70 entries from srah blah blah tagged with 'france':


Interview time III: Revenge of the Interview

These questions are from Bob: - Do you know how this thing works? (it animates, be patient!) Um, I've actually seen it somewhere else this week, with an explanation and everything. However, all of my surfing tends to blend together after a while, so that I can't remember where I found things. It has something to do with the way they're staggered - that they are separated vertically such that a little rearranging creates a whole new person out of the body parts of others. Yesh. - You seem easily annoyable. What annoys you the most? Oh no! Is that...

srah - Saturday, 23 April 2005 - 11:37 PM
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SWF returns to America

Likes: Being able to get a teacup, heat up water and take milk out of refrigerator all in the same room; DVD selection; free refills in restaurants; having a radio/tape player in the car; not having to get gas/petrol every time one goes out; not having to slam on the brake pedal to stop. Dislikes: Accidentally slamming on the brake pedal to stop; Olympic basketball on TV; jet lag; unpacking; all signage exclusively in English; lack of widespread text-messaging culture; RONALD FREAKING MCDONALD ON THE FREAKING TELEVISION DIE CLOWN DIE....

srah - Saturday, 28 August 2004 - 11:15 AM
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First instance of culture shock

WHY is there so much water in the toilet tank???? And WHY am I awake?...

srah - Thursday, 26 August 2004 - 6:24 AM
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'Dave, please prepare for landing.'

I got to France on the anniversary of the D-Day invasion and am leaving on the day of the liberation of Paris. I'll be a bit sad to miss all of the television specials, actually. Got up in the morning, had breakfast, took a taxi to the RER, took the RER to Charles de Gaulle, stood in lines, went through security, stood in lines, got to the gate, stood in lines, sat around forever. No telephones and only one place to get food - where a bottle of iced tea cost 3,15€. Not bloody likely!* Got on the plane and...

srah - Wednesday, 25 August 2004 - 10:16 PM
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'This is a castle. And we have many tapestries. But if you are a Scottish lord, then I am Mickey Mouse!'

I think I slept in this morning. We hadn't set a waking-up time, but Jez was ready before I was. We had breakfast (a whole pot of tea for me!) and set off for Loches. Loches is the next sizeable town to St Cyran, so Jez was familiar with the Château de Loches, which is not a big, well-known tourist destination. We walked through the Saturday market and up into the walls of the old part of the city. When we bought our tickets, the ticket-seller saw my magnetic-strip credit card (as opposed to the chip that lots of European...

srah - Saturday, 17 July 2004 - 9:34 PM
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'Have you fed the fish today?'

The weather was unusually warm and sunny all weekend. I've been layering jackets over sweaters over long-sleeved shirts for weeks now, but we had a brief respite this weekend where it was warm - maybe even hot - for hours at a time. It was a very nice atmosphere for a weekend of castling with Jez, who came down to visit and invited me to stay with his family. Jez called me when he left his parents' house, so I got my stuff together and took advantage of the sunshine to sit in front of the abbey and read my...

srah - Friday, 16 July 2004 - 5:37 PM
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I love Paris in the summer when it drizzles and is about 50°F and I don't have my raincoat on...

Becky and I set the alarm to go off at 9:30, but I woke up at 9 and the sun was out and I was covered in too many blankets and my clothes desperately needed to be folded. Who knows? I'd only had 5 hours of sleep, so it almost makes sense that I fell out of bed and started folding all of my new clothes. Becky and I showered and dressed and left the hotel by 10am. First destination: Um, it's a secret. Uh, I mean... nowhere. We didn't go anywhere at all. Well, okay... Starbucks. Okay? Fine! We...

srah - Sunday, 4 July 2004 - 4:35 PM
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'Ze fast and ze furious!'

