Life Recap: July 2017

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. 


Overall, July was a busy month. I did a ton of cleaning and organizing at my house in Lille before coming back to the US, where I’ve spent a decent chunk of my downtime lesson planning and organizing my curriculums for the upcoming school year (teachers do actually work quite a bit during the summer, too!) Below, enjoy a recap of my July highlights:

Destinations Traveled:

  • Wambrechies, France: After running through this cute little town each Sunday, my friends Rashida, Leah, and I decided to check it out for ourselves. We loved sipping sangria on those epic boat bars!
  • Paris, France: I spent the weekend of Bastille Day (July 14th) in Paris, celebrating my friend Jo’s 25th birthday and dancing the night away at the Firefighters’ Balls!
  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA: Surprise! I’ve come home for a month this summer! I haven’t been back for a summer in Wisconsin since 2014; summers in Milwaukee are truly the BEST! Plus, being here for a month and without the pressure of the holidays means I have a ton more time to spend time with loved ones! Stay tuned for more!

Views of Milwaukee and Waukesha, respectively

  • Sheboygan, Wisconsin, USA: I spent a day with my mom, aunt, and cousin’s daughter, Adelaide at Bookworm Gardens, a nonprofit botanic garden which was designed and inspired by childhood stories. It was actually really unique and interesting. My favorite, of course, was Little House in the Big Woods, by Laura Ingalls Wilder (stay tuned for a more in-depth post!)


Getting my farm girl on in the covered wagon.

July Highlights:

  • Baccalauréat Results: The Bac results came out on July 5th at 10 am. Our school had a 100% pass rate, and my students had an average of 18 in English (I even had two students receive 20/20, and six receive 19/20!) It was a really fun afternoon actually, because the students came back and the best results were read aloud for each individual student (abundant with enthusiastic applause from all.) It felt a bit like this.

  • Corn Roast / Party: In true Wisconsin style, my family hosted a big corn roast for my return. Even better, after my parents left for Hawaii for ten days, I hosted a big party with a mixture of high school and college friends. It was great to see everyone from different parts of my life come together (much like my group of friends in London!)
  • Babies!: I have a good friend with whom I lived with for two years in my sorority house who just had a baby boy named William! Additionally, while home I got to attend my friend’s gender reveal party: she’s also expecting a little boy in December! Finally, my second cousin Erica gave birth to a baby girl (Nora Arlene, after my great-aunt) last week. I’ve gotten to hang out with little ones and I admit, I’ve become less wary of the possibility of having my own bundle of joy one day.


Amanda’s husband, Tom, hit a softball filled with powder to reveal blue!


Hanging out with William– and yes I was wearing (short!) shorts!


Baby Nora with her incredibly intelligent and amazing cousin, Lydia


  • Prefecture Woes: Long story short, I’ve been having some woes involving my new carte de séjour. The thing is that I filed for a new card last August, but STILL haven’t received it and am on my fourth récépissé. I am now to the point where if my carte de séjour was only valid for one year, I already need to apply for another new one, despite still not having received this new card I’m currently waiting for. It’s super bizarre, because apparently my dossier was accepted, but is still “en cours.” There is a part of me that is getting super paranoid that someone in the government came across my blog post last year about falling out of love with France, and doesn’t want to give me a new carte de séjour (please, someone tell me I’m crazy!?)

Books: I’ve been trying to read for pleasure lately, but most of the books I’ve been reading have been for work.


After teaching I Am Malala with my 5èmes (7th graders), I’ve wanted to do a story with a female protagonist with 6th grade. My colleague recommended this book– it’s a story about a girl named Parvana living in the Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. Her father is taken to jail, and eleven-year-old Parvana has to dress as a boy and become the sole breadwinner for her family. It’s a quick read but I enjoyed it. Perhaps it will become a part of our curriculum this year!

  • Popular: A Memoire by Maya Van Wegenen: Again, we are going to use segments51FWDCD9nCL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg from Maya’s book, Popular, for a unit in 12th grade on modern popularity. In the book, 8th grade Maya takes a Popularity book from the 1950’s and applies it to today’s world to see if she too can become popular.




  • The Circle: After reading Dave Eggar’s book back in April, The Circle (starring Emma Watson) finally came out in French movie theatres in mid-July. I thought the movie stuck well to the story’s plot, but just like in the book, the ending was a bit bizarre and finished a bit too quickly. I feel like the subject is super relevant to today’s times and the author could have really taken the ending to the next level. Nevertheless, I still really enjoyed the movie (although I know the reviews weren’t great.)
  • Dunkirk: I saw this film a few days before leaving for the US and I LOVED it. I am a huge fan of World War movies and I’ll be the first to admit that I know very little about the British history of World War I. In fact, the majority of what I have learned has come due to living in the north of France and near the Belgium border (although my experience with Dunkerque does not have much to do with war.) I also recently read an article that made me chuckle about why Dunkirk is the most British thing ever.  


My latest obsession has been Mad Men (I’m really late to the party, I know.) BUT I originally started watching the show back in 2015, back with you could still use Hola to access American Netflix in France. Two years later, France has finally added Mad Men to its queue, so I’ve restarted the series and I’m just about to season 5. (I have also finally gotten on the bandwagon of downloa6360389091239505531414297098_mad men.jpgding episodes from Netflix to watch later; I plowed through almost an entire season on the plane ride back to North America.) I feel strong connections with both Peggy and Joan, and spend time analyzing / thinking a lot about  Peggy’s relationship with Pete Campbell, whom never really stopped having feelings for / pining after her after their one night stand, despite being married to someone else.

My mother has also convinced me to watch Anne With an E, which she is convinced I’ll love due to my obsession with Little House on the Prairie (Both the books and the TV series.) I’ve given the first episode a go and am going to finish the first season.

This next month, I’m looking forward to spending two more weeks in Wisconsin before jetting east to New York City, before hitting up Iceland and returning to France for la rentrée at the end of August.


9 thoughts on “Life Recap: July 2017

  1. I am perpetually late to the party when it comes to TV shows – I didn’t watch The Office or Parks and Rec until last year! I have never really gotten into Mad Men (I’m probably the only one on the planet) but I think if I watched a few more episodes I would like it. (So much TV, so little time.) Did you ever read the Anne of Green Gables books? They were my favorite (but I haven’t watched Anne with an E yet). I also read Little House on the Prairie growing up!

    I hope everything gets sorted out with your carte de séjour. I’ve heard of that happening before to a few people and it ultimately got sorted out, but I know it’s stressful to be waiting. It sounds like you’re having a fantastic summer!! xx

    1. I have read Anne of green gables but I need to! I think I am going to email my secretary and head of school to see if they have any connections with the prefecture as its getting complicated! There’s a lot going on behind the scenes right now!

  2. Dana, I’m on my way home from NYC having just had a host of friend reunions and so I know how fun you must be having back home this month!!

    Mad Men rules! I never got around to watching the final season though…maybe it’s time for a rewatch!

    If you’re looking for other female-centered books for that age group, I can’t recommend Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacquelyn Woodson enough! Also, it’s a bit different since it’s a collection of short stories, but Flying Lessons and other stories was one of the best books I’ve read so far this year and would be great for that age. The stories are written by diverse authors about diverse characters, the first book published by the “We Need Diverse Books” movement. 10/10 would recommend!

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