Thoughts and Ramblings

I’ve only worked one day in the past thirty, and it has given me a lot of time to think, contemplate, and get bored and frustrated. My first semester as a lectrice d’anglais ended just fine, and then Christmas came and went along with my homesickness, and lately I’ve been reading and cleaning a lot since I have nothing else I need to do. Maybe it’s because I’m used to working way too much, but I really don’t like having so much vacation – especially since it’s not really vacation when I don’t actually go anywhere or enjoy it. I’m saving my money for this spring and summer, and the weather here is too bad to actually go outside and do anything. I’ll take freezing temps and snow over chilly and rainy any day. And sure, it’s nice to still be paid even when I’m not working, but I’d much rather be working!

I’ve also been checking apartment ads almost daily because I’m seriously fed up with where we live. But who knows when we can actually move or to where. Everything depends on David right now and the results of his concours, which we won’t know for months and months. I just know that something needs to change. I’m hoping it’s mostly the lack of heat in our apartment in addition to the boredom, but I have been really tired and cranky lately and I hate it. I’m constantly complaining about living here, and being poor, and basically everything about France that drives me crazy. I’ve always known that I wouldn’t like living in France, but I did it anyway because I thought it would be better than in the US. In some ways, it is; but overall, I know in my heart I would prefer to be in Canada. I’m still trying to make immigrating to Quebec happen, but it feels like an uphill battle that I may never win.

So I go back to work tomorrow for the beginning of another 12 week semester. I’m interested to see how many of my students actually remember what we did in semester 1 and if anyone really learned the IPA.  I’m feeling more at ease in the job, learning how everything works (or doesn’t work) at French universities, and I’m excited to be able to use my office during breaks this semester. I think I went there about two times last semester because I was rarely on campus outside of my classes. I may even check out the library and the gym, as soon as I figure out where they are… This is another reason why I want to move closer to my work. I feel so disconnected from the school and my co-workers because I’m never there.

While I adore my job, I would like to work more so that I can earn more, but that’s not really possible (regardless of what Sarkozy says). I know my job will end in September 2010 and that it would be a temporary job from the very beginning. I suppose all of my previous jobs were that way as well, and for someone who thrives on change, I don’t understand why I’m now yearning for something more permanent. I’ve never wanted to do the same job, day after day, because it’s too boring. And that’s probably why I like teaching so much – it constantly changes, with each new student and new semester and new material… I could completely rewrite a course if I wanted to, completely change how the students learn and what they learn. Except I can’t exactly do that until I have my own class. As an assistant and even now as a lectrice, I’m still not completely in control and a part of me really wants that.

Perhaps it’s also the fact that I’m turning 27 this year that makes me feel that I should have something more concrete in my life, like a career or even a house. I’m tired of feeling that my “real life” has yet to begin. And I’m tired of feeling like my real life cannot begin until I leave France. I can’t say with any certainty that things wouldn’t be better in another part of France. Maybe it is just Annecy. Maybe I can find an amazing job somewhere else in this country. I just don’t know. I’ve always thought that teaching French at a university was the only career I would want, so I need to do a PhD in French. But maybe just being able to use French and other languages everyday would make me happy. The tourism industry seems like it wouldn’t be too boring, and France receives a ridiculous number of tourists every year. But would I regret not doing the PhD? Or would I regret trying to do it in France and not North America, which is where I would like to teach anyway?

So I guess I’m trying to make peace and find acceptance with living in France for now. It still amuses me to no end that so many people think living in France is a fairy tale. It’s no different from any other country, though I do have to admit the health care is pretty awesome. Think about how many Americans say it’s their dream to live in France and here I am trying to get back across the ocean. People think I’m crazy for wanting to leave, but it’s not that I hate France, it’s just that I miss North America too much. I used to think that I was a big failure for not absolutely loving everything about France and Europe, but you know what? It’s just not for me. End of story.

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  • http://www.iwonderasiwander.wordpress.com/ Samayi

    I don’t think that you should have to apologize for not wanting to be in France. Maybe for you, Europe is just for visiting and not living in. For me, I’m already 30 and I feel the same as you about wanting to settle down, yet I haven’t found that place yet. I feel the reverse as you about Europe and am trying to make my way back to France.

    If you want to be in Quebec, the go for it. It’s a great mix of North America and France, which seems exactly what you’re looking for!

  • http://www.iwonderasiwander.wordpress.com Samayi

    I don’t think that you should have to apologize for not wanting to be in France. Maybe for you, Europe is just for visiting and not living in. For me, I’m already 30 and I feel the same as you about wanting to settle down, yet I haven’t found that place yet. I feel the reverse as you about Europe and am trying to make my way back to France.

    If you want to be in Quebec, the go for it. It’s a great mix of North America and France, which seems exactly what you’re looking for!

  • http://french-state-of-mind.blogspot.com/ Monique

    I’m going to be 24 this year, but I kind of feel the same way! I went through that same exact struggle when I was trying to decide to stay or leave last year.

    Even with the crappy economy, I’ve been finding work just fine. Work that I’m qualified to do, good at, and making money! It’s such a different mentality working here than it was working in France.

