Friday, December 26, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

Christmas is already over so I need to start thinking about the New Year. Unfortunately New Year's is not only about partying the night before and having a killer hangover the next day but about making resolutions for the year to come. Like most people who make New Year's Resolutions, I rarely stick to the ones I make. But I'm really going to try this year. Honest.

So drum roll New Year's Resolutions for 2009 are:

1. Exercise regularly

2. Read more books (and spend less time on the internet!)


3. Work on my artistic side (Writing and drawing/painting)

These are all self explanatory but I want to explain a bit more in depth.
1. I've been meaning to do a sport at least 2 times per week. I began salsa dancing and I realized that when I night was over, my legs were sore but it felt good. I stopped playing sports in high school and became lazy. Getting back in shape and have a physical activity to do every week is something that I NEED to do. So I might start going to a gym because at least inside, its heated and I really don't like the cold. One of my excuses for not going running or biking outside is that it's too cold out.

2. This is really self explanatory. Frankly I spend too much time on the internet and not enough time reading. It hurts my eyes and usely I don't really look at anything interesting anyway.

3. And lastly, I want to do more writing and drawing. I used to write often in college and now I only write for this blog. Drawing I also enjoy but I don't do it often. I need to substitute the internet and TV for these activities. They stimulate the mind more

So there you have it! The same three things that I want to start doing every year but just can't seem to get around to doing them. I just don't have enough time in between my working 12 hours per week and babysitting and going online.. It just won't be possible. No really, this year I'm going to try. Wish me luck and good luck on all of your New Year's Resolutions!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Buon Natale!

Merry Christmas everyone!

We're back from Rome and we had a wonderful time! Beautiful weather, no lines, it was the perfect week to visit Rome. Here are a few pictures from our trip:

The Colosseum at Night

The Pantheon

St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican

Trevi Fountain

The Roman Forum

Inside the Colosseum

The Colosseum and The Arc of Constantine

Outside the Colosseum

The Sistine Chapel Ceiling

And last but not lest, a giant Christmas Tree!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Countdown to Rome!

This Christmas is going to be different from past ones.
One reason is that this will be the first Christmas ever that I haven't spent with my family. Because of my constant fiancial issues and that of my parent's, it wasn't really possible to come home this year without putting another $600 on my credit card. I don't want to deal with that later on. So I decided to do a mini-voyage au lieu de coming home. Of course I'm very upset about not spending Christmas with my family but due to other reasons I'm also a little relieved.

So, Christophe and I decided to do a little trip to Rome for a few days before Christmas. We found a great deal through EasyJet.Com. We booked a trip from December 21st-24th, including flight and hotel stay at a 3-star hotel for only 200€!! Probably 1/3 of the price of a ticket back to the US.

It's not Christmas at home that I look forward to every year but I guess Rome isn't too bad either.

I can't wait!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Sunday in Freiburg and Colmar!

Hi everyone! Yesterday Christophe and I spent the day at two Christmas Markets. The first in Freiburg, Germany and the second in Colmar! Since we are so close to the German border we decided to take a trip to Freiburg since I've never been there. The Christmas Market wasn't exceptionnal but I thought the city was beautiful so I took as many pictures as possible. It was fun being in Germany for a few hours. The streets of Freiburg all have this strange canal-ish system on the edge of the roads. It's really cool looking.

Since we finished the Freiburg Christmas market early, we decided to go to Colmar which was only a half hour away. Much more impressive! The decorations were beautiful and it was twice as big! Here are my pictures.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Christmas Season Has Officially Begun!

The first thing I saw before I turned on the lights of my apartment tonight was this:

This crazy house and their flashing Christmas lights! Ahhh! Is it just me or is this going a little too far? I'm all for a few lights around a bush or two or outlining your house with lights but really..this is just too much. I don't even need to decorate my own apartment with this scene outside of my window. They already did it for me.

But in keeping with the theme of the post..Christmas time, here are some pictures of the Besançon Christmas Market happening all month long.This year they have a Quebec theme which explains the weird sentence.

