On the Road to Virginia and D.C.

We are leaving very early tomorrow morning for Virginia, for my sister’s wedding this weekend. It will probably take us about 12 hours to drive there, which I am really excited about. I just hope they actually have summer-like weather down there. There are a lot of Civil War monuments/museums in the area so that should be interesting, and then we’re stopping in D.C. on the way home.

I have to say I’m getting a little sick of America already and want to be back in France. That’s mostly because I miss David like crazy though, and I’m tired of hearing people complain about EVERYTHING. I know the economy is bad, but is complaining really going to change anything? It could just be Michiganders since we have the worst economy in the country, but somehow I think all Americans complain just as much.

I know, I know. I complain a lot about France on my blog. I admit I’m a huge complainer. But Americans really don’t have much to complain about (except for the health care thing…) because everyday life in the US is still amazing and easy and inexpensive and efficient and convenient in spite of the recession. Americans earn so much money and pay so few taxes compared to the rest of the world. Nowhere else can you have a large house and yard with several cars, TVs, computers, and cell phones and you can actually buy things that you can’t really afford because of credit cards. Everything is amazing, and yet no one is happy. You should be grateful that you have the choice to do what you want in life because the government doesn’t control it for you.

That being said, I still don’t want to live in the US again. Not until there are major changes, which unfortunately I don’t truly believe will ever happen. There are tons of things I could complain about regarding the US (see “I don’t miss” in the right column), but I won’t go on and on about them. Those are simply the reasons why I am glad to not be living in the US and I suppose this trip has reminded me of all of them. Sure, I am always jealous of the high salaries and 24 hour stores and variety of foods available and constantly frustrated with the French government’s insistence that I have no say in how I get to live my life. But for now, France is the better option and mostly because of the health care.

I miss my socialist country that takes care of all the people regardless of how much or how little money they earn. I like the idea that no matter what happens in life – illness, accident, unemployment – I will be taken care of by the government and I won’t be financially ruined. I am scared to death that something bad will happen to my friends and family who don’t have health insurance in the US. So I hate the French government for controlling my life, but I also love it for always taking care of me, even though I’m just a “temporary resident.”

I’m hoping seeing another part of the US will rid me of some of this negativity. Hopefully the South isn’t as sad as the Midwest. (For the non-Americans, Virginia really is considered part of the south even though it’s not really in the south. Just ask any Virginian.) I still love my country even if I don’t want to live here, but perhaps it’s just Michigan that gets me down. I certainly have been seeing too many abandoned houses around here and downtown Flint always manages to depress me. So Virginia and D.C. please cheer me up.

And you all know that I’ll be complaining about France as soon as I get back there in August and saying that I wish I could be in the US again. Gotta love being an expat who can’t stop living between two cultures. In the end, I do think France barely wins out. Until I visit Canada again.

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  • monica

    I am in Virginia right now after doing the assistantship, and spending five weeks at a vermont summer camp, and I love it. I’m so proud to be a Virginian! I’ve lived in Virginia Beach, Harrisonburg, and Prince William County in NOVA and its all awesome. I hope you get to enjoy the sun!

  • monica

    I am in Virginia right now after doing the assistantship, and spending five weeks at a vermont summer camp, and I love it. I’m so proud to be a Virginian! I’ve lived in Virginia Beach, Harrisonburg, and Prince William County in NOVA and its all awesome. I hope you get to enjoy the sun!

  • http://family-counts.blogspot.com/ barbara

    Hi Jennie,

    Maybe changing to VA & DC will give you another look at the US… And how beautiful; your sister will be getting married; so nice for you to be there !

    It is a delicate balance that we do as ex-pats. I have changed a lot in regards to the need to return to the US. It remains a very occasional pleasure for me, but not yearly ( I can’t afford it once a year & I just don’t need to).But when I go, I really enjoy all the way.

    You have a good time !
    .-= barbara´s last blog ..Faded snapshots from my past =-.

  • http://family-counts.blogspot.com/ barbara

    Hi Jennie,

    Maybe changing to VA & DC will give you another look at the US… And how beautiful; your sister will be getting married; so nice for you to be there !

    It is a delicate balance that we do as ex-pats. I have changed a lot in regards to the need to return to the US. It remains a very occasional pleasure for me, but not yearly ( I can’t afford it once a year & I just don’t need to).But when I go, I really enjoy all the way.

    You have a good time !
    .-= barbara´s last blog ..Faded snapshots from my past =-.

  • http://blondeinfrance.blogspot.com/ Andromeda

    Are you quoting Louis CK there? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jETv3NURwLc

    Even in Northern Maryland you get some pretty Southern accents and see the confederate flag everywhere. I think it depends on how urban the area is, growing up in a DC suburb in MD apparently left me with no particular accent and a very ” snooty Northern” attitude according to some lovely Georgians I met once . . .
    .-= Andromeda´s last blog ..Blending in =-.

