High Speed Land Travel [Secret Life of an Expat]

It’s school vacation time in France, probably in a lot of places, and I’m on the top level of a high speed train careening south at 280 km per hour. That’s 173 miles per hour, by the way. At first it totally blew my mind that you could do an eight hour drive in four on the TGV (Train à Grande...

Life with the Ex-Wife [Secret Life of an Expat]

I would like to use this week’s post to give you some advice. If you haven’t already committed and shacked up, don’t marry a guy with kids. Don’t get me wrong; the kids aren’t the problem. Once you get over the initial horror of taking a rectal temperature or helping a little boy wipe...

Around the Writer’s Block [Secret Life of an Expat]

I have such a terrible case of writer’s block right now that it’s all I can do to write this sentence. It started a week ago, on the reception of some bad news, coupled with a small health issue requiring me to “take it easy” this week. Since then, I’ve...

Movie Night, Sharing the Familiar [Secret Life of an Expat]

Last night I forced M to watch Stand by Me. I say forced because, it was already 10 pm, and we’d just watched Pirates of the Caribbean, At World’s End, full of squid-faced special effects and swashbucklery. But after that I wanted something, I don’t know, familiar? If I had been in the...

Love Affair with a New Purse [Secret Life of an Expat]

Before I got to Paris, I was never much of a purse person. I liked something with good pockets and a nice shape, and the most I remember spending on a purse was $50 for a marked down Nine West at Macy’s. In Paris, I made a friend who had a beautiful purse collection, and I got bored with the...

So You Want to Improve Your French [Secret Life of an Expat]

Maybe you’ve been saying it ever since you studied French in high school. Maybe it’s a New Years Resolution, or you’re prepping for a trip to Tunisia. Maybe you’re looking for an activity to keep your brain sharp and you’re sick of doing crosswords. Whatever the...

Au Supermarché [Secret Life of an Expat]

You can learn a lot about a place from its supermarket, and when I first got to France I was overwhelmed by the sprawling, two story store that sold not just a narrow selection of food, but televisions, computers, appliances, clothing, DVDs, car tires, and toys. The selection of food, in my...

Resolved: 2011 [Our Very Best]

Ernessa says: It feels so weird to not be making any resolutions this year. Some people love this time of the year because of the gift exchanges, time spent with family, goodwill toward man, blah, blah, blah — but I’ve always been a resolution girl myself. I love making the list...

Worst of 2011: TV… [FaN Boos]

Amy Says: To continue my streak of disliking the stuff everybody else likes (ie. I didn’t care for A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD, which so many others loved…maybe I should be the “On the Contrary” guy next year. I swear to g*d I’m not doing this on purpose.) In my...

Best of 2011: TV! [FaN Cheers]

Amy says: Can a remake of a BBC show be considered new? If so, then PRIME SUSPECT is my pick for the best new TV of the year. Maria Bello is awesome in everything I’ve ever seen her in. Detective procedurals aren’t normally my thing, but I love the complexity of the characters...

Worst of 2011: Songs …. [FaN Boos]

Ernessa says: What’s funny is that I’ve always liked Maroon 5. I mean, I’ve never downloaded a Maroon 5 song or anything, but I’ve never minded them. And when they came on the radio, I didn’t change the channel on the automatic like I do with say, LMFAO or Ke$ha...

Worst of 2011: The Movies… [FaN Boos]

Amy Says: I was so excited about a movie mash-up of western and sci-fi. It would have cowboys AND aliens! My expectations were super high. Sadly, COWBOYS & ALIENS is my pick of the worst movie of 2011. While it was moderately entertaining, the dialogue was clunky and I just felt sorry for...

Best of 2011: The Movies! [FaN Cheers]

Amy says : My favorite movie of the year should have been RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, but I was in the Colorado wilderness the entire time it was in theaters. The original, with Chuck Heston, is my favorite movie of all time. The first time I saw it, I knew I wanted to be an actor. It was...

Worst of 2011: The Books… [FaN Boos]

Ernessa says: I’m going to make the caveat again that if I manage to get through a book, it must have something to recommend it. Life is short, and I’ve become rather good at putting down books I’m not enjoying. That claimed, this category was a bit difficult for me this...

Best of 2011: The Books! [FaN Cheers]

Yay! It’s finally here. Our yearly round-up of the stuff we just loved and the dreck we absolutely hated. The big surprise of this year was just how much our Fierce and Nerdy bloggers agreed … except when it came to our Worst Book picks (more on that tomorrow). As always, we also...

