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A Day In The Life

A Day in the Life of Émeline

Emeline and her husband moved to the South Bay from France a little over 6 years ago. They have a 6-year-old daughter, Eleanor, who was born here shortly after their arrival. Emeline has worked for 10 years as a school teacher in France and has now been working for 3 years as a French Pre-K teacher in a French-American school. She is also the creator of Sew Francisco a brand of handmade baby items.

  • 7 am
    I wake up at 7 am and get myself ready. I don’t eat in the morning, I usually have a light snack during my work break at 9:40 am. I would rather sleep than take the time to eat breakfast. Eleanor usually wakes up around 7:30 and puts on the clothes that I have prepared for her. We then go to the kitchen where she will have her breakfast while we chat and I pack her lunch box. I usually use leftovers for her lunch and if I don’t have anything left I will take a can of green beans or instant couscous so I can prepare something in less than 10 minutes. She doesn’t like eating cold food like sandwiches for lunch so I always have to take it into account. Before leaving the house I take my dog for a walk outside during 15-20 minutes. During this time Eleanor will stay home with my husband and play while he works, he usually starts working around 7:30 am and has been working from home since the pandemic. On Wednesdays he starts his first meeting later, at 8:30 am so he is the one who takes care of the whole morning routine and drop-off that day.
  • 8:10 am
    We leave the house. My daughter starts school at 8:15, it’s just at the end of our street so I park my car and drop her off and then I drive to the school where I work.
  • 8:30 am
    I start my work-day.

    I really like my work, being a pre-K teacher is great for me because even if I have a curriculum to follow, given by the French Department of Education, I still have a lot of freedom on how I implement it, compared to elementary teachers. I can really express my creativity and do big projects with the kids.

    But this year has been difficult for me so far because it’s my first year working full-time. Since living in California I only worked part-time and it has been a complicated shift for me. It’s a challenge to find the right routine and I feel I don’t have nearly enough time for my family and my friends. At my school, working part-time means working 20 hours, split between 2 ½ days and full-time is 30 hours, split between 5 days. So I feel the difference in salary is not worth the time that I need to block in my week.

    Because of that, I had to put my little business, Sew Francisco, on hold and I am really sad about it. I use my weekends and evenings to sew some orders but I don’t advertise my brand anymore because I don’t have enough time. I think I will finish the school year like that but I am already thinking about next year. I plan on going back to being a part-time French teacher and I would like to open a physical store with some friends and offer classes like sewing for both adults and kids. I love teaching and crafts so it would be the perfect combination for me.

  • 11:30 am
    I have a 30-minute lunch break, I eat leftovers that I brought from home or a frozen meal from Trader Joe’s.

    Once a week I have a 2 ½ hours lunch break so I use this time to exercise at a gym very close to my work. I also go there one evening per week for a zumba class. I usually go to the gym with a friend to keep me motivated.

  • 12:00 pm
    I resume working. During my students’ nap I prepare the lessons for the next day and answer emails from parents so that I don’t have to do it during the evening or weekend.
  • 2:30 pm
    My daughter finishes school, she goes to the after-school program on-site after that.
  • 4 pm
    I finish working and pick up my daughter at her after-school.
  • 4:30 pm
    Eleanor is a very active child and she needs activities to release her energy. To do so we have activities planned for her nearly every day. Sometimes even after all that, she still wants to run and ride her bike.

    After school, we go straight to her activity of the day. She takes ballet lessons at Dance Academy USA in Cupertino on Mondays, on Tuesdays, she has gymnastics with Sunnyvale Community Center, on Thursdays, she has tap/jazz lessons at her dance school, and on Fridays, she has art lessons with Marvegos in Los Gatos. We chose sports activities because as I said, she needs it but with my husband we wanted her to have at least one creative activity so we chose the art class and she loves it, like me, she is very creative.

    On Wednesdays we will either go to the park or go home to play.

    During Eleanor’s activity I usually give private tutoring classes twice a week.

  • 5:30 pm
    My husband picks up Eleanor from her activity. They will do some grocery shopping if needed. My husband is in charge of meal planning, grocery shopping and cooking and I take care of laundry and cleaning.

    Once home my daughter will take her shower and play for a little bit. She doesn’t have homework yet except reading for about 20 minutes each day, she usually does that at bedtime. During the weekend we work together on her French, we use a workbook that I bought in France and we try to do one page of French, one page of math, and one page of science each week.

  • 6:30 pm
    I am back home after my tutoring class, my husband starts to cook and I spend some time with my daughter or try to do a little cleaning, but now that I work full-time, most of the cleaning is done on the weekend.
  • 7:00 pm
    We have dinner together.
  • 7:30 pm
    My daughter brushes her teeth and my husband reads her a story in English while I wash the dishes and do laundry. Then it’s my turn to read her a story in French.
  • 8:15 pm
    My daughter goes to sleep. I will usually hang my laundry to dry.

    During the first part of the evening we will often watch a movie or TV show with my husband.

  • 10:00 pm
    I work on the orders from Sew Francisco or do some administrative work.
  • 10:30 pm
    I walk my dog, take a shower and go to bed around 11:30pm-midnight at the latest. During the weekends my husband and I take turns sleeping in so we can catch up on some sleep while the other takes care of our daughter.

Emeline’s favorites

Favorite kids stores

  • Clothes: Our family often gift French clothes to us, if I need basic clothing I go to Carter’s. I sometimes buy second-hand clothes from Picky Monday in San Francisco
  • Books: I buy from Scholastic at our school book fair or go to the Sunnyvale Library. I buy French books when I travel to France and my family also send us books sometimes.
  • Toys: Mostly online at Amazon because it is easier for my family to buy from our gift list or My Bulle Toys

Family favorite places to eat

    We don’t eat very much at restaurants except when we are in vacation, we like to cook our food.
  • Paris Baguette because we like croissants and pastries
  • Maison Alyzée in Mountain View
  • Pacific Catch
  • White Elephant in santa Clara
  • Fleming’s in Palo Alto, but it’s more for date nights

Favorite places to have fun

Favorite places to learn

  • We usually visit museums when we travel to other cities, there is not a lot around where we live.

Favorite local brands, artists, or makers

  • Osmerya, a brand of crochet accessories and toys for babies and children
  • Adeline Wang a punch needle artist

Favorite family-oriented online resources