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.
- Cambridge, London, Clacton-on-Sea, Colchester, Harwich, UK
- Rouen, France
- Sarajevo & Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Kotor, Montenegro
- Dubrovnik, Croatia
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: In regards to my mental health, therapy is going well. I feel like I am making progress in areas I’ve been wanting to improve on. As for my personal life, 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!
- 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.