New Year, New Home!

I’m sorry the adventure stories (TFH 1-4) are over…but not as sorry as I am that the adventures are over. The first week back (la rentrée) has been a little bluesy. I’ve heard tell that January is the hardest month to be abroad if you’re away for a year, and I can sort of maybe see why already?

However, one great thing about coming back is that I moved!

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Here are some shots of my room, which is nice, plus I also have a kitchen, a living room, and two lovely housemates! IMG_0663

Essentially, the friend who had my room decided to move to Lille, and I seized the opportunity to get out of my tiny, moldy, noisy apartment-room and into this beautiful house with two of my favorite people!

I’m happy that I moved but also happy that I waited until the perfect situation arose. I think had I moved into a colocation (housemate situation) at the beginning, it would’ve been more risky because i wouldn’t have known my housemates first! In this case, it was a no-brainer considering how much time I spent at their place anyways. I am also convinced that my old place was bad for my health. There was actually black mold on the window, and the two nights I spent there when I got back gave me a cold…

My advice to future TAPIFers: if you want to move mid-year, do it! It’s not nearly as difficult as the first time, and 4 months is a long time. I’ve got more time left in France than I’ve already spent here!

Oh, and one more update — I’ve been accepted to a month-long intensive training program to become a certified TEFL teacher (teaching English as a foreign language), so I will be living in Toulouse for a month after my contract ends. I’m excited to experience life in yet another part of France, even if it’s only for a short time!

Bonne année à tous!

New Year, New Home!

Dorm Life, Remixed

EasyCoffee, Valenciennes: my new daily haunt. It has better coffee, better seating, and better service and thus has replaced MacDo as Free Wifi Land while Natalie and I wait for our internet box to be activated (4-14 days). They make a damn good latte. And they even do latte art!! It makes me feel right at home.

Anyway, this lovely Saturday morning I am here to write a post. I have so many things to write about that I can’t decide how to organize them…so maybe I won’t. I’ll just dive in!

My new home: 

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5 days ago, I moved into my new apartment. It took about a week to find something, but I was able to take my time because of the cozy temporary living situation at one of my teacher’s houses in Somain! I’m super grateful for that. I have this room, and rights to the shared kitchen space with fridge and bathroom/shower! I only share it with two other ladies and the assistant who lives below me, so it hasn’t been too crowded or hard to get into any of the spaces thus far.

I also have the pleasure (?) of living in close quarters with two French ladies. It’s like dorm life again! One of them has started numerous discussions with me already, about everything from food (I think she is concerned about my eating habits…cereal for every meal is temporary Madame, I promise!) to how noisy the building is, to the weather in the north…she’s quite friendly. Yesterday, she even made me applesauce, from fresh garden apples. The other lady wakes up at 3:45 every morning during the week for work. What she does, we do not know. For the first few nights this was absolutely the worst part, given that I am the lightest sleeper in the universe and she must have the radio on every time she is up and about. American dance music is not my favorite lullaby when I have just awoken from 2 hours of sleep. But, I have now acquired earplugs!! So hopefully from now on I will be able to sleep through the night.

My favorite story from the week involves my sink. Play-by-play:

I move in, and the sink is the grodiest thing I’ve ever seen. Mme C says I must clean it.

I get cleaning supplies and need to pour them into the sink. The drain will not be blocked, so I push on the lever a little harder. I hear a THUNK.

I turn the water on. It goes into the sink and out the pipe onto the floor behind the sink. I determine that I can neither use nor clean the sink in this condition, so I call Mme C.

Mme C doesn’t answer, so I text and leave a message. Monsieur C calls me the next day and says he will stop by the next day.

I hear nothing for two days, but I can tell someone has been in and out of my room. Sink is in same state.

I come back from work, and the sink is fixed and clean.

I think this is how things here work: no communication and no idea of when to expect them to be done, but they eventually get finished. And now I am probably more appreciative of sinks than I have been in my whole life. No longer will I have to venture into the cold, dark hallway in the middle of the night to get water. No longer will I brush my teeth clandestinely in the kitchen sink, hoping my French neighbors won’t stumble upon me and be grossed out by my humanness. No longer will I have to also stare down into someone else’s sink filth while I look in the mirror.

I am very pleased.

And starting to feel at home in my new home!

I think I will stop there. More to come about school and social life! In other exciting news, as I mentioned, I  will have wifi in my apartment in 4-14 days, so I’ll be able to post more! huzzah!

Love and bisous, family and friends. I miss you all,


Dorm Life, Remixed