Sunday, December 20, 2009

It's Christmas Time!

Yes, I've been absent for a very long time, I know. But I haven't had many things to write about until now. Tomorrow Christophe and I are leaving to go back to the US to spend Christmas with my family. I'm really excited especially since last year we weren't able to go home because of the cost. And even better is that it's looking like it will be a white Christmas! In Besançon it's been snowing non-stop for a couple days and there's about a foot of snow on the ground! It's so pretty! We visited the marché de Noel yesterday and it's by far better when there's snow. It makes it much more festive. It's been a calm Christmas because we haven't been able to travel anywhere. Going to the states is the big voyage of the season. Last year we visited several Christmas markets in Strasbourg and even in Germany but this year we just haven't had the time.
Here are some pictures we took this weekend:
Our balcony covered in snow!

Centre ville Besançon

the Christmas Market

Vin chaud? Yes please!


But unfortunately this will be a sad Christmas because my grandmother passed away a couple weeks ago which was a huge shock to everyone. It was very unexpected and everyone in the family is very sad. We're going to have a rememberance dinner while I'm home since I can't make it to the funeral. She will be missed.
RIP Grandma
I wish I could have said goodbye..

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Another Thanksgiving in France! But tonight, we're not celebrating Thanksgiving because we need to move our fridge tomorrow, so we have to eat all of the food inside so that we throw out as little as possible. We are going to go all out with Thanksgiving dinner on December 5th at a friend's house so I'm looking forward to that. I think we are going to have a real turkey as well. Apparently in France, they don't start selling turkeys until Christmas time so hopefully by the 5th they will be in markets. So this weekend we are finally moving out of this apartment. I'm really happy to move but unfortunately we are moving into an even tinier space. It's my fault because I thought that the apartment was bigger than it actually was when I visited it. And I'm the one who wanted to move into a bigger space...I just hope that we can fit all of our furniture inside. But other than that it's a really really nice apartment. It's a year old and it's got a big balcony!
However, it gives me a good excuse to go to Ikea to buy some new things! We'll need some shelves to organize everything, a table and chairs and maybe some curtains finally!!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Monday, November 16, 2009

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Updates

Yes, I've been really bad with updating the blog. I haven't found anything really interesting to write about and I'm also pretty busy at the moment (except on Sundays). So the weather has turned officially crappy here. Rain almost every day with cloudy skies, so it's not really the most wonderful time of the year. I'm excited for Christmas time because there will be lights, decorations, vin chaud!, chestnuts and Christmas markets! I love Christmas in France but I'm even more excited to be spending Christmas in the US this year with the family and Christophe. The last time I was home for Christmas was 2 years ago and it seems like soo long ago.

We're also moving out of this apartment in 2 weeks and are still technically looking for a new one. I think that we've decided on one that is much farther from centre ville and is a tad smaller than the apartment we have now. But, it's in great condition (it's only a year old) and theres' a balcony and very few neighbors. However, it's across from a lycée (high school) so hopefully by 6pm all will be calm. One thing in life that I can't stand is teenagers. lol and now we might be living across from about 1000 of them. But it's still not definite.

I've been working a lot of hours lately (as I noticed in my last paycheck, I was very happy) and my paycheck should be even better for this month. That means, lots of gifts for everyone at Christmas. And most importantly, a large payment on my student loans for December! lol

After browsing over new phones for months, I finally treated myself to one that day I got paid because hey, it's been 2 years and I'd like a cooler, more high-tech phone. No, I didn't buy an i-Phone but its a touch phone and I feel very professional with it (and maybe a little snobby too).

Thanksgiving is also only about 10 days away but I'll be celebrating it on December 5th at a friend's place. I wish we didn't have to postpone it because it won't feel like a real Thanksgiving. But I'm really happy that I'll be celebrating with friends this year.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Permis de Conduire!


Look who's got a french driver's license!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween in France!


Last night I had my first Halloween party in France. Yes, even though I'm beginning my 3rd year in France, I've never had nor have been to a Halloween party here. I decided that it was time! Everyone came in a costume (even the french guests!) and everyone said they had an awesome time! Who could ask for more. I didn't have a lot of time to cook unfortunately but I made a quiche lorraine and cut it into small bites and also made some cupcakes (but the icing was terrible!) I can never get it right. Oh well. Since I'm poor at the moment, I couldn't afford to buy a costume or to buy things for a costume so I looked through my closet and found something that resembled a cheerleader ensemble. That with a little zombie makeup and voilà; I'm a zombie cheerleader! Lol ok not very creative but I couldn't think of anything else. Other very interesting costumes included: a mummy, 2 witches, a goddess, légume man (does anyone know who is this?), the ikea fairy, Amy Winehouse and many others! I gave a bottle of Bethanie wine from the Jura to the winner of the best costume: legume man! He deserved it too because he worked on it all week!

In other news, work is going well. I'm getting more and more hours! Which means that I'll be rolling in the money soon. Ok, not really but I'll be making a decent salary. (Much better than the assistantship salary let's just say!) Which makes me happy!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Sluggish!

Ca y est!
Summer is officially over. The morning are at freezing temperatures and our apartment doesn't heat enough to keep up with the sudden cold temperatures. It literally went from one week to temperatures in the 70s, to a drop into the 40s and 50s! I don't think that I'm really looking forward to winter as I never am. By January/February I tend to get really depressed. It's almost systematic. But this year, I should be working a lot of hours and seeing a lot of people and getting out of the apartment a lot. This wasn't so much the case last year. Christophe is almost always busy planning his classes so it can get a little lonely. Last year it was the same with his concours. However, my job right now is really slow. Maximum, I have worked 15 hours during the week. Then most weeks I work around 10 hours. This wouldn't be so bad if I had a fixed monthly salary. Unfortunately, I get paid by the hour. I'm anxious to start making a real salary and to be busy. I enjoy my job but so far my classes don't start until 4pm or 5pm which is a little late. The rest of the day I don't have much to do. For example, today I woke up at almost 11:30am! Just like back in college. I hate sleeping that late, but I guess that's what happens when you're day is empty. However, I'm very proud of myself because this year I've been consistently going to salsa dancing classes and also to the pool. At least I'm doing something regularly.

Halloween is also in 10 days so I'm really excited about that! We're having a party here on Halloween night and it's mandatory costumes! I'm going to bake a lot of traditional sweets and try to make a punch. My mom sent me a package with some decorations inside so that will be cool as well. I'm so excited! It's been so long since I've celebrated Halloween. I think it was senior year in college. :( I'll be sure to post a bunch of pictures.