Le Marché de Noël [Secret Life of an Expat]

France took the Christ out of Christmas long, long ago. The word Noël comes from the middle French nael, which comes from the latin natalis [dies] which means [day] of birth. To wish someone a Merry Christmas, one would say Joyeux Noël. There is no all-inclusive “Happy Holidays”...

French Comfort Food [Secret Life of an Expat]

The weather is finally starting to get cool here, average days in the 40s, which means winter is a-coming. What’s the best part about winter in France? The combination of damp cold and hibernation mode makes it acceptable to eat the many cheese-heavy dishes one would normally only...

The Last Book I Finished [Secret Life of an Expat]

Hey everybody, after a somewhat longer than intended leave of absence, I’ve come back to Fierce and Nerdy. Upon my return, I was both pleased and worried to learn that my first column in months would be for Book Week. Pleased because, well, who doesn’t like books? And worried because I...

Secret Life of an Expat: Get Up Outta that Funk [BEST OF FaN]

For my Fierce ReRun, I’d like to remind myself what to do when I’m slipping into a funk, because now that my job is over and I’m bumbling around the house, I feel one coming on. Best to nip it in the bud. Originally published 11/04/10 Has anyone ever told you to take care of...

What Makes Home, Home [Secret Life of an Expat]

As I fly away from a picturesque New England town where American flags are already hung from porches in preparation for Memorial Day weekend, I’m feeling reminiscent. Reminiscent of the  time when I rued the fact I was American, my teenage years. Back then I thought that America had no...

Une Baguette OR A Real Vacation [Secret Life of an Expat]

As English speaking voices tend to do, a woman’s voice carries from 20 feet away. She’s sharing personal details about her son with a couple of strangers. It’s ten a.m. and the woman in the couple drinks from a 1.5 liter bottle of (not diet) Pepsi. The man is that kind of  fat that...

Secret Life of an Expat: Two Year Expat Anniversary

Break out the confetti and noisemakers — I have officially lived in France for two years! May 2nd was my anniversary. Before I even left the states, I told myself that the next two years of my life would probably suck, and therefore I wouldn’t be allowed to make any rash decisions based on my...

Suburban Life, genesis [Secret Life of an Expat]

When I was young, my godmother lived right next door and my best friend lived across the street. These relationships were created by my parents. They forged an instant friendship with the neighbors across the street, who had a little girl my age. It was only practical. Then they appointed the...

Américain in France [Secret Life of an Expat]

After recently learning that the French term for brass knuckles is “an american fist,” I decided it was time to share my growing list of objects and ideas that involve the word américain. When you think about it, there are a good many American terms that involve the word french....

Secret Life of an Expat: What’s the Difference?

Lately, I’ve been working on lists, that could lead to fun blogumns, like “Words in French For Which There Are No English Equivalents,” or “Things That Are Different in France.” So far I have, defenestration (the act of jumping or falling out a window) and “dairy creamers in France are made...

Secret Life of an Expat: Sticking the Landing

The other day I found myself extrapolating the metaphor of jumping from the roof of one building, across a trash filled alley to the roof of another building. You see it all the time in movies. The hero runs from the bad guy. The hero jumps from roof to roof, up a few feet, down a few feet,...

Secret Life of an Expat: A Particularly Bad Tuesday

You know those days at work when nothing goes right? Your boss looks at you and shakes his head, but you can’t fix it, because you’ve suddenly forgotten how to do whatever it is you’ve been hired to do. You are a failure. Not only at work, but you realize that it’s been going on for years....

Secret Life of an Expat: How to forget that you’re living in France

Nine a.m. Leave the house and walk one block while detangling your white iPhone earbuds. Blast uplifting American music in ears before you hear anyone speaking French around you. Try not to inhale copious cigarette smoke on the sidewalk while wondering when French will realize that smoking is...

Secret Life of an Expat: The Foreign Girl

I have always been attracted to foreigners. In second grade I was intrigued by the influx of southeast Asian refugees who showed up at my school. I had never heard of Cambodia or Laos before, but I was ready to be friends with their strange food-eating nationals the moment they arrived. One...

Resolved: 2011 [The Very Best of FaN]

Ernessa says: Yay! Well, New Year’s Eve is my favorite holiday and my favorite holiday activity is making my New Year’s Resolutions. But in order to do that, it’s good to review how you did the year before. So out of the 11 bulletpoint resolution list that I made last year,...