Now that I'm sober, I can tell you about last night's meal in more detail, without the danger that reviewing it bloggily would cause me to review it vomitally. Becky and I went to the nice restaurant in town, sort of on a whim, after discussing how much we both like food. Becky told me that although she'd never been there, she'd heard that they don't like Americans, so we had to be on our best behavior and I had to do all of the talking because we'd have to speak French. We went in and asked for a table...

srah - Friday, 25 June 2004 - 4:05 AM
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Picka Frenchatoni

Last time I came to France, I played Spot the American. I'm now, on the plane, involved in a simplified version of the game called French or American? I suck! This should not be harder than Spot the American, but so far none of my guesses have proven to be correct. David Sedaris, in his infinite wisdom, points out that you should be able to tell by the shoes. Hate to disappoint, David, but this planefull seems to have had a mutual footwear-swapping orgy, or else I'm just hopelessly out of touch with modern French and American fashion trends. Um......

srah - Sunday, 6 June 2004 - 7:47 PM
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L'ennui du globe-trotter

I am currently applying for two different internships in France (and another in Brussels, although I haven't heard back from them at all in the week since I sent my resumé). I almost started crying just now, listening to Jean-Jacques Goldman and thinking about my possible arrival in Paris this May or so. Why do I ache for France when I'm home and long for home when I'm in France? When I'm in France, I tell myself I could never spend my whole life there, but when I'm in the US, I realize I could never spend my whole life...

srah - Monday, 15 March 2004 - 9:28 PM
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Bise me not

A friend of my sister had to interview me for her French class. Ooo-ee, I am so important. So I figured I might as well post my answers here as well. 1. What is the primary difference you found when teaching in France? I've never taught in the US, so I can't be sure of any differences between the two systems. I think that the American system is more coddling, but the French system is less supportive of the students. 2. Where in France did you teach? I taught in a technical/professional high school in Cusset, a small town just...

srah - Wednesday, 29 October 2003 - 2:31 AM
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What a girl misses

Katie has been posting what she misses and doesn't miss from France. My unexhaustive lists (in no particular order): Things I miss about France - speaking French - family and friends - public transportation - the French - baguettes - cheese - other foods - being hit on by strange men even when I feel skanky and unshowered - menthes à l'eau - Nestea pêche - French radio - walking - packaging printed in multiple languages - text-messaging - mountains - being foreign - the salad dressing - the pace of life - perfume - musical cell phone rings -...

srah - Saturday, 11 October 2003 - 9:22 AM
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She certainly can can-can

Robin has somehow found herself pet-sitting a total of five dogs and nine cats this week and I often get dragged along. I'm afraid of two of the dogs in one of the houses, so she relegates me to the basement with the other one and Max and I watch the International Channel. Last night the coverage was subtitled French news. I was aware that there had been a heat wave in France and that people had been suffering and even dying, but I hadn't realized how serious it was. According to what I was watching, the estimations are that...

srah - Friday, 22 August 2003 - 2:16 PM
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A letter to France

Depuis que je suis loin de toi Je suis comme loin de moi Et je pense à toi tout bas Tu es à six heures de moi Je suis à des années de toi C'est ça être là-bas. - Michel Polnareff, Lettre à France...

srah - Friday, 8 August 2003 - 1:15 PM
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Would you like some Fourme d'Ambert with that St-Pourçain?

Before I left for Grenoble, I would tell people I was going to live in France for a year, and they would inform me that I was going to return full of valuable knowledge about wine and cheese. I did eat some cheese and drink some wine during the year, but not huge amounts of either. I never knew what I was eating or drinking because it was whatever was in the bottle or the cheese box at my host family's house, and it didn't make much difference to me. I found a cheese or two that I liked and...

srah - Friday, 8 August 2003 - 10:17 AM
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Pay no attention to that girl behind the weblog

Upon further reflection, maybe I'm just hitting my normal post-France mal du pays a bit late and being overdramatic....

srah - Thursday, 10 July 2003 - 4:07 PM
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I love hPaaahriss

Becky called me to the TV because Audrey Tautou was on The View, hawking Dirty Pretty Things. I would be frightened out of my mind to go on a French talk show, surrounded by people whipping questions at me, but she did quite well. I suppose they prepared her before the show, with the questions that were going to be asked. I love the way French people pronounce Paris when they are speaking English. The P isn't as explosive as ours - it's closer to our B. Then there's a soft ahhh instead of our ayyyyy, and a short ee...

srah - Wednesday, 9 July 2003 - 12:05 PM
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Si j'avais une baguette magique, j'aurais une baguette de pain

