 times just to ensure no errors. There was a lot of running around and miscommunication involved but everything worked out at the end and in the blink of an eye, it was le 19 janvier (our deadline).  We handed in everything to Alliance Française and hoped for the best.

So we waited, and waited, and waited. February. March. (Around this time I saw on Twitter and Instagram via the hashtag “#tapif”  people posting pictures of their confirmation email or celebrating their acceptance. Of course this made me even more nervous, anxious, excited and annoying to people, since at least once per conversation I’d randomly yell “I want my email already!” .Anyways continuing…)April.  Ma–. OH wait! There it is!. All the emails of confirmation finally arrived on le 21 avril.

Yes! The end of waiting! The end! (and back to my title) Or so I thought. The email was helpful, I can’t deny that. I was confirmed as a teaching assistant for English for the year 2015-2016 in France in the Académie de Lille (mon premier choix) at the level “secondaire” (not my premier choix). But a lot of questions went unanswered, and this was probably the excitement raging inside of me, “Which part of Lille?” “Secondaire. Is that collège or lycée?” “What’s the name of my school?” “Why did I not have breakfast yet?”  and on it went.

I searched on Facebook for the assistant group that I hoped someone would have already created. To my surprise, it was already there “Académie de Lille: TAPIF 2015-2016” avec 18 membres.  Of course I joined it. And that was my day.

At the very least, I was contented. Contented is too mild of a word, I was ecstatic. I could finally start my blog too, one thing I really wanted to do since even though I stumbled upon many blogs about TAPIF during the waiting period, my hunger to know more and everything that I possibly could was definitely not satisfied, so having another blog out there to help you folks out won’t kill anyone.

(PS. apparently we can’t do anything until June when the arrêté de nomination –work contract- comes. Also, some people were wait-listed, but I’ve heard in the past they are all likely to get through *God willing*)

Videos that showed Lille:      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOm0Ps2Ydcc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fuji8wysQu0