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What's your current job? What inspired you to write your book?
For 15 years now, I have blogged from my home in France. It is a dream job, one I could not have imagined back at ASU, in 1989, when friends and family asked, "What will you do with a French degree?" Professional blogging did not exist then.
Keeping up with French Word-A-Day, my online language journal, helped me to realize I had a passionate subject to share, so you could say it was blogging that inspired me to publish books. My Words in a French Life, was published by Simon and Schuster in 2006, followed by Blossoming in Provence.
How does language and culture help you succeed in your career and/or daily life?
It provides a lot of grist for the writing mill! Though I have lived half my life in France, there are still times when I feel like a fish out of water. Nowadays, instead of becoming frustrated, I write about it - using my knowledge of the French language to help illustrate these stories of French cultural differences.
Did you study abroad? If so, can you speak about your experience?
Yes! In 1989 a caring teacher, Madame Wollam, encouraged me to sign up for the program in Lille. It changed my life! I stayed with the most adorable family, who took me under their French wings. I had the chance to experience authentic French life thanks to these down-to-earth hosts, the Bassimon family, who took me along to social engagements, and included me in their daily life.
How did ASU and the language program at SILC prepare you for your future?
By encouraging me to seize opportunities to grow in the language. After my study-abroad program ended, I did not want to return home right away, as I knew I was not done learning in France. This time it was Dr. Wollam (my professor's husband, head of the language department) who supported my writing project, allowing me to report on my extended stay in exchange for class credit.
What was your favorite part about learning a language and its culture?
Being able to meet someone I may never have had the chance to know. If you want to go beyond tourism--to the heart of the French and their colorful personalities, you must persevere in the language! Every new word learned is a step closer to appreciating all the wonderful characters here, on every park bench, in every bakery line, at every market stand....
Any advice for current language studies students?
Don't worry about what you will do with your degree! Think of the bigger picture -- and all of the doors a second language will open up! For me this has led to a meaningful life--and an exciting career--in France!