    But you know what? I still miss France all the time. When you’re working on a sort of bi-culturalism, I don’t think you’re ever going to be 100% satisfied with one over the other. It’s so hard to pick!

    But good luck with the decisions and results that are out of your hands! :)

    Moniques last blog post..Way better than last winter

  • http://french-state-of-mind.blogspot.com Monique

    I’m going to be 24 this year, but I kind of feel the same way! I went through that same exact struggle when I was trying to decide to stay or leave last year.

    Even with the crappy economy, I’ve been finding work just fine. Work that I’m qualified to do, good at, and making money! It’s such a different mentality working here than it was working in France.

    But you know what? I still miss France all the time. When you’re working on a sort of bi-culturalism, I don’t think you’re ever going to be 100% satisfied with one over the other. It’s so hard to pick!

    But good luck with the decisions and results that are out of your hands! :)

    Moniques last blog post..Way better than last winter

  • http://unautrejp.blogspot.com/ Justin

    Hey Jennie. I am right there with you on many points. I love it here, but still there are so many things I miss and it is by no means anywhere close to a fairytale. Just another country and another culture. Anyway… headed to Avignon today. I have to try and see as much as I can while here… Take care!

    Justins last blog post..Once upon a time, I had a blog…

  • http://unautrejp.blogspot.com Justin

    Hey Jennie. I am right there with you on many points. I love it here, but still there are so many things I miss and it is by no means anywhere close to a fairytale. Just another country and another culture. Anyway… headed to Avignon today. I have to try and see as much as I can while here… Take care!

    Justins last blog post..Once upon a time, I had a blog…

  • http://blondeinfrance.blogspot.com/ Andromeda

    This month-long vacation thing is a little tough. I teach twice a week this month and am still bored out of my mind. It’s definitely the weather for me, but also the disappointment that every day isn’t as exciting as my friends back home think it is. Though I wonder if I would feel like this no matter where I lived. So don’t fret, I think the unsettled feeling of life is a twenties thing that most people have in some way.

  • http://blondeinfrance.blogspot.com Andromeda

    This month-long vacation thing is a little tough. I teach twice a week this month and am still bored out of my mind. It’s definitely the weather for me, but also the disappointment that every day isn’t as exciting as my friends back home think it is. Though I wonder if I would feel like this no matter where I lived. So don’t fret, I think the unsettled feeling of life is a twenties thing that most people have in some way.

  • http://ddgul.blogspot.com/ John Kingsley

    Hi Jennie,

    I just wanted to express gratitude.You have done a immense work in the languages and linguistics section. Keep up the good work. Thank you.

    It was really helpfull for me as i’m learning german. This mid-year i would be going to sweden for my master’s studies and inturn learning swedish as well.

    And i see that you have put up places yet to visit as well as places you have visited. There is no India in both the lists. It would be great if you think about visiting India too.

    And, though i have neither been in France to work or study or at least as tourist. I did definitely agree with your views. Life is like that. It is always better to be in your hometown and do something that makes you feel proud or whatever.

    cheers :)

  • http://ddgul.blogspot.com John Kingsley

    Hi Jennie,

    I just wanted to express gratitude.You have done a immense work in the languages and linguistics section. Keep up the good work. Thank you.

    It was really helpfull for me as i’m learning german. This mid-year i would be going to sweden for my master’s studies and inturn learning swedish as well.

    And i see that you have put up places yet to visit as well as places you have visited. There is no India in both the lists. It would be great if you think about visiting India too.

    And, though i have neither been in France to work or study or at least as tourist. I did definitely agree with your views. Life is like that. It is always better to be in your hometown and do something that makes you feel proud or whatever.

    cheers :)

  • http://oneikathetraveller.blogspot.com/ Oneika

    You know Jennie, I totally get you.
    I am also turning 27 this year, and while I am still passionate about travelling (and actually trying to find a job abroad), I feel like I am starting to want some sort of permanency (no matter how hard I had denied it on my blog or to myself)! I really wouldn’t mind staying where I am in Canada- my job is pretty awesome… But I almost feel as though I HAVE to travel because I am still relatively young, without debt, and without a husband, kids, nor house to tie me down… And I worry about staying on here in Canada and then regretting giving up the opportunity to travel while I still can…. So confusing!

  • http://oneikathetraveller.blogspot.com Oneika

    You know Jennie, I totally get you.
    I am also turning 27 this year, and while I am still passionate about travelling (and actually trying to find a job abroad), I feel like I am starting to want some sort of permanency (no matter how hard I had denied it on my blog or to myself)! I really wouldn’t mind staying where I am in Canada- my job is pretty awesome… But I almost feel as though I HAVE to travel because I am still relatively young, without debt, and without a husband, kids, nor house to tie me down… And I worry about staying on here in Canada and then regretting giving up the opportunity to travel while I still can…. So confusing!

  • http://doubledouble-petitcafe.blogspot.com/ Steph

    I agree with Monique – once you’ve lived somewhere else, it’s hard to feel 100% at home anywhere. I lived in France, then went back to Canada and am now back in France and perhaps soon going back to Canada. When I’m in France, there is so much I miss about Canada, yet in Canada there are things from France I long for. At the end of the day it’s a giant headache and there is no simple answer.

