Thoughts and Ramblings

I’ve only worked one day in the past thirty, and it has given me a lot of time to think, contemplate, and get bored and frustrated. My first semester as a lectrice d’anglais ended just fine, and then Christmas came and went along with my homesickness, and lately I’ve been reading and cleaning a lot since I have nothing else I need to do. Maybe it’s because I’m used to working way too much, but I really don’t like having so much vacation – especially since it’s not really vacation when I don’t actually go anywhere or enjoy it. I’m saving my money for this spring and summer, and the weather here is too bad to actually go outside and do anything. I’ll take freezing temps and snow over chilly and rainy any day. And sure, it’s nice to still be paid even when I’m not working, but I’d much rather be working!

I’ve also been checking apartment ads almost daily because I’m seriously fed up with where we live. But who knows when we can actually move or to where. Everything depends on David right now and the results of his concours, which we won’t know for months and months. I just know that something needs to change. I’m hoping it’s mostly the lack of heat in our apartment in addition to the boredom, but I have been really tired and cranky lately and I hate it. I’m constantly complaining about living here, and being poor, and basically everything about France that drives me crazy. I’ve always known that I wouldn’t like living in France, but I did it anyway because I thought it would be better than in the US. In some ways, it is; but overall, I know in my heart I would prefer to be in Canada. I’m still trying to make immigrating to Quebec happen, but it feels like an uphill battle that I may never win.

So I go back to work tomorrow for the beginning of another 12 week semester. I’m interested to see how many of my students actually remember what we did in semester 1 and if anyone really learned the IPA.  I’m feeling more at ease in the job, learning how everything works (or doesn’t work) at French universities, and I’m excited to be able to use my office during breaks this semester. I think I went there about two times last semester because I was rarely on campus outside of my classes. I may even check out the library and the gym, as soon as I figure out where they are… This is another reason why I want to move closer to my work. I feel so disconnected from the school and my co-workers because I’m never there.

While I adore my job, I would like to work more so that I can earn more, but that’s not really possible (regardless of what Sarkozy says). I know my job will end in September 2010 and that it would be a temporary job from the very beginning. I suppose all of my previous jobs were that way as well, and for someone who thrives on change, I don’t understand why I’m now yearning for something more permanent. I’ve never wanted to do the same job, day after day, because it’s too boring. And that’s probably why I like teaching so much – it constantly changes, with each new student and new semester and new material… I could completely rewrite a course if I wanted to, completely change how the students learn and what they learn. Except I can’t exactly do that until I have my own class. As an assistant and even now as a lectrice, I’m still not completely in control and a part of me really wants that.

Perhaps it’s also the fact that I’m turning 27 this year that makes me feel that I should have something more concrete in my life, like a career or even a house. I’m tired of feeling that my “real life” has yet to begin. And I’m tired of feeling like my real life cannot begin until I leave France. I can’t say with any certainty that things wouldn’t be better in another part of France. Maybe it is just Annecy. Maybe I can find an amazing job somewhere else in this country. I just don’t know. I’ve always thought that teaching French at a university was the only career I would want, so I need to do a PhD in French. But maybe just being able to use French and other languages everyday would make me happy. The tourism industry seems like it wouldn’t be too boring, and France receives a ridiculous number of tourists every year. But would I regret not doing the PhD? Or would I regret trying to do it in France and not North America, which is where I would like to teach anyway?

So I guess I’m trying to make peace and find acceptance with living in France for now. It still amuses me to no end that so many people think living in France is a fairy tale. It’s no different from any other country, though I do have to admit the health care is pretty awesome. Think about how many Americans say it’s their dream to live in France and here I am trying to get back across the ocean. People think I’m crazy for wanting to leave, but it’s not that I hate France, it’s just that I miss North America too much. I used to think that I was a big failure for not absolutely loving everything about France and Europe, but you know what? It’s just not for me. End of story.

Sony Reader, how did I live without you?

I spent all day Thursday playing with my Sony Reader. And I do mean ALL DAY. If anyone else is thinking about buying one, here are some helpful hints: I have a ton of scholarly journal articles in PDF format that I wanted to read on the Sony Reader. It is possible to read them, […]

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Sculpture of European Stereotypes: Get angry or just laugh?

A Czech artist, David Cerny, was supposed to lead a project to create a sculpture to represent all 27 member states of the EU, working with an artist from each country.  Instead, he worked with two of his friends to produce a sculpture that shows a (usually insulting) stereotype of each country, because he wanted […]

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Appareil à Hot Dog

I saw this at Darty tonight and it made me laugh. A hot dog in a baguette is just wrong.

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Exam time… and now more vacation time

Today was the big phonetics final exam for my first year students, and I worked for 5 hours straight with a seemingly never-ending number of students. The actual test only took them about 5 minutes to do, but I was supposed to figure out their grade in the one minute before the next student started […]

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French Phonetics: Listening & Repetition Exercises

Have trouble hearing the difference between les and lait ? How about jeune and jeûne ? Um, yeah, me too. Still can’t say bûche correctly? How many silent letters are there in prompt ? Do you want to cry when you’re forced to pronounce serrurerie ? Since I’m still on vacation, I’ve been working hard […]

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Les Hiverts Les Plus Froids ! Mais c’est quoi, un hivert ?

As spotted even over in Montreal, France 2 must have lost their spellchecker along with the commercials.

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Strike Time

Pôle Emploi, which is replacing ANPE & ASSEDIC, is already beginning its first days with a strike even though the organization doesn’t technically become effective until Thursday. The employees of the organization that is designed to help you find work refuse to work so that you cannot find work because they are upset about their […]

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Restless in Annecy

I think I’ve decided to do a Master’s in France starting this fall. I should be able to start with an M2 and just do one year of coursework and then write my mémoire. It will be extremely cheap compared to North American tuition, and I’ll have a research paper in French to bolster my […]

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What’s Changing in France in 2009

France no longer holds the presidency of the European Union. The Czech Republic takes over for the next 6 months, followed by Sweden. Twenty universities will be autonomous and independent from the state. They will be able to make their own budget and charge their own fees & tuition. If all goes well with these […]

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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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