And lastly, Christophe and I are going home for Christmas!! I'm so excited! I didn't get to go home last year because I couldn't afford it but this year is a totally different story! I'll miss New Year's eve though because I'll be on a plane. It was 200€ cheaper to fly back on the 31st than on the 1st. Oh well, we'll have a celebration on the plane!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The stalling queen

My new car arrived yesterday! We bought it this weekend (well Christophe's mom technically paid for it) and I had to go to the Prefecture on Monday to get the Carte Grise and to buy insurance in order to drive it back to Besançon. The car is in really good shape. It's almost like the other car I was going to buy. It's a blue Peugeot 106 from 1997 and it only have 50,000km! It was owned by an older man who can no longer drive it because he has cancer in one of his legs. Excited as I was, I decided to test drive it last night when I got home from work.
Lately, I've been driving Christophe's car to work so that I can get used to driving alone. However, Christophe has a much nicer car with assisted steering and it's easy to shift. My car, is not easy to drive for a beginner. The pedals are very sensitive and there is no assisted steering so when backing out of a parking space, I need to turn the wheel with all my might!
We also tried to do a lesson on how to start up on hills...and I couldn't do it. I must have tried 10 times and each time I stalled so of course my natural reaction: I started crying.
It's very frustrating when you think that you've finally learned how to drive a manuel and then reality smacks you in the face. I've still got a lot of practice ahead of me.
With Christophe's car I hardly stall anymore but this new car is completely different. I couldn't afford to buy a fancier car so I guess I'm stuck with learning to drive this one.
Anyways, I'm just really disapointed in myself. I thought that I had (almost) mastered standard driving.

To talk about other things, I've been at my job for a couple weeks now and I really like it. My co-workers are all great and the clients are cool. I'm still waiting to get more hours but that will be when they assign me outside of Besançon and that means I'll have to drive!! This weekend will be used to practice on hills.

Oh and one last thing, my cavemen neighbors that I wrote about a couple weeks ago, they moved out!! We are so happy. It's soo quiet now; there's no more grunting or swearing or yelping. Too bad we are moving in 2 months...just kidding. I'm excited to move to a better apartment.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

French Wedding!

This past weekend I attended one of Christophe's friend's weddings in a small village in the Doubs department. Like any normal french wedding, the couple first gets married in the town hall - Mairie, then goes to the church to have the religious ceremony. Afterwards, the vin d'honneur is held for everyone for a couple hours. You basically just drink a yummy aperitif and eat hors d'oeuvres for about 2 hours. Then the celebration begins! The meal consists of 6 courses, two appetizers, or in French, 2 entrées the first usually cold and the second hot. Between the "entrées" and the main course, a strong liquor is served I guess to wake you up a little since the wedding ends near 4 or 5am! An hour later, the main course is served. The dancing begins as well the showing of slide shows of the couple. The next courses are of course, the cheese plate, then the dessert, and last but not least, another strong liquor and coffee! The French really know how to party and eat well. I think I much prefer French weddings to American weddings. There are no strict times frames and the food is much better!
Here are a few photos:
The grand entrance of les mariés
The churchle vin d'honneurMy place setting (with my name spelled wrong!)One of the yummy courses!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Dupped!

Well, I guess that car was too good to be true. The people selling it called me the next day to tell me that their mother changed her mind and didn't want to sell it anymore. We were really upset because it was such a great car but I guess they are going to sell it more expensive which makes sense. But its ok, there are other options in view at the moment. Of course these cars have more mileage and more wear and tear on them but I guess I can't be expecting too much for the budget that I have.

In good news however, I was able to exchange my driver's license! I went to the prefecture yesterday and had all of the paper work ready and everything. The guy looked at the date of entry on my CDS and said it was ok. No questions asked! He then took my US DL and said it should be ready in a month. Yay! But I'm kinda upset. I really liked my US driver's license, it actually looks real and the French one looks fake! Now when I go back home I have to bring my passport with me everytime just to get a drink. I don't even want to know what will happen if I get pulled over by the cops and they ask to see my license. They'll laugh probably because they won't know what a french driver's license looks like. I guess it's sad as well because that was my last connection to the US. I mean I'm still a citizen and have my US passport and everything but it just emphasizes my permancy here, which is a good thing! But it's emotional in a way.

I'm a real frenchy now I guess :)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

My New Car!

For my new job, I was told that I absolutely needed a car if I wanted to have a lot of hours. I would have to drive outside of Besançon where there would be no public transportation available. Of course a lot of hours means a lot of money so....hell yea I'll get a car!

Thanks to a friend of ours who is a car dealer, he was able to hook me up with someone wanting to sell their car. It belongs to their mother who is no longer able to drive. Needlesstosay, this car is almost brand new. It's 9 years old, has about 48,000 km on it (which is nothing!) and barely has anything wrong with it! She apparently hardly ever drove it so it's like buying an (almost) brand new car. And the best part is that we're only paying 2,900€ for it! You can't find anything better than that. It's a red Peugeot 106 and it's so cute and tiny!


Now for the annoying part. I need to apply for a Carte Grise, which is a paper that says the car belongs to me, apply for car insurance, and last but not least, trade in my driver's license for a french permis de conduire.

I'm a little worried about trading in the license. Although I'm from Connecticut and there is a exchange between the state and France, I've been here for over a year so I'm afraid they'll refuse. However, this is my first permanent Carte de Sejour and it says that my entry into France was on 9/20/08. That was the date from when I had to go home and get a new visa so I hope that would technically be the beginning of my permanent stay here. I have another week until the year is up based on my residency card so I hope that I won't have any problems.

We'll be picking up the car on Thursday (if these people didn't scam us) and I should be really to drive it by Saturday if all goes accordingly.

Thanks Andre-Pierre!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

New Job!

Yesterday was the first day training for my new job. It went really well and I felt really good about it. My last two teaching jobs, the assistantship and the week-long stage, I was left to plan my own classes with little to no guidance. This place is different. They have a teaching system already set up that focusing on learning through speaking. They also have their own materials and regular training so that you aren't just thrown into classes not knowing what you're doing. I'm happy that I'll finally have some guidelines and some structure to the classes. Some people might not like that, but for me it's easier and it lets me know what I need to do. I'll be regularly observed as well, but it's not to reprimand me but to correct what I'm doing wrong.

Apparently I'll have a lot of hours as well, as soon as I get a car. I've been browsing a lot of different websites and asking people I know to help me find a car. So far I've only seen one car and it wasn't great so that was a big no. This is definitely going to be a big headache. I'll start getting hours in about 2 weeks (as long as i'll have a car) so I need to get moving. I'm still kind of nervous about driving here in France because of the crazy roads and signs and I've still never driven alone. I better get used to it soon. I won't have a choice.