Yeah. Si + imparfait... conditionnel. I like the "si" rules. They make sense to me. Why can't you get a decent baguette in the United States? Is there something in the baguette-making process that is not up to American hygiene standards? Are the ingredients different? Are there ingredients in a baguette that are too expensive over here to make it economically feasible? Do they think it's not worth the bother to make bread that won't last more than one day? American baguettes, sometimes also known as "French bread", are not baguettes. They are a loaf of Wonder bread that somehow...

srah - Thursday, 26 June 2003 - 9:12 AM
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Le tabagisme

Seven years ago, when I went to France for the first time, I remember being concerned about the French people's smoking habits. Since my grandpa quit, I didn't know anyone who smoked and I found it a disgusting, repulsive thing to do. I was filled with disdain for smokers and swore I would never be friends with anyone who did such a thing. I remember being scared that I would be peer-pressured to try it (having never been peer pressured into anything by my very geeky and well-behaved American friends) or that people would (gasp!) smoke around me. And smoke...

srah - Friday, 6 June 2003 - 2:00 PM
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Subtitles ahoy!

Sophie and I are hoping that the Nice People will get frustrated with their shortcomings in French (the presenters are already making fun of them for misgendering things and saying someone has nice horses instead of hair) and revert to English, a language they have probably all been studying for longer and know better. Not because we are great fans of English or Watching Subtitled TV or anything, but just because all that extra subtitling work would somehow teach TF1 a lesson. Live broadcasts will be interesting, if they find several languages to communicate in. Translators, start your typing! I...

srah - Sunday, 27 April 2003 - 12:57 PM
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I hate Paris in the springtime

"Don't worry," said the conductor. "Forty minutes is plenty of time to cross Paris and exchange your ticket. Take the RER line D and you'll be there in 15 minutes." Very true, except when it takes 15 minutes to get from your train to the RER and you have to wait 10 minutes for the next RER train. Then it takes more like... 40 minutes to cross Paris. Luckily I had been forced to pay an arm and a leg for a Full Tarif ticket which ended up being exchangeable for a ticket 5€ cheaper for a train an hour...

srah - Sunday, 27 April 2003 - 12:51 PM
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More complaints about transportation

It amuses me, in a frustratedly amusèd way, that I can make the trip from Grenoble to Brussels in about the same amount of time it takes to get from Grenoble to Vichy. It all has something to do with the relief of the Massif Central, says the SNCF. Excuses, excuses... all I know is I'm lucky to be in Vichy rather than Aurillac, which is six hours from Paris......

srah - Sunday, 27 April 2003 - 10:27 AM
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Shortbread depresses me

When I lived in Grenoble, I never stopped being amused by France and the French and Europe in general. I think the difference is that I have accepted and adapted to a lot more this time, rather than being amused and staying on the surface. I lived with things and was amused by them in Grenoble, but went back to my "normal" life in the USA afterwards. Now it feels like this is the normal life and I will actually have to readjust to my own country. My concern is that I will find it boring and bland and will...

srah - Tuesday, 22 April 2003 - 4:23 AM
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Undisputable fact o' the day

American sauerkraut and French choucroute are like chalk and cheese. That is to say, one is inedible and the other is delicious and French. Pass the Riesling, please....

srah - Saturday, 12 April 2003 - 7:35 AM
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Foutez-moi la paix!

It's a shame that young people today living in apartments can't have a little party without the cranky neighbors getting upset and writing angry diatribes about the little fuckers in their blogs. Go to sleep, dammit, and stop leaving the door to my apartment building wide open in the middle of the night. This is what happens when you let young people rent apartments. Damned rabble. Go home....

srah - Friday, 11 April 2003 - 5:23 PM
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A la pharmacie

I don't know what it's like at a pharmacy/chemist's in England or Sweden or Jamaica or Australia or wherever else you're reading from, but American pharmacies tend to be quite discreet. If you have diarrhea, you skulk over to the diarrhea section, snatch something off the shelf, based on your own specific symptoms and needs, edge over to the cashier, pay, and run away. With prescription medicines, you hand your paper to the man behind the counter, he gives you an unidentifiable bottle, you pay for your Viagra, and leave. In France, however (and in Chile as well), to get...

srah - Saturday, 5 April 2003 - 6:20 AM
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It is at times like this that I wish my camera was digital

Or is it were digital? I started my 10:00 class with a whopping four students and was explaining the rules of the game we were going to play, when I was interrupted by an invasion. Hundreds of students from neighboring high schools descended on Valéry Larbaud to encourage them to join in their "strike for peace". My students watched out the window and we talked about how, de toutes les façons, ça sert à rien to go on a strike for peace in France, which is not even at war. George Bush is not going to suddenly change positions after...

srah - Thursday, 27 March 2003 - 5:28 AM
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Fiddle-dee-dee!

