The 12 Days of [Clamecy]

It feels as though with each passing day comes a new adventure, experience or event that makes every day here as unique as it is exciting. Twelve days have passed since my 7 Days in Clamecy recap post, so here are twelve things that have made each day in Clamecy oh so special.

  1. Mercredi, 4 octobre 2017: After touring our future apartment, T and I decided to take a trip to the supermarket for groceries. Given that I don’t know how to drive a manual transmission car, T agreed to drive us there using L’s car. Everything was going smoothly until we were on our way back from the supermarket and we missed our turn to get back to the apartment. Upon realizing this, T pulled into the nearest parking lot and after trying to throw the car into reverse, we learned that L’s car is pretty different from what T is used to. Every time she would try and change the gearshift to reverse, we inched closer forward to the wall we had parked in front of. Thankfully, I was able to find the owner’s manual and after spending 5 minutes looking up automobile-related words in a translator, we successfully put the car in reverse and went on our way!
  2.  Jeudi, 5 octobre 2017: T and I moved into our apartment!! After moving my belonging through 4 different housing situation over the course of 10 days, it was amazing to be able to unpack my suitcases for good and settle into our new home for the next seven months. We are living in an apartment provided by the school and it has been amazing so far! I’ll write a blog and post pictures about it as soon as we have everything situated.
  3. Vendredi, 6 octobre 2017: I started giving my “About Me” presentation to some of the classes I will be working with this year. Overall, I think it is going well–the students seem mostly engaged and ask a wide variety of questions, which I am thankful for. I’m looking forward to getting to know the students better and teaching them about more interesting/enriching topics!
  4. Samedi, 7 octobre 2017: On Saturday night, T and I were relaxing in our apartment and getting ready to go to sleep when suddenly, our apartment lost power. Given that it was 23h30, we had no idea who we should call, nonetheless if or when the power would be restored. We looked out the windows and saw lights on in every other building at the school except our own and we could hear an alarm ringing in the distance. Together, we decided to investigate and walked down to the first floor of the building. Suddenly, I saw headlights brush the side of the building and noticed a group of policemen standing at the front gate. They saw our cell phone flashlights from inside the building and they beaconed us outside, curious as to what two young women were doing on the school grounds on a weekend. We trekked outside (in our pajamas in the midst of a light rain, might I add) and explained who we were and why we were at the school on a Saturday night. They then informed us that a gate had been opened, which set off some sort of alarm and cut our power. Why the alarm system is connected to having power in our apartment is still beyond both me, but it was reassuring to know that the police respond so quickly here (This whole event took place over the course of 15 minutes, max). Needless to say, it was not the quiet Saturday night T or I were expecting to have.
  5. Dimanche, 8 octobre 2017: Aside from the trip to Vézelay (you can read about that here), I went to church for the first time since arriving in France. I had a hard time following along–there was a lack of bulletins and I didn’t understand how the page numbers written on a small whiteboard at the front were associated with the mass–but I managed to figure it out for the last 10 minutes of the service. It was an interesting experience to be able to follow along to a service in a different language solely based off the organ, knowing the order of mass, and the words “Amen” and “Alleluia” (which are thankfully the same in nearly every language).
  6. Lundi, 9 octobre 2017: After T and I ate dinner on Monday night, we wanted to have a glass of wine. Lacking a corkscrew, we knew we’d have to get creative with our wine-bottle-opening methods. After googling, “How to open a wine bottle without a corkscrew”, we watched a Youtube video of a guy taking out a cork with a car key and decided to give it a shot. Given that we were also lacking a car key and didn’t want to risk ruining our apartment keys, we took the next best thing (a vegetable peeler) and did as the video instructed. Evidently, I used a little too much force when pushing the peeler into the cork because we ended up with the wine cork inside the bottle and wine exploding out the top, covering my clothes with (thankfully) white wine. At least the wine was good!
  7. Mardi, 10 octobre 2017: For the first time since arriving in France, I was able to go to a gym and workout! We went to an abs and stretching class when we were there as well and let me just say, they don’t mess around with their fitness classes here; I was quite sore for the next few days. I’m excited to start going there more regularly 🙂
  8. Mercredi, 11 octobre 2017: Wednesday was a bit of a lazy day for me after my morning classes, but I officially got my travel plans booked and set in stone for les vacances de Toussaints! I am meeting a friend from TCU (she is studying in Vienna this semester) in Paris, where we will spend a few days before heading off to Brussels, Amsterdam, and Rotterdam. I am beyond excited for the vacation to begin! I will be absent from the blog for a bit as a result but expect some recaps after my return.
  9. Jeudi, 12 octobre 2017: After a day full of classes (Thursdays are my longest days), T and I went out to drinks with a group of colleagues at the school. I’m not going to lie, big groups events are tough for me and even more so when in French. I already don’t talk much in a group setting (shocker, I know), but when I am trying to actively listen and comprehend 10 different voices speaking French, it’s mentally and emotionally exhausting, so much so that I end up not speaking at all. I know it is good to be pushed outside my comfort zone, but it was still really tough. I’m hopeful that over time it will get a little easier.
  10. Vendredi, 13 octobre 2017: Two exciting things happened on Friday! A teacher at the high school invited T and I over to her house for lunch and so she could give us some things for our apartment, as we were in need to things like extra sheets, kitchen utensils, etc. She treated us to a lovely meal, great conversation, and a lovely afternoon. On Friday night, T and I headed over to another colleague’s home with some of the other teachers for a dinner party. Again, I was not exactly the most comfortable being in a such a large group, and feeling like you can’t keep up with the conversation didn’t do my self-esteem any favors, but it was a little bit better than the night before.
  11. Samedi, 14 octobre 2017: I went KAYAKING! Every time I have walked past a river here in Clamecy (which is impossible to avoid–they are everywhere), I wished I had a kayak I could use to explore. While introducing myself to the classes, I learned that Clamecy does, in fact, have a kayak/canoe club that I could join. It was a bit different than the kayaking I am used to (ie, casually half-rowing/half-relaxing, floating down the river), but it was a lot of fun. These kayaks require more technique than I am used to, thus making it harder to keep my kayak headed in a straight line, but I am super excited to go back! The club operates year-round so it will be fun to try winter kayaking as well!
  12. Dimanche, 15 octobre 2017: The weather in Clamecy this past weekend was spot-on and we took advantage of it by playing soccer on Sunday afternoon! Anyone who knows me knows that I am not the soccer player of the family (I’m looking at you, Alex!), but it was still a lot of fun. L, T, and I spent a couple of hours out on the field practicing all sorts of drills and attempting to score goals on each other. After working up an appetite, L invited T and I over for dinner, which was wonderful as well. Overall, it was a lovely Sunday spent having fun with good company.

What a wonderful twelve days it has been! With just four days of work separating me from two weeks of vacation, I am looking forward to working hard these next few days in order to enjoy my travels to their fullest extent.

Until next time,

Michaela

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