Tag Archives: jennifer

Total Immersion!


Read what fellow blogger, travel journalist, and English teacher living in Barcelona had to say about her recent “Total French Immersion” experience with me in Béziers a few weeks ago. Immersion classes are so much fun, both for students and teacher!

Destino Infinito

So I decided it was time to try and learn French.  Having been presented with a Master’s research trip and project based on alternative tourism in France I knew I would be frustrated if I didn’t understand what was going on, if I wasn’t able to communicate and make myself understood.  I knew I had to try and learn, and quickly.  But as always, learning a language is a daunting process.  We are faced with hours of grammatical study, with the frustration of listening exercises, and with the shyness behind ‘getting it wrong’, ‘making a fool out of ourselves’.

But I knew there must be a more fun way of going about it, that learning French could be different.  I knew there had to be a way to learn a language in a more vibrant, confidence building way.  I just needed someone there to guide me, to help me…

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Wow, Paris sure has changed since last time I was here!


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Don’t worry!  I’m just kidding!  So I got to the airport to take my flight from St. Louis to Chicago today at 1:30, and the flight was supposed to leave at 3:30.  Apparently, if there’s any lightening within a five mile radius, the ground crew can’t fuel the plane or load the luggage.  To make a very long story short, we sat in the plane until almost 6:00.  My flight from Chicago to Paris was at 5:55, so that means I get to have one more night in the US before leaving!  That’s why I’m sitting at a table in Bar Louie with about fifty televisions, a bunch of people wearing hockey jerseys, and Blondie blaring in the background.

While I was still in St. Louis I used one of the red courtesy phones provided by American Airlines and I called to rebook my flight.  I’ve been doing this long enough to know that there was no way I was going to make that flight.  No problem, I was able to book the same flight for tomorrow at the same time.  I was assured by the gate attendants that American Airlines would provide me with hotel and meal vouchers.  However, when I arrived in Chicago, I learned that it’s their policy not to provide vouchers when delays are caused by bad weather.  The lady working at the gate was very nice to me, and I was also very nice with her (it’s certainly not her fault).  I politely asked if there was someone else I could talk to about the situation.  She told me that if she called over her supervisor, he would most certainly say no.  She suggested I go to the ticket counter outside of security because the supervisors over there are nicer.  I didn’t need more encouragement than that, so off I went!

When I got to the ticket counter I saw a supervisor, and I told him my story.  He told me I’d have to talk to a different supervisor about this.  I asked if the other supervisor was nice, and he told me that if I flash a big smile and talk with a Southern accent that maybe I’ll have some luck.  Indeed, he was very nice, and I’ll be darned if it didn’t work.  I got a voucher for a hotel and three meals, and that explains why I’m sitting in Bar Louis at a hotel near O’Hare and not on a flight on my way to Paris.  I’ll just consider this evening of hockey, Blondie, and quesadillas a little bonus and a last call for Americana.  I do feel guilty though.  François and the kids are at home sleeping on air mattresses that deflate during the night (b/c we shipped all of our furniture last Friday) and I get to sleep in a comfortable bed.

Moving day has arrived, and the container is here, but will it all fit?


20 Foot Container…We Need A Miracle to Make it all Fit!!

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This may look like a lot of stuff, but let me tell you, this is only the beginning!  As we carefully packed, bubble wrapped, shrink wrapped, numbered and inventoried every single item in our house, the total number of items came out to 203.  The sofa counts as 1 item just like a trashcan does, so you have to consider that.  It’s been one heck of a week trying to get all of this done by today, Friday.  François and I ended up going to bed at about 3:00 in the morning, deciding to wake up early  to finish up the rest before the movers would arrive.

1010452_10151640711113374_1425742124_nWhen the team of three movers arrived, they took one look at all, and first told us that it’s “the best wrapping we’ve ever seen.”  I asked if I could quote them 🙂  But then they told us that in their opinion there’s “no way that’s gonna fit in a 20-foot container, so you should start to consider what you would like to leave behind.”  What???  That’s not what they told us when we reserved this thing!  After about fifteen minutes of real stress, mostly from my sweetie, I went out and had a look at the container.  The thing is huge.  As of right now, the movers are still here and trying to load it all up.  I’ve decided to remain optimistic (is this a trend?) and believe it will all work out.  I’ll keep you posted, but for now I’m sitting here on my living room floor blogging away while I watch them try to fit the sofa through the front door.  This is the first time we’ve ever had movers do the work for us, and I would highly recommend it.  I can’t help thinking about when our container arrives in France and we have to unload it without a crew.  Every time I packed a box, I imagined that the next time I would see our things would be in our new apartment in Béziers.  By the way, we decided on the first apartment!!!  We listened to what all of you said, and took the plunge.

I’ll stop writing now so that I can go and see the progress, but for now, everyone repeat after us:

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“We believe it’s all going to fit!!”

Departure in 7 Days


Since I’m leaving in exactly one week, I was very happy to get my passport back over the weekend…. with a year long visa inside!  It’s such a relief to finally have it in my hands and not have to worry about that small detail.  Now I need to see about getting an Illinois driver’s license, even though I’m not a resident, so that I can exchange it for a French one.  France and Missouri don’t have an exchange deal, so if I can’t procure an Illinois license I’ll have to go to auto-école over there.  I am going to be positive and believe that luck will be on my side at the DMV, what do you think?

It’s worth noting that I’m the only one leaving in 7 days, and that’s because I have a job that will begin on June 25 in Montpellier.  My husband and kids will follow on July 3, and the container won’t leave St. Louis until June 21.

We’re still not sure about the apartment in Béziers.  My sister-in-law has been so sweet, going around to lots of different apartments to check them out for us.  She says that the problem with the first one she saw (the one from my previous post) is that a few of the rooms are really ugly, meaning that they are in desperate need of repainting.  The other bad thing is that it’s huge and it will cost a fortune to heat it in the winter.  I did find out that it has 13 foot ceilings and it’s 167 square meters (1800 square feet)!  I really love the idea of having that much space.  I’d be so happy to have both an office and a guest bedroom.  I keep going back to the fact that it’s in a good neighborhood and there are no agency fees or deposits to pay.  Also, they just went down on the rent by 100 €.    Anyway, I’ll be able to go and visit it myself next week to see what I think.