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  • Laundry in Paris (and I’m sure in most parts of Europe) is an event. It’s even more of an event when it’s just a little bit cold and rainy outside and it takes twice as long to dry anything. I actually don’t mind doing laundry.  My routine at home is to do laundry once a week or even once every two weeks on a Friday when I have the day or afternoon off. I sort our clothes into three to four piles and then begin washing. Before putting things in the dryer I sort out what should be hung up. Then I do the ironing, hanging and folding part of the process.  It’s a little bit different in Paris because our washing machine (and dryer) is half the size and we don’t have an endless supply of clothes. We probably enough clothes for 2 weeks, if the weather worked in our favor every day.  Once you’ve worn your two pairs of jeans or two pairs of capris you need to wash them.

    (left: washing machine/dryer in kitchen; middle: drying rack; right: clothes to be ironed)

    I started the laundry this morning and I’ll be finishing it tomorrow (and maybe the next). Our washer and dryer is all-in-one.  It still amazes me that a machine can both wash your clothes and dry them (in theory).  The thing about this two-in-one contraption is that it doesn’t really dry anything. Which means you have to hang dry everything and that means finding places to hang all of our clothes around our very small apartment. We not only use the drying rack but chairs, bath tubs, etc. That also means very still clothes and having to iron everything.

    And ironing, I actually like ironing or at least don’t hate it. Ironing always gives me a good reason to listen to my audiobooks but lately I’m despising ironing. One reason being that there’s more ironing to do because I have to iron everything. Second, I only have a miniature ironing board and third, the iron trips the circuit breaker every so often and after realizing my iron has gone cold I have to switch the circuit breaker back on. One thing that baffles me is how all the beautiful French women’s clothes always look so pristine with no wrinkles.  Even with my very skillful ironing I still find wrinkles!

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  • Recently Dusty sent me a link to a post on 37signlas about working US hours from Europe.  I thought it was a great article describing how someone works 9-5pm from another country. It made me start thinking about how easy it was for us to adjust to the time change and how our move to France for 5-weeks didn’t seem to change our work schedule.

    We plan on going back to France this summer and people are often surprised to hear that we keep US work hours while we’re there.  The US is behind France by 6 hours so when it’s 9am in Omaha it’s 3pm in Paris. Dusty and I would usually wake up by 9 or 10am, check email from previous day, spend a little time together, relax, get some breakfast, and start working.  Dusty would be continue to work while I went to the market and/or grocery store to get our groceries for the day.  We’d usually make a grocery list in the morning that included what I needed to get (and google any items I didn’t know how to pronounce so I could ask for them at the market).

    I taught a hybrid communication course while were were there and met with my students before we left for Europe and then met with them again when I returned.  While we were in France my students had to listen to online lectures and turn in assignments via the internet.  I answered student questions each morning and then spent the afternoons grading assignments, emailing grades and feedback to each student individually.

    Dusty would schedule meetings between 3pm and 9pm each day which most people might think would ruin their day but since Dusty and I spent most of the day together it wasn’t a problem at all.  Over the years I’ve grown accustomed to Dusty working long hours, often working until 1 or 2am (out or in the home) so having a Skype meeting at 9pm is no big deal for us.  We’d schedule dinner plans around when Dusty had a meeting and most of our sightseeing was done on weekends so we didn’t have any problems finding free time.

    Fanta Zero – Dusty’s favorite soda while he worked.

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  • During our adventures this summer we spent a weekend in Beaune.Beaune is the wine capital of Burgundy in eastern France and one of the reasons we went to visit (Burgundy wine is one of our favorites). If you can believe it Beaune is one of the key wine centers in France. The town is surrounded by some of the world’s most famous wine villages. Beaune is a walled city, with about half of the battlements, ramparts, and the moat, having survived and in good condition, and the central “old town” is extensive. Beaune has a major food market on Saturdays which we were able to visit while we were there. There are a large number of stall holders supplying a broad selection of products and specialties from Burgundy and the surrounding regions. We had a great weekend of sightseeing, tasting wines, and eating delicious food.

