Hi Everyone. It’s little embarrassing that it’s taken a global pandemic to get me back on this blog. Maybe that’s just it, though, perhaps it’s normal for us to want to talk about all of this. Also, you know what, I just have the energy to creatively write, and share right now, so of course I’m going to use it!
To be fair, I have been “writing,” if I can even say that. I had the opportunity to get “featured” on Elite Daily talking about my coronavirus lockdown experience as an American in France. I was interviewed for it over the phone, and it’s in an as told by format. You can find that here if you haven’t already seen it. I am 100% sure that my attitude about all of this has changed from a month or so ago when it was written. What isn’t changing nowadays?
That’s exactly what I’m going to get into now as someone who’s an American expat in France, and unluckily, a teacher, during this covid-19 mess and lockdown.
My experience as an expat is such that, truly, I feel I’ve been socially distanced for years, since I’ve been living in France off-and-on since Summer 2012. I think that this has possibly helped me to “cope” with living alone in studio apartment and not seeing people in person any longer.
Or, it totally hasn’t. My neighbor has been a thorn in my side since the very beginning of her living here. She has been loud and she has been disrespectful, and I have been telling her about it since her first week living next door to me. Something tells me, though, that neighbors are a universal experience and that this is not just unique to expats or people living abroad (whatever label you use).
The one thing that’s struck me the most is that my parents truly believe “I’m the one in the family” who can “handle this [quarantine]” the most successfully. It’s a statement that keeps coming back to me. Why is that?
It’s really nice of them to genuinely say that, but I don’t know if I actually believe it! I think that people miss a lot of my life because I’m an expat and because of time zones. I don’t have any family on this continent. Yes, in general, people are glued to their cell phones/tablets/computers right now, but, I can’t, and simply won’t, broadcast everything to the world. I don’t think that constant positivity is necessary, either. Neither is constant doom.
It’s about finding balance. It’s about moderation, or say they’ve said in the past about so many different things, alcohol, caffeine, sugar, grumping. However, do either of those concepts apply right NOW and to each of us?
I also think that saying that I’m handling it implies I have some sort of positive/productive techniques and activities in place to help myself. Some coping skills, if you will. In all seriousness, most days, I can’t get out of bed at a normal time and most nights, I’m not sleeping until 2 or 3 in the morning. Who would say that’s healthy?
I have had to prioritize my plans for next year–nonexistent–over my job. This is a full-time job and so is my teaching job. I am technically still part-time at the university, but, anyone who knows anything about teaching knows part-time teaching hours mean you have a full-time job. You take it all home with you. You’re attached to your email inbox. You feel you can’t ever do enough for your classes, and for your students.
That has only amplified now, since I can’t physically leave my computer or my home much. Just ask any teacher about how online teaching is going right now, and you’ll probably get moans and groans from them…
As for my teaching, I’ve done my best, but I don’t think that I’m any “teacher role model”.
All of this being said, I think what I can say with certainty is that if you’re doing what you can with what you have, you’re doing enough.
If only I would just follow my own advice…
Until next time!