Christmas in Michigan

Christmastime Emotions

Happy. I honestly do not like Christmas in France, so going back to the US this year was wonderful. I need decorations everywhere and 6 foot trees and Christmas carols playing 24/7 on the radio. I have to watch the Grinch and Charlie Brown and even Rudolph with those creepy dolls that surprisingly never gave me nightmares. I want turkey and stuffing and potatoes, not disgusting seafood and goose liver.

Grateful. My family gave me useful gifts and mommy even made stockings for David and Canaille. High school friends came over to meet David, and we hung out with some university friends too. I love that whenever I leave my camera lying around, I find pictures of Bradley on it like this:


Cheerful. If you ever need some Christmas spirit, go to Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth. It’s the largest Christmas store in the world. And Frankenmuth itself is a pretty cute little Bavarian town. Frankenmuth and southern Germany always remind me of Christmas, at any time of the year.


Proud. David was not shy about trying new foods and experiencing real American life. I introduced him to ultra-modern inventions such as garbage disposals, cruise control, and drive-up ATMs. The only cheese he ate was (bright orange) cheddar. He drank Sam Adams beer instead of wine. He finally remembered to leave the door open when he left a room.

Warm. Furnaces and fireplaces and kerosene heaters! Though I did have to share the heater with the dog.


Relieved. Being so far away from work (and the commute to work) was the best gift. Vacation was definitely needed! I still have 12 more weeks of work – plus two more 2 week vacations – so we’ll see how I feel again next week when I go back.

Thrifty. The exchange rate is awesome if your income is in euros and you want to spend dollars in the US. Prices were so incredibly low! David bought so many things (size 13 shoes in every store! whaa?!?) we had to buy extra suitcases to bring it all home.

Ashamed. Unfortunately we had to go shopping at Walmart one day. But that’s not even what I’m ashamed about… can people please make an effort to not look like total slobs when they leave the house? Do you really have to wear sweatpants and T-shirts that don’t even match? How about running a brush through your hair once in a while?

Disappointed. The snow melted the day we got to Michigan. No white Christmas again.

Stressed. Packing and airports and flying stress me out so much. Lufthansa is stupid and does not assign seats that are next to each other when people book tickets together. I tried to check-in & choose our seats online, but it wouldn’t let me. Luckily we managed to sit together in the end, but still… annoying. Trying not to exceed the 23 kg / 50.6 lb weight limit drives me crazy. Wasting hours of my life waiting while dealing with a constant stomachache and backache does not help.

Angry. This was the sixth round-trip flight for me this year (Dublin, Barcelona, Cairo and Michigan three times!) I am going to try to not fly at all in 2008. I am so sick of the awful border and security controls. Do they really think I snuck liquids or whatever into my carry-on between the airplane and the gate at my connecting airport? Yes people, you do have to remove your coat, and everything metal that you have in your pockets. It’s called a metal detector for a reason. ::sigh:: Why should I have to be separated from David just because we’re different nationalities? Do you really suspect every French citizen of bringing wine & cheese into the US? What is the point of showing my passport to someone who doesn’t even bother to look at it?

Calmer. We talked about immigrating to Canada again, which always puts me in a good mood. I don’t know when it will happen, but the thought keeps me happy. Staying in France for now isn’t so bad either; I just needed some time away. I’m hoping that finding a job won’t be the most difficult thing ever, though almost everything I’ve done in France seems to be that way.

Exhausted. Eighteen hours of travelling is enough! I’m going to sleep!

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  • Linda

    I missed Christmas in the States this year. In fact, I had a fairly crummy Christmas in France for a variety of reasons. Next year I hope to be somewhere else too. Anway, it sounds like you had a great time.

  • Linda

    I missed Christmas in the States this year. In fact, I had a fairly crummy Christmas in France for a variety of reasons. Next year I hope to be somewhere else too. Anway, it sounds like you had a great time.

  • Matthew Sephton-Pike

    Sounds like a very merry Christmas indeed :)Happy New Year for tomorrow.

