Bienvenue! I created this blog to tell the story of the year I exchanged central Missouri for central France.
My name is Jessica Journey and I am a recent graduate of the University of Missouri. I hold bachelor’s degrees in English, French, and Linguistics.
In this space, I seek to share stories that are thought-provoking and amusing and above all, real. I want to balance disillusionment with joy. I want to acknowledge flaws (including my own) in a way that doesn’t damage but actually adds to joie de vivre.
So let’s get real.
Here you’ll find stories and pictures of places and people; my thoughts about language learning–both as a teacher and a lifelong learner; the challenges of assimilating to a foreign community; discussion of food and food culture; and maybe even some travel advice (learn from my mistakes).
I focus on France and French culture, but while it’s what you might call my niche, my experiences here have only led to a greater curiosity about the rest of the world. (What do you think about (‘Pasteis de Nata’ & Conjugations ? Baklava?)
Why am I in France, anyway?
Last summer, in a post-grad haze, I accepted a job with the Teaching Assistant Program in France and made my way to a little French town in the middle of nowhere. I was not at all sure about this move, but finalement it was a success.
By which I mean I survived.
TAPIF, or how I found myself among the ancient volcanoes of the Auvergne region, is “a joint initiative of the French Ministry of Education, the Centre international d’études pédagogiques (CIEP) and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy. The program’s goal is to strengthen English-language instruction in French schools by establishing a native speaker presence, while also providing American Francophiles with excellent teaching experience and first-hand knowledge of French language and culture.”
I have enjoyed sharing this new teaching experience and “first-hand knowledge of French culture” on Croissants & Conjugations. As you might divulge from the title, I’m a gourmand and a language nerd.
So, my life in France. It’s not (usually) macarons and balloons, some kind of dream-fueled Dior ad. There was a cantankerous French neighbor and an assortment of smelly cheeses. There was a rickety, brake-challenged bike. There were salads with snails; lots of blisters; dating mishaps; train woes; frustrations and joys and a strong bond of friendship forged through shared struggles.
(See “Best of” for a sampling.)
I may be the protagonist of my own adventure, but Croissants & Conjugations, while personal, is not my diary. I hope to instead use my perspective to give readers a lens into new places and new experiences.
I am home right now, in the American Midwest, but I plan on returning in the next few months to begin “my year teaching English in France:” Round 2.
Thanks for stopping by. I’d love to hear from you.
Passion, drive, joy.