Month: January 2015

City of Masks: Unmasked, or Christmas in Venice

Ahhh January 25th. The perfect day to talk about December 25th! The holidays can be a tricky time of year when you’re away from home. All of the European assistants I know went home, and some of the Americans as well. But as for me, Home came to France!! My family and sister arrived in Chambéry after a much delayed flight on December 22nd. We walked around the town, got some snacks at the market and they got to meet one of the teachers I work with, which was especially nice since my mom is doing a pen pal exchange with her class! The next day we set off in our rented car for Venice, Italy!!! The drive was long, but as we keep reminding people here, driving 6 hours in the US doesn’t get you all that far, so the fact that we made it through the Alps and across nearly all of northern Italy in that amount of time was actually pretty thrilling. And when I say we went through the Alps, I mean we …

Year 22: the Retrospective

“Looking back on 2014” seems like a weird thing. My mental concept of a year has never divvied up quite so easily. If I think only about 2014, that leaves out a whole half of my 4th year in college, for one thing. I’m much more comfortable defining the arbitrary beginnings and endings by semesters, academic years, plays I’m involved in… But, yesterday (if we’re being honest, it’s probably two days ago by the time I actually finish this post) was my 23rd birthday, and I thought, Hey! That’s actually kind of a logical division to make: Let’s take a look back on the year I was 22. January 20, 2014: 22nd Birthday spent with dear friends. I seem to remember they attempted some sort of surprise at Adam’s apartment that was not all too successful 🙂 At some point in January, I guess I also submitted my TAPIF application! Moving on to February, it snowed and snowed and snowed and snowed. We had so many Monday classes cancelled, notable only because I had one class that only …

Même pas peur

Full disclosure*: I started writing this post over a week ago. I have been reading and talking and muddling through these pretty complicated issues and though I’m not sure my marinating thoughts are going to come out perfectly cooked here, at least I can share them with you in all their unseasoned glory. France was thrown into turmoil when, on a Wednesday afternoon, two gunmen attacked the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, a scathingly satirical weekly that frequently criticized…well, everything and everyone, but especially organized religion. The attack and subsequent manhunt resulted in two separate hostage situations, ultimately leaving 20 dead, including the two French-Algerian brothers who orchestrated the attack. It is the most deadly attack to occur on French soil in at least 50 years. I come from a country that is (unfortunately) no stranger to gun violence; where it happens so frequently that we are all but desensitized to its tragedy. But on that Wednesday afternoon, 500km away from Paris, the New York Times alert on my phone still stopped me in my tracks. One of …

So you think you can TAPIF?

With TAPIF applications in the US due in the next few days, I am sure many hopefuls will be curiously Google searching tips and advice, much as I was 12 months ago… So, I thought I’d throw in my two cents. Step One: Strategize. Take a moment to examine your strengths and weaknesses as a TAPIF candidate and try to tailor your application accordingly. This is standard advice for any type of application, and most definitely applies here as well! For example, I did not major in French, so I didn’t have a ton of French classes on my transcript nor a spectacular level of French comprehension (the requirement is B1). However, I do have a fair amount of education/childcare experience from working at summer camp, tutoring, teaching drama classes, etc. So, I chose to especially highlight these experiences in my personal statement and CV, and even had my second recommendation written by a colleague from camp. Step Two: The main application form. Choosing a Region: Above all, know that TAPIF will absolutely require patience …

Number One Diva in this Game for a Minute

Folks of the blogosphere!! I am really honored to have been nominated for several blog awards in the past few weeks. These awards are for bloggers by bloggers. They’re basically a fun little way to shout out to your favorite blogs, help them get more followers, and give a nice little boost of self-esteem that, Hey! People are actually appreciating the crazy things coming out of my head!! If Beyoncé had a blog, she would definitely be nominated for these awards. So basically, I have now reached blog-level Beyoncé. Go me!!!! Awards #1&2: Inspiring Blogger Award “The Rules” Thank and link to the person who nominated you. List the rules and display the award. Share seven facts about yourself. Nominate 15 other blogs you enjoy, and let them know that you have nominated them. A huge thanks to Quiche Lauren and Hannah Goes to France for nominating me for this award TWICE! These ladies are both very cool fellow TAPIF assistants. Lauren did the program last year and her blog was really helpful to me when …