Who am I?

I’m Jean Valjeaaaaan! Kidding. Obviously. I am not a fictional ex-convict with a stirring story of redemption and love from the 1800s… but I do love musicals and I do intend to someday actually finish reading Les Miserables! Okay. If anyone was reading this, they probably have given up already. Sorry, world.

  1. American (half French!) born and raised on the east coast.
  2. Moved to Italy “for a year” just after college. Following numerous “just one more year” decisions… still here 12 years later.
  3. Former pre-med (and the fact that this figures as #3 on my list probably bears some reflection on my part).
  4. Instead freelance ESL teacher with big component of work at local university (job satisfaction level prob about 40-50%).
  5. Also freelance medical translator (pre-med years came in handy after all!). Job satisfaction level about 80%; this also comprises about 60-70% of my actual incoming, so I probably could start listing it first, ha.
  6. As can be inferred from points 3-5, I really don’t feel that settled in my career. This will probably be a recurring theme on this blog for a while. I am determined to break out of the all-native-English-speakers-in-Italy-teach-ESL mold! (But brace yourselves. I can get very ruminate-y.)
  7. Currently studying for a Master’s in Linguistics at a nearby-ish university in Italy (not the same one that I teach at, ha!) in an attempt to figure out the above conundrum and fully indulge my language-oriented side. Got to attend it in person for a full three weeks before the pandemic put us fully online. Ah well.
  8. After a very long stretch of (very happy!) single life, currently also very happily partnered up with an Italian gent. 🙂
  9. We bought a house together this year! (2020) Actually it’s an apartment. And actually, it won’t be finished until spring 2021. So, we bought… the concept of a future house. The construction is ticking along quite nicely, though, and visiting it on weekends (when no one is there) is a fun, pandemic-safe activity, so… double win.
  10. Other things that fill my life include reading (my life-long love that doesn’t get nearly as much time as I’d like), weekend hikes when possible, travelling when there isn’t a pandemic, volunteering as a local Red Cross ambulance worker (the irony of opting for a medically-related volunteer activity after deciding not to go into medicine is… not lost on me), and… I’m going to add writing. Another life-long love that has been abandoned for the past… oh, decade or so. I hope this blog can be the start of reclaiming it.

Bonus round: The Italian gent partner and I are hoping to start a family soon. I shouldn’t say start a family – two people is already a great family! I mean expand our family. By adding human offspring to it. Hopefully. I’m opting not to panic about this yet, despite my 35th birthday staring me down in a few months. Knowing me, I’ll probably start to panic soon, but we’ll cross that bridge etc. etc.

Thanks for reading, imaginary readers! (Probable future me reading this: hope you’re amused by this memory of you at 34 on the cusp of 2021!)

** Photo: Me. Definitely feeling weird providing a clear linkage between this blog and my real self… but then again, if anyone who knows me sufficiently to recognize me from the back read this blog, they would recognize me anyway from the amount of defining detail I’ve provided. (Are there a lot of half Frnech, half American, ex pre-med translator/ESL teacher/Red Cross volunteers in Italy who bought a house this year?) So… well, it’s out there now!

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