Sunday, April 1, 2012

The blog is back.

I've decided to make my official return to blogging. As mentioned in my last post (a shameful 6 months ago!), my colocs and I have a food blog--check it out!  and it's fun to look back at our dinners, so it would be cool to have a similar log of my life in France.

Since my last post, obviously, a lot has happened. Chris went back to the States and Mark moved in in November...we miss Chris every day (and hope he'll be back in Stras next year), but we have a very happy colocation and I can't imagine anyone I'd rather live with than my 3 colocs. I went to Berlin with Mark and Krista over Toussaint, where I rediscovered how much I love Germany. We visited our friends Simon and Amy in Luxembourg for a weekend in December and had a great time. Christmas in Strasbourg was a little bit rough, but then I went to Portsmouth and London for New Year's and that made up for it!  Anne and I realized we're too old to stay up all night waiting for trains. My former coloc and one of my favorite people, Chrissy, came to visit for a couple of weeks and it was wonderful to have her around...just like she never left! For our February vacation I went to Portugal and Spain with Anne. We visited Porto, Madrid, and our great friend Harris in Galicia. Beautiful cities, wonderful people, and FANTASTIC food...perfect vacation! Last weekend I went to Paris with Lily and Nadine to see Dispatch in concert. We did almost nothing touristy, and now I love Paris (I used to kind of hate it). In between all of that, I led a few hundred English workshops and cooked lots of dinners.
Miss you Chris!! xxx

NYE in London

with Anne in Madrid

Lily and I on the Pont des Arts in Paris
I also had somewhat of a quarter-life crisis. I found out in February that I had to reapply for my lectrice job (I thought it was automatically renewable). So I did, and also applied for other lectrice and maitre de langue jobs in Strasbourg. I was pretty sure I'd be heading back to the US permanently, so I started convincing myself that maybe I wanted this to happen. It wasn't too hard, considering the administrative hassle of living in France and the fact that I'm turning 26 in August, whereafter I won't be a "jeune" and life in Europe will suddenly get a bit more expensive. After a couple months of soul-searching, I realized I really do want to stay in Strasbourg for one more year. I really love the city, my job, and my friends here.

Luckily I found out last week that I have been renewed for next year, along with my awesome fellow lectrice Alice.Wooo! I'm so happy and relieved. Even better, now I can start doing everything that I put on hold while I was waiting to hear about my job....buying a new (to me) bike, joining a gym, sorting out health insurance and housing aid, and planning my summer travels!

I recently bought a ticket home to visit for the summer, from May 24-July 7. I'm excited about this for many reasons....first, I'm flying Air Canada, which is my current favorite airline. I also have an overnight stopover in Montreal, which is exciting because I've never been to Canada and I'm hoping to see a good friend from high school who lives in Montreal. The next day I'll go to Colorado to see my dog and my family! I plan to spend a week or two in Texas, but I'll be in the Boulder area with my mom for about a month. I can't wait to go hiking and see my friends and family and drink margaritas and go SHOPPING. I am so sick of all of my clothes, and it's so expensive to shop in France that I pretty much don't bother. Also planning on loading up on green chiles, jalapenos, masa harina, black beans, and all of the other Tex Mex staples France is lacking to bring back to Strasbourg. When I get back to France I might go to a music festival in Bilbao, then go Interrailing....any suggestions of places to travel?

I suck at blogging!!

I am the worst blogger ever, clearly. I really want to be better about this....I want to keep track of my life in France!! New goal: blog once a month at least. That's manageable I think. 

Friday, October 7, 2011


Two weekends ago I went back to Stuttgart for the beerfest for the 4th time in a year. It was epic, as usual. Plenty of photos and color commentary on Facebook if you're interested. We got back from the Fest on a Sunday afternoon and I started my job on Monday morning...needless to say, I was a little bit tired for my first day of work.

I started working two weeks ago but it already feels like it's been much longer than that....perhaps because I've already led 40ish ateliers. My job as a lectrice is pretty unique...I teach English conversation ateliers for a max of 6 students at a time (in theory). The students are all studying sciences, from medicine and geophysics to psychology and sports science. They have to take a competency test in English conversation, so my job is basically to get them to practice speaking English and to help them feel comfortable doing so. I LOVE my job so far. I meet lots of interesting students from all over the world, the atmosphere is very relaxed, and most of the kids are pretty good English speakers. The work schedule is a lot more taxing than I'm used to (16ish hours a week, omg), but I like feeling productive and the time I spend at work is generally a lot of fun.

My colocs and I (plus Mark, our honorary 5th coloc) have started a project the boys named Resto Rue Chopin. Chris even made a blog or something like that. We each chose a night of the week to cook (Monday through Friday) and we're not allowed to repeat meals. That means we get to eat well every night and only have to shop/cook once a week--perfect! It's a lot of fun and now that I work til 7 some nights, it's nice to come home and have dinner on the table : )

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I'm baaaaack!

I've been back in Strasbourg for a week or so and I couldn't be happier! As expected I am loving my colocation. We got a sweet deal for the English professor from the university and her family are spending a year in the US and wanted to keep their apartment in Stras, so they're renting it out to us. We are four total....three americans et un francais. We're having a lot of fun, speaking a lot of French, and eating a LOT of cheese.

