I return to France tomorrow. Well, it will be Thursday by the time I get there. I have two suitcases packed to the maximum weight limit (one of those being full of books…) plus a carry-on that might be a little too heavy for me to lift over my head and a “purse” that’s actually a messenger bag. I had to leave some stuff behind that I’ll have to get in October when I return again for Teresa’s wedding.
I’ve accomplished almost everything I needed to get done while I was here. I’m still waiting on some paperwork in the mail, but I suppose there’s nothing I can do about that. I had to renew my driver’s license since my 25th birthday is on Friday, and I plan on exchanging it for a French license as soon as I receive it. (Fourteen US states have exchange programs with France so that Americans from those states can exchange their US licenses for French licenses without having to pay – luckily Michigan is one of those states!)
And since it’s been so long since I’ve had to take out a student loan for tuition, I can’t remember when I will receive any financial aid. Is it 2 weeks after the start of the semester? A month? All I know is that my $1,656 tuition bill is already “due” and collecting late fees.
My cousin’s wedding was this Saturday and it was really nice. Normally I hate weddings, but this was my closest cousin and I really like his wife. Though it does make me feel old. My brother and his girlfriend are finally engaged (it’s been about 6 years!), but she still has a year of law school left so I don’t think the wedding will be for a while.
I visited my old high school on Monday and gave some French ads and newspapers to my first French teacher, Madame Refice. It was so good seeing her again. I can’t believe it’s been seven years since I graduated from high school. I don’t wish I were still in high school, but I do wish I could be in her French class again.
It wasn’t hard to adjust to American life again when I got here last week. I have a feeling it will be hard to adjust to French life again though. Mostly because I haven’t spoken any French in a week. At least the election is over so something else will be on French TV for once!
David and I finally were able to record an mp3 for the Informal French & Slang page. We’ve only done the first section so far (Informal Ways of Speaking) but we will continue to add more audio files throughout the summer.
Today was the last day of work at one of my schools. I did nothing in both classes. Three more days of work to go…
I’m feeling stressed about going to London before heading back to the States in May. I hate travelling (and especially flying) alone, and I really don’t want to stay in a hostel again. I’m hoping someone on Couchsurfing will be kind enough to take me in instead.
I’ve submitted my thesis to my advisor, and she said it looks good. I need a second professor to read through it before I can officially turn it in, but I think I may finally be done with grad school!
And now that my job is ending and my university education is over… what next? I really wish I had a clue. And the right to work in France. Though I suppose that might not matter since having the right work does not imply being able to find a job.
I’ve uploaded the Informal French & Slang page. David will be helping me to add sample sentences and sound files soon.
I’ve also joined the affiliate program at Champs-Elysées, so if you’re planning on buying the French, Italian, Spanish or German audiomagazines, please use my links.
I’m currently working on a French & Italian comparative tutorial. But I have no idea when it will be done since I should really finish my Master’s thesis first… The next comparative tutorial I write will be French & German.
I just watched the cutest language programs on the local channel here, TV8 Mont-Blanc. They’re part of the Victor Ebner immersion series. I learned how to enroll in a language school in British English and how to describe a hotel room in Italian. Each episode includes Victor, the animated character, answering questions that his teacher asks (the teacher being the booming voice in the background). He has a particular sense of humor and makes some mistakes, such as conjugating verbs incorrectly. In the English episode, he kept talking about the pretty girl who wanted to take a language class and how he wanted to hold her hand and give her a bunch of flowers. I’ve seen the English DVDs at the médiathèque, but I’m not sure if they have the other languages – French, Italian, Spanish, German and even Swiss German!
Right before the language programs, there was an infomercial for Ellezza cream. I had seen this bizarre Spanish infomercial in the US last summer, and I still can’t believe people pay 80 € for a jar of face cream made out of snail slime. That is beyond weird.
