Random news about France…

Gastronomy: Sarko declared French food the best in the world and wants it recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Umm, how does food qualify as a place? And is anyone else really sick of people saying French food is better than all other food? How snobby can you get? Anyway, if you register on the World Heritage website, you can receive a free wall map of the 851 actual sites. I’m sorry, but French food would not fit nicely on this map.

Cost of Living: The price of some staple foods (bread, rice, pasta, butter, yogurt, etc.) has risen as much as 48% since November. Even the price of one baguette will be 0.90 € soon. (Back when Francs were still used, one baguette cost one Franc, or 0.15 € !!) The price of gas has been rising too, of course. I recently calculated that a gallon of gas in France would cost $7.50 in the US, so no American should ever complain about how “expensive” gas is there. This is why I’m so poor, people.

Education: There’s a new website for French students to rate their teachers, Note2be, which has outraged French teachers everywhere. Teachers are trying to get the site shut down but that’s not really what surprises me about this story. RateMyProfessors.com has been around for like 10 years, hasn’t it? I can’t believe a site dedicated to rating French teachers hasn’t already been created. Yet another reason why I feel like I’m living in the past.

Film: Marion Cotillard won the Oscar, César, BAFTA, every other major award for movies in the world for her role as Edith Piaf in La Môme. She’s the only winner of an Oscar for a role in the French language. En plus, her father is Jean-Claude Cotillard, the mime in French in Action! I love the Cotillard family!

Politics: Gaston Flosse was recently (re-)elected president of French Polynesia (Tahiti and all those other islands that no one knows about) and France isn’t too happy about it. Similar to New Caledonia, French Polynesia is an “overseas collectivity” and the citizens are technically French citizens. However, some Polynesians want full independence. Flosse is actually “pro-autonomy” – he wants French Polynesia to remain French – while his main opponent of 30 years, Oscar Temaru, is “pro-independence.” But that didn’t stop them from forming an alliance that ensured Flosse would get elected. Temaru suddenly withdrew his bid for presidency and gave the support of his 20 MP’s to Flosse, who beat out Gaston Tong Sang by a vote of 29 to 27. France had been supporting Tong Sang because he is pro-autonomy (and not supporting Flosse because of past corruption issues…). As a result of the Flosse-Temaru alliance, the UMP (Sarko’s party) has broken all ties with Flosse even though he remains a member. Doesn’t this sound like a movie???

That crazy Sarkozy!

Sarko insulted a random man at the Salon de l’Agriculture yesterday because the man told Sarko not to touch him. Politely translated, the exchange went something like this: Man: Don’t touch me.Sarko: Then get lost.Man: You disgust me.Sarko: Get lost, poor jerk! (Sarkozy actually said casse-toi and pauvre con, which can be much more rudely […]

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Chamonix & Mont Blanc

Lucy & I decided to take a day trip to Chamonix yesterday. We’ve lived in the Alps for a year and a half, but still haven’t actually seen much of the Alps… So after two hours and three trains, we made it to Chamonix, which was surprisingly warm for February. Then after another hour of […]

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Want to be a flight attendant?

I honestly hate Delta Airlines because they left me stranded in Kentucky a few summers ago and wouldn’t pay for my hotel, but if you speak French and want to be a flight attendant, they are desperate for you! Delta is a part of the Sky Team Alliance, so it’s partnered with Northwest, Air France, […]

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French shopping my way

To encourage my agoraphobia even more (ok, I’m not really agoraphobic, I just hate people and I hate shopping), I ordered LaRedoute and 3Suisses catalogs so I could shop from home. I could just as easily shop from their websites, but I prefer looking through real pages rather than adding even more minutes hours to […]

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On learning and teaching

I cracked open my French vocabulary books after a much-too-long break from them, and rediscovered why I love learning new words. Vocabulaire expliqué du français; niveau intermédiaire begins with a chapter on prefixes and suffixes, which are mostly the same in English thanks to Latin. But there was one prefix I didn’t know in French: […]

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Buying furniture in France, or why I miss dad’s big blue truck

We had to buy a new sommier (box spring) today because our old one was held up with books. Thank you Harry Potter for not letting our mattress fall to the ground. I’m still amazed at how cheaply-made beds are in France. Thin wood held together with staples, what a genius idea. That wood will […]

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Jealousy times ten thousand

What I am missing in Michigan: My parents’ driveway after 6 inches (15 cm) of snow fell. My beloved car buried under 14 inches (35.5 cm) of snow. Brandy attacking the huge snow pile. That is what winter should be like…. ::sigh::

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Super Duper Tuesday

I had my students vote in a fake primary today. The ballots were just as entertaining as the class. Can you understand the pictures next to the names? I think it’s hilarious. Barack Obama and John McCain were the winners, although no one had heard of any of the Republican candidates and I did get […]

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What do groundhogs and crêpes have in common?

February 2 is Groundhog Day (le jour de la marmotte) in North America; but here in France, it’s la Chandeleur (le jour des crêpes). I forgot to mention that my interview is now up at Expat Interviews. Oh, and the president got married today. Apparently Sarko & Carla only met in November?? That was quick.

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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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