I originally 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 and purpose of my blog has shifted. I have 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.
Happy December! I cannot believe how quickly fall has come and go– with the first snowfall of the year taking place on the last day of November, I couldn’t have thought of a more perfect way to start the holiday season! Without further ado, here’s what I’ve been up to over the past two months:
I moved flats! I’ve moved out of my four-person house share (where I had been living for the 2.5 years I had been in Lille, and into my own one-bedroom apartment. Making the decision to move out and having to put myself in a (temporarily) financially vulnerable position was both intimidating and scary, but now that everything is over and done with I realize that it was completely necessary. I feel so much more calm and settled into a place that is totally and only mine. I’ve had so much fun investing in furniture and knick knacks and Christmas decorations, creating a home.
The snow-covered view from my bedroom
I was lucky to have celebrated TWO Thanksgivings this year- one with colleagues and one with friends. I actually hardly took any pictures, believe it or not! Per usual, I made my family’s famous peanut butter pie, marshmallow sweet potato casserole, and cranberry sauce. Celebrating Thanksgiving, I am realizing, is a really essential part of my identity in France.
Halloween: My French friends put us Americans to shame with their spooky spread! Halloween this year was quite chill, but it was exactly what I needed.
Fall Festivities: My friends Jeff, Leah, Amber, her boyfriend and I spent a really nice afternoon at the local farm one warm October afternoon. We picked apples, gourds, pumpkins, and tomatoes (while trying to be overly #basic with PSLs from Starbucks.)
Paris, France: Believe it or not, I haven’t left France at all since coming back at the end of August, except for one colleague’s crémaillère, or housewarming in Courtai, Belgium at the start of the school year. Due to my move I’ve mostly stuck around Lille, but I did get to take two trips to Paris– one in October and one in November. Both times I was graciously hosted by my friend Shiana. One stay involved the concert Boyce Avenue (my friend Leah and I are fans) and the second trip was to see my friend Michelle from the US whom had flown to Paris for a long weekend. Like London, I’m finding that I really love “local Paris”– one where I can wander and admire and soak up the atmosphere, with no expectations. During my second visit, however, we did hit up the Christian Dior exhibit, which was absolutely stunning.
Etretat, France: Finally, my friend Amber, her boyfriend, her family friend, and me took a long weekend to Etretat. I actually forgot my phone during the weekend and therefore do not have any pictures! However it was not the first time I had been there and it gave me an excuse to truly unwind and unplug! I had such a nice time catching up with Amber.
I celebrated a few birthdays over the past two months– happy fortieth to my friends Greg and Sid, and happy 30th to my friend Ciaran!
The Walking Dead & This is Us: As I’ve stated in previous recaps, I’m still a huge fan and dedicated viewer of The Walking Dead (although my loyalty is beginning to dwindle) and This is Us (a show for which my loyalty is still very strong.) Are any of my other readers fans?
The Good Wife:
After finishing Mad Men, I needed a new Netflix binge. I had heard many many good things about The Good Wife, and being a sucker for law shows I decided to check it out. I admit, it’s weird for me to see Sex and the City‘s Mr. Big in any other role, but it’s kind of reassuring that Peter Florrick is equally slimy as John Preston.
13 Reasons Why:
My students had to read The Perks of Being a Wallflower this term, and I asked them to create their own mixed tapes featuring their favorite songs, tv shows, movies, books, etc. Many of them talked about 13 Reasons Why, and were able to make a connection to the main character of the book, Charlie. Needless to say, I decided to check it out and I am completely hooked. What a mind-*!&@ of a show. I’m about half-way through season 1.
Battle of the Sexes:
I have been awaiting Emma Stone’s latest film for quite awhile now, and I can attest that it did not disappoint. I’ll be honest in saying that I knew next to nothing about Billy Jean King when I went to the theatre, but I left feeling a solidarity of sisterhood. What an incredible woman, fighting for equal pay, Title IX and LGBTQ+ rights! Emma Stone did her so much justice! I highly recommend this film to anyone!
Rocky Horror Picture Show:
As I was teaching Perks of Being a Wallflower, I realized that I had never seen or knew much about Rocky Horror. As it is on French Netflix, I decided to give it whirl one night that I was on the couch. I must say, I was quite torn. Has anyone ever questioned Frank-N-Furter’s ‘sex’ scenes with Brad and Janet? On the other hand, I do one background lesson on Rocky Horror with my students as it relates to Perks (we don’t watch the movie, but we watched the trailer and read a synopsis) so I feel a bit more competent in my ability to make references to the phenomenon.
Otherwise, I’ve been having fun reliving some of my favorite all-time films which have resurfaced on French Netflix, including:
Remember the Titans
The Lizzie McGuire Movie
The Fault in Our Stars
The Parent Trap (seriously, best sound track ever!)
Don’t judge, you know these are on your top ten, too!
What Lovers Do by Maroon 5: I’ve been really into this song lately (#basic).
Boyce Avenue: My friend Leah and I went to see Boyce Avenue at La Cigale (an awesome venue, by the way) in Paris at the end of October! It was great seeing them live!
Montgomery Gentry: I forgot to mention this in September, but Troy Gentry passed away recently in an airplane crash! I was super devastated. I ‘met’ them briefly in 2008, right before I left for college. I’m actually a big country music fan and listen to several of their songs.
Dana and Christine, circa 2008
Otherwise, most of my regular music has been put on hold while I rock out to Christmas music until the end of December.
Unfortunately, I haven’t been making as much time to read for pleasure- but I am reading six books at once with all of my different classes: The Breadwinner, I Am Malala, Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, The Perks of Being A Wallflower (finished), The Lovely Bones, and The Last Runaway. I am all about collaboration and have tons of materials if needed!
How was your autumn?