All posts filed under: personal

The Year of Magical Eating

I don’t make resolutions*, simply because I try not to set myself up for personal disappointment. But I’ve already decided that 2016 will be the year of intentional eating: of quality over quantity, of savouring** over stuffing. (This feeds into my resistance toward dietary labels and detox diets where you can’t drink coffee or eat bread or dairy or anything delicious. You try living in France and not eating bread and see how you like it.) On my flight down to Aix-en-Provence to celebrate New Years, I began reading Ruth Reichl‘s book “Garlic and Sapphires”, which was recommended to me months ago and has been gathering dust on my bookshelf ever since. Her words are captivating and her relationship with food enlightening, encouraging readers to remember the flavours of a dish rather than ordering seconds. The more people pay attention to what and how they eat, the more attuned they become to their own senses and the world around them. Ruth Reichl, Garlic and Sapphires While in Aix, I popped into my favourite restaurant, Fanny’s. I used to …

Coping with Reverse Culture Shock

Grocery stores are always where culture shock – and reverse culture shock – hit me hardest. Why do you have so many yogurts, France? Why do you have so many canned foods and fake cheeses, America? But no, more importantly, why is the wine $10, America?? I was more prepared for reverse culture shock this time. Last time, after studying abroad, it hit me hard and fast and I spent weeks months bemoaning the lack of good bread options in my life. This time, it was the small moments that have come as a surprise : the toilets don’t have buttons on the top, they have handles. Grocery stores are open on Sundays. You don’t have to tell cashiers you’ll be paying with card and you also don’t have to say hello as you enter the store. Waiters are overly friendly. A “French baguette” is, apparently, as long as an alligator. But, then again, everything in America is bigger, anyway (which I also forgot). Reverse culture shock is harder to cope with than culture shock. Culture shock …

Ciao ciao 2014, Coucou 2015

2014 was one of those years where I kept waiting for something bad to happen, because often it seemed like everything was going too well (forever an optimist, ya know). I am so grateful for the adventures I’ve had this year and the people who were there by my side. Where I Went My biggest adventure, sans doute, in 2014 was moving to Aix-en-Provence, France–where somehow I was able to jump over all the bureaucratic hurdles to rent an apartment (and now I even have a bank account and health insurance!) On the way, I got to spend an incredible (and incredibly cold) 18 hours in Reykjavik, Iceland Once back in France, I got to return to Paris (where I left my heart in 2011), Marseille, and Cassis …before I left though, I returned to Atlanta, Georgia, to visit my grandparents But I also got to see new places all over the world–like Lyon, New Orleans, and Playa del Carmen. Who I Met Anne the child squealed as I met Robert Osborne in March (happy birthday to me!) Anne …

What’s in my Bag: Travel Edition

Leaving for France is sneaking up on me, something I clearly wasn’t anticipating as I decided to stay at work until two days before my flight. TWO. DAYS. And while giving my parents and sister most of my belongings has proved helpful in the grand scheme of packing, there is still a lot to do and a lot to figure out in the next week–EEK. With the help of lovely Lauren, who has helped me triple and quadruple distill my belongings, I am now almost at a point where everything I need to survive for seven months will fit in two suitcases. Almost. My voyage to France will take nothing short of a miracle–for economic and wishful reasons, I bought a flight with an 18-hour layover in Reykavik, Iceland ($381 dollars INCLUDING flight insurance). I leave DC at 8 p.m., land in Reykavik at 6 a.m., and already have a tour scheduled for noon that day with Auδur of I Heart Reykavik (which is an awesome blog if you are ever planning a trip/long layover to Iceland). Then, maybe …

What I’m Reading: Kindle Edition

With a more than 30-hour voyage in front of me (including an 18-hour layover and 3 + hour train ride) I have been trying to stock my Kindle as much as possible. My attention span for plane rides is a small one, so this won’t be the time to start re-reading Dostoevsky or the free Anna Karenina I downloaded, but instead a perfect time for Tina Fey or Mindy Kaling (alas, I have already read their books). Here are the new books on my Kindle so far…please give me suggestions on your favorite books I should add, too! It’s a long journey to Aix. 1. Where’d You Go, Bernadette, by Maria Semple 2. #GIRLBOSS, by Sophia Amorusa 3. A Year in Provence, by Peter Mayle 4. Me Talk Pretty One Day, by David Sedaris 5. Paris Was Ours, by Penelope Rowlands 6. Inamorata, by Megan Chance

Setting the World on Fire: Where I’m Going

You know the feeling in your gut when you know you are meant to do something? The dizzying butterflies, the uncontrollable tears of joy, and the determination to make it work n’importe quoi? I didn’t know that feeling until this year (and I have been just dyyying to spill). Back in New Orleans, Marcella read a quote from Catherine of Siena that stuck with me (and that I later featured in my blog post): “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” Doesn’t that just give you goosebumps? About a year ago, I began to wonder if I had gotten too comfortable with my salary, 401k and health insurance. I realized that if I wanted to make a leap, I needed to do it now. I have the rest of my life to sit behind a desk–now is the time for butterflies. Now is the time to explore and discover and write and read and learn–to set the world on fire. I’ll post more soon, but for now I’m just dying …