Life in France, And Other Things

I started this blog on May 29, 2004. That’s almost 19 years ago. When I started it I had no idea what I was going to do with it. I certainly would have never guessed I’d still be blogging all these years later.

My wife and I moved to Strasbourg, France in September of 2004 and stayed until June of 2005. This blog was started as a way of journaling my experiences there. I knew I’d want to keep a record of our adventures and blogs were just really becoming a thing back then so it seemed like the perfect way to take notes. I wasn’t even sure if I’d make the blog public, or rather, if I would send anybody the links to what I was writing.

Eventually, I did, then I got to where I wanted more and more people to visit. At first, all I did was journal our time in France. In time I started writing reviews. Then it became a full-fledged pop culture site. Soon enough I was talking bout bootlegs, then sharing them, and then they overtook the site altogether. And here we are.

As most of you know a few years ago I started getting nasty letters from lawyers claiming violations of one thing or another. That got me scared and I turned the blog private. Actually, I made every single post on the site private and then I turned the entire site private. Eventually, I started inviting people to my private site, but even then most of the old posts were hidden from everybody but me.

For a long while the only posts I allowed anyone to see were bootleg related. Now the site is public again but those old private posts have remained hidden. I’ve slowly been making them visible again, but I’ve been very selective about it. That is about to change. I’m ready to start working my way through the site, from the oldest posts to the newest and making everything public.

I’m going to be slow about it. I want to read each post, make some light edits, and then make them public. Before I do that thought I want to explain France a little bit.

Back in 2004, my wife was a graduate student at Indiana University in Bloomington. She was studying French Linguistics. I was a working schlub. Her department had an exchange program with a university in Strasbourg. Basically, Indiana students would go to France and teach English and some French student would come to Indiana and teach French. She signed up and we lived in Strasbourg for roughly ten months.

It was an amazing time. It was a long time ago. I read some of those old posts and I hardly recognize myself. I spread a little caution here to note that as you read those posts, recognize some of them are almost two decades old. The man that I was is not the man that I am. I’ve changed. I’ve grown. My beliefs have changed and grown too. Also recognize that in the beginning, I was writing to a small audience. Mostly my family, my wife’s family, and a few close friends. I had no idea I’d eventually open this up to the world or that music nerds would be reading my thoughts many years later.

I grew up in the Church of Christ. That’s a very conservative, evangelical-esque Christian church. I was still very much a member when we lived in France (like I said I was a different man back then). Before we left we made contact with a Church of Christ missionary from Belgium who was working in Strasbourg. He and his amazing wife picked us up from the airport and allowed us to stay with them for a couple of weeks while we got ourselves sorted. We attended his church the entire time we lived in France.

I say church but really we gathered in his house and some of the other member’s apartments. The Church of Christ is not very big in France. France has an odd relationship with any church that isn’t Catholic. While we were there a group of college kids from America, who were part of a missionary in-training program called Adventures in Missions, also attended the little church. They were young, nice, and very naive. My wife and I became friends with them.

I mention all of this because as I’m making all of my journal entries from France you will hear me talk about church and those AIM students quite a lot. I don’t talk about politics or religion much on my blog anymore (intentionally so as I want the blog to be about music and movies and art – things that gather us together not divide) so I expect it may be a little jolting to hear me talk about it so often in those old posts.

Like I keep saying I was a different man back then, but that is who I was, for better and for worse. I’m making it sound like I’m writing sermons in those old blogs and that isn’t the case at all. Mostly it is my experiences in a foreign land. We also often hung out with my wife’s British coworkers and drank ourselves silly. You won’t read so much about that as, well my mother was reading and she would have had a fit.

My plan is to make several of these old posts public every day. Some days there will be more than others. So prepare yourself for random e-mails from my blog. Also please notice the dates these posts were originally published. It may be rather confusing to get an e-mail about me adventuring in Europe when in reality I am stuck here in dreary Oklahoma.

I do hope you enjoy ready about my life all those years ago. My apologies if you do not.

6 thoughts on “Life in France, And Other Things

  1. I appreciate your comment about politics. It seems there is no common middle ground anymore. I’ve lost friends over it. I also grew up going to church, and Mom’s ears would probably burn if she knew half of what went down in my wilder days. Keep up the good work, I really enjoy it. Take care!

  2. Great post! I look forward to checking it all out. And by the way, I’m not a churchgoer but very spiritual – my aunt was an Episcopal priest and I loved her sermons, and my brother met his wife in the Church of Christ which is a WONDERFUL church.

    • My views on religion and spirituality are…complicated. It isn’t that I’m not a spiritual person, but my thoughts on these things have changed a lot over the years and they get wrapped up in politics and my own family situation and…well like I say it is complicated. I’ve been doing a lot of deconstructing of my own faith for several years now and it has been good, but…let’s say also challenging.

      Which is why I tend to keep this blog about music and movies and art.

  3. Mat, I’m loving these posts about France. I just realized today that they’re from the past but that doesn’t make them any less interesting. I always fantasized about moving to a foreign country and getting some daily play by play into your adventure is captivating. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you. It was a long time ago and I haven’t read these posts since I wrote them so it has been fascinating for me to read them again. And weird. As I noted in this post I am a very different person now. I’ve also traveled quite a lot and so it is funny and embarrassing to read these old posts where I mostly seem to be complaining that things are different in Strasbourg than they are in the States. Which of course they are, but back then it was overwhelming.

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