I think I'm going to like this job. And the best part? No more children!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

English Lessons at La Poste

I was finally able to send out my dossier to the employer in Strasbourg this morning. I had about 20 papers to get together and send out. I had everything ready by last week but I was just waiting on my French criminal record report to come in the mail (and yes everyone, I've got a clean slate). So seeing as though my training is on Friday and it's already Wednesday, I still need them to send me my contract to sign before I start.
I knew that I would have to send it through 1 day express mail and was expecting to spend maybe 10 or 15€ on it. I asked the Poste man what my options were. He said either a 4€ envelope that would maybe get there tomorrow if not, Friday. Or a next day envelope that would cost 21€! Uhh why is there not an in between cost?? What the hell?
Seeing as though I'm almost in the red with my bank account since I haven't gotten a pay check since June, I was really hoping to not spend a fortune at La Poste.
But I figured this was pretty important and I shouldn't take the chance... sigh..so I handed over my debit card for the 21€ envelope.
I just don't know how I'll get my contract in time. But I'm sure everything will work out in the end.

At least the guy working there was very nice. He noticed the photocopy of my American passport amongst all of the paper work and started throwing all of the English words that he knew in the conversation when he was explaining how to fill out the expediter form. "Marquer votre numéro de téléphone, uhhh your téléphone here et uhh....your adresse here!"
I remember when I was first learning French and people would slip in a few English words here and there like I didn't understand the word in French and I would get really offended thinking that the French were trying to prove that they were better at speaking English than I was speaking in French. After a while, I figured out that they were doing it because they just want to try and impress us with the few words of English they knew, even as a way of being polite in their weird frog way.

He also mentioned that his daughter was a huge fan of the US and that she had a poster of all of the states in her bedroom. I guess he'll have a story to tell her when he goes home after work tonight.

Monday, September 7, 2009

My cavemen neighbors

Christophe and I are truly convinced that we live underneath a couple of cavemen. It's a couple who live together who are rather, um, heavy, and don't know how to talk at a normal volume. All day long it's yelling, and grunting, and stomping, and swearing and from time to time when they aren't fighting... a witch cackle.

They are both about 30 years old and obviously unemployed and don't like to leave their apartment all that often.

Ever since we moved in, we've been having to deal with these Neanderthals. Now as we are speaking, they are making rooster noises.... and now.... gigigtity noises. (Have you ever seen Family Guy?)

Whyy???

Oh and their favorite past time is using the vacuum cleaner. EVERY DAY.

Did I mention that we'll be moving in 3 months?? We just can't take it anymore.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Julia Child's "My Life in France"


So as most of you probably know, in the US there is a movie coming out called "Julie and Julia" which is based on Julia Child's infamous cook book "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." Before all of the hype about this new movie, I hadn't paid much attention to Julia Child nor her cooking. But, during my stay back home, I went into my local Border's store and just saw a whole table lined with books dedicated to Julia Child and the new film. Among the books that decorated the table was of course "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" but also the book, "My life in France." I didn't know that this book existed and was instantly fascinated by it. Being the 'frugal' girl that I am, I went home and ordered the book off Amazon.com for half the price. I received it in the mail the day I left to go back to France. This is what I've been reading ever since I came back to France.

I'm half way through and I love it. It talks about her life in Paris, attending the famous cooking school, the Cordon Bleu, and beginning her career as a cook. Now, I've fairly recently took an interest in cooking (the past two years) so this book just furthers my interest and makes me want to try new things. It also makes my stomach grumble with hunger everytime I read it. (Note: do not read this book on an empty stomach!)

One inspiration from this book was making one of the most well known French dishes, Canard à l'orange (duck with orange sauce). We had a French couple over for dinner and I decided to attempt it. It was fairly successful but I had slightly over cooked the duck (it's eatten almost rare in France).

Books about people's lives in France are among my favorite type of books to read. I love to compare their experiences to my own. Some of my other favorite books include: "Almost French", "A Year in the Merde", and "On Rue Tatin".

So to anyone who has a little free time at the moment, I highly suggest reading this book. It'll make you want to become a French chef when you're through with it!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Salade de chevre chaud au miel and my new job!!

Today I was really in the mood to attempt to make a goat cheese salad. Every time I go out to eat and order one it's so delicious! I thought that today would be a opportune moment to try it out because Christophe isn't here (he HATES goat cheese!) because he's at a teacher's meeting! La rentrée is tomorrow so all the kiddies are going back to school! Woo-hoo! Anyways, here's what I used for my salad (I 'm not listing any exact amounts of ingredients because I don't know):

*goat cheese
*baguette sliced
*lettuce
*tomato
*honey
*Walnuts and raisins

I put the goat cheese on top of the sliced baguette and drizzled some honey on top. Then I put it in the oven for about 10 minutes. I got the salad ingredients together and stirred up my own vingrette.

For the vinagrette:
*Honey
*Vegetable oil
*Balsamic vinagrette

I stirred it all together and voilà:
A yummy salad just like the kind you can get in a french restaurant. haha ok not quite the same. It still needs a little work.

Just to add one last thing: I got the job that I wanted at the language school! They called me up yesterday and told me that they wanted to hire me! Now I just have a pound of paperwork to fill in and send to Strasbourg so that I can sign the contract! I won't be poor anymore! :)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

le stage est fini!

Yesterday I finished the week of teaching the stage. I think it went well overall. The kids seemed to get a little bored and restless the last 2 days. 25 hours of English in one week is a lot. I read the evaluations they made about the class. Generally they all said they were satisfied with the stage and that I was a good teacher. There was one girl that probably should have been placed in a higher group who said that she didn't really learn anything new which was too bad. But I had to try and please a whole range of levels. I'm glad that it's over though. However, you would think that I'd be paid at the end of next month for this job? Wrong. Apparently there is a university pay system that ends at the end of August and all of the paperwork goes through after that. So I won't be paid until the end of November!! Which really sucks because I really need the money now. However, I did my follow up interview yesterday at the other job and I think it's a green flag. He said that normally I'll be starting training next week but since it was a Friday evening, everyone had already left and he just needs to talk with his co-workers to confirm. He was American as well which helped a lot I think when doing the interview. I was much more comfortable and able to joke around a little with him.

So keep your fingers crossed for me everyone!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Back in France!

I arrived in France two days ago! My plane ride went just fine but it was very tiring. Thankfully I gave myself the whole weekend to recuperate before I go back to work tomorrow. It'll be nice going back to work, but I just hope the kids will be as into it as I am. I'm teaching an English immersion course for 12 - 15 year olds who have already had up to 2 years of English. This will be a change for what I'm used to: kids who know very little English and are between 8 and 11. This will be the first time teaching grammar and I hope that I'll be able to explain it well enough.