    Although, I have to admit, I am hoping Canada will work out for you!! Let me know if I can do anything to help.

    Stephs last blog post..It was a cold and rainy Monday morning…

  • http://doubledouble-petitcafe.blogspot.com Steph

    I agree with Monique – once you’ve lived somewhere else, it’s hard to feel 100% at home anywhere. I lived in France, then went back to Canada and am now back in France and perhaps soon going back to Canada. When I’m in France, there is so much I miss about Canada, yet in Canada there are things from France I long for. At the end of the day it’s a giant headache and there is no simple answer.

    Although, I have to admit, I am hoping Canada will work out for you!! Let me know if I can do anything to help.

    Stephs last blog post..It was a cold and rainy Monday morning…

  • David

    Hi Jennie (:

    I LOVE your site. I started studying le francaise in school almost three weeks ago and I find your site really helpful. You are awesome. Haha

    Oh and I am from New Zealand =] You should totally come here.

    Thanks again!

  • David

    Hi Jennie (:

    I LOVE your site. I started studying le francaise in school almost three weeks ago and I find your site really helpful. You are awesome. Haha

    Oh and I am from New Zealand =] You should totally come here.

    Thanks again!

  • http://ausoleillevant.blogspot.com/ au soleil levant

    I can totally relate to all of this – liking what I’m doing but wanting to change, looking for something more adult but not sure what that will be for me. I have absolutely no idea what I’ll be doing when my contract is up on June 30th. Guess I should work on that? You shouldn’t feel bad for not having an undying, absolute love for France. I really don’t think there are Americans without frustrations with France, it’s a love-hate situation. But I’ll pass along some words of wisdom from my voice teacher in the States:

    1. Your twenties are for exploring and living and experiencing. As long as you can put a roof over your head and food on the table, you’re fine.

    2. Sometimes you need to push your boundaries.

    To be taken or not taken as you like, but I always refer back to those ideas when I’m in a tough spot. Good luck!

    au soleil levants last blog post..Funny Hallmates Version 2009

  • http://ausoleillevant.blogspot.com au soleil levant

    I can totally relate to all of this – liking what I’m doing but wanting to change, looking for something more adult but not sure what that will be for me. I have absolutely no idea what I’ll be doing when my contract is up on June 30th. Guess I should work on that? You shouldn’t feel bad for not having an undying, absolute love for France. I really don’t think there are Americans without frustrations with France, it’s a love-hate situation. But I’ll pass along some words of wisdom from my voice teacher in the States:

    1. Your twenties are for exploring and living and experiencing. As long as you can put a roof over your head and food on the table, you’re fine.

    2. Sometimes you need to push your boundaries.

    To be taken or not taken as you like, but I always refer back to those ideas when I’m in a tough spot. Good luck!

    au soleil levants last blog post..Funny Hallmates Version 2009

  • http://emilylaparisienne.blogspot.com/ emily

    So funny you talk about this aspect of “real life.” I feel the same way… well for me it’s not really the whole France thing (although I could name a million things I don’t like here). It’s always been “when we move in the new apartment,” or “when I finish my mba,” or “when I get a new job”…etc. I feel like I’m stuck or something. I mean this is totally not where I saw myself at 25! But I guess I can’t complain…like au soleil levant said…I have a roof over my head and food on the table, as well as a wonderful French husband and an adorable little cat plus I live in an amazing city. I’m sure one day we will look back on everything (living in crappy little apartments, having to deal with French administration, looking for work) and laugh :)

  • http://emilylaparisienne.blogspot.com/ emily

    So funny you talk about this aspect of “real life.” I feel the same way… well for me it’s not really the whole France thing (although I could name a million things I don’t like here). It’s always been “when we move in the new apartment,” or “when I finish my mba,” or “when I get a new job”…etc. I feel like I’m stuck or something. I mean this is totally not where I saw myself at 25! But I guess I can’t complain…like au soleil levant said…I have a roof over my head and food on the table, as well as a wonderful French husband and an adorable little cat plus I live in an amazing city. I’m sure one day we will look back on everything (living in crappy little apartments, having to deal with French administration, looking for work) and laugh :)

  • rodporte

    Sitting here in a cold Maine farmhouse, I don’t think you should underestimate the chilling effects of cold on your psyche.

  • rodporte

    Sitting here in a cold Maine farmhouse, I don’t think you should underestimate the chilling effects of cold on your psyche.

  • chenlin

    Thank you very much! Here is a garden for me to study French.

  • chenlin

    Thank you very much! Here is a garden for me to study French.

  • Malcolm

    Yeah! Now that I’m too old to do cycle tours, I don’t want to go to France anymore. I’ll just spend the rest of my life studying the language and reading the literature. I have been searching for years to find your site: it is the final piece in the jigsaw. Good photo of trees in Annecy.

  • Malcolm

    Yeah! Now that I’m too old to do cycle tours, I don’t want to go to France anymore. I’ll just spend the rest of my life studying the language and reading the literature. I have been searching for years to find your site: it is the final piece in the jigsaw. Good photo of trees in Annecy.

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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