no shortcuts: on making friends in France

One thing that makes the experience of short-term teaching in France complicated is the simple fact that it’s short-term. And the French are not. As an American, I’m accustomed to a sense of easy, immediate friendship. When I look back at my college years, sometimes I ache for the simplicity. How easy it was, the way I knew the rules. Like-minded, friendly students at every … Continue reading no shortcuts: on making friends in France

the off-season

In Cannes, land of silver screens, someone has pressed pause. The town sleeps, stirring occasionally to prepare for things to come. Since November, the wind has carried visitors away. The air holds a bitter chill. Even on sunny days, it lurks in shadows waiting to pounce. The clink of cutlery and smell of frites at the beachside restaurants have been replaced by the violence of … Continue reading the off-season

the goldfish bowl

Just when I felt pretty comfortable with my role teaching English classes to French primary school children, life (or rather, the French Ministry of Education) handed me something new: a job at a maternelle in les banlieues of Cannes. My new students range from barely three to six years old. The oldest are wonderfully curious, asking questions that inspire future lessons. The youngest struggle to hold pencils and blow … Continue reading the goldfish bowl

war & peace & confetti

My shoes were full of confetti. My purse was full of confetti. My bra was full of confetti. My heart was simply full. It was April, my second-to-last week teaching primary school English classes. Early that morning, I had sat waiting for my ride to school, dressed professionally but staring blearily at my hot lemon water, willing myself to wake up. Bleep. A text from my … Continue reading war & peace & confetti