Saturday, 27 July 2013

Ancient and modern meet at Chartres

During the summer months as the sun goes down around 10pm an extraordinary light display can be seen on various monuments around Chartres, not less than the famous cathedral itself.

Welcome to the world of scenography. It's not new and occurs in many places around the world but finally I had the chance to photograph an impressive one.

I wandered around Chartres which was in full summer entertainment mode. This evening it was latin music and dance. The music performances were not inspiring to me and I soon became bored and uncomfortable standing there. With the same old band playing and no real costumes on show it couldn't hold my attention more than a few minutes.

 Casting around for something more interesting I started to explore the summer evening streets, watching residents and tourists alike enjoying the cafes and bars. friendly company, interesting shop windows. Ancient carriageways with original beams and dark crevices whispered to be explored. Ah, the stories those massive old doors could tell, I'm sure.

It was too late in the evening to see the splendid view over the Eure valley and Chartres but just right to watch the lights come on the cathedral and the repeating scenography display on two façades of massive Chartres cathedral which is more than a thousand years old. Each façade has it's own light display. The one on the main face moves most imaginatively and at night without a tripod it's hard to capture the beauty of this, so I practised taking a short video, equally a challenge.

Here's the display on the north portal. I've created my own YouTube channel (To the Ends of the Earth) to make viewing easier. Let me know if you have any problems viewing the video of the main facade.
Here's the longer official version  Chartres 2012

Eventually I'd like to produce videoblogs but that's a ways off yet. I need to seriously master equipment and technology first.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Back to the future again

On the first of September this year my life will change greatly, again. I will be back in the classroom as a teacher; this time as a Maitre de Langue, teaching English to French and foreign  students. I officially left the classroom in 1985 in New Zealand though I've done some stints as a guest teacher in West Auckland teaching sustainable living and water management as little as three years ago. I came to France in 2010 to train as a teacher of English as a second or other language, trying to give myself the means to stay employed in this unstable world of ours. But I couldn't get work at any language schools because of my nationality (non-EU).

In the past few months when it was certain that my tenure at my place of employment would end no-matter what, I sent out more than 60 job applications. I received only two phone calls of interest, from language schools who liked my rich background for teaching Business English but who didn't want to guarantee even a limited number of hours per week and had no interest in doing battle with the work and immigration officials to hire me when it was so much easier to hire an EU national. Things were very bleak.

I visited various persons at the school seeking opportunities. One of those eventually offered me a position teaching English but I needed to prove my qualifications. A frantic search and lots of scanning saw proof of all my academic qualifications and teaching experience sent to HR and so I had to wait. Would it be enough? It seems so because I will now have several classes per week. This sort of position is designed for a young  graduate so the pay is not enough for me to live on but it gives me the right to stay in France one more year and perhaps then  be allowed to stay an additional year in that job. After that the stress of finding work will start all over again.

Actually it never leaves me, I need to find top up work or I will lose my lodgings and belongings, all over again, and I just can't face that. I must find a solution, but this is still a very positive change for me and a good challenge where I can now put that long-lost TESOL qualification to use. How strangely the universe doth move. My past activities return, revisited, repackaged in a new form. They may be the gateway to a stronger future in France, to becoming a French national one day, to a little bit of future security.