So far it's been a super fun France week.
I got up the nerve Monday morning to call my circonscription, Soissons II, which administers elementary education for the rural area around Soissons, to ask them about my housing. This is what my directrice had told me to do when she responded to my introduction email back in August. The conversation went something like this:
Me: Hello, my name is soleil and I will be the English assistant in Belleu this year. Mme le Directrice told me to contact you about housing.
Them: Who are you? There is no assistant in Belleu this year.
Me: (internally: AHHHH! WHAT!!!???) uuuuuuhhhhhhh.......but I have my arrete......
Them: What does it say?
Me: It's signed by X people and says I'm teaching in Belleu!
Them: Well, I have no idea. Contact the departemental conseiller pedagogique for langues vivantes.
Which of course was all I could do. I hurriedly cobbled together an email for Pascale (the CP) asking about my assignment, but by the time I was able to compose something somewaht comprehensible it was too late in the day in France (stupid 6 hour time difference) to expect to hear back from her. I was freaking out a little for a couple of hours, but I calmed down when I finally thought about it rationally. I have my arrete, so there is a position for me there. According to the assistants forum this happens all the time, apparently because they don't decide the primary placements until mid-September. Also, because there are sooooo many different layers of bureaucracy in the educational system, it's so easy to imagine that communication between them just sucks.
Luckily I heard from Pascale on Tuesday! Or rather, all the assistants and all the circonscriptional CPs heard from her. Basically she said that they've sent out the arretes and that the assistants are coming. It sounds like everyone gets the cheapy internat housing, which is awesome.....
..... except that they haven't set it up for people near Soissons yet, and this other woman at the academie level is now in charge of procuring my housing at a lycee. So I sent out another email requesting help with my housing to Veronique, who hasn't gotten back to me yet. And Pascale never really answered my question about where exactly I'm teaching. But, I feel like the problem has been solved. Pascale laid the smackdown on the circonscriptions, I'm assuming that my arrete is still correct, Veronique will get me housing, and I will be in France in 13 days. Thumbs up all around.
Tonight involves quality TV time with Bush's speech (I'll be furious the entire time but I feel like I have to watch) and then I'll follow that up with some Top Chef action. I have to say, I've been pretty disappointed with the chefs this season. It seems like every week the food either isn't that great or is just plain bad, there are rarely knockout dishes, and no one chef has been consistently excellent. To me that does not make a top chef. We'll see what happens over the next few weeks as we move towards the finale. Hopefully someone will step up their game. Probably a better way to be spending my time tonight would be packing, because I haven't started that yet, but whatever. I always do my best work when I'm under the gun.