Best of 2010: TV! [FaN Cheers]

Ernessa says: Well, guys for the first time in the entire history of me being moi, I find myself ending the year with no favorite new show. None of last winter’s mid-season replacements, the summer series, or the new fall series are deserving of high praise in my opin. As every...

Best of 2010: The Songs! [FaN Cheers]

Ernessa says: SO many great songs this year. Standouts for me included ROLLING IN THE DEEP by Adele, KEEP THE LIGHTS ON by Wave Machines, DIFFICULT by Uffie, BURIAL by Miike Snow, and XXXO by MIA — which was a surprising “grow on me,” since I claimed to meh it back in August...

The Best of Times/The Worst of Times: 2010 [FaN Remembrances]

Ernessa Says: Least Favorite Moment(s) of the Year: I’m still trying to process our dog, Tulip’s unexpected death. Also, one of my heroes, my Aunt Almeda also passed. As for my favorite moment of the year, I’ve been thinking hard about this, and while I enjoyed every single...

Worst of 2010: The Movies… [FaN Boos]

Ernessa says: This was a hard one. Part of me wants to say SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD b/c the females were so poorly rendered in this film and I had such high expectations. But I think I’ll have to go with MEGAMIND, because it was such a boys club, and pretty much everything...

Best of 2010: The Movies! [FaN Cheers]

Ernessa says: I thought for a long time I would choose INCEPTION, because it’s truly a spectacular feat of writing and directing that audiences would come out of that movie saying, “It was so different and confusing” when in actuality we had been spoon-fed the plot and the...

Worst of 2010: The Books… [FaN Boos]

Ernessa says: The nice thing about being a published author is that it’s considered bad form to talk ish about other writers in a public forum. Because of this, if I found myself not enjoying a book during my 52 Books in 52 Weeks project, I put it down and went on to the next book on my...

Best of 2010: The Books! [FaN Cheers]

Yay, we’ve come down to my favorite time of the year, when chins hit chests and we spend a week pr two firmly gazing at our navels. Over the course of the next two weeks on FaN, we’ll be weighing in on our favorite books, movies, music, TV shows, and moments of the soon-to-be...

Secret Life of an Expat: My Butt and Other Mysteries

I am pleased to say that after two years of writing for Fierce and Nerdy, I finally have enough material to write about one of my favorite preoccupations. My butt. After eighteen months of very sporadic freelance work, I finally have a regular job here in France. AYA, a popular graphic novel...

Secret Life of an Expat: The Hunger Games [BOOK WEEK 2!]

Maybe I’m not as smart as other people, or maybe I just get bored reading about normal people’s lives, but I’ve always had a preference for young adult fiction. I suppose it brings me back to that blissful time when I thought I could do anything, be anyone, the world was at my feet, waiting...

Secret Life of an Expat: NaNoWriMo (2009) Changed My Life

In reaction to Tall Drink of Nerd’s post, I’m going to write about the fact that I’m NOT doing National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) this year. I did it last year, and I was the only person I knew doing it. This year, I feel like everyone I know is doing it. Not entirely true, but I...

Secret Life of an Expat: Strikes and Age

I’m the wrong person to ask about the strikes and civil unrest happening here in France. I’m not paying much attention. I never paid much attention to politics in the U.S., unless there was an important election or debate, and here I am the same way. Wherever you go, there you are. But,...

Secret Life of an Expat: TenTenTen, a broken pact

Several years ago my three favorite girlfriends and I were being pulled in different directions. We were starting to grow up and settle down. We knew we couldn’t let our friendship die, so, over several bottles of wine, we made a pact and signed a napkin. To reunite on October 10, 2010....

Secret Life of an Expat: Marshmallows are Different in France

I’ve always found it hard to explain why exactly I experienced culture shock upon moving to France. It’s the little things,” I would say, when people asked what was different. So here is a little list of little things that are a little bit different, in France: My cat’s breath smells...

Secret Life of an Expat: Working at Home, Alone

In August, I set myself a firm deadline to finish the rewrite of my novel, Annie’s Fish, by the end of the month. The first draft was so rough that it wasn’t so much a rewrite, where you take your chapters and rework them, as a write-the-whole-thing-again-almost-from-scratch because the first...

