For better or for worse, my job is only 12 hours of work each week. This definitely has its merits – I have lots of time to sleep in, workout, cook, and explore the place I am living.
I’m not sure exactly how to put into words just how measly 12 hours a week is. At home, it might feel a little bit more substantial, because you have friends, and activities, and projects that you are working on. In a city where you have just arrived, don’t have language mastery, know very few people, and don’t know what is around to do in the first place, 12 hours is NOT a big enough time commitment. I am not made to sit around and watch Netflix all day, I just get sick of it.
When I first arrived, the time commitment didn’t feel so small because there is so much to do when you first get somewhere. Getting settled takes up a lot of your time. Between the bank, my cell phone, internet, IKEA, figuring out the bus system and the grocery store I was reasonably busy for the first two/two-and-a-half weeks. That time has ended. I have been killing a lot of time with activity, a workout in the morning, biking for around an hour during the day, and a yoga sesh at night. Unfortunately, my back started having spasms again and so I need to find some other way to use up my time.
Commence operation Bust Boredom!
Really, my number one priority with my free time is finishing my grad school applications. Honestly, I can only work on these for so long at a given time before I feel like I don’t even want to be a chemist anymore. So, I have been spending some time on them each day, and am slowly finishing them. This still leaves a lot of time. Thanks to the internet, I am in touch with other assistants in the region and have gone to a few things with some of them who live in the city (yayayaya speaking English and having a social life). Very very useful because all of the assistants also have not much to do and not many people to do them with, and are a similar age.
I also have enjoyed taking my bike out and seeing what I can find. Best done on a day with no rain and no plans, so when it takes 3 hours longer than you thought to find your way back, it doesn’t matter 😉 In Haubourdin, I found the cemetery. Off to the side, there is a German Military Cemetery from the German occupation in WWI.
I have also explored various parts of Lille, researched restaurants, museums, attractions, etc. that I want to go to in Lille, and I have been going to lacrosse practices. Yes, there are lacrosse teams in France (who knew?!). There is only a men’s team in Lille, but they have a couple of women who practice with them so I have been going to that and enjoying having something to do. Fortunately the star drill doesn’t need translation.
Plans to stay busy:
- Take the train to a regional forest and hike!
- Take up knitting again
- Try to cook regional specialties at home
- Buy some French middle-reader books to practice reading at home
- See if any of the local colleges have chemistry/research seminars