And suddenly my visions of skipping tra la la down the Champs Elysées disappeared, poof, in a cloud of Gauloises. Because this trip? This trip is going to be a hell of a lot of work. Just some of my duties will include daily phone calls to the home office, trip reports, and daily logs; keeping track of students' emergency money, travel home money, and advances; recordkeeping, ledger balancing, recording expenses, and tracking receipts; talking to parents and homestay families; upholding a zero tolerance drug, alcohol, tobacco, and sexual activity policy. (I signed up to be a French teacher and now all of a sudden I'm the sex police. I bet you can't put that on your resume). Then there are quotes, toasts, words of the day, team-building exercises, pep talks, rituals, reflection, round table discussions, LODs, FVCs, and DCSs, and people, I do not even know what most of these things are. Also in addition to my own five-plus weeks' worth of apparel, accessories and accoutrements, I will also be expected to carry, on my person, the following: students' passports, paperwork, medical records, and emergency cash; company-owned digital camera, company-owned laptop; a comprehensive and most likely quite large first-aid kit; instructor manual, academic manual, and daily quote book. (Daily quote book?!!!) And my question is, when can I expect to receive my personal company-provided scherpa?
But I'm sure all my questions will be answered during the weeklong training prior to departure. Just a light orientation session that takes place from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day. *Gulp.* On the plus side, they're letting me leave about a week early, which means I have time to visit mi amiga Molly in Madrid, which I am so excited about. I leave for NC on May 29. I leave for Paris on June 7, and for Madrid on June 9. I'll arrive back home sometime around July 18, exhausted, totally spent, but hopefully also really happy. Though after it's all said and done I may never travel again.