Thursday, September 9, 2010

9 - 5

I was so tired after sitting around for a week doing nothing that I ambitiously found not only 1 but 2 jobs in one week. The first job was a server in a very up-scale restaurant in the next town over from me. Now, why I considered applying for this job, I have no idea. I always hated working in restaurants, not to mention that I'm a pathetic server. I thought maybe it could work because I had some knowledge of French cuisine and wine. Ha ha ha... So naturally I didn't last very long there. I worked Saturday and Sunday and by the second day I could already tell that I was impressing no one, especially the demanding owners. So, I decided hey, this isn't for me. I quit.
The second job is a little more to my taste. I found a temporary job in a bank doing administrative work. I'm already bored as hell and I miss my job as an English trainer a lot. I especially miss my co-workers. But I just need to keep telling myself "this is only temporary, I'll find something better".

Since I've been home, I've probably spoken French 5 times... I'm so afraid I'm going to lose my level. None of my friends speak French except the ones that I met abroad, but I don't talk to them on the phone that much. I'll just need to try to speak to my french friends as much as possible over skype. I also want to try to join Alliance Française but it doesn't seem all that active and it's also a little too senior... at least in my town. I'll just have to do my best to keep up my level. I just bought an awesome French dictionary that weighs about 5 pounds! I'm so excited!

After my 8 hour work day, I'm ready to go to bed. Goodnight.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The adventure begins

I decided that the week I returned back to the US would be dedicated primarily to spending time with my family and friends since it had in fact been about 8 months since I've seen everyone. After a nice weekend with some college friends for one of their birthdays, I decided that I should start working on some more serious things. I've already been skimming the classified ads and craigslist for job opportunities the past few days, especially in the DC area because...well I'm not sure why but there just seems something right about it. For those of you still in France, the media isn't lying. THERE ARE NO JOBS in the US. Well there are but, it's not the kind of jobs that young people with an expensive college degrees are looking to do. For example, working at starbucks or being a data entry clerk for $8 an hour. But hey, these are the times we live in and we have to make do with, right?
So I'm taking the bull by the horns and making the jobs come to me. I've placed an ad in the local newspaper to give French lessons (let's hope at least one person calls!) and I've made an appointment at a local staffing agency. They've gotta have something for me! I'm not becoming too impatient yet, obviously because it's only been about 10 days since I stepped off the plane on US soil, but because of the job I had this past year in France, it seems like I've been doing a whole lot of nothing for a long time. I hope this will be a fresh start for me and that moving back in with Mommy and Daddy wasn't a huge mistake even though I didn't really have a choice.
I'll check back when I have exciting news to report. That might be a while from now.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A new beginning.

As some of you have heard either from me personally or through facebook, I have moved back to the US. Even though I loved living in France for the past three years, my personal life didn't work out as well. I think everyone gets the gist, so anyway it's back to American life. Which means that this blog is going to take a different direction. It will be about looking back on my life in France and how my struggle adjusting to my new life in the US. I've moved back in with mom and dad and will be starting a tedious job search tedious search in this horrible economy. Let the adventure begin...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Volcano smoke disrupts European air travel

Ok, so how happy am I that I didn't get stuck in another country with no way of getting back home. Very happy! I know several people whose parents were visiting and are now either stuck in France or couldn't even come to visit in the first place. I could only imagine how upset and disappointed you would be in both cases. Luckily I was too poor to go anywhere for April vacation. And to make matters worse, the SNCF is still on strike so there are only a certain number of trains running. I don't think anything worse could happen, unless this volcano erupts for weeks on end. That's going to mess up many people's plans. I hope that it clears up soon. I've never seen anything like this!

Last week, my Australian friend finally made it to Besançon on Sunday and had to leave on Tuesday morning because I had to work all day on Tuesday. It was so great seeing her, especially after 4 years! It seemed like no time had gone by. Everything was still the same. We had a lot of great laughs remembering our time as students in France and the stupid things we did. It was really great seeing her. I tried to convince her to come back to France to be an assistant and she seemed pretty keen on the idea. So let's hope she'll do it! If not, I hope the next time I see her will be in Australia! I would absolutely LOVE to visit the country but there's always the small problem of finances. I've gotta start saving now, which will take a looong time since I don't even have enough money for a plane ticket home yet and it's already April! Thankfully I'm slowly getting some hours at work. Hopefully a few months I'll have enough money put away for some traveling expenses.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

