from newlywed to retiree: on places, and what it means to love them

It's interesting what we block out when we dream of or anticipate a place. We must ignore the great unspooled ribbon of mind-numbing highway. The ugly big-box stores. The cloud cover that renders a day as colorless as a lump of pizza dough. Sometimes I think we reserve those kinds of stringent observations for home: to criticize what we are used to and tired of.

the proof is in the profiteroles: on “dieting” in france

Dieting is not an especially French activity. Nor does it feel particularly patriotic to live down the street from a small market and ignore the siren song of its milky white goat cheeses and fresh baguettes. But that's what I did (or tried to) for a whole month. All in the name of health, I …

Continue reading the proof is in the profiteroles: on “dieting” in france

attention abeilles: hiking the massif de l’esterel

The best thing about waking up in the morning–or returning to my petit chez moi at any time of day–is the view from my balcony: the brilliant bay outlined by mountains. I come from the part of Missouri that's just barely not-Kansas. Deprived of elevation for so long, any hint of it makes me giddy. Mountains comfort …

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no shortcuts: on making friends in France

One thing that makes the experience of short-term teaching in France complicated is the simple fact that it's short-term. And the French are not. As an American, I'm accustomed to a sense of easy, immediate friendship. When I look back at my college years, sometimes I ache for the simplicity. How easy it was, the …

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group date on the DL: adventures in digital friendship, pt ii

When making a questionable decision, it is always reassuring to have an innocent friend to drag along with you. After several days of glumly searching On Va Sortir (a French website for platonic meet-ups), I decided it was time to act. Over dinner one evening, I showed the website to my friend Rémi. Like me, he …

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the goldfish bowl

Just when I felt pretty comfortable with my role teaching English classes to French primary school children, life (or rather, the French Ministry of Education) handed me something new: a job at a maternelle in les banlieues of Cannes. My new students range from barely three to six years old. The oldest are wonderfully curious, asking questions that inspire …

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