We’ve officially made the switch to a WordPress-powered blog! I’ve secretly hoped for this for a while now, because of its ease of use and its sweet features – comments, for one thing (and you should really check the comments feature out – i.e. use it!); timestamps, for another; and hassle-free monthly archives are the cherry on the sundae. Oh, and also not having to switch out quotation marks, en-dashes, etc. with XML entities. It’s fun. If you look to the right-hand menu, you’ll see that underneath the section entitled ‘Categories’ is the Letters from the Porcupette (that’s me) and also Tim’s blogs. You can read both of our blogs together, sorted by date written, or you can click on one of those options to see only the posts by me or by Tim. If you haven’t read Tim’s stories, you really should – they’re hilarious and informative.
Next comes the steely resolve. Where does that come in, you ask? Look no further than the Canada Book Fund. You see, dear readers, I made two near-fatal errors when I celebrated our grant application’s approval. First of all, I figured that since I had already completed by August 2010 over half of the projects we said I’d complete by March 2011, I thought I was way ahead of the game – actually, I thought that would mean that I could work less in France! After all, I’ve finished many of the things I was supposed to do while there, right?
Second of all, I figured that the ‘twelve hours per week’ job description on the French language assistant website was, in fact, truthful.
Well, I should have known. The world doesn’t work that way. Even though I am far ahead in the projects due to be completed, that’s only half the battle – the other half is that our application also states that I’ll work 1680 hours by March 31. If I finish my projects before the hours are all used up, that just means I have to find some new projects to do. So, I’m ahead on the projects, but not on the hours.
But wait! Haven’t I been working full-time all summer? Shouldn’t that put me slightly ahead of the internship schedule? Alas … As of August 20, I’m actually behind where I should be. I think this is because there were several weeks where I needed to take a day off, or T&E needed a day off, etc. So, I haven’t worked as full-time as I thought.
The worst part is that I recently found out my job in France is closer to twenty hours a week, if you count in the lesson preparation time and extra-curricular activities with the kids.
Where does this leave me? It leaves me with a ton of work to do – way more than I expected – while I’m living in a foreign country and working at another job. I only learned all of this last Friday. I raged, I cried, I blasted horrible rock music in my car as I drove to Ottawa for the weekend (Justin, my boyfriend, was not amused). But this is where the steely resolve comes in – I bought a pretty 2010-11 agenda, some colourful pens, and I sat down with a calculator and did the math. I’ve figured out that I can still definitely complete the internship and fulfill the CBF requirements – with a lot of hard work and a rock solid schedule.
Steely resolve, I tell ya! The crying practically never happened …
The good news is that most of the work I do for the Quill, if not all, is totally doable from my laptop without any other special material necessary. I’ve already banked a lot of extra hours from home over the past few days and it will be easy for me to keep doing so in France. I plan on finding a nearby cafe with free wi-fi, buying un chocolat chaud and une mille-feuille, and then I’ll just soak up French culture (and calories) while tapping away at the keyboard. That sounds way better than what I did on most of my free nights after work – which was watching Criminal Minds and blabbing on the phone.
Oh, and the other good news is that France has a lot of mandatory vacations! (I mean a lot. Four two-week vacations in the school year.) So I have those days to catch up on work, too.
I know I semi-promised to write about Jon Evans’s Beasts of New York and interesting things about the book’s marketing, but that will just have to wait until next week. My new nefarious plan is to write a few blogs in advance, to a) bank more hours while I can and b) give me a break when I want to travel a bit more.
Last of all, I’m going to stop signing off with my email-address-linked name. Now that there’s a comments feature, I hope you’ll feel welcome to leave your own notes, suggestions, happy thoughts and questions. Please, do!