The latest big-scale musical comedy extravaganza in France is Autant en Emporte le Vent. I don't know yet what the show itself is like, but judging from the soundtrack, it seems to have been written by a French person with a vague idea of the causes of the Civil War, who saw Gone With the Wind once while very drunk. There seems to be a good deal of emphasis on slavery and slave revolt and the slaves' desire to be treated as human beings. I myself don't remember slavery being much of an issue in the movie, except that when...

srah - Tuesday, 25 March 2003 - 2:40 AM
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Buy French

"I'm buying this because it's French." I would do so myself to make a point, but I don't think it would make much of an impact, given the circumstances. So instead I have to encourage you, the reader. Ignore all this ridiculous boycott nonsense and go out and try some Nutella, Cantal, Côtes du Rhone, or Evian, eat some Dannon yogurt or put some Michelin tires on your car. Tell them srah sent you and stand back and watch as they are... unimpressed....

srah - Sunday, 16 March 2003 - 10:12 AM
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Olé!

I like milk in my tea. In England, this seems to be the norm and I didn't even have to ask for the milk. I love you, England. In France, thé au lait is a bit more unusual, but still understood. Sometimes one has to put up with waiters' jokes about "Spanish tea" (thé olé!). In the United States, tea with milk is rather strange. Waiters are always forgetting the milk and my friends look aghast. Milk?! In tea?! Is that any good? In Chile, té con leche is an order made by mutants and can result in anything from...

srah - Sunday, 16 March 2003 - 4:02 AM
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Admirateur obsessionnel

Um, yup. I was being dragued. Much as I gave Dave the benefit of the doubt, it is quite evident that I was being dragued. I met him at the mailbox on Saturday. He introduced himself as my new neighbor and we made small talk as best you can when one of you doesn't understand half of what the other is saying. Then today I had the window open in my ground-floor apartment so when he came to get his mail, he started talking to me through it. I was a bit annoyed because I couldn't have privacy and not...

srah - Monday, 10 March 2003 - 5:18 PM
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Hooray for socialism!

Although one might grumble occasionally about receiving 750€ after taxes on one's 950€ monthly salary, one learns to accept it. One might apply for aide au logement on a whim to see if one is eligible for anything worthwhile. It is thus quite exciting when one discovers that not only will one receive monthly payments of an amount sufficient to refund all but 9€ of one's rent, but that one will also be reimbursed for all of the months before one got around to applying. One is rich! One may not have to prostitute oneself to pay for grad school...

srah - Tuesday, 11 February 2003 - 4:38 AM
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French or Foe?

The French have a stereotype of being rude, but I bet the basis for this is the previously mentioned lack of professional responsibility. The French don't admit that they're at fault or that they're wrong, which comes off, as an American, as arrogance. Really what the French person wants you to do is have a debate with him or agree to disagree, but an American will look for him to eventually shoulder the blame. Nuh-uh. Keep looking. Polly Platt, how we miss thee....

srah - Monday, 10 February 2003 - 6:15 AM
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Casse-toi - tu pues - et marche à l'ombre

Normally I dismiss as empty stereotype the idea of the smelly French person. I assume it comes from tourists who have happened to run into a lot of clochards in the Paris Metro and does not apply to the general population. AND YET someone is stinking up the staff room with B.O. Mind if I stop breathing for a while?...

srah - Monday, 10 February 2003 - 5:42 AM
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C'est pas ma faute

The assistants often talk about how the French never take responsibility for anything. We suspect that their mazes of paperwork and bureaucracy are created for exactly this purpose - so that there's always someone else to blame. They are never wrong themselves - it is either a subject to be discussed rather than a right/wrong situation, or it's someone else's fault altogether. Tonight we came to the conclusion that Americans are just as bad, but it's a different kind of irresponsibility. While the French refuse to take responsibility for anything professionally, Americans take no personal responsibility. Thus we are the...

