Category Archives: Random

New Zealand Studies Association 21st Annual Conference: Empires and Cultures of the Pacific

Are you interested in New Zealand and Pacific Studies? Like Vienna and Hundertwasser? Want to go on a boat trip on the Danube? Then you should come to the New Zealand Studies Association conference in July 2015!

If you’d like to present at this conference, the call for papers is now open. Deadline is January 11, 2015. A selection of the conference papers will be published in the association’s journal, The Journal of New Zealand and Pacific Studies.

New Zealand Studies Association conferenceHope to see you in Vienna next year!

Spending More Time with Books

Today was my last day of work at the university but it hasn’t really set in yet that I am done because I still have to finish grades. I should be excited about my 5 months of paid vacation but I don’t know if I will actually be getting paid since the préfecture might decide to make me an illegal immigrant soon. I desperately need my new residency card so that I can receive my monthly salary but it’s already been over an month and I still don’t even have a récépissé. And of course, there’s the problem of returning to France from Croatia with an expired (by one day!) card on May 8. Being stuck in Split doesn’t sound like such a bad idea though…

Since I used computers in all of my classes and then continued sitting in front of my computer at home when I didn’t really need to, I’ve decided to take a little break. There is no reason why I need to spend 10 hours a day at a computer. Unfortunately  a lot of that time has simply been wasted on websites that serve no purpose other than to make me angry about the state of the world and the stupidity of human beings. I want to be ignorant of all of the awful things people do and say to others, even just for a short time. So goodbye internet.

I have been increasingly distracted from learning languages because of the internet even though I normally say the internet is the best source for learning. There are just too many distractions and it’s too easy to waste time. Of course, it’s still the best place to collect materials, but I need to step away from it for a while.  I have plenty of books that need to be read or re-read. I have plenty of audio to listen to – just a couple hundred gigabytes, no biggie. And I certainly have plenty of vocabulary to learn. I go to Croatia in 10 days, Denmark in 3 weeks, Germany in 6 weeks and Italy in 2 months. I have a lot of work to do. So hello again the love of my life (a.k.a. language books):

View of my bookcase from the couch

I don’t know how long it will last, especially since I have to check my e-mail and website everyday anyway, but I really want to get focused again. My insomnia has severely interfered with my concentration and memory these past few months so hopefully it will get better now that I have no actual job to go to and be stressed about.

A plus tard !

Do As the French Do (but without the mistakes)

Which city was the capital of Roman and Christian Gaul?

a. Nice   b. Arles   c. Marseille

The correct answer is, of course, LYON. But Ross Steele’s When in France, Do as the French Do claims the answer is c. Marseille, even though page 92 clearly states “Lyon, where the Rhône and Saône rivers meet, was the capital of Roman and Christian Gaul.”

Another gem is the quote “More recently, in 1996, Mario Botta, an Italian, designed the only new cathedral built in Europe during the 20th century, at Evry, north of Paris.”  If by north, he means south, then there’s nothing wrong with this sentence. Evry is located in Essonne, which lies directly south of Paris, unless you’re holding the map upside-down and disregarding cardinal directions.

I may not be a “renowned expert on French culture” but I sure know somebody who needs a proofreader…

Semester is over and vacation is here. But why am I still so stressed?

I finished my last class of the semester on Monday and I am now on vacation. Technically I don’t work my regular contract hours again until mid-September when the next school year begins. Though I am working extra hours in June at a conference and proctoring the make-up exams for the other English lectrice who is returning to the US tomorrow. So I should be relaxed and happy and carefree and all of those other wonderful emotions that people feel when on vacation, but I am not.

I suppose it’s just the long “to do” list, to which I endlessly add things, but never accomplish. You would think having all the time in the world to run errands means that those errands will get done, but that is not true. Most of them involve making appointments, which I am too lazy to do, and/or spending money, which I do not want to do. So the only things I accomplished today were mopping the floor and making zucchini bread. But I WILL go to the préfecture on Thursday morning to get my new carte de séjour (they’re closed on Wednesdays, of course).

Plus I am still baby-sitting and doing private lessons this week, so I can’t really say that I’m not working because watching two young boys and teaching English one-on-one is hard work. Those will be finished by the end of this week, and David finishes his current job on Thursday, so we can finally focus on the apartment search this weekend. I’m really hoping we can find a place on the ground or first floor (so Canaille won’t die if he falls from the window/balcony…) that is within walking distance to the university and also David’s job downtown, but we’ll see. I haven’t been impressed so far with any annonces I’ve seen online.

In the meantime, I’m trying to catch up on responding to e-mails. I’ve only got 67 left. If you’ve sent me an e-mail or private message in the past 2 months, I most likely have received it and you will get a response within another, um, 2 months?

Sunny Easter Day in Annecy

I even got sunburned a little while reading out in the yard. But first we played with Mélina. I’m not a particularly baby-friendly person (I know virtually nothing about babies except for the fact that I do not want one), but I make an exception for my niece.

I only speak to her in English, so she always looks at me weird. Or it could have been the sunglasses.

She was playing with David’s cell phone, but then became more interested in my camera. The more expensive it is, the more fun it is to drop on the ground!

David trying to get her to walk. She’s only 9 months old. When do these babies normally start walking? And when will she start talking so I can teach her zee English?

Learning the Départements of France

After a 6 month break, I finally got David to do some more recordings for the French tutorials. We finished up French VII and sections on education, politics, television, geography of France, etc. There are a lot of games online you can play to test your knowledge of the geography of France, but I hadn’t yet seen any flashcards or any that include pronunciation. So I decided to make some audio flashcards for learning the départements and their numbers as well as their régions.

Département Flashcards: Name + Number (Part 1)

Département Flashcards: Name + Number (Part 2)

Département Flashcards: Number + Name (Part 1)

Département Flashcards: Number + Name (Part 2)

Département Flashcards: Name + Région (Part 1)

Département Flashcards: Name + Région (Part 2)

One of these days I’ll get around to adding more sets, especially to include the préfecture of each département. And I’ll probably have to add Mayotte if they vote yes today to become the 101st département! (Their status as an overseas département wouldn’t become effective until 2011 though).

I also added an RSS button to the top of each page, for those who want an RSS feed of the updates of the entire site and not just the blog. I hope this will inspire me to work on my website more often. I have a ton of plans (like the American English, Teaching French, and French Conversation sections…), but it just takes so much time to write and format each page, especially if I’m working with a bunch of sound files. I hope to focus on my site a lot more this summer when I’m not traveling.