Monthly Archives: February 2013

Finding an apartment and roommate in France

I should start by saying that I didn’t get an apartment the traditional way: no real estate agent here!  Instead, I got really lucky by finding an apartment for rent by one of the teachers I work with.  You can read all about that still-long-and-kinda-frustrating journey here and here.  A few things I’ve learned since being here:

  • Apartments in Nice are expensive.  I don’t think I’ve heard of anyone paying under 400€ a month, and the most I’ve heard someone paying is 550€/month.  This includes having multiple roommates or having a studio.
  • It’s pretty easy to find furnished apartments.  I was under the impression from something I read that furnished apartments are nearly nonexistent, but there seems to be an abundance of them, at least in Nice, and they come with not only furniture but kitchen stuff too.
  • Leases seem to be pretty easy here.  Like, you have to sign one, but it can be for however many months you want, and breaking your contract is no big deal.  I know of a couple people here that have done it with no issues.
  • A security deposit is usually one month’s rent.  I’ve heard of a couple people paying two month’s rent, but that’s rare.  One month is much more common.
  • Some apartments here don’t have living rooms.  The heck?

Continue reading

Categories: Assistant Helpful Information, Life in France | Tags: , , , | 7 Comments

Getting a cell phone in France: SIM cards, unlocking, carriers/plans, texting internationally, and more!

I think this post gets the award for longest title!!

Shortly after I got accepted to the program, I started thinking about what I was going to do for a cell phone once I got to France.  I knew I wanted to be able to stay in contact easily with my friends and family, and not be dependent on video chatting on my computer while I was at home.  My then-future roommate and I talked a lot and looked into a lot of options and decided on Free Mobile.

Continue reading

Categories: Assistant Helpful Information | Tags: , , , , | 23 Comments

Power Adapters and Converters

Before I left, I had never been to Europe before and therefore had NO idea what I needed as far as adapters or converters (or even what the difference was) or how electricity in Europe differed from electricity in the US.  I read a bunch of articles and annoyed the heck out of my friend Jennie with questions, and I still didn’t really understand until I got here.

Basically, besides using different plugs, the electricity in Europe is stronger than the electricity in the US.  Europe uses 220 volts, while the US uses 110 volts.  Therefore, you not only need to change the plug of your electrical devices, but also change the amount of electricity going to your device.  There are two ways to do this: an adapter and a converter.

An adapter simply changes the shape of your plug so you can use it in Europe.  Most of Europe uses a round two-prong system, except the UK, which likes to be difficult with its different plugs and its pounds.  Humph.  It does NOT do anything with the level of electricity.  I have two kinds of adapters, one I bought in the US and one (well actually two) that I bought here.

Continue reading

Categories: Assistant Helpful Information | Tags: , , | 8 Comments

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy V-Day, everyone!  Or as they say here, bonne fete de St. Valentin!  I was surprised that they celebrate Valentine’s Day here, because I always thought of it as a more American holiday, but they definitely do.  There have been plenty of dinner specials posted, giveaways and events advertised, and valentine cards and gifts in the stores.

My newly updated love wall!

My newly updated love wall!

Fittingly enough, I welcome another visitor to Nice today: my boyfriend!  Yes, he’s getting in on Valentine’s Day.  Yes, it’s oh-so-romantic.  No, we did not plan it that way!  It just happened… a happy accident, haha.  I’m a bit more on top of my game today than the day before my parents came; I actually have some blog posts written and queued up to post over the next few weeks!  I decided to take this opportunity to share a series of posts intended to help those who are going to be assistants in France next year.

Continue reading

Categories: Life in France, Random thoughts | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

What I miss about the US

You asked for it, you got it!  On the poll on the right side (can still vote, btw!), this topic got the most votes.  Well, in actuality, it tied with “Things the US needs to start doing” but this topic was ahead most of the time and I figured the “Things the US needs to start doing” topic would be better paired with its counterpart, “Things France needs to stop doing.”  So that will come later.

Obviously what I miss most about the US is the people–my friends, family, and boyfriend–but I’m not going to write in-depth about that because then I’ll get sad and AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT.

I’ve been in France for four and a half months now and while I’ve mostly adjusted to the differences here, there are still a few things from the US that I miss very much.  One big one is the food; even though I mostly cook for myself, so I do get a lot of American foods, some things are more difficult to make without the ingredients I’m used to!  A short list that I thought of while sitting here: butterscotch chips, peanut butter, chocolate chips that aren’t 2.50€ for a cup, Stovetop stuffing, Kraft Mac n Cheese, cream of chicken soup, jalapenos, black beans…

American stuff

who covets*

Continue reading

Categories: Differences between France and the US, Life in France | Tags: , , | 10 Comments

Life Lately

Ah yes, it’s time again for my every-so-often photo dump, mostly of things I’ve snapped pictures of on my phone.  Enjoy!!

I realize this photo is terrible, but I wanted to get a picture of the beautiful lights on the palm trees here.  I took this on the bus on the way back from dropping off my parents at the airport- yes, it was still dark on my way home!


Continue reading

Categories: Life in France | Tags: , , , , | 10 Comments

Chelsea and Kelsey in Paris!!

Two days after my parents left, I woke up at the crack of dawn and took a taxi to the airport again.  This time, however, was to catch my own flight: a 6:30 AM one to Paris to see my best friend from ISU, Chelsea!  She and two friends had flown into Paris right after Christmas and immediately headed down to Spain to see a few different places.  Before flying out of Paris, Chelsea had one day and night to see the city, so I flew up to spend time with her and show her around!

I found HUGE macarons at a bakery in Orly Airport; of course I had to buy one.  Who cares that it was 8 AM.  IT WAS DELICIOUS.

I found HUGE macarons at a bakery in Orly Airport; of course I had to buy one. Who cares that it was 8 AM. IT WAS DELICIOUS.

Continue reading

Categories: Travels | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Blog at