How to adjust to life in a new country

3. Take out your headphones!! Being aware of what is going on around you is smart on a safety level but it’s also handy to pick up phrases and sayings by overhearing conversations between native speakers.  I learned so many sayings by listening to conversations on the train. It’s tempting to want to isolate yourself during the first few months when your feeling very separate to everyone but as time goes by you’ll miss out on training your ear to the language by hearing it spoken around you. Also you’ll miss out on opportunities to speak to people

How to have a great life as an expat in France

I’ve been in france almost a year and I find myself reflecting on this time and smiling at how everything worked out perfectly in the end. Exactly how I would have wanted it. Anybody who asks me now how is life in france I’d reply ‘it’s so good. It’s so soo good.’ But it would be a bit dishonest because

An American in France: On transcending nationality

 It’s the week of the FIFA women’s world cup and as the host city for the semi-final and final matches Lyon has overrun with visitors most of whom appear to be Americans.

As for me, I haven’t felt this American since I landed at Charles de Gaule last August and the border agent smiled at me when he saw my passport and said ‘Americaine? Bienvenue!’.

9 Hours in Marseille

One of the easiest and most enjoyable day trips from Lyon is to Marseille. After you’ve laced your most comfortable walking shoes, take the first train from Lyon Gare Perrache at 7am and two hours later you’ll arrive at Marseille Gare Saint-Charles.

The best way to explore most cities is by wandering around with a general sense of what you might find. Marseille is no different.

France in the era of the ‘Gilets Jaunes’

These days in France, on Saturdays in particular, it seems as if chaos is the order of the day. What started the third weekend last November as a protest against fuel price hikes and proposed tax increases, has escalated to a weekly brawl throughout France but notably in Paris and other large cities like Lyon where I have been living since August. Each Monday morning I check the news to see what went down, if anybody died, what happened to the protester who took up the tear gas canister to throw it back towards the riot police (he lost four fingers)  and to stare incredulously at photos of burning police vehicles as the Eiffel Tower stands defiantly in the background.