Like any Christmas Marché (Market) in France you can buy a variety of foods and gifts including spiced, hot wine; churros, gaufres, marrons chauds ( chestnuts). Gifts including clothing, house hold objects, hand made toys, wine and regional foods. Besançon is known for not having one of the better Christmas markets. In the region, Montbéliard is the winner. It's about 10 times the size of the Besançon market and has so much more to offer.

This weekend I might be doing a day-trip to Freiburg, Germany to see their Christmas Market. I love Christmas time!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

My Attempt at Thanksgiving Dinner

I was unable to do a blow-out Thanksgiving dinner for Christophe and I because I was at a "stage" (assistantship workshop) all day long. I started the dinner at about 5pm which everyone knows is too late to even think about cooking a turkey, so chicken it was. I bought a whole one, ready to cook thankfully because I had no desire to pull out the giblets. The chicken took about 2 hours to cook so at the same time I prepared a walnut pie, which was supposed to be a pecan pie taken from Milk Jam's recipe. However, I could not find pecans at the french supermarket so I replaced them with walnuts.It came out yummy despit the change in recipe. And to top this dinner off, I opened up the can of cranberry sauce that mom sent from the US! Though it wasn't the same as Thanksgiving back home, it was still fun nonetheless. Christophe was able to experience his first Thanksgiving and I cooked my first Thanksgiving meal.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

My apartment

Now that I finally have interet access à la maison, I can upload pictures of my new apartment! Yay! I want to do a before and after effect, before when the apartment was empty and after, after we moved in our furniture. C'est parti!

The Entrance/ Hallway

The Living Room


Living Room/ Kitchen


The Kitchen


The Bedroom


The Bathroom
(it hasn't changed)

Well I hope you enjoyed the tour of my new apartment. It's a little small but thats just a synonym for cozy!

Monday, November 17, 2008

I'm back!!

Ok I just got home from my horrible CE2 and CM2 classes and just wanted to look at the livebox for a nice laugh (That blinking light is like a smack in the face) and i see that it stopped blinking! OMG i have internet again!! Yes almost after one month of calling countless orange representatives who apparently had no idea what was going on and using up all our phone credit, magically we have internet again. UGGG!! Well I can't say that I'm not happy. Now I can replace my hours in front of the TV with hours in front of my computer screen once

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

No internet

Thanks to Orange we have not had internet in our new aparment for about 3 weeks now. Can someone please explain to me why it is so hard to move a few wires to make internet work in a new apartment? They are telling us that at the end of the week we should have it back. HA! Mon oeil! Until then... byebye

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I am in awe

I barely slept this past night because I was so nervous about the election results for the next morning. Even though Obama has been ahead in the polls for quite some time, I feared that the race factor would still determine the election. Thankfully it did not. Everyone got out there to vote this year for a just cause. We need change in their country and Americans have proved that we are ready.
This is honestly one of the few times in my life that I can actually say that I'm proud to be an American. Not only is this man going to change America for the better but he will change our poor reputation around the world. I am so happy that we have crossed this racial barrier and have elected someone that reflects the diversity of America.
I am overjoyed!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Funny Story

During my activity today in my CE2 class (3rd grade), I was trying to explain the words girl and boy to them because we were doing English names. In order to demonstrate who is a girl and who is a boy I pointed to each student and said boy, boy, girl, boy, girl, etc. Then I passed out the English names based on their gender when out of the corner of my eye I see a hand raised. Yes? I asked.
The student replies..."But I'm not a girl, I'm a boy."
I had accidentally counted him as a girl because of his long curly hair and slightly feminine face.
"Uhhhh, ok." I quickly rushed and gave him a boy's name and changed the subject immediately.

I can't believe I did that...I feel terrible and I bet this kid will be scared for life!

La honte totale!

