Year: 2016

The Great Marseille Apartment Hunt of 2016

The wily explorer arrived to the Marseillais jungle with an accommodation booked for one week, and one goal: to finally capture a rare wild apartment. Having hunted before in this country (albeit a different region), she felt thoroughly prepared. She conjured memories of her last wild apartment hunt in the mountainous region of Chambéry;  a lot of time spent in mortal terror, exhausted from travel, terrified at the prospect of making calls in a foreign language, ultimately unsure how she finally managed to finally trap one. “I know it’ll be difficult,” she thought. “But at least this time I know what I’m up against.” Oh, how the explorer was mistaken. She arranged her hunting tools first: a French phone number, a grammatically corrected introduction, an empty notebook, an internet connection. Then, she took a deep breath and lunged into the hunt. She traversed Leboncoin, crossing occasionally into Appartager and dipping toes into PAP and local agencies. She left voice messages, text messages, email messages but still the wild apartment eluded her. She filled four pages …

election night in france

Okay, so remember how I was going to write every day in November? Turns out I got way sidelined by the shock of election results and a resulting desire to completely detox from the internet and social media, including my team of Cheer Peppers. But I’m back now, fired up and ready to go….more or less. I hosted an election party at my apartment on Tuesday night. Several assistants don’t work Wednesdays as they are often half days for schools, so the whole gang came out to eat classic American dishes (chili con carne and pb&j) and try to comprehend the American electoral system. By the time polls began to close around 3AM, only a handful of American assistants were left. We bunkered down in blankets in front of my handy laminated U.S. map, streaming MSNBC. First we were nervous. Then the panic began to set in as state after state turned red. By 7AM there were still a handful of states too close to call, no one had officially been declared the winner, and everyone …

sorry, I can’t NOT write about the election today

I’ll start out by saying that I’ve already cast my vote for Hillary Clinton and I could not be prouder or more excited or closer to the verge of tears. This has been a demoralizing, dark, difficult year or so for our country – faith in facts is at an all time low, ability to compromise or respect one’s opponents potentially even lower. And of course the most heartbreaking stories have been not the dumb fights, the horrible words, but how that rhetoric has affected our children. All year I heard elementary school kids talk about the election, threaten to leave the country because they were already so frustrated with politics. Friends who teach children of immigrants have students who are afraid they will be deported. Newspapers report that bullying and hate has increased nationally. On my first week of teaching in Marseille, a port city with a very high North African Muslim immigrant population, I showed pictures of monuments in DC, telling them about the White House and answering their questions about the United States. Most wanted to know what my …

Adventures in Spelling

People like to share stories about the worst mistakes they’ve made speaking a foreign language. Asking your father-in-law to pass the condoms instead of the jam (préservatif =/= preservatives) Casually telling people that you’re horny while taking off your sweater (je suis chaud vs j’ai chaud).  But my worst mistake is way more basic than that. Once I forgot how to spell my own name.  I walked into the bank, steeled and ready to have a very awkward and broken conversation with the receptionist about making an appointment to open an account. All was going smoothly. I remembered that nom is actually your last name and they’ll probably ask that before asking for my first name, prénom. I had noticed that the French tend to say a word has “two Ls” instead of saying each L individually. I have three sets of double letters in my name so I was ready to test this new construction.  D-O-deux N-E-deux L-uhhh…. I totally blanked on the word for Y.  The receptionist stared.  I said it in English. I giggled nervously. I drew …

nablopomointro

I am back at home and can type on a real keyboard instead of the tiny digital one on my phone!!! But I just got back from a VERY long (and somewhat dramatic!) six and a half hour bus ride so I’m copping out slightly by writing a quick introduction to my fellow Cheer Peppers, especially those I haven’t met yet! Hi! I’m Anne. I am from Washington, DC (Arlington, VA if you must know…) and I currently live in Marseille, France. This is the second year I have packed my belongings into two small suitcases and flown with them across the ocean to work as an English teacher in French public elementary schools. I’ve been learning French since I was 12 years old, but it’s only in the past 3 or 4 where I have felt truly “fluent” or “proficient” or whatever it’s called when you can pretty much get by on a day to day basis, but still wildly guess the gender of nouns about 85% of the time. I write mostly stories about living …

5️⃣🏘🇮🇹

Today is the first day of NaBloPoMo/NanoPoblano aka National Blog Posting Month! I’m going to (attempt to) make a post each day in the month of November!!since I’m on vacation for a few days and only have my phone to post, here’s a little sneak peek of a post I’ll probably expand on this month. Can you figure out what I did today based on the emoji?? 🚊💺😴🎟🔜1️⃣        ℹ️💁🚶‍↗️↗️↗️🌞⛪️📸↘️↘️↘️😰🍞😋 🏞🚷😕 🚉🔜2️⃣        ℹ💁🚶‍↪️👀🏘⤴️👀🚤⤵️📸☕️🍷😍😍😍📸🌞 🚉🔜3️⃣🤔❌4⃣        🚶‍↘️➡️↗️↘️↪️🏖↩️👀🍦🍋🍯😍😋🌤        🚶‍⤴️↗️↗️⬆️⬆️☀️😳😰😩💦🆙🚶‍➡️➡️➡️🌅😍📸➡️➡️↘️↘️⤵️➡️🤗5⃣🔚 👀🍕🍝🍷🇮🇹 🕗😳🏃‍🚊🔙 🌧😊😴💤👍 ❂

Thanks / No Thanks

Well, all of a sudden I’ve been in France for a full month! Boy has it flown by or what?! Little by little I’ve been settling into Marseille, into my new job, into different expectations and realities, with help from so many people (and in despite of some others…) Thanks to my mom who dropped me off at the airport. No thanks to my 25kg suitcase (plus 2 other bags). Thanks to the AirFrance employee who let the extra 2 kilos slide with no fee. No thanks to the diva in front of me in the ridiculously congested customs line at Charles de Gaulle airport who yelled at me for apparently cutting her in line when I was merely trying to take the outside lane on a turn, rather than bottleneck all 3048302 of us through the inside curve. Thanks to whatever caused a ten minute delay of my TGV that allowed me to make it on with a few minutes to spare! No thanks to metros without escalators, train platforms with large gaps, cobblestones and sidewalks full of dog …