Les français aussi ont un accent.

I wanted to read Les français aussi ont un accent by Jean-Benoît Nadeau, the same author of 60 Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong, because I thought I would enjoy a Quebecker’s take on expat life in France. This book is in French, which is half of the reason why I wanted to read it, but I found myself more and more homesick with each chapter. Nadeau’s frustrations with France are the same as mine – being corrected for using the “wrong” word or accent in French (European snobs want you to believe that Quebecois French is not proper French just as American English is not proper English), all the ridiculous paperwork needed just to do the simplest things, and even the showerheads that are not attached to the wall (douches-téléphones-sans-fixation-au-mur), for example. Quebec and the US are very different in many ways, but they are both in North America and that culture is what I miss.

En plus, the fact that a native speaker of French has the same problems with France that I do makes me realize that I was partly wrong about culture shock. Before I moved here, I always thought not being able to speak French well would be my biggest obstacle. It was hard in the beginning, but now that I can understand 99% of what people say and can carry on conversations easily, I’m realizing that it has little to do with the language. It’s simply the little things that are different that you never anticipated would be different. Why would stores, banks and the post office close for lunch? Why is absolutely nothing open on Sundays? Why does the whole country shut down for 6 weeks during the summer? Why can’t I choose my own PIN number?  Why can’t I find cheddar cheese? An why oh why is the showerhead not attached to the wall???

I had heard about culture shock being worse for those who move to countries where the same language is spoken (i.e. Americans who move to the UK) because you just expect everything to be the same as well. But I guess I never thought about someone from Quebec adjusting to life in France. Quebec may speak French, but it is not France. It is North America. So even though we’re separated by a native language, I feel much closer to les québécois than I ever will to les français.

English Teaching Assistantships in Europe for 2009-10 School Year

It’s that time of year again! English Assistant in France Teach English conversation 12 hours a week in Primary or Secondary schools for a monthly stipend of 780 €. Medical insurance & paid holidays. Contracts of 6, 7, or 9 months, all beginning October 1. Students of any major can apply, though applicants should have […]

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November 11

Hug a veteran today.

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Mexican Food! Finally!

November 5th was David’s and my 2 year anniversary, so we decided to go out to eat last night. I had been wanting to go to a Mexican restaurant forever (since I’d left the US…), but we never got around to it somehow over the past 24 months. Either we’re extremely busy or there aren’t […]

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I don’t say this often, but today I really mean it.

I’M PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN!

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Yup, we bought one.

The Nicolas Sarkozy Voodoo Doll. He tried to have it banned in France, but he didn’t succeed. Not yet, anyway. Maybe it will be worth money someday. Or maybe we’ll just let the cat eat it.

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First Semester Language

We all laugh at these songs that make fun of beginning language classes and the somewhat useless words and phrases we learn. How many times in French have I ever said “Où est la bibliothèque ?” Um, probably never. But these videos also show the poor attempt at language teaching and/or the poor attempt at […]

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Sylvie et Emeric Autour du Monde

Back in July, two of David’s friends took off on a tour du monde (trip around the world). This seems to be pretty common as I’ve heard of many French people/couples who do it. I have no idea how they afford it though! Sylvie & Emeric started their trip in New York, with visits to […]

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French Jack-o’-Lantern

Auchan was selling pumpkins this week, so I had to get one. I was surprised they even had them considering how small their Halloween costume section is. And their Halloween candy aisle is just non-existent. There was a huge section for chrysanthemums though, for la Toussaint* – which I stupidly didn’t get when I first […]

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L’Essor Savoyard: Local News from Annecy

Mamie had a copy of l’Essor Savoyard from this week lying around, so I read through it to check out the happenings in and around Annecy. (Unfortunately, this local newspaper doesn’t have a website, but the other one does: Le Dauphiné.) Troops from the 27e BCA, which is located directly across from the lycée I […]

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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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