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, as time has passed on, the style of my blog has shifted. I also realized that I simply 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 evolved. 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.
Obviously I skimped over May’s monthly recap, so I am going to try to combine my life’s recent happenings over the past two months.
- Nice, France- During the four-day weekend at the end of May, I jetted down to the sunny south for a girls’ weekend / catch up with one of my best friends, Julia. It was such a nice and easy escape from Lille.
- Jeff’s Surprise 30th Birthday Party- My flatmate Jeff turned the big Dirty 30 at the beginning of June, so I, along with a few other friends, planned the most epic surprise party ever. I still can’t believe we pulled it off. We had our five good friends come in from London, as well as two good friends from Paris and a close friend from Zurich; we had a mini-surprise on Friday night at a local bar in town, as the Brits were staying with us at home. Then on Saturday, we went to Lille Pride, had a picnic in the park, and then geared up for an absolute epic night of celebration. I had managed to reserve a basement space in a Ch’tis-style dive bar. There were over 60 people present, and Jeff was suspicious of nothing. It was such a fun evening of partying and dancing until 3 am…
- Libby and Romain in Lille- Our favorite Kiwi, Libby, and her French partner Romain, came back for a wedding in Lille this past June, and we got to see Libby for the first time in two years! It was so good to see her and pick right back up where we left off (and I feel like that is a true meaning of life-long friends.) Now, I need to make it down to Oz…
- Simona came back to town- Our old Czech roommate, Simona, also came back to visit from Prague, the same weekend that our friends Coralie and Dajo had come back from nine months in Brazil! It was such a great month for reunions and rekindling old friendships.
A Welsh- a Northern France specialty: bread, ham, cheese, beer, and egg with a side of fries.
Other Highlights Include:
- Fête de La Musique– A national festival on the longest day of the year, June 21st! There is always free musique all over the cities, and the sun doesn’t set until almost 11 PM.
Above, Lille at 21:30; below, celebrating with friends
- Apéro on the Roof- The hot weather has prompted my flatmates and me to take advantage of our folding chairs and rooftop (city life = no outdoor space).
I came back from the Balkans at the end of April and by then, the Bacalaurréat was just about in full swing. My Terminale students completed their orals, and then the Bac blanc, or finals week, was upon us, so students were busy studying and I was busy correcting. By then, I had received my convocation for the Bac, meaning that I had been summoned to correct 86 English Bacalaurréat papers at the end of June (I just submitted the results on the 30th!)
Luckily, I really enjoyed teaching two novels to 6ème (6th grade) and 5ème (7th grade) this past term: Wonder by Raquel J. Palacio for 6ème and I Am Malala by Christina Lamb, Malala Yousafzai, and Patricia McCormick. The kids loved both and learned a ton- I only wish I had had more time to teach it a bit better. If you’re looking for easy summer reads for you or your kids / students, the movie for Wonder is coming out in November or December, depending on what country you’re living in. I Am Malala has a wonderful documentary to go along with the book.
I have just one more week to go– although I’ve finished teaching for the year, I’m not quite finished with the Bacalaurréat and there are still quite a few meetings this upcoming week, but then I’ll officially be on vacation as of the 8th of July. Needless to say, I’m relieved and I’m exhausted- gear up for many blog posts about the ups and downs for my first year of teaching full time.
Orange is the New Black- After struggling to get through Season 4 (which had an epic and devastating ending but was quite slow from the get-go), I’m so glad I gave Season 5 another shot. I really liked the new season as well as the changes it made to the style and pace of the show. I know there were a lot of mixed feelings, but I adore a show with such a diverse range of female characters.
This month, I’m looking forward to finishing up the year, celebrating Bastille Day / a friend’s birthday in Paris, and then going home to Wisconsin for one month. I’m looking forward to reading more books, running more kilometers, and preparing for next year.
What are your summer plans?