All posts tagged: living in 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 …

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 …

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 …