Random thoughts

Oh hey everyone!

WHOA it’s been forever since I’ve been on the blog.  Time to get back into the swing of things.  I am currently working on a post about my trip to Prague–I swear I am–but in the meantime, a short little post!

First of all, current assistants who read here, how’s it going??  If I remember correctly you’re probably about in the middle of your two week break right now.  Did you all find a place to live?  How’s school going?  Are you traveling right now?

Secondly, a quick update on my life.  Since I returned from France I interviewed at three different schools, applied at three different temp agencies, got a teaching job AND a temp summer job, moved out of my parents’ house into my own rental house, and started working full time teaching English, French, and ESL at a local high school!  I’m loving it.  At some point I might do a photo recap of my summer, but who knows if I’ll ever get to that point.

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Categories: Differences between France and the US, Random thoughts | Tags: , , , , , | 11 Comments

Le Blog in the Upcoming Months

My poor little blog has been neglected lately.  I’ve managed to get out a few posts this summer, but slow Internet (not anymore though!!), busyness, life events, and quite frankly, a lost desire to blog have led to many fewer posts than what I would like.  However, I do want to finish out this blog since it’s a commitment I made to myself (I want to get it printed into a book as a memento), my family and friends, and future assistants who have been reading it to get helpful information.

I started my teaching job today–eek!!–and I have no doubt I am going to have much less time and going to be much more stressed.  But I definitely have at least a few more posts that I want to get out, so I’m going to do my best, although I make no promises as to when I’ll finish.  Maybe I won’t finish up until my two-week break at the beginning of October… who knows?

If you are going to be participating in TAPIF this coming year, feel free to comment with any questions you have, and I’ll be able to respond to them quickly.  Also, if you have any ideas for blog posts that would be helpful, I might even find the time to get a few more of those out.

The posts I’m planning on writing yet are:

  • my trip to Prague
  • my trip to Vienna
  • pictures from my last few months in Nice

I also have some posts already written and saved as drafts, so a few random, where-did-that-come-from posts might be sprinkled in there as well.  And who knows, maybe I’ll get bitten by the blogging bug again and will do a bunch before I say sayonara… I guess time will tell.

So until next time…


Categories: Random thoughts | 4 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

Quick little update

Hey all!  Just a quick little post to say that I’m going to be AWOL from the blog for who knows how long, probably a few weeks.  I’m leaving tonight to travel around Europe for 12 days (Barcelona/Amsterdam/Prague/Vienna) while my roommate’s parents are here visiting, and then the day I return to Nice my friend Annabell is coming to visit!  She’ll be here for a few days, then I have another couple of days in Nice, then I take the train to Paris!  I’m staying there for one night before my marathon three-flight, 16-hour trip home.  But no worries, once I get home and get settled (or perhaps before then if I’m particularly motivated or have some downtime while traveling) I have a whole load of posts I want to write before I can declare this blog finito!  They include, but are not limited to:

  • More posts with information intended for future assistants.  I’ve gotten some good questions that have given me ideas for future posts, so keep them coming!
  • Three local trips I’ve taken, to a flower exposition in Haut-de-Cagnes, the fortress up on Mont Boron, and a small town called Eze
  • The trip I took to Toulouse/Agen/Porte-Sainte-Marie/Nerac
  • The two places I went skiing this winter
  • My trip to Lyon
  • Updated Emmy photos; I haven’t uploaded any since before the trip with my parents!  Bad Kelsey, I know.
  • Pictures and stories about this whirlwind vacation I’m about to embark on
  • Random cell phone shots that I’ve taken the last few months
  • Another What I’ve Been Cooking post
  • At least a few of the post suggestions from my poll on the right
  • The good, the bad, and the ugly about TAPIF
  • Reflections about my time in France
  • My ridiculous interactions with French men
  • And more!

So as you can see, I have plenty that I want to write about!  At the core, this blog is going to be a way for me to remember my time here (still planning on getting it printed in some sort of format for me to have a hard copy) so I want to continue including all my adventures.  Eventually the blog will be dormant but not for awhile 🙂

Categories: Random thoughts | 3 Comments

Changes and a Challenge

Hey all, I’m back!  Hope you weren’t too bored stiff by that series of posts.  No worries, next will be travel ones about a couple places my boyfriend and I went 🙂 Until then… an update!

As stated in the title, there have been a couple of changes in the life of Kelsey (la vie de Kelsey…bahaha).  One of the biggest is that I changed the date of my return ticket to the US.  Like I mentioned here, I bought a round-trip ticket, and I chose the arbitrary return date of May 23.  I knew my contract ended on April 30, and I wanted to have a few weeks to travel before I came back to the US.  However, what I didn’t know was that I would be done teaching April 12 (HOLY COW THAT’S A MONTH FROM TODAY); French schools happen to have a two-week break at the end of April!  Technically I should have to teach April 29 and 30 but I don’t have any classes on Tuesdays, and I doubt they’ll make me come in on Monday; they always need me less the week after breaks, but even if they do ask me to come in, it’s only for a few hours.

