All posts tagged: France

18 mars – questions for france

Why don’t pencils have erasers attached? Is the obsession with writing only in pen the secret work of the White-out lobby? Why do grown adults use scooters as a legitimate form of transportation? Why do children ride on tiny bikes with no pedals? What is with the general lack of technology skills? Why is there a national obsession with slippers? Why are the titles on book spines printed in the opposite direction? What do kids do if they are thirsty at school since there’s no such thing as water fountains? What is going on with the seatless courtyard school toilets? Is there any rhyme or reason to the annual resetting of the train schedules? What are marshmallows and cough drops doing in the candy aisle? Has no one ever suggested standardizing the sizes of your mattresses? And what is with all the square pillows? What is the point of having a door handle in the center of the door? Why are keys so enormous? Do regular rounded paperclips exist in France?  Why is nail polish so outrageously expensive? Why …

13 mars – priorities

One of the best things about teaching in France are the school holidays. For each 6 weeks of school, we have a 2 week vacation– not too shabby! While I like to take advantage of these breaks to relax, I’d be remiss if I lived in Europe without traveling around as much as I can. After all, who knows how long I’ll even be here! This week I’ve been corresponding with a friend who I haven’t seen in 2 years. She recently graduated and moved to London and I plan to take advantage of being (relatively) close to England to finally visit her! As we coordinate dates, I look at my empty calendar for the month of May. My teaching contract ends April 30. My visa ends May 15. So far, my plan is to  pack up, go to London, and then head back to the United States. I tell her, “I’ll either come the week ending with May 20, or the week after May 20. I haven’t really decided. I haven’t booked tickets from Marseille to London yet. …

10 mars – Top Ten Cities in France, So Far

Yesterday, I enjoyed reading a variety of “list posts” and, as I am lacking in inspiration today, I am following suit. And so, for the 10th of March and the 10th day of the Slice of Life Challenge, I offer you my Top Ten Cities in France, So Far (limited of course by the cities I have visited, which are heavily concentrated in the south-east of the country) 10. Nice Going to Nice at the end of January was probably not the best plan. Its long stretches of pebble beaches were all but empty and the town felt a bit deserted. Next time, I’ll be sure to visit during beach season! 9. Annecy All the guide books will tell you that Annecy is the “Venice of the Alps” because apparently every city that has anything that even remotely resembles a canal is liable to be compared to Venice. This picture perfect town is really stunning, and as a result, also really touristy. 8. Aix-en-Provence Not going to lie… After hearing stories and stories about how amazing this city is from hordes of study abroad …

2nd mars

I headed out of my apartment to do some errands. On the list: buy envelopes, check out the bookstore, swing by the school to drop off a paper. Halfway through errand #1, I reached in my pocket to check the time on my phone. School closes at 17h, so I couldn’t drag my feet. My pocket was empty. I had no idea what time it was. I must have left the phone charging on the living room table. I quickly reformulated my plan. Okay, I thought, I’ll just skip the bookstore and head immediately to school by way of home. That’s better anyway, since my apartment is closer to the metro. Maybe I can still hit the bookstore on my way back. So I climbed the winding, hilly street back up to my apartment, desperately scanning the buildings for any establishment that might have a clock in their window. I distractedly fumbled for my keys, my muscle memory carrying me past the line of identical shabby stoops straight to my door. I drew the keys out of my …

So, do you like living here?

I am asked ALL THE TIME why I decided to come to France, if I like it (obviously), and what I like most about living here. Frankly, I think that’s a bit too complex and personal of a question to ask in such conversational contexts, but I usually come up with some generic answer about wine, cheese, how much I love speaking French and how much more calm and relaxed the style of life is here compared to the USA… things that are generally true but not the most accurate responses. I’ve always had a huge breadth of interests. Without trying to sound like an asshole, I love doing – and am pretty good at – quite a lot of things: directing plays, arts administration, working with kids, making awesome anchor charts, teaching drama, managing social media, writing, speaking French, foreign cultures and travel, politics etc. Over the years I’ve dabbled in so many different things, without giving myself enough time or investment to really commit to any of them in a deliberate way. The …

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 …