Monthly Archives: May 2013

A short trip to Eze-sur-mer

A co-worker from my school and I had been talking all year about taking a trip to Eze, a small town not too far from Nice.  As time goes, it flew by, and before we knew it I only had a couple more weeks of school!  We planned to do it that week, but then rescheduled for the Thursday of my last week of school.  Nothing like leaving it to the last minute!  We didn’t have a ton of time, since I was having a good-bye dinner for all my friends at my apartment that evening (and it was scheduled to rain in mid-afternoon), but we left early afternoon and spent a good few hours seeing a few things in the town.

Eze is a really small medieval village on top of a mountain- it’s called a perched village since it’s up so high.  If you take the train you have to walk up the mountain to get there, but if you take the bus or drive you can go right up to the city.  Luckily, we drove, so no mountain climbing for me!

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Categories: Life in France, Travels | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Life Lately + Lyon

Wow, it’s been longer than I had planned since I last posted.  Sorry!!  You’d think being unemployed and all I’d be posting up a storm, but sadly, that doesn’t seem to have been the case.  Here’s what I’ve been up to lately:

  • job applying (temp places for the summer and teaching jobs for the fall)
  • taking trips to Ankeny to first see my very pregnant sister, and then my new baby niece!!
  • cleaning my room and bathroom at home from top to bottom, and donating tons of stuff
  • sorting, organizing, and backing up the millions of photos I took this year
  • enjoying living 25 miles from my boyfriend instead of 5000
  • eating delicious meals at my grandparents’
  • catching up with friends that I haven’t seen for nearly eight months
  • playing my dad in backgammon, and mostly losing
  • trying to catch our five baby kittens that live under the front steps
  • feeding our four bucket calves (and chasing them when moving them to a different field…)
  • hanging out with my cousins that both live right up the road
  • eating delicious food like colby jack cheese, peanut butter, Kraft mac n cheese, my mom’s lemon chicken, my grandma’s spaghetti, Jamaican seasoned pork patties, Mexican food (particularly Chipotle and Diamond Dave’s), and homegrown asparagus

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Categories: Travels | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Skiing in the Cote d’Azur: Valberg and Isola 2000!

I went skiing twice this year, once in mid-March and once at the beginning of April.  That’s right, skiing in April in the south of France!  And thus is the magic of mountains.  The first time, I went to a ski resort called Valberg, and the second, to one called Isola 2000.  Here’s a handy-dandy map I created to show you people where I was:


The one near Peone is Valberg, and the one that’s 34 miles away is Isola.

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Categories: Assistant Helpful Information, Life in France, Physical activity | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Fortress at Mont Boron

That’s right, I went back to Mont Boron!  I hadn’t gone up the hill with beautiful views overlooking Nice since back in October.  I guess like with my two visits to Villefranche, it needed revisited before I left!  I considered putting the pictures from the day in with my Haut-de-Cagnes post, but I decided two short-and-sweet ones would be nice after my massive post about Toulouse 🙂

One warm and sunny day Sam (Notice a pattern?  He’s a good friend, haha) and I decided to go up to Mont Boron, since I had never seen the fortress up there.  Honestly  it’s not much to look at, but the views of the city below are AMAZING.  I miiight have amped up the color a little too much on some of these pictures, but they’re just so pretty!


The fortress.

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Categories: Travels | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

I’m hoo-oome!

That’s right, I’m back in the good ol’ Quad City area!  My trip actually went pretty smoothly.  I’m sure I’ll post eventually with more details, but here are some highlights:

  • 22 hours of travel
  • 3 flights
  • 1 delayed flight (my last one home- but only by half an hour)
  • 36 degrees- the temperature it is outside right now
  • 1 experience of SPRINTING to my gate (in Zurich)
  • 9 hours on the flight to the US
  • 1 lucky happening- there was an airport shuttle bus from Gare de Lyon! No metro for me.
  • 3 loved ones seen so far
  • 75 euros + 25 dollars = cost to check my bags
  • 1 Chili’s meal eaten in Chicago- MMM American food!!
  • 1 bouquet of flowers received
  • 3 hugs from my mom within 5 minutes of being home

There’s a lot more I could share but I’m going to shower, get ready, then go up to my grandma’s house for lunch!  I bet all the euros in my wallet that she’s making spaghetti and garlic bread, my favorite grandma meal.  Although I’m definitely going to devour whatever delicious food she makes.  I’m a lucky girl 🙂

Categories: Travels | 5 Comments

218 Days Abroad

I’m not gonna lie, I have no idea where to start with this post.  How do I even begin to put my feelings about my incredible seven months overseas into words, and NOT tear up sitting here in a crappy hostel lobby in Paris?  (And it is crappy.  Worst hostel I’ve ever been in.  If I was staying more than one night I would have found somewhere else.)

In a way, I can’t believe my time in France is already over, and in other ways, I feel like it’s been forever since I’ve been home… slept in my own bed… hugged my family… walked barefoot out to the barn to see our cats 🙂  Needless to say I can’t wait to do all those things and more, all the small and big things I’ve missed since being overseas, but I’m definitely going to miss Europe as well.  I have a couple blog posts started with lists of things I liked about Europe and wish the US would adopt, and things I DIDN’T like that I’m glad the US doesn’t do.

I think what I’m going to miss most about being over here are the different cultures that confront me daily.  For example, right now I’m in a hostel staying in a room with three other people of three different nationalities from three different continents.  It really hit me that the varied culture is what I would miss a couple of weeks ago when I was in a small town called Podebrady outside of Prague with an old friend from International House at ISU.  We were all sitting in a circle, probably 15 of us, and if I had to guess there were probably at least six nationalities represented with double the amount of languages spoken.  We started playing a game where we chose a common phrase (“Hello” or “Thank you”) and went around the circle saying it in as many different languages as we could.  There were several times that made it around the circle more than once, which was amazing to me.

But despite everything that I’m going to miss, I am absolutely ECSTATIC to be coming home.  Why wouldn’t I be, with all the amazing things waiting for me?  I’m really excited for the future and to start this new chapter of my life: big-girl job (is it still that if I use the phrase “big-girl”?), getting my own place to live, spending time consistently with my friends and family in the QCA for the first time since 2009… all good things!

But before I can get to all those good things, I need to make it through the next 31-ish hours.  I have to sleep then get ready at the hostel, walk to the metro with one rolling bag, take the metro to Gare de Lyon to get my other rolling bag out of a locker, somehow manage two rolling suitcases and a shoulder bag on the metro (many stairs) to catch the RER train to the airport, check in and check my bag (hopefully it’s not over weight…), fly to Zurich, fly to Chicago, collect my bag and go through customs, check my bag again, then fly to Moline… thinking about what my day is going to be like tomorrow makes me want to cry, and not because I’m sad to be leaving… it’s just going to be a really long, tiring, stressful day.  I just need to focus on the end goal: by tomorrow night, I’ll be HOME!

So if you have a spare moment, I’d appreciate a little prayer for safe travels, for mental and physical strength, and for everything to go smoothly.  Now if you’d excuse me, I believe I’m going to go to bed soon 🙂

Categories: Random thoughts | 4 Comments

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