Le Retour des Alpages 2008

I just returned from the Retour des Alpages festival today in Annecy. I managed to take more pictures than last year, though I didn’t see much of the parade from where I was standing. Once again, I was constantly reminded why I hate being in Annecy when it is really crowded. Usually it’s the little kids who drive me crazy, but today it was the old people. They are vicious when it comes to being in the front row for a parade! Haven’t they seen this parade like 50 times already anyway? Why not let the young people stand in front? Anyway…

This festival commemorates the end of the summer grazing period for the dairy herds in the mountains, so the farmers symbolically bring the animals home for the winter by parading them through the streets of Annecy. Mountain life and Savoy pride are very evident in this festival – Savoy meaning the départements of Savoie & Haute-Savoie in France, the Geneva region of Switzerland and the Aoste valley in Italy which were part of the original Savoy centuries ago before it was annexed to France in 1860 from the Kingdom of Sardinia. And because Savoy was the last mainland area to be added to the nation of France, there are still some separatist groups who believe Savoy should not belong to the Rhône-Alpes région and even some who believe that Savoy should not belong to France.

I have to admit, there are some days where I think I live in Savoy, not France. I see Savoy flags everywhere, which are very similar to the Swiss flag and I feel like I’m actually in Switzerland instead. I’ve always associated the Alps more with Switzerland than France, but I suppose that’s because my stereotypical image of France is more Paris vs. Provence than anything else. I know regional pride exists everywhere in France, from Brittany to Alsace, but in terms of years, Savoyards are the least French of them all.

Swiss horn-blowers provide the music.


I love cows because they give us CHEESE!!!

Let’s start the parade with horses.

Let’s interrupt the parade with an ambulance.

Let’s throw hay on everyone.

Thank goodness for zoom.

He’s not very happy.

These poor cows…

I was told these are Slovakian dancers from our sister city, Liptovský Mikuláš. They were adorable!

I didn’t get any photos of the geese, goats, sheep or any other animal in the parade, but I did get swan vs. dog.

If you haven’t already heard, Annecy is a candidate for the 2018 Winter Olympics. This huge banner will probably be there for the next ten years to remind you.

It was a gorgeous day in Annecy, sunny and 70’s. But the trees and I are ready for fall.

I love technology, but I love it more when it actually works.

This week was the start of our language labs at the university (i.e. 9 out of 12 of my classes). They only run for 10 weeks, so we don’t start them when regular classes start. Unfortunately, our brand new computerized language lab is not working properly, so we can barely use it. Instead, we’re running […]

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The Past, Poverty & Perspective

Thanks to David’s dad and his generous gift of Chèque Lire, I got yet another French as a Foreign Language book at Decitre today, in an attempt to improve my faltering French since I can’t afford actual classes. The first chapter was about traveling, and more specifically, Quebec. The second chapter was about rencontres and […]

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The Not-So-United States of America

So the presidential elections (only one more month to go!!!) and having to explain the Electoral College and how voting works in the US to the French have stirred up some emotions about why I don’t like living there. The United States of America is just that – a collection of states, but states that […]

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Two Years in France: Un Bilan

My two year anniversary in France was this past Friday, September 26. I realize I have done a lot  / accomplished a lot / suffered through a lot over the past 24 months in France: obtained 5 Carte de Séjours from my best friends at the Préfecture exchanged American driver’s license for French one and […]

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I want to be a lectrice forever.

I love my job! I work with three classes in the labs: Vocabulary, Pronunciation and Business English. In all of them, I can spy on the students with my headset and make sure they are actually doing the lessons and using English. (I have ALL the power!!!) For vocab class, I’m redoing the weekly HTML […]

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More Language Learning Tips

Websites I found these past few weeks: Dialang is a neat program that you can use to determine your European Level in a foreign language. There are 5 tests – reading, writing, listening, grammar and vocabulary – available for 14 languages – Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Icelandic, Irish, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish […]

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Major Website Updates this Summer

Summer is over and I go back to work tomorrow, so I wanted to post the major updates to my website that I’ve done over the past few months. I’m not sure how much time I will have to devote to my site once the semester gets into full swing. First, I have created an […]

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All Things American

Mom just sent a package of things that David & I have been missing lately. Now that it’s almost fall, I’m really getting nostalgic for America… and Halloween and Thanksgiving and Christmas. Apparently as soon as the temperature drops, I lump all of those holidays together. Luckily I should only have to work until noon […]

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Quick Update.

ANPE is still harassing me about finding a job. Just one day after sending me a letter saying it was ok that I didn’t go to the mandatory meeting because I had found a job, they send me an offre d’emploi and apparently want me to tell them for a THIRD time that I have […]

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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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