Mom & Dad, Part 1

I was so excited for my mom and dad to visit this spring. So excited, in fact, that I somehow gave them the wrong dates for my spring break. Instead of coming for a week and a half during my two week break, they came for half a week during my break and a week while I was working. At first I was so disappointed in myself, but then I just blamed the French bureaucracy for the problem, let it go, and made the most of my time with them here!

Last time my parents flew into Paris, I was also working (as an assistant at the time). They had to haul all of their luggage to the hotel, where I met them later that day. This time, I was off, and met them directly at the Paris airport. We even spotted each other through the glass between the arrival hall and the baggage claim.

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Crazy eyes for everyone! (Also, take a look at those gums!)
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Mom and Dad on the train into Paris from the airport

We booked two night in Paris in order to do some sightseeing while they were here. The first day, we took it easy: lunch near our hotel (croques and onion soup) and an elevator ride up the Eiffel tower.

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We had been there during their last visit, but we had never all gone up together. My dad had fun taking photos from the top with his 40x zoom lens on his camera.

The next day was our big outing to Versailles. My mom had wanted to go for a while; we tried to go last time they were here but everyone was ultimately too tired at the end of our stay in Paris. Therefore, we prioritised the trip this time and headed out to Versailles the second day of our time in Paris.

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We had absolutely beautiful weather so the 30+ minute wait to get inside was not a problem for us. Plus, I had grabbed a pair of 5€ sunglasses at the ticket shop on our way to the entrance line. The château was definitely worth the trip, even with the crowd from spring holidays. Mom and I especially enjoyed the gardens, where we goofed around and Mom did her mom duty of telling teenagers to get down from the garden walls (I mean really, those kids could fall at any moment! So dangerous! That’s just my teacher voice, right?).

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Peekaboo!

Once back from Versailles, we rested for a bit before heading to a pub style restaurant for well-deserved beer and food.

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Like father, like daughter.

Our final day in Paris was really only a half day, since we were taking the train into Cassel later that afternoon. Both Mom and Dad wanted to see the Arc de Triomphe, so of we went for a stroll down the Champs Elysées.

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Can you believe we gave our camera to a stranger to take a picture? So 2000s. I’m pretty sure we were part of the 10% of tourists that didn’t have a selfie stick.

That afternoon, we headed to northern France. After a train from Paris to Arras (I think), another train from Arras to Hazebrouck, and a final train from Hazebrouck to Cassel, we had gone from giant city to tiny village.

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Mom, the Luggage Queen.

Overall, our time in Paris was just as nice as the first time around in 2012. We saw new things together, enjoyed lots of pastries and coffee, and just enjoyed being reunited. Thankfully, the weather was much warmer this time around, being in the 50s instead of the 30s.

I was especially excited to show them our new house in Cassel. In 2012, I was working 12 hours a week as a high school language assistant and living with three other girls in an apartment attached to the high school. Now, I’m a full time certified high school teacher, and M and I live together in a real house in an adorable village with a dog and a rabbit and a backyard. We even have a guest bedroom, where Mom and Dad got to stay for the week. Oh, how times have changed!

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pause

Next weekend is the start of one crazy week!

After nearly 3 months in France, I decided that the best option for me at the moment is to go home, work as much as possible, save as much as possible, and come back to France sometime after March. The job hunt here was frustrating but I feel like I did my best. I’m definitely considering doing my masters in Lille next year (studying modern languages), and with a student visa, I’d have the right to work 20 hours/week anywhere I’d like (or anywhere I can get hired). The main problem this time around with interviews was never the conversation, but the fact that I didn’t have valid working papers. As a student, I’d have already jumped through that hoop, so hopefully it would be much easier to support myself.

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la braderie de lille!

It’s here!

Once a year, Lille hosts the biggest braderie, or street market, in Europe. Two to three million visitors venture to the north of France for one weekend to see tons of items from thousands of vendors. Vendors range from normal people to professional sellers to actual stores, and the items range from second-hand baby dolls to thousand dollar antiques. The moules-frites are famous, and a half marathon takes place in the crazy atmosphere as well. I missed it by three weeks last year, but this year, I got to experience it all.

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fresh eire

This past weekend, I returned to one of my favorite countries: Ireland! In 2006, it was my first trip out of the states with some of my best high school friends and a fabulous World Experience teacher and I’ve loved it ever since. Also, I am one of the millions of people that claim Irish heritage (my family came to Illinois in the 1850’s), so that makes it extra special. Finally, two years ago, I met a special someone there.

Ha’Penny Bridge in Dublin, separating the north and south sides of the city

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let’s cross the country

My summer started with a bang in May, when I flew from Paris to New York with the dream team: Michel, Celine, and Aurelien. We all traveled together last year to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon, so this year we had to keep the tradition going. It was all of our first time in New York City, so it was no surprise that we paid way too much for a non-yellow cab to take us from the airport to our hotel, we were amazed when the lights of Times Square bombarded us, and we made it our goal to see as much as possible while we were there.

We spent hours in Central Park on our first full day (and only beautiful day) there, eating hot dogs, laying in the grass, exploring the different areas like Strawberry Fields, taking a horse and carriage ride through the park, and even Skyping with families back in France so they could live vicariously through us.

Michel and me by “Imagine” at Central Park

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a long time coming.

although i’ve kept another blog in the past for my travels, i’ve decided to try out wordpress to specifically document my France adventure that will commence in 11 days.

if you’d like to read up on the process leading up to my departure, you can visit my other blog. it also contains posts on my past travels within the US, Ireland, and England.

posts will only get more interesting from here!