A Taste of Garlic

expat-en-provence - Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur

provence alpes cote dazur  expat en provence   because we all love reading blogs about life in France

expat-en-provence is a blog that came to my attention a little while ago and just simmered away on the backburner of my conciseness until a recent post on the blog asked a critically crucial question about French wine law.

I felt that I had to dive in and offer my expert advice.

I hope my advice has been taken as it will fundamentally affect the blog owner’s life for years to come.

I decided there and then to review the blog in the very near future.

expat-en-provence is Hanna’s blog and Hannah says the blog is about… “life as a jeune fille américaine working in france.”

The preliminary bits…

provence alpes cote dazur  expat en provence   because we all love reading blogs about life in FranceThe blog starts in mid September with Hannah a couple of weeks away from leaving the States to start her new job in Provence.

In Blog?  Blog she tells us that she’s busy being nervous and packing (amongst other things.)

Then she decides to read on the road which I would have thought was not such a good book for a teacher, responsible for the moral guidance of her charges, to be seen reading?

But, then again…..

All around and away we go is a not too gushy post written the day before Hannah leaves for France and is followed by the first post in France,  some things that have happened to me that probably only my mom cares about.

Which, I imagine, is not enitrely true and many people must be interested by now in what is going to happen to this expat-en-provence?

The bits about being American….

Hannah has to face some exceptional stereotypes in her work as a teacher.

This is what her class think (or just a little bit of it)…..

“Americans are FAT.

all of them.

americans are fat because they are always eating mcdonald’s.

americans have to retire later in life because if they stopped working when they were younger, they would get even fatter.

a typical american is a teenager eating a cheeseburger.”


I wonder why they didn’t sum it up by saying… “Americans: ugly and probably have tuberculosis” where Hannah gets told by an x-ray technician… “if i may say so, you’re very beautiful for an american.”

I wonder…

Did he need the x-ray to find that out?

And Hannah can only reply… “No and because I’m dumb” when asked by her pupils if she has any friends!

It sure must be hard being an American in France?

The bits about being a teacher….

Of course, Hannah takes it all in her stride because it’s worth it.

Even if her work can be tiring, difficult but absolutely worth it!

As long as she remembers to consider things French kids like:

Such as desperate housewives & how i met your mother!

And hey, Hannah – you just be careful with those sixteen year old boys!

Hannah’s teaching statistics are neatly summed up in et quoi d’autre? where she admits that she hates chalk and, more seriously… “i will not give students good marks just because they told me i look like angelina jolie. but it definitely doesn’t hurt either.”

Oh dear – things have changed since I was a kid!

The bits about being on strike….

Of course, when Hannah turns up in France, the whole country goes on strike.

I imagine that the two things aren’t directly related?

In Jilted, Hannah explains that… “this morning was my first class by myself where no students showed up. and yes, i know this was because of the strike. i couldn’t help feeling a little bit like i had been stood up.”

Don’t take it personally, Hannah.  It’s all the fault of la grève!

And that post is a rather lengthy and detailed essay into the socio-political causes and implications of mass protest against recent political change.

I’m thinking that Hannah is being a little bit slightly too serious here?

Having lived in France for 8 years I now understand that we go on strike to have a day off work (nice!), have a chance to march about a bit shouting rather a lot (very nice!) and to be able to say rude things without our great Aunt Enda saying anything about it (becuase she’s also busy saying the self same things!)

It’s a sort of social outlet and it stops us invading Monaco of Belgium (although why we would ever want to invade Belgium, god only knows?)

The other bits……

When she’s not busy being on strike or teaching, Hannah does manage to find time to do other things…

In gâtée she has a birthday party (that’s nice; I had one of those once but it was so long ago that I’ve forgotten what it was like?) where she goes on a date with a giant sunflower!

And then she goes on to explain that France is difficult.

Of course it is; anywhere would be difficult if it was filled with young American girls canoodeling (is that a real word?  If it isn’t it certainly ought to be!) in the streets with giant sunflowers!

Still, she’s looking forward to going home at the end of this week!

Where I imagine, from her post, she’ll go to Starbucks to have a bath whist eating loads of triple-mega-mac-big-burgers?

Or have I got that wrong?

Isn’t that what Americans do all the time?

So, Summing up…..

A lovely and fresh new blog, Hannah manages to make intelligent and interesting posts without taking herself too seriously.

I’ll advise anyone to come and take a quick look at expat-en-provence before it becomes too well known!

And me?  Well, I’m going to take another look at the local wine law!

Serious stuff – as you all well know!

Care to join me?

All the best

provence alpes cote dazur  expat en provence   because we all love reading blogs about life in France


  • By olga kotova, January 20, 2011 @ 3:17 am

    I know I am very annoying but thank you for your great reviews!

  • By Keith Eckstein, January 20, 2011 @ 5:50 pm


    You’re certainly not annoying – I’m glad you like the reviews.

    Now, if only you were to move to France (go on, you know you want to?) I could review your blog as well.

    All the best


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