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Oh, France.

“It’s not what France gave you, but what it did not take from you that was important.”
-Gertrude Stein

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I haven’t written in 4 months for a few reasons. I’ve been busy, but also mildly depressed. It’s hard to be here. I’ve made some great friends, but I’ve also come across some of the meanest people I’ve ever had the misfortune to encounter. People are cruel, everywhere. It’s hard not to let that break your spirit, and that’s what I’ve spent the past couple months doing. Trying not to let it break me.

Needless to say, I’ve won.

If any of you have ever read The Paris Wife, you will understand a little of what I mean. Maybe it’s something about this country that does it, but it changes people. For better, or for worse. It’s the “for worse” part that you don’t expect.

I came here to find something. I was searching for a reason to keep going, something to validate my life’s work of learning French and learning to teach. I’ve found bits of things. I found things I was not expecting to. I found things that I would never have wanted to. I’ve learned a lot about teaching, about life, about love. It’s been wonderful, beautiful, and also excruciating.

I came to the realization the other day that maybe writing about this would help. So I got out my pen and paper and let my notebook have it. All the things I’ve been feeling for weeks. In order to ride it out, turns out you have to write it out.

I plan on writing more. I just wanted to let you all know that I’m still here.

“Travel is the great equalizer. The world will rip your heart out of your chest, and you’ll realize it belonged to her all along.”
-Me

It’s snowing. And I’m wearing a dress.

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Quote of the day, because it’s snowing and sticking and I am reeling from happiness.

“Je ne me souviens d’aucun moment où le sentiment du bonheur, tel un poison, n’ait été aussi celui du bonheur perdu.”
-Françoise LeFèvre, Le petit prince cannibal

Basic translation from me, a non-licensed unofficial translator:
“I don’t remember any moment where the feeling of happiness, poisonous as it is, was not also that of lost happiness.”

Not to be a Debbie Downer, but I couldn’t help thinking of it. The one time it’s snowing here in my strange land, and at home. Goodnight everyone,

Kasey

Resolutions and Bagels

When I discovered blogging, I thought I had found the thing I was looking for: something to do with my time. This year, I have a lot more of it than I am used to. My teaching schedule is just packed enough that I get to leave the house everyday, but I am still finding several hours to myself. I wanted to do something more meaningful with this gift I’d been given. Hence, the blog.

I quickly figured out that this was going to be more work that I realized, but here I was with my very own already-paid-for website. I had to stick with it. A ready-made New Years Resolution.

My main trouble has been deciding what direction I want this to go in. What should it be all about? Honestly, I haven’t quite figured that out. At the very least, I wanted to give people some insight into what it’s like to be a stranger in a strange land in the daily life context. To my readers, if you’re out there, I hope that’s what I can give you.

Today I’m sitting at the Bagelstein after I was done teaching, which is not my favorite place but it has food and good tea, so here we are. I walk in, order my bagel sandwich, and in the middle of the transaction I miss a word that the girl behind the counter says. It’s usually not a big deal if you miss a word or two, but this time it was a key word and led to me completely misunderstanding what she asked me. I’m sure that normal people just ask her to repeat the question when this happens, but as I am myself and have a little bit of social anxiety, I panicked. So I said something along the lines of “sorry, my French is terrible.”

And down the awkward rabbit hole we go!

Then we go through the whole, “I speak English, too! Where are you from?” She ends up giggling through the entire conversation, and I end up with 2 things on my sandwich I didn’t ask for. This doesn’t bother me, because I’m not very picky, but now everyone in the shop knows for sure that I’m not French. So when I go to sit at a table at the same time as another customer, she smiles at me and says “Let’s go!” then walks away. I’m just standing there, confused, because I assume that “let’s go” either means “let’s take this outside” or “let’s share the table.”

She sits down somewhere else, I sit down at the table I somehow just won. Then feeling inspired, I get out my computer and start writing it all down. Don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t a bad experience. Just super awkward. I will look back on this and laugh.

For now, I will do my best to keep up with my Resolution of 2017.

Thanks for reading and à bientôt

My new home: Besançon, France

My new home

besançon view

The view from my kitchen window

If you happen to be in France anytime soon and want to check out a city that is not normally on any travel guide, come see the lovely Besançon. This city is the capital of the beautiful Franche-Comté region, full of cheese, white wine, and cool people.

Besançon is majestically located between 7 hills, which is why the Romans dubbed it “little Rome.” This quirky city is the birthplace of Victor Hugo, hence their crazy obsession with him. Discover good eats and ancient fortresses in my article for Travelicious.

Click here to see the full article !

 

Tuesday at the aquarium

Behind the coral reef I hide
my desire to slide
into your hand,

count the green
fins of slimy sharks,

see our reflection in the nostrils
of that wedding gown crocodile.

You perched, and dreaming me
wearing his kind of white.

In the morning, I want to beluga
around with you in crisp cotton tanks.

Whale sharks, stuck
in solemn circles

watch the us outside.
We count the pebbles in their skin,

where outside
it smells like rain.

Experiments on Love & French Verbs

I wish I could
écraser you
like a can of Mountain Dew you left.

I wish I could
éffacer you
like your grey eraser
when you couldn’t quite capture my face.

I wish I could
annuler you
like your DVR of Penny Dreadful.

I wish I could
écouler you
like your already beaten Xbox games.

I wish I could
oublier you
like you did

to me.

Paranoia

I talk myself
off that cliff,
that ever-present
precipice.

I want it all
Out.
I dream of hitting
the rocks
instead of my pillow.

I talk myself
away from the edge,
that space between
the jump and the
splat.

I want it all.

In between the
asphalt and
my window pane,
I talk myself,
I taught myself
to sleep.