it's been two months since i last posted, and so much has happened since then. i will do my best to fill you in.
first, i successfully signed up to work with oxfam at glastonbury again this year! i've only been twice before, but now it's got to the point where if i ever didn't go to glastonbury i'd feel like i was missing out on so much. it is one of my favourite weeks of the summer, without a doubt, and each year as soon as it's over i start counting down until the next one. the organisers released the official line up today. it is so amazing i can't wait. and i bought some new wellies in preparation. june 20th cannot come fast enough.
i spent two weeks at the end of feb/start of march back in england. it was really nice to be home, especially since i'd had an 8 week run of work (the longest stretch of continuous work in my entire contract), and i was really tired and needed a break. this side of the holidays, there's only 6 weeks, which i can't decide is good or bad. since christmas, time seems to be whizzing past me at such a rate it's unbelievable. i have no idea where my time here has gone, and i'm getting to the stage now where going home (i'm leaving two weeks today) is becoming really real.
as i sit here typing this, i have two huge removals boxes stacked up next to me, constantly reminding me of the fact that a) i have to leave this beautiful part of the world and b) how much at home i have made myself here. the sheer fact that i have to even source removals boxes and get quote estimates from UPS to ship my belongings home is testament to the fact that for the past 7 months, my tiny flat in the south of france has been my base, the place where my job is, where my friends are, and my home away from home. i genuinely will be sad to leave.
its also started to dawn on me that i do really enjoy the job i do here. there have been some moments of course when waking up at 6am to trudge through the freezing cold winter winds to teach a room full of snotty, germ ridden 8 year olds didn't hold much appeal. but as the weather has got warmer, things have become easier and more relaxed. i'm now able to walk into school feeling comfortable and at ease, without having to stress about what i've prepared and whether they will understand, whether i will remember how to speak french and use the correct tense, mood, gender and agreement in the correct moment. none of that seems to matter any more. the other lovely thing is watching the kids be so enthusiastic about and do well in their english lessons. when i come into school now i get bombarded by hoards of them all going "hello! what's your name!" at me (even though they all know my name). i get hugs, carambars, drawings, cards, biscuits and all sorts. they genuinely seem to love me. and all this makes leaving SO much harder.
if this is the last post i write (which it may well be), then i hope it sums up how much i have loved my time here. this job has made me into a much more confident, happy, self assured person, in a way that i don't think many other situations could have done. i can't emphasise enough how important this year is. i don't pretend to know a lot about politics (because i don't...), but i think it's laughable how the government were even contemplating cutting the funding for teaching assistantships abroad. i don't really have any intention of finding a career that uses my french in an obvious way: i don't want to be a translator, or an interpreter, and as much as i've loved my job this year i don't think i want to be a teacher. but this year has given me skills that i think i could apply to any job i want to go for in the future. it's shown that i'm capable, that i'm adaptable, resourceful, independent, confident and generally a really well rounded person. and what's perhaps even more important, i can recognise this now. i probably had all this potential lying dormant in me for ages, but just never realised. it's taken 7 months of hanging out with children and eating/drinking lots of yummy cheese/wine/patisserie/pastis for all of this to sink in. in terms of how my french has improved, i'm not sure i can quantify it. i definitely feel like i've learnt much more in these past few months than i have over the past couple of years at university. i've learnt things that you can only learn by living in a country - the expressions, nuances, and little tricks that fool people (but only for a second) into thinking they you may not be a foreigner. tant mieux, hein? i also chose my final year university modules today. i'm growing up.
SO if by chance you're reading this and are about to embark on any kind of adventure in the future, then i urge you, more than anything, throw yourself into every situation. make the most of every second and don't regret anything. yes there will be bad times, but they'll make you stronger. you never know how much you really can achieve until you push yourself out of your comfort zone. if i could do this year again, i would do it in a heartbeat. just go.