Adventures in Germany

I just returned from a wonderful week in Germany. Last Friday, I traveled through Switzerland on my way to Freiburg for the EWCA conference. Because the Euro Cup is being hosted in Switzerland & Austria, I saw many, many flags and soccer signs all over the place. My favorite was the huge soccer ball above the jet d’eau in Geneva.

I met up with Martha, my co-presenter and good friend from Michigan, at the station in Freiburg and we made our way back to the hotel to finish preparing for our presentation (“Tutors, Training and Border Crossings: Beyond the Textual Relationship”) the next morning. We stayed in the hotel restaurant most of the evening and were treated to polka music and a tour group singing beautiful Welsh songs. Their bus driver actually got me to lead a conga line at one point.  Needless to say, I wasn’t able to accomplish much concerning our presentation, but I had a lot of fun!

The next morning at breakfast another presenter started speaking to us in German because she saw my last name on my name tag and assumed I was German. I should have been prepared for that with my very German name at an English/German conference! Anyway, we presented at 8:30 AM Saturday morning (not our choice of time slot…) We were a little stressed because our third presenter couldn’t make it to Germany due to a family emergency, but we managed to pull it off. After attending a few more presentations, we decided to head to downtown Freiburg and be tourists. I had never been to the Black Forest area of Germany before, and I have to say it is very beautiful. I adore the architecture there.

After a short stop in Triberg, home of the world’s biggest cuckoo clock, we came to Annecy for a few days because Martha had never been here. It was really nice having a friend from “back home” in my “new home.” Luckily the weather was really warm and we were able to stroll around the lake and just enjoy summer. (The week before, it had still been raining and a little chilly – now the weather is perfect here!)

Next we decided to go to the Bodensee (Lake Constance) and we drove through Switzerland to get there, taking the scenic routes through the countryside. Swiss towns are so pretty too! We stayed in a small town called Uhldingen and took a boat over to Insel Mainau on Wednesday. We spent most of the day just wandering around the island among the beautiful flowers and trees.

Later that night, every German citizen was glued to the TV watching the Germany-Turkey game. We didn’t even have to watch it as the loud cheering told us when Germany scored. Even in a small town, there was plenty of noise and fireworks for hours after they won. And the fact that the prime ministers/presidents of each nation attend these games shows how serious Europeans are about soccer. Can you imagine Bush at a soccer game in the US??

Thursday morning we drove to Hechingen where the Hohenzollern castle sits on top of a large hill. Then we finally made it to Reutlingen, where Martha lived with her family 8 years ago, after passing through every other German town ending in -ingen.

After wandering through the streets of Reutlingen, I can see why she loved living there. Everything about southern Germany is so beautiful and peaceful, minus the occasional rowdy soccer fan. And I loved being immersed in German – though whenever I try to speak German now, French comes out instead.

I returned home by train yesterday (by way of Stuttgart, Zurich, Biel and Geneva) to still-beautiful weather in Annecy. It’s good to be home and to be finished stressing about the conference, but I am missing the lower prices of everything in Germany, and Martha of course!

I’ve uploaded the rest of my pictures to a web album on my site: Southern Germany – June 2008

From Annecy to Freiburg and back

The weather is Annecy is finally summer-like and I have to leave! I’m off to Freiburg, Germany, tomorrow (via Geneva and Basel) because I’m co-presenting at the European Writing Centers Association conference. I’ll be dazzling the audience with my knowledge on tutoring ESL students and explaining the different kinds of tutoring that goes on at […]

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Centre Hospitalier de la Région d’Annecy

The new hospital in Annecy, with the ridiculously long name of Centre Hospitalier de la Région d’Annecy, opened about two months ago. It’s located in the commune of Metz-Tessy, next to the airport, just north of Carrefour and the northern limit of Annecy. A few bus lines were re-routed to serve it, but for those […]

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Grammar Check – Subjunctive with espérer?

This was the top story on lefigaro.fr this afternoon: Les Bleus à quitte ou double contre l’Italie Pour éviter l’élimination, la France devra battre les Italiens, mardi soir, et espérer que la Roumanie ne fasse pas de même contre les Pays-Bas. Years of French grammar classes have drilled into my head that you should never […]

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Operation Escargot & Bac Philo

Truck drivers across France have been participating in “operation escargot” – driving very very slowly on highways and causing major traffic problems to protest against the high price of gasoline and diesel. Today the operation did not start until 9 AM because the drivers didn’t want to disturb the thousands of students (615,625!!) who were […]

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Learning French Slang

If you really want to become fluent in French, and be able to communicate easily with anyone, you need to learn slang. You don’t necessarily have to use it, but you must be able to understand it. Before I arrived in France, I had never studied French slang. I had only studied textbook French – […]

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PACSing and the right to a Carte de Séjour in France

I get a lot of e-mails about PACSing and Carte de Séjours in France, so I wanted to clear up some things. These two are completely separate from one another – the Tribunal d’Instance takes care of PACSing and the Préfecture takes care of the carte de séjour. If you ask the Tribunal about the […]

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The Convenience / La Commodité

Qu’est-ce qui te manque le plus ? When people ask me what I miss most about the United States, the first word that comes to mind is convenience. And then I have to explain what exactly that means to me: being able to do what I want when I want. I was never forced to […]

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International Animated Film Festival – June 9 to 14

I was downtown this morning running errands and I noticed some crews setting up equipment on the Pâquier. Then I remembered the International Animated Film Festival starts today. Oh yeah, that little thing… The calm before the storm… This Film Festival is the largest tourist attraction each year in Annecy. Tim Burton has attended in […]

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My Love Affair with the Préfecture: A Timeline

October 2006: Apply for first Carte de Séjour at Seynod mairie December 2006: Receive récépissé #1 in Seynod February 2007: Receive first CDS travailleur temporaire due to being a language assistant; but need to change adress on it already since I had moved. Since I stayed within the same département, a sticker with the new […]

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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 January 2010, I started focusing more on teaching and learning languages in general. 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 the university so these themes appear most often on the blog. I also continue to post about traveling (though now my trips are usually in Australia) and being an American abroad.

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