  • http://blondeinfrance.blogspot.com Andromeda

    Are you quoting Louis CK there? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jETv3NURwLc

    Even in Northern Maryland you get some pretty Southern accents and see the confederate flag everywhere. I think it depends on how urban the area is, growing up in a DC suburb in MD apparently left me with no particular accent and a very ” snooty Northern” attitude according to some lovely Georgians I met once . . .
    .-= Andromeda´s last blog ..Blending in =-.

  • http://cndrnh.blogspot.com/ CN Heidelberg

    I think this is why I get so caught up in the health care thing. It makes me so sad to not want to return to my own country, because I can’t get behind what I consider cruelty (withholding of health care accessibility, which seems to be in violation of the WHO constituion). :( I want to want to go back!!!
    .-= CN Heidelberg´s last blog ..Postcard from Lorsch =-.

  • http://cndrnh.blogspot.com CN Heidelberg

    I think this is why I get so caught up in the health care thing. It makes me so sad to not want to return to my own country, because I can’t get behind what I consider cruelty (withholding of health care accessibility, which seems to be in violation of the WHO constituion). :( I want to want to go back!!!
    .-= CN Heidelberg´s last blog ..Postcard from Lorsch =-.

  • http://www.american-in-france.com/ cynthia in chambery

    Yes, I think one of the biggest positives about living in France is their health care system (although I’m not on it yet – at least not until I sign up for the auto entrepreneur status which is at least 6 months away). Being an expat is like living in two worlds. If you’ve only lived in one you don’t know what you’re missing in the other and don’t have any ‘longings.’ But now that I’ve lived in three countries, I know what I’m missing in each, as well as what I don’t like about each. The bottom line: there is no perfect place or situation, and the ‘grass is greener on the other side’ mentality only keeps me from making the most of where I am. So I have to remind myself of that regularly. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Jennie. Cynthia in Chambery
    .-= cynthia in chambery´s last blog ..French Transportation: The TGV Trains of France =-.

  • http://www.american-in-france.com cynthia in chambery

    Yes, I think one of the biggest positives about living in France is their health care system (although I’m not on it yet – at least not until I sign up for the auto entrepreneur status which is at least 6 months away). Being an expat is like living in two worlds. If you’ve only lived in one you don’t know what you’re missing in the other and don’t have any ‘longings.’ But now that I’ve lived in three countries, I know what I’m missing in each, as well as what I don’t like about each. The bottom line: there is no perfect place or situation, and the ‘grass is greener on the other side’ mentality only keeps me from making the most of where I am. So I have to remind myself of that regularly. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Jennie. Cynthia in Chambery
    .-= cynthia in chambery´s last blog ..French Transportation: The TGV Trains of France =-.

  • http://happilyeverafter-md.blogspot.com/ Brandi

    I guess the grass is always greener on the other side. I find that everyone always complains about everything. Whether it’s the French and their continual fight to preserve their long vacations and short working weeks, the French University students striking their ‘free education’ or the American’s with their health care system. I am happy to not have people complaining blocking my everyday life with a ‘grave’

    But once you lived somewhere else, you always miss something about where you lived before.

    I am in Baltimore now. If you get a chance have Crab-cakes at G&Ms in Catonsville, MD
    .-= Brandi´s last blog ..Twitter and all that =-.

  • http://happilyeverafter-md.blogspot.com/ Brandi

    I guess the grass is always greener on the other side. I find that everyone always complains about everything. Whether it’s the French and their continual fight to preserve their long vacations and short working weeks, the French University students striking their ‘free education’ or the American’s with their health care system. I am happy to not have people complaining blocking my everyday life with a ‘grave’

    But once you lived somewhere else, you always miss something about where you lived before.

    I am in Baltimore now. If you get a chance have Crab-cakes at G&Ms in Catonsville, MD
    .-= Brandi´s last blog ..Twitter and all that =-.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=82301341 Amanda

    “Americans earn so much money and pay so few taxes compared to the rest of the world. Nowhere else can you have a large house and yard with several cars, TVs, computers, and cell phones and you can actually buy things that you can’t really afford because of credit cards.”

    That’s not a good thing! That’s the kind of thinking that got us into the mess we’re in now. We should be complaining and unhappy, because it’s a bad system that we don’t take enough personal responsibility for.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=82301341 Amanda

    “Americans earn so much money and pay so few taxes compared to the rest of the world. Nowhere else can you have a large house and yard with several cars, TVs, computers, and cell phones and you can actually buy things that you can’t really afford because of credit cards.”

    That’s not a good thing! That’s the kind of thinking that got us into the mess we’re in now. We should be complaining and unhappy, because it’s a bad system that we don’t take enough personal responsibility for.

