Sunday, September 12, 2010

I've had an interesting few days. I got an email from the Directrice of V School with some news. One was that they apparently sent me a package of drawings the kids made for me that I never received, which was really disappointing. I have received similar packages from my other schools, in addition to all the drawings the kids made for me while I was there, and I treasure all of them. I hate La Poste!

She also said that they are going to have an American assistant this year. Last year they had a local person teaching English, not an assistant, so the position still belonged to me, in a way. I was devastated when I read it. I wanted to curl up on my bed in a ball and cry. It's the final nail in the coffin of the experience I had in France for two years - it's really over. Someone else has my position now and she'll be the American assistant. All the kids will run to give her bisous when she walks into the school yard, she'll get to chitchat with the other teachers at recess, she'll shop at Monoprix and my bakery. Someone else really will be living my French life. MY French life. They are MY schools, MY students, MY coworkers, MY friends!

I was really feeling lousy, so I had a little discussion with myself (we're pretty good friends, me myself and I). I had a good time in France, but that isn't my life right now, and I'll never be able to have that exact same life again. Even if I get back to France someday it's extremely unlikely that I'll be an assistant in that same town and working in the same schools. It was great while I was doing it, but it's over now. Not on pause, over. On the positive side, I'm still in contact with a lot of my coworkers and those are friendships that will last a long time. They won't like me any less just because there's a new American in town. The kids obviously still remember me, and I can keep buying their love by sending them more packages of candy. I'll always have the memories of my time there, but I have to redefine my relationship to this place that means so much to me.

It's been very hard for me to let go of my time in France, harder than for most people because my situation changed so drastically once I got back to the US. I was yearning for a time when my life wasn't dictated by treatments and doctor's visits, I was independent, blah blah blah, I've written about this before. I think I'm okay now with another American taking my spot. I've come to terms with the fact that I won't be able to get back a life that was over a year ago. I can't get back the past. All I can do is work on the future.

And in my future I foresee a trip to France! Like I've said before, probably after the New Year, maybe April-ish? I should start planning now if I'm serious about going!

7 comments:

shannon said...

I haven't heard anything about the new assistant in my lycee, and even though I know my time there is past, I'm still going to feel a drop in my stomach the moment I hear about him/her. That was my school. I was the crazy awkward foreigner who would often speak before thinking. Those are my friends.

But then I think, the relationships I formed with these people can't be replaced by some new person. They became my friends because of who I was and not just because I was American. They became my friends, because they liked the ridiculous things I'd burst out with.

And yes! You should come to France! I'd love to see you! And you should come up to the North. I think with all the friends here you could visit several places and never spend a dime on a hotel!

Zhu said...

In a way, it's almost better that you tourne la page on that chapter of your life. But it doesn't mean another French life is not waiting for you! With a better Monoprix, a nicer bakery and maybe a cute baker on top of that!

Like French say, un mal pour un bien.

au soleil levant said...

Shannon - you're so much smarter than me. It took me a year to realize what you figured out in much less time! I'll add you to my list of free places to stay in France :)

Zhu - a better bakery??? I don't know, that bakery was really, really good...

Emily said...

My circumstance isn't quite the same, but after not returning to St. Croix I was envious that my friends there had gone on doing all the fun life events that we used to do together but without me! When I first left it was really hard for me to read updates and see pictures. Eventually I realized that part of my life was over (hard to accept), reflected on the tiem for what it was, and promised myself I could maintain friendships from STX without being envious of their life. Moving on from a life experience is particularly hard when the choice to leave/not return wasn't yours. I feel for you.

getyourselfconnected said...

Sorry to hear about how rough this was for you. It would be great if you could travel to France in the New Year!

au soleil levant said...

Emily - yeah, sounds familiar! Thanks for sharing your experience.

GYSC - thanks, I hope so too!

Leesa said...

Sooo... April is a good month.. But, would you visit JUST France, or any other countries?? Just let me know, b/c I have vacation time in mid April and it's prime travel time for me, you know!! I can go anywhere new -- you know, places we haven't yet been... Just say the word...
Let me know if you need a place to stay also (not sure for how long you are planning to stay... but you know you are welcome here-- and we have a 'futon' now, too... Hope to see you in some few months, then!
Hugs and love to you.. Leese