All posts filed under: featured

11 mars – hiking aux Goudes

2:40 PM Text message from Mom: Now they are calling for a snow storm on Tuesday!! I may finally get a snow day off from school! Friday was just some flurries! 2:41 PM Reply: That’s crazy! Meanwhile, it’s 71 here and we’re heading to the beach… Kelsey and I met at the line 19 bus stop at 3:20 and ten minutes later we were off on our weekend excursion. On the program: A hike through Les Goudes, known as “le bout du monde” to the marseillais: the end of the world. An area along the southern coast of the city of Marseille, Les Goudes are right at the entrance to one of France’s National Parks, Le Parc National des Calanques. On our very crowded 45 minute bus ride past a stretch of commercial beaches filled with sun bathers, the 15 minute wait for a second bus, and 7 minute drive careening around winding coastal roads, we watched as the buildings and landscape changed shape around us. Where tall apartment buildings were, we now saw modest, fishing dwellings. …

two very different lessons

This afternoon, I sat in on a lesson the school counselor was giving to my mom’s class of 3rd graders. They learned to be a “friend to some, kind to all.” They learned how to use “I Messages” when they had conflicts with their friends, and how to respond when their actions accidentally hurt someone. The class played a role playing game where the counselor gave a scenario, and with a partner, they had to play out how they would respond using the I Messages and Responses they had just learned. “I felt upset when you said you didn’t want to play with me. Next time could you please be kinder?” “You were mad when I said I wouldn’t play with you. But it’s because this game only has 4 players. Next time you can switch with someone to get a chance!” One year ago, I was helping the English teacher at my French school lead a very different kind of role playing game. This class of CM2, or 5th graders, was also learning about conflicts …

small talk

“March 26 – The bus driver chatted me up for 10 minutes about his BLUEGRASS BAND after taking the wrong route.” The bus I rode every day to work was Ligne 4: Chamoux – Champet par Madeleine et Myosotis. Not to be confused with Ligne 40: Chamoux – Champet par Buisson Rond et La Villette. The former stopped right in front of the school where I worked in Chambéry, France. The latter was basically the same exact route, minus the two stops near the school. About once a month, the bus driver forgot which of the two he was driving that morning and turned off the wrong branch of the roundabout, a road that would bypass my stop entirely. Those were always great mornings… The first time this happened, there were only three people on the bus: me and two other women. “Any of you going to Ste. Thérèse or Madeleine?” the bus driver called back to us, obviously hoping that he could avoid having to turn around. Too bad for him, all three of us were headed to Madeleine. …

An UnPRESIDENTed Evening

Picture this: three 20-something girls on a wild vacation through Western Europe, make a stop in Lisbon, Portugal. Checking in with them around 9PM, you might expect to find them out dancing, drinking, experiencing the local nightlife. Or you might find them in their AirBnB rental, already changed into sweatpants, winding down from a long day of wandering around in the hot sun. Guess which one was me. No, rather than going out and partying like most sensible people our age, we spent our evening dedicated to creating a series of President puns…on Snapchat. I present to you the results of that evening: We literally did this for HOURS. Then spent an entire dinner the next evening coming up with additional puns. Clearly we know how to have a good time!! Presidents we missed: James Madison, John Quincy Adams, Martin Van Buren, John Tyler, James K. Polk, Zachary Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, Benjamin Harrison, William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding, Calvin Collidge, Harry S. Truman, Richard Nixon, …

I’m basically famous now

Several months ago, I published this post about everything I love about my adopted French hometown of Chambéry, following a National Geographic Intelligent Travel questionnaire. After revamping my answers a few months ago and sending it in to be considered for the site, I got word yesterday that Intelligent Travel decided to publish my post as part of their weekly “I Heart My City” feature!! They made a few edits to make it more consistent with their questions, and they added a bunch of flickr photos, some of which I don’t even recognize where they were taken….but hey! It’s still pretty cool. I hope that this highlight will encourage people to consider visiting this little corner of the world 🙂 And I hope some of you will also be encouraged to publish similar pieces on your own blogs, and to share them with National Geographic. Then maybe you, too, will feel as famous as I do today !! ❂

J’écoute: songs for remembering

I love music. Not in the fanatic, must-have-something-playing-at-all-times way, but I am a strong appreciator of nearly all musical genres. Although my musical tastes are not very wide-ranging, I still have some favorite songs and albums (okay, most of them are musical soundtracks…). I haven’t ever sought or found refuge in music; I love music, but it’s not my life. (though I am envious of those who possess the immense musical knowledge and sensibility that I seem to lack). That said, there are some songs in my life that are so connected to a moment or a person, that the two are forever associated. My past year living in France has a lot of these songs, significant because of the person who introduced it to me, because of a new idea that arrived with the song, or just because of a particularly happy memory or joke that it represents. Here are some of those songs.

Lucky Pennies: Day 2

I have this thing about pennies. I don’t know where my fascination with these little coins started. Maybe from my dad telling us to “save your pennies” every time we suggested a trip we wanted to take or a gadget we wanted to try. Something about them has always made me smile. On one hand, who even uses coins anymore, let alone the smallest and practically useless one cent? Is there anyone out there who likes pennies? Seriously. I mean, do I understand why they’re necessary? Yes. But do I want them weighing down my wallet and lining the bottom of my kitchen junk drawer? Of course not. On the other hand, we have so many cultural myths and superstitions about how pennies bring good luck. We put them in our shoes, throw them into fountains, search for heads-up pennies on the sidewalk, all for the tiniest bit of prosperity. Did you know that people have been trying to get rid of the penny for several years? To date, there have been three bills proposed in congress to eliminate the …