Well, it’s that time of year again. Our second exploration of France is over, and it’s time to get back to school and reality at least for the time being. After our first trip which we enjoyed immensely we were, nevertheless, anxious to get back home to our American surroundings and routine. No matter how you do it, eight weeks away from home living in a new accommodation every few days or every week can eventually become tiresome. Now that we have been home almost a month, I have noticed that I frequently miss being in France, a feeling I never experienced upon our return home three years ago. Due to the fact that this trip was less of a tourist adventure and more of a serious effort to find a location for our next home, we behaved differently. We engaged in more of the locals’ activities such as shopping daily or weekly at the farmer’s market and hanging out at small cafes for coffee. Often we simply stayed “home” and relaxed while enjoying the preparation of the day’s meals. We talked and read and wrote or painted and planned — all things I love to do and am so fortunate to be able to share with someone who enjoys them as much as I do. I miss the culture, the toned down pace of life, the amazingly fresh fruits and vegetables plus high quality meats, fish, and cheeses and I miss the people, the French and our British hosts alike. I even miss the challenge of trying to speak and understand French. I guess I would have to say that slowly but surely I am wrapping my mind around this whole idea of living in another country when I retire in two years. I think it’s a combination of the fact that I can see the light at the end of that two-year tunnel and the feeling that we have made the most of our time in the Silicon Valley so it will soon be time to move on.
With all this in mind, I returned to work and started school year #39 with excitement and the anticipation of another great experience teaching the amazing students I am so lucky to have at my school. I know now that my days of doing that are numbered and I plan to enjoy every one as much as possible. Even when I arrived at school on Friday of the first week and learned that the phone system was down as well as the Internet, this did not dampen my spirit. Fortunately, this situation didn’t last too long since every student on campus uses an iPad and we are mandated to use the latest and greatest technologies to reinvent learning. In the end, there was a simple solution. Somehow the breaker had been tripped and all was well once it was reset. The same situation occurred again this week. But I’ve been teaching too long for anything like that to ruin my day.
While my students are busily studying their Spanish lessons for my class, it’s “Back-to-School” for me too. I will be busy with my French studies at home… earning “Lingots” for all my practice in Duolingo, tuning my ear with Slow News in French, and trying out a newly discovered resource, Frantastique.
Read last year’s Back-to-School post, La Rentrée.