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.
Overview: August was a weird month. The first half was spent traveling between Scotland and Spain, and the second month was spent back exclusively in Lille, with a quick jaunt to Brussels towards the end of the month to see my cousin and her husband, whom were traveling in Belgium and Ireland. I spent some time getting to know the ins and outs of Lille and working vigorously on lesson plans to make my rentrée smoother than the past two years have been. Finally, had a few gracious friends to help me with a few home improvement projects after several trips to IKEA (hanging a mirror and shelves and a plant, putting in a new light fixture). Although things cannot often fill empty voids, having a few new odds and ends to spice up my place has done me some good, and I’ve really enjoyed making my home more of my own.
Edinburgh and The Highlands, Scotland: I spent a week in Scotland with French/Belgian friends at the end of July and into the first week of August. I absolutely loved Edinburgh and can’t wait to write about it more in depth. I just loved the overall vibe and atmosphere: friendly people, sweeping views of the city, lots of history, and an abundance of things to do! It definitely gives London a run for its money in regards to best places in the UK. The best part of my trip, however, was seeing my friend Laura in Glasgow (Laura and I lived together for one year in Valenciennes back in 2014!) We picked up right where we left off and it was so, so good to see her.
Ibiza, Spain: My friend Jeff and I spent five days in Ibiza and we both had a really great time. Despite the small scare we had, Ibizia a great destination with an abundance of things to do, even aside from partying (my favorite place was the Hippy Market in Es Cana!) We also rented a car and went around the island, which was excellent.
Brussels, Belgium: My cousin Alaina and her husband Shane were visiting Belgium, so I snagged a cheap OuiBus ticket and ventured out to go hang out with them for the day. We spent most of the afternoon drinking beer at the Delirium Cafe and reminiscing about old times (plus, I didn’t get to go to their wedding, so it was great to finally hear some epic stories firsthand!) I had been feeling so homesick and quite frankly, down-in-the-dumps (one family member had a cancer scare; most of my friends weren’t back from Lille yet and I was lonely; I got semi-stood up; another friend moved away; I was going through a quarter-life crisis and trying to combat it through IKEA retail therapy…) So, a healthy dose of family time did me so much good. I went to sleep smiling that night.
Here are a few photos of some of the home improvements I’ve made over the past few weeks. Click here for the original flat back in November 2017.
Mirror hung above couch (centered on wall). A gift from a friend who moved to Paris.
Hanging wine glasses, a hanging plant, and fairy lights (bought on sale)
A new light fixture, shelves, and framed scratch-off map
Orange is the New Black: I really loved Season 6 of Orange and thought they did a nice job of continuing the story of Piper, Alex, and company in Maximum Security prison at Lichfield. Some stories were absolutely devastating (Blanca! Lorna! Taystee!) while others were just straight up disturbing (Carol and Barb, anyone?) I’m excited to see where the prisoners of Lichfield head as Season 7 starts up next summer.
Sustainable Living + Self Care:
I’ve been really bad at reading lately– and I’m mostly back to reading school-based literature again, but I am trying my best to really incorporate reading into my bedtime routine this year (the new school year is always a good time for self-improvement / self-care practices.) I’ve also been spending a lot of time at the gym, and I think I am starting to see some small results (most notably my jeans were just a bit looser as I pulled them up the other day, hurray! I also have more stamina during workout classes). I am also low-key trying to switch to vegetarianism. I signed up for a weekly fruit / veggie basket from BioCabas (I’ll do a future post on this), and I’ve determined I have a lactose intolerance (I LOVEEEE Dairy!!) and have switched out milk and yogurt to non-lactose substitutes. With a weekly veggie basket I’ve been more creative with recipes and learning more about cooking and healthy eating. I’ve made a much more conscious attempt to go plastic free, specifically at local markets and in the supermarket. As I’ve said before, I’ll get down to writing more specific posts about reducing my own carbon footprint.
September is all about the rentrée and getting used to a new schedule and routine– but fall is my favorite season, and I’m so looking forward to Pumpkin Spiced Lattés.