srah - Sunday, 9 February 2003 - 4:21 PM
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Plus, sometimes I don't have to work at all

There is a strike today, of teachers and surveillants. Some people are striking, others aren't. I love strike days. It's fun to come to work when hardly anyone is here, and find out if any of the students have come to school for me to teach. It's different and adventury. And thankfully it's my half day, so I'm not concerned about the fact that the cafeteria is en grève as well....

srah - Tuesday, 28 January 2003 - 3:01 AM
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Coolness on the decline, if there was any to start with

I am such a nerd that I can't tell people in real-life, so I will have to record it here. Now that I've recorded all of the départements I've visited, I am trying to memorize all 96 of the French départements by number. I am up to 15: Ain, Aisne, Allier, Alpes de Haute-Provence, Haute-Alpes, Alpes-Maritime, Ardèche, Ardennes, Ariège, Aube, Aude, Aveyron, Bouches-du-Rhône, Calvados, Cantal. Boo-yeah!...

srah - Thursday, 16 January 2003 - 10:54 AM
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Geography freak

All of a sudden today, I became obsessed with finding out how many of the départements of France I have been to. I have written down all of the places I remember visiting during my five trips to the country and counted things up. Not counting the départements I crossed on the way to somewhere else, I believe I have been to 29 of the 96 in France Metropolitaine (i.e. The Hexagon, not including Martinique, Guyana, and the other Départements d'Outre-Mer). Of the 22 regions, I calculate that I have been to 16. Not too bad! I bet there are...

srah - Saturday, 11 January 2003 - 10:13 AM
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La femme du Puy de Dôme

We lolled around in bed all morning, when we had intended to be on the road by 9 at the latest. We were up dancing until 4am, so I suppose it's understandable. There was also the fact that il a fait un temps pourri, so we were very comfortable in the warmth and dryness of Claude's apartment. Finally we got our rears in gear and headed off for the village of Tournemire. Tournemire is labelled as one of the most beautiful villages in France and it is easy to see why, with the stone houses and their slate roofs -...

srah - Monday, 16 December 2002 - 3:51 AM
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The Partridge Family en Auvergne

I spent the weekend travelling in the Cantal department of southern Auvergne with a group consisting of three Americans, two Colombians, and Stefan, the partridge in our pear tree. We picked up Nelson, a Colombian friend of Andrés' and Stefan's and a non-stop dragueur, in Clermont, and continued south in Stefan's famous Orange Van, a VW camper with a moose on the side. We stopped for lunch at Super Lioran, a cross-country/downhill ski station with a great view. We hopped up and down in the cold while Stefan worked his magic, converting the Orange Van into a kitchen/dining room. He...

srah - Sunday, 15 December 2002 - 5:47 PM
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Coming soon...

The story of my weekend trip in Aurillac - full of adventure, stripteases, donkeys, gay bars, and me falling in love... with mashed potatoes. I'm afraid you'll have to wait until the next time I get online for all of that, but I thought I would tease you. Also coming soon: two more rolls-worth of selected pictures for your viewing pleasure, including the trips to Thiers, the Puy de Dôme, and Angers....

srah - Sunday, 15 December 2002 - 4:28 PM
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Conversations in cyberland

Cybercafé manager: Would you like something to drink? Me: No thank you. CM: Why do you always refuse? Me: I have had bad experiences with keyboards and beverages. CM: I promise you you won't have any problems this time. Me: Okay. I'll have tea with milk, please. CM comes out with a tray of tea, milk, sugar, and little candies. Later he walks by and I have been typing and have not yet touched my drink. "Sarah," he admonishes, "Why aren't you drinking your tea?" Then I have to pay attention to drinking so that I don't get admonished again....

srah - Sunday, 15 December 2002 - 3:54 PM
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Le toucher

I need a hug. I think one of the worst things about being lonely here is that I realize I haven't been touched in three months. Strangers will invade my personal space to kiss me on the cheek, sometimes briefly touching my shoulder in the process, but I don't have anyone I'm close to in the way I am close to my family and friends in the US. There is no one I feel comfortable hugging, there is no one to caress my hair and no one's hair to be caressed, and perhaps most importantly, there is no one whose...

srah - Monday, 9 December 2002 - 10:39 AM
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French person in box: mime?

