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The Aftermath of the American Election

I'll admit, I wanted to post sooner but I have been avoiding the elephant in the room: politics and the American election.
We talked a lot about the election in my lessons with my students, starting with the primaries last winter. We looked at the general election procedure, talked about the big issues, studied the electoral college, watched debate excerpts etc. There is no doubt that this election was particularly rich for discussion. And it also caused great disappointment.
I was surprised actually after the election how much solidarity French people expressed with Americans and the election results. And I quickly realized that their solidarity wasn't just because they were sympathetic. It was because they were scared the same thing is going to happen in France...and it could.
The win of Donald Trump reflects back their own fears about the rise of the French right-wing populist and nationalist party, a party that has been gaining in momentum and popularity since the last elect…
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My Favorite Places in France...

One of my favorite things about living in France is discovering the country. I've learned a lot about French culture and history from visiting some of the major cities and regions. But what I find equally interesting is discovering the countryside, tiny villages and hamlets. There are hidden treasures everywhere. This, for me, is one of the best advantages of living in France, discovering the nooks and crannies of the country that you don't necessarily have the time to see on a 10 day European tour.
There are several things that I get out of these discoveries.
Exploring the countryside and villages allows me, in a way, to reconnect to my love of everything French. Whether its climbing the stairs of an old dungeon to gaze upon a lookout, reading a plaque and discovering an archaic word I've never seen before, soaking in the silence of a 12th century church, or tasting a local specialty (sometimes even the smallest villages have their own food specialty), I rediscover the bea…

Why the French Don't Get Fat

If you were intrigued by this title and are looking for the answer to this question, I'm sorry to disappoint. There is no magical French anti-fat gene. The French do, in fact, "get fat". I chose this title because it's a common stereotype we hear of the French, things like "they eat all that cheese and fatty food, and yet have lower levels of cardiovascular disease". People tend to attribute this to drinking wine, or the Mediterranean diet based on olive oil.
Let's look at the facts. An OECD study published in 2014 showed that France has a rising rate of obesity, whereas countries like the US have levelled off.[1]But other statistics show clearly that the US is still far ahead of France in terms of the obesity rate. Depending on your source, the US has approximately twice the percentage of obese adults as in France (anywhere from 24-26 % for the US, and 12-18% for France)[2]. So yes, the French do get fat, but seemingly not as fat as Americans. Even with…