Secret Life of a Nerd Girl: Loulou Edition [FaN Favorites]

. a favorite blogumn by Gudrun Cram-Drach Gudrun Says: I decided to rerun The Loulou Edition because now, nearly a year later, it’s good for me to see how things have changed. I’ve come a long way in my French step-mothering, and I have a long way to go. I may not have the patience that comes...

Secret Life of an Expat: Homesick and Grumpy

. a blogumn by Gudrun Cram-Drach Just to warn you, I’m in a very bad mood. I’m in one of those places where life sucks and I don’t have the energy to do anything about it. I’m also quite sure that it’s a geography thing. Being in France, that is. Sure, it’s great to live in (near) Paris, the...

Secret Life of an Expat: Speaking and Teaching

I used to be the biggest coward. I was terrified of standing up in front of other people. Of having the class stare at me when we had to do speeches in 7th grade. Of playing in violin recitals. But music was easier, I played in a youth orchestra and I loved being on stage with a hundred other...

Secret Life of an Expat: Low Tech Thoughts

I didn’t cry when my great grandmother died. It freaked me out that death had come, leaving her empty body in the laz-y-boy, smelling like old lady and old clothes. The air that lingered in her mouth would have been cold and dry and sour. That’s what bothered me. But a few days later, I...

Secret Life of an Expat: Gushing for Grendy

Fête de la Musique is a now international music festival that started in France 28 years ago. The idea is to celebrate and make music, and  amateur and professional musicians are invited to play concerts anywhere and everywhere that they can. Orchestras play in parks, concert halls open their...

THEN and NOW: Gudrun Cram-Drach from “Secret Life of an Expat...

“I was happy enough doing my rebellious, nerdy, arty thing, but resented the popular kids, I guess because I wasn’t one of them.” From arty rebel to awesome expat, click on the pic to read the rest of Gudrun’s THEN and NOW story at...

Secret Life of an Expat: A Moveable Feast [BOOK WEEK]

. a blogumn by Gudrun Cram-Drach It is ironic that I should start reading the restored edition of A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway, the unfinished, posthumously (originally published in 1965, annotated, rearranged and republished in 2009) published account of his early years spent in...

Secret Life of an Expat: I Need My Friends and Neighbors

I’m in the final days of a very long three week period of solitude. M has been working in Montreal, taking part in the filming of a special-effects laden movie you’ll hopefully go see next year. I’ve spent many years of my life living alone and loving it, but now that I’m married, three weeks...

Secret Life of an Expat: I Finally See Gogol

Three years ago, before I had even submitted my film to the animation festival in France where I met my husband, I lived in Los Angeles. I had finished grad school, and I felt old. I listened to a lot of NPR. I know it’s not the coolest way to discover a band, but one day Terry Gross...

Secret Life of an Expat: Work and Go

When job hunting, once I actually resort to desperate measures, something often comes along. Two or three times I have found work the day after signing up with a temp agency. This time, feeling hopeless about ever finding a job to get me out of the house, I commit to paying the 100 euro...

Secret Life of an Expat: Border of Exoticism

. a blogumn by Gudrun Cram-Drach M’s work sent him on a last minute business trip to Montreal. He managed to work it into the bargain that I get to go. too. Montreal is a five hour drive from my hometown of Portland, Maine. And it happens to be the week that my cousin is coming back from...

Secret Life of an Expat: Books in Bologna

I have just returned from a trip to the annual Bologna Children’s Book Fair. The fair is set up so publishers from all over the world can and show off their new titles, hoping to sell the rights to publishers in other countries, as I understand it. It was kind of like Comicon, in that there...

Hello Friday: Fierce Thoughts [Week in Review]

Whatta fierce and nerdy week! Here are my thoughts: 1. I just love that France requires a chest x-ray from its would-be citizens. I wonder why… 2. Poor Robin actually asked me if it was okay to self-promote on the blog, and I answered something along the lines of “Absolutely not,...

Secret Life of an Expat: Intégration

After my marriage in October, I could finally request a carte de séjour, which is a sort of resident alien card. There are different levels, some are for students, some for retired people. As the wife of a French citizen, mine is familiale and gives me the right to work, but I still have to...

Secret Life of an Expat: This Writer’s Basics

. a blogumn by Gudrun Cram-Drach To prepare myself for my own “middle grade” novel rewrite, I’ve been studying the genre. Middle grade is the level below young adult, and from what I’ve learned, it is a short-ish, chapter book that doesn’t have sex or bad violence in it, and it could feature...

