The engine fired up and I waved goodbye to my home, my neighbors and the country which had seen me grow from screaming child to intrepid adult. At that point, the clouds erupted, the thunder roared and Zeus spewed a cascade of rain for the rest of the evening.
When I arrived in France, I had just a few dollars to my name and only the most basic grasp of the language. Unless I got some work fairly soon, life was going to turn disastrous pretty quickly. The trouble was I was living in a very rural part of France, renowned for unemployment. Any jobs around were likely to go to the natives, not a foreigner with barely adequate communication skills. But, Necessity, being the mother of all invention, soon spurred me into action.
I found the local Maire in the town which was going to be my home for the time being. Between his broken English and my fractured French, I somehow managed to communicate my situation. I was a teacher and willing to do whatever it took to integrate into the local community and earn our living. At first he was hesitant, perhaps a little suspicious of me, but that was to be expected. He put me in touch with the head teacher of the local school, who happened to be looking for an English teacher.
The Maire may have had his doubts, but this head teacher just didn’t trust me at all. If she spoke any English, she wasn’t going to show me. For a full hour I pointed, gesticulated and put together the most inarticulate sentences imaginable.