Let Vacation Time Commence!

It’s official. Vacation time is here! I’m off to Paris today to retrieve my sister, and my cousin, and then on to Rome, Naples and the Amalfi coast (particularly excited about this one)! I then return to Grenoble for a week and meet friends in Spain for more European gallivanting. Hoping to post along the way, but I’m not exactly sure about internet accessibility.

But today I’m feeling grateful. Appreciative of visiting family friends, excited for family arrival, and happy to have the opportunity for these experiences.

As Epicurus wrote, “We must exercise ourselves in the things which brings happiness, since, if that be present, we have everything, and if that be absent, all our actions are directed toward attaining it.”

Or if quotes aren’t your thing, here are some pictures of Bastille Day fireworks. Fireworks are fun. These were awesome.

Especially when they projected them off of the protruding tower in the middle of the park. That was a firework first.

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Happy Monday!

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Life’s Rewards (and awards!)

Happy Bastille Day! (Or as I recently learned- quatorze juillet. Apparently no one actually calls it Bastille day…I guess like no one really says Independence day for the 4th of July…)

But happy it is indeed, as summer is in full swing with a free MIKA concert, visiting family friends (a.k.a. the surrogate family or the family ambassadors…), new dining out adventures, swimming in a beautiful mountain lake, and exploring quaint Annecy (future blog post on Annecy to come)!

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To add to the happiness- I was nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger award! I’ve really enjoyed getting into the blogger community- sharing experiences, opinions, adventures and words! So thanks to all the followers- family, friends, and blogging community- especially as I fumble my way not only through a foreign country but through the blogging world as well!

Enough sentiment. Here are the rules for the award: Continue reading

On Living Abroad

It’s funny how living abroad makes you hold on to things from home more than you usually would. I’ve visited, backpacked, studied and stayed with friends abroad, but living in another country has created a shift in my mentality especially as my life becomes increasingly intertwined with something that was once so foreign.

More often than not, when travelling I would let go of my “americansims”, try to quiet down, blend in, learn a little language, taste the local foods, and do as the locals. When Bush was president, and I was backpacking through Europe, I didn’t dare utter that I was Texan. I almost told people I was Canadian in an effort to avoid the Bush shame. But when you live in a place and your idea of home starts to shift, you find pieces of your identity, pockets of your home and covet it like an irrational gollum creature.

“Damn right I’m from Texas!”

“Of course we’re celebrating Halloween…and Thanksgiving…and Christmas, and Valentines- ALL the celebratory American occasions!!!”

“What do you mean they don’t have triple sec? What kind of godforsaken land is this?!”

“I finally found black beans!! They actually exist!! Don’t touch! My precious….”

…You don’t want to imagine the greedy hoarding that would take place if I found refried beans. Continue reading

Adventures of Language Learning

I’ve said this before, but learning a language is difficult. So much so, that the other night I started having an existential crisis about conversation. Or dear god!- maybe I’m beginning the transition into Frenchdom.

language-barrier

thanks ilmkidunya.com for the visual representation of my emotions

As I sat there, lost in translation (aka French slang), my mind drifted from “what are they talking about?” to “why do we even talk, postulate, argue, discuss? What’s the point of it all?” I guess things can get a little grim when your confusion turns to silence and your silence turns to the wanderings of your own mind…

Needless to say, that was a bit of a wake up call reminder- learning a language is hard and I need to saddle up. Apparently for me, it’s easier said than done. Learning a language is not like riding a bicycle. The wheels of language knowledge don’t magically set in motion when you summon them. Unfortunately if you don’t use it, you start to lose it. I’ve plateaued with French before and apparently I’m doing it again. Continue reading