But I did discover that certain shows on my Swiss channel can be watched in French or English. Unfortunately, the show earlier today was The Bold & the Beautiful. However, looking through TSR’s site, I also noticed that Switzerland appears to be more up-to-date with their American shows. CSI (Les Experts) is currently in season 7 in the US. The French channel is still showing season 4, while the Swiss channel just started showing season 7!
10:30 AM and I’ve already watched too much TV.
Every time I borrow a DVD from the médiathèque, I always check first to see if there are subtitles in French because reading while listening helps increases my comprehension and vocabulary. I know that closed captioning and subtitles are not always exactly what the characters say, but it’s still better than nothing. Especially since I can’t watch my beloved French in Action videos online anymore because they are only available to people who are in North America.
However, I’m having a problem finding DVDs here that include any closed captioning or subtitling at all. The past three movies that I’ve borrowed had none. In the English-speaking world, 6 out of 7 people use closed captioning as a way of learning English as a Second Language, and they have no hearing disabilities whatsoever. I wish France would see the value in closed captioning, for the deaf and hard-of-hearing people, as well as for those of us who are desperately trying to learn French!
I have officially turned down the PhD position and scholarships in Perth. I was supposed to move there by the end of May. In two months.
But I realized that a Phd in Public Health wasn’t really for me, and I didn’t want to do it if my heart wasn’t fully in it. So I gave my spot to a student on the reserve list.
I don’t regret not doing a PhD anymore, but I am a little sad that I’m missing out on Australia. Maybe it’s because Julie is in Sydney now, or because I’m growing more and more dissatisfied with France… I know David wants to visit Australia and New Zealand, so we will eventually go there. Someday.
So much has happened in the past two months. I spent Christmas and New Year’s in France with my boyfriend’s family. My vacation was a little hectic because I got sick twice and I even missed the first week back at work in January because I had a horrible flu. But I did manage to go to Dublin for a few days. It was my first trip to Ireland.
Now there are only 4 more weeks until the next vacation. My parents will be visiting during the February break and we’re going to Paris. Then I’m going to Barcelona with another assistant for a few days. It will be my first time in Spain.
I’m half done with my thesis. It will be so nice to finally get that done with. Except I have to pay about $1,000 just to get the last few credits I need to graduate this spring. But then I will have a Master’s degree!
I have my lessons scheduled and planned already until the end of April (the end of my teaching contract). Now I just need to finish some little details and I can concentrate more on studying French and spending time with the boyfriend.
I tried to apply for the CAF last month, but was refused because I don’t have my carte de séjour yet. Things are so much more complicated for non-EU residents here. I really wish I were British…
I’m still waiting for my new Carte Vitale too. The social security office sent me two Carte Vitales with the wrong number on it. ::sigh:: I’ve had to go to the doctor three times in the past three weeks and get three different prescriptions. It’s very confusing to do that without a Carte Vitale.
And I finally bought a monthly bus pass so I don’t have to walk everywhere. It’s actually still nice out, about 10 C / 50 F everyday, but it’s also nice to be able to hop on a bus whenever I want to.
I can’t believe it’s almost December. The past 2 months have flown by. I’ve already received my second paycheck and there are only 3 more full weeks of class before Christmas vacation.
I’ve been really enjoying my work here in France. The teachers and students are nice, and a lot of them earnestly want to learn English. I’ve also been baby-sitting a 2.5 year old on weekends for extra money. His parents speak English, but they want a native speaker around so he won’t have an accent when he grows up.
I finally went swimming in the famous Seynod piscine this week. There were a lot of people there, and the jacuzzi wasn’t as warm as I thought it would be, so I didn’t stay very long. But now I can say I have been to the piscine!
The weather has been getting colder, but it’s still not too cold. Even today with the rain, it’s almost 50 degrees F out. I hope the winter is just as mild…
I’ve been working more on my thesis, but I still have a long way to go. It’s hard to concentrate on it while I’m also constantly preparing lessons and attempting to improve my French.
A plus tard !