the SNCF once again ruins my plans

I am finally on "congé" or holiday officially from work. Unfortunately for Christophe and I, our plans in Annecy have been canceled because of his work-load. That sucks because I was really looking forward to going but I guess it just wouldn't have been possible for him. But all is not lost because one of my friends from Australia, who I met while studying abroad in Besançon, is coming to visit this weekend! But unfortunately for us, the SNCF is once again, on strike. She was supposed to arrive today, but apparently there are no trains running to Besançon from Paris. So we have to put off our visit until tomorrow. Hopefully, she'll be arriving tomorrow and staying until Tuesday morning. What sucks again is that I leave at 6:30am Tuesday morning to go to work all day so we can't even have a goodbye breakfast in the morning.
Ok so here goes my rant...I'm all for people expressing their rights to strike in order to secure their jobs or to get what they think they deserve, but when you abuse that right by striking all the time! (this is the 3rd strike this year alone!) and when you directly fuck everyone over for their vacation plans, I'm sorry but maybe find a different way of expressing your anger instead of canceling trains!!! I don't know how many thousands of people are inconvenienced by these strikes but if this happened to me all the time I think I would go mad. So everyone cross your fingers that all goes smoothly for tomorrow. I'll be so disappointed if I don't get to see my friend after 4 years of not seeing each other and getting to have a long conversation about our semester abroad. So cross your fingers everyone that the SNCF will "sortir les doigts du cul" and get back to work!

Friday, March 19, 2010

It's finally Spring!

This is the first day in such a long time that is sun is shinning bright and temperatures are in the 60's!!!! Thankfully for me, I don't have to work today so I can spend the day with my puppy!! (I did the same thing yesterday even though I had one class). What a difference the weather makes. But hours are picking up at work. This week I was sent to Morteau to teach 8 hours of class. It's a very beautiful village that is not far from Switzerland (thus very expensive). There is a sausage named after this village that is eaten by all Franc-comptois in the Franche comté region.

In a few weeks, our zone will be on April Vacation! Christophe and I will be spending 4 days in Annecy!! We've been wanting to visit this city for a long time and we are finally going. I can't wait to post pictures. Unfortunately since money has been tight lately, we couldn't go abroad during the vacation. Maybe next time. Anyway, just a quick update!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Dum dum dum...

3 weeks in a row I've worked only 12 hours per week.....
I'm starting to go insane. You would think with all of the free time that I have that I would try to be productive. I've alway wanted to learn Spanish so this would be the perfect time to work on my vocabulary and listening comprehension, right? Have I done
Hey, this could also be a good time to work on my artistic side and do some drawings or write a story or something....have I done this? NO!
Or I could be making phone calls to schedule appointments, you know, important stuff that I should be doing but am not.
How is it possible that the more free time I have, the less motivated I am to do anything??!!
I could also be looking into masters programs as I've always wanted to do a masters. But I've kinda dropped that idea unfortunately because I would have no money to live on unless I worked at the same time which is apparently very rare in France and I don't feel the need to accumulate a huge debt to add on to my already $17,000 from college in the states.

I'm officially in the middle of my blah period. It always occurs between January - April. Not to say that I'm super productive the rest of the year but my attitude is definitely different.
But ok, I have good news. They are giving me 8 new hours next week in a company located in the Haut-doubs, a mountainous area about an hour away from Besançon. This will work out fine, as long as it doesn't snow because apparently it can be pretty dangerous traveling to this area. Great. So spring is just around the corner right? Apparently not because I saw on the weather
forecast today that it's going to snow this weekend and possibly next week :( WWHHYYY?

I guess it will be an...adventure? But hours are starting to come in slowly. (and when I say slowly I mean slowly!) Ok sorry just have to rant a little. It's very frustrating when you don't have work to do and especially when everyone else around you is very busy!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

La Citadelle

The Citadelle is probably Besançon's most famous landmark. The center of Besançon is surrounded by the Doubs river which forms the city into a "boucle" or a loop. The Citadelle is situated on a hill that separates the joining of the river. It's natural form created a strategic protection against invading neighbors. Julius Caesar, himself, commented on Besançon's shape in 58 BC:
" ... the river Doubs surrounds almost the entire town, as though traced with a compass. …the gap left by the river, no more than sixteen hundred feet wide, is closed by a high mountain in such a way that both its sides touch the river banks. A wall encloses the mountain, turning it into a citadel and connects it with the town". He made these observations during the Gallic Wars. At first a temple was built on the hall during the Roman empire. The ruins remained until the construction of the present day Citadelle int he 17th century.

