All posts tagged: picnics

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.

Home is where the Turkey is

There are plenty of things to be thankful for when you live in a foreign country: being in a lovely city filled with friends and energy, people who have helped make your rapidly changing life a little bit easier, the fact that you’re able to experience and live abroad at all! This group of adorable 5 year olds who diligently learned a nonsense song about turkeys and even behaved extremely well while you filmed them singing… after you told them you would send the video to Washington and President Barack Obama might even watch it: I can’t express enough how thankful I am to everyone I have encountered in Chambéry: friends, teachers, strangers, colleagues, French, American, Italian, and more. But all of this is of course to tell you about how I celebrated Thanksgiving in a country where people ask about “that holiday where you eat the big chicken…I think it has something to do with the Civil War?” I never really thought about how American a holiday Thanksgiving is, until I realized that not …

ONE MONTHIVERSARY!

That’s right, gang. It’s June 15 which marks exactly one month since I arrived (May 15) and one month until I return (July 15). Pretty crazy, right?! Since I now have lived in two of the greatest nations’ capital cities, I present to you the following lists to commemorate this momentously bittersweet occasion. Top Things Paris is doing better than DC 1) Bread. Step into any boulangerie and you’ll smell what I mean. Unless you go for the artesanal Harris Teeter Bakery loaves, most of the bread we eat in the States is square and comes in a colorful bag. Which is not to say that stuff doesn’t exist here because I guess some people make sandwiches out of it. The last bag of “pain de mie” we bought was actually called “American Sandwich” I kid you not. But that’s because the French have even perfected the sandwich beyond what we can handle in America. Take a look at the popular baguette sandwich. Compact, flavorful, hearty, everything I love in a sandwich plus the added benefit of …

Le week-end de royauté

This past weekend was many things. Exhausting. Delicious. Shiny. Charming. Vast. Ridiculous… I spent a very large part of Saturday in VERSAILLES, touring the Chateau and Jardins there. I have overall a Ridiculous amount of information and pictures to share with you all, so I’m saving that particular journey for a future post. Here’s a little teaser, to whet your appetite. After a very tiring Saturday, I decided to take a rest day…I met some friends at the beautiful Places des Vosges, thanks to Saida Dagata and my host mother for the recommendation!! La Place des Vosges (pronounced sort of like voj) is the oldest planned square in Paris, built in 1612. It’s a perfectly symmetrical plaza, completely surrounded by identical buildings (called pavilions) and a big arcade walkway. Some really famous tenants have occupied the pavilions, including Victor Hugo (his building is now a museum), Cardinal Richelieu, and the seat of the Academy of Architecture! It’s such a lovely and private square. I would love to go back to study or picnic or just hang …

Birthday Weekend!

Moving right along to last weekend!!! Saturday was the birthday of one of my good friends in the program: LANA!!! We planned a day of picnic-ing (or as the French say: faire un pique-nique) in the park that happens to be just behind the apartment Steph and I live in: Parc André Citroën. Yep, like the car. Evidently, this park was built on the former site of a car factory. We wanted to go because during dinner one night, our host family told us that there’s a giant hot air balloon that you go up in! Obviously that needed to happen. So, a group met Steph and I outside our apartment and we left in search of lunch and the park! Along the way, we discovered a bunch of small grocery stores, shops, boulangeries within a 4 minute walk…aka things we should probably know exist so close to us. The park is really funky and modern–sort of like a post-modern version of the traditional French Le Nôtre style garden. There seemed to be a TON …