Life Recap: April 2017

Back in March, I wrote a post confessing that I was having a bit of trouble finding a new direction for this blog, especially since my life has taken a new direction in France.

I started blogging in order to create a helpful and informative TAPIF blog as well as to record my travels during my “Year in France”. However, I also just like having a dedicated space where records of my life have been documented over the past few years. One of my favorite parts of this blog is going back and reading my old stories, glancing through old photos, and seeing how I’ve changed. Although this blog holds (many) of the bigger events in my life, I’d like to start recording the little, daily things that make me, well, me: books I’m reading, restaurants I’m trying, TV shows I’m watching, and things I’m doing. 

Destinations Traveled:

At the beginning of April, I spent a week with students in the UK and a weekend jaunt in Rouen visiting a friend.

I just got back from ten life-changing days in the Balkans (more specifically Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, and Montenegro); the former Yugoslav states are just absolutely fascinating, and I hope to get to write more about them in detail over the next month. For now, here’s a teaser in Kotor, Montenegro.


Life’s Ups and Down’s

  • Ups: Not to sound Basic, but I’ve done some shopping and have added some new key pieces to my spring / summer wardrobe (now, if only the weather would warm up!) Finally, in regards to my exercise regime, I’ve managed to go running a few times this month, as well as make it to a few yoga classes.
  • Downs: On an extremely frustrating note, I had not one, but TWO ATMs eat my debit cards, both within a two-week period. Not only does it take takes forever to replace, it also costs money to replace debit cards in France, so it’s been a bit ridiculous. Finally, I was slammed with a 134€ customs tax when I received a package from the USA. I’ve heard of this happening but had never actually fallen victim to it until now.
  • In-between: I am slowly but surely working my way through my taxes for both countries, in addition to my Professional Development Plan for my Wisconsin teaching license.


The French Baccalaureat is fast approaching, which means I am officially more stressed out than my students who are actually taking the exams. They have their orals coming up next week already, with school-wide midterms / Moc-Bacs just after. I’m currently teaching short stories to my 9th and 10th graders, working on an immigration unit with my 11th graders, and finishing up technology-based units with my 6th and 7th graders. I’m looking forward to plunging back into novels (Wonder and I Am Malala) with my younger classes after midterms.

One website / blog I have been obsessed with is Laura Randazzo. She is an ELA teacher in Idaho and ber ideas have been a God-send for a first-year teacher!

TV Series

  • This Is Us: My goodness, has anyone else been watching this? This is worth the hype. I started watching it over Christmas and I just finished the first season a few weeks ago. This show is real, with genuine characters whom you will want to root for. The tears come frequently.
  • Girls: I’ve watched Lena Dunham’s show since the beginning, and I just finished the series finale. I love Lena, and she does brilliant work, but I think the show should have probably ended a couple of seasons ago. I’m still not sure how I felt about the ending, however.
  • The Walking Dead: I started watching this show to bond with my grandfather- he got me hooked, and since he’s died it’s a way I still try to keep his memory alive. I am emotionally attached to quite a few characters in this show, but the whole Negan story line is becoming a bit excessive. (AKA the season finale- meh.)

Books: Have you added me on Goodreads Yet?

  • Slaughterhouse 5: A satirical novel about World War II, I had to read this for my April book club month book. I know it’s a classic, but I didn’t really get into it. So it goes.


  • A View From the Bridge: This is required reading for my juniors. It’s a play about two illegal immigrants in New York City during the 1950’s. It contains an interesting plot twist and is a quick, interesting read.


  • Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own: As a single woman and as a feminist, I really, really wanted to like this book. The author, Kate Bolick, clearly put a lot of time and effort into her research. Spinster contains a lot of historical references to strong and independent women who have created happy, fulfilled lives as single and childless women, but I couldn’t really get hooked in (probably because I don’t feel like I could relate to it in 2017). However, it has a lot of positive reviews and I feel as though I am in the minority.



  • Beauty and the Beast: Need I say more? I saw the film twice (in March) but it was fantastic.


  • Hidden Figures: A true story about black women working for NASA during the 1960’s this film (which was nominated for several Oscars) is another must-see (and I promise I will read the book!)