Secret Life of an Expat: Best Playground Ever

. a blogumn by Gudrun Cram-Drach Many indoor playgrounds in France, like the kind you find in MacDo (MacDonald’s) or Quick (a Belgian fast food place), are multi-leveled structures that are netted in, and everything inside and out is covered with soft padding. In the bottom there is often a...

Secret Life of an Expat: Bechamel Wars

. a blogumn by Gudrun Cram-Drach What the heck is bechamel sauce anyway? A white sauce, I’m told. Does that mean it’s made of cream? What does it taste like? What do you use it for? Apparently, if you want my stepkids to eat cauliflower, you smother it in bechamel. As a new step-mom I’d...

Secret Life of a Nerd Girl: My First Noël

. a blogumn by Gudrun Cram-Drach This will be my third Christmas (in my life) away from Maine. The first was in 1995, when, after spending a semester abroad in Madagascar I changed my plane ticket so I could stay in Kenya for a week with a friend. We spent Christmas Eve on safari, eating...

Secret Life of a Nerd Girl: I love to laugh It’s getting *better...

. a blogumn by Gudrun Cram-Drach I am now a step-mother to 5-year-old twins. As there are two of them, and one is a total clown, they are almost always “at play.” Meaning they are easily overcome by uncontrollable giggles that often lead to exhaustion and tears. I’m jealous. I remember the...

Hello Friday: Fiercest Nerds on the Block [Nov. 13-19]

What an awesome week! Sami got her baby back on Days of Our Lives and Al Gore was on 30 Rock. Plus I’m in the middle of a really good book. Seriously could life be any better? HELLO FRIDAY re: FIERCE ANTICIPATION: November 13-15, in which Ryan Dixon dissed both 2012 and Cincinnati....

Secret Life of a Nerd Girl: Six Months and Pronouncing

. a blogumn by Gudrun Cram-Drach When I spent a summer in Ghana, another young traveler told me it took 6 weeks to physically adapt to a place. I decided to run with that idea, and stopped purifying my drinking water, a choice I regretted for 3 months. See if you can identify the pun in...

Secret Life of a Nerd Girl: Who are these people anyway?

I have taken a huge step in my slow march to habituation. I got a French cellphone. You were expecting something more profound? Until recently, I had been using my iPhone 2.0 with AT&T, which was useful when I could find free wifi, or for the occasional text message, but not good for much...

Hello Friday: The Fiercest Nerds on the Block [Oct. 2-8]

Is it just me or was this a really crazy week at (1-year) ole Fierce and Nerdy. We had placenta bears, religion, and cemeteries and it ain’t even Halloween yet! But here are the best of the best comments from the week. HELLO FRIDAY re: Guess the Random Lyric [Friday], in which guest...

Secret Life of a Nerd Girl: To Visit Jim?

As a future inhabitant living in France on a tourist visa, I am often conflicted on which role to play when I visit one of Paris’s many touristic sites. This happened the other day when I went to Père Lachaise. Père Lachaise is a massive cemetery in the 20th arrondisement. It is where Oscar...

Hello Friday: The Fiercest Nerds on the Block [Sept. 18-24]

Good Gawd, mama’s tired. Miss Betty is calling herself trying to cut a tooth, and she has been letting us know that she’s not happy about this situation at various times in the morning for like two nights now. Not cool, man. Not cool. But at least the comments did us right this...

Secret Life of a Nerd Girl: Loulou Edition

In France, loulou means … well I guess it means kid, as in: eh les loulous [hey kids, listen up], or gros bisous aux loulous [big kiss to the kids]. M happens to have 2 loulous, who are twins, a boy and a girl, one month shy of their 5th birthday. In spite of my age I have not had much...

Secret Life of a Nerd Girl: It’s Time

I always felt that “Back-to-School” excitement when Labor Day approached. I used to think it was from spending so many years in school, but now I realize the feeling is universal. In France they call it la rentrée, which I translate as “the re-entry,” a term I associate with NASA’s...

Hello Friday: Fiercest Nerds on the Block August 7-13

Greetings from Santa Fe! I’ve been road tripping all week, but lucky for us, your comments totally didn’t take a vacation. Check ‘em out: HELLO FRIDAY re: Fierce OR Nerdy: Geek Love Memorial, in which slpc honored John Hughes in the best way possible — with a huge poll...