My trip to the states was so great. I got to spend a lot of time with my family and friends; many of whom I haven't seen in almost 2 years! Here are a couple of photos to sum up my stay:
Krista's bachelorette party in NYC!


Visit to New Paltz, NY

Krista's wedding!


Some really good Sushi!


Visit to Rhode Island and Massachussets

All in all I had a great time back in the states. But it's really nice to be back in France with Christophe :)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Assez!

This health care debate is officially getting insane. I'm getting afraid that the democrats are going to back down against the opposition. Their voices are being drowned out by lies and screaming. I just don't know what to do about this country. We can't even agree that health care needs to be reformed? I can't wait to get back to France where life is simple and people don't accuse their president of being a Nazi when he wants to introduce universal health care. Sigghh.

My last week in the states is going to be pretty hectic. This weekend I have my friend's wedding which I'm très excited about. Then on Sunday I'll be headed for Massachusetts with my mom and god-mother. It's going to be really sad leaving CT but I must get back to my life in France. I especially need to start working. It's going on two months now that I haven't worked. I'm getting pretty bored and pretty broke. Tomorrow I'll be applying for an international driver's license to be able to drive in France sans problème. I hope it'll go well.

Christophe and I will also be moving in a few months. We are waiting until he gets his placement for his job. We know that he's staying in the region (yay!) but we don't know where exactly. I'm so excited to move. That means that we don't have to deal with our shitty neighbors anymore and that we can finally get a pet! I'm leaning more towards a cat now. I still want a dog but it's so much work. We'll see I guess.

Friday, August 7, 2009

It's good to be home

I've been having an awesome time back home in the states. I've been catching up with old friends and spending time with my family and just basically relaxing. I always laugh when people ask me the typical questions about France like "what do they eat over there", "Do the french have 'this' or 'that'" etc. I'm just happy that they are interested! I've eaten at almost all of my restaurants that were on my "must eat at" list. My chinese food craving has been appeased as well as my bagel craving.

I also got to go back to my college town with my college friends to relive our experience. We had an awesome time! Even though it was summer and the town was almost dead, we still had a great time. One of my friends will be getting married in a week so that will also been another exciting event with my friends. She'll be the first of all of my friends to get married. The seal has just been broken...

I've also been listening to the radio and the news over here and all I hear is negative stuff about Obama's health care reform plan. Most of it are clearly lies and misconstrued facts that mislead people into believing that the US is going to become a "socialist state" if the government reforms health care. My dad gave me a good idea to write to the editorial column of the local paper to explain the health care system in France compared to here to see what kind of responses I'll get. I think that I'm going to do that. I wish people would open their eyes and see the good in this program. I hope that if I do this people will get a better perspective of the world around them and maybe it will change their minds.

As the French say, wait and see!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Back in the USA!

Hey everyone! So I know I've been really slacking with the blog recently. I arrived in the US last Tuesday and I've just been all over the place since. I've been seeing friends that I haven't seen in a year and a half plus one that I haven't seen in over 3 years! It's so nice to see everyone and to come back to familiarity. I've been eating all of my favorite food that I can't find in France and hitting up all of the hot spots that are only located in America such as Borders, Diners, etc. I've been having a great time already and it's only been the first week! However, I just need to be very careful with budgeting because I've already spent a ton of money (it goes so quickly!) and I have two and a half weeks left! So just a quick update to give everyone. My week at the beach was great! We had really nice weather and traveled all over the bassin d'Archacon. A very lovely place! So I'm off to do more American things and to spend time with my family and friends. I'll give another update soon!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

le Tour de France passes through Besançon!


The day that I've been waiting for finally arrived today; the Tour de France came to Besançon! The whole event of watching the cyclists pass by took only a few minutes but it was still really cool. My parents recorded the tour today so that I'll get to see it when I come home in 10 days! Maybe I'll be able to see myself? Here are a few pictures that we took:



Tomorrow we are leaving to go camping in a village called Biganos which is right near the Atlantic and is not far from Bordeaux. I'm really hoping to have nice weather because this whole month has been very strange weather-wise. We're also going to bring the used bikes we just bought to bike around the area and to go to the beach. A day trip to Bordeaux will also be in order.

Then finally the day after we come back, I'll be leaving for the states! I'm soo excited to go home! It's been almost a year since I've seen my family and friends, and for certain friends, it's been a year and a half! I'm leaving plenty of room in my suitcase to bring back tons of American goodies to France. I probably won't have time to write an entry before I go back home so the next post will be sometime back in the states. A bientôt!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Bastille Day!


Happy 14 juillet to everyone out there! I was hoping to have a picnic or watch the fireworks tonight in Besançon but with this rainy weather, I'm not sure I'll be able to leave my apartment today :(
Oh well, I'll just watch the parade live from Paris on TV. It'll be almost like I'm there in real life! No, not really...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

A CDI in sight?

I had my third interview yesterday with an international enterprise that is looking for native English speakers to work with their clients on learning English and it went really really well! After a disappointing interview the day before, this job offer really brightened my day. They said that they'd offer a CDI (aka a permanent contract) and that there are a lot of hours available. So, I would be able to make a decent salary at a real job. I would also get in-job training and regular raises every time I passed a new diploma! The only problem is that I'm currently only able to work in Besançon because I don't have a car to drive to their other work locations. However, since I wanted to try and learn to drive by myself officially this year, this is the real motivation to do it. I'm going to sign up for driving hours and possibly look to buy a used car. But I'll do all of this of course, if this job actually does work out in the end. I would be starting in September which is perfect. I'll be teaching at the other school the last week of August and then I won't have anything else. When I come back from the US then I'll be going back to for a following interview and teaching exam. I better start brushing up on my English grammar!

In addition, I already know someone who works there and she likes it as well. Things are really looking up! Hopefully we can finally move out of this apartment and we are even talking about getting a dog...but we'll see. That's for a later discussion.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Great News!

I have awesome news to annouce: Christophe passed his concours!!! Which means that he'll officially be a professor in a lycée in the fall! We were both sooo shocked when we checked the website. He was certain that he didn't pass and was in a foul mood all weekend. I wanted to wait for the results but he was sure that he didn't pass. But on the website glaring at us in the face was: Vous êtes admis! A huge shock to both of us!

Woo-hoo!! I'm sooo proud of him! He worked so hard this year and he really deserves this! Now our financial problems are a thing of the past! Tonight we're going out to eat to celebrate this great news!

Vacances dans le sud here we come!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The début of summer!