Most of the memorable articles I read were about the French presidential elections:


  • Sufjan Stevens: Death With Dignity


I cannot believe we are already onto May. This next month, I’m looking forward to many bank holidays and earning extra money proctoring exams, spending a long weekend in Nice, and the starting to wind down the school year.




22 thoughts on “Life Recap: April 2017

  1. Ouch for the customs tax! That’s something I never experienced personally either. My mom has this story about someone sending her a package when she was teaching in Greece in the 60s and having to go deep into the post office to get it and to pay customs taxes – and it turned out to be a shower cap!

    Thanks for your recommendations! I would love to see Hidden Figures and This Is Us, I saw the trailers for both awhile back but haven’t seen either yet.

    You sound incredibly busy at school! I hope the end of the semester is going well xx

    1. Sooo hilarious about your mom!! I can’t even believe that nonsense! Yes to both of these shows! Let me know if you get into them!

      As for school the bac / finals for middle/high school are approaching!

  2. My mom is also obsessed with This is Us! I thin I saw the first episode but couldn’t get hooked. I just recently finished the Ryan Murphy miniseries American Crime Story: The People vs OJ Simpson. Not sure if you’ve seen it yet and I was a bit iffy going into but it turned out to be amazing. Obviously certain creative licenses are taken to heighten the drama but most of what is shown on the show actually happened when I went to Google certain key moments. I was only 7 when the OJ trial happened and I virtually have no memory of it. It really is a heartbreaking but fascinating case and I’ve had some interesting conversations about it with my roommates (they are both black). I definitely recommend it if you don’t know much about the trial. I will admit to delaying the final 3 episodes though because you know what is coming. Really made me realize how people were so hard on Marcia Clark the lead prosecutor.

    Also your blog is your blog, you do what you want with it! Life changes. At least you are still blogging! I abandoned my blog over a year and a half ago, without really meaning to. Will hopefully start it up again at some point this year.

    1. I’ve heard a lot about OJ’s new series so I’ll have to check that out– is it as good as Making a Murderer? I don’t know much about OJ’s trial either as I was also just a kid…

      Thanks for your comments 🙂 x

  3. Thanks for the recommendations – I’m coming to the end of Fargo (season 1) so am on the lookout for a new series to binge-watch now that the semester is over! Look forward to reading about your trip to the Balkans in due course – love the look of those mountains in Kotor 🙂

  4. Hey Dana, thanks for sharing your bits and bobs. I watched every season of Girls and mostly just thought it got better and better. The end fell a little flat, perhaps, but I respect Lena for keeping it real. As for This Is Us, I was conflicted. Some of the characters and storylines really worked for me but the deconstructed plot and the main couple’s relationship drove me crazy at the end. Let’s see where they go with in S2. If you get a chance, Big Little Lies is an amazing miniseries with some huge talent (Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern). Just finished it and I am still reeling! xx

    1. Interesting that you love Girls ! I actually was okay with the pregnancy thing; but I agree that friendship of 4 had to end. I enjoyed the last episode and I”ll miss Hannah, Sosh, Jessa, and Marnie. Excited to see where This is Us goes and I’ll definitely have to check out Big LIttle Lies!! 😀 thanks for the recommendation!

  5. Loved this! I really enjoy keeping up with your blog and this was such a great read. I’m excited to check out your recommendations!

    1. Thanks Daley! My books were meh but totally try This IS Us! I’m obsessed! Also congrats on your new job! That’s so amazing and I’d love to hear more about it when / if you get the chance!

      1. Thank you so much! Did you see my post about it?? That’s so exciting lol.
        I think I’ll shoot you an e-mail because I am definitely looking for some advice!

  6. I am Malala and Wonder are going to be SO FUN!! Loved them both 🙂 Ummm, when’s your long weekend in nice ?!!! I’m heading home soon for the summer but maybe…… ?!

  7. Good to hear that you’re doing well! As for the direction of your blog, it’s perfectly understandable to feel uncertain about it. Make it what you want it to be, write what you want to write- I’ll read anything you post, really! So cool you got to visit the Balkans; that’s one part of Europe I haven’t been to yet. Would love to return to Croatia someday, too. Hope May goes well for you!

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