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.
December was a whirlwind of a month, but it is also one of my most favorite times of year (I love Christmas!) Since I have my own flat now, I went a little bit crazy on investing in a few decorations and of course a Christmas tree from my local market. I spent many nights decorating, drinking hot chocolate, listening to Christmas music and watching Christmas movies. My mom also mailed me some of my homemade ornaments from home, which was such an excellent touch! I loved wandering around Lille’s Christmas market, sipping mulled wine, and attending the annual Anglophone colleague’s Christmas party (for which I made Chex Mix- and it was a huge hit!)
A view of my Christmas tree from my sofa
My friend DelRae, from my hometown in Wisconsin, is an assistante de langue in Nice this year! She came to Lille via BlablaCar and spent the holidays with me. I took her around Lille and we spent a lovely Christmas Eve and Day with fellow colleagues of mine (a shoutout to Nicky and Nico, and Madolyn and Carlos for hosting!) We watched movies and ate junk food and caught up on each others’ lives both in France and back in Wisconsin. I was so lucky to have had her come to Lille to spend Christmas with me!
The Lille Christmas market
Lille, France: As stated, I spent most of the month in the north of France, which was totally fine by me! The best day I spent in Lille was one night where I went with a few friends to a new karaoke bar,– totally Japanese style. If you’re in Lille, I recommend checking it out!
Paris, France: I actually ventured to Paris for a dental cleaning in mid-December (yes, this is super extra and high-maintenance of me, I know.) I saw an American dentist just to put some of my worries at ease (I have had a lot of cavities, and have receding gum lines, and have never really had a thorough cleaning in France.) It was obviously a bit of an investment but I’m glad I did it. Her office is just around the corner from Shakespeare and Co.’s bookstore, so I was able to buy a few new reads!
London, UK: After 13 months of waiting, I finally got to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in London! My friend Jasmine managed to snag tickets in November 2016 and kindly asked me if I wanted to go. I am happy to report that it was an incredible performance (it’s two days long in fact!) I won’t say much more in order to #KeepTheSecrets, but if you do get the chance to go, please do! I also spent NYE in London, which was low key but exactly what I needed. We took walks in Greenwich, I got private rooftop views of friends’ workplaces, and spent a few too many nights at the pub nursing several pints. I can’t wait to get back to Europe’s capital city in May for Hamilton!
Wonder: I taught Wonder last year and was dying to see the film when it came out. I dragged DelRae along with me to see it the day after Christmas; they did a really great job with it and I shed several tears over the course of the film!
13 Reasons Why: After reading many references from my students, I finally caved and binged watched 13 Reasons Why. And holy moly, it was really intense. It had a lot of triggers for me– it brought up a lot of memories of bullying I had buried and tried to leave in my past from elementary, middle, and high school. Not to mention- the several instances of rape and sexual assault (and an adult’s incapability to handle it properly.) There are so many discussions to be had about this series, and I think it’s super important. My criticisms about the series is its (unintentional) consequence of ‘glorifying’ suicide or making it seem like it is a form of revenge. Additionally, most adults in this show are seen as super incompetent; I realize that this is how teenagers view adults and it is told from their perspective, but I wish and hope that teens know that adults are here to help.
The Handmaid’s Tale: My student did a presentation on The Handmaid’s Tale and I was intrigued. She gave me the first season and I binged in just under a week. Holy. Moly. This is such an intriguing concept because it shows just how easy something like this could happen (especially in a world where Trump has nuclear codes.)
**I am now working my way through the books and will report back!
Call the Midwife: Season 8 of my favorite British series took off on Christmas Day. I love the characters and the storylines!
I am working my way through about 3-4 books right now but none of them were finished in December! Again, I was more or less working through books I am teaching but hope to get back to my own stuff as the term gets going! I read about 12 books last year and hope to try this year’s Pop Sugar book challenge again!
I had fun listening to the 2017 DJ Earworm Mashup!
I hope you all had a great holiday season (if you celebrate) and all the best for 2018!