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 way I knew the rules. Like-minded, friendly students at every … Continue reading no shortcuts: on making friends in France

bon vivant on a budget, or, how to be broke in Cannes

There are (literal) costs to living where everyone wants to be. When I learned I will be paying six times what I paid for rent last year with my modest teaching salary, I glumly reported the news to my parents over FaceTime. “I guess being poor isn’t all bad.” Dad shrugged. “Makes things simple. Less choices.” “Wrong,” I joked. “Plenty of choices. I’m currently deciding … Continue reading bon vivant on a budget, or, how to be broke in Cannes

the real world: an honest account of teaching abroad, 5 months in

After a much-needed vacation, I feel refreshed enough to write a little bit more about my job. It is, after all, the reason I’m currently living in France. Teaching here is one of the most stressful experiences I’ve ever had. I haven’t written too much about my job here with the TAPIF program, mostly because when I’m not actually teaching, I’d rather think about something else. … Continue reading the real world: an honest account of teaching abroad, 5 months in

less-than-thrilled: when you don’t want your dream

“How do you find Montluçon?” When I arrived here, I was asked this quite a few times, always with a wince on the part of the inquirer. C’est un peu triste, non? But no, no I didn’t find it sad. Blue skies and tropical flowers, temps in the low eighties, a new city and a new life to explore. AOP cheese inexpensive at the grocery store. … Continue reading less-than-thrilled: when you don’t want your dream

happy luck

Mary has moved in and finally we’re settling into the rhythms of small-town French life. Together we can grumble about the lack of buses on Sunday and celebrate when we find a café with wifi. We can practice our French, unless we’re tired, in which case we devolve into our own brand of franglais. It’s nice to have someone to laugh with. We do that a … Continue reading happy luck