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Trip to the Happiest Place on Earth: The Prefecture

The title of this entry is course very sarcastic. After my incident last month with them refusing to renew my carte de sejour when they had been promising me for a month, I was hoping for a more optimistic outcome today. The woman who turned me away the last time had told me to come back on a Monday because that's when she would be working.
So Monday it is...
I wake up bright and early this morning (ok not that early, 8am) and I arrive there at about 9:30am to see staring back at me a tiny peice of paper covering the étrangers sans R.D.V. button, annoucing that its closed Monday mornings! Ok..fine, I'll come back this afternoon after I teach. After class I arrive at 3:23, it closes at 4pm. Now since there is always ONE person working at each station to help an endless amount of people, I was expecting to be turned away at 4. Thankfully it was my turn 20 minutes later. I stood up expecting to see the lady that knows my situation and who is going to help me get my new carte de sejour....and its not her.
It's her replacement, a very pleasant lady who barked at me to get out of the office to let a previous person in ahead of me. When it was my turn (it already was) I quickly explained to her my situation and starting handing her my official papers. Then she barks again: PHOTOCOPIES! I NEED PHOTOCOPIES. Of course with my luck I had all of them except a photocopy of the apartment contract. I was sent out and told to go make a photocopy.
I come back with the photocopy and then she asks for a photo. I don't have a photo because the prefecture took them in July, telling me that those with be for my new carte de sejour! I tell her, they are in my file, that's why I didn't bring one.
Of course its too difficult to get my file or to get it tomorrow just to stick a photo on the recipssee. No, not possible. I need to bring in another one! ARRGG!

I hate that place.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Mon Dieu

Wow, my second day of teaching and already I feel exhausted. I was warned that this school would be difficult but after what I saw today, I'm bordering on afraid.
A little boy about 9 years old was screaming at the tops of his lungs at the directrice after she witnessed him kick another girl. No only did he scream every swear word I've ever heard in french but he told the teachers that he didn't give a fuck and went as far as to hit her.

I was completely amazed at this because when I was his age, I was terrified of adults. I was even afraid of kids that were only a year older than me.

This kid is going to have a lot of problems growing up.
Oh and this is one of my students. I'm looking forward to the year ahead.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Expat Interview

I just did an online interview at about my life in France. I talked about how I got to France, what I do here and the pros and cons about living in France. Click here to check it out! I know that they are always looking for doing to do interviews for their site so if you're interested, sign up and fill out the questionnaire.

Here are some of the pros and cons that I talked about in the interview:

  • Cheap health care!
  • The food!
  • The wine, the cheese etc etc etc
  • The beautiful country and the history
  • Good public transportation
  • Government aid for underprivileged people
  • Stores are always closed on Sundays, between 12-2pm during the week, and closed after 7pm. Growing up in the US of course there's ALWAYS something open until late at night or even all night.
  • There are never enough employees for customers, i.e.; the Post Office, the Bank, the super market, etc. etc. etc., so you always wait forever to get something done.
  • Strikes, all the time.
  • All English/American movies and TV shows are dubbed in French. I prefer watching VO (Original version).
  • The French don't give a crap about the laws; example: if there is a handicap parking space, without a doubt someone will park there who isn't handicapped.
What are some other pros and cons that I didn't think of? I could go on and on but those are the first things that came to my mind.

I think my list of cons about the US would be longer though...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Elections 2008!!

Yesterday I FINALLY got my absentee ballot in the mail! Just thought I'd make it clear who I'm voting for:


Just a reminder for everyone who hasn't thought about voting, do it!!

Saturday, October 4, 2008


Just like to note my current account balance because I think it's kinda funny, or maybe its more like scary:


until October 25th (if the Rectorat keeps their promise).

A special thanks to my boyfriend for paying the bills this month! *muah!*

Football match!

When I say football I of course mean, "soccer". I went last week with my boyfriend and his friends for my first match in France. It was Sochaux vs. Lorient. Unfortunately it was a match nul meaning it was a tie, but it was still cool nonetheless. I've only been to one soccer game in my life and it was back home. I don't even remember anything about it because I was really young, maybe about 11 years old. I don't care much for sports but if I'm there and I watch it from the beginning then I really get into it.

I just have to comment on the obscenities shouted out by the supporters. So funny:

Rentres chez ta mère!
T'es nul!
Va te faire foutre!

just to cite some examples... :)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The economy is going to Sh**

Ok i'm really getting scared about the future of the economy. I have a $20,000+ debt from college loans with a rising interest rate and apparently jobs that seem somewhat interesting are stuck at 35k per year. Now I don't know where I'll be a year from now, even 9 months from now, (hopefully/maybe still in France because at least here the country will take care of your medical costs if you have a nervous breakdown!) but it's something that I need to start thinking about immediately. I'll have a steady salary with the assistantship for the next 9 months but I can put very little of it into savings. I just wish I had financial reassurance after the assistantship....

