All posts tagged: French

8 mars – 20 steps to perfect crêpes

Crêpes are known as French pancakes, but they’re really so much more than that. They can be eaten with sweet jams, nutella, or syrups or with savory cheese, meats, veggies and even eggs. I recently perfected my own method to make perfect dinner or dessert-ready crêpes, and you can follow along with my instructions below! Google search “easy crêpe recipe“ Realize that all of these American food blogs and recipe sites have their measurments in cups and tablespoons and you live in a country that measures things in liters and grams. Google search “recette crêpes facile“ Open up the first 3 or 4 links to compare methods and ingredients. Eliminate any that include ingredients you don’t have, like Grand Marnier or rum. They’re clearly too complicated for a weeknight. Your randomly chosen recipes call for a differing number of eggs: some say 2, others 6…so split the difference and crack 3 into a large bowl. Whisk. You’ll need approximately 250g of flour, but of course you have no way to measure that. Google “how many tablespoons is …

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 …

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 …

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 …

writing and writing and writing

I feel like I’ve been writing all day… I spent all morning writing cover letters, updating CVs, composing emails. I spent a few hours this afternoon writing responses to my online bookclub, engaging and discussing with other readers. Then, I edited all that job stuff some more. What’s worse is they’re all in French (except the bookclub!) which makes the process take about 10 times longer. Usually my job application process is pretty streamlined: Update resume with recent developments Write cover letter using the building blocks from countless cover letters I’ve already written Maybe send both to my mom or a trusted friend if I’m feeling really anxious Spend 2 minutes composing a simple introductory email to attach my documents to Hit send. Today my process is more like this: Study a whole bunch of examples of French CVs (they’re different than American ones!) Start my template with a healthy dose of copy/paste Google things like “professeur remplaçante description pour CV” to make sure I’ve got some French buzzwords to use Start my cover letter with a …

Bonjour Siri!

I’m sure everyone knows by now that the iPhone “personal assistant” Siri is one sassy robot. Try asking her how old she is, or to make you a sandwich, or to marry you, and she will shoot back with a pithy, often scathing remark. Being a nerd, my phone settings are in French, and so Siri also speaks French. Why oh why it took me over a year of iPhone ownership to take full advantage of Madame Siri is a mystery to me. Maybe I was afraid she would mock my accent. At any rate, late late one night a few months ago, when I was in the depths of my unemployment suck-fest, I amused myself for a few hours, finally catching up with the rest of the world, and learning some vocab at the same time! (scroll over or click each photo for English translations in the captions!)

Sopranos and Soccer Stars: why I chose French

One of my great friends in Chambéry was an outspoken and inquisitive Italian named Elisabetta. We hung out practically every weekend, cooking with friends, watching movies, but we had rarely spent much time one-on-one, mainly because we were surrounded by so many wonderful friends. One weeknight during the February vacation, all our friends had returned home, were traveling, or had family visiting, and not wanting to waste an evening, we naturally made plans, just the two of us. After watching a movie (Alceste à Bicyclette, one of my favorites!), we were cleaning up from dinner when Betta, sponge in hand, said, “Okay, sorry. I have this song in my head so I just need to play it, do you mind?” “Well, we’re in your house…by all means!!” And she put on the opening Witches chorus from Verdi’s opera Macbeth. Being just elitist enough to want to wake up with opera stuck in my head, but uncultured enough to know next to nothing about it, I pretty much thought that was the greatest thing in the world.