TAPIF Trivia

As September 20 draws closer and I continue to procrastinate on packing, I thought I’d make a list about what I know so far in terms of working, housing, and other miscellaneous categories. This list is mostly because all the information I have so far is scattered across various emails and months and is pretty much as disorganized as my suitcases, so I figured I might as well put it all in one place.

(At least I managed to move everything from my room to downstairs. And put mostly everything into the suitcases.)


Anyways, moving on to the actual info:

  • I have breaks from Oct 19-Nov 3, Nov 11, Dec 17-Jan 3, Feb 11-Feb 27, and Apr 8-Apr 24.
  • One of the Claudel teachers is going to help me open a bank account at Banque Populaire.
  • My mailing address is: Sarena T / Lycée Paul Claudel / Place Foch / 02000 LAON.
  • According to the previous TAPIFer in Laon, I’m supposed to try Maroilles, a local specialty of stinky but delicious cheese.
  • My studio is 30m2, and while I have no idea how big that is, I’m just satisfied that the kitchen has a fridge, stove, and toaster oven.
  • On October 7, from 9:30-5:00, all of the language assistants in Picardie (all 70+ of us, not just the Americans!) have orientation in Amiens. Judging by the Facebook group, most of us are interested in hanging out and spending the weekend there, so that’ll be a nice way to meet other people who are in France for the same reason that I am.
  • There’s an American assistant in Laon as well, only he’ll be helping at the collège/middle school level. The Spanish lycée assistant is still a ghost at this point, because I’ve heard absolutely nothing from or about them.
  • How do I pack for 7 months? We just don’t know. (Don’t ask me for packing tips because I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m almost finished and my big suitcase isn’t even full.)
  • Apparently, I’ll be alternating my 12-hour/week work schedule between the two schools, so I’ll at be Claudel one week and Méchain the next, and so on. I don’t know if this still applies because of the alternating weeks, but my first two days I’ll just be shadowing teachers to see how the French school system works.
  • Schedule permitting, I have the option of teaching primary school children from 4-5pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.
  • The Méchain teacher I’ve been emailing very politely invited me to his house for dinner with his family on October 1, giving me the option to refuse, and I just sort of sat there and stared at the email like, “Why would I turn down a free ride to and from someone’s house, free food, and the chance to meet three small children?”
    • He also asked whether I’d join his class on September 29, from 10-12 and 2-3 and eat lunch with him outside. (God, do they have a two-hour lunch break? Where was this at my high school, where I pretty much died during 21-minute lunches because I’m an incredibly slow eater? In my defense, my mouth is so small that I’m missing 6 teeth, but I digress.) He wants his sophomore students to interview me and then write a newspaper article about me. I feel like I’m being turned into some sort of celebrity.
    • According to him, speaking English perfectly is 90% of the job, which is actually kind of comforting.
  • I have to go to another OFII appointment. Hopefully this time, it won’t be as traumatic as when I got so lost in Nice, I showed up two hours late. At least the workers honestly didn’t care, though I suspect they were involved in the conspiracy of putting two completely different addresses on the envelope.
  • The Claudel teacher I’ve been emailing asked me if I could bring brochures, ads, posters, buttons, or anything else authentic related to the presidential election, and while I have seen nary a bumper sticker relating to the election here in VA (maybe everyone’s still in denial—heck, I’m still in denial), I figured it was best not to tell her that, if I ever get anything from Trump, I’m burning it. Immediately.

2 thoughts on “TAPIF Trivia

  1. Nathan says:

    Floss. Lots of floss. And Tylenol. A big one. These things are expensive as hell and sold in the smallest quantities possible in France. Just sayin’

    • Sarena says:

      Don’t worry, I’m all stocked up on floss! I ran out when I was studying abroad and all I could find was the unwaxed kind…I’ve learned my lesson. 0/10 would not repeat. I do need to buy another container of Advil, though, so thanks for the reminder! 🙂

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