Sometimes I wonder why I'm allowed to remain in this country, with all of the wine, cheese, coffee and cigarettes I consume. I may look French, I may sometimes sound sort of like a French person who has been locked in a box for several years and deprived of vocabulary, but I'm still a mutant in these respects....

srah - Sunday, 8 December 2002 - 7:54 AM
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Benoît-Sébastien-François, meet Hélène-Lætitia-Gaëlle

The French like their hyphenated names. Marie-Pierre is a girl's name, whereas Pierre-Marie and Jean-Marie are boys. I think a good hyphenated name for my offspring would be Jérôme-Loïc. The American system already can't handle all those accents, but they do all kinds of funny things to hyphenated first names as well. I like to cause as much confusion as possible. Speaking of names, I think Nadège is a cool one. I've heard it, but I've never actually met anyone with that name. I wonder if young girls named Nadège are often called Petit 'Dège or if I am terribly...

srah - Tuesday, 3 December 2002 - 3:10 PM
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The Anti-Social

The only response so far to my request for inspiration comes from Jez, who very sensitively would like to know why I don't have any friends. Okay, okay, that's not exactly what he suggested. I am to write on the inaccessibility of the French. Part of the problem here, I will admit, is the inaccessibility of the srah. Srah, being someone rather uninterested in sports or music, does not have many ways to reach out to the French. She can't think of any clubs she'd like to join, as her interests lie in more solitary pursuits such as reading and...

srah - Sunday, 1 December 2002 - 12:53 PM
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Extremely confusing explanation of class levels

Terminale BEPThe last year of the BEP, a two-year specialized technical degree which allows students to enter the workforce without continuing their studies until the BAC.Last year, they were in Seconde BEP (and before Seconde, they were in middle school).Next year, they can go to work or continue with the Première Adaptation BAC Pro.Première Adaptation BAC ProA class of "adaptation" students who have the BEP and who then decided to continue their studies in order to get the Professional BAC. This is separate from the more general students who have come directly from middle school and have not done the...

srah - Tuesday, 19 November 2002 - 5:59 AM
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Girl in the bubble

I went out to faire la fête with my 2nd year BTS Optics students tonight. First we went to Sylvie's apartment to make crêpes and play with her cat. Sylvie is from Vizille, one of the suburbs of Grenoble, and offered me a ride there when I need one. Her cat is an enormous, long-haired show cat named Riki-Tiki-Tavi. Marion spent all evening pointing out reasons why Riki-Tiki-Tavi is con. After crêpes, most of the class showed up and we went to Les Fous du Roy, a local night club. It was pretty quiet when we got there, but after...

srah - Wednesday, 23 October 2002 - 9:00 PM
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How I learned to stop worrying and love the Euro

Last weekend at the laundromat, I met a couple of Americans who were hiking through France. We talked as our laundry spun and got onto the subject of the Euro. The woman said she was against it because the countries were losing a little bit of their culture by losing their individual currencies. It was at this point, talking to her, that I realized: I don't care. I am all about sticking my nose in other countries' business and having an opinion about what they should or shouldn't do. But I was delighted to realize that I don't have to...

srah - Tuesday, 22 October 2002 - 5:02 PM
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Marque!... euh, non

Two negative points for me in the ongoing game of Spot the American. Is it just me, or is it harder than it was two years ago? Damned Americanization....

srah - Thursday, 17 October 2002 - 1:24 PM
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What say the voices in the sky?

I heard the announcement for the train to Paris as I was waiting for my train to Lyon, in Vichy. The announcement was in French, then repeated in English and in German. What a cosmopolitan little station! I was everso proud. Speaking of train announcements, why does it seem to be the same voice in every station in France? I can't imagine it's a recording, because there are so many variations on what she has to say - train numbers, which one's late and by how much, etc. I've decided to imagine that the woman sits in SNCF headquarters in...

srah - Thursday, 17 October 2002 - 10:50 AM
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Suite de la chasse aux Euros étrangers

I have: Belgium (2€, 10c), Luxembourg (2€), Italy (50c, 10c), Spain (20c), and Germany (20c). These links will show you the country-specific face of the coin and tell you about the person/object pictured. Neato. All that recorded, now I can go spend them and other people can have the joy of finding foreign coins....

