Packing: What to bring, what to leave at home, what I’d wish I’d known.

So, I’ve been in CF (as the cool kids call it) coming up a week now.  I’ve definitely managed to settle in get to know the city pretty well.  I also haven’t stepped inside a vehicle since the train ride in and have been walking everywhere.  However, that will change when I go to the schools I’m teaching at and when the weather gets colder.  The tram and bus system seems pretty good here, so I’m not too worried.

For the primary school assistants in our académie, we have a couple of weeks of formation before we start in the classroom.  We’ve been guided through some confusing administrative stuff, received advice as to how to best introduce new vocab, grammar, and concepts to different age groups, and have done a couple of practice activities/lessons.  This upcoming week, we’ll continue with training, visit classrooms, and participate in a stage with all of the assistants in the académie (some of whom are pretty far away from the city– I feel lucky)

During the past week, I’ve begun to realize that there were a few things I didn’t quite think all the way through while packing.  I’ve got plenty of clothes for the different seasons and a good amount of supplies, but, in retrospect I would have prioritized things a bit differently.

What I should have brought:

  1. Boots!: I’d originally planned on wearing my Payless cowgirl boots to the airport and to my classroom, but then decided not to, thinking, no there I need to save space, I don’t need that many shoes.  Besides, I don’t want to look like a tacky American tourist! But, they are also my only pair of boots, which can be easily be paired with different socks depending on the weather (the same can’t always be said for my tennis shoes), they can go with almost any outfit, and, you know what, they would have been cute to wear in a French primary school English class.
  2. More books: I’m talking about teaching books, song books, books to read, etc.  That could have helped a lot with having material and more ways to curb boredom during freetime
  3. A backpack:  Yes, my elephant bag is big and lovely, but it doesn’t allow things to lay flat.  It also would have allowed me to lug more stuff around and would have made sense for hiking/ walks in the surrounding mountains (should I choose to do so).
  4. A sweatshirt or two!!:  Again, my reasoning of not bringing something because it wasn’t “French enough” got in the way of me rationally thinking through the reality of colder temperatures, one light  jacket not being enough (mine’s chic, but also quite smelly after several wears), having some lazy-time cuddle-duds, and, again, potentially, hiking.  Yes, they do wear sweatshirts in France.  Jeez!
  5. More pens and other supplies: Not a total necessity, but would have made things a tad easier

And on the other hand…

What I did leave at home that I’m glad I left:

  1. Laundry stuff (detergent, etc.) : Just buy it when you get there
  2. Several pairs of shorts: Honestly, I’m not gonna be here for that much when it’s legit “short weather.”
  3. My lovely ceramic piggies: They wouldn’t have travelled well. I think they’ll still recognize me when I’m back in May

Honestly, you don’t need a lot to be happy.  Most countries are pretty minimal in comparison to the United States, and I’ve definitely learned to be grateful for what I have and use the most out of what I have and what I can reasonably afford.  As long as you’ve got the basics, some good food, drink (with or without alcohol, but, let’s face it, wine’s where it’s at in this part of the world) and good company, life is good.

Till next time!

What to bring:

  1.  Boots!! I had originally planned on wearing my cowgirl boots to the airport and to class
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