Thursday, January 27, 2011

Embracing My Parisian Life

My last post ended with me admitting that I need to stop longing for home (as much) and start focusing on living it up here in Paris.  And if I do say so myself, I think I have done a pretty good job over the last two weeks! 

Last week, I had my first galette de rois, literally King Cake, with friends Megan and Sybil.  It is a traditional cake served at this time of year in France (and in other countries around the world) and is to celebrate the Epiphany.  There is a little trinket baked inside.  If you are the lucky one to get the trinket in your slice, you get to wear the crown!  There was a small plastic rose in this cake.  You can read more about la galette des rois here:

 Also last week, Dustin and I went with our friends Mike and Kelly to a wine bar called Wine by One.  The wine tasting area was circular, and all around the edges of the room were wine vending machines of sorts.  You could choose what size of a taste you wanted, put your card in the wall, and then the wine would dispense into your glass.  Some of the small glasses were as cheap as one euro, but some of the more expensive wines were up to 70 or 80 Euro for a few sips! 

On Saturday, Dustin and I went with our friend Megan to a minor league hockey game.  We got to see the Asnieres Castors (Castors=Beavers) take on the Rouen Dragons.  The outing was sponsored by the American Women's Group of Paris.  It was a small venue, but we had a great time.  The people who worked there were very nice and even declared it "American Night"...complete with a chili dinner.  It didn't exactly taste like chili, but they gave it a good try!

This one is a little dark, but it gives you an idea of what the rink was like.

This week has also been busy.  On top of French class, I have been volunteering at the American Church of Paris for several hours every day.  My volunteer position there has me working on getting a new constituent database up and running.  I also went to my first Parisian Zumba class, which was led by a French speaking Brazilian man.  Needless to say, it was pretty entertaining! 

Just two weeks in to living the Parisian life with a new attitude...and it has been great!  This new Parisian me is more relaxed, less worried about criticism from the French, and optimistic that things are going to continue in a positive direction. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

There's No Place Like Home, There's No Place Like Home...

You know, Dorothy got it right.  There really is no place like home.  After 5 months in Paris, I got to return to the states for an entire month (hence the reason I have been MIA in the blog world).  It was an amazing trip filled with family, friends, and ENGLISH!  I can't even begin to explain how wonderful it felt to be in the land of the free. 

There was a lot on my to-do list.  People to see, food to eat, things to buy, places to visit.  And I am happy to report that I checked just about everything off of my list! 

We began our time in the states in Northern Kentucky.  I felt like a celebrity as we rode the escalators up to baggage claim, and realized we had a whole fan club waiting for us!  When we got home, Rudy was waiting for us as well.  I was a little worried that she wouldn't remember us.  But as soon as we walked in, she started going crazy!  That evening, Dustin's mom cooked us a great Thanksgiving dinner (since we missed the real Thanksgiving) that we got to enjoy with both sides of our family.

The whole week we spent in Kentucky went very quickly.  To help check an item off of my to-do list, Dana and Corey had Abuelo's cater a family gathering (I wanted to eat the sour cream and cheddar cheese by the spoonful). 

Tiffany with the goodies from Abuelo's

At Corey and Dana's

Brotherly Love

Rudy is not supposed to be on the couch.  But she loves her uncle Jeremy and cousin Brady!

The Boathouse with Kara, Jesica, and Jennie

Dustin, Ken, Matt, Matt

After our week in Kentucky, we spent a week in Indiana.  We did Christmas with my family...and even Rudy got in the Christmas spirit.

I also got to see my Chi O girls (I am devastated that we didn't get a picture!) for a night of pizza and girl talk. Whenever I am back with that group, it is like no time has passed. There is definitely something special about my group of sisters!

Later in the week, Dustin and I went with my dad and sister to an IU game.  I always love visiting Bloomington (even if the Hoosiers decide to lose while I am there).

Me, my dad, and my sister.  The man at the far left in the black and white picture is my grandpa!

During the second half, I got to hold a big head!  And yes, I chose Justin Bieber. 

On another fun night in Indiana, Dustin and I visited with friends at Fox and Hound.  It was so much fun to see everyone!!

My long-distance book club!  But we were missing Jessie :(

Me and Matt

Me and Dr. Love (AKA Jeremy)


On New Year's Eve, we got to hang out with some of our favorite people!  We attended the annual party at the Rodockers.  Much fun was had by all!

Dustin had to head back to Paris on January 2nd.  Since I had no real reason to return, I decided to stay in the states for a bit longer.  I got to spend a couple of wonderful days with my sister, and then I flew down to Ft. Myers to spend 9 days with my parents.

It was really hard to get on the plane back to Paris.  Through tears at the Ft. Myers airport, I said "see you later" to my parents.  Even the security guy who checked my passport asked me if I was going to be ok.  I answered though my tears that I was, in fact, going to be ok.  The truth is, even though many days I would rather be home, would rather be with my friends, and would rather be eating Mexician food, I have an amazing opportunity to live a life I never thought possible.  So as this new year begins, my goal is to stop focusing on what I am missing at home, and start focusing on new and exciting experiences.