6 months: 8 countries, 14 cities

My post-grad plan, my redo of study abroad and my year of teaching English in France is over! What an experience, what a trip.

1.ICELAND

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Cities I visited: Reykjavik

Landmarks I visited: Viking World Museum, Blue Lagoon

2.FRANCE

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Cities I visited: Lyon, Bourg-en-Bresse, Paris, Amiens, Grenoble, Annecy

Towns I visited: Oyonnax, Bellignat, Charix, Apremont, Samognat, Creil, Montataire, Nogent-sur-Oise, Pierrefonds, Versailles, Beauvais, Perouges, Villefranche-sur-Saone, Nantua Continue reading

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Showing your places to others

One of the best parts of traveling, in my opinion, is getting to bring people to the places you like so much, and I was for sure going for that when Adam visited! He had never been to Lyon or anywhere in the Rhone Alpes region, so I was super excited to show him the city that made me want to apply for TAPIF, Lyon, and in addition the city that I have to pass through every. single. time. I want to leave Oyonnax! (For those of you wondering, that is Bourg-en-Bresse!).

Bourg-en-Bresse

The main place I wanted to take Adam was the Royal Monastery of Brou that I first visited in October. Its free for EU residents under 26, and so we enjoyed exploring the monastery and grounds together.  Continue reading

Two train anecdotes

That time the train took off in the opposite direction without telling anyone

I had the idea that when Adam arrived early in the afternoon, he could take the train straight to Lyon instead of Oyonnax and we could spend the afternoon sightseeing, as of course I was going to bring him there anyway! So there I was, waiting at the Lyon Perrache train station, seeing that his train would arrive any minute, when he called me and said that he thought his train was leaving Lyon. (There are 2 train stations, TGV passes through Part Dieu to get to Perrache where the tourist sites are).

“Um, what? Are you sure? What do you see?”

“Trees, Nathalie. I’m not in the city anymore.” Continue reading

Hello, Bourg-en-Bresse!

This is a late post in coming and I apologize! The first weekend I was in France I took 2 consecutive day trips- one to Lyon and one to Bourg-en-Bresse. I was invited by a fellow TAPIF Assistant, Kaitlin of In the Glorious Pursuit of Life to stay with her in her brand new apartment in lovely Bourg and of course I agreed. My research (consisting of Google Image searches of course) brought up gorgeous photos of the capital of the Ain department and I was excited to meet another assistant and see a new town.

After saying goodbye to my new Australian friend Susanna at the Bourg train station I managed to find my way to Kaitlin`s apartment- only after a few false starts, finally asking the train station guard, and apparently taking the scenic route accidentally! Her landlord was very kind and I was warmly welcomed by the guests in the apartment. Later we got to relax and it was very nice to find someone to speak English with, commiserate about French bureacracy and finally Skype my parents! Continue reading

TAPIF Orientation Part One

Yesterday I went to my first (of two total) orientation sessions for the TAPIF program. While some académies bring all assistants together, since the Académie de Lyon is one of the largest, our orientations were split up by département.  Oyonnax is located in the départment of Ain and all assistants in Ain had orientation in the city of Bourg-en-Bresse.  I visited Bourg the first weekend I was in France, and its about an hour train ride from Oyonnax. I took an early train with the 4 other assistants in our town: 1 from the US, 1 from Spain, 1 from Germany, and 1 from Italy! There was a bit of a worry session when the train broke down shortly after leaving Oyonnax, but we only arrived 15 minutes later than scheduled so we had plenty of time to get to orientation on time.

The orientation, or formation as called in France, was held at a high school in Bourg in a conference room. Fortunately there were signs posted so the foreign language assistants (kind of) knew where to go within the campus. Once we nervously popped our heads in we immediately knew we were in the right place: lots of English! Although the formation was for all foreign language assistants in Ain (there were Spanish, German, and Italian assistants present), the vast majority were anglophone.  Orientation was conducted in French, as the common language. Continue reading