Home for the Holidays

My Christmas secret is out! I came back to Michigan yesterday as a surprise for my parents and will be home for the next two weeks. I had been planning this for months and even though all of my friends knew, everyone was able to keep the secret and my mom was indeed surprised.

I absolutely love Christmas in Michigan and I hadn’t been here in December since 2007. I was a bit worried about my flights because of the big snowstorm that came through the Midwest this past weekend, but everything worked out fine and I will have a white Christmas for the first time in years! Well done, mother nature. Well done.

I was excited like a little kid when I arrived in Detroit last night. The Christmas lights, the snow, even the football fans at the airport (thank you Vikings for proving that a team besides the Lions can lose at Ford Field!) made me feel right at home. It was bitterly cold (a balmy 6 F / -14 C this morning) and the roads were still covered in ice & snow, but it felt good to be home where most of my friends and family are.

I will be playing in the snow with the dog, visiting friends in Flint, experiencing Bavarian Christmas in Frankenmuth, and just enjoying my time at home so I won’t be online as much until I’m back in France for New Year’s.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Tastes and Tours of the French Alps

The following is a guest post by Cynthia Caughey Annet, an American who also lives in Chambéry. She is the author of american-in-france.com, a blog full of great videos, photos, recipes, travel tips, and observations on expat life in France and the French Alps. Looking for unique gifts this holiday season? Does your spouse, best friend or […]

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Dr. Paul Nation & Survival Travel Vocabulary

Anyone who has done research on vocabulary acquisition has come across Dr. Paul Nation’s articles and books. His 1990 book, Teaching & Learning Vocabulary, as well as his 2001 book, Learning Vocabulary in Another Language, are the basis of most vocabulary acquisition classes at universities today.  He favors frequency lists, extensive reading, and the lexical approach to […]

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Education Systems, Creativity, Motivation and Results-Only Environments

Being snowed in for a week meant watching a lot of TED talks online, and a few that really interested me focus on certain established environments and how they are not very conducive to education, creativity or motivation. Sir Ken Robinson on how schools kill creativity and the need for a “learning revolution” throughout the […]

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My two year-old niece will help you learn spoken French [New informal French video]

My two year-old niece was recently talking to David on the phone, and she asked t’es au boulot ? Are you at work? However, books will tell you to say es-tu au travail ? instead – or actually it’s more likely they will insist on êtes-vous au travail ? because foreigners never need to use the […]

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Review of Language Learning Websites II: Mango Languages, LangMaster, LinguaTV, and Yabla

Six months ago I posted my thoughts on the popular language learning sites Livemocha, Busuu, LingQ and Hello-Hello. Now I would like to review four other language learning websites that I have used recently.  The previous four sites were “communities” where not only can you use their flashcards and exercises, you create a profile and […]

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Chinese Food in France (Helps with Homesickness)

Happy Thanksgiving to the Americans, whether you are actually celebrating it or not! This week is always hard for me because I’m usually rather homesick, more so than at Christmas since Christmas actually exists in France (albeit a less excessive form of the holiday… I need an overload of decorations, people!) Luckily we did something […]

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Regional Differences in France & Italy: Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis & Benvenuti al Sud

In 2008 when Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis was released in France, it was an instant success. The plot focuses on the manager of La Poste in Salon-de-Provence, who is transferred to Bergues in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region and all the negative stereotypes about the north of France, i.e. it’s always rainy and cold, the people are […]

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Cost of Living in France: My Personal Experience

How much does it cost to live in France? I’ve received a few e-mails inquiring about the cost of living in France, so here is a listing of my monthly bills and yearly taxes. Hopefully this information will be useful for those who are looking to move to France and want to compare the costs. […]

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Learning French through Comedy: Sketches by Les Inconnus

Probably the most famous comedy sketch in France is Télémagouille by Les Inconnus. You can read the entire transcript online though it’s written very informally and there are many spelling mistakes. Don’t forget to check out their other sketches on Youtube or Dailymotion (I’ve included some of my favorites below). A 5-DVD set is also available from Amazon.fr. […]

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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 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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