Today is my day off. Most people would be excited for a day off, and I am. I’m excited in the same way that I am on Tuesday mornings and Thursday and Friday afternoons, not to mention on those mysterious jours fériés, national holidays. Because I work 12 hours a week…in France. The difference between ‘my day off’ and an average day is 2 or 3 hours of work. No wonder I can’t help but giggle whenever a Republican throws the word ‘socialist’ around like it’s supposed to be a bad thing. What other national government would hire a couple thousand foreigners to teach their native tongue, give them 6 weeks’ vacation in 7 months, and pay a decent stipend for working just a third of full time?
At a certain point, free time is less of a novelty and more of a burden. I do have things I should be doing besides actually teaching, I swear. But when you have 20 hours of free time a week, that starts to seem a lot better suited to learning Disney songs in French than writing an evaluation about a boy who likes to interrupt his classmates’ English with sexual remarks in French. (Je comprends le français, pourquoi tu dis ces choses?? I understand French, why do you say these things??) So the actual work gets pushed back in favor of reading (optimistic), listening to French radio (slightly more believable), and slowly being sucked into my laptop to become one with the worldwide web (yeah, that’s about right).
On the other hand, this is the perfect kind of program for socializing. We Gap assistants have really lucked out. Gap is the largest city for miles around at a whopping 40,000 people. There are 9 English assistants, 2 Italian assistants, 1 Spanish assistant, and at least 1 German assistant. Not too shabby.
Plus, our Spanish compatriot is really a package deal. I don’t think the assistants have gone one night hanging out without learning about yet another city where Juan has a friend. He has a car and drove some of us to the nearby village of Embrun two weekends ago. Three of us were sitting at a table at a café when we overheard Juan telling the Portuguese man the waiter had just introduced him to that they’ll ‘cross paths’ soon in Gap. So that’s how it’s done, eh?
Also thanks to Juan and a French guy Juan introduced us to, 11 of us went on a hike outside of Gap this past Sunday. I’m not sure we took the trail we meant to, but the important thing is we ended up back at the cars. It was a beautiful day and great company. My camera was at the bottom of my bookbag, so here are some photos I’m stealing from one of my hiking companions, Maddy.
Well, I’m going to find something to do with myself for the rest of my day off. If you need any papers edited or French books translated or just some funny HuffPost links sent your way, I’m your girl.