Category Archives: Uncategorized


By   June 4, 2008

Drivers in France: As of July 1, you must have a bright yellow vest and red triangle (gilet de sécurité et triangle de pré-signalisation) in your car at all times to use during an accident or if your car breaks down. The police will be doing random checks and if they discover that you do not have these, they will fine you 90 €.

Cyclists in France: As of September 1, you must wear a bright yellow vest if you are riding at night and outside of the city limits. The fine for not wearing this vest will be 22 €.

Eastern EU Citizens: Also as of July 1, you will have the full right to work in France. Previously, only citizens of the the states admitted before 2004 (UK, Ireland, Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Austria, Finland, and Sweden, plus Cyprus and Malta); members of the European Economic Area (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway) and a few other states (Switzerland, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City and Liechtenstein) could live and work in France without needing a residency or work permit, but Sarkozy recently announced that citizens of the Eastern states would be allowed as well (2004 entrants): the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia. However, restrictions are still in place against citizens of Romania and Bulgaria (2007 entrants).

Tourists to the US: As of January 12, 2009, tourists from the 27 Visa Waiver countries will be required to enter basic ID/contact information online at least three days before their arrival in the US. Supposedly the registration will be good for two years unless the tourist’s passport expires before then. No word yet on what will happen to tourists who forget or don’t know they need to enter this information 3 days before their flight. The Visa Waiver Program countries are: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Citizens of Canada, Bermuda and Mexico do not need visas to enter the US as tourists either.


By   December 21, 2007

I’m off to the US for Christmas! We’re leaving here at 7 am, and I will finally get to my parent’s house around 10 pm (4 am French time). ::sigh:: Thank you stupid Lufthansa for changing my flight times after I chose the times I wanted and paid for the ticket. Why are airlines allowed to do that?? Anyway…

Joyeuses Fêtes tout le monde !

La neige dans les montagnes

By   December 15, 2007

I took advantage of the new double-decker trains to take better pictures of the mountains on my way to work this week. It’s been getting a lot colder here lately and there’s snow on the mountains, but not in the valleys. I love seeing snow in one field, but green grass in the one just below:

Only two more days of work, then two days of packing, and I’ll be back in the US for Christmas. There had better be plenty of snow and Christmas decorations everywhere!

Christmas Spirit

By   December 10, 2007

So France doesn’t go crazy with Christmas decorations like the US does, so I’ve been having a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit this year. We finally bought some decorations this weekend so I feel a little better. Garland (guirlande), lights (guirlande électrique), card (carte) from Teresa, poinsettia plant from Jessica, and Joyeux Noël banner!

I also put snowman (bonhomme de neige) stickers on the windows that the cat constantly tries to attack, and there’s a wreath (couronne) and stocking (bas or botte) in the kitchen. Sadly, we have no Christmas tree (sapin de Noël). At least, not yet!

Why I don’t prefer the US to France: High cost of university

By   December 5, 2007

Anyone else think this is unfair? I took a class in the spring term (May/June), so my loan went into deferment, supposedly until 2010 – the year my university listed as my graduation date. But that wasn’t correct since I graduated just after that spring term in August 2007. (And I thought loans were automatically in deferment until 6 months after graduation??)

Dear Direct Loan Borrower,
Thank you for your inquiry regarding your Direct Loan. Prior to October 11, 2007, we listed your separation date from Oakland University as December 31, 2010. However, our records show that on October 11, 2007, the college notified us that your last date of attendance as a half-time student was June 27, 2007 and not October 11, 2010 as they originally certified. We updated your separation date to June 27, 2007. Because this action would have created a past due status for your loan, we applied a forbearance to your loan to postpone the payments due for July 21, 2007 through October 21, 2007.

They didn’t even give me the option to pay the bills from July to October; they just automatically put my loan into forbearance (which also expired immediately), and that tacked on $122 in interest! So I have to pay extra because my college didn’t report the correct graduation date?

Can someone with student loan experience explain this to me? I never had student loans as an undergrad, and I only borrowed for the last year of my graduate degree, so this is all new to me.

As if I didn’t have enough of a headache already…

By   December 1, 2007

I still haven’t got my website back online, but I think I found a new host. Now if only they would hurry up and send me my login details so I can upload files…

Today’s drama is about my student loans, however. They were put into deferment in May when I went back to school (took my final thesis class), and I was told I didn’t have to start paying again until December 2010. Oh, but guess what happened 6 months later? The “forbearance” on my loans expired and not only do I have to start paying them back right now, but I accrued over $100 in interest! ARGH!!!! My loans have never ever been in forbearance, and now I have to figure out how to fix this problem that someone else made. Sometimes I seriously hate being an adult.

Are people trying to kill me by stressing me out?

Sapeurs-Pompiers de Genève

By   October 2, 2007

The 118 Project.

Swiss pompiers got fed up with so many people confusing their number (118) with the number for information (18something). They’ve been receiving about 20 calls a day for information instead of for fires. So they recorded a rap song and shot a music video to remind the Swiss that 118 is for fires and emergencies only.

I’ve watched the video way too many times already… Le un un huit !

Not a bad day(s)

By   September 22, 2007

After the relief of being “hired” as an assistant again, I suddenly got a stroke of ambition and started planning out the entire year’s worth of lessons. Since I’m teaching at a different school this year, I can use the same lessons as last year, but I want to improve them a little and add more audio/visual components, like songs and movies.

Then I looked up the vacation dates for Group A and started thinking about all the European countries I still have yet to visit, which is essentially Germany, Scandinavia, and all of Eastern Europe. Follow that with browsing Easyjet’s and Ryanair’s websites to see where they fly to from Geneva and Grenoble and drooling over flights to Prague at the end of October for 15 €. I’m just as excited about teaching as I am about vacations. I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing.

After a sleepless night, I baby-sat/spoke English for 2 hours with the little guys and then headed downtown with Jessica on a free bus. Today was the day of mobilité or something like, so all of the buses and bikes in Annecy were completely free. We met another assistant (from Yorkshire), and then hung out in the playground with Mandy & her family and I finally met Penny & David! They’ve been here since May and I still hadn’t met them; but then again, I hadn’t seen Mandy since last November so I guess I am pretty slow with hanging out with people.

Then it was ice cream in the old town, followed by more geeky online time. All in all, a pretty good start to the weekend.