Hey there gang ! So I managed to participate in a full TWO days of the March Slice of Life Challenge, and haven’t found much inspiration to write since… Not because I haven’t been doing inspiring things – au contraire ! I guess I just haven’t been motivated to put them down in writing.
Anyways, lots has happened since I last wrote and I hope I’ll soon find the motivation to tell you about some of them. But in the meantime, I thought I’d share a few general updates and photos to flex that writing muscle again! Since March, I went to Athens with my best friend, my parents came to visit me in Marseille and Paris, I finished my 3rd (and probably final) teaching contract with TAPIF, I applied to three French university Masters in teaching and have been accepted to at least one of them, and have been generally enjoying my drastically reduced work hours in the gorgeous landscapes of Marseille 🙂
So now, on to some…
Recent Highs & Lows
Highs of the recent weeks would definitely be being able to take maximum advantage of the glorious outdoor spaces Marseille and its environs has to offer. With friends, I was able to hike in the Côte Bleue to the north of Marseille, the îles Frioul, the Route des Crêtes in Cassis as well as a few old calanque faves. I’ve learned how much of an outdoor person I am – just spending the afternoon in a park, at the beach, or taking a walk is extremely pleasant and can turn my meh days much better ! Maybe it’s because the summer air doesn’t feel like walking through a swimming pool…. (And don’t worry, I’m currently working on a post to share directions for some of my favorite hikes!)
Lows mostly have to do with the school year winding down… My time at my schools ended very anti-climatically with a couple of my colleagues completely unaware that I wouldn’t be coming back. The real cherry on the cake happened on my very last day of work. Many people have since told me they have had literal nightmares about getting sick while in the middle of teaching and, well, I can now say with absolute certainty that I would not recommend it. What started off as a truly lovely day, where I showed my classes the finished books we had written together and colored pictures of Washington, went rapidly downhill after lunch. In the middle of reading a rowdy class of 2nd graders “Larry Loves Washington, DC” I started to feel a little rumble in my stomach….not the good kind. I tried for as long as possible to hold it in, wanting to at least finish reading the story, before I had to straight up sprint to the bathroom where I saw my lunch for a second time…apparently the veggies in my pasta had gone off and my stomach spent the next 40 minutes or so getting it all back out. Luckily my colleagues were all super understanding, let me off the hook for my last 2 classes, and after about an hour I felt fine and even got my appetite back almost right away. I met my friends at the beach and ate plain bread and drank gatorade and took a nice long nap.
In the Kitchen
In much more successful kitchen experiments, I have been going all out on different kinds of salads now that it’s picnic weather ! I made a delicious chicken salad using a rotisserie chicken, a greek-inspired pasta salad that is really similar to a pasta salad my mom always gets at the grocery store deli, and a super simple potato salad ! I loved these recipes because they were flavorful, somewhat flexible, much cheaper to make homemade, and made huge batches so I had food for several days with minimal effort. Will definitely make all of these again!
What I’m Reading
I have been absolutely dreadful about reading recently… Every book I pick up, I haven’t managed to get past the first 100 pages, even though they’re books I like and have been wanting to read for a while. I’m thinking of starting a middle grade or YA book series, something easy to read that I’ll enjoy and can read quickly, to get back into the habit. I’ll take any and all suggestions in the comments ! In the meantime, I have a ton of great books waiting for me on my kindle once I finally get my reading stamina back : The Power, Uncommon Type (a book of short stories by Tom Hanks), The Song of Achilles, and lots more !
What I’m listening to
Hardly a week has gone by that I haven’t listened to Janelle Monae’s newest album Dirty Computer in its entirety. Her music is so funky and fun, and this album in particular has gotten particularly politically pointed. I love that she discusses without shame sexuality, feminism, blackness in such a bold way. I still haven’t watched the full visual album, but I have heard it is equally as stunning !
Although the French rapper Orelsan has been on my radar for a while, I never really listened to much of his music. I decided to give a few songs of his a try, and really quite enjoyed them. His big hit right now is La Pluie, which he produced with Belgian superstar Stromae (please write more music 😩) and I also enjoy some songs by his group Casseurs Flowters.
What I’m watching
After the big social media uproar over the cancelling of Brooklyn 99, a show that wasn’t even on my radar until then, I decided I had to check it out for myself. Luckily, the first 4 seasons are on French Netflix and thus began a multi-week binge of the entire series ! You guys it really is so good. I’ve been a huge fan of Andy Samberg since middle school and he is so great in the show. I’ve always had a soft spot for procedurals, and this comic take on shows like CSI or Law and Order is just delicious. The writing gets better and better each season and I’m looking forward to watching the 5th season and eventually the new 6th season which will thankfully be aired by NBC.
As I explained in my previous update post, my roommates and I have been curating a post-it note dictionary wall of expressions in many different languages (but especially French & English). Here are some recent additions:
to cut the cheese = péter
poireauter = to hang around
faire poireauter qq’un = to leave someone hanging, make someone wait
(poireau is the French for leek, so this verb is especially funny)
ahurissant / être ahuri(e) = stupefying, dumbfounding / to be stupefied, dumbfounded
(My roommate loves to teach me words that are extremely difficult for English speakers to say, so she can laugh when I repeat them 15 times incorrectly. Another
least favorite is feillu, or leafy)
That’ll never get old = On s’en lasse pas
Knock yourself out = Fais-toi plaisir
Avoir un coup de barre = to crash (in the sense of suddenly being very tired)
Et voilà voilà ! More stories soon, I hope ! ❂