When Louis XIV took over the Franche Comté region, he commissioned Vauban, the reknown architect at the time, to fortify the city against invaders. The possession of Besançon was juggled between Louis XIV and the Spaniards during the construction of the Citadelle. Besançon finally became a part of France in the late 17th century. After 30 years of collective work of all of the city's habitants to build the immense fort, construction was finally completed in 1711.

For the years to come, the Citadelle was used as a fortess, barracks, and even a prison during the wars to come: the Franco-Prussian War, the French Revolution, WWI and WWII.

During the Second World War, the Nazis occupied Besançon and took control of the Citadelle. It was used as an area for executing the resistants of Nazi occupation in the city.
In 1944, the Americans took control of the Citadelle and returned it to the French. The French Army then took over until 1953 when they gave it up to the city of Besançon. Since, it has become a museum.

Inside the Citadelle, there are a number of different museums and sites to see including:

- A Vauban exhibit
-Natural History Museum
-A Zoo which includes animals such as: monkeys, lions, kangaroos and more!
-The Resistance Museum (not for young children)

Having visited the Citadelle many times, it's always a joy to return to visit all of the museums and sites again and again. There's always something new to learn and to visit because there is so much history. My personal favorite site is the Resistance museum. Although it is very graphic, there are many photos, letters, and several objects and possessions of the Nazis and the Jewish prisoners dating from the war. It's very well put together and it brings out a lot of emotions.

Visit the official website to learn more about the Citadel.

(Thanks to the official Citadel website and to Wikipedia for the facts)
(Photo taken from the web)

Monday, February 22, 2010


For the past 3 weeks I've been working an average of 11 hours per week. This work schedule isn't too much different from when I was an assistant, which in other words means that I have too much free time and not enough things to do to keep me occupied . Ok it's nice that I got to spend time with Christophe who was on vacation for the past two weeks and to spend time with the puppy instead of leaving him alone for a few hours at a time. But this is getting ridiculous. I'm waiting on a few classes to start but until then, I'll be twiddling my thumbs, watching the same music videos on Virigin 17 again and again and glancing outside to see how crappy the weather is. The weekend I've been keeping busy and taking the puppy out for long walks and seeing friends. Yesterday we finally had a sunny, cool day in Besançon. Naturally everyone went outside to take the weekly "promenade de dimanche". I wish I just had some large amount of money set aside so that I could go away for a week to Florida or some other warm destination. I hate this weather. I don't know if I can live my whole life in this kind of climate. A tropical island might be my destiny.
I know that I could come up with several different projects to work on but when I have this much free time, the time just seems to drag on and I'm not motivated to do anything. And as I'm not working a lot, the next month's paycheck will be itty bitty so I need to be careful about what I do.
My father suggested that I write about the history of Besançon and about the sites here. It's an obvious idea but I just never did it before. Not only will this be good for readers who would like to know more about this city but it will give me something to do! So for next time, I'll have something posted about this wonderful city!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Joyeux Saint Valentin!

It's Valentine's Day in France! I can't say that this holiday is any different than in the US. Restaurants are packed, stores are decorated with red and pink paper hearts, and boyfriends give roses and gifts to their girlfriends. Most french couples celebrate this holiday (to my knowledge) but there are many cynical couples who decide not to celebrate because it's a made-up, commercialized holiday. Christophe and I decided to semi-celebrate the holiday. We went out to eat at a Chinese buffet last night (yum!) and invested in some new dishes for when guests come to eat at our place. Yay, no more sad looking plates.

In other news, I don't have a lot of hours this month at work so my paycheck will be looking pretty sad. BUT, I just bought myself a cute little agenda to write all of my hours and weekly plans in. I have a little obsession with being organized and a small thing like this makes me happy. I'll just have to fill in my free time with other activities.

