You guys. This is the FIRST summer in TEN years that I have not worked at least part-time as a waitress at my city’s country club, and I can honestly say that it has been the best kind of change. This is also the first summer that I’ve had paid vacation; seriously, there is nothing better!
I officially finished teaching my last class as a lectrice at the university on June 30th, and have been enjoying the sweet taste of European summer ever since (and perhaps a little bit before!)
Here is a bit of rundown of my summer plans! I’d love some insight on more experienced European expats and long-term travelers/bloggers!
Early June: Coincidently on D-Day, we celebrated my friend’s American-themed birthday party. The days were then followed by numerous goodbye soirées and barbecues, as many of the lecteurs are finishing their two-year contracts and heading back to their home countries. I also took a day trip to Luxembourg with two friends/colleagues, and have been taking advantage of France’s bi-annual sales (les soldes), which kicked off a few weeks ago.
June 21: Fête de La Musique! The majority of my classes finished on June 18th, so besides the extra three classes I had to teach and the heaps of grades I had to submit, I kicked off my summer with France’s annual nation-wide music festival. Each year on the 21st of June, the entire country (and specifically its major cities) have music groups and major concerts all throughout the city! It’s a fun, free, and truly incredible event (and certainly gives Milwaukee’s Summerfest a run for its money!
June 25-28: I had my first visitor! My sister’s roommate, who is au pairing in Spain, trekked up to the north to visit for a long weekend! We ate our way through Brussels, worked our way through the stores during les soldes, and shared a few drinks with friends!
July 1-5: I am currently in Spain, visiting my friend in the Basque Country! Itsaso and I met as assistants in Toulon, and it was so great seeing her after our trip to Corsica over a year ago– she was a wonderful host! She showed me the best of the region, including Bilbao, San Sebastien, and San Juan de Gaztelugatze! Stay Tuned!
July 7: I will be watching the Tour de France ride its way through Cambrai, where one of my colleagues lives!
July 14: This is France’s Independence Day! Any suggestions on how to celebrate!?
July 17-22: I’m off back to the UK to visit a few friends from this year and last. I’ll mostly be in the London area but I’d perhaps like to do a day trip somewhere– perhaps Stonehenge or Oxford? Any suggestions, guys!?
July 22-31: My parents are coming for a visit! I saw my mom in Paris for four days last year when I helped her chaperone her high school trip, but this is my dad’s first trip to Europe EVER! And I want to make it memorable for both of them! I am so excited to show my parents my life here in France, and why I love it here so much. Maybe they’ll fall right in love, too! My parents arrive in London on the 22nd, and we will all be together until the 24th, until we catch the train (and bus for me) back to Lille. We’ll spend a day-and-a-half in the north and then head out via car towards Normandy, where I lived in 2010 and have spent a lot of time visiting since! On the 29th, we’ll ditch the car and work our way by train to the City of Lights, where we will spend two days before my dad leaves for the U.S. and my mom will travel with me back to Lille.
August 1-20: My mom will be here and I am hoping to show her Brussels, Bruges, and Ghent on separate days. We also plan to do a long weekend in Amsterdam. Otherwise, we’ll stay be hanging out in the north. Does anyone else have any suggested itineraries or visits? In addition, a few of my sorority sisters, as well as my friend Mayumi from Japan, will be visiting for a long weekend during their trip to France! I can’t wait to also show them ma vie française!
August 24-28: I still have a few days off before beginning the school year, and I’ve been scanning SkyScanner– so far it looks like Slovenia may be my next quick getaway! (I’ve been dying to see Lake Bled and I’ve never been to the Balkans!)
Otherwise, I’m looking forward to discovering Lille, shopping, seeing friends, and teaching a few private lessons on the side.
What are your summer plans?