Not Goodbye; See You Later

I met Lucy on the train from Grenoble to Annecy in September 2006. Grenoble’s Assistant Orientation was finally over and we were all heading to our respective towns to get settled and start work. I had arrived in France only one day prior to the orientation with no place to live, very little contact with my school, and a horrible throat infection. After three days of no showers in a run-down hostel with freezing cold classrooms, I was severely unhappy and stressed.

I had all of my ridiculously heavy luggage to drag around, which made the attempt to change trains in Aix-les-Bains at the last minute (because none of us assistants initially realized we had to be sitting at the front of the train in order to go to Annecy) very, very difficult.  We managed to hop on another train, and we just plopped down in the entryway instead of storing our luggage and finding seats. At this point, I was ready to throw up because of motion sickness and I wasn’t even sure if the place I had planned to stay that night in Annecy was going to work out. And then a gentle voice with an adorable British accent asked, “Are you alright?”

After two years, Lucy and I have traveled to Barcelona, attended a French medieval festival, got overly excited about the release of Hairspray when no one else in France seemed to, went bowling at Le Bowling until nearly 3 am, enjoyed Thanksgiving and Christmas meals together, complained about our chiant students and remained stupefied at the inefficiency of French bureaucracy even after all this time. And that was only the beginning.

Today I took Lucy to the station one last time. She’s returning to England to hopefully find a job. Teaching English was never in her original plans, so it’s time to move on. My apartment is now filled with bags of food and teaching supplies that she couldn’t have possibly carried back home. I’ll have constant reminders of my first friend in France, and I’ll always have the memories of our adventures together. But what I would give to have her back in France…

New assistants this fall means new friends, I hope. But it just won’t be the same. It won’t be Lucy.

CAPES d’Anglais 2009

David has decided to prepare for the CAPES d’anglais! Normally, in order to become an English teacher for l’Education Nationale in France, students do a Licence in English for 3 years and then go to an IUFM (teacher training college) where they prepare for the CAPES for a year and then do their student teaching […]

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Back to Books: Libraries in France

In an attempt to stop being so lazy and actually learn something again, I finally got around to renewing my library card tonight (it had expired in December). Then I quickly remembered why I hadn’t renewed it. Let’s just say that I’ve never been too impressed with French libraries. [Even though you learned that bibliothèque […]

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Studying Multiple Languages Simultaneously

I’ve been working on my French & German Comparative Tutorial this week, and also searching the internet to find other sites that help people learn more than one language at a time. I am so disappointed. I’ve found a few vocabulary lists, but they’re mostly just showing the similarities among Romance languages. I can’t find […]

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How to Become a Lecteur/Lectrice d’Anglais or Maître de Langue at a French University

The English Assistantship is a great way for Anglophones to work in France and gain teaching experience in elementary or secondary schools, without necessarily having a university degree. However, if you are working towards or have a graduate degree and would like to teach English at a university in France, you can apply to be […]

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L’acquisition, l’avenir et l’argent

Not much has been happening in my life lately. I looked through the archives to remind myself of what was going on last July. Compared to one year ago, things are definitely much better. I have my residency card (good until May 2009), my French driver’s license (good until forever), and I have a job […]

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Bread Machine in Italian & Books in German

I recently ordered a bread machine from 3suisses.fr because unlike most people, I do not like baguettes and prefer big loaves of bread with soft crusts. Plus the sandwich-style bread you can buy in France does not taste very good. Even though I had ordered it from a French company and the picture in the […]

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Summertime means…

Boats on the lake Big salads Bright lights Pretty flowers Clear water Fireworks on the 14th Cigales in the south

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The Best Photo Ever

This photo of David & his sister, Carole, was taken about 25 years ago at the OK Corral Western Theme Park in Cuges-les-Pins, just east of Marseille. I absolutely adore it because they are polar opposites.  Notice the arm holding Carole in place!  She smiles a lot more for photos nowadays, but man, did she […]

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Provençal Villages, Arles & Van Gogh’s Room

We’ve returned from our week in Provence!  Last year we mostly visited the larger cities (Avignon, Orange, etc.), so this year we visited many of the smaller villages in Vaucluse (74), and then drove down to Salon-de-Provence and Arles in Bouches-du-Rhône (13). The beauty of Provençal villages never gets old to me. The colors, the […]

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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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