About Me

_DSC2068_cropCanadian by birth. French by adoption.

It’s been twenty-five years since I moved to France, armed with little more than a rudimentary grasp of the language and an unabashed love of its food and wine. Oh, and my husband, who is French, although he was a happy expat and would willingly have lived his whole life away from la patrie.

Although I now speak French fluently, my accent lingers on. At best, it’s a faint hint of my English mother tongue, which the French find quite charming. After a long day or a few drinks it’s considerably more pronounced (and less charming): mistakes in grammar, syntax, or just saying something inappropriate that signals to all and sunder that I am not from here.

Over the years I’ve picked up a lot of my adopted country’s culture: eating foods that still bear traces of their origins, drinking fuller-bodied red wines and in general, becoming slightly less polite than most Canadians.

Still, I often feel like a stranger in a strange land. Those ‘beam me up, Scotty’ moments tend to occur whenever I go shopping, drive my car, hit the gym or basically go anywhere in public. Daily, in other words. Misunderstanding, then frustration, ensues. Along with a few choice gros mots.

With this blog, I hope to capture some of those funnier moments to share with you.

66 thoughts on “About Me

    1. I am humbled — from my glimpse at your blog, you are a brilliant writer! Bravo to you for having the courage to blog about grief. I look forward to following your posts.

    1. Wow, I’m honoured! Thanks for nominating me….now I just have to figure out what to do next. I’ll check out your blog (which I also love!) for hints. Merci!

  1. Bonjour! This is a very cool blog! I am a high school student in my third year of French, and I am infatuated by the French language and culture. It is my dream to travel to France one day, but in the meantime, I’ll learn more about daily life in this country through your blog!

  2. Congratulations on Freshly Pressed! Which is how I found your blog, and because I couldn’t not click on something with a picture of a baguette! My mid-life passion is the French language and culture (and I’m learning some Québécois too!) and looking forward to a trip to France later this year. I like your blog very much! Merci!

    1. Thanks for the comment and for following! I’m so pleased that my blog is being discovered by so many new readers like you. Hope your trip is everything you hope for and that my blog may help you know what to expect!

  3. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! Ever since I began to learn French, I developed a love for the French culture and the country as well! I would love to visit France, but until then, I’ll have to visit it virtually through your blog!

    Merci beaucoup! 🙂

  4. congratulations on Freshly Pressed! huge francophile (currently with the luck of actually living in France) so I’ll be following, just so I can continue enjoying France even after moving back to the UK this summer!

  5. How bold and adventuresome you are! I’ve got so much admiration for folks who make the decision to leave home in search of life far from what they know. No doubt you’ve brought a lovely, kind and gentle-natured spin to all your exploits. It’s the Canadian way–no? And I doubt that part of you could change no matter how long you were away (no matter how you may deny it!)

    1. Thanks for the compliments! Your kind comments somehow escaped my attention until now…. I guess I’ll always keep a nice, soft Canadian core, even though it’s now at least partially obscured by a solid French mean streak! Cheers for the follow. I’m also enjoying your blog and the funny take you have on life’s exploits – even without leaving home. 😉

  6. Bonjour Mary Ellen from sunny Florida! I came across an old Christmas card from you during the holidays, and lo and behold here you are online. I can hear your voice with such clarity in all these wonderful ruminations. Takes me right back to French class with Madame Stephan, only much funnier. Congratulations on your blog and your joie de vivre. Drop a line sometime. Hugs from Eeee!!

    1. Eeee-lyse! So wonderful to hear from you! This blog has taken over a bit in the past two years and I’ve been remiss with Christmas updates. So glad you found your way here! Perhaps you will bring back some memories from the good old days that will make their way into these posts. (Madame Stephan – was that our French teacher’s name?) Best wishes to you and Jim for 2015. Bises xxx

      1. Yes, Madame Stephan was our French teacher. A robust woman with a very distinct “perfume,” from what I recall. She wouldn’t let us speak English during class. But we know that French wasn’t what set you apart back in the day. It was your AMAZING singing voice. Your rendition of Eliza Doolittle’s “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly,” is forever seared in the collective memory of our school choir. Such a big voice from such a bitty gal…..Blew everyone away! I hope you’re at least still singing in the shower. :-O Eeee

  7. Bon Jour …Monica here, E’s big sister. I am enjoying your blog. It takes a reader to be a writer and I understand that your are a voracious reader. E is always commenting about you and your lovely friendship. Be well and I will check in from time to time. Monica

    1. Hi Monica! How lovely to hear from you. I remember you as if it were yesterday. If my memory serves, back then you looked exactly like the singer Anastasia.:) I have been meaning to get back to E with a longer update…timely reminder! Merci and hope to see you back soon!

