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4 mars – Things that I do in France that I don’t do at home

Eat yogurt When you first come to France, you expect the grocery store aisles of cheese and wine, but you don’t expect an equally long aisle dedicated to yogurt. It’s like a way of life in France. I don’t think I have a single colleague who doesn’t finish their lunch with a container of yogurt and/or a fruit. For some, it’s a simple fromage blanc, others prefer a classic fruit on the bottom, and still others go for a dessert flavored yogurt. Despite almost never craving yogurt in the U.S. I took up this custom, and now enjoy yogurt daily at the end of my lunch, and occasionally as a snack or with some granola. Drink tea The French are obsessed with coffee. And not even particularly good coffee: in fact, a high percentage of French people I know frequently drink instant coffee. A French teachers’ lounge would be incomplete without a coffee maker, and there is usually a line during every recess and lunch break. Luckily, for those who don’t drink coffee (myself included) there …

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 …

Americanah Discussion! — present perfect book club

Have you read this remarkable book?! I haven’t finished yet, but I want to know what you think!!! Come join our discussion 😀 Hey guys, So, full disclosure: I’m only about 150 pages into this book…it took me a while to get it from the library and then it’s been just about the busiest month EVER which makes reading hard… But excuses aside, I am seriously loving it so far!! Even from about 10 pages in, I felt […] via Americanah Discussion! — present perfect book club

Bel Canto Discussion

Originally posted on present perfect book club:
Today we have TWO moderators for the price of one!! Julia and Kristina suggested we read Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto, and here they are with some thoughts and questions! Julia says: I finished the book yesterday and I loved it, although I think I’m still recovering from the last chapter and the epilogue … but more on that in the discussion, I hope!  Q1. As in February’s book club pick, Station Eleven, the story is told from multiple perspectives. Is there a specific character that stood out to you or that you warmed to in particular (ex. for his/her heroism, growth, etc.)? How do you think the story would be different if it were told through the eyes of a single character? Q2. Some of the most striking passages in the book are the ones that describe music. Music represents different things for different characters – safety, escape, or even God – and Roxane Coss’s singing has a mesmerizing, even magical, effect on both the hostages and the terrorists. I was already a fan of classical music and opera before reading Bel Canto, and I’m curious to know whether you think…

Safekeeping Discussion

Originally posted on present perfect book club:
Okay…so I loved this book. I didn’t find it life changing but I did instantly want to look up everything I could about Jewish history and Israel. I thought it was so well done showing each character’s individual plot. I also think it would make a great movie. So here we go with a discussion: DISCUSSION QUESTIONS Q1: So there are many characters in this book and they each had their own path to take.?Did anything unite them in particular? ?Did anything make them seem as if they were in separate worlds? Q2: Each of these characters seems to live by a different set of moral codes. I kept wondering if one of them was “right” or “wrong”, or simply if they were doing the best they could under different life circumstances. Do you think one character is more moral than the other? Do you think any of them found redemption? Q3: This one is a direct steal but I really like it: The title Safekeeping applies to…

April Book Club: Safekeeping

Originally posted on present perfect book club:
Safekeeping, by Jessamyn Hope published June 9, 2015 Synopsis from author’s website:  It’s 1994 and Adam, a drug addict from New York City, arrives at Kibbutz Sadot Hadar with a medieval sapphire brooch. To redress a past crime, he must give the priceless family heirloom to a woman his grandfather loved when he was a Holocaust refugee on the kibbutz fifty years earlier. But first, he has to track this mystery woman down—a task that proves more complicated than expected. On the kibbutz Adam joins other lost souls trying to turn their lives around: Ulya, the ambitious and beautiful Soviet émigrée; Farid, the lovelorn Palestinian farmhand; Claudette, the French Canadian Catholic with OCD; Ofir, the Israeli teenager wounded in a bus bombing; Eyal, the disillusioned kibbutz secretary; and Ziva, the old Socialist Zionist firebrand who founded the kibbutz. Driven together by the confines of the commune, by love and hate, by their irreconcilable dreams and a shared sense of insecurity, their fates become forever entangled as they each get one last shot at redemption. In…