the crazy & calm of northern france

In the past few weekends, I have experienced two very different sides to northern France: the crazy Carnaval de Dunkerque and the calm serenity of the coast at Cap Gris Nez.

When people told me about Carnaval, the main impression that I got was that there was a lot of drinking and disguises going on. Spoiler alert: that proved to be true. Me, my three roommates, and some friends got all disguised up (including but not limited to feather wigs, hula skirts, and giant sunglasses) and hopped on the party train to Dunkerque on Sunday, February 19th. Literally – it was a party train. Nearly every other person inside was already disguised or in the process of becoming disguised. There were men dressed as women, women dressed as men, and others with costumes that left little to the imagination. Upon arrival, the scene did not change. It was like a giant parade from the train station towards the main square; the fact that none of my group had any idea where we were going wasn’t important – we just followed the crowd of crazies.

Viviana, Ines, me, Sarah, Joana, and Lidia… if you can even recognize us.

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mom & dad in france

Friday was the start of my two week vacation, and it couldn’t have come sooner! I just spend a beautiful weekend on the French coast at Cap Gris Nez and will be heading to Krakow, Poland on Thursday.

Just over three weeks ago, I was lucky to have a sort of mini-vacation when my parents came to see me over on this side of the pond. I hadn’t seen them since September! Even though I had to work a few days while they were here, we made the most of our time by spending some time in Paris and some time in good ol’ Nord-Pas-de-Calais.

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my little French life

So much has been happening in my little corner of France that I am incredibly behind on blogging about it – I’ll take that as a good thing! I still haven’t written about Grant and Matt’s end to their trip, and I’ve just returned back to work after having spent a week with parents visiting me. There are lots of exciting updates, but for now, I’m going to tell you all about what has been happening in my little French life. How is work? How is food? How are the SNCF train strikes? Keep reading to find out. (I probably won’t talk about the SNCF train strikes though… thinking about it too much can probably lead to stomach ulcers.)

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