Sorry, I'm a day late but Happy 4th of July to everyone!

Unfortunately I didn't do anything special like roast marshmallows or have a barbeque, or set off fireworks. But I did do some fun marker-tatooing, with a fellow british friend, of our respective flags. I apologize for the following ridiculous picture:
Friday night was the Eurockéennes festival at Belfort and it was a lot of fun! Though we arrived rather late (it started at 4pm and we got there at 8pm) we stayed until (almost) the end. Among the groups we saw: The prodigy, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Cyprus Hill. The Ting Tings came on too late and we decided to leave before they came on to avoid the long line of cars at the end of the festival. It was nice getting out of Besançon for a night especially to see some good, live music. It's been forever since I've been to a concert. Here's a photo of the Yeah Yeah Yeah's in concert:

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Officially unemployed

I'm on day two of unemployment and oh my god, I'm already bored.
So far, I've baked cookies, cleaned the apartment, sent out more resumes to language schools and watched a whole lot of tv with the laptop glued to my lap.
But just now, I got a phone call from one of the languages schools that I applied to yesterday! And I've got an interview for next week!
However, I'm a little worried because she asked me right away if I had a car or a french driver's license and I had to reply "no" to both of those questions. So that might eventually count against me in some way.
This year I'm going to learn how to drive a manual car and I'm going to get a french driver's license. But, as long as I have no money, I'm not buying a car.

Christophe is away in Lyon taking his test. We won't know if he passes or not until next week. I'm trying not to stress about it but I know that he is. We'll just have to wait and see.

For the last day of work, I went with one of my schools to have a picnic in the park and to watch the kids play. It was a nice way to end the year. However, I was hoping to get a little something since afterall I was at the school for two years, but nope, nothing. Not even a card. Oh well, no use getting upset over it. But at one of my other schools where I had the demon classes, the other teachers went out a bought me a cute tunic! It was really sweet and I felt really appreciated for the work that I had done this year.
Tonight I have my one and only end of the year dinner at my troubled school and I'm really excited about going. I don't know if they will get me anything but if not, I don't mind. I enjoyed working at that school because the kids were really sweet, though it was difficult at times. I also got along really well with my co-workers.

So the question in, what am I going to do all month?? I need to be extremly frugal but I've already started spending more money that I should have.

Tomorrow if Christophe is up for it, we might go to a festival in Belfort called Les Eurockéennes. Every year this music festival is held for 3 days and ton of well known groups come from all over the world. If we go tomorrow, this is the line up: Cyprus Hill, The Prodigy, The Tings Tings, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Noisettes, and other groups.
NTM, the notorious french rap group was also supposed to be there Friday night, but Joey Starr, one of the rappers, got sent to prison.

The other nights, Saturday and Sunday, Kanye West and Slipnot will be performing. I'm not a big fan of them so I'd rather go Friday night. For more info, go to the official website: Here
Tickets are still on sale!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Not sure what the future will bring

Tomorrow is my last day of teaching. Don't get me wrong, I'm sad that it's ending but I'm happy as well. I'm ready to move on and find something else but I'm scared about what will happen afterwards. For the end of the year, one of my schools is having a picnic in the local park so I'll get to say goodbye to the kids and the teachers and probably drink a little wine while doing so.
In other news, I was contacted by another language school for an interview. So that could be a possibility as well. I hope that they'll actually have work for me!
The ad that I put in the newspaper didn't get me anywhere; no one contacted me. In this city, it's very hard to find individual students on your own. Most people contact schools to get their lessons.

Christophe's oral exam is this Wednesday and Thursday. We're both really nervous about it. If he passes then I don't have to worry as much about finding a job quickly and we'll know that he'll have a permanent job. If he doesn't pass, he's going to look for a job in another sector. After all of the hard work he put in this year, I really hope he'll be rewarded for it.

And finally, my dad told me yesterday that my poor cat has apparently disappeared. I swear my parent's home is cursed. This is the third cat that has disappeared in 15 years! We live near the woods and there are a lot of wild animals so I'm afraid that that's what happened. No more cats at that home, ever!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Interview

The interview finally happened this morning at the language school. The outcome was essentially that I was not assured to have a stable working condition this fall. I will most likely be teaching an intensive English course for secondary students at the end of August but as la Rentrée comes around, I'm not guaranteed work. They will call me when they need me but nothing contractual. They were completely honest with me and said if you work here, you can't make a living off of it. You will need to have a job elsewhere. So I'm basically back to the drawing board. My friend who works at the other language school I was applying to, just told me yesterday that she's being laid off so I guess I have no hope left there. I starting to get a little scared. But hey, there's always being a vacataire in the public school system right?? :(

When can I start a real job that I enjoy?

Oh and the soldes are starting today! I already stopped by a few stores including Galaries Lafayette and bought a couple of things for over 50 percent off! But I need to pay extra attention at the amount of money I spent now that I'm unemployed. Last thing to buy before I run out of money, a new pair of flats! The ones I wear now have a gigantic hole on the side and it's not very professional. For those readers in France, Bonnes soldes!

Monday, June 22, 2009

La Fête de la Musique!


Yesterday was June 21st, the first day of summer, which in France also means, the nation-wide festival of music in the streets! It's celebrated in every village, in every city of France to mark the shortest night of the year with music that lasts until 1 or 2 am!
All over the center of town there were groups of every kind of musical genre, each having a small crowd encircling them: reggae, rock, punk, hard core, jazz, techno, etc.
Of course, the night wasn't complete without drinking a couple beers and dancing in the street to loud booming techno music.
My ears are hurting a little this morning...

It's now officially summer! But why is it only 57° outside?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

8 days left

As the assistantship comes to a close, I'm getting more and more excited about my trip back to the states but becoming increasingly worried about my job situation this fall. Even though I did have a sort of interview last week at the language school, there was a little problem with the actual interview itself. The man did not show up because he was in a car accident. So we changed the interview date to sometime next week. I was hoping they would need people for July since I'm free all that month, but apparently they are looking for people moreso for August. *Problem!* I will be home for the whole month of August. However, I'm considering changing the date on my plane ticket to come back to France earlier in order to work. Since it's really well paid and I really need the money, it would probably be the smartest idea. I hope it's not too late to change my mind since I already told the woman that I wouldn't change my ticket.

However, that's only work for this summer. For the fall I still have no clue. I would rather not do the vacataire position but if I have no choice...

