Monthly Archives: August 2012

One month update

I leave the country in one month.  31 days.  WEIRD.

I’m planning on doing a post a few days before I leave with my thoughts and emotions, because I am ALL OVER THE PLACE, but for now I figured I’d do a quick update/recap on how my preparations for leaving are going.

Plane tickets

I bought them online from for $806 on July 11.  I’m flying Swiss Air out of O’Hare on September 26 and into Charles de Gaulle, Paris on September 27, with a layover in Zurich, Switzerland.  Then I’m flying back on May 23, so I’ll be gone almost exactly eight months.  My post about buying them is here.

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Categories: Preparations | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

If you catch me at the border I’ve got visas in my name

(Song reference: M.I.A.)

If you keep up with my blog, you already read a little bit about my rough-but-still-successful visa appointment here.  However, I wrote that as soon as I got home from my visa appointment when I was still full of hating-Chicago fervor and it was more complaining about the city than talking about my actual appointment.  So without further ado, here’s the post I started before my appointment that has more detail and less spite.

One awesome thing about going to live overseas is having to get a visa.  Luckily, there is a special process for “assistants de langue” that isn’t as involved as regular work visas, but it’s still kind of a pain.  The biggest thing is that you have to go to your regional French consulate to have your visa appointment.  It’s not a big deal for me, since I live 30 miles away from Chicago, but I feel bad for some of the other people who have to travel kind of long distances.   The only French consulates are in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.  So basically if you live in any of the mid-north-western states (Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North or South Dakota, all of those) you’re out of luck.

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Categories: Preparations | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

I just felt like running

OF COURSE I decided to go with another Forrest Gump quote.   As promised, since at least a few of you seem interested, here is an update on my running in training for the 5K I participated in on August 11.  The first post about it is here.

After my 4.5 mile run, my right ankle started to hurt.  It wasn’t a sharp pain, like I had actually injured it, but I think I just overdid it too soon.  I guess just because I CAN run four and a half miles, doesn’t mean I SHOULD!  That was on Tuesday, and I didn’t run again till Sunday.  I only ran 3 miles and ran slowly/walked so as not to overdo it.  My ankle kind of hurt, but it wasn’t bad, and I needed to keep training because the race was that Saturday!!  The next day I ran 3.2 miles at a faster pace and didn’t walk at all, then I took a day off.  The following day (Wednesday) I ran 3 miles, which left me 2 days to recover before the race.

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Categories: Physical activity | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Conversation with a Schaumburg librarian

Thought: I’m so excited to get a library card!  I have a list of about 20 books I want to read about moving to France!

Me: Hi, I’d like to get a library card.

Her: Go ahead and have a seat.  What’s your address in Schaumburg?

Thought: Hey, this is gonna be easy!

Me: *address*

Her: Okay, now I just need two forms of ID with that address on it.

Thought: How can I explain my transience in the simplest possible way…

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Categories: Funny experiences | Tags: , , , | 8 Comments

Après-PRK Vision Update

It’s officially been 6 weeks since I had my eye surgery!  If you missed it, you can read about my consultation here and my surgery and initial recovery here.

In my last post on this topic, I left off on the Friday after my surgery (which was on Monday).  On Saturday morning, I headed to Bloomington-Normal for a wedding I had that night.  By this point my vision was plenty good enough to drive and read and function, but everything was kinda blurry.  Not blurry like “oh it’s too far away to read”–even things up close were blurry unless I held them within probably 6-8 inches of my eyes.  I mean, I could see the computer screen, but it was not anything close to crystal clear unless I was really close to it, and even then it wasn’t perfect.

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Categories: Health | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments


If this is what you think of when you hear the word “couchsurfing,” think again.

CouchSurfing is a website that people who are traveling use to find a free place to stay for a night or two.  You create a profile, add information and pictures, form connections, and then when someone needs a place to stay in a particular city they can look at and see who has a couch available.  You can describe the place you have for people to stay and also set stipulations: only a certain number of nights, only females, etc.  CouchSurfing was started in 2003 and has since grown to have millions of users.  I’ve never used it before (never really needed to), but seeing as how I’m soon going to be living in France and traveling all around Europe, I thought it might be good to get started.  My friend Jennie recently spent a month in France and had several successful CouchSurfing experiences, so she encouraged me to create a profile as well.

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Categories: Funny experiences, Information | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

5 Reasons I Hate Chicago: The Story of My Visa Appointment

1.  Traffic getting there

My appointment was at 3:30 at the French consulate, which in the heart of downtown Chicago.  I was planning on leaving work at 2 since I only work 30 miles away from the city, but my director convinced me that I needed to leave earlier to make sure I had enough time to get there and find the place and park and such.  I was glad he did!  The interstate I took down to the city wasn’t too bad but there were a few spots where I was crawling.  And this was at 1:30 in the afternoon!  Rush hour is about a million times worse.  Once it took me two hours just to get through the city.  Not fun.

2. Driving downtown

As I got into downtown the traffic just got worse.  Adding to the tons of cars were pedestrians and crazy fearless bikers that ride in the street without helmets (why is the bike lane between two car lanes??) and one-way streets and construction and street closings for Lollapalooza.  I learned that it’s basically impossible to turn because of the pedestrians crossing the street, so that was fun.  I was also driving when someone drifted into my lane and scraped the side of my car.  Don’t worry, it wasn’t bad; my car didn’t even swerve or anything, I basically just heard it and honked.  The guy then sped off.  Classy, Chicago.  Enjoy the paint the Silver Rocket surely left on your shiny black Altima.

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Categories: Preparations, Storytime | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Apartment Roller Coaster: Part 2

So I found a roommate with whom I had been emailing and texting every day about apartment stuff.  We had two apartments that we were seriously looking at: apartment 1, which was the one being leased by the teacher at my school, and apartment 2, which we had gotten an email about.   Apartment 1 was a little more expensive, but in a more convenient location, and both had literally EVERYTHING furnished with them, down to dishes, pots and pans, bedsheets, etc, which was a major plus for us.

Red is apartment 1. Green is apartment 2. Blue is my school. Yellow are my roommate’s schools.

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I decided to go for a little run

If you got the Forrest Gump reference in the title, kudos for you.  If you were one of my students you would get a like stamp.

That’s right, I actually own one of these. I also have a dislike stamp so WATCH YOURSELF.

Where was I?  Oh right, running.  I realized a couple of weeks ago (July 17, to be exact) that the weekend I was going home to Illinois City for my followup eye appointment (you can read about that whole experience here and here) was the same weekend as Illinois City Days.  You guessed it, it’s a weekendlong summer festival thing that includes a tractor pull, street dance, parade, and general merriment/socializing/alcohol drinking.  Basically small-town heaven.  Also that weekend, on August 11,  is a 5K in honor of my cousin Alexis, who died of brain cancer in January of 2011.  She was 7 years old.

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Categories: Physical activity | Tags: , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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