And winter is not coming to an end any time soon in France so I might as well try to make the best of it. The puppy is helping me get my butt out of the apartment and we've been taking long walks in the snow. This week I'm going to try to get to the pool and get back to salsa classes. I know, I've been saying that a lot but I'm really going to try this week. Hopefully my agenda will help to motivate me. If it's written down, I'll have to do it!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

InterNations: Community for Expats

I want to promote a new website called InterNations. This is a great website that connects expats from all of the world. You are able to meet other expats in your community, learn about local events and even ask question in your specific regional forum. I've just signed up for the Strasbourg community since I live fairly close and I'm hoping to meet other expats in the area. This site is designed much like Facebook and easy to navigate. I recommend it to anyone who would like to network and meet expats in their area!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

La Percée: Part 2

We had a great time at la Percée yesterday! The only negative thing was that it was a little too cold to be drinking outside for 6 hours straight, but hey, that's the tradition. When you pay your entrance ticket, you receive a wine glass and 10 "dégustation" tickets. With these tickets you can try different types of wine including Macvin, "Arbois Savignon (delicious!), Vin Jaune, Crémant, and other types of regional wines. I wasn't too upset about not being able to finish my tickets because I remember the feeling the day after from last year. Christophe is experiencing it now. He's got a huge headache and he's still in bed. I'm not too upset that I volunteered to drive. I still got to taste a lot of wine but instead of going crazy, I drank slowly. Here's a few pictures to recount the day.

Inside one of the wine caves waiting to be served

Poligny: look at all those drunk people!

Delicious Escargots! mmm!

Santé! Cheers!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

La Percée du Vin Jaune

It's that time of year again. Everyone in Besançon and in the Franche comté are talking about it. It's the Percée du Vin Jaune and this year it's located in Poligny in the Jura where Christophe teaches!
This is the annual festival where everyone drinks great wine until they can't stand up any longer. What a great tradition. Thankfully the organizers have thought about a small danger called drunk driving and have organized several trains that will directly go to and from the event. Unfortunately for us the last train available leaves Besançon at 9am we arrive in Poligny at 10. and the caves don't even open until 12! I have volunteered to the be the DD (designated driver) but I'm sure i'll regret it when everyone around me will have a happy buzz. I remember last year, after 3 hours my feet were so cold that I couldn't feel my toes anymore. I don't think I'll need to stay outside for more than 4 or 5 hours. That should do it. Plus one of our friends is doing us a huge favor and watching the puppy. I was thinking of bringing him along but I don't think he's ready to be in the middle of thousands of people. It will probably overwhelm him. Plus he still runs up to every person he sees. I would never be able to lift the glass up to my lips to taste because I'd be holding him back from jumping on people.

Not only is there great wine but there is delicious regional food as well! I'll have to be careful and not overdue it with the food as I tend to do. I love eating! There's nothing better than a great glass of Arbois with some comté and morteau sausage with potatoes. Yuumm. I'll be sure to post pictures when I come back on Sunday!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

It's my 100th post!

So this is my 100th post! I can't believe that I've been blogging for about 2 years now. I can't even remember when I started but it was when I first moved to France and I was feeling very lost and had a lot of anxiety about living here. Over time I finally settled in and realized how much I loved it here. As I was talking with some friends earlier, none of us would have ever thought that we'd be living in France 10 years from then. Looking back at myself in high school, I could have never imagined it. I have to be honest and say that I'm very happy with everything right now. I have everything that I could ever want: a great boyfriend, an adorable puppy, a nice apartment, a good job, good health. I realize that I'm very lucky. Even though teaching English was never my dream job, I'm happy with what I'm doing now. And I'm especially happy that I have time to do things that I want to do, which I probably wouldn't have if I was living in the US. I couldn't imagine working 40+ hours per week and having no time to relax to travel for a week or two at a time. It's possible of course but much more difficult.
I'm really happy that we decided to adopt a dog as well. Of course it's not easy but it's such a great feeling when he wants to be next to you and to give you lots of love and attention. My work schedule is the reason why we could adopt the dog. If I worked a normal schedule, it would have been difficult and probably not even possible. Thankfully France is a dog friendly country. Something, that the US is definitely not. I can't wait until the weather gets warmer and we can take trips around the region with the little guy. I love going hiking and discovering old ruins or historic areas. Guess I'll have to wait a few more months...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Winter blues...

This past week has been an interesting transition from life without puppy to life with puppy and it's very different. I'm not longer able to sleep in past 7am and life revolves around the dog. He's growing so fast too! He'll be fully grown before I know it.
Work is pretty slow lately, I haven't got many hours so it's good because I get to spend more time with the puppy but bad for my wallet. I hope that February will be better. I'm ready for spring to come. I'm already so sick of the winter weather. I'm not being very productive outside of work. Comme d'hab. I was hoping to start a regular exercise routine. I'm going to start going back to salsa classes on Wednesday and hopefully go to the pool on the weekends. And besides that, the only other project is to train the dog to make sure that he's well behaved when he'll be an adult. I'm trying to be strict with him as much as possible. He's a really good dog and he's starting to listen to me when I tell him 'no' and I've taught him 'assis' or 'sit'. I want to teach him both french and english commands. I'll probably starting enrolling him in obedience classes since I have no experience with training dogs. That'll be my project for the winter. I want to start reading more too. I just want to keep busy this winter so that I won't get depressed like every year.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The new member of the family

Say hello to Ethan! He loves people and he certainly loves you! Read my other blog about raising him:

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Honestly snow, F*** off!