In terms of my masters, I think I finally have clear path. I want to try to get into an interpretation school. There are a few really good schools in France that I will apply to next spring. I think it's a job that I could be capable of doing, plus it's reasonably well paid and I wouldn't have to teach! But yes there is a catch, you need to know a third language. This was exactly my problem last year. For those who read my blog last fall, I was enrolled in school here and struggling with spanish classes that were waaaay too advanced for my beginner level. So, this year, I'm going to give Spanish another try. There is a two week intensive debutant course in July at this same language school where I might be working. Then in the fall, there are night classes available at the advanced level. I've started to review my vocabulary and phrases but I still don't know how to conjugate most verbs.

My goal for next year, 2010...start a masters program!

Friday, June 12, 2009

I'm PACSed!

Yay it's official! We went to the tribunal this morning, handed in our paperwork and were given our PACS certificate!! In addition, the man who processed everything was very very nice and gave us no problems whatsoever! It all went very smoothly. Two of our friends even met us afterwards to take pictures and throw confetti as we were walking out of the Palais de Justice. Last night when we went out for a drink they said they would come by this morning but we didn't know if they were kidding or not. They weren't! After the confetti throwing we went to get some champagne to celebrate at a local bar where we know the owner who is English. He knew about our PACSing and gave the champagne coupes to us for free! How nice of him! Then this afternoon, two out of three classes were cancelled so now I have the whole afternoon to myself. And finally tonight, Christophe and I are celebrating by going out to dinner! What a great Friday! :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What a headache

Before going to babysit today, I stopped over at the prefecture to ask for the specific documents that I would be to obtain the Carte de séjour Vie Privée Familiale. The woman at the welcome desk made me nervous because she told me that she didn't know if I would be able to change the card status or not. But then I thought to myself, no it wouldn't be her who would know. She then sent me to ask her colleague at étrangers sans rendez vous. The woman there asked me immediately how long I've been living with my boyfriend. I told her since May 2008 and she said that if I had proof to back it up then there would be no problem in getting this new card. However when making the appointment, the woman at the desk gave me a little attitude when I asked if we could schedule the rendez vous the earliest possible date. She said well since your card expires July 30th we don't need to rush. I made sure not to mention that I was hoping to find a job for July cause I guess that looks bad. But now I'm nervous about my legally working status here that the language school might not hire me. I guess i'll find out tomorrow when I have my interview. There are a beautiful pair of sling back shoes that I'm considering buying for the interview and for the PACS date. It's been sooo long since I've bought a nice pair of shoes. But 100 € seems a little cher... Should I or shouldn't I?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I've got an interview!!

After not hearing from either school for almost two weeks, I decided to take action into my own hands. Yesterday afternoon I wrote one of the schools an e-mail saying that I was still very interested in this job and that I wanted to know if they were still interested in my application. I got an almost immediate response back from them saying that they would like me to come in for an interview this week!! Now obviously, this doesn't mean that I'm hired but it's a good sign that they are at least considering me. I'm nervous that they might be hesitant in hiring me since I don't have the Carte de Sejour Vie Privée Familiale yet. I'm going to go to the prefecture this week and ask for the list of documents that I need to order to apply for it. I think they will give me a recipisee immediately if I am PACSed? right? I hope that it won't be a problem for them to hire me. I hope that by July I'll have the new carte de sejour. The Besançon prefecture seems to work fairly quickly. I'm a little nervous. But I'm excited either way!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Is the assistantship over yet?

I started the week off with another one of my bad schools, except the difference between this school and the other that I blogged about last time is that these kids are little wealthy, white bratty kids who think they can get away with anything. Thankfully I only have two classes with them on Monday and Tuesdays, but honestly, I'm so sick of these kids' bad behaviors that I'm ready to give them a two day evaluation and then finish up the year by giving them things to color and crossword puzzles to complete. I can't even do any games with them because they don't listen and they basically do what they want to do. I can't stand these kids.

Whooo...ok that's said. Sorry about that, I'm just frustrated and sick and tired of the same bullshit week after week. Thankfully theres only 2 1/2 weeks left!! which means 6 class sessions left with these brats.

In other news, this past weekend was very eventful. Obama came to France and was all over French TV. The journalists even stalked him during his visit to Paris and inquired what the president ordered at dinner! La crême brulée! Wow, how interesting....

I was also fairly busy. I was out everynight to dinner and had a fellow assistant over for dinner last night. I feel like I actually am starting to have a life!

Wednesday night I'll be out to dinner eating SUSHI with a french girlfriend!! I'm so excited! It's been ages since I've had sushi, especially since it's not a huge hit here in France.

And of course Friday is the big day!! We have our PACS rdv at 10am. I'm not quite sure what I should wear to an event like this. Jeans? A Dress? Dress Pants? I'll do my best and try to make myself look presentable. I still haven't told most of my friends and family back home that we're PACSing because no one really understands what it is. It's complicated and I figured that I'll tell them when I'm home for the summer. It'll be a little surprise.

Oh and I almost forgot to add, I still haven't been contacted by the schools for a job either for this summer or next fall. I just wrote an e-mail to one of the schools but I'm afraid that here in France they don't like the aggressive tactic like we do in America. They prefer that you wait and for them to contact you first. Oh well...it's a little too late.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Yay for the weekend!

Phew! I'm wiped out. I just came back from my difficult school and I'm like physically exhausted. I ended the day with a very behavioral challenged class. They are just not capable of being quiet or listening or being polite. It's really impressive, in a bad way. They are my class of CE2 and every time I have class with them, I feel like taking a nap afterwards. So punishments don't work, neither does threatening them with bad grades. They don't listen. So I tried to do something different. It worked pretty well the first two times and then today, the effect wore off. I told them that if they were good, I would give them a small gift at the end of class. I wanted to try positive reinforcement and it has worked better than any of my other methods. But today, they were not good so it just wasn't possible and I left without giving them anything. I feel bad but in a way, maybe that will make them think a little and the next class will be better. I mostly feel bad for the 3 kids that are actually good and listen and are good students. They are the ones getting hurt in this situation. I might give them something special at the end. But if the other kids find out, they might not be very nice to them. They are not at all nice within their group. The students in this school call each other horrible names and insult each other to the worst degree. It's very upsetting but in the end, what can I do about it? I just try to be the good, cheerful assistant. I think they all like me which makes me happy, and I know that some of them try harder in class because they like me. But it's not the case for everyone. I just hope that I made an impression on these kids and that they'll have some kind of future in front of them.


Oh and btw, I haven't followed my challenged as I had planned. I cut down on the internet to a degree, but I definitely wouldn't say I only spent between 30 -45 minutes online per day. I would say probably double or even trible that. Ok so I'm an addict, and I admit it. It's like having your coffee everyday, you need it to get through the day!

