Hi there! I write about la rentrée (when all of France goes back to school and back to work after summer vacation) every year (2014, 2015), but it’s my first time in years being a student for back to school season!
I have to say, I like it. I love being a student. I’m currently studying translation, localization, and interpretation at MIIS and it keeps me busy seven days a week. It is fun to be back on the other side of the classroom and remember how I felt when I was the teacher. (I don’t miss it.)
I think that being in an international environment and a familiar city (I grew up here) have muted the effects of reverse culture shock. It was surprisingly easy to quit my beloved Franglais (for the most part) and I’m almost never surprised by sales tax anymore (but I’m leaving my weather app in Celsius!)
A few observations:
Phone plans, wine by the glass, and q-tips all cost at least double what they would in France. (But there is a staggering selection of peanut butter.)
Happy hour is from 4 pm to 6 pm (what?!?!?)
Bureaucracy is just as much of a pain here as it is in France, and a lot more expensive in some cases! (At least we don’t have to stand in line at 3 am.)
Free health insurance does exist here! (Kind of. If you earn zero money.)
I miss the structure of French interaction. I never know when a conversation is over. And customer service representatives here always ask you how you are, which is nice, but then I feel like it’s rude not to ask how they are too, so we kind of rush through the “very-well-and-how-are-you-fine-thanks-and-how-can-I-help-you-today?” and it all seems kind of awkward and insincere because they just want you to order so they can do their job and you just want your In’n’Out because you’re starving and need fries.
Other Important Things, in no particular order:
I watched all of The Office on Netflix (the U.S. version, and yes I will watch the British version at some point) and got really invested in all the quirky characters. Now I’m working my way through Gilmore Girls before the revival comes out. (#TeamJess all the way.)
I went back and looked at all my old blog posts, and I hate them! (WOW I oversaturated a lot of photos! What was I thinking?!) But I still like blogging. I like having a creative outlet, a place to compile memories, and I like the blogging community (you are great! Thank you!)
I keep having a strong urge to DIY stuff, as anyone who follows me on Pinterest can attest. One night I worked my way through all the sewing archives of A Pair and A Spare and then sewed approximately nothing. (A few weeks later, I made a tulle skirt which Hugo says makes me look like a meringue.)
A professor showed us the Internet Archive Wayback Machine, and it is so much fun to look back at some of my favorite big-time blogs and see how they’ve chanced since their inception.
I discovered this YouTuber who made me want to braid the crap out of my hair.
The New Yorker’s Comma Queen series is everything.
I am eating my way through Trader Joe’s – chocolate-covered pretzels make any day a better day. What are you favorite things to buy at TJ’s?
This post from A Cup of Jo is so much more than career advice.
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A few unedited snaps of California life (aka sunsets and beaches)…
More blogging on life, France, travel, and school when I scrounge up a little time. I hope your autumn is off to a good start!