Bonjour! I’m Dana, a 20-something American who has been living and working in France since 2013. As Told By Dana is the space where I like writing about my life– the experiences I’ve had, the places I’ve traveled to, the memories I cherish, and the things I struggle with.
I grew up just outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the land of dairy, Green Bay Packers, beer, and music festivals. I graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Education from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh in December 2012, where I studied French and English as a Second Language, joined a sorority (ΣΣΣ), studied abroad in Normandy, interned in Japan, and waitressed during the summers. I was a state champion competitive gymnast for 14 years, and was also a part of the high school diving team and competitive marching band. (But I promise, I left high school in high school.)
In regards to how I came to France: I taught ESL briefly in Wisconsin, and then moved to the French Riviera as an English teaching assistant with the TAPIF program in September 2013. When my seven-month stint was up, I realized that I wasn’t ready to leave France or my current lifestyle. So, after months of searching and networking, I landed a job as a lectrice d’anglais at an engineering school in northern France, where I worked from September 2014 – August 2016. Afterwards, I broke into the network of international teaching; I currently teach English at the middle and high school levels at an international bilingual school and I currently reside in Lille, France.
In a nutshell, I’m a feminist, runner, and semi-yoga junkie. My guilty pleasures include Diet Coke from McDonald’s, red wine, Sour Patch Kids, and Red Vines. My life mantra includes laughter, reading for pleasure, staying in touch, and sending hand-written thank you/birthday cards.
When I first decided to move to France, I thought that expat life and was the answer to all of my problems, and to my happiness. A few years older and wiser, I now realize that happiness is (mostly) a choice no matter where you are; family and close friends mean everything; and that although life’s struggles have not left me unscathed, scars do fade over time.
Thanks for reading and coming along for the ride.