Admittedly, it’s been a ridiculously long time since my last post. Here are the major details to catch you up to speed: I got through my first (and hopefully only) year as a high school French teacher, survived the May 20 tornado that hit Moore, OK, said many good-byes and tied up a good number of loose ends, packed until 3:00 a.m., toured a bunch of high school students around Picardy, Normandy, and Paris, and then traveled from French city to French city in search of a new home.
After visiting Dijon, Tours, Nantes, Bordeaux, and Toulouse, we have chosen Toulouse. My husband loves the climate. I hate the heat, but I know I’ll enjoy how temperate it is during the other 11 months of the year. People here are generally more relaxed, friendly, which seems to often be the case in southern France (outside of the ultra-chic Cote d’Azur or “French Riviera”) of which Toulouse is not part. Toulouse is the second city in France for education/universities (after Paris, of course), and it is fourth in terms of size.
Aside from its young population and good overall stats, my husband and I felt a connection here upon our initial visit, which has only continued to develop. And that’s good because it’s not easy right now. We’re up to a full week in our 58.50 euro/night aparthotel, which, lovely as it is, does not feel like home. Though we’ve spend quite a few hours scanning the internet for apartments (with quite a lot of success), our main task has been developing our “faith muscles” that we will find what we want and not have to settle for a crappy and expensive living situation. In addition, we’re figuring out how to crack the French system to access its more inviting and homey center where we will soon make a nest. It reminds me of breaking the hard crust on the outside for French bread to enjoy the soft and flavorful “inner-bread.”
We’ve left quite a few messages with a number of agencies, and we’ve got our lines ready to satisfy the French desire for the financial stability/backing of its tenants. I’m hopeful, and I’ve got my eye on the prize. Thank God for my husband; without him, I’d be living in a sub-par suburb and paying about $175-215 per month over fair-market value (and rarely going out).
One last tidbit to mull over: Culture shock makes you do funny things like go into ecstasy over finding a KFC and devouring a bucket of chicken, a bag of fries, and soft drinks. Just to clarify, it has literally been YEARS since I’ve eaten at a KFC in the States, and I typically drink water with no ice. Today, I gobbled my food, silently composing and ode to barbecue and sweet and sour sauce, and I got three refills on my soda. Three! I was so excited to have the free refills and LARGE, unlimited ice cubes, that I simply couldn’t help myself. It was amazing, and I regret nothing… well, almost 😉