Changes

David left yesterday to go to Ireland on a week-long hiking trip with his best friends. It’s not the longest we’ve been apart (I’ve traveled 3 times this year without him), but it’s the first time I’m home alone in France. Well, I’m not all alone, but Cosette likes to spend most of the day sleeping in the dresser drawer so it sure feels like it.

I saw an ostéopathe Wednesday for my back pain and he told me that I was basically a boule de nerfs. I know I’ve always been a stressed out person, but I didn’t think it was causing so much pain in random parts of my body. I get headaches almost everyday now, and my lower back is constantly tense. Though I’m sure part of that is caused by sitting at my desk and working (ahem, playing) on the computer all day.

It’s not so much living in France, but rather living in an apartment in a city that stresses me though. I will never get used to having neighbors so close or the sound of traffic (I want to hurt kids who ride scooters at night) right outside the window. The stores are always so crowded, regardless of when I go, and I have no desire to fight through mobs of people all the time. I can’t even go grocery shopping without feeling rushed and nervous.

Everyone knows, or should know, that I’m slightly anti-social and I prefer animals to people. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to fully relax here. The ostéopathe recommended exercising, running, biking, swimming, just moving in general to loosen up my muscles. But the thought of trying to ride a bike on French roads with French drivers… or swimming in a pool packed with random people that I don’t know… um, no thanks. Just going outside doesn’t appeal to me half the time when the weather is rainy (15 degrees C is not summer, stupid Alps!)

Speaking French still makes me nervous sometimes, especially on the phone. I haven’t seriously studied French in a long time. Maybe it’s due to not being in an actual class, but I have so many books and websites that I could be using and that I should be using, but I’m just not. And considering that I should be able to work legally in 6 months, I need to improve my speaking and interviewing skills so I can find a job and have a real income.

I know I need to stop being so lazy (I will miss you, my beloved streaming downloads of How I Met Your Mother) so I’m going to create a schedule for exercising and studying everyday. I need to be disciplined about this. I really do want to feel better.

Meet Cosette.

I finally have a pet in France! Her name is Cosette and she’s all white except for one tiny gray spot on her head. She’s so cute and kinda fat. But she came from a farm where the stereotypically old country French lady fed her soup and cheese, so that’s understandable. She’s getting real cat […]

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Pourquoi j’ai hâte d’habiter dans la campagne.

Carole avait mal à la tête, donc je lui ai dit que je sortirais le chien. En rentrant chez moi, une dame qui était en train de décharger sa voiture a decidé de m’engueuler. Pourquoi? J’avais un chien. Elle a supposé que je l’avais laissé faire ses besoins sur l’herbe qui appartient à la co-propriété. […]

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Food confusion

Last night, David decided he wanted to make fajitas. So we went to Leclerc and finally found the tiny international section (international meaning Mexican and Chinese). There was one brand of fajita mix, Tex-Mex something, so we grabbed it and started collecting the other ingredients… onion, pepper, chicken… and corn? I never ate Mexican food […]

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Nerdiest post of the month

Since I’m slightly obsessed with geography and memorizing states/provinces/capital cities in North America, I decided to finally start learning all of the départements of France. Not just their assigned numbers, but their locations, main cities, and the region to which they belong. The numbers correspond to alphabetical order (somewhat), so it’s not so hard, but […]

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Rage against the… books?

I have this habit of taking online French placement tests, just for fun. (Most language schools’ websites have free tests you can take.) The majority of these tests focus on verb conjugations and agreement between nouns and adjectives. In other words, grammar. This is why I always get near perfect scores on these tests even […]

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No more paperwork headaches for a while

I accomplished two major things today! First, I was right about the préfecture losing my new carte de séjour. Of course they blamed it on the post office, but the fact remains that it was lost more than 6 weeks ago and no one told me. But I did get a new récépissé valid for […]

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Yvoire

I went to another “most beautiful village in France” this morning. Yvoire is on the southern shore of Lac Léman (Lake Geneva) and the city walls built in the 14th century still stand today. The weather was horrible and rainy, so my pictures aren’t as pretty as the ones on the official tourism site. Sometimes […]

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Am I really posting about television?

Since I spend/waste a lot of time watching TV these days, I thought I’d give you a sample of my channel choices. I do live in a dégroupée area, so I have 150 “cable” channels. However, when you realize what these channels actually are, it’s not as cool. But since our TV/internet/telephone costs only 30 […]

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This one is for Leah.

Dix choses que vous ne saviez pas au sujet de moi… 1. I’ve been working on typing comparative vocabulary lists of the Romance and Germanic languages for, oh, about FIVE years now. And I’m still not done. It’s just so mind-numbingly boring to sit here and type word after word in Excel. But the finished […]

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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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