srah - Wednesday, 16 October 2002 - 6:51 AM
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Collecting Euro coins may be hazardous to your budget

I want to keep all of the foreign Euro coins I find, but they aren't that rare and once you start collecting 2€ coins, it starts getting expensive. So instead I will look them up on this very cool site to identify them and then let them back into the wild. More on the chasse aux Euros after I've looked over my collection....

srah - Wednesday, 16 October 2002 - 6:43 AM
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Limaces make me grimace

It rained last night and - whereas in the US, we have earthworms all over the pavement - here, the slugs and snails are out en force. It is so uncomfortable having to mince your way to school through the slugs, in the fear that you will step on one and it will explode all over you, or whatever these enormously obese slugs do when you squish them. Ew....

srah - Wednesday, 16 October 2002 - 6:32 AM
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Hic! (13.10.02)

"Although alcohol consumption has dropped by 20% since the war, the French drink more than any national group in the world, except the people of Luxembourg." So says my guidebook. For the sake of the 441,300 people of Luxembourg, I hope that means per capita......

srah - Monday, 14 October 2002 - 10:47 AM
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Les fêtes

One of the students asked me today if I was going to celebrate Halloween with the other American assistants. I think they have an overblown image of the importance of Halloween here. When I was in Grenoble, Halloween came and went and I thought 'I suppose I should have made an effort'. For me, Halloween can be passed over if you're not in the homeland. Halloween is really all about costumes and trick-or-treating, both of which are hard to incorporate into an adopted culture. What will be difficult for me is missing out on Thanksgiving. Even in Grenoble, we had...

srah - Tuesday, 8 October 2002 - 3:36 AM
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A pause would be refreshing

Nothing hits the spot after a 25km walk on Sunday afternoon like a week-long bus strike beginning Monday morning. Ah, la France! Of course, I didn't know there was a bus strike until I had run to school, loaded down with photo albums, thinking I had missed the bus. Blargh. My feet will never recover....

srah - Monday, 7 October 2002 - 3:40 AM
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On the Town

Last night I went out with the other Srah and her fellow Boston University program participants. First, we went to see L'Auberge espagnole, which I recommend highly to anyone who anyone who has studied, is studying, or will study abroad. It's a very accurate portrayal of the situation. It takes place in Barcelona, with students from all over Europe studying there as part of the Erasmus program (a European university exchange program). After the movie, we went to Les Trois Canards, a very crowded bar downtown. I got rather tipsy (to the point where if I turned my head, it...

srah - Saturday, 21 September 2002 - 6:27 AM
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An American (soon to be) in Europe

My two-word reaction to this article: ho hum. My three-word reaction: back to normal. When I am in France, I will not expect to be treated specially because I'm an American. I didn't expect it in 2000-01 and I won't expect it this year. Just because your country exports low-quality hamburgers and an annoying squeaky cartoon mouse, that doesn't mean that you deserve special treatment. Just because your country was attacked over a year ago, that doesn't mean that you deserve special treatment. More likely than being treated specially, I will be expecting some abuse for my citizenship. Americans will...

srah - Thursday, 12 September 2002 - 12:12 AM
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Les Français, sont-ils peu sensibles?

Bob works for Carr Futures, who had an office in the World Trade Center in New York. Now family members of victims are upset with the French-owned company because they won't be getting health insurance. The article says: In most states, the law only requires that companies whose workers are killed on the job pay life insurance and state-mandated worker's compensation. A Carr spokesperson said what the company may be lacking in health insurance, it is making up for in life-insurance and accidental-death benefits that will range from $125,000 to $800,000 per employee. Cantor, by comparison, is maxing out at...

srah - Friday, 30 August 2002 - 10:55 AM
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'Jour horrible pour la France'

I got an email from Sophie saying that this was a horrible day for France, but no more explanation. I went down to see Antoine as soon as I read her email. Antoine had just gone online and found out the news for himself when I came in and asked, "What's happening in France?" Jean-Marie LePen, leader of the extreme-right party Le Front National, has been promoted to the second round of the presidential elections in France. All along it was believed that the two candidates in the second round would be the current president, Jacques Chirac, and the current...

srah - Sunday, 21 April 2002 - 8:35 PM
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Graduation countdown: 20 days