Secret Life of a Nerd Girl: Carte Postale de St. Tropez

As most of you know, I’m living in (ok, near) Paris and trying my best to make like I’m a French girl. In the summer, particularly August, the Parisian thing to do is to leave Paris and head for the coast. The south of France is ideal of course, on the Mediterranean, but there is also the...

Hello Friday: The Fiercest Nerds on the Blocks July 23-30

Just what is in Sauce Americaine and how should one properly spell “yay?” We’ve learned a lot this week at good ole Fierce and Nerdy. Check it out: HELLO FRIDAY re: Fierce Anticipation: July 24-26, in which Ryan Dixon told us the worst guinea pig story in the history of...

Secret Life of a Nerd Girl: It’s All in the Sauce

. a blogumn by Gudrun Cram-Drach Every person on this planet who knows what America is (including every American), has their own opinion about it what it means. There must be millions of American interpretations of what it means to be American in America, but as an American in France, I am...

Secret Life of a Nerd Girl: Slowly but Surely

. a blogumn by Gudrun Cram-Drach My parents just spent a week visiting me here in France. With my little Lonely Planet Paris Encounter Guide, I became tour guide and host. It was a big change for me. In my first 6 weeks or so here, I had been a bit of a wimp about speaking to strangers. At...

Secret Life of a Nerd Girl: Weight, how do I do this again?

Besides the whole language thing, the biggest challenge I’ve come across living in France is managing diet and exercise. In my first six weeks here, I gained 5 pounds, then in the following 3 weeks in Maine I gained another 2, eating the things I couldn’t find here (primarily pad thai, caesar...

Hello Friday: The Fiercest Nerds on The Block June 12-18

Oh, man, I’m leaving you in the more than capable hands of slpc next week, but I’m like already missing you guys super big time. But let’s not talk about that. Let’s talk about all these awesome comments. HELLO FRIDAY re: Fierce Anticipation: June 12-14, in which Ryan...

Secret Life of a Nerd Girl: The Importance of Travel

. a blogumn by Gudrun Cram-Drach The bald guy in row 5E of business class has folded his Le Monde and is now watching Ironman on his private video console. One row ahead of me, the 10-month old from ‘15-minutes-south-of-Miami’ sleeps on her Juicy Couture sweat-suited mother’s lap. Marly and...

The Secret Life of a Nerd Girl: Life is Just a Bag of Cherries

. a blogumn by Gudrun Cram-Drach I’ve been living in France a month now, riding a Six Flags-grade emotional roller coaster with extreme peaks and dips and all that good stuff that goes along with being in a brand new place where you don’t have a lot to hold on to. The last two times I moved...

The Secret Life of a Nerd Girl: Indubitably American

. a blogumn by Gudrun Cram-Drach Once at CalArts a fellow student asked me if I was European. It was during a 9 am class and I was sipping Irish Breakfast tea from the white porcelain mug I brought from home every day. I said “no, why?” And she said “well, you drink tea. And you have a very...

Secret Life of a Nerd Girl: Mieux vivre sa vie

I just spent 3 hours at the U.S. Embassy of Paris, to fill out and notarize one piece of paper. I waited one hour to get the piece of paper. The woman said “write everything in French and don’t make any mistakes,” so I did, but where it said “I come from the State of: _______” I wrote the...

Hello Friday: The Fiercest Nerds on the Block: April 17 – April ...

So NEXT week, I’m doing another series, which will hopefully be fun. So far we’ve done Money and Kids, and the topic that will be dissected within an inch of it’s life next week is … Modern Love. The novel I’m working on right now is somewhat centered around...

The Secret Life of a Nerd Girl: 90 is the new 60?

. a blogumn by Gudrun Cram-Drach My strongest memory of nursery school is of watching a movie. In the film, a little boy is friends with an old man he sees in the park. The old man feeds the pigeons. One day the little boy goes to the park and the old man isn’t there. His mother tells him the...

Secret Life of a Nerd Girl: Happiness is a Warm Cat

. a blogumn by Gudrun Cram-Drach One question I’ve been asked repeatedly when discussing my move to France is: “are you bringing your cats?” The answer is, I think… “yes”? Sorry folks, I’ve resisted it for 13 Nerd Girls, but I have to break down and blog about the cats. I’ve had two...

Secret Life of a Nerd Girl: So It’s Official, I’m Moving t...

. a blogumn by Gudrun Cram-Drach So, it’s official, I’m moving to France. I just bought 2 plane tickets, so I can go there for a month, come back for a visa, then return, hopefully forever. My credit card is still sizzling. I’m doing this not only because I want live in France, but because in...