  • Matthew Sephton-Pike

    Sounds like a very merry Christmas indeed :)

    Happy New Year for tomorrow.

  • Bolder

    Another size 13 shoe shopper has found his paradise in the USA! Mon Coeur has the same issue… can’t find shoes here in France (at least not for REASONABLE prices) so we come back with suitcases full of shoes every time. Helps put an edge on the “let’s live in the US” argument, doesn’t it? :)

  • Bolder

    Another size 13 shoe shopper has found his paradise in the USA! Mon Coeur has the same issue… can’t find shoes here in France (at least not for REASONABLE prices) so we come back with suitcases full of shoes every time. Helps put an edge on the “let’s live in the US” argument, doesn’t it? :)

  • joy suzanne

    Happy New Year Jennie!!!!!!

  • joy suzanne

    Happy New Year Jennie!!!!!!

  • Crystal

    Happy New Year! I loved this post because if I had gone home this year, I probably would have thought/felt many of the same things. I would have killed for a turkey and stuffing and cranberry sauce this year, but alas, seafood and disgusting foie gras it was. I’m glad you got back ok (travelling is a pain in the ass, I agree) and I hope things work out for you guys. Talking about moving to Canada with Max always makes me happier too, and even if it doesnt happen anytime soon, at least I know he’s not opposed to the idea. Good luck with the rest of your time as an assistante and I’m sure things will work out for you in the end :)

  • Crystal

    Happy New Year! I loved this post because if I had gone home this year, I probably would have thought/felt many of the same things. I would have killed for a turkey and stuffing and cranberry sauce this year, but alas, seafood and disgusting foie gras it was. I’m glad you got back ok (travelling is a pain in the ass, I agree) and I hope things work out for you guys. Talking about moving to Canada with Max always makes me happier too, and even if it doesnt happen anytime soon, at least I know he’s not opposed to the idea.

    Good luck with the rest of your time as an assistante and I’m sure things will work out for you in the end :)

  • Andromeda

    americans are such slobs!! i hate it too!! i almost feel bad for thinking such things about my fellow countrymen, but seriously. it’s bad.

  • Andromeda

    americans are such slobs!! i hate it too!! i almost feel bad for thinking such things about my fellow countrymen, but seriously. it’s bad.

  • The Late Bloomer

    I had mixed feelings on my trip back home this year as well, but overall when I go back I realize that France is my home now… I’m always happy to see my family, relax and really rest for a bit, but then the guilt creeps in (about my choice of living in France), I get cabin fever because I don’t have my own freedom back at my parents’ (no car of my own anymore, so I’m stuck in the house!), and I just feel ready to come back to France. There are lots of foods — even silly ones! — that I wish I could bring back with me, like big, greasy yummy hot pretzels and lemonade, but otherwise, I’m relieved to pick up life where I left it…I don’t know if it’s a question of time or adaptation, but I guess we’re all different. I’m one of those who kind of likes certain elements of both cultures too, and I definitely miss certain American Christmas traditions… But I also love foie gras ! It’s tough to find the right balance though.I’m glad you had such a great trip home! I need to write about my own trip on my blog…

  • The Late Bloomer

    I had mixed feelings on my trip back home this year as well, but overall when I go back I realize that France is my home now… I’m always happy to see my family, relax and really rest for a bit, but then the guilt creeps in (about my choice of living in France), I get cabin fever because I don’t have my own freedom back at my parents’ (no car of my own anymore, so I’m stuck in the house!), and I just feel ready to come back to France. There are lots of foods — even silly ones! — that I wish I could bring back with me, like big, greasy yummy hot pretzels and lemonade, but otherwise, I’m relieved to pick up life where I left it…

    I don’t know if it’s a question of time or adaptation, but I guess we’re all different. I’m one of those who kind of likes certain elements of both cultures too, and I definitely miss certain American Christmas traditions… But I also love foie gras ! It’s tough to find the right balance though.

    I’m glad you had such a great trip home! I need to write about my own trip on my blog…

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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