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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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  • 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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