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Categories: Life in France, Random thoughts | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy V-Day, everyone!  Or as they say here, bonne fete de St. Valentin!  I was surprised that they celebrate Valentine’s Day here, because I always thought of it as a more American holiday, but they definitely do.  There have been plenty of dinner specials posted, giveaways and events advertised, and valentine cards and gifts in the stores.

My newly updated love wall!

My newly updated love wall!

Fittingly enough, I welcome another visitor to Nice today: my boyfriend!  Yes, he’s getting in on Valentine’s Day.  Yes, it’s oh-so-romantic.  No, we did not plan it that way!  It just happened… a happy accident, haha.  I’m a bit more on top of my game today than the day before my parents came; I actually have some blog posts written and queued up to post over the next few weeks!  I decided to take this opportunity to share a series of posts intended to help those who are going to be assistants in France next year.

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Categories: Life in France, Random thoughts | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

My parents are visiting!!

As I write this, my parents are on their way here!!  I am SO excited that I doubt I’ll be able to sleep tonight.  Good thing, because I have a lot I want to do yet!  I have a to-do list with literally 27 things on it (I just counted) and as of right now only 14 of them are crossed off.  I still have the rest of tonight and tomorrow morning though.

Tomorrow I teach from 12-1 and then go pick up my parents at the airport at 2.  We’re not spending much time in Nice though; it’s their first trip to Europe, and they want to see as much as they can, so most of the time we’ll be traveling!  Luckily my roommate will be here to hold down the fort over break.  Because we’ll be gone for nearly two weeks, that means I will most likely be taking a hiatus from blogging during their visit and probably for a few days or a week afterward.  I’ll need that time to sort through the millions of photos I”m sure to take, and I might be taking another trip up to Paris to see my friend Chelsea before break is over!  If I manage to get a couple of posts written tonight, I’ll probably schedule them to post during the next couple of weeks sometime, but no promises.  I have 12 other things on my list to get done 🙂

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Categories: Random thoughts, Travels | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Reflections: One month in France

As of today (Saturday, October 27th), I have officially been in France for one month.  It seems like forever since I wrote this post about my preparations one month before I left; since then, I left my job, moved back in with my parents, flew to Paris and spent a few days there, traveled to Nice and moved into my new apartment, started my job here, have taken several small trips, and met tons of cool people!  That’s a lot for just a couple of months.  In some ways, I can’t believe I’ve been here in Nice for four weeks, but it also does feel like home already.  It helps to have an apartment I love, a fun roommate that I get along with, friends here to hang out with, a job I enjoy, nice coworkers, and love and support coming my way from back home!

I have settled in here amazingly well.  I’ve always adjusted to new places easily, such as when I moved to Normal for college, and I’m happy that moving to another country is no exception!  I would say that homesickness hasn’t really hit me yet; I miss people from back home, of course, but I haven’t had that certain sadness/longing to go home that always accompanies homesickness for me.  When I spent five weeks in Quebec in the summer of 2009, by about week four I was definitely homesick; I was tired of being in Quebec, tired of speaking French all the time, and ready to go home.  I fully expect homesickness to hit at some point, probably soon, but it hasn’t yet!

There were a few things I was apprehensive about before moving here.  I had planned on writing a post about them/my emotions at the time before I left, but what with moving, packing, and spending time with my loves, I never got around to it!  So I’ll include some of them here so that when I look back at this I’ll remember exactly what I was thinking and feeling at the time 🙂

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Categories: Random thoughts | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

My Summer 2012 in Photos

Okay, I know you all want to hear about my time in France so far, but I had this post started and I like things in chronological order so you get this one first 🙂 I’m working on posts about Paris and my apartment though!  Coming soon… stay posted!

Summer started with Julie and ME moving out of the apartment we shared for a year.

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Categories: Random thoughts, Storytime | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

10 Awesome Things About Living in Schaumburg

10.  Ikea

I didn’t go to Ikea at all this summer, but if I had my own place, I have no doubt I would be there weekly.  Hilarious Swedish words + cheap home decor + assembling your own furniture = awesomeness.

9.  Woodfield

If you’re not aware, Woodfield is a HUGE mall that nearly gives me a conniption every time I walk in, especially during the months of October to January.  WHY DOES IT HAVE THREE FLOORS??  However, it is nice to have nearly every store I can imagine 6 miles from my house, all in the same building.  It’s convenience to the max.

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Categories: Random thoughts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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