Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Florebo Quocumque Ferar: Getting Ready!!!

Oh hey guys.  Remember that time I started that blog when I went to France?  Welp, under beautiful peer pressure from numerous people, I'm taking a crack at another blog for my seven-month stint on La Réunion, the tiny French island next to Madagascar where I'll be teaching English.  This time, I almost promise to be more diligent.  I say almost because I'll be doing things like looking at this all day: 

 Credit: Google Images
and this...

 Credit: Google Images
(Yeah, I'm not excited at all omgomgomgomgog)

I shall do my best to bring you every single nail-bitingly exciting second of what will surely be an outrageously leisurely life on Réunion Island for the next seven months.  Here's an update for you all on what exactly I'll be up to.  My official title in English is "Assistant of Living Language," which I find rather funny, especially since the title of this blog post is in Latin (I will ressurect you, Latin!) More on that later.  Anyway, I will be assisting an English teacher at a high school that is six blocks from the beach on the straight up northernmost point of Réunion.  A visual aid for y'all:

 Credit: Google Maps

There's me, right at the top.  So next time you're pulling out a map of Réunion Island (because that happens so often), you'll know exactly where I am!  As far as my job description goes, I know pretty much nothing.  I'm not sure what grades I'll be teaching, how often I'll be in the classroom, or anything else.  I do know, however, that there's apparently no school on Wednesday afternoons, so I guess I'll have to schedule my parasailing lesson for then (I'm kidding... but I'm totally, totally not).

The countdown to my departure is officially two weeks and one day.  I'm super pumped because I'm making a pit stop in France to visit my former host family in Angers (and I guess Kate Chambers is  gonna be there too, which is kinda cool I guess ;P) so I'll get to enjoy some quality time with the other mother (and my sweet beautiful sausage dog Topaze!!!!) before I jet off to Réunion.  I'm hoping I'll get a chance to practice some French, since I know I'll be dealing with a lot of bureaucratic mumbo jumbo after I arrive.  Though I guess I can't complain, everyone I've dealt with so far has been incredibly kind to me, even the very nice lady at the French Dept. of Education who helped me with my visa question even after I called her 'monsieur' (I'm sorry Armande!)

I've already gotten in touch with my mentor, the guy who's gonna house me for a week and help me find an apartment so that I can settle into life on Réunion as quickly as possible.  Talking with him has made everything seem much more real than ever.  I absolutely cannot wait.  I am so incredibly excited to integrate into Réunion's culture!  This teeny tiny island is absolutely busting at the seams with diversity.  The island has tons of French influence, but its proximity to Africa also brings in a bit of African influence, and there is Chinese influence as well, as the Chinese settled the island prior to its fall into the hands of the French.  Réunion Creole is different from any other creole on earth.  The island also boasts numerous religions; it's got Christianity, Buddhism, Hindu, Islam, and even some African tribal religions.  Oh yeah, and the island's got less than a million people.  SO COOL.

On top of that, while there are 11 other assistants coming from the US to Réunion with me, there are also assistants coming from Germany and Spain and a ton of other countries as well, so I'll truly be surrounded by a mixture of people and cultures, even in day-to-day life.  On the downside, I'll also be surrounded by a lot of horrifyingly large insects, but we don't need to talk about that.

Okay, time to explain the title of this post.  I was reading up on random Réunion facts, and I found this phrase: Florebo quocumque ferar.  It means 'I will flourish where I am planted.'  It also happens to be Réunion's motto.  Talk about a perfect mentality to adopt when you're heading to a new place for seven months.  I am excited, and nervous, and so so jazzed about the parasailing and hiking and teaching and learning and fun that awaits.  I could not be more lucky.  Allez-y, guys.

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