I hate winter. It makes me depressed, I don't feel like leaving the apartment, and I become antisocial. And to make things worse, it's been snowing non-stop for a week! Please someone make it stop! I'm hoping that in a few weeks that the weather will become warmer (because every winter there seems to be a trend of heavy snow and then a week or two after there is spring-like weather that appears out of nowhere.) Well, I'm hoping for the freak, out of nowhere weather. And to make things even more worse, I'm working fewer hours this month because many of my classes are ending so I'll have a lot of free time, and I'll be getting a lighter pay check at the end of the month...
But let's recap the weekend to change the subject!
Ok I asked for opinions about getting a puppy from several people including readers, family and friends and I think the unanimious answer was to wait a little longer. So, even though I considered your advice and thanks so much for it... I didn't listen. We're getting the puppy! On Saturday we visited a breeder who was only 10 minutes away from the wedding we were going to that night. I had contacted the breeder last week, telling her a little about us and what kind of dog we were looking for. Apparently she has a puppy that is really to leave the nest, who is about 10 weeks old and is looking for a home. So Christophe and I stopped by her home to visit the little guy, and I think both of our hearts melted when we saw him. He was soo tiny and cute, just the sweetest little thing you've ever seen and he loved attention. He wasn't shy or scared of us which was a good sign, and he seemed to be very comfortable in our presence. I think he'll be a perfect fit for our lives. We'll be picking him up either next weekend or the weekend after. I know it might seem rushed but don't worry y'all I've been preparing to have a puppy for a long time and I know that I'm ready. I was just waiting for the "yes" from Christophe. And we won't be in this apartment forever. The good news is that by the time we move, he'll be potty trained (hopefully!) and we can find a much bigger apartment for all of us.

As for our money situation... We have one fonctionnaire in this house which means a guaranteed monthly salary, plus my salary and I usually do pretty well. We'll be able to provide everything this little guy needs! I'm so excited :)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Ring in the New Year 2010!

Happy New Year everyone! Unfortunately for me there was absolutely no celebration for the New year because our airline didn't think it was important to wish us a Happy New Year, nor give us a small glass of champagne. Yes, we "celebrated" the new year on the airplane coming back to France. I was really disappointed that I didn't get to celebrate the beginning of the new decade but oh well, we can't have cheap plane tickets and have an awesome New Year's eve party at the same time I guess right?
I'm going back to work today and trying to get over my jet lag. I think I fell asleep around 4am last night (10pm US east coast time) but I finally dragged myself out of bed at 9:30 this morning.
Spending Christmas at home this year was great! I was really happy to be able to share our Christmas traditions with Christophe (it was his first American Christmas). We stuffed ourselves a little too much though over there (restaurants, greasy food..too much food!) and since we've been back, we haven't been all that hungry. It was so nice to see my friends too even though it was kinda short. I was really happy to be able to come home this year and spend the holidays with my family. Christmas isn't the same without them.

So that puppy I've been wanting, I've been begging and making the poutty face and last night Christophe finally cracked. He said that we could get a dog!!! But now that he actually said yes, I'm really imagining the dog in our small apartment. Since I don't work full time, I have plenty of time to take it for walks and to train it but now I'm a little nervous. I've been wanting a dog for years and now that it's actually possible I'm putting the reality into my imagination. It'll also be my first dog. I know that the best place for a dog is a house with a yard but we're going to be moving around a lot because of Christophe's placement so we wouldn't be able to get a house for a while. But what do all of you think, especially those of you who have dog or have owned a dog in the past? I will be the only one taking care of the dog until the summer because Christophe won't have time for it and our apartment is a little small but if I have the time and the motivation to get this dog, should I still get it? It's all I've been thinking about for months and I really think I'm ready. Here's my future puppy (hopefully):

(Image taken from The Daily Puppy)

Isn't he adorable. So give me your feedback, considering our situation, is this the right time to get a puppy?