The DOM-TOMS (France outside of France)

I don’t remember how we got on the subject (I was probably going on and on about Quebec again), but David mentioned a few weeks ago that he can ask to be transferred to St. Pierre et Miquelon. These tiny islands south of Newfoundland are not even an overseas département, but a collectivité territoriale. They are the only remaining former North American colony of New France still under French control. And even though the islands are 16 miles from Newfoundland, the culture is still very French and not North American. The currency is the euro, electrical outlets and phone jacks are French, and most cars are Renaults or Peugeots. Even the milk is imported from France. Though there is one major American aspect. The houses are made of wood and painted in bright colors, with tambours attached to the front doors (I’m not sure what this is called in English) to  allow extra space to wipe snow off boots before entering the house.

The population is only just above 6,000, with 90% of the inhabitants living in St. Pierre and the rest in Miquelon. The original French settlers were Basque, Breton and Norman fishermen so today there is an annual Basque festival and the accent spoken is similar to Norman French. The weather can often be windy and rainy in the summer (highs in 60-70 F range) with a lot of fog and winters are snowy but not bitter cold. The more I learn about this place, the more intrigued I am. And I already checked to make sure they have high-speed internet (1723 households subscribe to DSL, which is a huge percentage of the overall population) since I could not live without internet. David & I were already planning on visiting Montréal and Québec next summer for vacation, so why not stop in St. Pierre too? Maybe we’ll decide it would be a nice adventure to move there, even for only a year or two.

And then I started thinking about the other DOM-TOMs (overseas departments and territories) and how we could live in such distant and unique places that belong to République Française, but are not in France. Martinique, Guadeloupe, Saint Martin and Saint Barthélemy are in the Caribbean; Guyane is in South America, La Réunion and Mayotte are in the Indian Ocean near Madagascar, Nouvelle-Calédonie, Polynésie Française, and Wallis et Futuna are in the Pacific Ocean. I’m not even sure which TOMs David could work in, since we originally thought he could only work in the DOMs (Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guyane, and La Réunion).  With the exception of Guyane, all are islands and I have never lived on an island before. I think I would get a little restless not being able to go on long car trips and knowing that I had to take a plane to go anywhere else. So now I’m thinking I’d rather just visit all the DOM-TOMs, like Rosie Millard is doing, just to experience how far French culture and language extends around the world. Of course we’ve still got several régions in France métropole to visit, including Corsica. Someday I will see all of France. Someday!

Quoi dire, quoi faire

Mon petit canaillou est très, très poilu Parce que ça fait deux mois que je n’ai pas posté de photo de lui et parce que je n’ai rien à dire car il n’y a rien qui se passe dans ma vie. Les vacances, c’est génial, mais c’est mieux quand on a de l’argent pour voyager… […]

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Canicule is not so cool

There’s been a heat wave in southern France and the Rhone Valley for a while, but luckily it’s not as severe as the heat wave of 2003. Savoie isn’t in vigilance orange like the nearby départements of Rhône, Drôme, Ardèche or Vaucluse but it has been hotter than usual here. I can’t even remember the […]

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Why do I live in France?

It’s no secret that I am often homesick for North American culture (and especially the food.) I could move back to the US and get a teaching job or apply to do my PhD in Canada, but I choose to stay in France. David is, of course, the major reason why, but there are are […]

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Concentration, where did you go?

I’m having trouble concentrating these days. I don’t know if it’s because I’m no longer in college or because I moved to France and don’t work much, but I have grown so lazy. I promised myself that I would get back to reading and studying as much as I did before when I was an […]

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Je dors plus la nuit

Why do the effects of jet lag always feel so much worse in Europe? Whenever I’m in the US, I go to bed really early and wake up around 5 AM. When I get back to France, I go to bed at 5 AM and it sucks.

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Le retour en France

I arrived back in France at 6 AM Saturday morning, a full hour ahead of schedule. I guess the pilot flew really fast? I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I did not have to pay $50 for my second checked bag, though I still don’t know why. The kiosk screen at check-in clearly […]

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Washington, D.C.

I finally saw the nation’s capital on Monday. I had been wanting to see D.C. for a very long time and since we were going to be close by (well, close enough) after the wedding, I talked my parents into stopping for the day. So for eight hours we wandered around the Mall and Arlington […]

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The Wedding

Congratulations to my big sister Jamie and my new brother-in-law Josh! They got married August 1st in Lexington. The weather was great for that one day, as it rained every day before and after. Here’s the bridal party. The adorable flower girls are Josh’s nieces. I was a bridesmaid and I also had to carry […]

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Lexington & Stuffed Animals

I am still in Virginia! My sister got married last night in Lexington, but before that we spent Thursday & Friday exploring the town. We saw Robert E. Lee’s crypt and where his horse, Traveller, is buried at Lee Chapel on the campus of Washington & Lee University. Then we saw Stonewall Jackson’s house and […]

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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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