In other news...the Sarah Palin/Joe Biden debate is on tonight but I'll be sleeping since it will air at 2am France time. It's going to be painful to watch tomorrow morning...

Oh and Christophe and I are getting the apartment!! I'm so excited. I can't wait to put up pictures after we've moved in and decorated it! Yay!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Apartment Hunting

I'm in the middle of looking for an apartment with my boyfriend and let me tell you, it's not easy. We've already been to three real estate agencies and visited about 10 apartments. Out of those 10, we only liked 2. It's funny because normally you don't rent the first apartment that you visit. But in this case, it's the only one that we really like. This apartment is amazing!! Everything is brand new!! New kitchen (including a stove!!! which I didn't have last year in my apartment.) Stoves aren't usually standard in apartments in France when you move in. You usually have to buy one yourself. This is why I'm so excited! All of the baking I wanted to do last year I can do this year!! There will be a dessert every week from now on if we take this apartment. There is also plenty of storage space and everything in the bathroom is brand new!! However, I wanted an apartment with two bedrooms so that we could use one as a guest room and also a balcony. This apartment has neither but I'd be willing to sacrifice those things for this awesome apartment. The only problem is that we have my boyfriend's apartment until the end of October so I'm afraid someone else will rent it before we can get to it. We might tell the realtors that we'll take it a week or two earlier just to be sure. Trust me, compared to those other dumps that we visited, this place is like a palace. Personally I would be ashamed to show an apartment where there was 30 year old clown wall paper and disgusting brown stains in the sink, not to mention other places in the apartment. *SHAME*!

Anyways I better get back to studying Spanish...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Au Secours!

Ok had my first day of classes today in LEA (Langues Etrangères Appliquées) 3ème année and all I can say is HEEELLPPP!! Half of my classes are in Spanish (I've never taken a Spanish class in my life!) and it's at fluent level. The rest of the classes will be in English or French which I can obviously handle. This whole program is about having a good grasp on two foreign languages and working them into different areas such as business, tourism, translation, and international relations. My two foreign languages are English (a foreign language because it's in France obviously) and Spanish which I chose because it would be helpful to know Spanish when or if I look for a job in the US and just because I've always wanted to learn it. Unfortunately I was not able to enter into the first or second year of the program due to an administrative problem, so *bam* right smack into the third and last year of the program. But it seems interesting so far. If you'd like to learn more about this program, it's offered at several universities across France. here's a helpful website: LEA

I'm planning on sneaking into beginner classes and at the same time managing to pretend I understand what's going on in my upper level classes. O dios mio...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Back in France

Hello everyone I'm back in France and frankly happy to be here. I got my visa at the consulate sans problème but I was surprised when they told me that they would be giving me an assistant visa..after all that panic. And to make me even more annoyed, they didn't ask for any proof of my enrollment at the French University nor did they ask for the proof of payment to Campus France. I could have killed them. What they did ask for was a copy of my passport and a copy of my arrête de nomination for the assistantship. Of course those were the only two documents that I didn't have any copies of. So the nice man behind the counter just gave me a look like "You should know better" and just turned to make the photocopies himself. I could have kissed him. Make times I've seen people turned away for not having photocopies of their paperwork. I was just lucky I guess. I think he saw my other two French visas and decided that I was ok.

School starts tomorrow for me. I missed the first week of classes due to the visa incident but I don't think I missed much. At French University, the first week is when students sign up for classes unlike in the US when we do it months ahead of time. I'm very nervous about school here. I bet I'll be the only American there but not the only foreigner thankfully. I'm also really nervous about my Spanish classes. I've only been studying minimally all summer and I know the basics, if even. I can't speak or understand orally. I guess we'll see what happens.

That's all for now.
Hasta luego.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Ok, so after not understanding the e-mail from Campus France the first time I read it, the second time I finally realized that it was THE confimation e-mail to take to the consulate to get my visa. I was expecting another sort of e-mail. I don't know what so I don't ask.