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  • 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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  • Market Days

    June 23, 2011

    I love market days.  For all of you who might not know, small and large markets with fresh produce, meats, cheese, and anything else you can dream up are a huge thing in France.  I can walk back and forth through the market for hours.  The closest market for us is just a couple of blocks away along the Saone River.  The market is open every morning until 12:30pm except for Mondays and on Sundays there is also crafts and beautiful local art on the other side of the bridge.

    Here are just a few things we’ve gotten at the market since we’ve bee in Lyon: tomatoes, avocadoes, potatoes, paella, cheese, fresh pasta, rotisserie chicken, baguettes, cherries, fresh flowers, and sausages.

    One of my favorite parts about the market is that everything is fresh. French people shop for food daily and so when you go to the market everything is ready to be eaten within in a couple of days.  I love it!  Typically when you go to a grocery store the food isn’t always ripe and ready to be eaten. Often times you have to wait a few days for your produce to ripen.  And I don’t know about you, but with some fruits and vegetables I don’t even know when the “right” time is to eat them. Well, at the market the wonderful people selling their produce are able to pick out the best produce, cheese, meats, etc. for you.

    lyonmarket_001 lyonmarket_004 lyonmarket_005lyonmarket_002 lyonmarket_006lyonmarket_003 lyonmarket_007

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  • We’ve been asked many questions about our trip to France and how we planned it all out.  I thought it would be fun to answer some of the questions people have been asking us about living somewhere else for a month. First, here are some of the questions people have been asking: How did you decide to live and work somewhere else for a month? How did you choose Lyon, France? Can you really work from another country? You’re not really working, are you?

    First, how did we decide to live and work from somewhere else for a month?  If you know us, then you know that we love to travel, eat, drink, and experience new things in general.  It doesn’t hurt that I teach and get most of the summer off while Dusty runs a business where he can and does often work remotely.  For the past three summers I’ve been taking classes for my Ph.D. and we haven’t gotten to travel as much as we wanted.  I’ve finished my course work so we thought we’d try living somewhere else for a month.  We started brainstorming and came up with things like, Colorado, some type of beach, and California.  After a while we asked ourselves why we weren’t thinking of traveling outside of the U.S.  Then we started to brainstorm what countries might work.  Really, our only guidelines for choosing a location were that it had a good internet connection so we both could work! 


    Somehow we chose France, maybe it was because five years ago Dusty proposed to in France or that I speak a little (I mean very little) French or maybe it was just that we thought there were plenty of sights to be seen in the country.  After talking with several friends who had lived and studied in France as well as researched the country we decided Paris was out of the running because it was too big and just too touristy, and we’ve already been there.  We chose Lyon because it was big enough, we’re totally city people, it looked like there were plenty of places to rent for a month, there were quite a few things to do in and around the city, and it’s the food capital of France (and we like food).

    And that’s how we chose Lyon as our home for the month of June.

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  • Day Trip to Annecy

    June 21, 2011
    We took a day trip to Annecy on Monday. Annecy is 2 hours by train from Lyon.  We’ve actually been trying to schedule a trip there for over a week but Dusty’s been busy with work and the days we’ve had open, the weather wasn’t cooperating.  The weatherman said it was going to be 80 degrees and sunny on Monday so we started making plans.

    We took a bus to Annecy and arrived late morning. After a stroll in the old town, around the canals, and near the lake we found a great place to sit outside for lunch. After a couple glasses of wine and some traditional French cuisine we took a cruise around the lake and then rented a paddleboat discovering the beautiful landscape and relaxing. It was a great day touring the old part of the city and spending some time together.

    The lake has to be one of Europe’s cleanest and clearest lakes. To give you a little more information about Annecy, it’s located in the Rhone-Alpes region southeastern France. It lies on the northern tip of Lake Annecy. It’s also a candidate to host the 2018 Winter Olympics, which will be decided on in July. What I loved about this lakefront city is that it’s not known for it’s museums but it’s mountain views, beautiful landscapes, romantic canals, a hovering château, and swimming in, boating on, or biking around the translucent lake.


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  • arrived

    I’m not even sure where to even begin but I believe this trip is helping me learn so much about myself and my relationship with my husband. First, we’re having an awesome time and I’m already loving the French culture and atmosphere.

