How I Ran Away to France, the First (and Second) Time: TAPIF

I can’t remember when I first decided that I wanted to flee the country and live abroad for a while – it may have been a part of my craving for language and cultural immersion as a French department nerd in high school, or a side effect of the travel bug, which bit me hard even before that. It…

Friends in French

Formal conversation in another language is a little scary and not much fun, but it’s easy. It requires a limited set of vocabulary that I’ve practiced over and over again, for years, like a script. Organic, familiar conversation, on the other hand, the kind you have after you already know someone, the kind that allows you…

Just call me “sir.”

Receiving emails addressed to “Monsieur” will never get old. I am in fact a woman named Jillian (Jill). Both of these spellings are rather unusual and ambiguous in France, and apparently more masculine than feminine. I’ve met French people with whom I’d previously only communicated via email who have admitted to me, “I actually thought…