Monthly Recap: November

Somehow, it’s already the end of November (seriously, time is moving way too fast here) and thereby, it’s time for another monthly recap post! I hope you enjoy!

In the Classroom
For EJ’s classes, I’ve given lessons about Thanksgiving, worked one-on-one with students talking about the pros and cons of building walls, in addition to facilitating conversation about “Guns in the U.S.A.”, gave another “Food in the U.S.A.” presentation, and help with a class that is doing an online exchange with a school in the Czech Republic. Overall, it’s been a fun month of teaching with EJ.

For L’s classes, I’ve just finished going through my introduction presentations with all of the small groups. I’ve kept up with the “Spirit Animal” activity from last month, but I decided to add the “Introduce Yourself” activity to my arsenal as well. For this activity, I have the students pair up and exchange their name, a description of their perfect day, and where they see themselves in 5 years (or what their favorite city in France is, depending on their level/age). After they exchange information, they have to introduce their partner to the class. It’s a fun way to learn more about the students, plus provides a great platform to ask follow-up questions.

Aside from the introduction presentations, I did give a few abridged versions of my full-length Thanksgiving presentation to the small groups as well.

For DL’s classes, I’ve been taking small groups for a lesson labeled, “Learn About Where Your Teaching Assistant is From”, and also facilitating small group conversations about myths and heroes. Also, I spent last week giving full class presentations about Thanksgiving.

I had another amazing month of traveling! This month, I was able to visit Guédelon castle, I spent a weekend in Beaune, I went back to both Auxerre and Dijon for my OFII appointment, took a quick afternoon trip to Nevers, and finally, I spent the weekend in Lyon with T and L. With Christmas vacation just around the corner, I am looking forward to doing even more traveling next month (hopefully within France!).

What I’m Reading
I’m still trucking along and reading Harry Potter! I finished Harry Potter à l’école des sorciers and have moved on to Harry Potter et la chambre des secrets. I feel like it’s getting a little bit easier to read in French and thereby, not taking me as long to read the chapters, but it’s still not as quick as me reading in English. Here’s to hoping I keep moving along at a good pace!

What I’m Listening To
Podcasts: Of course, I am still listening to Bucci Radio (fitness and entrepreneurial podcasts) and Bethel Church (sermons), but I have added a few French channels to my radar! I started listening to One Thing in a French Day and Podcasts Français Authentique.

The first is super short stories (around 3 minutes each) in which the narrator recounts her daily life in France. Podcasts Français Authentique are a little bit longer (over 10 minutes each) and the narrator talks about pretty much any topic he desires. As someone who struggles with listening comprehension, I really like these podcasts because they are at a slower speed and short enough I can listen to them more than once if I don’t understand what is being talked about. If anyone is looking for French podcasts to listen to, I would recommend both of those!

Music: I haven’t been very good at listening solely to French music, but I’m still trying to do so as often as possible! Hopefully next month I’ll be able to include a “Favorite French Song” to this post!

What I’m Watching
Before I applied for this program, I thought I would have oodles of time to watch endless series and movies on Netflix. While I’d say I’m pretty lucky to be busy and not have tons of free time to watch Netflix, it doesn’t allow for a fruitful “What I’m Watching” section on this blog post!

I’ve watched a few more episodes of Marvel’s Jessica Jones but mostly, I’ve been watching my favorite episodes of Big Bang Theory and Friends, in addition to shows like Chef’s Table: France. 

chef's table

I’m pretty ashamed to admit that for as excited as I was to watch the second season of Stranger Things, I still haven’t started it. Maybe one day!

Frenchy Firsts

  • I joined the local salle de musculation! It feels so good to be back in the routine of going to the gym and working out regularly (and tbh, with all the amazing food I’m eating, my body is thanking me too). Even though the gym is pretty small and the hours are limited, it is well-stocked with machines and equipment, so it gets the job done.
  • I had my first beaujolais nouveau experience! For those who don’t know, beaujolais nouveau is a red wine produced from a small region in France just north of Lyon. It is popular because of the way it is made–it is pressed, bottled, and released in under a week. While it seems a little strange that a country that lives and breathes fine wine would get so excited about a new, young wine that they would have parties to celebrate its release, I’m also not one to turn down an opportunity to have a glass of wine. The individuals who run the salle de musculation graciously invited me to the beaujolais nouveau party (which was conveniently being hosted at the gym, so I could get a nice workout in beforehand #balance). Between the food, seemingly endless amount of wine, and good company, it turned out to be a wonderful evening. While beaujolais nouveau may not be the most incredible wine I’ve ever tasted, it sure did lead to creating some great memories.
  • I started tutoring a few students at the lycée and the English lessons have been going well thus far. I thoroughly enjoy working one-on-one with students and having the opportunity to hunker down and focus on exactly what they want help with. I’m excited to continue working with them and seeing how much they improve.
  • On that note, I have begun receiving French tutoring/lessons multiple times a week to try and improve my speaking and comprehension skills (shout-out to you, L, for helping me out). I think the lessons are starting to help, so I’m looking forward to how much I can improve in these upcoming months.
  • While of course I couldn’t go home for Thanksgiving, EJ graciously offered to cook a Thanksgiving dinner for T, L, myself, and her family. Being that it is one of my favorite holidays, it was incredible to be able to celebrate the day with people that I care about–plus, it was the first time that they had celebrated Thanksgiving as well!

Thanks for reading my November Recap. Check back next week for more!

Until next time,


2 Thoughts

  1. Thanks Michaela!!!! As you know – I write brief responses – but they are heartfelt. We LOVE hearing from you, and we miss you. We are very proud of you. Please keep the spectacular updates coming!!!!!

    In Christ, Bp. Keith L. Ackerman, SSC

    “Ego Autem In Medio Vestrum Sum Sicut Qui Ministrat”

    See our websites:

    “Christ has no body but yours; no hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which His Compassion looks out upon the world. Yours are the feet with which He walks to do Good. Yours are the hands with which he Blesses all the world.” St. Teresa of Avila


    Liked by 1 person

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