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.
November and December mean one thing to me: Holiday season! November began with going back to school after the two-week fall break; our school went through an intense accreditation-renewal process for international schools, so work was actually a bit stressful for all of us teachers. As a school community, we celebrated Veteran’s Day and the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 1. My school flew four flags: French, American, British, and the EU. It felt humbling to be represented.
With the nights getting longer and the days shorter, I found myself more often than not curled up on my couch (which suited me fine.) In mid-November, my dear friend Sharon jaunted from across the channel for a long weekend visit! She spoilt me rotten with Christmas presents; we spent our weekend shopping, going to a wine-tasting, and seeing my friend Amber performing in her first concert!
The following weekend, I was especially spoiled! I had FOUR visitors come to Lille: Julia, Michelle, Jo, and Itsaso! Michelle used her master skills to cook a superb Thanksgiving meal in my tiny oven– these visits (along with Sharon’s) really gave me a boost of happiness. They were exactly what I needed! We also visited the Christmas market and even rode the ferris wheel!
The first weekend of December consisted in celebrating a third Thanksgiving with my colleagues, followed by a week of mid-terms and the first round of the Bac Blanc (which of course resulted in tons of correcting on my end). I also trimmed my tree (and am brainstorming for a more eco-friendly idea for 2019– ideas welcome!) My friend Mathilde came in to visit from Paris, and my friends and I threw a surprise baby shower brunch for our friends Victor and Florine. The last week of school was an exhausting whirlwind, with conseils de classe and parents’ evenings mixed in, as well as several Christmas parties.
Christmas and Travel:
On the twenty-second, I flew back to the United States, and have spent the rest of 2018 spending time with my closest family and friends on this side of the pond. There’s truly nothing better.
A Star is Born
While I liked this movie, I didn’t love it. I did think that this was Bradley Cooper’s most outstanding performance to date, and that he is clearly a fantastic director who needs to do more directing. Gaga’s performance is also noteworthy and I look forward to seeing how this film plays out in this year’s Oscars.
I did not realize how much Queen I was familiar with until I saw this film. I was expecting this to be more of a documentary and was pleasantly surprised- I loved the storyline of Freddy Mercury and for me, it was one of my favorite films of the year (surpassing A Star Is Born, sorry Bradley!)
The Hate U Give
I am teaching this book to my high school juniors and was excited to see that it was showing in the budget theatre back in Wisconsin. I had heard very mixed reviews on the film as some of the plot had been changed, and while there was one major *Woah!* at the end of the movie, overall I really liked THUG. Black actors have to work twice as hard to get half the credit, and this cast and director deserve all of the recognition and more.
Crazy Rich Asians
This movie was released for a grand total of one week in France so I missed it, but was so happy to see it was a choice on the plane ride back to the USA. I LOVED Crazy Rich Asians– it was funny, relatable, and witty. This is also a really important film for Hollywood, because it is the first all-Asian cast since Joy Luck Club. I recommend this film highly and definitely want to read the book now.
Death of a Salesman
I watched the 1985 version with Dustin Hoffman as Willy Loman with my high school seniors this month, and even though the film is older than I am, I was really moved by the story. DoS is my favorite of Arthur Miller’s plays- it is truly a compelling story both on stage and on screen.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
My friend Amber recommended this to me post wisdom teeth removal and I am totally hooked. An Amazon Prime original, Mrs. Maisel’s crappy husband leaves her after a failed attempt at becoming a successful comedian. Set in the 1950’s-1960’s, Mrs. Maisel soon realizes that she actually has a knack for comedy, and kicks off her own career. Think Mad Men but with a female protagonist. I highly recommend!
Ellen DeGeneres: Relatable
I watched Ellen’s set on US Netflix’s over the holidays, and loved it. Light, non-controversial, carefree. What’s not to love?
Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
Again, this is a play I am teaching, but I was actually surprised by how much I loved it. I actually cried at the end of the Requiem! My heart breaks a bit for Willy, despite his undeniable arrogance. Miller portrays the American Dream and middle-class American values in the most perfectl ight, and I feel like many of his messages are still relevant today.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
I really, really wanted to like this book. It had raving reviews and I originally read it for my book club, but the truth is that it was way too descriptive for me to really get sucked into. I thought the story was compelling (a blind French girl and a teenage Nazi soldier cross paths and tell their stories simultaneously during WWII), but I couldn’t keep my attention. Ido believe most people would love this novel, however, and Doerr certainly has a knack for writing.
Wishing all of you a prosperous 2019!