Life Update: Returning to France & My Housing Situation

Hello, all! It’s been quite a while since I’ve written my last post. If I’m being completely honest inspiration to write has been hard to come by lately. Maybe it’s because Strasbourg last year was all shiny and new, and now it’s familiar. Whatever the reason, I seem to be in some kind of funk that I can’t get out of. But alas, here I am to give you all an update on where I’ve been.

I arrived in Strabsourg on September 18th and stayed for two weeks in an small studio Airbnb in the university neighborhood, and immediately turned my focus to finding an apartment. Remember when I said that there wasn’t much housing to choose from last year? Well if you’d believe it, there were even less postings this year, and because of that, colocations can be quite competitive, especially on websites like La Carte des Colocs. Maybe it would have been easier if I’d gotten there in August, before university classes started, but unfortunately, the assistant contract does not allow for that, and quite frankly, neither did my wallet.

Nevertheless, I did have some luck, and I’m not homeless! I am currently living in a room in a family’s house a bit outside of centre ville. I help the two kids with their homework in exchange for paying only 200 euros per month for a room with a private bathroom (shower and sink, I still share the toilet room). I have my own shelf in the fridge and pantry,  and space in the freezer (although that can be tricky to find- there is a lot of stuff in the freezer) in a big kitchen. I can also use the family room with the tv, but I often just use Netflix in my room, so I can be in “my own” space.  Granted, it’s not the centrally-located flatshare that I had in mind, but it’s nice and cheap. To be honest, I kind of just happened into it- a friend an fellow assistant posted about it in the Facebook group for the Academie de Strasbourg, and I was offered the spot. Sure beats paying 450 euros per month to live in a dorm room in Amitel.

Shortly after moving in to the house was the orientation for all of the assistants, and if I am being totally honest, I have absolutely no idea why a second year assistant must go to both days. It was the exact same information using the exact same PowerPoints (or LibreOffice, which seems to be in all French schools)  as last year. This made it very difficult for me to pay attention, and I’m pretty sure I was zoned out most of the time.

Now, I’m 2.5 weeks into assistant life at my schools, which so far, hasn’t been doing much other than answering “Have you got brozzers and seesters?” 17 times per day.  (Side note: Do British people really say “Have you got”? Because even a year into hearing that phrasing, as an American it still sounds really strange to me. Am I alone on this?) Both of my schools seem very nice so far, and I’m happy to be there, but at the same time, my schools this year are in the Northeastern corner of Alsace, à la campagne (in the country), each about an hour’s train ride from Strasbourg on two different train lines. Mondays, I have to get to school 2.5 hours before my classes start, since my first class is at 11:10, and the surrounding train times are either arriving at 8:30 or arriving at 12:30. There are no trains arriving between those two.  I know it could be worse, but between my being the furthest thing from a morning person, and having to wake up 4.5-5 hours before my classes start (waking up at 6/6:15, catching a train at 7:20 that arrives at 8:20) makes me a bit grumpy. Mondays are not my day.  Unfortunately, I work until 5 on Mondays and Fridays, which makes any weekend travelling I do a bit difficult, although it gives me a mini-weekend on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Next week is Touissant, which will be a welcome vacation. I don’t believe I will be doing anything super big, as a didn’t plan anything, and then it was too last minute to get cheap transport and accommodation. I will,however, probably do some small trips.

I will try my best to keep you updated and stop slacking on future posts. Happy Hump day, everyone!

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