Monday, June 1, 2009

My Personal Challenge

Ok, I need to admit this to myself. I spend waaaay too much time online. I have a problem. I check my e-mail at least 15 times a day and go on facebook twice as much. Then I read blogs for about an hour, browse the New York times online, and look at masters programs and/or jobs for another couple hours. In other words, waay too much. Instead of contributing to my well being, this is driving me nuts! It stresses me out and makes me feel anxious about my job situation and everything else. The result, I feel unproductive and stressed. I have waay too many days off and I don't work enough hours in the day. I'm going to put myself up to the challenge.
30-45 minutes per day max until next Sunday! Yes, I can do it....can I?
I guess we'll find out.

However, I don't only spend my days online. I do other things as well. Yesterday I went to a Cave! It was called La Grotte d'Oisselle. I've never been inside a cave so it was extremly impressive. It was discovered over 500 years ago but it's thousands of years old! There are even traces of torches that were used during parties hundreds of years ago! Here are a few pictures:

Friday, May 29, 2009

Eventful week?

My day in Paris went according to plan this time. I was originally supposed to go on Tuesday but there was a train strike (comme d'habitude) and they canceled my train. Luckily since Thursday I only teach in the morning at one of my schools and I've only missed one day of class at that school, I decided to call out and push my ticket to Thursday. All in all, I worked two days this week. Today and one class on Monday (I'm not counting babysitting though which usually involves watching movies or playing online). I feel like I had another vacation. And I have only 4 weeks left of the assistantship!! I'm excited but at the same time very nervous. The school hasn't replied to me after I sent them my CV and cover letter. I'm afraid they didn't like what they saw. I also applied to another English language school here in Besançon. I have a friend who works there already so that could open the door for me.

Oh and the very good news!! Christophe passed the first part of his concours!! He was one of the few in his class who passed so I'm very proud of him. Now he needs to take the oral part next month. This is the most difficult part. He went to the oral last year but did not pass it. I think this year he is much more prepared she he'll have a better chance!

Ok back to my trip to Paris: My adventure at the US embassy wasn't as scary as I thought it would be, maybe because I'm a US citizen. I feel so bad for those who either want to travel or study in the US and are practically interrogated as to way they want to go. I understand that we are being overly cautious to protect our national security but maybe we could be a little more polite? But I guess being polite don't make people nervous and fumble into saying the wrong things. I did get slightly interrogated at the end when I went to pick up my certificat. What is this PACS, why are you doing it? etc. But in the end I got the official stamp and was good to go! I even had a few hours before my train left for Besançon so I went to the Halles and did a little shopping. There is a starbucks there so since it's been about a year since I've had starbucks, I treated myself to a 4,50€ iced caramel machiatto coffee. And it was delicious! I also bought a beach dress from H+M for 10€! Great deal!
Ok that's enough for now. If I have something more interesting to talk about other then what I bought then I'll post it. I wish everyone a bon weekend and à bientôt!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A job in sight?

I have a chance of being hired for a summer position at my former language school where I took French classes. Apparently they are keen on hiring anglophones as teachers even if they aren't certified in teaching English. I think I have a good chance of being hired at least for the summer because I have some experience teaching. I have a friend who worked there as well and she said that they would definitely hire me and according to her, they pay well! I have all of July with absoluetly nothing to do so I pray that I get this job!

In other news, I'm heading to Paris tomorrow to pick up my Certificat de Coutume in order to be Pacsed. Yes it's official! We'll be PACSed on June 12th! I can't wait. I don't know if we are going to have some kind of party or something. We talked about getting some champagne coupes in a bar possibly.

Everything seems to be falling into place. I was soo stressed before about what to do for the future. I didn't know where to live or what to do with my life. As long as I find a decent job for the fall, I'll be satisfied and I won't be too disapointed that we can't go to Paris right away. I know that I don't want to teach English forever, but I think that if I teach adults then I'll be much happier and I'll feel challenged. Plus, I won't have to be acting as "la police" everday in class. That's a French expression they use for disciplining and yelling at the students during class. I think it's pretty accurate.

Monday, May 25, 2009

It's Hot!

Wow, France is in the middle of having an extremely hot heat wave. For the past week it's been soo hot! Today it's up to almost 100 degrees in direct sunlight!! It's not even June yet. Thankfully tomorrow it will be must cooler, in the 60's. It was so hot that we even went swimming yesterday. I'm up for an early summer, but only if the fall doesn't come early as well...

I'm spending the afternoon in front of the fan, because when it's hot like this, you can't do anything.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A 54 ans, je suis trop émue par les ours

I came across this cry for help in an advice column this week in the magazine Version Femina. This might be mean on my part, but I find this really really funny. Here is the dilema:

A 54 ans, je suis trop émue par les ours:

Toute petite, j'ai toujours préferé les ours en peluche aux poupées. Aujourd'hui, j'ai 54 ans et j'aime toujours les ours, mais les vrais. Mon problème, ce sont les émotions que provoquent en moi les reportages à la télévision sur ces animaux. Quand je vois une maman ours et son petit, panda ou ours polaire, je pleure, je pleure...Je ne voudrais pas que mon mari ou mon fils me surprennent. J'ai honte d'être bouleversée et je me cache. Aidez-moi à comprendre ce qui m'arrive. Est-ce dû à la periode délicate de la cinquantaine.


I'm sorry, when I read this, I laughed, a lot. I apologize if I offended anyone with making fun of this woman's problem. I hope that she gets the help that she needs. :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I'm in love!

Who doesn't love a boy who makes me delicious strawberry tarts? I wish I could upload my picture that I took, but my camera is broken :(.

If you could see it, you'd be jealous :)

Comme je suis bête!

Ok, so I guess I got a little ahead of myself for the Paris dream. I should have known it's not as simple as one, two, three. After some thankful feedback from some follow expat bloggers, I realized that I can't just pack up my bags that quickly or that easily.
I'm just really anxious to begin a job that I enjoy, that I actually want to do and that I can excel in, and that most importantly, pays a decent salary. I've got student loans to start paying off very soon. I've already deferred them for 2 years now...
So again, I've made a decision lol. Paris will have to wait...for now. We've decided to keep the apartment in Besançon for a few more months. That way, we will know what Christophe will be doing in the fall, we'll be able to keep our residence commune, and I will be able to take advantage of my connections here. There is a possibility of being a vacataire in the secondary schools, which is a basically a sustitute for the English teachers in collège and lycée. Apparently it would pay about the same as the assistantship but I wouldn't be paid during the vacations. Hey, if it's only for a little while, I'll do it.

