Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Quick Tip: International Shipping

Most of the larger US stores deliver outside of the US, which is good news, but I haven't tried shipping anything yet so I don't know how much import tax is. Check back with me in the fall when I start updating my winter wardrobe and then start cursing American stores for not being better at takeover. Yes, hate me French people, but I really miss my cheap American products. Do I have to mention again that things are cheaper over there? I still don't even know where I can buy things like towels... (and I doubt I can get my favorite Ralph Lauren ones for $10). 

In England you could ship packages under your student status and not pay any import duties, but I haven't researched if France has that same kind of system. Sometimes I really hate the language difference, because after Googling for an hour I'll probably just give up trying to figure what it could be called in French. Gah! 

If you encounter an American store that doesn't ship to France, or if you just want your American mail forwarded to you and family members don't want to have the hassle of shipping all your crazy shopping addiction tendencies and J.Crew catalogs, try They give you an "American address", which just routes it to their facility and then they ship it to your international one.

I haven't used them yet because I haven't found a store that doesn't ship to France but when I do I'll definitely give them a go if it's too big for my mum to stuff it in a flat rate box. I haven't really inquired about their prices so that also makes me a bit weary. My mum once tried to ship me a care package of American junkfood, Pantene conditioner and Johnson & Johnson's Baby Oil Organic Shea Butter Body Wash (not exactly bricks), but it came out to like $80 at the post office. Nun-uh. The shipping was more than what was in the box! And that was the cheapest. UPS and FedEx wanted to charge $180-210. RI-DIC-U-LOUS. Planes fly over here everyday, I don't know why it costs so much to find some empty room on one of them. Globalized world my left foot. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Doing Your Civic Duty

I'm sure I've mentioned here that I'm a lover of politics so of course I went ahead and registered for absentee voting. This year is the midterms, so not the biggie, but nevertheless important. If you're going to do your civic duty, reminder you have to register to vote a month before. Possibly more if you're applying to absentee vote? It's probably a lot of trouble, especially since it has to be done by post, which is just idiotic when there's perfectly good internet to be used, but I'm not going to miss my opportunity to vote just because I'm no longer in America. 

Yeah I know it's basically useless since I'm a liberal socialist in a red state but on a civic level San Antonio (and Austin) is pretty democrat so while Rick Perry may get to rule for another day, at least the Southern part of Texas will have some liberals. I have hope that one day we'll get an Ann Richards type revival (if you don't know who Ann Richards is check out the doco HBO did. She was inspiring and a true boss bitch). 

If you're like 'meh' to the whole voting thing, I really hope you change your mind. I took that Ray Bradbury story to heart when I was a wee second grader so I tend to get high and mighty when I hear people say "what does it matter if I vote?". Ugh! It's so important. It really is. If you're currently in America, come November 4th take your ass down to those voting booths. There's no excuse. Not even "duh bitch it's a weekday, I work". If you have to work that Tuesday, tell your boss to eat a hard one because they're infringing on your right to vote. Legally they're not allowed to deny you time off.

If you're abroad go to and it will give you a PDF of the application after you've entered all of your information. It will then give you the address of your county's voting office. It tells you to mail it in but I sent it to the email address listed and the lady who works in the San Antonio office accepted it. No need to kill some trees or buy postage. 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Language Schools

Here's a list of language schools for those interested. Campus France has their own list (if you're applying for a visa), otherwise this is a mix of some of the approved ones and randoms. The biggies of course are Sorbonne, Alliance Francaise, and France Langue. Make sure you read the fine print because some ask for enrollment fees, deposits, and course material fees, in addition to tuition. If you're trying to apply for a visa make sure you sign up for the correct number of hours. If you're an aupair you'll get a discount but you need to show proof of your work contract when you enroll.

Lutece Langue - 4th arrondissement 
Starting at €141 for 7 hours, 1-3 weeks

Sorbonne - 5th arrondissement 
Starting at €1750 for 15 hours a week from September to November 

Alliance Francaise - 6th arrondissement 
Starting at €250 for 20 hours a week. Lower prices for courses with less hours.

Accord - 9th arrondissement
Starting at €310 for 20 hours a week. Accepts monthly installments for tuition. 

L’Atelier 9 -9th arrondissement
Starting at €830 for 80 hours over 4 weeks

France Langue - 9th, 16th and 5th arrondissement 
Starting at €250 for 20 hours a week.

Paris Langues - 14th arrondissement 
€800, 15 hours a week for 4 weeks. Offers accommodation.

Campus Langues - 19th arrondissement and La Defense
Starting at €59.60 a week for 10 hours a week