I have to hand it to Campus France for helping me out with this one. They processed my request in 1 day as opposed to 2 weeks like it says on the website. Thank you thank you thank you Campus France. Now I can get my student visa in peace (I hope). I also re-read my arrête de nomination for my assistantship and I found out that I have a 9 month contract as opposed to 7 months like I did last year. Wippee! So I'll have a steady salary until June 30th, 2009. This makes me smile.

My time back home is almost to an end and I'm sad about it but at the same time happy to go back to France. I'll miss my family the most even though this was a difficult time. I wish I could have seen more of my friends, and even just see them for longer or more frequent visits but I had so much to do at home.

Hopefully Friday will go smoothly and I'll be on the plane with the visa glued inside my passport by 8pm.

A bientôt la France.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I hate French Bureaucracy!

I'm sure many of you have been through this terrible headache of making the long journey down (or up) to your local French consulate to apply for your visa to live in France. I have already gone through this process two times and did not want to do it again. Here's my most recent story:

While I was in France this summer working at my internship in the south, I was in communication with the Besançon prefecture who granted me my carte de sejour and extended it after it expired to stay in France during the summer. The woman who was in charge of my dossier, my file, apparently was certain that if I sent a letter to the Foreigner Department of the Prefecture that I could obtain a new carte de sejour étudiante since I wanted to restart my studies in the fall. Since I had a lecteur/visteur carte de sejour I would just need to change it over to a student status. She reassured me that there would be NO problem. So I write my letter, I send it in, specifically saying in the letter that if there were any problems to contact me. They did not.

A month later, I come back from my internship, and wait patiently for about an hour in the Prefecture to start the process of transferring my status. I'm leaving for the US the next morning.

When my number is finally called I go in excitedly and show them all of my paperwork. The lady says to me (and btw its not the same lady who took care of my dossier):
"Oh yes, we were told about you coming today. We're sorry but there is no possible way to change your carte de sejour from a lecteur status to a student status. C'est juste pas possible. You need to go home and get a new visa at the consulate," she said bluntly and unapologetically.


I was speechless!! I asked, why did your co-worker tell me that it was ok to change my status before and now its not??

The only thing she said was "She just found out recently."

So without any apologies from the lady, I got up a left in a huff. They have no idea how bad they screwed me over.

So flash forward to today. I'm in the US, I had to extend my plane ticket an extra week, make a last minute visa appointment at the consulate and the register with some terrible website called Campus France. All in all, this set me back about 450€ that could have been avoided if the Prefecture only knew how to do their job.

I'm just hoping theres not problems when I go to apply for the visa because after all, my plane leaves that night.

This is a moment when I could have killed the French.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I'm so exicted!

Ok I just need to talk about the new iPod nano. Look how cool it is!!! I've been wanting to buy a new iPod for a while but due to lack of funds and my boyfriend convincing me that I don't need a new one since I have one from 2005 that "works fine", this completely changed my mind. I know what I'll be asking for for Christmas this year. :) All I can say is thank god I waited because I was not too happy with the previous model.I didn't like the shape and wanted the sleek, thin, old model back but with more memory. Well Apple heard my wish. I can't wait until December 25th! Sorry old iPod but you're just not cool anymore...
Photos courtesy of

My Nouvelle Vie in France

Bonjour everyone and welcome to the new blog. I just want to make a short introduction about this blog and my intentions for it. I'm an American girl in her twenties who currently lives in France. I've already been living here for one year and will thankfully be here for another! Last year I worked as an English assistant in primary school and fortunately have been renewed for a second year. I will also be attending a french university with hopes to obtain a French Undergraduate degree at the end of the school year. (Fingers crossed).

Here are my objectives for this blog:

*Recounting the ups and downs of French life

*Talking about my thoughts and opinions on current events both in France and in the US as a foreign spektator

*Relaying interesting yet insightful thoughts on my job and my university in France

*Talking about my travels in Europe (If I have enough € to travel this year)

and lastly...

*Talking about things I like, for example: music, travel, reading, writing, photography, animals etc.

So with that said I hope you all enjoy it! Profitez-en!*