I'm also starting to panick about money. I'll have a salary until the end of June but afterwards I'll have no more source of income. I just asked the dad of the little girl that I babysit for if they would need me this summer and he gave me a pretty straight answer, "well the kids will be away at camp so we won't need you."
Shit, I really needed the extra money for July. I guess spending a week at the Mediterranean this summer is out of the question.. I wanted to have at least 2000€ saved for next year. It will be a lot less than that.

But I do have some good news, Aer Lingus is having a sale to the US this summer so I jumped right on that wagon. I'll officially be spending August back home in Connecticut! Yay! I bought a round trip ticket for 550€. Is that even possible to find airfare that low in the middle of the summer? If any readers out there are looking to go to the US from France (or even from Europe) the sale is going on until May 28th. Here's the site:
Aer Lingus USA sale from Europe

Well better get back to watching cartoons with the little girl. Thanks again to KSam for her helpful feedback.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Paris calling...?

I've been thinking long and hard about where I want to be when September rolls around this year. During the winter months, I think I went through a slight depression and maybe it was the election of Obama that gave me a newfound pride of being American, whatever it was, I was almost certain that I was going to go home next fall.
Since getting a job in France is sooo difficult and most of the time not very well paid, getting a good job back home would be a better idea. Furthermore, I'll have $20,000 worth of student loans to pay off starting in November. What am I going to do?
Obviously I miss my family and friends soo much, but I'll be home all this August so I'll have a month to catch up with everyone. I also have one of my friend's weddings to go to which I'm really excited about.
Ok so here's the decision: drum roll please.....

I'm moving to Paris! Ok yes, it's one of the most expensive places to live but it's also the city where all of the jobs are! I'm sick of teaching English so what other choice do I have if I want to stay here? Plus the idea sounds soo exciting!
Also, I say 'I' instead of 'We' because we still don't know about whether Christophe passed his concours or not. So the plan is basically, I'll be moving to Paris definietly and Christophe will either be starting his job as "professeur de lycée professionel" ou he'll be doing a formation to work in a restaurant and he'll be joining me later on.
Besançon is great and all, but there's just no job opportunities here, plus I'm ready for a change!

Christophe and I were thinking about either going back to the US or staying here. I had a hard time deciding. He said he would come with me back home if I wanted to go.

I made the decision to stay here instead of going home because I realized that I LOVE the french way of life. Who doesn't like 5 weeks of vacation per year? 2 hours for lunch at noon? Almost free health care? The fabulous food and wine? I'm sorry but I've come to love it here, I don't know if I'll ever be ever to live in the US again. Maybe one day. But the most important thing that the french do best: they enjoy life! They don't work themselves to death like us!

But the most obvious reason for why I'm staying is for Love, most importantly. I'm truly happy here with the life we have. Unfortunately money is a huge issue so this is why my mind is focused mainly towards working at the moment.

Monday, May 11, 2009

I love my neighbors (not!)

So since we've moved into this apartment, we've had nothing but problems with the neighbors. Whether its constant noise or gossiping or snubbing us when we say "bonjour", it's just not a good ambiance in this building. A great example of how unfriendly these people are happened yesterday morning.

Saturday night, we had a going away party for one of our friends who is going back home to South Africa. There were moments during the evening when we broke into song and laughed pretty loudly so I understand that we were not the most quiet of people. However, I made it a point to make everyone go out into town by midnight. That's reasonable right? I mean it was a Saturday night, no one here works Sundays, so they can sleep in the next day. That's what I thought but apparently not everyone thought that way. Bright and early at 8:30am the next morning (I had gone to bed at 3:30am) we get a taste of classical french music blasting on the other side of the wall, accordion and all. Our lovely elderly neighbor decided to take her revenge on us by blasting the music as loud as possible to wake us up. And it lasted for 2 hours!!! She then decided to demonstrate to us that she really wasn't happy by banging a few things against the wall and slamming the door several times. All at 8:30am on a Sunday morning. Me having a slight hang over the next day, I was not a happy camper at all.

What a miserable old hag. I can't wait to leave this apartment in July!

Has anyone else had any similar experiences with crabby neighbors?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Refused.

Ok so out of the 6 jobs I applied to, I finally got a reply from a university lectrice position in Beauvais.

Nous sommes au regret de devoir refuser votre candidature au poste de maître de langue à l'Université de Picardie Jules Verne.
En effet, la loi nous interdit d'embaucher comme maître de langue des personnes n'ayant pas obtenu un MA.
Nous vous souhaitons bon courage et bonne chance dans vos futures démarches.

Apparently they refused me because I don't have an MA but I do have a Bac +4 which is the equivalent of the french Masters 1. They probably just found someone more qualified than me..

But to be honest, I don't want to teach again next year so this doesn't make me too sad, but still I don't like being refused.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

My weekend in Paris


So the vacation is officially over *tear* and I've started work again. However, I'm only working 2 days this week, Tuesday and Thursday. Monday I missed class because our train got in at 10pm. I wasn't too sad about not going to my least favorite school where the kids are bratty as hell. The teachers were cool about me missing class. I offered to make up the classes later on but they said "no, don't worry about it." Ok I won't. Today, I don't work because the kids don't have school on Wednesdays and Friday I don't have class because its May 8th, the end of WWII. So it still feels like les vacances. I only have 7 weeks left of teaching and afterwards...??? I still have no idea. I applied to 5 jobs both here and back home and I've gotten no reply. I still haven't bought my plane ticket home for this summer. I just haven't got a clue what I'm doing. At least I've still got a couple months left. I hope something will eventually fall into place.

Ok back to the topic of this post. Paris was great! The weather was not horrible but not as nice as we had hoped. It was very cloudy (typical Parisian weather) and only about 15° C (about 55-60° F). It didn't rain thankfully but it was a little chilly. Among the highlights of our trip, we visited: Versailles (and waited 3 hours to buy our tickets!! which we didn't even need because we got in for free) Note to anyone wanting to visit Versailles: either buy your tickets early, or if you qualify for the free entrance, go wait in the other line which is much shorter). It was pretty much as I remembered it when I went in 2001. Although this time my pictures are much nicer thanks to the invention of the digital camera.

We also visited, the Musée d'Orsay, Les Invalides, took a boat ride on the seine at night!, and went to the top of the Eiffel Tower. All very typical tourist stuff but its always fun, even the second time around. 3 days is obviously not enough time to visit the city but it's enough time to get swollen feet and to be extremly fatigued.

Here are a few photos chosen out of a couple hundred!

Day 1: Versailles
Hall of Mirros

The Gardens of Versailles

Boat ride on the Seine!
The Tour Eiffle light up at night!

Day 2: Musée d'Orsay
Les Invalides (Napoleon's tombe)

Visiting the Tour Eiffel