All posts tagged: museums

Five Things to Do With Your Free Time Instead of Travelling

A few weeks ago, a fellow TAPIF assistant and blogger, Anne à l’aventure, published a post about reasons NOT to travel, which got me thinking… It may not be a popular opinion, especially in the Instagram Age where #wanderlust is the most noble of ambitions, but I am increasingly coming to terms with the notion that I’m simply not cut out for the “traveller lifestyle.” One look around my bedroom will tell you why: I have only lived here six months and already my walls are covered in postcards, train tickets and children’s drawings. Dozens of books are stacked on the floor next to the slowly growing pile of flashcards and worksheets used at school. Markers, pens, post-it notes and girl scout cookies clutter my desk and my window sill is home to not one but two plants. This is not the kind of place that you can easily pack into a backpack.

I Heart Chambery: anniversary edition!

I had the idea to fill this National Geographic questionnaire out from fellow TAPIF blogger Hardly Snarky, who wrote about her city of Aix-en Provence. I have been working on mine for the past few weeks, and am posting it today: 6 months to the day since arriving in Chambé!! I heart Chambéry because it seems to have a dash of something for all tastes: endless outdoor activities in the surrounding mountain ranges and lakes, great local wines and cheeses, a small but fervid arts scene. It actually reminds me a lot of a previous hometown, Charlottesville, Virginia: a sleepy college town surrounded my mountains, which was at one time home to a great philosopher whom the inhabitants still obsess over today… Throw in perfect baguettes and easy train access to some of Europe’s most vibrant cities and voilà! As a native of Washington, DC with no great athletic abilities or aspirations, I never thought I would grow such an affinity for mountains, but I’ll admit, the natural beauty of Chambéry has swayed me. At least …

Marseille: city of contradictions

Another six weeks of school, another two week vacation. And this time we wanted to get the heck out of the snow and mountains, so we booked a TGV to MARSEILLE! Marseille has a certain reputation in France… the kind of reputation that made our friends’ eyes widen and say,  “Attention, hein?! Be careful!” when we announced our trip. So then when there were reports of a shooting there the day before our planned departure, we had to make a serious game plan, which essentially boiled down to “DON’T BE AN IDIOT” (sidebar: the shooting was non-fatal and most likely a result of the visit to the city of Prime Minister Manuel Valls. My favorite part of the story is that Valls was in Marseille to congratulate the city for their recently reduced crime rates.) And anyway, when has the threat of a little street violence ever been good reason to cancel a trip?! If that were the case, no one would ever go….to most major cities in the US……

Benvenuti in Italia

As brilliantly put by my good friend Julia: “Useful Italian words known: 0 Italian swearwords known: 6788984765658 Hello Turin!” The pack of Italian friends I have made here are very enthusiastic about teaching me Italian words, and I am more than happy to learn them. I have learned about 15 ways to use the word cazzo (Italian for dick, which is used in at least 50 expressions, to convey any emotion under the sun. I have learned how to say that something is disgusting, in a way that literally means, “it makes me shit” (or the even more vulgar “it makes me shit a dick”. Just one example of the many uses of cazzo!). And there’s the old standby I learned from my dad: Andiamo?! Unfortunately, very few of these phrases came in handy during our recent trip to Torino, Italy. Being the brilliant planner that I am,  I managed to make a slew of Italian friends and then leave them all behind in France while I travelled to Italy with three anglophones who speak even less Italian than …

Memento Mori, and Anne arrives in France

To all those who were worried that I may have been in a tragic plane accident en route to France….relax, take a deep breath, I AM HERE! Sorry to have kept you all in suspense for so long. As you can imagine, making an international move like this has been extremely time-consuming and stressful, so I haven’t gotten a chance to write about it! But I did had time to make a list of topics I should write about, so get ready for a flurry of posts about my first two weeks en France! I arrived in Paris early in the morning on the 16th and made my way to the hostel in the 15th. It actually was really close to a neighborhood I was pretty familiar with from last summer, and I guess it was that familiarity which told me it would be a great idea to take all 948,592,049 lbs of my luggage with me on the metro. Luckily, some very kind souls helped me up and down the many many stairs, but I still thought my …

One Month: A Countdown

So, dear readers, I have now crossed the one-month threshold. One month until I return to France. One month until I leave DC. One Month. I still have a lot of things to accomplish in the next 4 weeks. The last week of camp, including my middle schoolers’ public performance of the musical we’ve been working so hard on for the past month, Honk! jr. Helping my sister move to Chicago. Figuring out plans for my arrival in Paris. Calling AT&T to ask about options for suspending my plan. Unpacking. Repacking. Savoring DC and my friends while I can! That last task on the list is the subject of today’s post. While I count down the days until I leave, I’ve also compiled a list of all the things I want to (try) to do before leaving on a jet plane. I love DC. Despite all of its crazy problems, I really do love it. I’ve lived 5 minutes away from DC for my whole life and worked there for many summers, but I feel like …