  8. A belated thank you for the follow! Looking forward to lots more smiles of recognition as I follow your blog…

  9. Thank you for the follow! I was so chuffed to find your blog this morning, I had a lovely little look around and very much look forward to sharing your journey on here!

  10. Thanks for the “follow”.. and I loved the cockroach post; think I may well trawl through your archive.
    It’s good to find another “warts and all” take on French life, I do get weary of all these fairy story, rose-tinted, romantic adventure takes on moving to France


    1. So glad to hear I’m not the only one with an aversion to all the sentimental slop about French life. I know the warts can get a bit tiresome after awhile, but venting about them makes me feel so much better! Looking forward to reading you.

      1. Well, I have bared my soul on my blog (very un-English and very un-me- usually) but venting it here has helped me stay sane in some trying times!
        à la prochaine

  11. Salut mon ancient amie Mary Ellen – c’est Jeanne Kilburg d’Edina, Minnesota. Il y a la reunion quarantenne (sp?) ce weekend and j’ai vu un tres viex photo de toi et moi chez Missy Stone ou nous fumons commes des experts (hard core). J’ai passé du temps en France and la France me manqué et je l’adore!!! J’etais professeur de francais depuis des annees, mais maintenant, je suis prof des ados troubles. Pardon, mes accents et ma grammaire peut etre roule. bises ~ Jeanne

    1. Salut Jeanne! J’ai déjà répondu sur FB mais cette fois ci en français, puis que tu le parles si bien. Quelle retrouvaille! Ça fait plaisir après 40 ans! Je suis tellement contente d’être restée en contact avec Elyse, et maintenant je vois ce qui se passe avec d’autres anciens camarades d’Edina. Pour ma part, après environ 20 ans dans la région lyonnaise, je habite maintenant tout pres de la frontière suisse vers Genève, mais toujours en France. Je vous souhaite une excellente réunion de classe ce weekend. A bientôt! Mary Ellen

  12. Je suis tellement jalouse de toi!!! J’ai assistee dans une stage pedogagique en Vichi et une autre a Toulon, aussi j’ai travaille dans une programme universitaire pres de Tours. J’ adore la France et la culture francaise! Ma soeur Susan habitait en Geneve quelques annees, travaillant pour l’OMS.
    a bientot! Jeanne

  13. Hello! Just came across your blog and am loving it so far. I also live in France and am married to a Frenchman (who was in Canada for ten years, also a happy expat) after living in the UK all my life. Really looking forward to reading more about your life here!

  14. Finally I have visited your blog to have a proper look around, and I am so glad that I did. I have enjoyed reading your detailed, interesting and humorous posts this morning. Thanks for following my blog!

  15. Just found your blog. Loved reading it. We moved to Dordogne in July 2015 so still newbies but loving every minute of it. Looking forward to reading up regularly.

  16. I can so relate to this. I’m also married to a Frenchman and lived for 7 years in New Caledonia, so I was immersed in the culture, even if it was slightly altered by the South Pacific aspect. Red wine, espresso, real food, less talkative with strangers. We do end up becoming a kind of hybrid, don’t we? 😉

    1. Nouvelle Caledonie to Poland, that’s quite the culture mashup! Sounds like we have a few things in common and yes, hybrid is a nice way of putting it. 😉

  17. Hi FranceSays Team,

    My name is Anuj Agarwal. I’m Founder of Feedspot.

    I would like to personally congratulate you as your blog FranceSays has been selected by our panelist as one of the Top 100 French Blogs on the web.


    I personally give you a high-five and want to thank you for your contribution to this world. This is the most comprehensive list of Top 100 French Blogs on the internet and I’m honored to have you as part of this!

    Also, you have the honor of displaying the badge on your blog.


    1. Hey, Kiki! I popped over to Dale’s blog and chuckled at your attempts to make sense of various bath/toilet configurations. I’ll give some serious thought to a post on this fascinating topic! 😉 P.S. Not sure where the email link is…? Would love to fix it.

      1. The eternal bathrom/wc/toilet question…. 🙂
        Thanks for having a go on your end – you’re always so up to the pulse of times/things!
        Well, the problem was that you feature somewhere on your blog a ‘sending a mail’ but then one cannot access it. Some bloggers have a ‘just for blog things’ email address they display on their blog. But anyway, don’t worry about it!

  18. Hi Mel, Not sure the best way to contact you, so I’m leaving this here. Just to let you know that I am giving your blog a little shout-out on my Life on La Lune blog. I’m not expecting you to do anything in return, or list your own favourite blogs, since I know this can be tiresome, but this is just so it doesn’t come as a surprise. Not yet posted – will do so in a few minutes. Vanessa

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