Procrastinate on This! The Battle For Terra

I can’t decide whether I want to see or despise this upcoming animated, 3-D called Battle For Terra. Big ideas, which I like, but mayhap didactic execution, which I loathe. Hopefully our animation expert, Gudrun is reading. If so, please...

Secret Life of a Nerd Girl: Sitting Next To The SAD Light

. a blogumn by Gudrun Cram-Drach It’s noon and it’s absolutely disgusting out. This morning the precipitation was snow, but now it’s rain. Cold, wet, rain. And it’s dark. I’m sitting next to the SAD light my mother ordered me to use. For those of you who don’t know, SAD is “Seasonal Affective...

Secret Life of Nerd Girl: 25 Cents For Your Karma

. a blogumn by Gudrun Cram-Drach The other day, as I walked down a parking meter lined street, staring at the ground like a surly teenager, I saw a quarter on the sidewalk. Sometimes it pays to sulk. I thought about picking it up, but then reasoned that it would be good karma to leave it...

Secret Life of Nerd Girl: Doing the Limbo

. a blogumn by Gudrun Cram-Drach Secret Life of a Nerd Girl needs a revamp. The original idea: single girl in LA, with a splash of animation, doesn’t work anymore. But what to do with it? Ernessa suggested I talk about limbo. You could say a soul in limbo is a soul waiting for its life to...

Secret Life of a Nerd Girl: They Ask Me My Plan…

. a blogumn by Gudrun Cram-Drach At the time of this writing I have been living in Maine for 40 days. No floods but we did have an ice storm, and 14 inches of snow dumped on the first day of winter. Right now it’s 16 degrees outside, which means I probably won’t leave the house today, but...

Secret Life of a Nerd Girl: Ice Storm Baby Steps

. A blogumn by Gudrun Cram-Drach I’m no longer writing Nerd Girl from Los Angeles. I’m not ready to explain why, but I’ve decided to spend a few months in Portland, Maine, visiting family and arranging my ducks in neat little rows. Call it a transition period. I’m not 100% confident it’s the...

Secret Life of a Nerd Girl: Nerd Girl In Motion

. A blogumn by Gudrun Cram-Drach I recently flew from CDG to LAX. In the purgatory of timeless space between my vacation and my real world, I snap an aerial sunset pic from my window (I can never not do this), and sink into a contemplative mood. A mind so recently full of everything BUT...

Secret Life of a Nerd Girl: Even Better Than Sleeping Together

. A blogumn by Gudrun Cram-Drach I am one of those people who, when it is possible, prefers to retain communication with an ex after we have broken up. I do it for a number of reasons, primarily because if I liked them well enough to spend the majority of my free time with them, thinking...

Secret Life of a Nerd Girl: We Were Together 6 Months, It Should Have ...

. A blogumn by Gudrun Cram-Drach An 84 year old woman recently told me the story of her marriage. She said, “we met in December, three months later we were engaged, three months later we were married, and 59 years later, here we are!” Awestruck by their simplicity and success, I said “wow,...

The Secret Life of a Nerd Girl: Married Exes

. A blogumn by Gudrun Cram-Drach Upon discovery that yet another ex-boyfriend was about to marry the girl he dated after me, a friend my mother’s age said in consolation, “don’t worry, you’ll hear from him again. All of my married exes called me in their late thirties. It’s what they do.”...

Secret Life of a Nerd Girl: The Mr. Awesome List

. A blogumn by Gudrun Cram-Drach I have been single for while. For a recovering serial monogamist, 8 months is a while. I know, world’s tiniest violins from some of you, but I’m not complaining. When I’m not panicking about my childbearing years being frittered away on grad school and...

Secret Life of a Nerd Girl: NYC, Maine, and Back Again

. A blogumn by Gudrun Cram-Drach I’ve Been in LA Too Long I prepped for a trip to New York during the Hurricane Ike media frenzy. All I could envision was cold, cold rain, and I packed 3 sweaters, a fleece and a trench coat. It was 95° the day I arrived in Brooklyn. It was just a few days’...

The Secret Life Of a Nerd Girl: Beginning Transition

. A blogumn by Gudrun Cram-Drach* An animate creature great and small Welcome to Secret Life of a Nerd Girl. I am said nerd girl and, today I’ll let you know where I’m coming from, and next time, perhaps, where I’m going. When I was 18, I moved to New York City for art school. After a...