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.


It had a lot of ups and downs, but I managed to lock down an apartment I LOVE with a totally awesome roommate.  It’s completely furnished and in an amazing location for both of us.  I wrote two posts about figuring out the whole apartment situation: part 1 and part 2.


I got it!  I managed to navigate the city, the French consulate, and loads of paperwork to obtain a special extra page in my passport.  I wrote two posts detailing my experience: one that is more about my dislike of Chicago, and one that actually goes into more detail.

Cell phone

I don’t quite have this one figured out yet.  I know that I’m going to get an unlocked smartphone over here and then get a SIM card to put in it once I arrive in France–my roommate and I have a cell phone carrier and plan picked out already–but I’m not sure what route I’m going to take in obtaining a phone.  I’ll probably write a post about it once I decide and get a phone.  Maybe?  Might be boring.


I had to get an apostille for my birth certificate from the state of Iowa, which basically is a special little seal that gives it more validity, or something?  I don’t know, I just filled out a form and sent a copy of my birth certificate and 10 bucks to the Iowa Secretary of State and voila! the apostille came in the mail.  MAGIC.  I also had to get a translation of my birth certificate, which cost me 50 bucks, and the French consulate wouldn’t stamp it, so on Friday I sent it out to the consulate in San Francisco to see if they would stamp it- one of the other assistants said they would, so we’ll see if that works!  If not, I might have to get a new translation after I arrive in France.

Health-related things

I got my eyes all zapped up with lasers so I don’t need contacts or glasses anymore.  It went pretty well.  You can read about it here, here, and here.  I reeeeally need to go to the dentist before I leave, since I’m sure I have a cavity or two that needs filled, and also I think I had a wisdom tooth come in even though my dentist back home told me I didn’t have wisdom teeth and I was SPECIAL for that. *running out of room crying*  I also need to go to my family practitioner back home in order to get refills on all my migraine medicines, but it’s kind of difficult seeing as how I work Monday-Friday in the suburbs.  Maybe I should just go the week that I’ll be home before I leave, but that’s cutting it kinda close… hmm.  Not sure what I’m gonna do there.


As I detailed here, I’m going to be living super close to the coast, Monaco, and Italy.  Because I won’t have a car in France (well, I guess I don’t have one here either…urgh) and I’m going to have scads of free time, I’m planning on running and biking a lot, both for exercise and to get places.  A 5K in my hometown helped motivate me to get in shape, and I’m planning to continue exercising in the next few weeks and once I arrive in France.  I wrote about training for the 5K here and here.  I want to buy a bike upon arriving in France, and so does my roommate, so we’ll see how that works out!

Also if you feel so inclined to vote in the poll to the right I would appreciate it 🙂

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

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3 thoughts on “One month update

  1. Jen

    Hi, I came across your blog through a google search–I just applied for TAPIF 2013-2014 and I’m looking for lots of advice as I wait to hear back. Going along with the subject of this post, I’d love to hear more about how you managed to pack for a year abroad: what did you bring, what did you leave behind, and what do you wish you’d brought? I hope you’ll see this comment! I’m enjoying your blog so far 🙂

    • Hi Jen! Glad you found my blog. I did the same thing after I got accepted- I found the blog of one girl who was an assistant in Nice the year before and I think I read the whole thing! I wanted to learn as much as possible. Packing was not easy, as you can imagine; I did some good things, but made a few major mistakes! The biggest one was that I packed two rolling suitcases (one was smaller so it was a carryon, the other I checked). It was IMPOSSIBLE walking around even just the airport or train station with two ridiculously heavy rolling suitcases. I got blisters on my hands, no joke. I’m planning some posts to help assistants, such as how I got a cell phone here and such- I guess I’ll add “how I packed” to that list! Thanks for reading and honestly, feel free to email any time with questions.

      • Jen

        Awesome, that would be fantastic! I definitely would like to hear your advice about everything, not just packing (although that’s currently what’s stressing me out, haha). And thanks for the email; you’ll probably be hearing from me in a few months with lots of questions!

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