I start work at the university on Monday. It sounds like my job is going to be awesome. I'll be working more than I did last year (20ish hours a week, quelle horreur!) but my job consists of leading English ateliers of 6 students each focused on conversation. We are encouraged to do debates, games, culture discussions, etc. Basically like being an assistant but with less supervision and university students....sounds perfect to me! Also my job seems kind of organized, which is shocking for a French uni.

In other news, I've started running. We live very close to a beautiful park, so it only makes sense. The best part of my runs are the end, when I go through the zoo. We'll see how this running thing progresses since right now I kind of hate it and it's going to be cold soon.

Anywayyyys so far this year is fairly different than last year, but it's great. It's nice to feel at home in Strasbourg. I'm meeting lots of new and interesting people and loving being around my close friends again. My French is WAY better than it was when I first arrived in France last year (exactly one year today!). I miss my family and my dog sometimes, but life in Strasbourg is just as good as I remember. I'm excited to meet the new assistants, and I'm even more excited because we're going to BEERFEST in Stuttgart this weekend!!!!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

J'arrive, la France.....eventually

So, it's been five months since my last blog post. I went to springfest in Stuttgart (another beer fest!) twice, then hung out in the Bavarian Alps for a few days. Then I said "a bientot" to Strasbourg. Iceland, then Boston, then I came home to Texas. Then my mom and stepdad decided it's about time to move to Colorado. Sounds great to me, so I spent my summer selling stuff and cleaning out stuff and packing to move. I also went to North Carolina for a week to reunite with some of my Strasbourg BFFs. Then about three weeks ago I moved with my mom to Denver, where my parents are renting an apartment while they sell the Dallas house and build the new house near Boulder.

....and while all of this has been going on, I have been waiting on my visa to go back to France. In my last post I mentioned that I was offered a job in Strasbourg. It sounds pretty perfect for me so I accepted it in March. Then I was told I would hear from HR in April. I didn't, so I emailed my boss in May. Finally, after bothering lots of different people lots of times, the day before I left Strasbourg, I went in to fill out the necessary paperwork. I made sure everything was set and figured out exactly what the process would be.

And then I waited.

June passed. No worries, French bureaucracy takes time. Received another lecteur job offer in Strasbourg and turned it down.

July passed. I emailed all of my contacts at the university, and they said I should hear from the consulate soon, telling me to come apply for my visa. NOPE. nothing.

August came. Originally I was hoping to be back in France by my birthday (Aug 19) because our lease on our apartment started August 15th. After tons of calls and emails to the university and the OFII and the consulate, I determined that my paperwork is still somewhere at the University of Strasbourg. SERIOUSLY, FRANCE?!?!

But it's okay....I have decided to be French about this little snag in my life plan. SO j'attends (I wait). et j'attends. and hopefully pretty soon, I will be back in Strasbourg. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Last week I found out I'm coming back to Strasbourg next year. I couldn't possibly be any happier about it. The thought of going back to Texas indefinitely was depressing, but now I'm excited to go home for the summer. I miss my family, my dogs, my car, my friends, my bed, my gym, and (of course) Tex-Mex.

I think most people in my life don't understand the appeal of living abroad. This became clear to me when a friend from the States visited this past week. 
I don't even really know what it is about France that I love so's not like my life here is particularly exciting. I go to work, I hang out with my friends, I plan lessons, I waste hours on facebook. Occasionally I plan trips to Morocco or Iceland or Turkey, but I don't have the time or money to travel often. Life in Strasbourg is not always convenient or fun. I share a room and sleep on a rickety smaller-than-twin-sized bed. I'm poor. 
But I love it!!. Every day is an adventure. I have wonderful friends, funny students, tons of free time, and I live in one of the most beautiful cities I've ever seen. I know a lot of people at home don't understand, but I don't care :)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Contemplating my future, etc.

In my Christmas post I said I was going to blog more often....oops! I guess not. I love reading other peoples' blogs, especially other English assistants, but I never make time to update my own.

Last night I got back from Morocco. I visited Casablanca, Fes, and Marrakech with my pals. It was crazy, chaotic, interesting, beautiful, relaxing, and a LOT of fun. I want to go back. 

Now we have six more weeks of work and that's ALL...crazy! I'm going to miss my Lycee Couffignal boys a little bit. I booked a flight to leave France on May 21. That would be super sad, but it will actually be fun because 3(at least) of my friends and I are going together! We're flying IcelandAir and stopping over in Reykjavik for a few days, then flying to Boston and staying with my brother, then plans are a little fuzzy, but eventually I'll be back in Dallas.

I've been thinking a lot about next year. When I applied to the TAPIF program, my plan was to use the year to have fun, travel, and improve my French before coming home and becoming a serious adult.

Texas schools have no money. No one is getting hired. Especially French teachers. 
I love Strasbourg. I love my friends here (and some of my favorites are staying next year!). I love working part-time. I love traveling. 

I'm in the process of applying for university teaching jobs in Strasbourg for next year. It's a long shot, but I would really love to stay in Alsace for another year. I know some people think it's irresponsible and that I'm "delaying real life", but I would be gaining valuable experience in my field AND having fun. I'm excited to go back to Texas for the summer, but the idea of leaving and not coming back is a little bit depressing. 

In the meantime, I am determined to make the most of the time I have left! Next weekend a friend is coming to visit...can't wait! : )