Life in France, c. 2004

I’d been in France for eleven years when I wrote this. I’ve been going through my blog archives and thought it was amusing, as well as a “fuck you” to the establishment there. In this post, I’m referring to the oral I had to pass in order to become a certified teacher in the Education Nationale. Essentially, this made me a tenured teacher, a position I resigned about four years ago, after having lived in the United States again for ten years. (I kind of had to resign. You can take a leave of absence each year, for up to ten years, and my time was up. And I couldn’t fathom subjecting myself to teaching middle or high school in France again.)

This is also an example of the way people were blogging back in 2004. Maybe not all the ellipses, but definitely the “Feeling,” and Thinking” at the end of the post. I think that’s something I picked up from Dooce, who might have originated it, might have not. _______________________________________________________________

You Know You’re in France when…

…you’re driving 120 km/h (ok, people, that’s 75 mph) down the highway and most cars are passing you…you’re sitting in front of a jury, speaking in a foreign language, and one of the jury members tells you you have a self-confidence problem…five minutes later, after delivering the verdict (you passed), the same woman tells you your work passed, but only just. There are degrees of passing, Alison, and you are situated at the lowest degree…you smile graciously and say thank you and goodbye because you’re too stunned to think of any kind of subtle retort. Let alone make it in a foreign language…no one bats an eye at you as you talk on your cell phone while driving 130 km/h down the highway toward home…you stop at a rest stop and the bathrooms are located in a different building than the food court. And the toilets are Turkish. And you’re wearing a skirt…you know how to pee in a Turkish toilet. Even in a skirt…you stop at the store to buy that bottle of champagne and you see an old lady with a yappy little dog tucked under her arm…and no one cares that she has her dog in the grocery store…and neither do you. Feeling: relaxed. Thinking: I’d better get moving; I’ve got people coming for lunch. And a mess to clean up. Also thinking: What a silly way to tell you I passed that oral.

Written by

I'm Ali. I think. A lot. Sometimes I write.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store