Bonjour! I’m Dana, a 20-something American who has been living and working in France since 2013. As Told By Dana started as a TAPIF blog to document my adventures living in France and traveling around Europe, but has gradually become my slice of the internet. It’s a mix of an expat / lifestyle / travel blog, and is the space where I like writing about various things: teaching abroad, feminism and social issues, politics and my perspective on world events, and my own personal life: the experiences I’ve had, the places I’ve traveled to, the memories I cherish, and the things I struggle with. It’s a space where I can see where I was then, where I am now, and how I’ve changed over time.
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 Caen, France in Normandy, taught English at a summer camp in Fukuoka Japan, and waitressed during the summers. Back in Wisconsin, I was a state champion gymnast, captain of the diving team, and apart of a competitive marching band.
In regards to how I came to France: After briefly teaching in Wisconsin, I moved to the French Riviera to teach as an English teaching assistante through the TAPIF program in September 2013. When my seven-month stint was up, I realized that I wasn’t ready to leave France or quit traveling, so I networked a lot and eventually landed a job as a lectrice d’anglais at an engineering school in northern France, where I worked from September 2014 – August 2016. Now, I currently teach secondary English full-time at an international bilingual school and still currently reside in Lille, France.
In a nutshell, I’m a proud American with an international mindset. I love traveling, exercising, and getting to know my local area. My guilty pleasures include red wine and musicals, and my life mantra includes 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 the only solution 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.