TAPIF Update #3

Wow, I really need to come up with new names for these posts. Anyways, my Pierre Méchain contact told me that I’ll be working with 15-16 year olds, so maybe there’s still hope for me. (Maybe not. When a lady asked whether my brother or I was older, her husband said, “Him, obviously! She looks like a baby.” Thanks.) Moving on—the students who’ll be taking their bac in June can choose to talk about one of four topics: Power: Types and Sites, The Idea of Progress, Space and Reciprocity, and Myths and Heroes (not quite sure what the first three mean, but I’m definitely interested in the last one). Apparently, I also have the option of picking up a side job of teaching primary school children for four hours a week? Don’t know if I’ll take it, but at least I know I’ll look older than them.

He also offered me free housing, but I’d already accepted the studio at Claudel, which doesn’t have wi-fi but does have a private kitchen. Méchain’s the opposite, but I think if have to live with a communal kitchen again, I’ll probably lose whatever sanity I have left. I can always buy wi-fi, and at least with my own kitchen, no one will be able to witness my blunders. (Last night, I started sobbing over onions on the cutting board—believe me, I tried not to. And the night before, after mixing Chinese chives into eggs, I accidentally stuck chopsticks coated with raw egg into my mouth. In my defense, I was cooking dinner for the family and I ran out of hands.)

As for my Paul Claudel contact, she suggested that I could start thinking about Virginian things that I can show to students, like postcards, tourist brochures, small objects, recipes, and photos of sports as well as photos of my house, college, family, friends, and hobbies. This elicited a series of slightly panicked thoughts:

  1. Where am I going to find postcards or tourist brochures in the middle of Short Pump suburbia?
  2. I’ve never cooked an American dish in my life. To be honest, I frequently forget that July 4th is a thing, so if you were ever wondering what kind of American I am, there you go.
  3. Sports? What are those?
  4. Most pictures of my friends and me consist of ridiculous selfies, especially of the “you left your phone unprotected so now we’re leaving stupid faces on it” variety, which are then posted on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram as revenge.
  5. Do I have hobbies besides reading and writing? Being a nerd doesn’t exactly make for interesting photography.

Basically, summer is going to be quite the adventure as I attempt to collect brochures, flyers, recipes, photos, etc., for high school students in France.


6 thoughts on “TAPIF Update #3

  1. rmcoie says:

    Think tourist – what if visitors were coming from China, what would you show them? At one point we put together a binder of things the visitors might like to do in Virginia – a great resource was the information stand at the Richmond airport. We just collected one of everything they had, plus city maps. Might be something there for you! Bookstores will have VA picture books and calendars.

    • Sarena says:

      Both teachers suggested I take brochures and maps from the airport, so I definitely plan on raiding it before I leave! Right now I have a folder with a smorgasbord of papers, including a Colonial Williamsburg postcard, a Regency Square directory, a Trader Joe’s flyer, recipe cards from Kroger, a magazine article on the Ghostbusters reboot, and comics and a Virginia photo contest from the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

  2. Anne Donnelly says:

    Hi! I’ll be an assistant too in Marseille, and I’m also from Virginia!!
    Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a super american food and you don’t need any cooking skills! French people think they are absolutely crazy.

    • Sarena says:

      Hi, fellow Virginian! I’ve never been to Marseille, but the south of France is absolutely gorgeous!
      Actually, I’ve never made a PB&J before either, much less eaten one. I suppose I could just make a peanut butter sandwich…

    • Sarena says:

      I don’t have any pictures from my high school, and I sort of doubt their metal detector and security cameras would let me take any, though I could try stealing some off their website…hmm.

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