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.

Does Michigan not have summer anymore?

I am freezing here. I don’t think it’s gotten above 80 degrees once this past week. And it’s been raining almost everyday. Where is summer??? I was looking forward to boating on the lakes and lying in the hammock. I even bought two new swimsuits that I obviously cannot use right now. I miss real […]

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I am home.

After a rough weekend – delayed flight, massive headache, throwing up – I’m starting to get over the jetlag and adjust to life in the US again. I’ve eaten too many donuts, which may or may not have played a part in the puking this weekend, bought a ton of cheap stuff at Walmart (I […]

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Back to the USA

I go back to the US tomorrow for 3 weeks. I’m so excited, but dreading the long day of traveling on three different flights. I need to get up in 6 hours to start getting ready though, so maybe I should go to bed now. Next post will be from Michigan! A plus !

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Why I hate Delta, reason #743

It’s probably no secret that I absolutely abhor flying. Normally it’s random people in the airport who drive me insane because they are too stupid to not wear a belt or put coins and keys in their pockets when they KNOW they will be going through a metal detector. And don’t even get me started […]

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Feux d’Artifices d’Annecy-le-Vieux et de Paris

A lot of the smaller towns in France have fireworks for Bastille Day the night of July 13th instead of on the 14th. Last night we went to Annecy-le-Vieux for their fireworks, and we were also treated to a rock concert for an hour beforehand. The band did covers of nearly everything – Beatles, Rolling […]

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Videos & Subtitles are Best

In my nerdy, just-for-fun independent research on language acquisition, I’ve come across several articles about using video with subtitles in the classroom and how it vastly increases the rate of vocabulary acquisition. Hearing and reading the words in context is very important – now I just wish someone would tell producers of DVDs that… Subtitles […]

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Mélina’s First Birthday Party

Mélina a un an ! Gâteau glacé vanille fraise Seulement trois cadeaux ? Ça, c’est mieux ! [J’ai monté ce vélo pour elle parce que je suis la seule bricoleuse dans la famille ici. Merci le Midwest et papa !] Dans la piscine avec maman La petite reine des cadeaux (avec mamie)

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She who studies during summer vacation.

Now that I’m not working and the apartment is almost finished (Why does it take soooo long to get furniture in France?!?!), I have a lot of free time on my hands. I have been working on my website a little – just uploaded a few lessons from Foreign Service Institute Italian FAST – but […]

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Happy Independence Day, USA!

See you in two weeks!!!

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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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