    We had a bit of a traveling mishap. Actually, several traveling mishaps but because we’re spending 5 weeks in France we’ve taken all of them in stride. Our original plan was to leave Omaha on Sunday and arrive in Paris on Monday but because of bad weather in Chicago our flight was cancelled.

    We left Omaha on Monday afternoon and landed in Chicago. At some point on our flight from Chicago to Paris there was some minor smoke in the plane so we had to make an emergency landing in Toronto. I promise, it was minor and did not last long but they didn’t think it was wise to continue our flight.  We sat in a “secure” area in Toronto for a couple of hours because of customs.  Eventually went through customs and directed to an attached hotel where we stayed the night.  Our flight the next day didn’t leave until 5pm though and we had another long day in the airport.  We finally arrived in Paris on Wednesday morning.

    After arriving in Paris, we rushed to get our luggage and went to the train station to catch a train to Lyon. After several long days of traveling and my body being so confused on whether it was day or night, we made it to Lyon.

    The things I’m learning so far:

    • The French eat such large meals but are super skinny. I’m not sure how this calculation works out but hopefully I can figure out the math before the end of our trip.
    • I love the open markets! I can’t say enough about how fresh and beautiful all of the wonderful things are at the market.
    • Lots of people have been so helpful this past week.  So many talk about how the French are rude put I think that might just be because you’re being rude or those individuals are being rude to you. Really, most people are nice!
    • I feel guilty for not knowing more French and am trying to learn very quickly. I want people to understand how I’m trying but I’m sure it’s hard when they just trying to work and I’m making it even more work for them.
    • Dusty is my hero. I believe there’s at least one person in every relationship that can just figure things out and make it work. It’s my husband in our relationship. Not that I can’t figure things out but he’s about 10 times faster at it then I am. This might be that he spent 6 months traveling across Europe after he graduated from college but really I think it’s because he’s just really good at navigating, predicting situations, and solving problems. All of these things are true in other parts of our relationship as well but they’ve really shown over the past week.
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  • Last days in Paris

    June 30, 2006

    Dusty and I returned from Europe just a few nights ago. It was a long day. We left Paris at 2pm there time and got home at 1am our time. We spent almost 20 hours on planes or in airports, we had two layovers.

    Our last days in Paris were wonderful. The first day we went on a historical Paris walk, featuring Ile de la Cité, Notre-Dame, Latin Quarter, and Sainte-Chapelle. In the evening we went to dinner at a great french restuarant, Camillee.

    On day two we toured the Louvre in the morning. We had lunch on the Champs-ELysees. We went on a walk from the Arc de Triomphe downhill along the avenue de Champs-Elysées to the Tuileries Garden. We went to the Eiffel Tower during in the afternoon and enjoyed a cruise down the Seine on a Riverboat in the evening. We had another great dinner on Ile St. Louis, near the Notre-Dame and walked to Notre-Dame to see the lights. The first two days were a little cold but by the third day it was beautiful. I even got to wear a dress. It was nice because I had been wearing the same pair of jeans for a couple of days.

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  • Exciting News

    June 28, 2006

    On day three we toured the Orsay Museum in the morning and went to the Rodin museum in the afternoon. We went to the Latin Quarter, where there a lot of cafes and imbisses (fastfood places) to get lunch. We ate by the Seine and watched the riverboats. In the afternoon we visit Napoleon’s Tomb, and went to Rue Cler for a relaxing drink at one of the cafes. Later in the evening we went back to the shops of Rue Cler to pick up food for our picnic. Follow the link to find out more about Rue Cler.

    Rue Cler – traffic-free since 1984 – offers plenty of space for tiny stores and their shops to spill into the street. It’s an ideal environment for this ritual to survive and for you to explore. The street is lined with all the necessary shops (wine, cheese, chocolate, bread) as well as a bank and a post office. If you see anyone in uniform, they’re likely from the Ecole Militaire (military school, Napoleon’s alma mater, two blocks away).

    After rushing to get food before all of the small shops closed for the evening we walked to the Eiffel Tower. We found a great place on the lawn looking up at the Eiffel Tower. We had a nice dinner along with some French wine. Eventually the sun went down and the lights of the Eiffel Tower turned on. It was a perfect night. Ending the wonderful evening, Dusty asked me to marry him and I said YES! It was an amazing ending to a perfect day.

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