Friday, September 18, 2009

the luck of the draw

"Once upon a time, in a far away land..." my mom took me to see Beauty & the Beast. At the ripe age of 4 I heard "bonjour" for the very first time & was instantly mesmerized. Fast forward to my freshman year of high school & I was faced with the dilemma of choosing between French, German, or Spanish. While French seemed rather impractical, I couldn't help taking the setting of a certain film into serious consideration. That & my dream of seeing the Eiffel Tower ;) But it wasn't until my French major whisked me away to Versailles for a study abroad program that I truly began falling head over heels for all things French. The language, the culture, the food, the silly questions about whether or not I had been thrown in jail... I loved it all!

It wasn't long before I was applying for the French Embassy's Assistantship Program. As a teaching assistant, I would have the opportunity to share my language & culture in a French school for 7-9 months. It was a no brainer! The only question was... where? I will not sugar coat my bad behavior for you. I was a complete & total wreck. The list of where I didn't want to go was virtually non-existent &, thus, unhelpful. So after driving myself & everyone around me insane with the pros & cons of every académie (academic council) in France, I broke down & threw the name of each one I liked into a bag. Sans blague (no kidding)! Drawing out Lyon, I wrote it down as my first choice on my application, & sent it away before I could change my mind again. Lyon was a popular first choice among the applicants, so I was genuinely surprised when my acceptance letter said I got it.

One more hellish wait later & I finally received my Arrêté de Nomination aka placement letter. I will be teaching English to high schoolers at Lycée du Val de Saône for 7 months in Trévoux! A charming town of about 6,000, it is nestled in the Beaujolais hills next to the Saône River. I am absolutely thrilled with my placement! But I can't help noticing the irony of being placed in a town reminiscent of Belle's "poor provincial town." Now more than ever, it is unbelievable how much of an influence this opening sequence has had on my life...


  1. So I think its hysterical that you literally drew city names out of a bag. I also had no clue where to apply, and didn't want to get my hopes up for anywhere in particular, so I tried to keep my obsessing to a minimum. I ended up writing down the first three cities that seemed decent without much thought.

    The result? I got placed it....Besancon! Yeah, I have no idea that even existed either. It sure took me a while to figure out what on earth I was thinking when I (apparently) requested it.

    Here's to living in unknown French locales!

  2. THANK YOU! I'm glad to hear I wasn't the only one who had trouble picking a place! If not for the slim chance of being placed somewhere in the Caribbean, I seriously would have put 'no preference'! You would think this would be something you could easily be decisive about, but... It's France!!! A "where's bad?" scenario complicates things! Can't wait to hear about Besançon!

  3. Just got a look at your blog - I am also living in a building reminiscent of a bomb shelter, comlete with boarding students who like to play ding-dong-ditch at my door, a nice and even-tempered German roommate, and a total lack of internet access, which doesn't really matter as my computer is currently being held hostage in Paris by customs authorities...

    Finally, thanks for the childhood flashback: 'Now, isn't this amaaazing, it's my favorite paaart becaaause, you see...' Maybe I'll meet Prince Charming here and not discover that it's him till Chapter 3.