All posts tagged: NanoPoblano

Smell the Roses

In dark times, sometimes we just need to be surrounded by flowers. Being fall, it’s not so easy to find many flowers in nature, so I thought it would be a perfect day to throw way way back to a beautiful and flower-filled place I visited back in 2013, when I interned in Paris. Then, I saw from the Chicago Art Institute that yesterday was Claude Monet’s birthday, and I knew my idea was meant to be. In June 2013, some friends and I took a day trip out to Giverny, famous for the residence and gardens of renowned impressionist  Claude Monet. The village is about 80km west of Paris. To get there, we had to take the train to a slightly larger town called Vernon and then a shuttle bus to Giverny. I remember that we all had major issues purchasing our tickets, because the machines in Gare St Lazare only accepted cards with the little chips. We were so afraid of missing the train that we dared not wait in the long line at the ticket …

Courage, Paris 💔💙

I was planning to write something fun and light-hearted tonight, maybe about some high points of my week, or another random story from my life, but I’m just so sad and in shock. Paris tonight suffered one of the scariest and most unprecedented coordinated terrorist attacks in recent memory. The death toll continues to rise, though the terror seems to be over for the night, thankfully. Social media has been both a comfort and an annoyance tonight…The cynic in me is frustrated by all the surface-level “solidarity” posts, which ring somewhat meaningless in the wake of such devastation. The misanthrope in me rolled her eyes at every person who tried to break the news to me, as if I hadn’t gotten it from French newspapers 2 hours earlier (she’s also a little bit snobby). But the humanitarian in me shushed those other guys down and was exceedingly thankful to have a direct line of communication to my people in France and all over the world. I am heartened to see strangers opening their homes to those who …

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 !! ❂

Postcard from London

Once upon a time, many moons ago, I went to London. I had originally planned to go way back in February to see a play my friend Natalia directed, but it ended up not working out. Still, I couldn’t leave the continent without visiting the theatre capital of Europe, so I planned a few days’ visit in between moving out of Chambéry and hopping on my flight back to DC. After a 5am wake up call to lug my hundreds of pounds of luggage across cobblestones, onto two different trains, through the airport, and across Paris to catch the Eurostar, I was 100% exhausted, and in a very strange mood…leaving my French home probably forever, saying goodbye to dear friends, and suddenly being thrust back into an English-speaking country (who know how disorienting that would be?!). So I wanted to keep my plans as uncomplicated as possible. The universe must have picked up on some of those karmic vibrations or something, because after being in London for less than one day, it helped my trip become simple in a way …

Art Lessons to do with your Primary Students

One of my regular duties as an English teaching assistant was teaching weekly arts plastiques lessons for CP and CE1 (1st and 2nd grade). Their teacher occasionally came up with ideas, but she wasn’t very crafty (her words), so most weeks she left it up to me. Going off of various topics they were working on in other subjects, I came up with a number of fun crafts that we used to decorate the classroom, the hallways, and a few that they got to take home as well :). I also have a small amount of art activities I did in my preschool classes, which they loved! It took me a while to figure out how to do these kinds of lessons well, but I’m so glad I persevered, because doing a craft is so much more rewarding than just reciting vocabulary. It was sometimes tough, because the school (and I don’t think mine is an outlier in this) did not have the type of resources I am used to in American school art classes. I tried to use the available …

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.