As we were planning our trip we kept telling others (and ourselves) that we were working in France, not just vacationing. No big deal, right? There’s just a couple of things that make working different than vacationing.

First thing, language is different when you’re living and not just vacationing.  Dusty and I have both traveled to other countries, Dusty backpacked through Europe for six months after graduating college, I backpacked with some girlfriends for 2 weeks, and then we backpacked together for 2 weeks during the World Cup. So, we both know what it’s like to vacation in other countries where you don’t speak the same language as the masses. It’s so different living somewhere, where you don’t exactly speak the language though. When you’re a tourist you have a different frame of mind, I think. Dusty and I have learned so much French while we’ve been here but I still wish I knew more.  I’m sure no matter how much French we knew I’d still wish I knew more.

The living part of things.  I’ve really enjoyed the living part.  It’s so much fun to not only learn how another culture lives but to live it yourself as well.  Even though I told myself we were working and living, not just vacationing, it did take a little bit to really transition. Now that Dusty and I seem to be in the groove of things, it’s almost time to leave.  It took us a while to work out when we both were going to work since there’s a seven-hour time difference. It also took about a week to get settled, find the necessities, and get acquainted with the neighborhood.  Then on top of that, we had to negotiate when we could do the touristy stuff, because the touristy stuff is still important too.

The work part of things. Sometimes I forget that we aren’t just vacationing and that I actually need to do work, and then Dusty nicely reminds me.  Dusty’s been great at working remotely, I think partly because he does it even when we’re in Omaha.  I, on the other hand, am use to teaching in a classroom and having office hours.  I’m currently teaching an online course and although it’s been a great experience (my students have been great), it took me at least a week to realize I couldn’t procrastinate anymore.  Once I got into the rhythm of things, it’s been easy to keep up with grading and answering student questions.

Things that are different now that we’re here.  We enjoy cooking together in our apartment more than I thought we would.  What I need for a “home away from home” is different than what I originally had anticipated, more on that later though.  I thought we’d be overwhelmed with “touristy” stuff and we haven’t been.  Even though we are doing quite a bit of sightseeing, it doesn’t feel overwhelming because we’re here for 5 weeks.  I like that we can do a few things here and a few things there and not have to do everything in a 48 hour time period.

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