20 days. The best thing about traveling in France and England with my family this summer was relaxation. I'm usually so committed to a schedule and to being where we're supposed to be when we're supposed to be there. But with my family, everything was an adventure. We were going to go to Verdun, but we were all tired so we stayed in Nancy and walked around there instead. We got lost in Paris and just walked around for a while and ended up seeing the Canadian embassy and the George V, which is not some backpacker's hovel, in case...

srah - Sunday, 14 April 2002 - 11:16 AM
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Graduation countdown: 45 days

45 days. When my freshman seminar took a trip to France, we visited Paris and Grenoble, where Albion students were studying, and Noisy-le-roi, Albion's sister city. When we were in Grenoble, we took the télépheriques to the top of the Bastille and ate dinner in the restaurant there. I was peacefully eating my salad when a little friend said hello to me. "Bonjour," said the slug, "Je suis dans ta salade!" Well, that started me gagging. Remember, I thought to myself, you are in a foreign country and you are a representative of the United States. Let's try to understand...

srah - Wednesday, 20 March 2002 - 1:00 PM
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Olympic Recap

It's been a while since my last Olympic Update, and I'm sure you've all been missing the latest results on the one and a half countries I follow. (There are too many French athletes to follow them all, so we just count the medals). Final French medal count: 4 gold, 5 silver, 2 bronze (tied with Switzerland for 8th) Final Chilean medal count: 0 gold, 0 silver, 0 bronze (tied with a hillion jillion other medalless countries for 26th, I believe) Chilean Alpine Skiing results Men's Downhill: Maui Gayme - +8.50 (48/55), Mikael Gayme - +9.24 (50/55) Men's Super-G: Duncan...

srah - Monday, 25 February 2002 - 1:46 PM
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I went to get my picture taken

I went to get my picture taken for my assistantship application. Those crazy Frenchies, needing photos on their applications. I was an hour early because I got out of my CS lab early. I said, "I have a 12:00 appointment, but I'm early. Could you fit me in anytime soon?" Considering there was no one else there, it was pretty likely. The woman took me into the photo-room, sat me down, and took my picture. I'm not sure she would have waited for me to take off my coat if I hadn't been standing up out of camera range when...

srah - Monday, 14 January 2002 - 1:33 PM
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Any Europeans out there?

Any Europeans out there? How's that Euro working out for you, huh? I can't wait to go back to France and have to learn a new currency. Ha ha....

srah - Wednesday, 2 January 2002 - 4:46 PM
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Why did I study abroad?

French has long been my favorite subject at school. When I was 15, my French teacher took interested students on a trip to France and my parents thought that broadening my horizons was important enough that they helped me pay for it. We had a short family stay, then toured around the country in a bus for two weeks. When I was a senior in high school, I decided that I enjoyed French enough that would major in it in college. So I asked my French teacher how to look for a college with a good French program. The big...

srah - Thursday, 20 December 2001 - 10:26 AM
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Okie dokie

Okie dokie. Researchers aren't doing anything pesky like coming in to the library so I'm guarding the phones and the empty research room. Krista wanted to know why I went to France for a year rather than a semester. Well let's see now. That is a two part question, the first part being Why did I go off-campus at all? Or perhaps three, with Why France? So yarrrr, free hour, let's dig in. I still haven't done my off-campus program evaluation. Maybe I should just hand this in....

srah - Thursday, 20 December 2001 - 9:36 AM
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J'ai trop envie de parler français

J'ai trop envie de parler français ce soir, parce que je viens de chercher sur Internet des sons de "Tout le monde en parle". Je les ai trouvés, mais je ne peux pas les piquer parce qu'ils sont en Flash et je ne sais pas les séparer des images. Bah. Comme je suis déçue - je voulais vraiment que mon ordi me dise "Magneto, Serge" chaque fois que je l'allume. Donc alors, j'ai envie de parler français, mais il n'y a personne ici. En fait, j'ai envie d'être en France et de regarder "Tout le monde en parle". Thierry Ardisson...

srah - Tuesday, 27 November 2001 - 1:10 AM
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I think one thing I miss

I think one thing I miss from last year is the anonymity of living in a city and travelling around. Albion can be a bit claustrophobic....

srah - Friday, 9 November 2001 - 10:24 AM
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