I'm sitting in the teacher's computer lab on this chilly morning, taking advantage of the cheap coffee machine and free internet. I would normally be typing this on my laptop (with the english keyboard) in my apt, but well, there hasn't been any heat there for the past ten days. The building is also rather old, so there is no insulation in the walls, and that added to the broken furnace = it's like I'm living and sleeping outside. One of my teachers was kind enough to allow me to eat and sleep at her home three nights and I've spent other nights at friends' places. The FJT has also given me a temporary room in the main (and heated) building, so at least I have a warm place to sleep. On tuesday, they said that it would be finished and working on wednesday, and then yesterday afternoon they said it will be fixed today (thursday Dec 2nd). Le sigh.
I'm also cruising on into December and the end of the first semester teaching in France. I suppose some reflection is in order. I've gotten a bit into the swing of things, I've had a few really great lessons, a few terrible ones, and lots of mediocre ones. I teach the equivalent of 6th - 9th grades. Honestly, it hasn't been as difficult as I had imagined, luckily I'm something of a novelty and thus a special treat, so the behavior when I work with them reflects this. And for the first time in my life, I feel like an adult.
Technically, I've been an adult for the past four years, but there are times lately when I feel old. haha. I attribute a lot of those feelings to the fact that I'm working with children, children who are between eleven and seven years younger, but the gap seems so wide. One student died at the end of October, and though I had only seen her a few times, it was quite a shock, a horrible one at that. I started to understand that horror that adults feel when young people die. One of my teachers also shared a little about the backgrounds of some of my oldest students and I was shocked by some of the stories of terrible parenting. Granted, I don't even know if I want children, but I've developed some rather strong attitudes on the subject seeing students in class that are not having the childhoods they should be.
In this holiday season, I'm also starting to miss my own family rather acutely. It was my second Thanksgiving away from home, but it will be my first Christmas away. I think I'll devote my next post to memories of some Christmas traditions.
Hope all is well with everyone.