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Posts Tagged ‘introduction’

After a terrifying period in which I strongly distrusted both the Consular Section at the French Embassy and Federal Express, I have received my newly visa-ed passport in the mail – complete with requisite terrible picture – and I figure now is as good a time as any to get into the blogging habit. We should start by pointing out how I’ve always found the act of blogging to be indefensibly narcissistic (not that that has stopped me from having a Twitter…and a Facebook…my point is I’m already a hypocrite), and my last blogging venture (circa 2005) turned out to be nothing short of an unadulterated WMD-grade life-ruiner. If four years of college taught me anything, however, it is how to justify narcissism under the heading of academic interest. So, with that in mind, I’m going to shamelessly argue that the eventual goal is to remove myself as much as possible from this page, and instead to be a lens through which I can share the experiences of the next seven months. While the jury is still out on how interesting I am, I am navigating uncharted waters, and it should make for moderately compelling storytelling.

Clearly my strategy here is to set incredibly low expectations that will most likely still be too high. Moving on.

If you don’t already know, I’ll be spending October 2010 to April 2011 as an English Language assistant in Martigues, a fishing village (pop. 47,000) just outside of Marseille in the South of France. I will be teaching the finer points of American culture and language to dozens of unruly high schoolers. Don’t worry America, I’ve already planned lessons describing the cultural importance of Justin Bieber and Tea Party politics; the world must know what it is that we value.

I’ve spent a while in France, but I’ve never spent any significant amount of time outside of Paris, making my conception of France terribly skewed, as if I were basing my understanding of the entire U.S. on New York City. Expanding one’s cultural horizons! Looking for real estate in small towns! Living in aforementioned small towns! Introspection! Getting to know my baker!

Clearly I have already failed at my goal of not being a self-obsessed wacko, but here are the facts: I fly to France in five days. I have no apartment, no training, and the mountain of paperwork the French bureaucratie already expects from me is laughably incomplete. Over the days before I leave, I’ll try to give a more complete picture of exactly what it is I’ll be doing, and the expectations I have for my time abroad, most of which will likely be immediately dashed upon my arrival.

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