Sunday, May 29, 2011


So, I know that it has been a while, but hence the title of my blog. L'équilibre. Balance. Join me for a cup of British tea while I share my resolution about l'équilibre de vie.

Balance has been something I have struggled with for many years. Just ask my mom. When I was little I wanted to do everything: music, dancing, swimming, soccer. Unfortunately there have never been enough hours in the day. In fact, some of the most stressful decisions I have had to make have been with regards to how I should alot my time.

This battle to find balance has continued in France. The most frustrating part about it is that I thought since I wasn't really working, I would have oodles of time to get other stuff done. Hmph. Obviously, as you have observed, this has not been the case. My blog has been neglected for a month, I have over a thousand pictures to organize from my trip to the Loire, and I haven't done any painting in the last month either. With these and many other things left on my list to be crossed off, I decided to start tracking what I was doing each day. The goal was to be able to tell myself yes I have been getting things accomplished and hopefully tracking things would also motivate me to get to things that maybe I hadn't done in a long while.

Well the results are in and the majority of my time does seem to still be spent on work. I have to say that this is simply a confirmation for me of what I have known for a long time. I am a teacher through and through. I enjoy spending time working with the students I have and preparing things for them. And there is nothing wrong with me spending time working on this. The other things that seem to be taking up my time is job hunting. This one I am not so positive about. I think that I tend to get sucked into the ether of the internet when looking for a job and end up reading (horribly constructed French websites) and contemplating opportunities that really shouldn't be under consideration for a variety of reasons. To round out the top three occupations of my time is studying/reading French. I am also happy that this is where I have been spending my time. So really two out of three ain't half bad.

Regardless my tracking list has made me realize that for me balance is a bit of a fiction and that is okay. I seem to work on things in waves. I have to simply let go of the idea that I must do everything all of the time, the multiple projects that I always seem to have on the go get done eventually and everything does work itself out. This little experiment has also decidedly highlighted for me the importance of vacations. As I sit in Lauren and Elise's living room writing this, I am so thankful for the opportunity of a week's holiday to not only see some great things and meet Elise's British friends, but also to just simply enjoy being a bit lazy.

So far it has been a nice break and a step back from the heat and bustle of Marseille. Perhaps it is the weather or perhaps it is because I am in suburban Stevenage, but things just seem a bit more calm here. The franticness of the French is sometimes very amusing, but can also be somewhat agitating. Last week I had to go back to the prefecture (again) to deal with the crazy lines and our driver's licenses, and on the way home I saw a woman with a magpie on a leash. Later that day, I had a conversation about the use of different past tenses in French and English with my eleven year old tutoring student! I would be surprised to find many Canadian eleven year olds who knew the names and usages of four different past tenses in their mothertongue. Hence for the sake of balance, to let my mind slow down a bit, I am going to enjoy the wonderful week I have with my belle soeur and perhaps use my time in some different ways!