About this blog

Dear friends and family, 

Just a few days ago, C. and I left the comforts of our life in the US and our two secure jobs to begin a year abroad. While C. attends to his business studies, I will adapt to life in a new country by going on many adventures, eating loads of delicious French food, and hopefully, learning the language. This blog is a way for you to stay up to date on our lives in France over the next twelve months, and a way for me to remember all of our blunders, laughs, and amazing experiences while living in this extraordinary country…without being able to speak much French at all. 

The title of this blog comes from an excerpt from my favorite novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, where Huck, a poorly educated, misguided youth, is trying to explain to his friend, Jim, an uneducated runaway slave whose wisdom is more than any book can teach, that French people speak differently than English speakers. In brief, it reads:

Jim: Doan’ the french people talk the same way we does?

Huck: No, you can’t understan’ a word they says. Not a single word.

Jim: How come?

Huck: Well, I don’t know, but it’s so. I got some o’ their jabber out o’ a book once. S’pose a man was to come to you an’ say, “Polly-voo-franzay.” What would you think?

Jim: I wouldn’ think nuthin’. I’d take’n bust him right up side the head!

Huck: Shucks, Jim, he ain’t callin’ you anythin’ bad. He’s only sayin’ “Do you talk French?”

Jim: Well, then, how come he couldn’ jes say it?

Huck: He is a-sayin’ it! It’s a frenchman’s way of sayin’ it!

Jim: Well, it’s a blame rediclous way an’ I don’ want to hear no more ’bout it!

In reading this passage with my students before I left for France, I realized that Jim’s concern is my own. Not that I’ve wanted to hit anyone in the head, but sometimes I’ve thought that it’s a little bit crazy and frustrating to move to a country where I can understand practically nothing that people are saying.  But I realize, like Huck, that this journey in France, like his journey of self-discovery down the Mississippi River , is one that will surely change my life. And along the way, I hope to learn enough of the French language and about the French culture, that when we leave in December, I could teach Huck a thing or two. 

I look forward to sharing my stories and experiences with you over the coming year.



  1. Hi Chris & Val!

    I am so excited to hear about your year abroad — from new foods to life at INSEAD. 🙂


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