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  • Location: France

Biography

JMo is the nickname given to me by some of my friends in Chicago, although there is some disagreement over who first came up with it. I think they've since forgotten my real name since that's all they call me now. It has since been updated to the French version: JeMeaux.

My travel goal before moving here was to see one new country per year. Shouldn't be a problem.

Countries Visited:

2000: Italy

2001: Spain

2002: Ireland

2003: France (!), England, the Netherlands

2004: Monaco (sort of counts), (Italy, 2nd time), (England, 2nd time), Iceland, Belgium, (Ireland, 2nd time), (Belgium, just for the day), Denmark, Singapore

2005: (Belgium), (Netherlands), (Italy), Switzerland, Luxembourg, Germany, (Netherlands), (Belgium)


Things I miss/don't like:

* Being able to read labels in the grocery store (that's improved)
* No White Cheddar flavored popcorn
* No American TV (there, I said it)
* Watching movies without subtitles
* A proper fall - leaves here just turn kind of yellowish brown, then fall down dead
* Some American wines (no oakey Chardonnays, no big Merlots or Zinfandels)
* Not much nutritional information on packages (that might be a good thing)
* No friendly smiles at stores
* No Cinnamon Gum
* Being able to buy cold medicine and advil without going to the Pharmacy and asking for it
* That it would be very difficult to find the ingredients (and turkey) to make a proper Thanksgiving dinner
* Having to use a language dictionary to figure out how to pay a parking ticket or cook a meal
* Being so far from home
* The time difference
* Understanding how things operate/having to learn it all over again - going to the doctor, buying appliances, taxes, social security, you name it.
* I still don't know what some of the road signs mean.
* When people try to ask me for directions - do I look like I'm French?
* Having to practically throw yourself in front of waiters to get service in restaurants
* No super size anything (the largest size refrigerated milk I can buy is 1 liter)
* That the school's language is english, but all the staff speak french, which is real fun when you're trying to do something technical with computers or recording equipment.


Things I like:

* The small cars
* The fact that I can walk just about everywhere I need to
* I can buy metro tickets and stamps from a vending machine
* The forest and its miles (km) of empty trails
* The excellent cheeses
* Roundabouts - miss your turnoff? Go around again!
* Leffe and other Belgian beers
* Cheap but good wine
* That I'm pretty clueless to all the big scandals/gossip going on in the U.S.
* That I can pop over to another country for a day or weekend
* Paris (that's a given)
* The excellent restaurants and 2+ hour meals
* Little crime, can walk around alone in Paris late at night
* The lack of sprawl
* That cars know the rules of the road and stick to them - no slackers in the fast lanes
* The refreshing lack of fundamentalist Christian blather
* Following signs that say "Fontainebleau" when driving home from a trip (you're SOL if you don't live in a big city, or else you have to know the names of the towns around you)
* The fact that 90% of the French would've voted against Bush
* Picard frozen food store
* Tons of vacation time at work
* Tips are included in meals
* Heated towel bar radiators - these are the best things ever. Warm towels in the winter, mmm.
* No tacky Christmas light displays.