  • http://www.confituredulait.blogspot.com/ MilkJam

    @Cynthia in Chambery I saw on your blog that you’re married to a Frenchman, in that case you qualify for heath insurance though your husband and his job!!
    .-= MilkJam´s last blog ..Jersey =-.

  • http://www.confituredulait.blogspot.com MilkJam

    @Cynthia in Chambery I saw on your blog that you’re married to a Frenchman, in that case you qualify for heath insurance though your husband and his job!!
    .-= MilkJam´s last blog ..Jersey =-.

  • http://www.edgeoftheforest.wordpress.com/ Andrea

    Ha ha, I had to smile at this – I wonder if I’ll feel the same way you do in a few weeks :)
    I read your list of things you don’t miss, and would agree with most of them — although, as a former Phoenix resident, we don’t have smoking in public places and we NEED air conditioning, so maybe not those two. And I’ve seen a fair amount of “racism disguised as political opposition” in Europe, especially in France!
    I hope you enjoy the rest of your trip, though – don’t let it all get you down.
    .-= Andrea´s last blog ..What kind of Micky-Mouse Operation is this? =-.

  • http://www.edgeoftheforest.wordpress.com Andrea

    Ha ha, I had to smile at this – I wonder if I’ll feel the same way you do in a few weeks :)
    I read your list of things you don’t miss, and would agree with most of them — although, as a former Phoenix resident, we don’t have smoking in public places and we NEED air conditioning, so maybe not those two. And I’ve seen a fair amount of “racism disguised as political opposition” in Europe, especially in France!
    I hope you enjoy the rest of your trip, though – don’t let it all get you down.
    .-= Andrea´s last blog ..What kind of Micky-Mouse Operation is this? =-.

  • http://www.correresmidestino.com/ Zhu

    It’s funy, I had always thought French complained more. Canadians complain too, but mostly about the weather, rarely about social issues!

    Anyway, enjoy the long drive and some Americana.

  • http://www.correresmidestino.com Zhu

    It’s funy, I had always thought French complained more. Canadians complain too, but mostly about the weather, rarely about social issues!

    Anyway, enjoy the long drive and some Americana.

  • http://thefonctionnaire.blogspot.com/ The fonctionnaire

    You say you wanna live in Quebec, you have to know we complain a lot around here, about the temperature most of the times…; )

    but if you need any advice about living in Quebec, i can give you some. Or if you wanna visit with your boyfriend fonctionnaire, let me know, we experimente for the first time home exchange, you could live in Quebec city few weeks….
    .-= The fonctionnaire´s last blog ..Allez, combien tu gagnes ? =-.

  • http://thefonctionnaire.blogspot.com/ The fonctionnaire

    You say you wanna live in Quebec, you have to know we complain a lot around here, about the temperature most of the times…; )

    but if you need any advice about living in Quebec, i can give you some. Or if you wanna visit with your boyfriend fonctionnaire, let me know, we experimente for the first time home exchange, you could live in Quebec city few weeks….
    .-= The fonctionnaire´s last blog ..Allez, combien tu gagnes ? =-.

  • june

    “Americans earn so much money and pay so few taxes compared to the rest of the world. Nowhere else can you have a large house and yard with several cars, TVs, computers, and cell phones and you can actually buy things that you can’t really afford because of credit cards.”
    I don’t believe this to be true because the people who have all this are actually ear deep in debt. I don’t think I would sacrifice what I have in France to have big things just to have to pay credit cards/loans until I die. American’s have been irresponsibly spending money that they don’t have which has caused so many to declare bankruptcy. It’s not a way to live. Plus, the amount of taxes taken out from my paycheck in France is basically the same amount the government takes out in the US.

    On another note, I was just curious how come you think the French government has so much control over you? I am an American living in France and had no problems with any of the government issues. I don’t feel like they have any control over me. I was just curious what things they have control over.

    I like reading your blog, Thanks!!

  • june

    “Americans earn so much money and pay so few taxes compared to the rest of the world. Nowhere else can you have a large house and yard with several cars, TVs, computers, and cell phones and you can actually buy things that you can’t really afford because of credit cards.”
    I don’t believe this to be true because the people who have all this are actually ear deep in debt. I don’t think I would sacrifice what I have in France to have big things just to have to pay credit cards/loans until I die. American’s have been irresponsibly spending money that they don’t have which has caused so many to declare bankruptcy. It’s not a way to live. Plus, the amount of taxes taken out from my paycheck in France is basically the same amount the government takes out in the US.

    On another note, I was just curious how come you think the French government has so much control over you? I am an American living in France and had no problems with any of the government issues. I don’t feel like they have any control over me. I was just curious what things they have control over.

    I like reading your blog, Thanks!!

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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 January 2010, I started focusing more on teaching and learning languages in general. 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 the university so these themes appear most often on the blog. I also continue to post about traveling (though now my trips are usually in Australia) and being an American abroad.

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