Changes

David left yesterday to go to Ireland on a week-long hiking trip with his best friends. It’s not the longest we’ve been apart (I’ve traveled 3 times this year without him), but it’s the first time I’m home alone in France. Well, I’m not all alone, but Cosette likes to spend most of the day sleeping in the dresser drawer so it sure feels like it.

I saw an ostéopathe Wednesday for my back pain and he told me that I was basically a boule de nerfs. I know I’ve always been a stressed out person, but I didn’t think it was causing so much pain in random parts of my body. I get headaches almost everyday now, and my lower back is constantly tense. Though I’m sure part of that is caused by sitting at my desk and working (ahem, playing) on the computer all day.

It’s not so much living in France, but rather living in an apartment in a city that stresses me though. I will never get used to having neighbors so close or the sound of traffic (I want to hurt kids who ride scooters at night) right outside the window. The stores are always so crowded, regardless of when I go, and I have no desire to fight through mobs of people all the time. I can’t even go grocery shopping without feeling rushed and nervous.

Everyone knows, or should know, that I’m slightly anti-social and I prefer animals to people. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to fully relax here. The ostéopathe recommended exercising, running, biking, swimming, just moving in general to loosen up my muscles. But the thought of trying to ride a bike on French roads with French drivers… or swimming in a pool packed with random people that I don’t know… um, no thanks. Just going outside doesn’t appeal to me half the time when the weather is rainy (15 degrees C is not summer, stupid Alps!)

Speaking French still makes me nervous sometimes, especially on the phone. I haven’t seriously studied French in a long time. Maybe it’s due to not being in an actual class, but I have so many books and websites that I could be using and that I should be using, but I’m just not. And considering that I should be able to work legally in 6 months, I need to improve my speaking and interviewing skills so I can find a job and have a real income.

I know I need to stop being so lazy (I will miss you, my beloved streaming downloads of How I Met Your Mother) so I’m going to create a schedule for exercising and studying everyday. I need to be disciplined about this. I really do want to feel better.

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  • L’Étrangère Americaine

    Jennie I can relate to not wanting to go outside when it’s rainy or too cold. During the winter I use the hibernation excuse. As far as becoming fluent in a new language goes, you definitely can’t depend solely on books or grammar exercises you must to speak it (easy for me to say as I haven’t stepped foot on French soil yet). Sign up for a conversation course or do a language exchange where you talk to someone to help improve their English and in return they speak to you in French.

  • L’Étrangère Americaine

    Jennie I can relate to not wanting to go outside when it’s rainy or too cold. During the winter I use the hibernation excuse. As far as becoming fluent in a new language goes, you definitely can’t depend solely on books or grammar exercises you must to speak it (easy for me to say as I haven’t stepped foot on French soil yet). Sign up for a conversation course or do a language exchange where you talk to someone to help improve their English and in return they speak to you in French.

  • Samantha

    That’s funny, I’m the complete opposite – the idea of our impending move to the country terrifies me. I’m such a city girl – I love being able to walk to the grocery store or the city center, etc, and not having to drive. Plus, I remember how it was in the beginning, not being able to speak French – that in itself is isolating enough, so it would’ve been a million times worse if we’d lived in the middle of nowhere and there was no one around!

  • Samantha

    That’s funny, I’m the complete opposite – the idea of our impending move to the country terrifies me. I’m such a city girl – I love being able to walk to the grocery store or the city center, etc, and not having to drive. Plus, I remember how it was in the beginning, not being able to speak French – that in itself is isolating enough, so it would’ve been a million times worse if we’d lived in the middle of nowhere and there was no one around!

  • Bolder

    I’ve recently discovered your blog (this whole blog thing is new to me, but has been great in helping me to see that my trials and tribulations here are nothing but normal) and just wanted to sympathise with you on the whole structuring of a long, workless summer. This will hopefully be my last (and I’m home for two months because of it) but in the past have been known to take my dog on long walks and read books at public parks… things that got me moving and learning while in the public scene. And I have to say that the whole having a dog with me was a great trick (not sure if you can take your cat out) but after about 3 months of little contact suddenly everyone was stopping and talking to me… Best of luck!

  • Bolder

    I’ve recently discovered your blog (this whole blog thing is new to me, but has been great in helping me to see that my trials and tribulations here are nothing but normal) and just wanted to sympathise with you on the whole structuring of a long, workless summer. This will hopefully be my last (and I’m home for two months because of it) but in the past have been known to take my dog on long walks and read books at public parks… things that got me moving and learning while in the public scene. And I have to say that the whole having a dog with me was a great trick (not sure if you can take your cat out) but after about 3 months of little contact suddenly everyone was stopping and talking to me… Best of luck!

  • Penny

    Hey JennieI can relate to feeling a bit anti-social. I used to be bit that way but there’s no choice when you have kids! Let me know if you’d like to hang out with us on the Pâquier one afternoon and kick a ball around. Or I always love an excuse to dump the kids on David and head out for a chocolat! And I’d promise to make you pratice your french as its heaps better than mine and I love to get all the practice I can.Anyway, please know I’m not a cyber-stalker! Just extending a friendly hand if you want one as you sound a bit down :)

  • Penny

    Hey Jennie

    I can relate to feeling a bit anti-social. I used to be bit that way but there’s no choice when you have kids! Let me know if you’d like to hang out with us on the Pâquier one afternoon and kick a ball around. Or I always love an excuse to dump the kids on David and head out for a chocolat! And I’d promise to make you pratice your french as its heaps better than mine and I love to get all the practice I can.

    Anyway, please know I’m not a cyber-stalker! Just extending a friendly hand if you want one as you sound a bit down :)

  • Recy Vintage & Creations

    I just found your blog today and I love it! In addition to being intrigued at your life in France, I can identify with your being “slightly anti-social” and preferring animals to people. I’m the same in those ways.Good on you for creating a schedule for exercising and studying each day. I also need to be more disciplined about many things but it is hard sometimes, huh? I find it to be so. Anyway, good luck on it! I look forward to following your journey!Cheers!Karen Beth – zazazu.wordpress.com

  • Recy Vintage & Creations

    I just found your blog today and I love it! In addition to being intrigued at your life in France, I can identify with your being “slightly anti-social” and preferring animals to people. I’m the same in those ways.

    Good on you for creating a schedule for exercising and studying each day. I also need to be more disciplined about many things but it is hard sometimes, huh? I find it to be so.

    Anyway, good luck on it! I look forward to following your journey!

    Cheers!

    Karen Beth – zazazu.wordpress.com

  • ColourMeCrazy

    oh man! Hope your back pain gets better! That’s really no fun!

  • ColourMeCrazy

    oh man! Hope your back pain gets better! That’s really no fun!

Why is Jennie no longer in France?

I created this blog in September 2006 when I moved to France from Michigan to teach English. Many of the earlier posts are about my personal life in France, dealing with culture shock, traveling in Europe and becoming fluent in French. In July 2011, I relocated to Australia to start my PhD in Applied Linguistics. Although I am no longer living in France, my research is on foreign language pedagogy and I teach French at a university so these themes appear most often on the blog. I also continue to post about traveling and being an American abroad.

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